"If he felt uncomfortable, then that's a lesson; that's what [the class] was designed to do."
- Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania high school teacher John Kelly, who made a 17-year-old student wearing a Denver Broncos jersey in his ethnicity class, sit on the floor and take a test while other students threw crumpled up paper at him - before the Steelers beat the Broncos in the AFC Championship game - thus providing another reason - just in case one was required - for America [and Europe] to root for the Seahawks this Sunday.
"I've been in that situation a lot. People look at you like they're going to whip you."
- North Dakota State head men's hoop coach, Tim Miles, after his Bison - in the third year of their transition from Division II to Division I - upset Wisconsin in Madison to become the whipper instead of the whippee.
"It's certainly not about what's doing well in England. It's 'What will the American people like?'"
- BBC America general manager Kathryn Mitchell, explaining what programming gets selected for the cable channel. May we offer a suggestion, Kathryn? Super Bowl stuff - maybe wagering on Super Bowls, we know how you Brits like to wager - followed by Monty Python, then Creature Comforts, then more Python. That should be a winner this week.
It is Super Bowl week and - as is contractually obligated - all the planets have aligned themselves, the ozone hole has agreed to stop growing this week and all the world's human brains - even some of those in Europe - have manipulated their neurons to fire in synchronicity when Seattle and Pittsburgh kick off. In a perfect world, the Lounge would like to see a Steeler or Seahawk dressed as Lucy pull the ball away just as the kicker, dressed as Charlie Brown, comes to boot it on the opening kickoff - oh well, we will keep that one in our dreams. The Super Bowl, of course, has two distinct audiences - there are the half that actually care about the outcome of the game and there are the half who could care less about the outcome of the game and watch for the ads. The Lounge has usually fallen into the latter half in most Super Bowl years but this year, with Seattle in the game and some Cougars set to directly benefit from a win - the clientele is all worked up in a lather, rinse, repeat cycle. It will be difficult to break the Lounge policy of muting the television announcers and replacing them with music, but we will do our part to save the whales.
Of course, the Lounge will still keep our eye on the ball - but the real prize will be contested in the commercial breaks - where the Lounge has always had an affinity for the Emerald Nuts spots from last year. We got a glimpse of them during the college bowl game season so we already know about the manicurists and the matadors but perhaps most of the country will have to wait until the fourth quarter - when their ad is scheduled to run - to see if it is manicurists, matadors or some new m-word making its debut. We might not have to wait that long to see GoDaddy.com's ad - they might not even have an ad. Or it might all be a publicity stunt. Depends on how you take your coffee - a mocha with suspense or black with cynicism. Last year, GoDaddy - a domain registration site based in Phoenix - caused a gentle stir when their ad featured a buxom model in a spaghetti strap garment testifying before a congressional committee until one of her spaghetti straps broke was pulled after its first showing. The resulting hype over the unprecedented in-game censorship of an ad was a financial boon for GoDaddy. This year, GoDaddy has had 13 versions of their ad supposedly rejected by ESPN/ABC and the NFL may or may not be involved but you can follow all the drama or faux drama on the blog of the company president if you have nothing better to do this week. Or you can brush up on your espanol from high school and prepare yourself for Toyota's bi-lingual ad.
The Lounge has always been fascinated with the contradiction of Super Bowl commercials. On one hand, during most of the televised sporting year - commercials and commercial breaks are loathed during the various games. It stops the action - unnecessarily at times - just to give a company an opportunity to hawk its product. Then, of course, there are the corporate bowl game sponsorships - don't get us started on those - Father Lotto is barely coherent in Super Bowl week and we don't need any more calls from the Bulgarian embassy. But in the week of Super Bowl, ads are treated with almost the same attention as movie premieres - companies even advertise their upcoming ads in newspapers and trade publications. It might be a little too much hype - if that is possible - and normally the Lounge likes to distance ourselves from hype. But where will the Lounge be on Sunday? Yep, sitting in front of the television with the Lounge-O-Meter - rating the ads with the rest of the entrapped manicurists.
