Wednesday, December 31, 2008

10,000 lakes?: 'We may have overexaggerated.'

Minnesota has long been known as the land (state) of 10,000 lakes. In fact, the nickname appears at the bottom of the state's license plates acting almost as a dare to come and count the lakes.

In a state that consists of 87,014 square miles can there really be 10,000 lakes? Did they mean to say Land of 10,000 Puddles?

"We may have overexaggerated just a bit," said Leonard Samuelson, president of Minnesota's Travel and Tourism Office. "We count the lakes every five years and we tend to ... round up."

Satellite images reveal that Minnesota contains 2,349 lakes that are at least 50 feet long by 65 feet wide.

"That's actually one more than I thought we had," said Samuelson, referring to the satellite count. "We knew people would discover the true number of lakes one day. We [Tourism Office] just didn't think it would be this soon."

Rumors have surfaced that to prolong the discovery of the true number of lakes the Minnesota government contacted Google to restrict satellite images of the state. However, the search engine would not comply with the request and called it "a very weird thing to ask us."

Reports also surfaced that several artificial lakes were created to "fool" satellite images by covering small areas with aluminum foil to give the appearance of a small body of water. This tactic was soon abandoned as the price of aluminum began to rise.

Why has the state gone to such lengths to portray this image of Land of 10,000 lakes?

"It's really just a case of 10,000 sounding much better than 2,349. Yes, we did round up, but it's a good rounding up." said Carol Molnau, Minnesota's lieutenant governor.

Monday, December 29, 2008

CGI? Not for Valkyrie

On December 25, Valkyrie, starring Tom Cruise opened in theaters across the country. The movie, based on a true story, details the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler towards the end of World War II.

In the movie, Colonel Stauffenberg, played by Cruise, loses his hand during a surprise attack by the Allies while in North Africa. Although the actor briefly contemplated actually amputating his hand for the role, co-stars convinced Cruise that computer-generated imagery (CGI) was the more responsible choice. CGI would be used to remove the hand.

"I asked him what would happen if he played a role in the future where he needed both hands. After some thought he shook his head in agreement," said co-star, Bill Nighy.

However, CGI can add thousands of dollars to the production of a major motion picture. Directors and actors often forget this fact as budgets for Hollywood films seem limitless.

A production assistant on the set of Valkyrie came up with a cost-saving idea to give the appearance that Cruise's hand was missing: lengthen the sleeve of his jackets and shirts.

Director Bryan Singer called the idea brilliant.

"In every post-battle scene Tom is wearing a uniform jacket in which the sleeve on the right arm hangs low enough to cover his hand. It really makes the audience think his hand is missing."

Though the right sleeve is six inches longer than the left it is virtually impossible to determine this while in the theater.

"Audiences would really have to be looking for it to notice it," said Cruise.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hessian reenactors 'drunker than ever' on Christmas night

Trenton, NJ--The most coveted soldier reenactment position in the country is the role of a Hessian troop on Christmas night in 1776 during the Revolutionary War's Battle of Trenton. On this night, General George Washington and company bravely crossed the icy Delaware River and surprised the Hessian troops occupying the town of Trenton several miles downstream.

The Hessians were so busy celebrating the Christmas holiday that they offered little resistance to the advancing Americans.

"[The Hessians] were totally shit-faced," said reenactor James Vanze, referring to the absurd quantities of libations the mercenary troops indulged in that night 232 years ago.

Though St Pauly Girl was not available in 1776, the Hessians celebrated mostly with beer. Historical reports and journals have the party in Trenton being so raucous that soldiers sang songs using powderhorns as megaphones. Musket balls were used for juggling and not firing, and, so relaxed were the hired guns, that flintlocks sat unattended next to cannon ramrods.

It is this festive atmosphere that makes the Battle of Trenton reenactment the most popular in the nation. Soldiers apply for reenactment positions two years prior to the event, which is officially called: The Coors Light Hessian Troop Festival Extravaganza at the Yuengling Battle of Trenton Reenactment.

"We received over 25,000 applications this year," said Tom Schmidt, head of the Trenton Historical Society, which oversees the Hessian gathering. "We are only able to accept 200 soldiers. It is hyper-competitive." (New Jersey law prohibits historical military gatherings in excess of 200 people.)

Jim Tomling, a reenactor from northern California, participated in his first, and probably last, Trenton reenactment yesterday. Tomling's wife and three small children made the trek to celebrate the holiday together.

"It was incredible. This has been a two year process and it was all I thought it would be and more. I was so freakin' drunk. I just kept drinking and talking fake German," said Tomling, who was chosen by the selection committee despite not being able to speak fluent German.

Tomling was also lucky enough to win the role of learning from a local colonial boy, played by 12-year-old Princeton, NJ, resident Kevin Cornly, that the Americans were coming.

"It's one of the biggest roles. I had to run around the camp, while completely wasted, trying to convince the other soldiers that Washington was right down the road. I don't know how they chose me for that role. I feel like I'm dreaming right now," said a giddy Tomling.

Between reenactors and thousands of onlookers, more beer is served and consumed at the event than twenty NFL stadiums on gameday.

One amazed reveler reported: "I've never seen the reenactors as drunk as they were today. I mean, drunker than ever."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sam Adams calls for Sam Adams due to storm not seen since Sam Adams

The mayor-elect of Portland, Oregon, Sam Adams, has called for a plan to help residents cope with the 14 inches of snow that has paralyzed the city. Portland, which rarely sees measurable December snowfall, has not received this much snow in nearly forty years.

"One inch in February is a lot of snow for us," said a grinning resident, Mark Benson. "We probably haven't seen this much snow since founding father Sam Adams was alive."

In a city known for its microbreweries Sam Adams (the mayor-elect) is calling on a macrobrew (Sam Adams) to ease the effects of the record snow storm in the city of nearly 600,000.

Sam Adams(the mayor-elect) is using four-wheel drive vehicles to deliver Sam Adams (the beer) to thousands of stranded residents.

