Friday, August 29, 2008

Separated at birth?

Mercury business editor Michelle Karas gets credit for this one.

While watching newly chosen Republican vice presidential pick Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska speaking, Michelle exclaimed, "She looks like Tina Fey!"

Choose for yourself. Palin is in photo at left, Fey in the photo at right

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LPGA making foreign players learn English

Kudos to the LPGA for making its foreign players learn to speak English.

More than 120 international players, including 45 from South Korea, are on the LPGA tour. If they don't comply, the tour says it will suspend their membership at the end of 2009.

One South Korea player, Seon-Hwa Lee, said she is working with an English tutor during the offseason and plans to brush up for the evaluation. She thinks everyone "can do a simple interview," according to the report. Her ability to answer questions without a translator has improved during her time on the tour.

"The economy is bad, and we are losing sponsors," she said, according to the report. "Everybody understands."

In a poll on, 66% of more than 20,000 voters agree with the policy.

To read the full story, click here.

It would be nice if major league baseball attempted the same thing. I hate reading quotes from foreign players who have been in the league for several years that are through a translator. These players get paid a lot of money. You'd think they could afford an English tutor to allow them to better communicate with fans, media and yes, maybe even their own teammates.

And if I worked in a foreign country for several years, I would expect to have to learn the language, too.

Phillies getting some love

A poll on asks who will win the National League East.

It could be just the carry over from the Phillies' dramatic 8-7, 13-inning win over the Mets Tuesday night, but of 5,705 votes cast as of 12:15 Wednesday afternoon, 69% think the Phillies will win the division.

Friday, August 22, 2008

T-shirts are a great conversation piece

Spending a week in Walt Disney World, you see a wide variety of attire.

Little princesses dressed as Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Snow White or Belle. Men, women, teens and kids wearing Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Grumpy gear.

And then there are the t-shirts. T-shirts, t-shirts, t-shirts and more t-shirts.T-shirts of a favorite sports team or college. T-shirts promoting an event. T-shirts to tell who’s in your party.

And many times, those T-shirts can be a conversation starter.

On the first night of our vacation, I was walking through the food court of our resort when I noticed the t-shirt of a teenage girl who was sitting at a table with her family. The t-shirt was from the first annual Spring-Ford girls basketball holiday tournament.

There couldn’t be two Spring-Ford School Districts in the country, so I approached the table and asked the group if they were from the Pottstown area. Sure enough they were, and we spoke for a few minutes and talked about our vacations. A few days later our paths crossed again, and we spoke once more.

My new favorite t-shirt, “Waiting for a Championship (above),” was a conversation starter a few times.While waiting in line for the Test Track ride at Epcot, a woman noticed my shirt and struck up a conversation. I knew she and her family shared my pain since the woman and a few members of her party were wearing Eagles t-shirts.

A few days later I had the shirt on again (yes, it had been washed), this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We were in line to ride Toy Story Mania when a woman in front of us was admiring my shirt.

It turns out the woman and her husband were transplanted Philadelphians now living in West Palm Beach, Fla. She was a die-hard Eagles fan, he a die-hard Flyers fan. So the title drought extends to parts of Florida.

We had a nice chat with them while waiting to get on the ride. My wife asked how they liked living in Florida. They don’t miss the snow, but talked as if they might be soon moving back to Philadelphia.

I passed other park visitors — most wearing Phillies caps and shirts or Eagles shirts — who acknowledged my shirt by either a nod, through eye contact or a chuckle. One day in the Magic Kingdom, I passed a guy wearing the same shirt, but in a different color.

It wasn’t just sports shirts that ignited conversation. On another morning at Hollywood Studios, I wore a “Bar Hopping in Myrtle Beach” shirt which pictured several dining establishments on the back. While waiting in line to get a FastPass for Rock and Roller Coaster, a man behind me asked me how many of them I had been to. I replied, “not enough of them.” He then told me he had a friend in his native West Virginia who bartender in Myrtle Beach each summer and made enough money to live on the rest of the year.

The there’s the flip side. On the first day I wore my t-shirt lamenting the fact Philly fans haven’t seen a sports title in 25 years, I kept passing a guy wearing a shirt proclaiming “We Are The Champions.” On one half of the shirt was the NBA Championshiop trophy honoring the 2008 Boston Celtics. On the other half was the World Series trophy in honor of the 2007 Boston Red Sox.That was one guy I had no intention of talking to.

Big stretch for Phillies

The next 10 days will tell a great deal about the fate of the 2008 Phillies.

Four home games against the Dodgers, two more against the division-leading Mets and then four games in Chicago against the Cubs are what lies ahead for the under-achieving squad.

Just last week, the Dodgers swept four games from the Phillies in Los Angeles, so you'd think the hometown team would like to extract a little revenge from the West Coasters.

