What's Up

What's Up!February 13, 2010


Two weeks ago, I got on this very website and suggested some betting strategies if you were interested in making a wager on Super Bowl XLIV (scroll down to see it).

My picks: Saints (+5.5) and the Under.

How'd I fare?

Well, not only did the Saints cover the spread, they won outright. One for one. And as the final score was 31-17, that total is 48, which is under the over/under of 56.5. Two for two. BOOM! You can take that parlay to the bank.

So if you heeded my sage prognostications... you're welcome.

But in the spirit of full disclosure, if someone told me that the Saints were going to beat the Colts by two touchdowns, I would have called them delusional and/or a liar.

What's Up!January 31, 2010


It's a week before Super Bowl XLIV (that's 44 for the Roman-ly challenged). As most of you know, there are three things that the Super Bowl specifically does: 1) it acts as the premier marketing and advertising medium in television as it's the most watched program of the year; 2) it generates untold millions in gambling wagers (both legal and illegal); and 3) it crowns a champion for the National Football League. And it does them in that order.

Super Bowl XLIV

This issue of What's Up isn't to poke fun of that pecking order of importance (I don't have that kind of time). Today, we'll be focusing on #2 on that list: gambling. The NFL doesn't want to admit it, but betting on games is what really has propelled football to be the most popular sport in the country. And compared to other sports, it's the easiest game to bet on. Depending on the play, a team can score, 1, 2, 3, or 6 points, giving bettors more interesting wager possibilities.

The most common form of football wagering is the office pool where bettors pick a square on a grid. The winner is determined by the final score, using the last digit of each team's score to locate the coordinates of the winning square. While good for social interaction with your colleagues, to win the pool, you need nothing but luck (which then leads to gossip and whispers as the "boys" bitch that Julie in Accounting won the pool for the second year in a row).

But we're not talking about that kind of gambling. We're taking about "placing a wager," where you use whatever voodoo, juju, hexes or lucky charms to pick a winner. The sport books in Las Vegas are more than happy to assist you with this (as well as some other offshore purveyors of wagering, who I can't vouch for).

In case you don't know, the wagers offered in Las Vegas aren't simply a question of whether you think Team A will beat Team B. No, the wager asks if you think Team A will be Team B by X amount of points. This term is "the spread."

Now, I'm going to let you in a little secret. Actually, based on conversations I've had with amateur bettors, it's a huge secret. The spread has nothing to do with how good the perspective teams are. No, it deals solely with the amount of money coming in. Let me explain.

On January 24, after the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints won their respective conference championship games, the Las Vegas Hilton, Caesar's Palace, and the Mirage listed the opening line with the Colts as 4 point favorites (actually, the Mirage started at 3.5, but bumped it to 4 five minutes later). This number was gauged by betting patterns throughout the season, teams records, major injuries, and how Vegas thinks bettors will wager.

Steelers Ring
By the way, someone is playing for their
very own version of one of these
Before the 24th ended, the spread at these 3 casinos actually went up to 4.5 points. Now, in the span of a couple of hours, did the Colts do anything to be a slightly better team? Of course not. As of press time, one week after the first spread was posted, the spread is now 5.5 points. In the span of a week, did the Saints do anything to be a slightly worse team? No. So what happened?

Easy. More people are picking the Colts to win. Since the casinos will do what it can to not lose their pants, they will adjust the spread to influence bettors enough to ensure there will be equivalent money on both sides of the bet. The casinos don't actively think that Colts will beat the Saints by two field goals. They want to plant a seed of doubt in some bettors to make them think, "Hmm, the Colts will probably win, but I don't think it'll be by that much," and then place their bet with the Saints to cover the spread.

Sometimes, bettors can't be reasoned with. Case in point, Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. The St. Louis Rams were two years removed from their last Super Bowl win and still a dominant football team. The spread had climbed steadily to 14.5 points by kickoff. People thought the Rams would annihilate the AFC team who was being lead by their back-up quarterback. The bookies in Vegas must have been saying some prayers as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots not only covered the spread, but beat the Rams outright.

And don't think bettors learned their lesson after that. In Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots, looking to complete an undefeated season, were 13.5 point favorites. Gamblers thought they would cash in big as the Pats were playing the lowly New York Giants. Again, the favorite not only failed to cover the spread, but lost outright.