"We are a city who likes our beer. We need our beer. One foot of snow is not going to stop us from getting our beer," said mayor-elect, Adams.

Critics feel by distributing a national beer in America's microbrew capital his approval rating could drop dramatically. Others say that delivering a beer with the same name could send him to the governor's mansion in Salem in the near future.

"It's a very interesting strategy," said political analyst Darcy Hilton. "He's not delivering milk or bread or water. He's bringing Oregonians what Oregonians love best."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Artificial tree farm attempts to capture holiday spirit with allen wrenches

West Coventry, PA—Kelly and Martin Gomez knew they were on to something when their next door neighbor, who fiercely dislike the couple, told them it was a good idea.

"It" is Forever Green Trees, Inc. It is not just a place to buy artificial Christmas trees but an entire experience.

"Jeff, who never talks or looks in our direction, told me that we had a pretty good little idea. This had to mean our idea was big-time," said Martin Gomez, co-owner of Forever Green Trees, Inc., referring to his neighbor.

A 2006 Cooper-Sinclair study showed that 8 out of 10 live-tree buyers would not purchase an artificial tree because of the toxic gases emitted. However, the other 2 out of 10 said it was simply because of the shopping atmosphere.

"People like the idea of fake trees. Actually, most people love the idea. Even as far back as olden days. But they are hesitant because of the store environment," said Kelly, co-owner with Martin.

Forever Green Trees, Inc. is a 200-acre "heaven on Earth" located in the outer Philadelphia suburbs in beautiful Chester County. The fields are covered with artificial trees as far as the eye can see. Every size, shape and color imaginable dot the rolling landscape. Plastic trees with fake snow and some with built-in tinsel are waiting to be given a good home.

"Here, we take the artificial tree and put it in an unartificial or natural environment," said Martin.

Instead of a saw, customers are given two phillips head screwdrivers, three pairs of pliers, a set of allen wrenches (pictured), two flat screwdrivers, a slinky, a rubber mallet, and, if the need should arise, a can of WD-40.

Buyers, much like a natural Christmas tree farm, are given the option of taking a horse-drawn wagon or sleigh to choose a favorite fake tree. There is also a red horse-drawn Hummer, refurbished from a Hummer that was severely damaged in Afghanistan.

Once a family has agreed on a favorite fakey (the term Kelly often uses for artificial trees) the appropriate tool is then chosen from the provided tool kit. Customers also have the option of taking the tree completely assembled, as this makes the tree "stay alive."

"To give it even more of a live-tree feeling many of our fake trees have a microscopic sap-producing device installed in the central pole or trunk," said Kelly. "When customers attempt to assemble or disassemble the tree small bits of sap will ooze through the screw holes."

Roughly ten percent of the trees on the farm are still in boxes, with pictures on the outside, so customers wanting to build their own tree on-site have the option.

"We had hot cyder and everything," said 10-year-old Billy McGonigal. "It took us two hours to make the plastic tree."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Soul only Arena League team to play 2009 season

The Arena Football League announced earlier this week that because of the current economic crisis the 2009 season will be canceled. Though the league does have television contracts and reputable attendance numbers, league officials felt it was the right decision.

Saved from the canceled season are the 2008 AFL Champion Philadelphia Soul. While the other 15 AFL teams are sitting at home during spring and summer the Soul will continue as planned with their 2009 schedule.

"We're excited to be the only team playing this season. I feel for the other teams, but this is exciting for the Soul," said team president, Ron Jaworski.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shoe-thrower took shoe throwing lessons in U.S.

The journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush over the weekend reportedly received shoe-throwing training in the United States.

Muntader al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist, began planning "Operation: Shoe Lace" in 2006. It was then that al-Zaidi traveled to the U.S. where shoe-throwing is standard curriculum at numerous circus training schools.

"If you want to learn to throw shoes you go to the U.S. It's that simple," said Canadian Chris Danielson, 2007 Shoe-thrower runner up at the Las Vegas Invitational.

The journalist, who obtained a six month circus visa, funded his own travels to the states where he attended schools in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and told teachers and fellow students he was planning to start a circus school for children in Iraq.

"I thought it was strange that he only wanted to learn how to throw the shoes, but never wanted to learn how to retrieve the shoes," said Dave Miller, instructor and owner of Circus Acts, Inc, the school which al-Zaidi attended in the Texas panhandle.

Miller went on to say that al-Zaidi graduated tops in his class at Circus Acts, Inc. and was shocked that he missed his intended target, President Bush, last Sunday.

"He excelled with sneakers and hiking boots while in training. So I was surprised that he elected to throw dress shoes. He was only an average dress shoe-thrower, but was deadly accurate with high tops," explained Miller.

Monday, December 15, 2008

On 40th anniversary fans throw shoes at Santa

ACLU releases PC CD for holiday season

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is gearing up for the holidays by releasing a new CD featuring politically correct holiday songs. The ACLU teamed up with an all-star cast of musicians and non-musicians such as U2, Mariah Carey's younger sister, Barry Bonds, the Olson twins and Fred Savage.

The four-CD set includes the following songs and many more:

I saw legal guardian/caregiver Kissing the Present Bringer
I'm Dreaming of a Snow-covered December 25th
Rudolph the Nasally Challenged Reindeer
It's Beginning to Look a lot Like the 25th day of December
Frosty the Frozen Precipitation Personage
Chestnuts Roasting on a Carefully Watched Roasting Device
It's the Most Wonderful Time of a set of 365 Days
All I want for December 25th is my anteriors 8 and 9
Winter Wonderland
Smaller-sized Drummer Juvenile
Jingle Bell(singular)
A Dozen Days of December 25th
I'll be home Six Days Before the New Year
I'll be home for the 359th Day of the Year(non-Leap Year)

"We're excited about the CD. Everyone had a blast making this, even the non-musicians," said Karen Willston, ACLU public relations director. "You may see Barry release his own CD in the near future featuring all baseball songs. But you didn't hear that from me."

