Monday, January 30, 2012

Cry HAVOC! and Let Loose The Hounds Of Super Bowl Hype, 3


This weekend, I'll post my Super Bowl Whodathunkit!?, as always. But until then, here's some PAST Super Bowl posts from other blogs. This one was from 2009, Cardinals-Steelers, and first appeared on The Best Of Everything.









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Once again, America's got Superbowl fever, although this year there's a bit of a twist to our obsession with watching a game that starts too late, is frequently too boring, and also should be played on a Saturday.

I could tell things are different this year because when CNN/HLN-- why the change to initials on "Headline News?" Was saying Headline News slowing down the actual delivery of those headlines? And doesn't it take just as long to say "HLN" as it does to s
ay "Headline News?" Maybe a little longer, because "HLN" is full of soft sounds that make me sort of pause between them, or they sound slurry, the way "Saturday" sounds slurry if you pair it with another word. Try that: Say Saturday, and notice that you hit all the consonants. Then say Saturday Night Live. Unless you concentrated, I bet you said something along the lines of Saerday because you were rushing through Saturday to get to Night Live.

Unless you are Chinese, and spoke in Chinese, in which case you said:

星期六


Also, do the people at CNN realize that "headline" is one word? So "HLN" should be "HN."

Anyway, this morning on CNNHN, they did the now-common story about Su
perbowl ads, and I was about to react the way I do with all now-common stories they put on the news, and say that the Superbowl ads and their costs and stories about them are no longer news. There are certain things that have happened so often that they're not news. I won't round those up right now, because I'll use that for filler someday, but Superbowl ads and their costs are not news anymore. Yet, they are still talked about on the news, and for one reason: the only reason the stories are put onto news networks like CNNHN is because they have to kill time, and they don't have the luxury of putting three or four introductory paragraphs about something that (seemingly)(<<<note: foreshadowing!) is unrelated to their topic.

This morning's CNNHN story on Superbowl ads was, I guess, news, because the story was about how NBC hasn't yet sold all their ad time for the Superbowl, because of the economy or Obama or something. I don't know; I stopped listening and went back to doing my morning stretches as soon as I realized that they'd shown all the clips of previous ads they were going to show.

But while the story was news, it was clearly filler news, not headline news (or, as CNN would apparently spell it, not Head Line News.) And it was more of what we've always heard over and over about the Superbowl. Every year, it's the same things, repeated over and over. The underdog team, the overbearing team. Defense this, offense th
at. The ads! The ads! Pizza deliveries up! Chicken wing shortages looming! Analysis that is not analysis at all but is merely blather!

On that last note, consider this submission from Don Banks of Sports Illustrated. Don gets paid to say stuff like this, and that alone is proof that our economy is not so bad. If enough money exists to pay Don Banks to shut off his brain before going on the radio and talking, then we're all going to be just fine. Here's what Don Banks, "expert" "sports analyst" had to say about his prediction for this game: While I'm picking the Steelers by seven, I wouldn't be shocked if Arizona wins it.

I listened to that and had to stifle the urge to ram my car into the one ahead of me in rage -- misdirected rage, because I wasn't mad at that guy, I was mad at Don Banks, mad because I can't believe what he said passes for analysis. It's not. It's not. Here's why:

First of all, 7 points is a pretty big margin, and Don Banks thinks the Steelers will win by a pretty big margin. But he wouldn't be surprised if Arizona overcomes that big margin he thinks the Steelers will win by? Let's apply Don's thinking to other areas, for a moment: That mountain looks to be about a mile tall. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's actually flat ground.
If Don Banks had come on the radio and said that, wouldn't everyone be amazed that he can survive in the modern world?

Moreover, saying I think one thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if the other is true, instead is not analysis, it's not a prediction, it's nothing. It actually detracts from the level of discourse. And the sole purpose of it is to allow Don Banks to claim some sort of expertise that the rest of us don't have. If the Steelers win, Don Banks will say I told you so. But if the Cardinals win, Don Banks will say I told you so.

Don Banks was on the radio, and CNNHN had the Superbowl ads on, as I said, for filler. With two weeks between the Superbowl, and more airtime and tv stations and websites to fill with content than ever, networks and magazines are desperate for something, anything to take up time. That's why you get, over and over, the same stories and the same "insight" and Don Banks rambling on like he mixed his medications up today.


I don't know why they bother with that. They could do what you've done, smart readers: They could come to TBOE for the first-ever TBOE installment of

Whodathunkit?
The 3 Best Things You Want To Know About Superbowl XKRISLV


Yes
, it's Whodathunkit?, the beloved feature making its TBOE debut, that listing of facts that you want to know about a major event. Let others cover the offensive formations. Let others make predictions-that-aren't. Let others once again talk about Superbowl ads. Here at TBOE, I will skip that and I will provide you with those things you want to know about the Superbowl. So when you go to or have your Sup
erbowl party this Sunday and things are dying down in the third quarter as Arizona takes a 42-0 lead (something that wouldn't surprise Don Banks, I'm sure), try laying some of these facts on your fellow Superbowlians:

(Also, see how I was foreshadowing this? That's literature, baby. Take that, Steinbeck.)

The Romans Couldn't Have Had A Football Team Go Undefeated: Last year, everyone was abuzz about the 18-1 Patriots* and how they almost won-- people hoping or fearing that they would go 19-0 and become the only undefeated NFL team in the 16-game era. As it turns out, that didn't happen. But had the NFL used Roman numerals to show the records of teams, instead of Arabic numerals, nobody would have had to worry. Why?

Because the Romans had no symbol for zero. The Roman numerals everyone knows and loves, I, V, X, L, C, M, and that little fish:




Do not include anything for a "zero." So if the Patriots* had played in ancient Rome, they never could have made a run at perfection-through-rules-violations. At best, they coul
d have gone XVIIII- ... and... and... and what? See how that works?

Roman Numeral Related Party tip:
If your Superbowl party gets a little boring as the Cardinals go ahead LII - ... well, let's say the Steelers will have III, try this: See if you can come up with a more ridiculous explanation of how Roman numerals came into existence than these two:

This guy says that Roman numerals came about because shepherds needed to count their flocks and scratched marks into their staves. He claims that the "V" came at the end of a row of IIII, so that "5" was IIIIV, with "10" getting an extra slash-through. He doesn't, though, explain how these marks would be made on what was presumably a thin staff, or why the rest of society would adopt what shepherds were doing. Typically, societal trends are not set by guys who
spend 98% of their lives huddling on a hillside surrounded by sheep.

This guy, on the other hand (anticipatory pun intended), says that Romans were smart enough to invent numbers but not smart enough to do so without counting on their hands.

