Thank you Janice Lloyd… for noting in USA Today that people who eat moderate amounts of chocolate regularly are thinner than those who eat chocolate less often. I knew it! Just as I had hoped. And not only that, one study of more than 100,000 people found that those who ate dark chocolate on a regular basis reduced their relative risk of heart disease by one-third. Hallelujah! News like this always comes with a big disclaimer about calories, moderation… the dangers of obesity yada yada… But there’s a scene in Moneyball where Brad Pitt (Billy Beane) essentially says “when you get the answer you want, hang up.” So as you’re reading this, I’m breaking out one of those new Dark Chocolate Snickers bars… yummmm.
As I’ve heard about the benefits of solar for years, it’s about time I did something about it. Solar electric power is renewable energy.. that doesn’t depend on fossil fuels, and it’s clean. It produces zero emissions. Oh, and I am tired of paying $300 a month for those summer electric bills. There is that. So after some homework, I found a local company… not the biggest, but they might be the best. I’m going with Valley Solar, who’ve been installing custom built residential systems for nearly a decade. When it comes to premium hardware, the best trained engineers in the business.. and personalized customer service, I think Valley Solaris at the top of the list. With rebates and tax credits, you can save thousands of dollars now, and as long as Zuckerberg hasn’t bought the sun… you can save thousands in the years to come. I’m putting my trust in Valley Solar’s expertise, and I’m looking forward to knocking down my SMUD bills this summer. Valley has a solar program for any budget.. maybe yours. Call for a free consultation.. 916-254-51-11….or go to ValleySolar.net.
You could see this coming. After 244 years and more than 7 million sets, Encyclopedia Britannica has printed its last edition. There are kids and young adults who don’t even know what a printed collection looks like. I used to love the feel of the heavy volumes, and the tactile sensation of turning the pages and finding the paragraph you were looking for… was always so cool. It’s hard to describe to someone whose research consists of search engine work. It appears Britannica is positioning itself as a more reliable alternative to Wikipedia. Well, not so fast on that. If you Google “encyclopedia,” you get “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”
When the servers at Chevy’s Fresh Mex offered scrumptious, fresh made taquitos to a line of Eagle listeners who had not even checked in yet… I knew this would be a good day. There’s no better way to connect with real Eagle partisans than the old school way…. face to face. Thankabration III offered that and more. It was so enjoyable sharing stories with our loyal following, and hearing a terrific performance by The Pinder Brothers Band. And to the crew at Chevy’s Fresh Mex on Howe Ave….. thanks for your courtesy, your professionalism, and your enthusiasm. And the delicacies you served up were absolutely first rate. We look forward to coming back soon!
Maybe I shouldn’t feel this heartbroken, but when a venerable restaurant ceases to exist, it’s sad. The Bee’s Bob Shallit broke the news. The nation’s last remaining Lyon’s restaurant, at 30th and J in Sacramento, has closed its doors. You mean this is the end of an era? I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t a Lyon’s in this town. Okay, it’s not Commander’s Palace or Fat City…. it’s a coffee shop. But I shared plenty of good times with friends at Lyon’s…. over cheeseburgers, corned beef hash and hot beef sandwiches. I guess I should have stopped in more often. Yup, it’s my fault. Looks like the restaurant will be converted to a Mel’s Diner soon. Some long time Lyon’s employees don’t know yet whether they’ll be kept on. A spokesman for the new owner says a job fair will be held to hire about 60 people for the new format… and “everybody will have a fair opportunity to apply for the jobs.” Which is code for “we wish you well.”
It was unavoidable… Alex Smith had to weigh in on the Peyton Manning circus yesterday. We could all see that the whole series of events was at worst, insulting… and at best, awkward. But if there’s anyone who knows how to say the right things, it’s Alex Smith. If that makes him a softy… so what? Can you imagine the fallout if Alex had said “Yeah, the 49ers lowballed me..” Or “Yeah, I wanted to fire my agent..” Or “Yeah, I was kept in the dark about Peyton Manning..” Instead, he said No to all of those things. Alex may be “a game manager”…. but he’s the prince of public relations. Alex, in the end, you were a little disrespected… and now you have to “settle” for around 8 million a year. If that’s the worst thing you have to endure in your career… you’ve done all right. Still, being 49ers quarterback is never easy. Ray Ratto calls it“one of America’s worst jobs.”