Down to Brass Tacks
But enough of the introductions and history. How are we going to bet on this Super Bowl?

The important thing to remember is no matter when you place the bet, the official spread will be the number at kickoff. So even though I do like the chances of the Colts winning by 6, if the spread goes higher that 5.5 (and I guarantee you it will), I don't know if I'd bet the Colts. This may have to be a wager made the day before the game.

So here's my pick: Saints (+5.5)

As for the over/under, which is, at press time, 56.5 points at all three casinos mentioned above, I'm taking the Under. The over/under started at 55, but betting has raised it 1.5 points. Yes, this could turn into a shootout, but again, if this number keeps rising as we get closer to kickoff, the safer money is to go under.

To Cover My Ass-ets
This issue of What's Up and opinion within is for educational/entertainment purposes only. I am in no way promising anything to anybody. No guarantees whatsoever. DMOunited.com assumes no responsibility and makes no representations and/or warranties. If you lose your shirt in Vegas, don't blame us.

And As Always
No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

One Last Thing
Since we showed you the Super Bowl Championship ring that the Pittsburgh Steelers won last year, we should also mention that the Steelers weren't the only Pittsburgh team to win a championship in 2009. The Penguins also won the Stanley Cup. Here is their ring...

Stanley Cup Champions

Yes, I'm bragging. BOOM!

url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0131.html

What's Up!January 27, 2010


This was forwarded to me by the Mrs. Of course, she prefaced it with, "If my kids were this festive, I wouldn't have left teaching."

These are answers from real kids for real school test questions (or so I'm told). Sure, this is prime Joke o' the Week material, but I haven't laughed this hard in ages, and decided this needed the longevity of being in What's Up.


If you find yourself crying with laughter... you're welcome.

What's Up!January 7, 2010


I'm not one for New Years' Resolutions. I figure if you want to resolve to do something, you need not wait until January 1 to do so. And as we rocked and rolled into 2010, I proceeded to continue to be resolution-less. However, a week later, I'm thinking maybe I could use a couple of resolutions.

I don't know if I'd call them, resolutions of the "New Years" variety. I just decided that I'm going to make'em. The fact that these resolutions are within 7 days of January 1 is purely coincidental. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should probably let you know that some of the resolutions below aren't exactly new. I'll dust off a few stale ones I failed to... um, "resolve," and just consider them new. Kinda like resolution recycling. Here we go...

Wow, that's a whopping seven resolutions. If I hit 4 out of the 7, I'll call that a success.

Let's wrap this up nicely with an inspirational ending. Life's a garden, dig it! In all seriousness, if you've made resolutions, and for whatever reason you break them, fear not. I won't think any less of you, and you can always restart them the next day (I won't tell anyone).

Have a great 2010. By the way, what's the consensus on this? Is it "Two Thousand Ten" or "Twenty Ten" (and "2K10" doesn't count).

url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2010-0107.html

What's Up!December 15, 2009


If you recall, I wrote a letter to the New Era Cap Company about my recent visit to their Flagship Store in Buffalo, NY (see below). Less than a week later, I got a response from them (and my apologies to them for the delay in posting their response). So here it is. Enjoy.

New Era

I was quite pleased with the promptness and personal touch of this response (the gift card was a total surprise). I shared this with my colleagues at the castle, and they were equally as impressed with this response (given that's what we kind of do). Now don't think you can all start writing to them for freebies, because if you ever find yourself in Buffalo, and you do visit the New Era Flagship Store, you will find the hat you want in your size (well, maybe except for Matt Wilson. He's big headed like me).

And for the record, this was the hat I actually got at that store.

The Hat

Of course, if you want more photos of Zoe in Western New York, head over to www.zoeisgo.com. But you knew that already.

What's Up!December 13, 2009


If you're like me, you like Doctor Who. Additionally, you're also a little sad that David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) is leaving, but you know that to be the nature of the beast. Doctors come and doctors go.

Instead of a fourth season featuring Tennant, they decided to do a shorter series of "specials." Well, the last three are coming up. Hence, your Whoniverse Program Alert.

The Waters of Mars premieres in the U.S. this Saturday, December 19, at 9 p.m. on BBC America (check your local listings). This episode aired in November in the U.K.