As I write this, the Phillies trail the Mets by 2 1/2 games, so depending on the outcomes of this weekend's games, the Phils may need to win both games from the Mets just to stay alive in the pennant race.

And the Cubs only have the best record in the league as they vie for their first World Series title since 1908.
So the outlook for the next 10 games isn't promising, especially with the impotent bats of leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, shown above in an Associated Press photo, and cleanup hitter Ryan Howard. Rollins is just 3-for-33 since calling fans "frontrunners" on the recent West Coast trip. Howard has three hits in his last 35 at bats, with 18 strikeouts in that span.
Come Labor Day, either the Phillies are still in the race for a playoff spot, or fans can start chanting "E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tough day for the Americans

Thursday was a rough day for the U.S. Olympic team.

The favored women's softball team -- winners of 22 straight games and every gold medal since the sport debuted in 1996 -- lost to Japan, 3-1, in the gold medal game. Stacy Nuveman shows her disappointed in the Associated Press photo above.
Twice, the Americans had the bases loaded with one out, but failed to score. (I wonder if they got hitting tips from the Phillies.)

Ironically, the International Olympic Committee is eliminating the sport for at least the 2012 Games in London, in part because of the dominance of the Americans.

In women's water polo, the Americans were ranked No. 1 and expected to win the gold medal after taking silver in the past two Olympics. Instead, they settled for silver again after losing the gold medal to the Netherlands, 9-8, on a goal with 26 seconds to play.

On the track, the U.S. 4x100 relay teams failed to make the final because both the men's and women's teams dropped the baton. That means the Americans went 0-for-6 in the sprint events.

There was some good news. The women's soccer team beat Brazil, 1-0, in extra time to win the gold medal for the third time in the last 4 Olympics. Boyertown graduate Nicole Bernhardt is a backup goalie on the team. You can read all about her experience at her blog, "The Goal Box."

And the beach volleyball team of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor won their second straight gold medal. The win was the 108th consecutive one for the team. For those who don't know, May-Treanor's husband, Matt, is a catcher for the Florida Marlins.
Also, the American men swept the 400-meter run

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Eagles cheerleader featured in magazine

The Philadelphia Eagles organization received a great honor today.

No, they weren't named Team of the Decade, nor did they get a bye into the Super Bowl.

The honor occured off the field, and didn't involve any of the players. No, this award went to one of the cheerleaders.

In its September issue released Tuesday, Maxim magazine -- in its NFL preview -- named rookie cheerleader Janelle Stangl as one of the league's four "most gorgeous" cheerleaders.

Stangl, shown above in a photo from the Eagles, was the only member of the organization to be mentioned in the issue.

To check out the story and more, visit

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bad news for Eagles fans

Eagles fans received some bad news Tuesday. No, Brian Westbook isn't holding out, nor did Donovan McNabb get injured at training camp.

This time, the bad news came from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has instituted a new fan code of conduct. The new code is aimed at
conduct that the league said "detracts from the gameday experience."

It includes bans on:
* Behavior that is unruly, disruptive, or illegal.
* Drunkenness and signs of alcohol impairment that result in irresponsible behavior.
* Foul or abusive language or obscene gestures.
* Interference with the progress of the game, including throwing objects onto the field.
* Failing to follow instructions of stadium personnel.
* Verbal or physical harassment of fans from the opposing team.

Spectators who violate the code of conduct will be ejected from stadiums and barred from coming back -- meaning Lincoln Financial Field could get pretty empty.

Camping out for sneakers

I've heard of people camping out hours or even days in advance of obtaining concert or playoff tickets and video games and systems. But sneakers?

Early Tuesday morning, a line of people - shown in an Associated Press photo at right - were outside a footwear store in Philadelphia to get their hands on a pair of Nike Air Force 1 sneakers called Air Questo. The footwear was designed by Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, the drummer for The Roots, a Grammy-winning hip-hop band.

According to an Associated Press story, the sneakers from Nike's 1World collection are highly sought-after by collectors who call themselves sneakerheads

The limited-edition sneakers - apparently there are only 300 for sale - are red, green and gold and sell for $225. That's right, $225.

It could be my frugal Pennsylvania Dutch ways, but I look for deals on sneakers so I can avoid paying $50, let alone $225.

Vacation all I ever wanted

I'm leaving Wednesday for a much-needed (don't know if it's deserved) vacation as I go with my family for a week to our favorite destination, Walt Disney World.

If anyone's interested in keeping up with the happenings of my trip, check out the Disney Diva blog on this Web site. My wife plans to be blogging live from the parks throughout our trip. She'll have plenty of time as we wait in line for rides, transportation, dinner, etc.

With access to a laptop, I may be posting myself. Stay tuned.