College Football Weekend Recap: “Won My Pool” Edition

Thanks to Tony Romo, I won my pick’em pool this week. Romo threw an interception late in last night’s Jets v. Cowboys game that not only gave the Jets a win, but me a win, too. I’m playing in a pool with 20ish people, organized by a friend of my dad’s, and after a second-place finish last weekend, I emerged victorious this time. Yes, I’m gloating. But I made lucky guesses on a bunch of NFL games (and somehow nailed all my college picks), so I’ll take it.

One of my correct picks: USC over Utah in the inaugural Pac-12 contest. Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times recapped several firsts for the conference, but acknowledges that a number bigger than “12” might follow “Pac” after this season. “Pac-12 football: Catch it while it lasts?” he asks, breaking down possible scenarios that could play out once Texas A&M becomes an official member of the SEC.

Rivals/Yahoo’s Tom Dienhart gave out his Week 2 “awards,” and they make for a pretty entertaining read. From the “Desperately seeking…anything” award (Mike Riley) to the “Thought you’d get your butt kicked, you didn’t” award (Iowa State) and several others in between (like Oregon’s “Dang, they’re good” honor), he offers a funny, quick look at the past week and near future in college football.

Don’t look now, but both of the Pac-12’s Washington teams have better records than its Oregon teams. The Huskies and lowly Cougars are both 2-0. Washington State leads the nation in scoring offense, for crying out loud. On ESPN’s Pac-12 blog, Ted Miller looks at the teams’ recent success but notes that they both play big road games next weekend.

As if a 2-0 Wazzu team isn’t frightening enough, we come to the most ridiculous item of the day. Addicted to Quack, a popular Duck blog, reported Sunday evening that Mike Pereira, the Pac-12’s new coordinator for officiating, says that players flashing the “O” after a score is bordering on unsportsmanlike conduct. Um, excuse me? Are the players thumping their chests? No. Are they jumping in to the stands? No. They’re making an “O” with their hands. Pereira’s video explanation is really what got me going. Apparently salutes are okay (he says it’s a tribute to the military; I’m not saying players and fans aren’t grateful for the sacrifice of servicemen and women, but I’m doubtful that every post-touchdown salute is made with the sole intention of honoring the military and not celebrating the score), as are points to the sky, thanking God. But flash a symbol with your hands that’s ripe with meaning for your team and its fans? Apparently, that’s a no-no. Ridiculous. (Video linked in this story by KVAL in Eugene, which was linked in the ATQ post.)

Editor’s Note: I’m not the first to make those arguments, and I’d say the same thing for any other team that came under fire for this; I’m not just trying to defend the Ducks. There is obvious unsportsmanlike conduct, and then there are harmless celebrations. Regardless of the team, this is harmless.

Hate to end on a sour note, but that’s just absurd. On a lighter note, there was the super-exciting end to Michigan v. Notre Dame. Really couldn’t care less about the teams, but you’ve got to love an electric finish to a game played in front of the largest crowd in college football history.

What were your favorite moments, stories or blog posts from the weekend?

Thought About Your Christmas List?

You know it’s time to get thinking about a Christmas list when you see e-mail messages like these waiting for you:

The first is from my mom’s mom:

Are you working on a Christmas stocking and gift list? You better be………you don’t want to find coal in your stocking do ya? lol,lol,lol

And then there’s this from my dad’s parents:

Grandma and I are open for gift ideas—gift Cards, Cash, or Candy Canes.

Regardless of the fact that my grandma used “LOL” in an e-mail, I think it’s still pretty awesome that: 1) my grandparents care enough to solicit requests, rather than just assume I’d like a knitted sweater with a bird on the front, and 2) that my grandparets solicit these requests via e-mail, and not through snail mail or a phone call.  They are, more or less, hip with the times.

I’ve been thinking about potential Christmas gifts (hey, they asked), and all I’ve thought about is all three seasons of 30 Rock on DVD.  My mom should go for that, because that would mean I’d stop stealing hers.

The other item that has really been on my mind is The Grammar Devotional.

From what I have gathered, it’s a daily “devotional” book, but instead of encouraging messages or scriptures, it gives you daily grammar and writing tips.  My mom told my aunt about the book as a gift idea for me: “Yes, Paige really asked for this,” she said.  (Image from the Boulder Bookstore website.)

While flipping through the pages of the most recent issue of New York magazine, which includes their annual “Gift Guide,” I found this gem:

It’s the New York Times Jigsaw Puzzle.  You can pick any New York Times cover page since 1888 to be made into a jigsaw puzzle (the picture came from the site online where you can purchase the puzzle):

Also in New York, I found an advertisement for a brand-new product that I’m sure will be sweeping the nation soon.  The “Snoodie.”  Behold:

This is somewhat unbelievable to me.  Considering they’re currently confined to a quarter-page ad on page 132 of New York, I don’t think Snoodies have hit the Snuggie’s level of popularity, but I’m still bracing for their impact.

There’s only one month left until Christmas Eve: what’s on your Christmas list this year?  I’d love to hear your ideas.  It might spark some inspiration for me and other gift-buyers.  If you haven’t thought about it, get going.  My grandma might e-mail you if you don’t.  LOL.

Boomer and Steve

Have you ever come across anything totally strange and absurd?  Something that made you double-take?  I’m sure the answer is yes (and if you have any humorous ones, please share).  A prime example would be this photo:


One of the most influential musicians of the last fifty years paired with a bubblegum-pop boy band?  What?

That is how I felt when I saw Boomer Esiason as a judge on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef” last night.  What?  Is he selling out?  Just having fun?

This is obviously not earth-shattering news, but just something I found confusing/amusing.  As if seeing one of my musical heroes paired with a barely tolerable band isn’t enough, I have to see Boomer on the Food Network.  It’s weird seeing a football player/analyst discussing the texture and taste of pig brains (seriously).

“Iron Chef” judges always seem so holier-than-thou, discussing the blending of different flavors and rattling off the names of strange ingredients, so it surprised me to see Boomer talking the gourmet language.

At present, there is no image to accompany Boomer’s Food Network appearance, but I’m on the lookout.

On a more relevant note, iTunes 9 has been downloaded on this here MacBook.  And it’s pretty dang awesome.  Steve Jobs has done it again.

The “Genius” feature in iTunes 8 was pretty cool, but I never became a regular user.  However, iTunes 9 gives us “Genius Mixes.”  With Mixes, iTunes generates groups of mixes that are basically personal Pandora channels.  It presents you with twelve channels of music that are grouped together based on genre, artist, etc.

As I write, I’m listening to the “Rock” channel (actually, 6 of the channels were dubbed “Rock”: Rock, Rock 2, etc., but they’re all unique).  If you like Pandora, you’ll like Genius Mixes.  Right now, I’d even say I like it better, because I’m more familiar with all of the songs and I can skip as many as I like.

Plus, it just looks cool:

iTunes Mixes

At the time of this screen cap, I was enjoying the R&B/Soul Mix; feeding my Motown obsession.

Have you downloaded iTunes 9?  What do you think of the changes?  (There are also some new features regarding shared libraries and iTunes store layout.)  Also, if you’ve tried the Genius Mixes feature, I’d be interested in hearing about what mixes it generated for you and whether or not you enjoyed those mixes.

Thanks, Steve Jobs.

Also, as you already know, it’s September 11.  One of those days that’s permanently burned on your brain, one of those days that becomes one of the defining moments in a nation’s history.  I’d like to take this space to honor those who lost their lives on that day, and to thank those who work to preserve our freedom today.  I’ll know I’ll never understand the depth of your sacrifice, so thank you.