Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Opening Pandora's Box. Literally.

Forget Sirius and XM, now there's an even cooler way to listen to tunes on your computer.

Go to, put in your favorite artist, and up pops a custom-designed radio station featuring that artist, and similar artists. If a song comes up that you don't like, you can click a button to skip it. If you want to purchase a track you hear, you can click a button to take you to Itunes or Amazon, and you're in business.

It's powered by the Music Genome Project, which you can read about on the site.
Another one of those cool websites you wish you'd thought of, but didn't.
Oh well. At least we can enjoy it now that it's here.

Yes, already. We're ready for some football...

ENOUGH already. Media Day takes all the fun and drama out of Super Bowl weeks, as we get to listen to the world sports media crack the lid off of hot stories like "What is the Bears defensive backfield's favorite Peyton Manning commercial?" (The one where PM says CUT THAT MEAT" and, "If Thomas Jones was a movie star, what current Hollywood actor would he model himself after?" (Lorenz Tate)
All the buildup and hype that goes into making the championship game THE SUPER BOWL origianally was just born of convenience. The NFL just needed time to allocate tickets, get everyone down to the site, throw VIP parties for sponsors, etc. One week wasn't enough, so they made it a two week hiatus between conference championships and the Super Bowl, and how do you keep a single game on the front page for two weeks? The hype implodes, and we focus on mundane minutae. It's seems to get more ridiculous every year.

I mean, really, how Super can this Bowl be if one team is staying at a Hilton by the airport, and the other team is based out of a Marriott?

Ironically, many of the Bears fans who will be sipping their first legal beers on or around Super Bowl Sunday while watching their squad in Super Bowl XLI MAY have just been conceived during the legendary title run of the 1985 Bears. Undoubtedly there are a few Paytons or Mongos or even Lil Fridges out there, rooting on their home team. And while many young fans weren't around for the original Super Bowl Shuffle, no doubt they've been enthralled, regaled, or bored to tears by stories, allusions, references, and comparisons of/to/about "DA BEARS" of old.

Chicago loves to live in the past. So what happens if the Bears actually WIN this weekend? Will the pining for another McMahon-esque QB, another Sweetness-level runner, the constant references to DA COACH, will we finally be rid of them forever?
Probably not. Partly because old legends die hard. And partly because the current Bears have all of the personality of the exterior of the renovated Soldier Field. They're bland. Boring. Other than Tec-9 Totin' Tank Johnson, could anyone even pick a current Bear out of the Sunday crowd at Home Depot, or the VIP room of the Ice Bar? Rex Grossman is more stink than swagger, and he wasn't even good at dishing 'tude at the media this week. Those boneheads over at THE MIX FM got Brad Maynard voted sexiest Bear, and he's the frickin' PUNTER. I guess I'm with the Superfans. Bring back Da Fridge, Da Coach, and Da Punky QB.

I sure am enjoying all the Chicago newscasts broadcasting live from Miami, though. The other night, we got to watch Ron Magers search for a Chicago style hot dog in Miami. (What would be wrong with sampling the LOCAL fare while traveling?) I've also enjoyed the features on local news about how downtown Chicago building managers figure out how to spell out GO BEARS in lights at night, about wacky Bears fans with lots of cheesy memorabilia in their basements, and especially the expose on WHY THE SUPER BOWL USES ROMAN NUMERALS INSTEAD OF REGULAR NUMBERS.

And CBS 2 actually has an hours/minutes/seconds countdown clock in the upper left of the screen during the whole newscast. Niiiiice. There's an old saying that goes something like "Act like you've been there before"...I wish the media in the third largest market in the country would abide by that.

My favorite media day quote of all time came from Cowboys defensive back Duane Thomas, before Super Bowl VI. I was barely a year old at the time, so I didn't hear it firsthand, but apparently Duane wasn't a big fan of reporters, nor of answering stupid questions. Someone asked him what it meant to him to be playing in the ultimate football game.

"If the Super Bowl is the ultimate game," Thomas asked, "then how come they're going to play it again next year?"