They're both wrong, of course. Roman numerals were invented as a secret code to communicate messages about the human rebellions against the aliens who'd landed in Egypt and built the pyramids, marking the dates and locations of major rebellions to be led by the Illuminati and the Knights of the Temple. It worked -- we drove off the aliens, but must remain vigilant. That's why the NFL uses the Roman numeral system for Superbowls -- to send the message through its broadcast: We remember, aliens.

You're nothing until someone can put mayonnaise on you...

How does America celebrate it's real heroes? By naming sandwiches after them. Maybe you've walked on the moon. Maybe you're the first African-American elected president. Maybe you've won the Nobel Prize. If you're one of those people, you might think hey, I've really done something here. But have you? I think not... unless somebody's named a sandwich after you.

By that standard, the only noteworthy person in this Superbowl is Ben Roethlisberger, who has his own sandwich, the "Roethlis-Burger," served at Peppi's Restaurant in Pittsburgh. It weighs in at more than a pound, and includes ground beef, sausage, scrambled eggs, and grilled onions. It costs $7 -- but american cheese on it is 7 cents extra. It's served on a portuguese roll, for some reason.

Having a sandwich named after him, as I noted, puts Ben Roethlisberger (career accomplishments: (1) not losing a Superbowl, (2) being tall) ahead of Neil Armstrong (career accomplishments: Successfully fooling America into believing he'd walked on the moon), Barack Obama (career accomplishments: singlehandedly restoring hope to America, one person at a time; smiling)(there are, reportedly, 9 sandwiches named after him, but further investigation reveals that none of the sandwiches are, after all, named after him) and ahead of David J. Gross, H. David Politzer, and Frank Wilczek, who shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for "discovering asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction."

In fact, they don't even serve a Neil Armstrong sandwich at the Neil Armstrong Middle School. How could they miss it? Wonder bread (for the wonder of walking on the moon), swiss cheese (because the moon is made of cheese, and the holes are the craters) and bologna (because it was all done on the same soundstage where they filmed The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis).

Wouldn't it be excellent, though, if you could order a "Gross, Politzer & Wilczek Asymptotic Freedom" sandwich?

Note: Those of you who have been sitting around through this whole article wondering What kind of sandwich best symbolizes Garry Shandling? Wonder no more. It's ham, munster cheese, cucumbers, and tomato.

It can't be long until we see this turned into a movie, too, right?
Movie producers continue to plumb the depths of comic books in hopes of capitalizing on the Superhero craze (hint to Hollywood: It's not the SUPERHEROES that are the draw, it's the fact that the movies are GOOD. So if you make GOOD movies, we'll come see them even without superheroes in them. Just make GOOD...oh, never mind. I'll look forward to "Bat-Mite: The Revenge" starring Tom Hanks.) So it can't be long until they realize that the NFL not only easily captures the public's attention once a year, but also has its very own super-hero. I give you:



NFL Superpro!

NFL Superpro was mild-mannered Phil Grayfield, a wannabe-football player turned reporter who happens, one day, to interview an eccentric football memorabilia collector/billionaire inventor -- isn't that pretty much a stock character these days? I remember a guy like that in The Great Gatsby -- an inventor/fan who has invented a $5 million dollar indestructible football uniform.

Apparently, judging by that cover up there, a uniform that is indestructible and can fly. But that's not clear.

Heedless of the fact that the NFL isn't even willing to require its players to wear readily-available concussion-resistant helmets, the inventor has actually produced this suit, only to have something happen involving thieves burning "priceless" NFL memorabilia, a turn of events that requires Phil Grayfield to (reluctantly?) put on the NFL Suit and become... NFL Superpro, thereby guaranteeing himself both an award for the worst superhero name ever (narrowly beating out Super Emeril LaGasse's BAM-Man) and also a lawsuit from the NFL, which won't even let me print a picture of Tom Brady getting sacked on a t-shirt. (Secretly, I did just that, though. Take that, Steinbeck!)

Through 12 thrilling issues of a comic book created for the sole purpose of getting its creator NFL tickets (honestly), NFL Superpro battled villains like "Quick Kick," a place-kicking ninja, (honestly!), and "Instant Replay," an assassin who can cut through time -- a cool power, but not a cool name -- and the most-feared villain in his rogues' gallery...

... Bennings:







And now there's a winner for worst supervillain name. So remember, no matter how boring the game gets this weekend, no matter how far ahead the Cardinals are in the IVth Quarter, no matter how little that surprises Don Banks, it could be worse for you, because instead of watching the Superbowl, you could be reading NFL Superpro.

Bonus: The world's computing power is constantly put to the test with applications that clearly benefit humanity, not by curing cancer or developing new virus-resistant crops, or, God forbid, finding a way to test peanut butter for salmonella; no, it's put to use by the Supervillain Name Generator, and I've done the hard work for you by not only linking to that site, but by generating these names for Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger in the event that either of them becomes supervillains:

Kurt Warner: (Color: red; attack: air-related ('cause, passing); time ('cause he's old)): Best name: Breezeo.

Ben Roethlisberger: (Color: Black. attack: Earth/stone related; Size: Giant): Best name: Obsidian Master.

So that's your matchup for Superbowl XIER&EKXIII: Breezeo vs. Obsidian Master. Bonus points for anyone who at their Superbowl party, upon seeing Warner make a good play, yells Go Breezeo!





Update: Some Guy At Work suggested that Roethlisberger be Rocko The Obsidian Hornet. I like that, so we'll go with that: Breezeo vs. Rocko The Obsidian Hornet Master.

Cry HAVOC! And Let Loose The Hounds Of Super Bowl Hype, 2:

Continuing my review of past Super Bowl posts...

Here's one that I originally posted on Super Bowl Sunday on the Colts/Saints year:

How will you watch the Super Bowl? Here's some ideas -- plus some oddly specific predictions for the game.


The other day, on the Dan Patrick Show, Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez was asked how he would rather watch the Super Bowl: In person, in New Orleans, or at home. He said "At home," and explained that his reason was that it still hurt him that he wasn't playing in it.

Then, last night I saw on the news a story about a gathering of men who've never missed seeing a Super Bowl in person. These four guys (I'm not sure if they're a group, or just four guys who happen to share the same trait in common, that trait being an ability to spend a person's college tuition on seeing a game) have made it to all Super Bowls, from Super Bowl 1966 to Super Bowl 2010, where they were treated to a dinner by the NFL. (With ticket prices for Super Bowls in recent years averaging nearly $3,000 apiece, the NFL should've done more than give these guys some prime rib and a pat on the back.)

