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January 17, 2010
"I trust my teammates to set good screens and I just got really open looks. They're really good screeners."
- Wazzu sophomore shooting sensation Klay Thompson, praising his teammates after he led the team in scoring with 27 points in the win over Stanford.
"The mark that catches my eye more than any other in the meet is Brett Blanshan's 6.87 in the 60-meter dash."
- Wazzu head track & field coach Rick Sloan, pointing out the fast time of promising sprinter Brett Blanshan at the 2010 season-opening indoor meet.
"We are well on our way now to doing the same kind of number we did in Torino and Salt Lake City before that."
- NBCU Olympics Chief Dick Ebersol, explaining - in public relations code - that the 2010 Winter Olympics will lose somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple hundred million dollars.
"That's who Bart is - the son of Eddie Haskell."
- The creator of The Simpsons - which recently enjoyed their 20th anniversary episode - Matt Groening, explaining the television genetic lineage of his star character, Bart Simpson.
The Lounge would not go as far as to accuse the perpetrators of the BCS Taliban that their system is a fallacy or that their executive director blatantly lies when he claims that playoffs diminish a sport - just look how diminished the Super Bowl or March Madness are. Poor pro football and college basketball, how will they ever survive this obvious diminishment of their sports? So let us just say he is, um, mishandling the truth a bit. Okay, a lot. But the truth is still out there somewhere - it just does not happen to be coming out of the BCS Taliban director's mouth at this time. He would make a good Pac-10 men's hoop official.
Since the Super Bowl - even in its "diminished" capacity - is only weeks away, now seems like a good time to check in on how the economy has affected it. The answer is - not good. The Lounge's annual Super Bowl Ad-O-Rama will receive many new twists this year and the first twist already came when Pepsi - one of the game's biggest sponsors over the years - decided not to advertise in this year's game. That is not such a big loss, after all, aside from a failed commercial attempt that resulted in Michael Jackson's hair catching on fire, what has been Pepsi's most memorable Super Bowl commercial experience? Michael J. Fox? Dancing bears? Britney Spears? We rest our case. The biggest Super Bowl ad loss would be if Budweiser ever decides to leave the game - now that would be a definition of diminishment. At first glance, one would rightfully say - why would Bud ever leave the Super Bowl? It's a match made in heaven. Ah yes, but you see, Bud - that is to say, Anheuser-Busch - is no longer owned by the American-based families who made them into a success. A-B is now owned [since late 2008] by a Belgian conglomerate called InBev which has a reputation for purse string stinginess and, being European-centered, who might see the World Cup as a better usage of their massive advertising dollars.
There is no immediate danger to Bud leaving the Super Bowl - their current deal is good through the 2012 game - but the 2014 World Cup in Brazil might be recipient of more Bud advertising dollars than World Cups in the past. The real danger for this year's game comes in the category of quality. CBS has dropped $200,000-500,000 off the price of a 30-second spot in this year's game. Sure, it is still a whopping $2.5-2.8 million for that spot, but that may be bad or good. It could be bad if that opens the door for smaller companies and it turns out that the door should have remained shut or it could be good if the smaller companies, in their effort to be noticed, are more creative than Pepsi and General Motors in conveying their messages. The Lounge has seen some examples and already likes the thinking that goes on at Diamond Foods - one of the benefactors of the price decrease - but the Super Bowl does weird things to advertising people's brains, so we will officially hold off judgment until the Big Day.
The next big event after the Super Bowl will be the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the Lounge can already name three things wrong with this event - warm weather, television coverage and Dick Ebersol. The unseasonably warm weather may cool down by the time the Games actually begin, so that may wind up being a moot point, but television coverage and Ebersol will be constants. Ebersol is in charge of NBC Universal which is, in turn, in charge of television programming of the Games for the United States and that means, if we are to judge from past Games' coverage from the dictator Ebersol, hours upon hours of figure skating coverage and syrupy features instead of actual live event coverage. Why would anybody want live event coverage? Such an unreasonable demand. But this is a new year and a new Olympics and the Lounge is nothing, if not open to change. So we will officially give Ebersol the benefit of the doubt - and it is a monstrous-sized doubt - and wait and see if he pulls a significant rabbit out of his television hat next month. It is only fair because the best thing about these Olympics are that they are located in Canada - and Canada deserves to be given a chance to prove they can overshadow Ebersol's iron-fisted television regime if required.