So Peyton Manning left the 49ers at the altar, so to speak. Now that he’sdecided to join the Denver Broncos, this melodrama has taken a whole new turn. How will this affect Tim Tebow, Matt Hasselbeck, the Tennessee Titans, the Miami Dolphins and obviously, Alex Smith? But most intriguingly, this has proximately caused the meltdown of Lowell Cohn. Because this morning’s decision has set in motion a series of events that will not only affect the fortunes of a couple of hundred players, it will mean Lowell can't wait to get inside Jim Harbaugh's head. I figure he'll pepper the coach with unending questions about how he could hang Alex Smith out to dry. Then Jim will look him straight in the eye and say….”I’m proud of our guys…”
Has it really been eight years? House, the excellent medical drama that made Hugh Laurie a huge TV star, will air its final episode in May. Of course, there are millions of fans who are having a cow about this. But the good doctor is doing it right. No need to overstay your welcome. Friday Night Lights came to an end. So did NYPD Blue, Seinfeld and Grey’s Anatomy. Okay, maybe not that one. But it’s good to get out while the gettin’s good. Usually, a successful, popular show has a rhythm…. and a beginning, a middle and a close. It sort of runs its course, don’t you think? Write a terrific finale, and it will be remembered much more fondly this way. Say goodbye while they still care… a lesson that’s lost on so many.
Some have a phobia about handling cash. Maybe we’ll do away with folding money one day. Seems likewe’re already headed there.People swipe debit cards for gas, coffee... candy bars. There’s rampant online bill pay for SMUD, your mortgage, the garbage and Nordstrom. We get it. Which is why I look forward to our regular poker game. We count on the tactile sensation of two of the greatest inventions known to man: Poker Chips and Cash. At the cage, my game doesn’t take checks, PayPal or an iPhone app. We insist on nasty old money. That’s right… scungy, dirty cash. The kind that’s got germs, grime, drugs, cooties and pimp fingerprints on it. You have to feel it, stack it and behold it. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
If you’re thinking of kicking the bucket, don’t do it in Falciano del Massico, a village of 3,700 people near Naples in southern Italy. As a matter of fact, the mayor has outlawed dyingthere. He issued the tongue-in-cheek decree because the village has no cemetery and they’re feuding with a nearby town that has one – creating a problem about what to do with the deceased. He said people are pretty happy with the ordinance. But “unfortunately, two elderly citizens disobeyed.” What can you do?
According to a recent study from Cornell University, people who are incompetent don’t know that they’re incompetent. It doesn’t matter if a person lacks competence in logical reasoning, emotional intelligence or humor… the person still tends to rate his or her skills in that area as being above average. Put more bluntly, dumb people are too dumb to know it. Does this remind you of Congress?
Holy smokes… Terrell Owens has got to be thinking… “Hey, he’s a cancer in the clubhouse!... Oh wait, I’m a cancer.” I thought the 49ers were just going through the motions, working out 35 year old Randy Moss, who was completely out of football last year. It was widely reported that his session with Jim Harbaugh lasted all of 15 minutes, which indicates either the former Pro Bowler is clearly washed up, or he made a big impression. I know, Randy Moss has more baggage than a pack mule. He’s a diva, a selfish player, a train wreck waiting to happen. We know. Then when the 49ers actually inked him to a one-year deal, I got over that real quick. If Randy Moss becomes a head case, he’ll be gone. But if he grabs that fade in the corner of the end zone, it’ll be “Randy… My Man!”
Perhaps you’ve heard about Marilyn Hagerty of the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Her review of their local Olive Garden Restaurant has gone viral, thanks to sites like Gawker and Guyism, who thought her “unbridled enthusiasm” was “unwittingly hilarious.” We get it. The Olive Garden is probably the nicest restaurant in Grand Forks. Clearly it's not hip, cool, or trendy enough for you. No, it’s not the Four Seasons in New York, or Bobby Flay’s in Las Vegas. So f-ing what? You must have had a great time holding her up to ridicule. Your condescending tone says a lot more about you than it does about her or the patrons in this small town. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of hard working people who do a great job at other Olive Gardens across the country. They don’t need me to defend them… but I’ve never had a bad meal there. I think it’s about time I got Brian, Kat and Derek together for another Olive Garden run. Marilyn Hagerty’s original review is here.
As I’m sure you’ve heard, Haydock Intermediate School is getting some very unwanted attention. One of their middle school teachers has been placed on administrative leave after rumors spread that she appeared in a pornographic video. Yikes. Of course this is serious, but this is my favorite part….. A letter was sent home with students “to discourage them from attempting to search for the video… on their phones or other devices.” Hilarious. How long did it take to find a clip of this movie? Four seconds.
I can’t remember a time when popcorn at the movies was NOT overpriced. It’s sort of like picnic ants, crowded subways and July heat. They’re just part of life. Okay, $16.75 for a Coke and a small popcorn is a little much. So much so that a movie buff in Michigan has decided to sue a theater chainfor “price gouging.” I doubt this will go very far… but since movie attendance was at its lowest level in 16 years, even the threat of a suit like this will make theater owners nervous. Oh while you’re at it, how ‘bout suing those moviegoers who won’t shut the hell up?