At the end of that story, which reminded me of the Sanchez interview, one of the men was asked about his prediction for the Super Bowl's score this year, and he said Saints 35, Colts 32; that comment in turn reminded me of an offhand comment Tuesday Morning Quarterback made the other day when he discussed things being "oddly specific" in sports and sports contracts. Tuesday Morning Quarterback (whose reviews of Brett Favre and Favre's performance would benefit from reading Malcolm Gladwell's article about how our attitude about a person can indelibly shape our impressions of that person's actions; TMQ's personal dislike of Favre makes him see everything Favre does through negative-colored glasses) commented in that article not only how he had predicted, in the beginning of the season, the teams that would make the Super Bowl, but also commented on the oddly-specific numbers, or numbers he saw as oddly specific, used in sports.

To TMQ, oddly specific includes setting a kickoff time for 5:28 p.m., as opposed to 5:30 p.m., and includes setting a contract at $451,000 instead of some other number.

Those numbers are no more, or less, specific than TMQ's preferred numbers, though: TMQ seems to think that there's something less specific about 5:30 p.m. than there is about 5:28 p.m., and he finds it absurd that someone would be so specific as to make a contract worth $451,000 rather than $450,000.

TMQ, in doing so, engages in the kind of uneducated snobbery he tries to decry; he feels superior to those people he claims are absurd for being so specific -- while not understanding that there's nothing more, or less, specific about either number: $451,000 is no more specific than $450,000. Both are numbers, and both are exact, specific numbers. $450,000 is an exact, specific number, and $451,000 is, too, and, for that matter, $451,929.32 is an exact, specific number, and it's no more, or less, exact or specific: In each case, the number is carried out to the same number of significant figures, and significant figures determine how specific you're being.

5:28 p.m. is exactly as specific -- because it's measured to the same degree -- as 5:30 p.m. What TMQ means is that 5:30 p.m. feels more general, and it feels more general because that's the number we all mentally round 5:28 p.m. to. If someone says something starts at 5:28, we all decide "that's about 5:30" and round it to that. Likewise, $450,000 seems less specific -- because it requires that we remember only two actual numbers plus placeholding zeroes, so we can easily remember it and it seems more general.

But people are oddly specific -- and they like to be oddly specific. Think of a number, right now, between 1 and 100. Got your number?

Mine was 43 (mine's always 43). I can't say what your number was (but feel free to leave it in a comment, if you'd like) I bet it was not a round number: I bet you didn't pick 10, 20, 30, or a number ending in 5, either; I bet you picked something ending in a 3, or 7, or 2 -- an oddly specific number, or one that seems so, anyway (because it's no more specific than 10, or 50). Ask others to do the same: I bet they'll never pick a number ending in a zero or 5 -- and they'll refuse to pick a "round" or not-very-specific number even though they don't know why you're having them pick a number.

TMQ, though, wants to make fun of people for picking oddly-specific numbers, so we can make fun of him for doing so because in the very act of making fun of the rest of us, TMQ has revealed that he's a pseudo-intellectual who doesn't understand the things he wants to mock. Numbers are specific only to the degree of significant figures they use; and people like oddly specific numbers, as evidenced by the score predicted by the Old Man Whose Been To All The Super Bowls; asked to predict a final score, the Old Man said Saints 35, Colts 32.

Why'd he pick those numbers, instead of any other two pairs of scores? After all, there are only a few scores a football game can't end in. A game can't end up 1-0 or 1-1, and that's about it; beyond that, all scores are possible. A game could be 2-0, or 3-2, or 4-3, and so on, with some scores being less probable than others. (4-3, for example, is pretty improbable because it would be one team scoring two safeties while the other scores only a field goal. Such a game is possible, but not likely.)

According to one no-doubt reliable source (an anonymous answerer on Answerbag), these were the scores for some unknown period of time in NFL games:

20-17 210 times
17-14 162 times
27-24 152 times
13-10 142 times
24-17 121 times

From that -- another set of Statistics That Sound About Right, a website I've really got to get around to creating -- it appears that the most common score in a football game, for one team or another, is 17; one team or another scored 17 points 493 times. 17 points is generally scored by getting two touchdowns, two extra-points, and a field goal (but you could get to 17 nowadays through three field goals, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion, or five field goals and a safety.)

The next most common score is 24 -- a team scored 24 in a game 273 times in that probably-not-very-reliable table.

So the most common scores by teams, according to that most-likely-fictional answer, are 24 and 17. If you were going to predict the outcome of the game -- any football game in the NFL-- you'd be smart to pick 24-17.

Which, by the way, was the final score of the first game the Saints lost this year -- to the Cowboys. They lost 24-17 in New Orleans, ending their hopes for an unbeaten season.

(Also, the Jets scored both the most regular scores in their playoff run: they put up 24 in a win against Cincinnati, and 17 losing to the Colts.)

With those articles floating around my mind, I decided to, for today, talk about how you might want to watch the Super Bowl by reviewing my own history of Super Bowls and how I watched them -- doing so because how I watched the Super Bowl in many cases, has turned out to be more memorable than the games themselves, at least insofar as I recall the details.

I don't recall details of almost any Super Bowl I watched since I began watching them back in the late 1980s. I can recall the teams that played, in most years, but I don't recall many specific plays or features of the games (or the commercials). Instead, I remember where and how I watched them, making those Super Bowls Past part of the history of my life, a yardstick whereby I can measure how I've progressed (or not) and see myself through the prism of time... and also give you (and Mark Sanchez) some advice on how to watch the Super Bowl, or not.

And, because remembering where and how I watched the games also brings to mind certain details of the games themselves that do stick out, I'll take my oddly specific memories of some games and provide you with some oddly specific predictions for today's Saints-Colts matchup.

I'll count them down from farthest in the past to most recent, and I'm not reviewing every Super Bowl -- just the ones that stick out in my mind. And I'm using not the NFL Numeral System preferred by the NFL, but the numbering-by-year system the NFL should use, because it makes more sense. Who uses Roman Numerals? It's impossible to remember which Super Bowl was which, using Roman Numerals, unless you count by year and then convert to Roman Numerals, and I don't want to get math involved in my football.


1. Super Bowl 1990:

Teams/Outcome:
49ers 55, Broncos, 10.