After a brief hiatus, the Lounge research team was tossed back into the societal fray in the new year and the first thing they wanted to know was - who uses mouthwash anymore? It seems as though mouthwash is a liquid of the past now that many people seems to assume that gum or mints are a suitable replacement for the liquid and have downloaded gum and mint apps on their Blackberries and IPhone's [because technology has convinced the more malleable-brained humans that anything can be replaced by a computer]. But in Jackson, Mississippi [where the Lounge would like to see what the Blackberry and IPhone sales numbers are compared to the rest of the country] and pretty much most of the South [all but one of the Top 10 in the mouthwash usage list] they still use mouthwash to cover up their garlic and grits breath.
"Is this what we have to look forward to for the next two months?" asks Ron Devious, about Wazzu's men's hoop team's games.
Ron is upset because after Wazzu had built up a seemingly comfortable 20-point lead, he thought he could sit down and enjoy his soup and ham sandwich and watch a blowout Cougar victory over Stanford - only to have the Cougars allow the Trees to come roaring back and almost win - thereby causing indigestion. In fact, the last three games have featured wild swings of indigestion-inducing play from the Cougars. Wazzu took an early 7-1 lead against ASU on the road two weeks ago, only to get blown out for the rest of the game. Then, last week, the Cougars came out sleepwalking against California and allowed the Bears to build a 20-point cushion before coming back to make the game somewhat close at certain points of the game before falling by the wayside. Then there is the game against Stanford where they dropped behind early, came storming back, then seemingly took a mental nap and had to hold on for dear life at the end to bring home their third conference win of the year. We know Father Lotto will not be able to take this kind of rollercoaster ride for the entire season and we suspect that, if this topsy-turviness continues, many of the Cougar fans and well-wishers will need to self-medicate themselves before viewing any game this year. But the good news is that, at 13-5 and 3-3 through six games of the Pac-10, it appears as if Wazzu has a solid chance for their potential school-record fourth consecutive post-season appearance. Now, whether that will be in the NIT or the NCAA, remains to be seen - the Lounge consensus is that a fourth-place conference finish will be the minimum requirement for an NCAA berth - but the future looks bright.
"Things are looking good," says Rancid Polecat #2 about the opening weekend of indoor track and field last week.
There is no mystery that Wazzu junior and two-time defending men's 400-meter hurdles NCAA champion Jeshua Anderson will be setting his sights bringing the long-standing Pac-10 record [47.72 set by UCLA's Kevin Young 22 years ago] home to Pullman and predictably, Anderson looked good in his initial outings on the indoor circuit - but it was freshman sprinter Brett Blanshan who was a pleasant surprise in his first official performance as a Cougar - clocking a 6.87 in the 60 meters. That promising time - only .11 off the freshman record set by Anthony Buchanan nine years ago - is a promising start for Blanshan and may give Wazzu a presence in the sprints this year for the Apple Cup and Pac-10 meet. With Anderson's points expected to be money in those events, any additional points the Cougars can get will be gravy on top of that money. It is still early but just like the men's hoop team's prospects - the future looks bright.
With the Super Bowl only a few weeks away and closing in rapidly, we understand one might be getting fidgety about one's Super Bowl advertisement prospects. Now that Pepsi is out and besides Bud's usual torrent of ads - what is the big expectation for 2010? The Lounge suggests Doritos. Last year, Doritos' parent company - Frito-Lay - held a contest with a $1 million prize going to the best homemade commercial they received and two unemployed brothers from Indiana came up with a gem involving a vending machine which they created for less than $2,000. This year, three winners will be selected and you can vote for them here. The added incentive this year will be a shared $5 million bonus cash prize if any of the three claim a top three spot in the post-game ad ratings.
Meanwhile, the Lounge Scientists are here to bring some bad news to everybody who swears by resveratrol [a compound in red wine] and its ability to slow the process of human aging. Humans cannot drinks gallons of red wine to get enough resveratrol to produce the desired effects so scientists have tried to produce pills that mimic resveratrol's effects but, alas, have not yet been successful in their efforts.
"I think it's a setback because there's been a lot of optimism about these resveratrol-like compounds," says Lounge Scientist #72, Matt Kaeberlein, a biochemist at the University of Washington, who, being at UW, is reportedly used to dealing with large quantities of hype.
This gives the Lounge an epiphany - put some resveratrol in a can of Bud and you have the ingredients for a possible Super Bowl ad.
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