Hooked On Politics

This is crazy. I have been watching election returns like it’s the Super Bowl and I’ve got a large bet down.

This is crazy. I have been watching election returns tonight as if it was the Super Bowl and I’ve got a large bet down.

(I know you know this in May 2008, but since this entry will be around for a while…) Barack Obama handily won North Carolina against Hillary Clinton, to whom he then lost Indiana.

The Indiana results came in as if they were from a movie.

First Hillary Clinton went strongly ahead by double digits. Then, as more votes came in, the margin shrank. When Senator Clinton gave her victory speech, she was ahead by 4%. Now that margin is 2% and shrinking, but nearly all votes are counted.

She will win Indiana, but not by enough to really claim victory. The pundits have been keeping busy this early morning, coming up with reasons she will leave the race, or should leave the race.

November seems so far away.

Why Super Bowl Ads Cost So Much

There is rewinding and multiple viewing of the ads on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s one of the few times it happens.

Everyone talks about the ads run during the Super Bowl.

Before the game all you hear is the ridiculous cost – this year around $90,000 per second. After the game (and the money’s been spent) the spots are compared.

Is it all worth it? Probably. From the New York Times TV Decoder blog:

For instance, the commercials “got a higher audience than the game” in homes with the TiVo video recorder service, said Todd Juenger, vice president and general manager for audience research and measurement at the New York office of TiVo. “There is rewinding and multiple viewing of the ads” on Super Bowl Sunday, he added. “It’s one of the few times it happens.”

The phrase is, “Content is king.” Good commercials are good entertainment. People will watch anything, if they’re entertained.

Which Commerical Was Best?

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: “It was a bad year for commercials.” It was. There were few to like in the Super Bowl (though the game itself was unusually entertaining).

I have two favorites – and one isn’t really a commercial. It was a very short CBS promo featuring David Letterman and Oprah Winfrey. If you blinked, it was gone.

It was totally nuance. You had to concentrate. Did you recognize Oprah? Did you think about their back story? Did you realize he was from Indianapolis, she lives in Chicago?

Unless you connected all these on a visceral level, it was gone before you could think about it.

My other favorite was more in your face… and animated. It was the Blockbuster commercial featuring a mouse portraying a mouse. It was clever and really well animated.

Unfortunately, when I went to type this blog entry, I wasn’t able to remember who paid for it!

Among my other favorites were the Budweiser faux dalmatian (including animated blink) and the T-Mobile spot with Dwayne Wade and Charles Barkley.

So, to summarize. It was a good year for the game and a bad year for what came in between the plays.

Here’s how aol.com visitors rated the first quarter (where the Blockbuster ad first ran).

Blockbuster: Mouse.............46%

Bud Light: Faceoff...............15%

Snickers: Mechanic.............11%

Doritos: Crash.....................9%

Bud Light: Wedding..............7%

Chevrolet: Singers...............5%

Sierra Mist: Combover.........3%

FedEx: Moon Office..............2%

Toyota: Tundra...................1%

Sierra Mist: Karate..............1%

Schick: Quattro...................0%


Total Votes: 67,823

How would you like being the creative head for an ad agency that produced anything lower than Chevy? Must have been tough to come in to work this morning. Ouch!

In A Super Bowl Pool? Me Too.

A week or so ago, one of our photographers at work came by with a sheet of paper and fistful of cash. It was time to pick boxes for the Super Bowl pool.

In case you’re not a football or pool fan, here’s how it works. A grid of boxes, 10×10, is drawn. You pick a box and hand over your cash. In this pool it’s $5 per square or $500 total.

Once all the boxes are chosen, digits are assigned to each row and column. So, the third row might be “8” and the sixth column… well it could be “8” too, or any other number! Then the rows and columns are assigned to the two teams.

When all was said and done, I was assigned 6 for the Bears and 6 for the Colts. If any quarter ends with both teams scores ending with a “6” (like 16 to 6 or 46 to 26), I win some cash.

The payoffs get progressively bigger as the game goes on. The winner of the 4th quarter (final score) gets $250.

I figured “6” has to be about the least likely number possible. Even worse, since games can’t end tied, 6 and 6 becomes less likely to show in the 4th quarter.

Are there stats for this? Hey – this is the Internet era. Of course there are stats!

Of all the quarters played in all the games this season, 6 and 6 showed up twice.

I thought I made a bet. I actually made a donation.

Eagles Win!

The Eagles beat the Giants on a last minute field goal. It was not their best game. It was good enough.

At halftime, Pam Oliver asked Andy Reid what he thought this game would come down to. Reid answered, “The wire.”

Toward the middle of the fourth quarter, the three of us, sitting in the family room, got very quiet. There was the unspoken undercurrent of the Eagles snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And we were feeling this way while the Eagles had the ball!

Even as the Eagles took a time out with under 20 seconds to go, we worried the Giants would be left with too much time. The Eagles must have figured that out too. They called one more play. Garcia plunged up the middle and the clock was stopped at 00:03.

