Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"Most people were calling in and asking, 'What is that guy holding on the ESPN website? It's certainly not a baseball bat.' Or, 'What is he looking at? Is he looking at a football in the air? If I click on it, will take me to my NCAA bracket?'" said Tamila Bauer, an ESPN call center representative. "They wanted to know if ESPN.com was sold to another planet or something. And they also wanted to know if this cricket was affiliated in any way with the cell phone company."
ESPN, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, reported their popular website was hacked into just after 4 am eastern standard time.
"We apologize to all of our viewers and readers for the image and story that appeared on ESPN.com's front page early this morning," said Gary Arnet, head of the network's online content. "We take every precaution imaginable in an effort to prevent our computer systems from being compromised. Seriously, we have, like, all the firewall stuff. We are still unsure ourselves of what the image was, but it is unacceptable to our loyal followers. It is possible that the image was of an ice hockey player holding some sort of new stick."
Monday, March 28, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
One episode had a puppet break the process down for the young audience: "And then boys and girls, hundreds of perfectly safe toxic chemicals are injected into the ground to help energy escape to the surface. Energy that will help make your toys and popsicles and A-Team big wheels. And, no matter what you hear boys and girls, the water is safe to drink. But don't play with the flames that come out of the faucet, don't ever play with those flames. Fraggle Rock will be right back after a message from our Fraggly friends at Halliburton."
"As it turns out, Jim Henson, the show's creator, was reportedly on the payroll of Halliburton, a leader in fracking," said Josh Fox, star and creator of the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland. "Fraggle Rock was just a way to promote fracking to children. When I was little the puppets came to my school and put a show on called Fracking Rock. I wish I knew all this before the movie came out."
Cooper-Sinclair, and independent research firm, recently released a study showing that adults 33 to 38 absolutely "love" hydraulic fracturing, a process that releases natural gas from rock formations such as marcellus shale.
"I don't know what it is," said Gail Bauer, 36, of Wellsboro, PA. "I know fracking is bad for humans and the environment, but I love it. I absolutely love fracking. There, I said it, I love fracking ... and Fraggle Rock."
Cooper-Sinclair also reported that natural gas company executives pushing the controversial process nationwide fall within this age group and have Fraggle puppets in their offices.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Pre-playoff Stanley Cup world tour continues: Papua New Guinea villagers, like many Americans, unsure about hockey
"Last year, the ratings were fantastic, but we wanted to build on that," said Vince Bollard, NHL director of television relations. "The Finals featured one great hockey town, Philadelphia, but two great sports cities with Chicago. It was nice to have the big market teams battling for the Cup, but we want to expand our market globally and we think we're headed in the right direction with this tour."
Mike Bolt (pictured holding the Cup above), one of the keepers of the storied trophy, went along for the global trek to keep a close eye and act as an ambassador for the game. The schedule has the Cup returning to the North America by mid-April in time for the playoffs, but not before stopovers in the Galopogos Islands, Fiji, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Timor and Brunei, to name a few.
"The trip has been great," said Bolt, grinning through the oppressive humidity and perspiration dripping from his forehead, saturating his freshly pressed suit and trademark white gloves as he waited to depart New Guinea's Jacksons International Airport. "Papua New Guinea has been an interesting adventure and I think we may have some new fans tuning into the game next month. I think the Cup struck a chord with these villagers."
Bolt and the Cup arrived in Mutam, a village of forty-three that faces frequent power supply interruptions and where the average worker takes home $2 per day, on Tuesday to a crowd of three. Just three. Not three hundred or, even, thirty. Just three.
"We took Stanley into a traditional New Guinea living quarters," said an excited Bolt. "They were not really sure what to make of the silver guy. At first, they were frightened. I told them to not be scared and told them they could win the Cup one day."
The visit to this rural community was arranged by the NHL several months ago as part of a carefully planned out travel itinerary that would yield the "highest volume of new fans and have potential as a possible future talent pool." But the contact person, the community's mayor equivalent, had traveled to Port Moresby, the country's capital, on official business. Essentially, the league arrived in this village on the other side of the world with no connections.
"The residents really had no warning that we were coming because apparently the mayor was waiting until our actual arrival to break the news," said Bollard, rolling his eyes and hinting that the community's leader may be sporting new sneakers when he returns.