The last two specials The End of Time, Parts 1 & 2, will air on December 26, 2009, and January 2, 2010, respectively. What's cool about that is that these two specials will air a mere 24 hours after their U.K. premieres. Please note, if you use Twitter, love Doctor Who, but don't want to have any details spoiled, stay off Twitter for those 24 hours. The last two Doctor Who specials were top trending topics, so be forewarned.

So January 2nd will be the last time we'll see dashing Mr. Tennant as the Doctor, as he'll make way for Matt Smith (yes, he does look a little young, but let's see what he's got), so be sure to set your TiVo's and DVR's. This has been your Whoniverse Program Alert.

But while on the topic of the Whoniverse, let me rattle off a few random thoughts about it.

  • This past July was Torchwood's third season (it was a 5-part mini-series aired over a single week, instead of a 13-week season). The "event" was called Torchwood: Children of Earth. While it was an entertaining sci-fi adventure, if you watch it as a parent (which me and the Mrs. are), it borders on disturbing as it presents some hard questions and dilemmas to the characters that you, yourself, automatically start to wonder about in your own real world. Watch it.

  • I don't know if the new season of Doctor Who with Matt Smith will be aired on SyFy or BBC America. Personally, I vote for BBC America as they don't edit as much out.

  • My favorite companion since the revival: Martha Jones (you thought I was going to say Rose, didn't you)

  • Lastly, I think it's been established that the Daleks are done. Yes, the fate of Dalek Caan and Davros wasn't explicit, but if they bring back the Daleks, it's a sign that the showrunners are getting lazy. Just sayin'.

    If you're reading this and have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor and put Doctor Who on your Netflix list (be sure to start at the begining of the revival with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor). Trust me.
  • Tennant
    Goodbye David...

    ...hello Matt.

    What's Up!November 28, 2009


    I haven't read any books of the Twilight saga. And I don't know why people need to identify themselves as either Team Edward or Team Other Guy (though one friend pointed out that there isn't a Team Bella). But for kicks, I applied this literary device (or marketing ploy) to another entertainment franchise: Handy Manny.

    So... I ask ya... whose team are you on?

    Team MannyTeam Lopart

    Yes, this is what happens when I need to kill 20 minutes.

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2009-1128.html

    What's Up!November 7, 2009

    WNY: PART 3

    You don't have to be a milliner or haberdasher to know that New Era is one of the premier hat companies in the world. They also happen to be the official on-field hat for Major League Baseball. Now, New Era Cap Company, Inc.'s headquarters and flagship store are in Buffalo, and where was I a few weeks ago?

    So how was the visit to New Era's flagship store? Well, let me share the letter I wrote to them.

    November 5, 2009

    New Era Cap Company, Inc.
    160 Delaware Avenue
    Buffalo, NY 14202

    Dear fine folks at New Era,
    I write this letter to you after visiting your flagship store in Buffalo and leaving... I wouldn't say "unhappy," but definitely "unsatisfied."

    I was in Western New York visiting my in-laws, and had been excited about visiting the New Era Flagship Store, as there is not one in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. You see, I have a large melonhead (large enough to see a hat listed as "One Size Fits All" and laugh). I have trouble finding chapeaus cavernous enough to cover my cranium (too much alliteration?), so I was hopeful that if any place carried a hat large enough, it would surely be the flagship store.

    In most regards, I wasn't too disappointed. In a wide variety of hats, especially the 59Fifty's, your staff was helpful in retrieving hats in a size 8 (my hat size ranges from a 7 7/8 to an 8 1/4, depending on how long my hair is). The only problem I have with the 59Fifty hat is that it makes my head look even bigger than normal. I know the 59Fifty is your bread and butter hat, but the stiff bill and the high crown do accentuate my head in non-flattering ways. So while I almost opted for the Green Lantern hat, I decided against it.

    However, I love love love the 39Thirty variety of hats. It's a lightweight hat, contours much better to the shape of my noggin, and has nice stretch/flex properties (I know many people who like the 39Thirty hat over the 59Fifty, but that's another tangent). I figured that since you carried my size in the 59Fifty, I would get lucky in the 39Thirty. Alas, this is where things turn south (I apologize if this sounding way too dramatic).