The reviews are in:

FOX News: "Surprisingly, not a bad little CD for the holiday season."
CNN: "Bono rocks the house with Smaller-sized Drummer Juvenile."
Martha Stewart: "I have a new book coming out soon."
Rod Stewart: "Both Elton and I were left out. But damn, this CD makes December feel like December should feel."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Burress changes story: 'It was a glockenspiel not a glock.'

New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress is changing his story. Burress, who allegedly shot himself in the leg at a Manhattan night club on November 29, is now claiming that he was not carrying a Glock, a small handgun, but a glockenspiel.

While it is true that the percussion instrument is a favorite among professional athletes, police have doubts about the players change of story. Some experts have said that Burress will be forced to play the glockenspiel to prove his proficiency to a court.

"Plaxico took up the glockenspiel about a year ago and often takes one to clubs to entertain the crowds. He often calls his glockenspiel his Glock," said the player's agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

And the wound in his leg? Burress says that one of the tuned bars, which he keeps sharpened for looks, pierced his leg while taking the glockenspiel out of his giant pocket.

Burress feels if he wasn't suspended by the Giants he would be ready to play football in a few weeks. How about the instrument?

"I don't know if I'll ever be able to play the glockenspiel again. It's tough. I may have to take up the xylophone."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

South St bridge was not made by Phoenix Steel

The the 85 year old South Street Bridge finally closed today as workers prepare to dismantle the structure. Correct, they are dismantling and not demolishing.

The town of Phoenixville, PA purchased the bridge from the city last month and planned to move the span to the borough 23 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

"We bought the bridge because we thought it was made right here at Phoenix Steel. We were wrong and now we're stuck with this thing. I really should have asked before I bought the bridge," said borough councilman, Jim McKnight.

McKnight went on to admit that he confused the South Street bridge with the Strawberry Mansion Bridge (below). Phoenix Bridge Company, a division of Phoenix Steel, constructed the Strawberry Mansion Bridge in 1896.

"I'm selling the bridge on craigslist. It's listed under old bridges in the for sale section. It's also listed under used bridges," said McKnight.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bush insists on using dollar bill for Army-Navy coin toss

Above, President George W Bush attempts to flip a dollar bill, instead of a coin, before the start of the 109th Army/Navy game in Philadelphia. The bill never landed as a gust of wind carried the paper money up and out of the stadium and into the adjacent parking lot. Although Bush wanted to see where it landed, game officials were able to convince him to use a coin for the coin toss.

Above, the crowd at Lincoln Financial Field follows the floating dollar bill as it makes its way out of the stadium. One cadet, who did not want to sound disrespectful, said the President should have used a ten dollar bill. "A ten's gotta be heavier than a one because it's worth nine more dollars."

Bush also addressed both teams prior to the game in each locker room. The President told the Navy players that "it's kinda weird that you came to the stadium in buses and not boats."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stanford University to rename mascot AndSons

Stanford University's mascot has been known as the Cardinal since the school's inception in 1885. Many, especially on the east coast, mistake the mascot for a bird where it is actually the color—cardinal red. However, the university wants a mascot that brings the green.

Stanford, despite having one of the largest endowments in the country, is always seeking ways to generate funding for graduate research. For example, last year the school asked alumni to donate money. And the year before that alumni were contacted to give money to the school.

"You can never have enough money for research. We could be the ones to develop an earthquake vaccine or invent a cable-less cable car," said Stanford vice president, Dan Williams.

Beginning in the spring the university's sports teams will be known as the Stanford AndSons. The school reached a naming rights agreement with Nickelodeon, a cable tv station, to promote the stations reruns of Sanford and Son.

The deal is for two years and will pay the school $2 million per year. The giant redwood tree that adorns the university's logo will not be altered. Nickelodeon executives pushed for the tree to be replaced with a red pickup truck, but Stanford would not budge.

Although predominately geared toward children, the network's night time lineup, Nick at Night, is more for adults. And starting in the spring the network will begin airing Sanford and Son at 9:30 PM ET.

"We looked at this as win win situation. Stanford has a top tier sports program and with many nationally televised games audiences will know Elizabeth should be expecting Fred," said Nickelodeon president, Cal Essington.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Body discovered at Chester stadium groundbreaking

Chester, PA--A dozen golden shovels shimmered in the afternoon sun near the waterfront of this once thriving port city, the Commodore Barry Bridge in the background. Yesterday, the new Philadelphia area Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise broke ground for their new 18,000+ seat soccer-only stadium.

Both team officials and politicians are hoping that the new facility can spur development in Pennsylvania's poorest city. Despite the current state of the economy, officials reinforced that the venue will be completed.

The project, however, hit a setback yesterday when, during the groundbreaking ceremony, a team official discovered a body with his golden shovel.

"I took the shovel and began to push it into the ground and it stopped about three inches down," said a team official who wanted to remain anonymous. "I put all my weight into it but it still wouldn't penetrate the dirt. Something wasn't right."

As soon as it became apparent that the blockage was a body, ceremony attendees, including the mayor, governor and numerous fans were quickly directed back to the breakfast buffet table away from the scene. Chester City Police were eventually notified and subsequently shut down the area. Police would not release the identity of the body.

The joyous crowd turned somber after hearing the news and the Sons of Ben supporters sang "Ill Fly Away" as a tribute.

Friday, November 28, 2008

NFL devises plan for broadcasting Lions on turkey day—Networks will share misery

The NFL, facing pressure from fans and television networks, has developed a plan for televising the perennially inept Detroit Lions on future Thanksgiving Day games. The winless Lions were thrashed yesterday, 47-10, by the Tennessee Titans(11-1). The plan calls for the five different networks that currently televise NFL games to "share the pain."

FOX, NBC, CBS, ESPN and NFLN will each be assigned one quarter of Lions' play(15 minutes) to cover on the fourth Thursday in November. This plan will commence in 2009 with NBC, ESPN, CBS and FOX showing the first through fourth quarters respectively.