The four men and two women representing the league, despite losing their "in" with the village, attempted to organize a pickup street hockey game with the villagers using sticks shipped two weeks earlier, where only ten of fifty could be accounted for, and a whiffle ball.
As the residents, one by one, began to lose interest in the game they turned their attention to gathering supplies for a weekly fishing expidtion along the shallow inland marsh waters on the southern coast of this nation of nearly seven million. The ambassadors were determined to go along for the trip and, when the locals refused, citing dangerous conditions on narrow, hollowed-out boats, the NHL strongly suggested they go along for the ride.
"The canoes were very unstable, but they told me that I could not sit down and that by doing so would jeopardize the entire hunt," said Bolt. "But I got used to standing really fast. I mean, real fast. There was a snake right in front of me."
The league feels that, despite the low interest in hockey in New Guinea, thus far the trip has been a success. The NFL held a fairly successful tryout last year in Port Moresby signing two players and the NHL plans to do the same in fifteen years after the game "catches on a bit."
"Would I schedule a visit to Mutam again?" asked Bollard. "Absolutely, but I would pay the mayor half the guide fee in the beginning and half at the end, instead of paying all of it before we even arrived."
Monday, March 14, 2011
SCHUYLKILL RIVER CLOSE TO BEING NAMED SUSQUEHANNA
An exhausted Theodore Susquehanna sailed up the Schuylkill River in 1679.
He was looking for any river that was unnamed in the Colonies. "You there,
child," he called to a young boy alnog the banks. "Does this river have a name?"
The boy replied, "Yes, sir. Yes, it does."
"Dammit!" shouted Susquehanna. "Pull up the anchors, we're headed south.
I'm tired of this crappe. We're going to Baltimore to visit Stevie Chesapeake,
he'll know what to do. And by god where is that crumpet I asked for!"
Friday, March 11, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
"It's exactly how it sounds," said Gunther Bjourn, the owner of Get Stocky, Holmes, a fitness center in Stockholm, Sweden. "Throw on some skates and jump onto a treadmill and just sort of kick back and enjoy the ride. It's an unbelievable workout. I like to set the treadmill on the fastest speed. I wouldn't do that if I was doing regular old running, no way."
Grabbing a pair of inline skates and heading to the gym is so popular throughout Europe right now that space designated for free weights, Nautilus, yoga, hurling warm up, curling warm up and aerobics have been converted to enormous treadmill zones. It is such a phenomenon that warmer cities like Seville, Malaga, Cadiz, Naples, Palma and Palermo, have set up treadmills in local parks so that enthusiasts can enjoy the outdoors while rollerblading on the normally indoor exercise equipment.
"Treadmill rollerblading is the hottest thing in Europe right now," said Danielle Stevens, editor of European Style Magazine and resident of Paris. "Like most of these crazes it started in a small town outside of Nice, France and has spread across the continent and into northern Africa."
Parkour, the ultra-popular urban running, balancing and jumping "sport," also got its start in France, but never quite caught on in the U.S. Can parkour forecast treadmill rollerblading's success or failure?
"I don't know," responded Gale Marks, 43, of Providence, RI, when asked if she would ride a treadmill wearing rollerblades. "It sounds a bit dangerous to be honest. But if everyone was doing it ... especially, Europe ... well, then..."
"You just blew my mind, dude. Looks freakin' rad," said Connor Swill, 22, of Long Beach, CA, a professional skateboarder, after shown a picture of professional treadmill rollerblader Jaque La Gerrier. "You sure it didn't start in SoCal? Usually all these things kick off in California."
U.S. Senators and Representatives have been praising the new activity's potential with obese children in this country. Some elected officials are calling for the federal government to subsidize treadmills and inline skates to assist in ending sedentary lifestyles in our nation's young people.
"Treadmill rollerblading, I firmly believe, will get children in this country active again," said Senator Max Burton of Idaho. "Get out from behind those tv's and video games, grab a pair of rollerblades, purchase a federally subsidized treadmill and start roller-treading. I just made that term up now. Yeah, roller-treading."
"It makes me want to be real active again," said Toby Harrison, 10, of Los Angeles, CA. "I like to put [the treadmill] on the steepest incline and just go ... for hours. You really have to pay attention. I can still watch tv and the cup holder is perfect for Twinkies and m&m's, but not the peanut kind. You'll never catch me eating peanut m&m's."