Great Win, Ugly Caps

It’s nearly November and the World Series hasn’t even started yet.

At least the ALCS is over, with the Yankees finally taking a postseason series from the Angels. It was a long series and I’m glad it’s over.

Watching the postgame coverage though, my thoughts aren’t of the Phillies or the awesome performances of Sabathia and Rodriguez, but rather the ugly AL champion caps the Yankees had.

So now it’s on to the World Series. Here’s hoping the Yankees can wrap things up by Thanksgiving.

King Tom Vs. Leftovers

I like to eat.

I like to cook.

But I hate leftovers.

In the past week, I’ve done a lot of cooking; flank steak, spaghetti and meatballs, trout and a chicken bouillabaise. And it was all very good.

And with the exception of the trout, we’ve had leftovers of everything. So the past few nights have been leftover-filled (with the exception of Sunday, where we had spaghetti courtesy of the Civee’s mother). On my way home tonight, I was dreading tonight’s prospective dinner-leftover spaghetti. Not that it was bad-it was some damn fine spaghetti and meatballs. I just wasn’t feeling it today.

Luckily, in the mail we receoved a buy-one, get-one free coupon from our friendly neighborhood Chipolte (although it was puzzling, as the Grandview Chipolte does not need help drumming up business). I convinced the Civee to go with Chipolte for dinner and save the leftovers for another night.

We weren’t the only customers with that plan. Half the neighborhood showed up, coupons in hand. And even though the burrito hit the spot, now I’m wondering if it was the right move, as the spaghetti looms for a future dinner, hanging over our heads like the Sword of Damocles.

I’m really hoping for something else to come up for tomorrow. If any of the finer restaurants in Grandview care to throw some coupons our way, it would be appreciated. I may even be able to throw in some leftover spaghetti and meatballs in exchange.

Dear Columbus Drivers, Red Means Stop.

The other day, The Civee and I were walking around, about to cross the street, when we were almost run over by a car driven by a woman who apparently didn’t notice the red octagonal sign hovering over the intersection.

She eventually stopped, with the front of her car out in traffic, so we passed behind her, quite miffed, while alerting her to the fact that she blew past a stop sign.  Sure we were loud, but we felt because she had her windows and sunroof open that she heard us.

Flashforward to yesterday evening…I was waiting for The Civee to get back home from her class when I get a panicked call from her: “I’m all right, I was in an accident, I’ll call back later.”

Turns out, The Civee was going through an intersection on her way home, while some yahoo driving an SUV ignored the fact that he had a red light, ran through the light and straight into the side of our car (effectively T-Boning it).  Our car swung around and got hit again on the front.

The Civee bumped her head and was checked out by paramedics at the scene.  Other than a headache, she’s all right (and we think the baby is too).

The car, on the other hand, is not.  We went to the place where it was towed to pick up our things, and when we first got there, I didn’t recognize the car.  For some reason, they wouldn’t let me take pictures, but I can say that it made the last time we were hit look like a scratch.

As I said, luckily, The Civee is fine and our insurance should take care of the car.  But still, two incidents within days where our lives are endangered by idiots failing to heed the most basic rule- that red means stop.

I know I’m not a perfect driver.  But I’m definitely going to be paying attention to those octagonal signs and red lights in the future.

Kingdom For Sale

I guess I’m fooling someone, because this blog has been declared a success.

Well, it was called a success by my friend and associate J-Dog, who claims that I’m more likely to get blog sponsors than he is.

Outside of being offered a free product sample two years ago, I really don’t see that happening. I could always sign up for Google AdSense and make some serious money like the Morning Toast (or at least one-fourth of it, because he has a whole network, and I have, well, you’re reading it).

But J-Dog’s comment got me thinking…if I could get paid to plug a sponsor on the blog, would I do it?

Because the Kingdom is mostly for your and my entertainment, I’d do it if it was something I could get behind.

The obvious choices (and why they probably wouldn’t work) would be:

  • The Yankees (because the world doesn’t hear from enough obnoxious Yankees fans)
  • Lost (because the one remaining season needs more promotion)
  • Weezer (the label doesn’t promote their albums anymore, why would they pay to sponsor a blog?)
  • Star Wars (see The Yankees)

I think it’s highly unlikely I’d land any of those prime accounts.  And I wouldn’t want to shill for something I don’t believe in (or something that’s used to prepare a food I don’t like to cook).  So unless I were to sign up for AdSense, it doesn’t look like the dollars will be rolling into the Kingdom.