The system will be rotating, where the fifth network—NFLN in 2009—will be given a reprieve from showing any part of the game. If a network televised the first quarter one year, they will televise the second quarter the next year and so on. The network that is given off will televise the first quarter the following year.

"It's not fair for any one network to bear the brunt of televising an entire Lions game to a national audience," said NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.

When asked which network would be responsible for showing an overtime session should the game require one, the commission laughed uncontrollably and called for the next question.

"Is this ideal? No. We would rather have Detroit removed from Thanksgiving all together," said CBS executive, Jim Harstein,"but this is much better than what we had. Yesterday, we ran a commercial for Carl's Corner Deli in Huron, MI during the last quarter. Carl's Corner Deli? What is that about?"

The Nielsen Ratings for the fourth quarter of yesterday's lopsided Lions-Titans game showed a total of 47 tv's(total) tuned into the game. Thirty-seven of those sets were in Flint, MI, 5 were in Nashiville, TN and 5 were in Houston, TX—former home of the Titans.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reid did tell McNabb that 'Shurmur has something he wants to tell you'

"Don was walking next to me coming out of the tunnel and I told him that Shurms[Shurmur] has something he wants to tell you," said Reid at Monday's press conference, when asked how he informed the quarterback that he was not starting the second half of Sunday's game against the Ravens.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another visitor mistakes Mummer Museum for Mutter Museum

Luke Eminger had been looking forward to visiting Philadelphia for almost ten years. The heart surgeon, from Seattle, WA, has long known of Philadelphia's prominence as a US medical center. But, even more, the surgeon knows that the city is the undisputed center of American medical history.

"From Pennsylvania Hospital and the Mutter Museum to Jefferson Medical College and the University of Pennsylvania [Philadelphia] is the heart of US medical History," proclaimed Eminger.

At the center of that history may be the world-renowned Mutter Museum. Located near 22nd and Chestnut Streets, the museum's mission, as described on its website, is as follows:
Today, it serves as a valuable resource for educating and enlightening the public about our medical past and telling important stories about what it means to be human. The Mütter Museum embodies The College of Physicians of Philadelphia 's mission to advance the cause of health, and uphold the ideals and heritage of medicine.

Eminger, his wife and three children landed at Philadelphia International Airport last Tuesday at 10:03 AM barely able to contain their excitement (at least Eminger could not). So excited, in fact, that the family hopped in a cab and asked to be taken directly to the Mutter Museum even before checking into their hotel.

Twenty minutes later they arrived at 2nd Street and Washington Ave at the Mummer Museum.

"I knew Mutter was German and so I thought the double M's were pronounced like D's. Plus, I was very excited to get inside so I didn't think anything of it," explained Eminger.

The Mummer's Museum website reads:
The Mummers Museum opened in 1976, and is dedicated to the Philadelphia celebration of the new year. The museum houses a rich collection of mummers' paraphernalia and memorabilia, including spectacular costumes, a few of which date back to the turn of the 20th Century.

After the first display, the family returned to the information desk to confirm that this was, in fact, the Mutter Museum. The women confirmed that, yes, indeed, this was the Mummer Museum.

"It was not at all what I expected. I was thinking there would be more medical oddity-type things. Although it was odd, there was nothing medical about it other than the no smoking sign out front and most of the visitors tended to ignore that rule," said Eminger.

The non-smoking family took in the rest of the museum while smoking, even the children, and became even more confused at the Budweiser display that concluded the tour. The Emingers now plan to return to Philadelphia on every New Year's Day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coach found no humor in Thai food question

Philadelphia, PA--On Monday, Eagles head coach Andy Reid gave his regularly scheduled day-after news conference concerning Sunday's game for the ages in Cincinnati. The Eagles and the Bengals played to the NFL's first tie in six years. It had been eleven years since the Eagles' last tie.

One reporter, who wanted to add a spark to the usually lifeless gatherings, asked Reid about the teams' pregame meal.

"Did the Eagles and the Bengals eat Thai food before the game?" asked the reporter, who did not want to be named.

The room erupted in a roar and there were high fives and handshakes exchanged and promises of rounds at the bar. The question and reaction was not intended to disrespect the coach.

"I really was only kidding around. I thought Andy would get a kick out of it. But I guess when you're 5-4-1...," said the reporter.

After the question Reid shot a glare at the journalist rarely seen from the head man. For a split second, it appeared Reid was going to smile; however, he quickly gathered his play laminated charts and left the room.

The press room was still filled with chuckling writers trying to contain themselves as the podium stood empty.

"[The reporter] beat me to it. I was going to ask [Reid] if he could recommend a good Thai place in the city," said one local sports radio personality.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Budget cuts will eliminate yellow from city traffic lights

The City of Philadelphia and Mayor Michael Nutter recently announced massive cuts to the city's budget. On the list of cuts were pools, libraries, manhole covers and city-owned post offices.

The city added to the list yesterday when it was stated the yellow light, or warning light, in most county traffic lights would not be replaced after burning out.

"We studied this with great care," said Nutter,"and I met with transportation officials and we determined that eliminating the yellow lights would save a few thousand dollars and would only minimally affect traffic flow."

The yellow light was added to the traffic light in 1959 when vehicular traffic was increasing exponentially. Prior to this only red and green were used to warn drivers when to stop and when to go. The warning yellow has been credited with drastically reducing automobile accidents since its inception.

"We have already begun instructing the Streets Department to refrain from replacing burned out yellow bulbs," said Jim Salynz, assistant to the mayor. "Although it appears they stopped long ago."

TrafBulb, Inc., a Media, PA company, manufactures the yellow traffic light bulbs exclusively and was disappointed by the city's decision.

"We stopped making red and green bulbs four years ago. There was no money in red and green bulbs. I just hope cutting yellow lights doesn't become a national trend," said TrafBulb CEO, Connor Hamilton.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Newspapers, sports websites spending millions to add tie column to N.F.L. standings

Philadelphia--Newspaper print workers and computer web developers had their work cut out for them after the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles played to a 13-13 tie yesterday. The tie was the first in the NFL since 2002 and the Eagles first since a 10-10 tie in Baltimore in 1997.