Where I watched it:
I watched this game sitting in the dorm room where my younger brother, Matt, lived while he attended UW-Milwaukee for about a semester before giving up on college. Matt lived in that dorm with a group of guys who had ridiculous nicknames -- names like Noodles, if I recall, and shortly thereafter left the dorms to live in an overpriced student house off campus, a house they shared with a ferret. I would have driven down to Matt's dorm from my parent's house, where I was still living in 1990, a fact I remember because I recall that in this Super Bowl, I bet against my boss, Todd, at the gas station where I was working, in Hartland. We'd bet on the game, and I got the 49ers. Our bet was that the person whose team won got $2 per point scored. What I recall about the game was that the 49ers just... kept...scoring, and I spent most of the game sitting on the uncomfortable desk chair that comes with dorm rooms, at one point making a call to my boss when the score exceeded 50 for my team.

Advice I can give you, and Mark Sanchez, about how to watch the game: Get plenty of seating, where ever you're going to be. The dorm room had a floor, two desk chairs, and two beds -- for a bunch of guys to watch a game. I staked out the desk chair early on so I wouldn't end up sitting on a bed next to a guy named Noodles, but either way, I was doomed to spend the game uncomfortably.

Specific detail of the game I can recall, and apply to today's game: That was the fourth Super Bowl for Joe Montana, and his first against the Denver Broncos, who came into the game with the much-heralded John Elway leading them. Joe seemed to take it personally, throwing for an estimated 53,000 yards, maybe to prove his point that he was the real great quarterback in the game. This year, everyone's talking about how great Peyton Manning is, and not commenting as much on how great Drew Brees might be by comparison. I therefore predict that: Drew Brees will take it personally, and will throw a touchdown pass of 68 yards.


2. Super Bowl 1991:
Teams/Outcome: Giants 20, Bills 19.

Where I Watched It: By this time, I'd moved out of my parents' house and into the mouse-infested apartment on 21st street in Milwaukee -- back when 21st street was still in the kind of terrible neighborhood where a serial killer could kill 17 people and not attract much attention. (That really happened, not far away from the apartment where I watched this game, and during the same period of time.)

I lived in that apartment with my friend Flan, who'd found the apartment and who'd taken the better bedroom. Flan, though, had gone to watch the game at his dad's house. I don't recall why I wasn't going anywhere to watch the game, but I didn't. I watched it at our apartment, alone, in Flan's room because he had a bean bag chair and the better TV and I assumed (correctly) that he wouldn't be coming home that night, so he wouldn't mind my using his room.

That game was before I really cared about the Buffalo Bills -- it was the start of what Cruella De Vil might call my magnificent obsession with them -- but I had them in my first-ever Super Bowl bet with my brother Matt. We'd bet $50 plus a team jersey, and I had the Bills.

I fell asleep in the third quarter of the game -- that was the start of my habit of doing that, too -- and woke up only for the final drive, where the Bills got the ball not-quite-close-enough for a final field goal attempt that went wide right, sending the Bills on to loserville for four years.

That's something funny about championships: Two teams make them, only one wins -- and the loser is often deemed to be terrible, the butt of jokes for years and years. The Bills went to four straight championships, lost all four, and are deemed synonymous with failure. Only in America, and particularly only in football, can you finish second four years running and be deemed a loser. Teams that never make the playoffs get more respect than teams that get there and lose, and America needs to do something about that. As Jerry Seinfeld noted, though, people hate silver medal winners and second place finishers: Silver medalists, he said, are awarded for being the best loser -- nobody lost ahead of them. "Congratulations," he said, "You almost won."

Advice I Can Give You and Mark Sanchez About Watching The Super Bowl Based On This Game: While Flan's bean bag was comfortable enough, and his TV nice enough, it was awkward sitting in someone's bedroom, without their knowledge, watching a game. I'd say not to do it.

Specific detail of the game I can recall, and apply to today's game:
Not being a big Bills fan -- yet-- I wasn't terribly upset when they lost because the game at least had an exciting ending to it. (I was more upset about the $50 plus the jersey. Those jerseys are expensive.) But I do recall the kick, that being one of the more dramatic moments in Super Bowl history -- and it was destined to be so, no matter how it turned out, because people think in terms of one-play outcomes (but that's for another day.) Missed field goals are a hallmark of this year's playoffs, too, and so I will make the oddly specific prediction that The Colts' kicker will miss a field goal, wide right, from 43 yards out.

(I told you, my random number is always 43.)


3. Super Bowl 1997/1999:

Teams/Outcomes: 1997: Packers 35, Patriots 21/1999: Broncos 34, Falcons 19.

Where I Watched It: I've lumped these two together because they marked the two of the three Super Bowl parties I've ever attended or thrown. I watched the Packers-Patriots Super Bowl with a group of law students at a friend's house, with about 20 or 30 people there, including a bunch of people I didn't know. I watched the Broncos-Falcons Super Bowl at Sweetie's apartment, about a year after we started dating, with a bunch of friends we'd invited over for the occasion.

In each case, the Super Bowl was less than fun; watching a game with a group of people, whether or not they're close friends, means distractions from the game, or, to put it another way, it means not watching the game. When you get a group of people together, they talk and make comments and a part of your attention is diverted from watching the game to conversing with them (and to making sure nobody takes your seat when you get up to get more snacks)(and to making sure that nobody notices how often you get up to get snacks.)

Sporting events are strange that way: While you might get friends together for any number of let's-watch-this type of evenings, only sports are deemed "Things You Can Distract Others From Watching." Imagine if your friends invited you over for a movie night, and throughout the movie you kept talking, about the movie and the things the movie reminded you of and your job and how tired you were going to be the next day, and other movies you'd seen. They'd throw you out.

But invite friends over for a Super Bowl, and they'll talk. And talk. And, probably, keep track of just how many snacks you're eating. The idea, I think, is that you're not supposed to watch sports, really -- it's just a mechanism to get people into the same room, the way "lettuce" is a mechanism to get "salad dressing" into my mouth.

I don't like that -- when I decide to watch a game, I want to watch it, and I mostly only talk (just a little) about the things going on in the game. Granted, a football game doesn't require the same level of attention and focus that, say, the movie Memento does, but still: I want to watch the game, not talk about your dumb job.

Another note: For the Broncos/Falcons game, I invented a pool called "Super Bowl Bingo," a Bingo game featuring squares marked with stuff that could happen during the game or commercials, things like The AFC kicks a 30+ yard field goal. I thought that'd be a fun way to bet on the game with all our friends, more fun than a "Final score" pool. I was wrong. Super Bowl Bingo was a disaster, as it meant that nobody could watch the game -- they were constantly checking their Bingo Cards: Was that a 5-yard run? To the left? Did that commercial have a green car in it? And they talked more -- distracting me from the game.