Speaking of advertising, the one little bit of marketing I do for the blog, sponsoring Hideki Irabu’s baseball-reference.com page, continues to pull in tens of visitors each month.  Best five bucks I ever spent!

Disclose. Or Else.

Word-of-mouth is one of the most important promotional tools that any product can have.

Generate a good buzz, and people will buy.  But if people don’t like what you’re selling, it’s very likely they’ll tell others to stay away.

Nowadays, people don’t just talk to their friends about things they may be looking to buy.  They also go online.  I’ve let reviews on Amazon or random blogs influence my buying decisions, and I’m sure that’ll continue in the future.

A few years ago, I actually got an offer to review a product that I mentioned on the Kingdom.  The PR rep for the item offered to send me a free sample to do a complete review.  While I was flattered, I turned him down (more out of the fact that I don’t cook turkey than any other reason).  I’m sure others who run more reputable and/or popular blogs get similar offers every day and are often rolling in free products.

In many cases, it’s assumed that someone reviewing a product for a media outlet has received a free sample.  In some other cases, reviewers mention they’ve received freebies from the manufacturer.

But now, bloggers are being told that they have to disclose any freebies or else.

Monday, the Federal Trade Commission announced new rules about disclosing items mentioned in blog reviews:

The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.

True, it’s a good practice to mention any links between a reviewer and a product, but not every case is that simple.  Or, as Wired puts it more simply:

If a well-known dog blogger reviews dog food they bought, no disclosure is necessary. If they review free dog food acquired through a coupon spit out by the supermarket’s computer, no disclosure is necessary. But if the dog food company sends the blogger a free sample based on their review, both the company and the blogger are on the hook if any subsequent review doesn’t include that info.

It’s an interesting idea, but as Wired mentions, it raises a lot of questions.

Here’s mine:  how’s the FTC going to enforce this?  I’m guessing this is aimed at U.S.-only blogs.  Okay, suppose I get a free copy of the next Weezer album (BTW-Geffen/Universal Music- I am planning on reviewing Raditude and it would be real helpful if you could send me an advance copy, okay?) and I give it a glowing review, but don’t disclose that they’ve given me a copy…What are they going to do? Fine my ISP? Reply to a post with a stern comment telling me to knock it off?  Send over a couple of government agents to unplug my connection?

Disclosing freebies is probably something that bloggers should do.  But I’m sure the FTC has better things to do than to make sure bloggers are doing so.

And Geffen, I’m serious about that review.

Now That the Cat's Out of the Bag

When you learn you’re going to be a parent, you also find out a bunch of things that TV and the movies don’t teach you about the whole having a baby thing.
Everyone knows it will change your life.  But until you’re in that situation, and you start learning and talking to people, you never realize how much it will change your life.  Similarly, there are a whole slew of health issues that could throw a wrench into everything.  Most of those health issues pop up before the end of the first trimester (12 weeks).  Once you pass that 12-week mark, things remarkably improve.
Because of this, The Civee and I decided to wait to tell people when we first found out she was pregnant.  We weren’t ready to answer all of the life questions that people would have.  Also, we wanted to have our first doctor’s visit and make sure everything was in the right place before filling other people in.  I wrote about it ninja-style earlier this month, and since then, we’ve slowly started to let others know.
Well, now we’re out of the first trimester, and it’s not a secret anymore (also, she’s starting to show, so we wouldn’t have been able to keep it a secret much longer), so we’re starting to really feel like parents-to-be.
Yesterday, because there was a sale at Costco, we bought a box of diapers.  Two hundred came in the box.  Sadly, I was informed that the box wouldn’t last us six months like I had thought.
And today, after Mass, another parishioner came up to us and congratulated us (after politely saying she didn’t want to jump to any conclusions).  It’s really nice to have it out there.  And even though we don’t have all of the questions answered, I’m enjoying this father-to-be stuff.
Although it would be much tougher if I was going through everything The Civee is feeling.  She’s (and all mothers to be are) definitely a champ.

When you find out you’re going to be a parent, you also learn a bunch of things that TV and the movies don’t teach you about the whole having a baby thing.