The Philadelphia Inquirer called in their print specialist, who was away on vacation, as newspaper printers had to be adjusted to include a tie column in the NFL standings.

"Type settings had to be moved and then moved again and then saved and ... there was ink all over the place," said Courtney Allen, the paper's print specialist.

Web designers also worked overtime. Standings have not included a column for ties in six years. Many were unable to program the correct HTML code that allows for a third results heading in the standings.

"I tried adding a tie column and I got so frustrated. It took me about two hours, my code was all jumbled," said web developer, Jennifer Williams.

Williams has been with the website since November 12, 2002. She replaced Fred Sniles, a developer who resigned the day after the NFL's last tie between Atlanta and Pittsburgh on November 10, 2002.

FoxSports wasn't the only site having problems adjusting their NFL pages.

"I usually update the NFL standings as the games end. I can do it from home while watching most of the contests. It's a sweet gig, but today was no sweet gig," said's Darren Flinton.

Notes: Comcast SportsNet's Derrick Gunn will interview former Eagles quarterback Bobby Hoying this week to discuss the Eagles last tie in 1997 ... The Inquirer will print a commemorative "Tie" poster on Thursday featuring photos from the team's two most recent ties.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Reid to shake things up, will shave mustache

Philadelphia Eagles' head coach Andy Reid is feeling the pressure from fans and the media after his team dropped to 5-4 on the season following last Sunday's loss to the New York Giants.

The team's inability to run the ball and stop the run are becoming more evident each week. Playing in football's toughest division that likes to run the ball doesn't bode well for Eagles playoff chances. Changes have to be made.

"I'm shaving the mustache. Time's yours," announced Reid from the NovaCare complex in South Philadelphia.

Many feel this is a desperate attempt to take the focus off his struggling team and place the attention directly on his mustache. The ploy may work for a few weeks, but experts feel the attention will eventually return to team performance.

"He's trying to make us focus on the mustache and not on the team. I mean ... I wonder how long he's had his mustache. What lengths has he trimmed it to in the past," said one local writer.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Burrell:'I would sign with the Riversharks to stay here.'

Pat Burrell has made it clear that he would very much like to stay in Philadelphia with the Phillies to finish his career. The free agent left fielder is riding quite the high right now after helping the Fightin's win the World Series for the first time since 1980.

Across the Delaware River from Philadelphia is Camden, NJ home to the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, an independent league not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The team has recently expressed interest in Burrell.

The ALPB attracts players trying to make the majors, minor league lifers and former Major League players attempting to extend their careers. Burrell does not fit any of these catagories as he finds himself in the prime of his career.

This fact sheds light on just how much Burrell likes the area and wants to remain here , which could play a huge factor in the amount the player is paid.

"I love it here. I have no interest in leaving the city for another MLB team. The area is my home and I would sign with the Riversharks to stay here," said Burrell.

If Burrell does sign with the Riversharks the team announced they would play all of their weekend home games in Citizens Bank Park. The team's third jersey for Sunday afternoons would be identical to the Phillies' home uniforms. Twelve roster spots would also be eliminated to free salary space.

"Pat would fit in nicely here. His 86 RBI's and .250 batting average would lead the league or at least the division," said Sharks' manager, Jerry Tilden.

After learning of Camden's interest the Phillies have decided to open talks with Burrell's agent. Let the bidding war begin.

Notes: Former MLB all-star Rickey Henderson played on the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League after retiring from the majors. In 2006 the Riversharks tried to lure Hank Aaron out of retirement by offering a two-year contract.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nabisco officials irked by, enjoy Teddy Graham knockoffs

Hanover, NJ--The Nabisco Company has been making award winning snack foods since the late 1800's. The company takes pride creating a line of snacks that range from Chips Ahoy and Oreos to Cheese Nips and Ritz Bits Sandwiches.

"I love them all," said CEO, Nancy Villers, when asked which snack was top on her list. "But Teddy Grahams are my favorite."

The bear-shaped cookie appears to be the favorite of many. In 2005, the cookie took first place at the annual Animal Snack Awards in Erie, PA, which was hosted by musical group Hanson. Animal Crackers, another Nabisco product, took second and has yet to win the coveted award. Though not an animal shaped snack, Oreos took home third place.

The fact that Teddy Grahams is a prize-winning product makes company officials more sensitive to imitation bear cookies that pop up on the market.

"We work hard [at Nabisco] and every so often I'll walk down the isle of a supermarket and see a new bear cookie with similar packaging and similar name and I just have to shake my head," said Villers.

The CEO along with other company officials recently made a trip to a North Jersey grocery store (they would not reveal the name) and purchased two packages of the imitation cookies. One, in a resealable bag, was called Teddy Bear Cookies. The other, in a box, was labeled Teddy Bears.

"We bought the items to use during a shareholders meeting, but we were all very hungry on the ride home and had to open the bag ... and box," said CMO, Darryl S Reed.

Reed went on to say that Teddy Graham knockoffs are often given to under-performing employees.

What the company officials found was very shocking to the group. "We loved them! They really were delicious. And the bear shapes seemed angrier, like they were going to help me digest other food that was in my stomach once they arrived," said Reed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

SEPTA, NJTransit, PATCO blame leaves on track for parade transit fiasco

Every November, usually mid-month, a traffic and transit report on on the local news radio station(1060AM) warns listeners of delayed regional rail trains. The cause of the delay is a gift from mother nature in the form of falling leaves.

During the fall season tens of thousands of leaves fall from their trees in the Delaware Valley. Wind carries them from a couple of feet to a few hundred miles from their origins. Wet leaves tend to carry further in the wind and find their way onto the tracks of SEPTA's rail lines and can cause schedule nightmares by making them extremely slippery.