Advice I Can Give You and Mark Sanchez About Watching The Super Bowl Based On This Game:
Don't watch it with others. And, if you do, don't worry how many Seven Layer Bars someone's eating. That's their business, not yours. Also: Make your Super Bowl bets simple.

Specific detail of the game I can recall, and apply to today's game:
I don't recall a single moment of the Broncos/Falcons Super Bowl -- Bingo distracted me far too much. As for the Packers' Super Bowl, the game began with a first-play, or early-play, long touchdown pass for Brett Favre's Green Bay Packers. But I've already predicted one of those. That game also featured Desmond Howard running back a kickoff for a touchdown, something that's happened in other Super Bowl. There have been blocked punts in the Super Bowl, too, but never a Blocked Punt Returned For A Touchdown, so I'm going to predict this: The Saints Will Block a Colts Punt, and Return the Punt 43 yards for a touchdown.

4. Super Bowl 2007:

Teams/Outcome: Colts 29, Bears 17.

Where I Watched It: This game, I watched at our house with the then-they-really-were-babies Babies!, who'd been born just a few months before. We watched it downstairs in our family room, on the big screen TV we'd splurged and bought for the family (justifying it, back then, by noting that Sweetie really liked to watch movies and The Boy and I liked sports, so it made sense for us to spend a lot of money on a big-screen TV for those purposes. Nowadays, though, Sweetie rarely watches TV downstairs, preferring, if she's going to watch TV, to do it up in our room away from the mess and noise. The Boy, meanwhile, used his own money to buy himself a Playstation 3 and a fancy TV and watches almost everything in his room. Our big-screen TV is mostly used, these days, to watch Little Einsteins.)

What I remember most about this game is that going in, I had my annual bet with The Boy in which we both, at the start of the playoffs, pick teams we think will win -- dividing the playoff teams up evenly and betting a t-shirt on the outcome. I had both the Colts and the Bears before the Super Bowl -- so I was guaranteed a win. But Sweetie was on The Boy's team (I had Mr F and Mr Bunches and Middle), and she likes the Colts, so I let them have the Colts anyway, but they had to give me odds -- if the Bears won, I'd get a sweatshirt, not a t-shirt.

Then, Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and I celebrated and began rubbing it in: You're going to lose, I taunted The Boy, only to watch as the Bears faded away little by little, leaving me buying Sweetie and The Boy Colts' t-shirts.

Also, midway through the game, we had to go give the Babies! a bath and put them to bed, so I missed a chunk of it.

Advice I Can Give You and Mark Sanchez About Watching The Super Bowl Based On This Game: Have your Babies! bathed ahead of time, and set the game to tape. You may not think you're going to get pulled away from the TV, but what if you are? And you miss the most dramatic moment in Super Bowl history? And the next day, everyone's talking about it and you have to say What? I missed that, I guess. That always happens to me. (It happened, in fact, with the Janet Jackson halftime show -- which I watched most of before going to get more food, missing Nipplegate. I didn't even know anything had happened until after work the next day, when I heard something on the radio while driving home.)

Specific detail of the game I can recall, and apply to today's game: Devin Hester's runback, which I'm pretty sure was the first play of the game. That was the fastest score ever to start the game. I'm going to go opposite, here. The longest time passed in a Super Bowl before a score, ever, was 26 minutes, 55 seconds (The Panthers vs. the Patriots*, Super Bowl 2004). I'm going to predict that The First Score Won't Happen Until 2 minutes Into The Third Quarter.

5. Super Bowl 2008:
Teams/Outcome: Giants 17, Patriots* 14.

Where I Watched The Game: Again, I watched it in my own house, with just the family, including the Babies, who were now 1 1/2 years old. The two most memorable things about this game were that, first, I was rooting against the team I had in the bet: I'd ended up with the Patriots* as my entry, and I didn't want them to win, because they're cheaters. I'd never liked the Giants and Eli Manning very much, so I found myself in the odd role of having to root for a team I didn't like, with a quarterback I didn't like, against a team that, if they won, I'd get a t-shirt. (But they'd be 19-0 and I didn't want cheaters to get rewarded, so I rooted against them.)

The other thing I remember is that we had to be very quiet in rooting: Mr F was almost a year-and-a-half, and was becoming a bit of a nervous boy who didn't like loud noises. We didn't know that, yet, as Mr F hadn't been exposed to a great many surprises in his 16 or so months of living. He was, that night, when Eli Manning threw that great pass and David Tyree made that great catch, and we all jumped up and cheered and yelled and Mr F burst into tears and tried to go hide. After that, we all had to cheer quietly, so as great things happened, we'd whisper Yeah! or Excellent! while being very careful not to startle Mr F.

Advice I Can Give You and Mark Sanchez About Watching The Super Bowl Based On This Game: It's very hard to whisper a cheer. Practice it. Or put a movie on for the Babies! upstairs, so they can watch without getting scared. I'm surprised I didn't think of that.

Specific detail of the game I can recall, and apply to today's game:
The David Tyree catch, of course, sticks out in my mind -- more so than the touchdown reception that put the Giants ahead for good shortly thereafter. It was an improbable, thrilling, spontaneous moment that came at a time of the game when tension was high, earning it a spot in the most-memorable-plays pantheon. How many Super Bowls can you say that about?

In all the Super Bowls I've watched, only a handful of plays stick out: Wide right. Tyree's catch. Santonio Holmes' TD last year against the Cardinals, arms outstretched, toes dragging. Favre's long pass against the Patriots, and his run down the field to celebrate. Don Beebe chasing after Leon Lett to knock the ball out of his hand just before the end zone -- a startling, admirable display of effort in a foregone game. That's about all that springs to mind. So the odds are that there will not be a memorable play in this game -- after XLIV Super Bowls, I can only remember a few great plays, making great plays a statistical improbability in the Super Bowl, but I'll go ahead and predict an oddly specific great play, anyway -- and, like I always go for 43, I'm going to go for my usual suspect here, too: The Fake Punt. I therefore predict that there will be a fake punt for a TD, and that it'll come from the Saints. In the fourth quarter. With 5:33 left on the game clock. On fourth-and-two.

(How's that for oddly specific, TMQ?)

As for where I'll be watching the game, I've applied all my lessons, and here's the plan for the game: I'm watching it at home, on our big-screen TV, with just immediate family. We've got plenty of seating: Two couches and two chairs. We've got snacks ready to go, the kind of food that just needs to be heated up or put in a bowl and the kind of food that can be piled on a plate to reduce the number of trips to the kitchen to get more, reducing the people monitoring me. I've already set the game to tape, ready for Babies!-style distractions of any sort.