Last weekend, I saw something that gave me the chills. It was a mixed martial arts showdown between newcomer Ronda Rousey and the Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate. Four and a half minutes into the match, judo practitioner Rousey took the title with what one writer called “the single most savage armbar in the history of MMA.” I think the word armbar is kind of like the word downsize…. It doesn’t begin to describe the devastating effect on a human. And Miesha Tate would not submit until her arm was… well, misshapen. It was almost Joe Theismann-like. Someone should invent a new word for “armbar.” Like, “The Bone Breaker.” I know mixed martial arts is not for everyone. But for the moment, Ronda Rousey is the talk of MMA.
Let’s get this straight…. I know times are tough, but you don’t rob the Girl Scouts…and in broad daylight, no less. It’s an outrage. Last weekend a guy pulled up to a Girl Scouts cookie stand in front of a Walmart in Houston… and made off with the cash box, which contained about $200. One of the girls actually was injured when she tried to stop the guy. I don’t believe this should result in a misdemeanor, or probation, or small fine. I think this is a Major Crime… and the thieves should be sent to the Big House for 15 to life. And in the prison yard, they have to wear shirts that say “I Stole Money From The Girl Scouts.” I’ll bet you’ll get acquainted with some Life Lessons right away. Oh wait… doesn’t Texas have a popular Death Row? Well, there is that.
Yes, there is a survey for everything. A recent one was about “dating deal breakers.”Chances are if your date drinks too much, flirts with the server or hostess, or constantly uses the phone to text, check scores or email…. well, that’s not good. But topping the list of dating no-nos…. is poor hygiene. That’s right, body odor, bad teeth and dirty hair. Wow, if that’s who you’re snuggling with… maybe dating is not your biggest problem...
Ronnie Montrose will be remembered, not just for the countless times he thrilled rock audiences with his talent over the years. But for his kindness.. and generosity of spirit. And what a storyteller. In what had to have been one of his last radio station visits in front of an audience, he treated us and a few lucky Eagle listeners to a Metro PCS Lounge private session last year. He answered every question and showed us some of his legendary licks. It was a Five Star Classic Rock “Show and Tell.” We soaked it all in… he was such a pleasure to be around. Because he shared his passion so unselfishly, a part of him lives in all of his fans. Guys like that are never forgotten. If there’s a Rock and Roll Heaven, surely he's about to plug in.
I don’t mean to be rude… but I wish you would not ask me to take another survey. I hate surveys. I don’t even like filling out those little boxes in the doctor’s office. So stop filling up my screen with a giant “we want to know what you think” activity page. If I love your service, there’s a good chance I’ll keep coming back. If I hated your service, you can bet I’ve already spread the word on Facebook and I’ve blogged about it. So with all due respect, stop asking me any more questions. Am I getting too worked up?
Americans say they love to receive personal mail, yet never send any. No wonder the US Postal Service is losing money. Well, that’s just part of it. With online bill pay, tweets, texts and email, all that’s really left for your letter carrier are bills and junk. But back to the personal stuff. I’m talking about the lost art of a handwritten note or letter. Oh, I know email is convenient… but it’s not the same, is it? And I’m as guilty as anyone. Every year I say I’m going to send out more real notes, and I never do it. That’s an outrage. Well starting now, that will change. And I know I will finally get it done because Derek Moore and I put quite a bit of money on it. Well, relatively speaking. So I might be sending you something… I promise. Rick Hampson has a great piece in USA Today here. And here’s another storyby Bob Minzesheimer about folks who are actually paying to have “personal letters” sent to them.
As you probably know, it costs way more to make a penny than a penny is worth. The same goes for nickels, for that matter. So why do we keep producing them? Other countries have successfully stopped using small denomination coins and there were no riots that I know of. But we can’t seem to do it. Oh I’ve seen plenty of explanations as to whypennies are so necessary…. but I don’t get it. One guy from a pro-penny organization says “Americans overwhelmingly want the penny..” Really? What Americans? The ones who wonder what happens to the sun at night? The ones who don’t think Dollar Coins are actually legal? There are those who say eliminating the penny is an admission of inflation. No kidding. If hot dogs were $150, I’d worry. Other research says killing the penny would actually help the economy. I like the sound of that, but I’m just not smart enough to come up with the magic solution. The fact is, compared to the face value of some coins, America is needlessly wasting hundreds of millions of dollars to make them. It’s never as easy as it looks, is it? Well, that’s my two cents.