One of these such nightmares occurred on Friday when the transportation system was pushed beyond capacity before, during and after the Phillies' championship parade. Local resident's were urged to take public transportation into the city for fear the roads could not support the number of automobiles.

"We were all set to go," said Dale Rocco, a SEPTA official, referring to the authority's preparedness for the parade,"and then the leaves began to get all over the tracks. We weren't expecting this on the last day of October."

At about 2AM on Friday morning a conductor shutting down a passenger car noticed a single leaf on the tracks near Paoli station on the R5 line.

"I was like 'this is gonna get ugly and silly' because when one leaf falls a whole lot of them fall," said conductor, Karen Thompson. "I called my supervisor and that was that."

A stiff southwesterly wind began to blow from the southwesterly and soon the tracks were covered with about twenty-five leaves. Similar reports were filed from stations along the R1, R2, R3, R4, R6, and R7 lines. Chalfont station reported 32 leaves on the tracks at 4AM.

When service began in the morning SEPTA officials ordered all inbound trains not to make any scheduled stops out of fear the cars would be unable to stop. Some stations were so conjested with Phillies fans that crowds were 50 deep in some places.

In Ardmore fans got word of why the trains were not stopping and began to pick the leaves off of the tracks.

"We started clearing the tracks but they kept falling. I would point out all of the leaves to make sure people saw them," said Sarah Dieglz, a Phillies fan from Ardmore.

Clearing the tracks made no difference as trains continued to pass full stations. Many missed the parade and SEPTA finally issued and apology.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Phillies players will not attend today's parade

Philadelphia Soul players will sit in for Phillies players during today's World Series Championship parade down Broad St. due to a scheduling conflict. The entire team is contractually obligated to attend the taping of a commercial for D'Ambrosio Dodge at the airport auto mall.

"It's unfortunate but we signed a deal with [D'Ambrosio Dodge] to tape a Halloween Phillies commercial back in April," said Phillies president, David Montgomery.

Officials feel that crowds will remain civil during the parade as long as Jon Bon Jovi makes an appearance.

Smart cars targeted during World Series street celebration

Philadelphia's Smart Cars were not immune to the unruly fan behavior that followed the Phillies' second championship in their 126 year history.

Heather Smits, assistant to Mayor Michael Nutter, warned the public days before, that raucous crowds would seek out the ultra-compact automobiles. The city went as far as to offer pick up and short term storage in South Philadelphia.

"Several people took our advice, but instead of us picking up the car, they simply mailed Smart Cars to our facility," said Smits.

One unidentified owner should have taken the city's offer, as the car was left at the intersection of Broad St and Sansom St, nearly in epicenter of the post-game party.

"We tried to push the car over but they are deceivingly stable," said Mike Brezner, 43, of Grays Ferry. "We had about 15 guys pushing and it wouldn't go. The crowd that was watching us started to laugh. It was embarrassing."

Though unsuccessful in overturning the tiny car, Brezner and company attempted to ease their embarrassment with a Louisville Slugger.

"We beat the #$%& out of that thing," said Brezner. "No Smart Car will ever embarrass me like that again. Never!"

Report: Teams were forced to stay in dugout during 2-day rain suspension

The Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays have finally completed the rain-delayed game five of the World Series. The Phillies prevailed and captured baseball's biggest prize. That much we know.

However, reports are surfacing that players from both teams were required to remain in their respective dugouts during the 2-day rain delay from Monday to Wednesday.

One source close to commissioner Bud Selig, who wanted to remain anonymous, reported: "[Bud Selig] ordered the players and coaching staff to stay in the dugout because he feared the game would lose its feel."

Selig offered no comment when questioned about the reports and went on to say that dugouts "were not comfortable places."

Players reportedly slept on the dugout floor in sleeping bags and ate left over hot dogs from sections 117 and 130. Several players used bases and piles of used sunflower seeds as pillows.

Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino gave a big smile when asked about the topic.

"Major League Baseball has banned me from commenting on this subject. But I will say it was a cold couple of nights ... wherever I may have spent them."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dominos offers free small Palin pizza for PA

Now you have a reason to save that annoying voting receipt that always gets tossed onto the polling place floor. Bring your receipt to any participating Pennsylvania Dominos Pizza, to prove you voted for McCain, and you will receive one small Palin pizza.

"I love toppings, but as long as its free then I really do like Palin pizza," said Betty Sipes, of Broomall, PA.

Company founder, Tom Monaghan, called the promotion a blessing. "The Palin pizza will help us in the critical swing state. Pennsylvania loves pizza."

Drunk, wet fans attempt to tip over Comcast Center

A group on angry Phillies fans attempted to tip over the Comcast Center, the city's tallest building, following the lengthy rain delay last night.

"It's a solid building, trust me," said Jim Higgins, a fan from Fitler Square. "It's not nearly as easy to tip over as it looks."

Higgins and some friends left a bar at 17th and Chesnut St's and made their way to the glass and steel structure with the intent of toppling the building by "pushing and shoving really hard."

"We thought we could get her to rock back and forth enough to get it to bend quite a bit. If it did go over it would have been empty because it was so late ... so that's one thing," said Higgins.

Comcast security guards caught the group in action and allowed the action to continue after having a good laugh.

"We were going to call the cops, but [the other guards and myself] were just getting such a kick out of it. They pushed and rocked for about an hour before all six fell asleep on the sidewalk," said guard, Dave Allen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rays to wear Steve Irwin patch during series

The Tampa Bay Rays, this year's American League representative in baseball's World Series, have decided to pay tribute to one of the world's great animal lovers. The team has decided to wear a patch of Steve Irwin on the right sleeve of their uniforms during the best-of-seven series.

Irwin, best known as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed just over two years ago off the coast of Australia while filming a documentary. The Australian was the victim of a rare stingray attack, where he suffered a fatal blow to the chest.

"Steve was a big fan of the Devil Rays. Actually, he was a big fan of all teams that have animals as mascots, as he thought it made the public more aware of the creatures and their fragile environments," said Cindy Thomas, a colleague and friend of the Irwin family.