Which leads me to my final oddly-specific prediction: I predict that during the game, there will be three spills on the carpet, at least one of which will leave a stain. There will be two times that The Boy complains about me pausing the game to go take care of the Babies!, one of which pauses will be engendered by Mr F being pantless. And there will be three commercials about which Sweetie declares Terry Tate was better.

She's right: He was.



Sunday, January 29, 2012

CRY HAVOC! AND LET LOOSE THE HOUNDS OF SUPERBOWL HYPE!

the
It's Super Bowl week, the most magical week of the year for football fans -- that week when sports people get to all go to some wonderful, warm, place like...

...Indianapolis?

...and spend the week playing games and talking to famous people and otherwise just proving that they have awesome jobs and that our society really is selfish for not providing at least a base line of benefits and protections because look at how much money we throw at Super Bowl week, but then claim we're too broke to keep kids from starving to death or to repair bridges.

Anyway, with that dose of guilt, I'm going to help Super Bowl Hype by this week reprinting some of my OLD Super Bowl posts, the way the NFL rebroadcasts highlights from old Super Bowls, because if you do it right, "laziness" becomes "nostalgia," and I'm all about that. So all this week, leading up to my Whodathunkit?! post on the Super Bowl, I'll have PAST posts about it.

Here's the first, my post from the week before the Colts played the Saints in the Super Bowl:

Super Bowl Week: 7 Days Of Hype About 11 Minutes Of Action, And It All Begins With My Motivational Speech For You.



I sit here on this extra-cold Sunday morning wondering what the loud thump! was on our roof last night -- a loud thump! that, it seemed to me, came about 11:15 p.m. a time which also, it seemed to me, was the exact time that the loud thump! came on Thursday night, which can only mean one thing:

Pterodactyls.

That's the kind of crazy-sounding-but-spot-on-thinking that almost-consecutive, possibly-at-the-same-time loud thump! noises on your roof at night leads to: it's probably pterodactyls, landing on the roof, drawn by the smell of cookie crumbs and pizza crusts you threw outside onto the porch for the birds and squirrels to eat.

When else would you realize, with utter clarity, that science -- excuse me, "science"-- was wrong, and that pterodactyls still exist, and that they're landing on your roof, the loud thump being caused by the fact that they have only short legs and are more gliders than fliers, so their landing would be clumsy? Of course it would! Of course it would thump! like that! When else would you realize the truth about pterodactyls but at night, when everything's quiet and you've just been reading your electronic copy of The New Yorker, the article about the guy who wants to freeze himself when he dies, and has already frozen his mother and his two wives, in hopes that science someday would wake them up?

It's that absence of everything else -- the absence of television, of 3-year-olds running pantless around the room, of 17-year-olds insisting that going out every school night won't affect their grades even though it clearly has -- that leads to the kind of clarity of thought which lets one know about the pterodactyls.

Absence of information can be as important as access to information (I'm pretty good with a catch-phrase, right?). These days, in the miasma that is our information, it's necessary sometimes to unplug and turn off and just sit.

And think.

And in the sitting, and the thinking, one can put together some actual bits of information that
can help one catch on to some hidden truths, things that nobody else has been willing to say, or think, or talk about.

You know, like the pterodactyls.

Well, SOMETHING is making that noise!


See where I was leading with that intro? The pterodactyls, and the things like them, are the reason I don't like to sit and think. Nothing good comes of sitting and thinking. If God had wanted us to sit and think, he would never have created a world in which cars can be equipped with features to let you read your email. While driving. That way, I could get those funny jokes on the way to work! What could go wrong with that?


I couldn't help it. It was LOLCATZ!


But, today is NonSuperBowl Sunday, the cruelest day of the year for fans of football, because there's no football today, and really no football next week, and after that, there's no football for months and months and months, so if it wasn't for Brett Favre retiring and then not every few minutes, we'd have nothing to do but talk to our families and maybe go up on the roof and see if there's some pterodactyl tracks there. On NonSuperbowl Sunday, the Sunday before Super Bowl Sunday, there's nothing to do because there's no football.

That lack of football is worse on NonSuperbowl Sunday than on out-of-season Sundays because right now, football fans are in football mode. Our bodies, our minds, our radio stations, are set to football. We're used to having games on Sundays, and games on Mondays, and even games on Thursdays and Saturdays now, and so when this Sunday rolls around with its no football none of the time, it's jarring -- but we can't let go of football, because there's always the Super Bowl next week, so we have to keep in football shape, as it were.


As what were?


Keeping in football shape today is tough to do because in the week between Championship Sunday and NonSuperBowl Sunday, the sports news drifts a little, talking occasionally about other sports, something I find annoying when it happens during the football season. Don't you know there's football to talk about? I sometimes ask my radio, in the voice I usually reserve for the kinds of drivers who edge out into the road a little too far before deciding not to make the turn. Why are you talking about basketball? I demand to know, and then go to put on my iPod, only to find that I've left my iPod home, along with my lunch and cell phone, because I had to carry around Mr Bunches all morning, since he was sad and needed me to cheer him up. (Needed me to cheer him up, specifically, by carrying him nonstop, including carrying him while I tried to put on my pants.)

The lack of football talk bugs me even more when there's only one game of actual football left. It seems all the more urgent to talk about football now, to savor it while we still have it. Basketball, baseball, NASCAR... all those fake, boring sports will still be around when football ends. But football is only around for another week.

And yet, the best the media could do this week is briefly talk about Kurt Warner's retiring, mention in passing that the NFL is suing about the dumbest team phrase (yet), The Saints' Who Dat, and then move on to something about Gilbert Arenas. Whose name always sounds to me like it's a place to play basketball. Or, more accurately, several places to play basketball. And the media doesn't even try to do that little bit today, NonSuperBowl Sunday.

Which means it's up to me, again, to do things right, to get the hype going, and to gear me, and you, and everyone else who reads this (nobody else reads this; I'm surprised you're reading it, and got this far. Were you expecting more cheerleader pictures? Fine, here's one:


Happy now? I know Sweetie isn't. Sweetie takes it personally when I post pictures of cheerleaders, even though she shouldn't, because Sweetie is the only cheerleader for me.

When she gets upset about the cheerleaders, I defuse Sweetie by posting pictures like this:


Posting things like that puts Sweetie in a bind because Sweetie wants to complain about the cheerleaders, but she also wants to see Mark Sanchez recreating a scene from Baywatch, even though she will later say I don't even know who Mark Sanchez is.