"Finally! A win! I knew it was coming because I called a cab and the cabbie said he liked women better than Arizona," says Lounge newcomer Myron Goatcabin, after the Cougar women hoopsters defeated Arizona for their first conference win of the year.
Well Myron, we are not sure if you understood that cabbie correctly but let's just hope you did not wind up in Salt Lake City with a $4591 fare to pay. The Wazzu women got their first conference win of the year and seventh overall [which exceeds last year's overall win total] and they can now breathe at least somewhat easier. Senior Keisha Moore and junior Kate Benz both unloaded on the Wildcats and had career nights with 28 and 24 points respectively, to break the streak. Moore might even get Pac-10 Player of the Week if Candice Wiggins, the conference's resident female version of Kobe Bryant, allows that to happen. Unfortunately for Cougar fans and well-wishers, the men did not win on the road in the Bay Area this week and that means that - for the month of January - both the men and women won one game apiece. In both cases, there were squad depletions due to injuries combined with multiple close losses and last-second baskets. The month of February will be a crucial month for each program. For the women, who are improving with every week, it will be a matter of continuing that improvement, staying healthy and getting a few more wins to end their year in double digits in overall wins - something that has not been accomplished in five years and setting the table for next year. For the men, they still have an outside shot at post-season play in the NIT, but will need at least 16 wins for consideration and most likely need to get injured point guard Derrick Low back in mid-February in order to make that happen. If Low does not come back until late February, it will probably put pressure on the Cougars to run the table in the Pac-10 tournament in order to get some post-season gravy - and so far, the tournament, with its inherent location bias toward the Los Angeles schools has not been a favorable experience for the Cougars.
"Isn't there something going on with the football team?" asks Billy Hill, the Headless Hoarse Man, who could've sworn he heard something the other day.
Billy, if you follow along closely enough, there is always something going on with the football team. Sometimes they brush their teeth, other times they put on their pajamas, occasionally they go to class. Many times they play video games, listen to music and lift weights. In this week's episode of As the Cougar Football Turns, we had offensive lineman Spencer Hollison leaving the team in search of greener playing time pastures while receiver Michael Bumpus returned to the team from academic ineligibility limbo - at least for now. Naturally, there is always some garden variety of legal or moral sub-plots to keep the fawning public intrigued and this week's topic was domestic violence - a nice break from the mundane litany of alcohol-related offenses that usually pop up eventually. All this and we have not even delved into the recruiting soap operas that multiply like rabbits. Just as well - farmers don't like rabbits in their garden varieties.
The Lounge takes a brief break from Super Bowl hype [you are welcome] to bring you the Lounge link. Remember back in the day when National Geographic magazine had pictures of topless women from remote tribes depicted in the name of cultural enlightenment? Ah yes, the Lounge's first introduction to the wonder of the female breast, we remember it well. But, ahem, we digress. Now there will be no more of that - at least not in certain parts of Africa, where we discovered [right there in the third paragraph from the bottom] that African tribal women now cover their bosoms with Washington State Volleyball Band t-shirts. Hmmm .maybe there is a GoDaddy ad that can be cobbled together from that.
Finally, back to the Super Bowl [sorry] as the Lounge Scientists spent some time trying to figure out how exactly a person develops a fondness for a certain type of brand that the various companies then try to exploit [like say, oh, in Super Bowl ads]. People learn to associate an irrelevant stimulus with a positive experience [Pavlov's dog, the Olympics, eggnog, etc.] and it is all our brain's fault. Or rather, certain regions in our brains, as the Scientists' study found.
"The key message of our study is that we are able to make use of neural signals deep in our brain to guide our decisions about what items to choose, say when choosing between particular soups in a supermarket, without actually sampling the foods themselves," says Lounge Scientist #35 John O'Doherty, a researcher at CalTech in Pasadena, who reputedly likes broccoli cheese soup better than minestrone.
If you want any member of the Lounge clientele this week, they will all be engaged in scientific laboratories while we are fixing their brains so that the irrelevant stimulus of entrapped manicurists will give them the positive experience of eating more Emerald Nuts. We should have the results in by next week.
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