David Akers. Good. The final was 23-20.

Next Saturday the Eagles go through this again. Helaine and Steffie will be here. I’ll be in New Jersey with some friends. Thank heavens for cellphones.

How strange is this game of football? Unless you’re in the Super Bowl, the season has been a disappointment. Sadly, every team but one exits the playoffs with a loss.

When You Don’t Know Number One

Google has announced its Zeitgeist list for 2006.

I always thought this list should be their most popular searches. It’s not. Year after year the most popular search terms are pretty much the same… and I’m sure the Google boys didn’t want to let on what people are really searching for.

No specifics, but by and large, you’re perverted!

As Google’s corporate voice explains:

We looked for those searches that were very popular in 2006 but were not as popular in 2005 — the explosive queries, the topics that everyone obsessed over. To come up with this list, we looked at several thousand of 2006’s most popular searches, and ranked them based on how much their popularity increased compared to 2005.

Indulge me a moment. There are some entries we do have to discuss. For instance, number one on Google’s master list is Bebo. Yes – the world is searching for Bebo. I have no clue what Bebo is (and until a moment ago, I was going to type ‘who it is’)!

Let’s put this in perspective – each time I type Bebo, my spell checker reminds me I’ve done something wrong!

From Wikipedia: Bebo (pronounced “Bee-boh”) is a social networking website, designed to allow friends to communicate in various ways. It has developed into an online community where users can post pictures, write blogs and send messages to one another, and is similar in format to MySpace, hi5.com, Xanga and Yahoo! 360.

Inferred in that is, I’m too old (or too married) to ‘get’ a social networking site. That’s depressing.

There are a few other interesting tidbits to be found. There was lots of buzz off the net (aka – the real world) this year for Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway. They’re both rounding errors compared to American Idol!

Likewise, the Super Bowl, World Series and Olympics paled in comparison to the World Cup – a non-event in the United States.

If you’re romantic, the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes wedding took 4 of the top-10 spots in the marriage list. Next year, we’ll see how the breakup rates.

Finally, who are the Cheetah Girls and why do so many people want tickets? Can a huge touring act be completely under my radar? Am I that unhip?

What Kind Of Guy Am I?

I’m writing, sitting at my desk at the TV station with Mick Jagger strutting on the monitor just above my head. It is Super Bowl Sunday and I couldn’t care less.

What kind of guy am I? Where is my testosterone on the primo sports night of the year?

Actually, on my way in, I realized I wasn’t the only one who didn’t care. There’s a certain holiday feel I sometimes notice while driving to work – an elegant emptiness that was missing today.

I didn’t see any cars until I got to the first main road, about a mile from my house. From then on in, it was anything but deserted.

There were three people behind the counter at Dunkin’ Donuts as I went in for my medium coffee, cream and one Splenda. That’s normal for an early Sunday evening.

What you miss by not being ‘into’ the Super Bowl is the shared national experience of the commercials! it’s our sales manager’s dream come true.

I’ve caught a glimpse from time-to-time, but nothing has stood out. The “I’m going to DisneyWorld” is cute. So was Kathy Griffin as an airport security guard (I wish I could remember the name of the drink she was confiscating).

Are there no breakout spots this year? Maybe I’ve just been away at all the operative moments.

Maybe I should have DVR’ed the game for the ads. how weird is that wish?

When Good Forecasts Go Bad

Sometimes Barry Bonds strikes out… Donovan McNabb under performs at the Super Bowl… Ford builds an Edsel. Stuff happens. Today was my day.

It started innocently enough. I had worked through the forecast and got my numbers together. A wicked storm was coming. It would rain then snow and radically change the temperature. The wind would howl. Temps in the 50s Monday would slide to the teens by late Tuesday.

Hey – I got it right… except one little thing.

After looking at the numbers, I decided (and this was definitely a personal, not machine made, call) the ground would be too warm and most of the snow would melt. Already in this late winter season I had seen snow under perform because of strong insolation (the heat of the Sun). The blacktop had been bathing in sunshine all of Monday and the temperature stayed in the 40s overnight.

I said it on the air Monday, and said it again, and again, and again. Most of the snow would turn to slush. I must have made a strong impression because when the emails started flowing this afternoon I was quoted almost perfectly.

Long story short, before the rain ended, cold air moved in at ground level. The snow was falling on a small coating of ice and it was sticking. Worse, it was incredibly slippery!

We never got that much snow, but it didn’t matter. The damage was done right away. The state entered panic mode. People left work early. Schools were dismissed before their unusual times. Everyone was on the road all at once. Half hour trips took three or four hours… or more.

I am shell shocked. This is a tough one to take. I know some people were hurt or disappointed. I’m right there with them. It is my responsibility. This was a call I made, on my own. I feel awful.

Tonight, on the air, and in emails, I apologized. I hope people understand. I think they will. I hope they will.