I'm left to get the hype going because on NonSuperBowl Sunday, the rest of the media is gathering its breath and waiting for Super Bowl Week to begin; they're all sleeping in and leaving people like you and me high and dry and worrying about pterodactyls, or whatever it is you worry about when left with too much time and quiet on your hands. (See that brown spot on your tongue? It's probably the first sign of a deadly disease. Better go look that up.)

I'm going to get the hype going by focusing on me, and you, and what we need to get up for the game, which is an inspirational multimedia presentation featuring some guys and some music and a slogan and stuff.

I was, myself, inspired to create this Inspirational Moment by Saints' Coach Sean Payton's own inspirational moment last week, the one he gave the Saints before their game against the Vikings to pump them up for the game and, you know, really convince them to win.

I'm not sure why football players need motivational speeches and presentations. As I've said before, they should already be really, really motivated because, remember, this is their job. That and all we ever hear from football players is how they're in this to get to the Super Bowl, to get a ring, to win championships.

I mean, we know that's a lie -- none of the players are in it for anything other than money. That's why we all do our jobs: money. It's nice to get awards and win things, but we wouldn't be getting up and going to work because they gave us an award every now and then. We'd just go get the award, take some of the free coffee and maybe a few of those cookies the receptionist brought in, and then head back home. We probably wouldn't even take off our pajamas.

But since football players pretend that they're motivated by more than just money -- money they don't get paid (really) anymore once the playoffs start -- shouldn't they also pretend that they don't need to get motivated to play a game? Shouldn't they pretend that they're already motivated to win the second-to-last game of the season, the game that, if they win, they're in the Superbowl (a/k/a, "the reason they play?")

All valid questions, to which I'll add another one: If they do need motivation, why are they motivated by the smell of a locker room?

See, Saints' coach Sean Payton, to motivate his team, put together a multimedia presentation in which he showed clips of various athletes winning, or at least doing things, and also he played the Aerosmith song Dream On, and then, at the end of it, to (presumably) great flourish, he turned on the lights and there stood:

Ronnie Lott.

(Former all-pro defensive back/four time Superbowl winner/apparent motivational speaker Ronnie Lott, that is.)

And the first thing Ronnie Lott said, standing there in what I assume was the Saints' locker room?

"I smell greatness."

At which point, Sean Payton handed out t-shirts (I told you this was a multimedia presentation) with Smell Greatness on them.


I was going to put a picture of a dirty locker room, then a messy locker room, then a messy laundry room, then, finally, a pile of socks, but apparently there is nothing you can google on the internet that doesn't lead to porn scenarios, so instead, you get this picture:






Presumably, there were no arrows pointing towards the armpits of those shirts, but that would have been hilarious if there had been, and Payton missed a golden opportunity there.

All of that -- Aerosmith's song, the slide show, the not-quite-ironic t-shirts, Ronnie Lott, Motivational Speaker, and the scent of 53 large men -- added up to quite a motivational package for the Saints, as they barely eked out a victory in the NFC Championship Game (and by "eked out" I mean "were handed a victory by five turnovers and a boneheaded penalty.")

Imagine, though, the results if the Saints hadn't been motivated by the smell of greatness/the smell of Ronnie Lott. Imagine if Sean Payton had left it up to the players to motivate themselves, by, say, telling them "Look, it's your job, all right, so just go do it and do it well, and you'll make some money." Would the Saints have been motivated enough by that to not lose a game that the Vikings desperately didn't want to win?

I think not.

Reading that Sports Illustrated article about the Saints' motivational speech yesterday taught me the importance of motivational speeches -- motivational multimedia presentations -- because with Ronnie Lott, Motivational Speaker, telling the Saints that the odor in their locker room was greatness, the Saints never would have made it as far as Super Bowl week (when, I assume, Payton will largely stick with what works, and will hand out Taste Greatness! t-shirts soaked in the flavor of greatness. The taste of greatness can best be described as "a little like lemonade-flavored Powerade, only uncarbonated.")

Thus inspired by just the recounting of the multimedia presentation, I have undertaken today to outline my own motivational multimedia presentation elements, elements that you, the fan and my reader(s?) are free to assemble on your own into your own motivational multimedia presentation to get you, the fan/my reader(s?) pumped up for your part in Super Bowl week -- the part where you have to listen to even more stories about even more players and endure even more predictions about even more things that could happen.

This is the week we wait for and dread all year: the week when the entire world seems to be about football (because football is coming to an end again), the week when the football present- and past-greats come out of the woodwork/rodeo trailer they've been hiding in to talk football and think football and smell football/greatness, and to make critical comments about Tim Tebow, and do all of those things that we love so much during the football season, only more so.

It's a demanding week for a fan. There's so many shows, articles, blogs, pictures, and reporters that we may not be able to keep up with it. But this is what we're here for, right?

(That's the part where you say: Right!)

(And I say "What's that? This is what we're HERE FOR, right?")

(And you say "Right!" again, only louder.)

(And then I say "Why are you yelling at your computer?")

This is what we're here for, but like professional football players who make in one year what I'll make in 10, if I'm lucky, we may need a little more motivation to do what's expected of us, and without further ado (thank God!) I'm going to give you the tools you need to put together, this week, your own multimedia presentation that will serve to inspire you, to urge you on, to make you just a tiny little bit better, and, of course, to put a positive spin on that peculiar odor that you thought was stale graham crackers, but which is actually... greatness.

Here's what you'll need:

First, an inspirational song. Sean Payton chose Dream On by Aerosmith. I'm not sure that was the best message, because while that song does talk about how you've got to lose to know how to win, it also includes this refrain:
Sing with me, sing for the year Sing for the laugh, sing for the tears Sing with me, if it's just for today Maybe tomorrow, the good lord will take you away, yeah

Which is kind of a grim philosophy, and also makes me think "If tomorrow the good Lord is going to take me away, I might not spend tonight playing football, but would probably rather spend some time with my family, or at least make amends for some of the things I've done, things that I'm certainly not going to detail in this blog, at least until the statute of limitations runs out."

The song you pick should be personal to you, a song that motivates you, but it should also have a broader appeal and should focus on your particular role in this week, that role being "a person who watches TV, and probably also eats snacks." (That's my role, at least.) And while everyone can choose their own song, you can also feel free to use one of the ones I'm considering. Here's the songs I'm thinking I might use:

After Hours, by We Are Scientists:



That song has the benefit of having a really good, driving beat, and the right kind of challenging tone: This door is always open/no one has the guts to shut us out. And, to make it perfect for fans, it's really about drinking: I guess there's always hope that/someplace will be serving after hours. So time means nothing when it comes to finding a place to go on drinking, is the message We Are Scientists is sending.