The team did have a moment of silence before their game on the day after Irwin died in 2006. They also retired a jersey with Irwin's favorite number, 64(average number of teeth for a crocodile), at the beginning of the 2007 season.

"I always felt guilty that his life was cut short by a ray. Though it was a stingray and not a devil ray I just never felt right about it. So we want to honor him while participating on baseball's biggest stage," said Rays owner, Stuart Sternberg.

Irwin's death was the reason the team decided to drop devil from their name starting in the fall of 2007. Team officials wanted to distance themselves from what happened near the Great Barrier Reef the year before.

"We considered changing the name completely after the accident. Both the Tampa Bay Flounders and the Tampa Bay Sea Bass were seriously considered, but in the end we settled on just Rays," said the team's marketing director, Kimberly Monnaet.

Notes: This is the second playoff series that the Rays will wear patches. Against the Red Sox in the ALCS the team wore a Ray Romano patch to promote TBS' reruns of Everybody Love Raymond.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bye week lets area connect with fall and the outdoors

"God, I wish every bye week was this nice," said Frank Tollenz, referring to the picture perfect fall weather the Philadelphia area experienced over the weekend. "I can remember one bye week a couple years ago being very rainy and I just hated bye week that year. I was like,'god, I hate bye week.'"

Tollenz, like many other Eagles fans, only gets to enjoy one fall weekend every year due to the team's single week off—usually scheduled around the middle of the season. Though the games are on Sunday's, Tollenz spends Saturdays preparing for the game by watching film and purchasing food for football gatherings. At least twice during the workweek he drives to Lincoln Financial Field and circles the stadium twice before driving the 40 minutes home.

The Bristol,PA native pledged to his family that he would "really enjoy" this year's off-week no matter what the weather. The family, including wife Sharren and twin sons Demp and Donny, 7, took a drive around Bucks and Montgomery Counties to witness the fall foliage at its best and take in a hike.

The four were amazed at what they saw. Each reported having seen pictures of leaves changing colors, but never the real thing.

"A friend told me some years ago about leaves and colors and changing ... it was a real science fiction explanation. Something out of a UFO movie, but today I really saw what my buddy was saying."

The family seemed to be on quite a high as each were looking forward to next year's bye week already. However, the family gave an odd look when asked what they thought if the Eagles had two bye weeks per season.

"If there were two byes, that could allow me to get the old bike out of the shed or take my sons fishing or some other stuff, but that would mean two weekends of Eagle-less football and I don't know if that would work," said Tollenz.

"What a great experience this weekend was. I am truly looking forward to the 2009 bye week. I really mean that."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

'I told Chase that I can't get champagne on my back before a swim meet, but he did not listen. I was upset.'

Above: Chase Utley pours champagne down the back of third baseman Pedro Feliz in celebration of a trip to the World Series. Feliz was under strict orders from his swim coach not to get champagne on his back before a swim meet. Feliz was scheduled to swim in a meet in San Bernadino, CA after the game. Feliz took up swimming shortly after the Beijing Olympics ended in August. Though words were exchanged the two have patched things up since.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Phils bandwagon fan swears team made it this far in 2001

Philadelphia is savoring last night's NLCS clincher that has put the Phillies in the World Series for only the 6th time in franchise history. Fans filled Broad Street, gathered in Mayfair and near Citizens Bank Park.

"I'm going crazy," said Zack Mendenhall, 36, a fan from Pennsport,"It's like 2001 all over again."

A face-painted Mendenhall admitted that he is a huge Eagles and Flyers fan, but only a very casual Phillies fan. When asked what was the significance of 2001 for the Phillies he gave a confused look.

"Everybody knows the Phils went to the finals in 2001. Remember the great play where Mike Lieberthal stepped over a player on his way to home plate. We're celebrating like it's been a lot longer than seven years, but that's fine with me," said Mendenhall.

When several friends and diehard fans tried to explain to Mendenhall that it was the Sixers who made it to the finals in 2001 and Allen Iverson who stepped over a Los Angeles Laker he became very quiet.

The Pennsport native insisted it was the Phils in the "MLB Finals" that year. There were lots of finger pointing, name calling and some tears during the debate about the Phils 2001 season.

"It's so clear to me because it was a few days after my birthday in June and ... Oh god. Oh %$#@! I'm very embarrassed. You probably can't tell that I'm bright red because of all this red paint I have on my face."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

'I am ________ and this message was approved by me.'

The Federal Association of Political Advertisements(FAPA) announced today that starting immediately political radio and television ads must reword their candidate approval statements.

Currently political ads either open or close with:"I am _______ and I approve this message." Under the new FAPA requirements ads must use the following format:"I am ______ and this message was approved by me."

"Political ads can grow tiring especially when [the public] is bombarded at a dizzying rate during the final weeks before the election. We feel changing the candidate approval statement format will make the ads much more entertaining and funny," said FAPA president, Steve Dillenger.

Both the Obama and McCain camps praised the move calling it "classy" and "extremely classy and good."

"We just feel changing the format was a real classy move," said an Obama representative.

"Flat out classy and good," said a McCain representative.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stairs and Victorino to team up on Hole in the Wall

Hollywood loves a great story and it's difficult to top last night's two Phillies two-run home runs in the eighth inning to erase a two run deficit to beat the Dodgers, 7-5.

FOX television, which is based in Hollywood and televised the game, decided to ask the two Phillies heroes from game 4 to appear on the network's hit show Hole in the Wall.

The game show challenges contestants to contort their bodies to fit through cutout in a moving wall. If unsuccessful the player is pushed off the platform and into a pool.

Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs, the home run heroes, are huge fans of the show and did not hesitate when FOX executives approached them after the game with the idea.

"It's like it's a moving wall. Just one time I want to see them launch a wall that has no hole at all. You know, just to see the faces of the [contestants]," said Canadian, Stairs.

"We had a game like this in Hawaii when I was growing up, but instead of a wall and a hole we had a backboard and a rim and a basketball," said the native islander, Victorino.