Everyone knows it will change your life.  But until you’re in that situation, and you start learning and talking to people, you never realize how much it will change your life.  Similarly, there are a whole slew of health issues that could throw a wrench into everything.  Most of those health issues pop up before the end of the first trimester (12 weeks).  Once you pass that 12-week mark, things remarkably improve.

Because of this, The Civee and I decided to wait to tell people when we first found out she was pregnant.  We weren’t ready to answer all of the life questions that people would have.  Also, we wanted to have our first doctor’s visit and make sure everything was in the right place before filling other people in.  I wrote about it ninja-style earlier this month, and since then, we’ve slowly started to let others know.

Well, now we’re out of the first trimester, and it’s not a secret anymore (also, she’s starting to show, so we wouldn’t have been able to keep it a secret much longer), we’re starting to really feel like parents-to-be.

Yesterday, because there was a sale at Costco, we bought a box of diapers.  Two hundred came in the box.  Sadly, I was informed that the box wouldn’t last us six months like I had thought.

And today, after Mass, another parishioner came up to us and congratulated us (after politely saying she didn’t want to jump to any conclusions).  It’s really nice to have it out there.  And even though we don’t have all of the questions answered, I’m enjoying this father-to-be stuff.

Although it would be much tougher to enjoy if I was going through everything The Civee is feeling.  She’s definitely a champ (as are all other expecting mothers).

The Game's The Thing

I’ve had a conversation similar to the following each of the past four Fridays:

Random Person: So you watchin’ the game this weekend?

Me: I’m going to watch all three of them (insert comments about the Yankees’ opponents or how they fared over the past few days).

RP: Yeah, it’ll be a…wait…what?

In most instances, the random person who I’ve encountered in the elevator, or while out to lunch is talking about the local college football team.  I’m not.  And I don’t care about football, much less the local team.

As I’ve previously mentioned, some of these fans use the phrase “go bucks” to start, end and punctuate sentences.  Even suggesting that their team doesn’t factor into my weekend plans totally throws them off track, and in some cases, has been responded to with outright hostility.

Not that I care.  I just think it’s fun to mess with them.  Once baseball season is over though, I’m going to have to change my tactic.

I have to admit, the football game does factor into my weekend plans slightly.  Often, it’s the best time to go out and do something, whether it be shop or eat, as a  majority of the city is distracted. As long as I’m doing anything but watching their game, I’m happy.

Ben Linus Has a Plan [To Win An Award]

I’d like to take a minute to congratulate Michael Emerson, who portrays Kingdom favorite Ben Linus, for winning an Emmy award for his work on Lost.

Not that I make it a regular habit to watch award shows.  In fact, I only caught wind of Emerson’s win after seeing the news pop up in my reader.  As they formally refer to it, Emerson won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, which is quite a mouthful.

Still, it’s some much-deserved recognition for one of the people who does a great job of bringing one of the key players to life week in and week out.  Say what you will about the other characters- Jack’s a dope, Kate’s annoying, Richard wears eyeliner, whatever. But there’s never been a bad or even sub-par Ben storyline.

(True- he had a bad haircut in the mid-80s, but that was redeemed by that swank hat he wore in Russia during that Sayid episode last season).

Anyway, even though the new TV season is about to start, Lost will be a little late to the party, starting its final season sometime this winter.  It’s an understatement to say I’m looking forward to this.  Hopefully, this will be the year Ben is proven to be one of the good guys.

I think it’s a testament to Emerson’s acting chops that I feel that way about a character who’s done everything short of mass murder (well, at least in the 100-plus people category).  Congratulations again Michael, and thank you.

Breaking Up The Days of Greatness

Since aught-five, the last weekend in March/first weekend in April has been a time of celebration here in the Kingdom.

Dubbed by some as the Days of Greatness, one of those weekends for the past five years has seen WrestleMania that Sunday night with Major League Baseball’s Opening Day the following day (sometimes both occasions end up on the same day, but I won’t complain).

Well, it looks like the proximity of the two events has gotten too big for the world to handle, as next year, the two are slated for separate weekends.  WrestleMania 26 will be March 28, with Opening Day scheduled for the following week.  Of course, this is based on MLB’s preliminary schedule, so there’s still chance that could change (and if it does, I’ll never again call Bud Selig the sport’s worst commissioner ever).

While I’m disappointed that WrestleMania and Opening Day will not be held the same weekend, I have to admit that of all the years for this to happen, this isn’t going to bug me that much.  I have something else going on early next April.