God Monkey Robot, by The Apparitions. "Monkeys make everybody happy," Sweetie once proclaimed, but monkeys, in the form of an allegorical song about human evolution followed by God wiping everything out in Armageddon, can also inspire people like you and me to new heights of fandom:



It's got that line: And the man and the monkey their minds went blank/they were both watching reruns the rating were great, which lets you know your role in the teledrama that will be hyped this week. You're going to watch. (Plus, one of my favorite things to do in Super Bowl week is watch those NFL replays of all the prior Super Bowls, watch and feel nostalgic about the times in the past when I watched those Super Bowls, live. How often does one get to watch a documentary about history, when the history is history that one watched unfold live? Not very often.)(So the point is, that the man and the monkey watching reruns is me.)

and, of course, Common People by William Shatner.



Because it's about common people and how great they are. Common people like you, and me. Not those high-falutin' rich folk like Saints' Coach Sean Payton, who, after winning the NFC Championship, celebrated via a quiet little dinner featuring family... and Jimmy Buffett.

After you have your song, you'll also need a collection of images to put to that song. This is where most of you are going to screw up: You're going to choose sports images, because the Super Bowl is a sport, but remember, this is for you, not for the Saints or the Colts. You're not trying to inspire them; that's for their coaches to do via phrases like Smell Greatness. (We'll get to your phrase in a moment.)

You're trying to inspire you, so you've got to choose images of the things that will motivate you to get ready for the Super Bowl and your role in it. Things like the snacks you'll eat:



Where you'll sit for the big game:


The commercials you'll watch:



And, of course, the cheerleaders:


Simmer down, Sweetie. I haven't forgotten you:



With images like that, you'll be more than motivated for the week ahead, and the game. You'll be motivat-est.

(Note to NFL: You may be ready to sue people over the Dumbest Team Nickname Yet, but back down on me, because Motivat-est is TM Thinking The Lions, 2010.)

Step three of your Motivational Multimedia Presentation is the Inspirational Person who will come in and tell you how great your life will be if you (a) listen to him or her and (b) do what he or she has already done. The Saints had Ronnie Lott, who was an excellent choice based on his ability to repurpose smells for his own motivational motives.

You'll need someone that suits you equally well, for your purposes, remember. The Saints wanted someone who's been to the big game to tell them how great it is to get to the big game. You, of course, have already watched many Super Bowls, so you may think Well, jeez, I know what it's like to watch a Super Bowl, and you'll be tempted to pass on the Inspirational Figure entirely.

That's a mistake -- a big one. You don't know what it's like to watch this Super Bowl, and you probably have never really given thought to how to watch any particular Super Bowl best, have you? I didn't think so. You've never analyzed when the best commercials are, who the best announcers are, how much actual football action takes place in any given football game (eleven minutes or so.) You don't know nothin' about no football.

Or something like that.

So get yourself someone who does. Someone who knows how to really watch stuff. Someone like this guy:



That's Suresh Joachim, and if you want to watch TV, you want to know Suresh. This year, Suresh annihilated the record for most consecutive hours watching TV. It had been only about 50 hours in a row. But Suresh sat and stared at the tube for 69 hours and 48 minutes.

You know what I want to know? What made him break? He'd already been there for 69 hours, 48 minutes, so family, bathroom breaks, boredom, a real job... all that stuff had already been put to the side, ignored, in service of record-breaking TV watching. So what finally made him throw in the towel, stand up, and turn off the TV? What was it, Suresh?

Was it Jenna Elfman? Because that'd do it for me.

Suresh also holds the record for longest time balancing on one foot -- 76 hours and 40 minutes. Which means he was able to stand on one foot longer than he was able to watch ABC television. (He also holds the record for bowling -- 100 hours straight.)

(But you know what that means? The time is ripe for someone to set the record for longest time standing on one foot watching bowling on TV. Ready... set...go.)

Another possible spokesperson? WALL-E. He really liked TV, too:



Now, you've got Suresh and WALL-E speaking to you (and your family.) You've got your song (if you invite WALL-E, I'd go with God Monkey Robot), you've got your inspirational images to set that all to:



So the last thing you need is your slogan. Like the Saints' Smell Greatness, only not stupid.

Ideally, your slogan is short enough to fit on a t-shirt or a hat to hand out to you and your family. (It could also be printed on the tiny purple baseball bats you hand out to your defense, to give them the entirely wrong idea about what it is you're looking for when they play. Gregg Williams, keep in mind: defensive players tackle people. They don't hit them with bats. You who uses baseball bats to make a point? Mobsters. When you hand out bats to your defense, this is the message you're sending:



Which may be what you wanted to send, but don't advertise it, okay?

Your slogan to inspire you for Super Bowl Week and the Super Bowl should follow the time-honored tradition of including a verb and an adjective, ideally both of them inspiring.

If you can't think of any inspirational words, you could always do what one enterprising but still somewhat saddening person did, and ask Yahoo Answers. That person wanted to jump-start a novella and needed some words of inspiration to get going on it -- not the most promising start for a writer, but everyone begins somewhere, and I bet that if Yahoo Answers had been around when F. Scott Fitzgerald got started, he'd have asked for some help getting going on The Great Gatsby (which is the only book Lauren Conrad could remember the name of when she was interviewed recently about her own writing, and so she said she'd read it over and over, even though the odds are that Lauren Conrad can't read.)(The odds are, also, that Lauren Conrad never read The Great Gatsby since she said "It's a fun story.")



That inspiration-seeking writer got these words of encouragement from a spell-check needing helper: "umm ya theres alot sori i dont feel lyk putting all of them." So I don't recommend taking that route for your own inspirational phrase. Instead, just do what I do:

When I want something I say to sound important or majestic or awe-inspiring, I just translate it into Latin. Everything sounds great in Latin:

quisnam ate totus funyuns (Who ate all the funyuns?)

Cheerleaders sceptrum (Cheerleaders rule!)

Dulcis , vos teneo vos reputo Vestigium Consecro est fervens (Sweetie, you know you think Mark Sanchez is hot)

I think, in fact, that est fervens would be an ideal slogan. So I'm going to go with that. But feel free to create your own slogan, if you want.

So there you go. That's how I'll be spending the rest of the day, this NonSuperBowl Sunday of no sports and nothing to do. Later on today, I'm going to go downstairs, dim the lights, put on my slide show of inspirational images:



(It's safe-- Sweetie NEVER reads this far in the sports post), start the inspirational music:



Have my speaker begin, and by the time he's done motivating me (Making me Motivat-est)(TM Thinking The Lions 2010), I won't even need the Est fervens t-shirts, which is good because Sweetie would probably have them printed with this on it:

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