The episode will be taped today as the NLCS takes a day off before game 5 tomorrow. Manager Charlie Manuel and several teammates will attend the taping.

"The show is hilarious. But it could be funnier if the wall was moving away from the players," said Manuel.

The episode will air in late March of 2009 and will contain strong adult language and lots of chewing tobacco.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Comcast Center to allow "light tailgating" in lobby during Phillies games

The new Comcast Center in Philadelphia, home to the country's largest cable and communications company by the same name, has decided to show Phillies playoff games on the lobby TV.

This is no ordinary television. It covers almost the entire north wall of the lobby as it runs 83 long and 25 feet high. It is the world's largest four-millimeter LED screen. The picture is so clear that the images that fill the many panels appear to be three-dimensional.

So special is the screen that it has begun to draw large crowds(many tourists) to view it's in-house programing and now even larger crowds for the Phillies playoff games.

"We've decided to allow light tailgating in the lobby during games. Because we have only two benches we wanted fans to be comfortable," said Comcast representative, Joseph Stills.

Stills went on to define light tailgating as the following: folding chairs, personal sized coolers, cans(no bottles), gas grills(no charcoal) and smaller-size foam fingers.

"I'm really looking forward to light tailgating tomorrow during game 4," said Debbie McShane. "But I must admit that I'm a little confused by the no cans and charcoal rule."

Stills also added: "We will not allow those cheesesteak foam hats. They're really tacky."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Torre threatens Amtrak home if Dodgers don't split in Philly

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre told his team today after workouts that if they did not get at least one victory in Philadelphia they would be taking Amtrak home across the country on Saturday morning.

Torre has informed the league of his decision, which could impact the schedule of the NLCS. If the Dodgers do at least split, the schedule will remain unchanged. If the the team falls behind 2-0 there will be four days off between games two and three to allow for train travel.

"When he said Amtrak I got the chills. But when he said Amtrak and cross-country in the same sentence ... I kind of urinated myself," said Dodger pitcher, Derek Lowe.

It takes roughly two and a half days to travel on Amtrak from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. Most trips require two train changes in either Washington,DC or Pittsburgh and Chicago.

"I pulled this stunt back in 2000 during the subway World Series with the Mets and I think it was a hit. Nobody wanted to take Amtrak anywhere, not even from the Bronx to Queens," said Torre.

Though the trip back could be physically draining on the Dodgers one player looked at the positives if they did embark along the rails. "Going through the Rockies could be fun because of the observation car and I hear the dining car serves some of the best M&M's," said the player.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

MGM buys movie rights to Bailout plan for $700 billion

MGM Studios(Metro Goldwyn Mayer) has signed a deal with the US government for the movie rights to the Bailout of Wall Street. The deal is reported to be in the area of $700 billion, the most ever to be paid for the rights to produce a film. Only for the production cost of Universal Pictures' Waterworld(1995 at $2.3 trillion) has Hollywood seen such an outlandish sum of money associated with a film.

"It's a great story and we thought it was worth the investment. We think we got it for a steal quite frankly," said MGM CFO, Kyle Shnantz.

Shnantz said that Hollywood would change the story slightly by adding a science fiction-type monster to the film.

"The bailout story is fantastic, don't get me wrong. But we feel that instead of defaulting loans causing mayhem on the markets there should be some type of eight-legged creature descending on Wall Street and Main Street," said Shnantz.

The studio announced that Kevin Costner has been asked to play the role of a Pennsylvania Amish farmer who travels to Wall Street after discovering he holds the secret to defeating the creature.

The government spent $700 billion on the Bailout plan for Wall Street and so the movie deal will help the government balance the deal. Or will it?

"The deal is great for the American people. This is such great timing. You have know idea how this extra cash will help with our planned air and ground invasion of Iran, Pakistan and ... there's a couple countries I'm forgetting and I don't mean any disrespect to them," said Dennis Ramsey, assistant to the Secretary of State.

Shnantz hopes that the movie will be in theaters by Election day on November 4th.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Manuel drives an automatic

Charlie Manuel(above) finally succumbed to the pressure of the Philadelphia media and admitted to driving an automatic transmission automobile. The Philadelphia Phillies manager had denied rumors for several years that he drove a car without a gear shift.

"We saw him get out of the car and not put the parking break on. We confronted him and he admitted it there on the spot. I then looked through the car window to confirm his statement," said Action News correspondent, Gary Smith.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Prince Fielder demands private tour of Tastykake factory

The Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder says he loves coming to Philadelphia. The Ontario, CA native spends his off-seasons in Philadelphia where he recently purchased a Center City apartment.

"It's a city of great food, great snacks and even greater snack cakes. The main reason I began spending my winters here is because of one word ... scrapple. Scrapple, man," said Fielder.

The stout first baseman can regularly be seen at Pat's, Geno's, Jim's and then back at Geno's. Residents of Chester County, the birthplace of scrapple, often report seeing the major leaguer at area diners and hobnobbing with the Amish attempting to uncover the mystery meat's ingredients.

"Though I may have came for the scrapple I stayed for the Tastykakes. And I guess for the cheesesteaks and a little bit for the pretzels ... and I guess the hoagies as well."

Fielder admits that he has a soft spot for Tastykakes and has two vending machines in his Liberty Two apartment stocked with the local treats.

"I know Chase [Utley] does commercials for Tastykake, but I think Prince would be a good spokesperson," said Fielder's public relations agent.

Such a fan of the snack cake company that Fielder requested a tour of the baking facilities. Tastykake discontinued tours of their operations in the early 90's and politely turned the Brewer down.

Fielder threatened to stop eating Krimpets and apple pies if he was not given a tour, but said he would continue eating Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes no matter what the decision.

Tastykake finally issued a statement stating they could not make an exception regarding tours, but would launch a new Krimpet with three layers of icing including Fielder's picture on the wrapper.

"That's a great compromise," said a grinning Fielder. "A delicious compromise."