Sometimes weathercasters are accused of hyping the forecast, blowing it out of proportion to increase their importance. I suppose there might be some who do that. Believe me, this is the kind of day that makes me understand why it’s good I don’t unduly hype.

There is no upside to a bad forecast.

The Weird Donovan McNabb Rumor

After the Super Bowl, I sad the McNabb I saw was not the McNabb I had watched all season. Something was different – and it wasn’t something forced by the Pats.

Now there’s this:

The Super Bowl

This is much too painful to talk about – much. I’m not sure if the season wouldn’t have been easier to take had the Eagles gone down in an earlier round.

As someone who has watched Philadelphia play all season, I can tell you the team out there last night was not indicative of what I had come to know. I’m not talking about forced errors by the Patriots. It’s really all about McNabb’s inability to accurately pass.

Maybe it was jitters. I would be nuts under a similar circumstance.

What was astounding for the Eagles was the performance of Terrell Owens. I can’t say enough about how much of a gamer he was, especially coming back with pins and a plate in his ankle.

On the other hand, I wonder if we’ll ever see Todd Pinkston as an Eagle again. He left last night injured, but how injured? This season, it seems he has avoided contact.

I Really Don’t Want To Talk About It Now

The Super Bowl is over. The Eagles lost. It is sad for the Fox family.

We sat together through most of the game. When things got somewhat out of control in the 4th quarter, Helaine went upstairs to watch by herself with the sound turned down. We all got back together after the Eagles brought it within three points. It was too late.

I’m sure I’ll have something to say later. Right now, I’m going to try and concentrate on happier things… like watching a lecture in my thermodynamics course.

It’s Almost Super Bowl Time

I’ll admit it. For the first time ever, the Super Bowl has really gotten me. It is driving me nuts. I had trouble getting to sleep because I was thinking, and worrying, about it and the Eagles.

It will be a shame to have come this far without getting a win. But nearly everyone says a win for the Eagles is out of the question.

Of course for die hard fans, hope springs eternal. We see all the good, none of the bad.

Six thirty can’t come soon enough. I don’t want any more ‘pre.’ I want it to happen. I want it to be over. I want to be able to celebrate.

Don’t Talk To Me About The Super Bowl

There is unanimity of opinion. The Eagles will get blown out by the Patriots. As an Eagles fan this is disheartening.

Of course I choose not to believe that.

This opinion is widely held by the sports intelligencia but repeated by everyone who has ever seen a game… and many who haven’t. People feel obliged, knowing I’m an Eagles fan, to make sure I know. Thanks.

I will say this. The mouthing off of Freddy Mitchell and Terrell Owens’ possible return are both distractions. The Pats seem cool and collected while the Eagles are acting as if they’ve snuck into a bar with a phony ID.

It is surprising so many Connecticut residents are ready to back the Pats. Have people already forgotten how Robert Kraft played us like the discard in a high school love triangle? What he did to Connecticut was mean spirited, to say the least&#185.

Luckily none of this matters. Only what happens on the field will be meaningful. I think (hope) the Eagles are up to the task.

&#185 – Astoundingly, Governor Rowland’s press release on this matter is still posted on the web. How could the highest officials in the state have been that naive?

Eagles Get To Go To Jacksonville

If I wouldn’t have seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons today, and will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. This was a very convincing win.

Helaine and I sat in the family room to watch the game. We were more than a little pleased to be joined by Stefanie. I’m not going to call her a football fan, because she’d deny it on principle, but she’s getting awfully close.

The Eagles looked great from the the first series. On defense, they kept Michael Vick – a quarterback known for his athleticism and mobility, immobile.

I’m not going to write more about the game, because if you’re a football fan you already know. If you’re not a fan, you don’t care.

Two things do need addressing. Earlier last week, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (who wears his hair tightly braided) showed up with it totally ‘free.’ I commented on the air, it looked like Oscar Gamble’s. Luckily, thanks to the net, Oscar Gamble photos are available.

Then there’s Eagles tight end Chad Lewis. As a Mormon, Lewis performed missionary work in China. So, of course, he learned to speak the Mandarin dialect of Chinese.

Last year when the Super Bowl was broadcast in China, he worked the telecast as the color commentator, in Chinese. This year he’ll be busy on Super Bowl Sunday.

This Is Painful

The Eagles are not on local TV today, so Helaine and I are listening to Merrill Reese and Mike Quick do the radio play-by-play.

This has been a great year for the Eagles. So far, they’re 7-0. That’s probably going to change.

The Eagles are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. We watched the Steelers dismantle the New England Patriots last weekend. Today they are filleting the Eagles.

It is as if the Eagles never got on the bus to go to the stadium. This is very sad for two reasons. First, the Eagles undefeated streak will end. Second, we could end up meeting the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Of course it’s possible the Eagles could come back from the 21-0 deficit they’re currently facing. I just don’t see how.