    My eye was caught by the "Buffalo Football" line of hats that came in 39Thirty. I asked about one (specifically the "5" in navy blue with white number and red outline), and the young lady said, "I'm sorry, they don't make them in the Large/Extra Large." What? I asked to clarify whether they were out, but she confirmed that they are not even made. And then it spiraled downward from there.

    Apparently, any Bills or Sabres hat made in a 39Thirty style does not exist in a Large/Extra Large size. This was disheartening (granted, I'm not a big Bills or Sabres fan, but my in-laws are strong supporters of both franchises, so I wanted to show some love). I figured that if I could find a Buffalo team hat in my size, it must surely be at the manufacturer's flagship store... in Buffalo. But, no.

    As I posted on Facebook, "Went to the New Era Cap Flagship Store in Buffalo. The FLAGSHIP Store... and they still didn't have some hats in my size. I get it, I have a melon head, but it's the frakkin' FLAGSHIP Store."

    I ended up settling on a Milwaukee Brewers batting practice hat (I did drag my wife and daughter out there, and I really didn't want to leave empty handed. On the upside, it was the best looking hat on my head in my size). Thankfully, you did carry 39Thirty MLB batting practice hats in Large/Extra Large, it would have a sad day otherwise, but it seems those are the only 39Thirty hats that come in the larger size.

    So that's the bulk of my disappointment. I understand that there may be various variables (sorry for the sloppy word choice) that may dictate not making 39Thirty's in larger sizes, but please consider this letter as a humble request to make them available for me and my melonheaded brethren.

    One last, possible, disappointment. After returning to my in-laws and telling the tale of our adventure, my brother-in-law piped up with, "You know, you could have had them special order a hat for you. Their factory is nearby." If this is true, your staff failed to mention that as an option. If you would be so kind as to shoot me back a note confirming or dispelling this tidbit, it would be appreciated. I plan on being in the area often, visiting my in-laws again, and I do like hats.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this diatribe about the lack of larger lids. I like your products. I'd just like it more if I can find the one I want in my size.

    Peach out!

    Demosthenes Spiropoulos

    Yes, I do find it ironic that I would actually write a letter to a company, given my own role as the official voice, and final word, of a Fortune 500 Company (#60 to be exact. But don't worry, I used DMOunited.com stationary). Nonetheless, I did want to convey my disappointment. Truthfully, I don't know what will come of this, but maybe... that's half the fun.

    One last thing, though. If you have a normal-sized skull, the New Era Flagship Store is awesome.

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2009-1107.html

    What's Up!October 24, 2009


    A National Football League stadium in Los Angeles just got closer to be being built thanks to an environmental exemption bill that was signed two days ago by Governor Schwarzenegger. The stadium will be built in the City of Industry near the intersection of the 57 and 60 freeways (so nowhere near Los Angeles).

    Now since the NFL is at 32 teams, expansion isn't happening (and the last time it happened, L.A. dropped the ball and the Houston Texans were born). So the people behind the stadium project are going to poach an existing franchise to fill the seats. Yes, I use the word poach, because really, that's what it will be. Not to be confused with "hijack a team" which is what Oklahoma City did to the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics (semantics, I know).

    The Los Angeles power players have targeted seven teams as candidates to move to this stadium. Their basis being that these teams are in stadiums that are either too small or can't be updated with luxury box seats or other revenue sources an NFL club needs to thrive. Let's ignore the fact that best revenue source is a winning team.

    The Magnificent Seven?
    Your possible Los Angeles franchises: Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers. Let's look at the likelihood of each team's prospect of moving.

    Buffalo Bills
    As long as 120 year old Ralph Wilson continues to own it, the team isn't moving. Once he dies however, especially with a family who has said it wants nothing to do with the franchise afterwards, anything is possible. A potential ownership group filled with former Bills (Jim Kelly amongst them) has come forward to buy the team from Wilson, whenever he will be on his death bed, and keep in Buffalo. Truthfully, if that fails, chances are that the team might move across the lake to Toronto full time before it moves to Los Angeles.
    ODDS: 30-1

    Jacksonville Jaguars
    My brother-in-law's pick. Factors to consider: 1) Smallest market (sans Green Bay) with a team; 2) The stadium has a capacity of over 76,000 but approximately 10,000 seats are covered during Jaguars' home games reducing the stadium's capacity around 67,000; 3) even with that, some games this year have been blacked out because they aren't sold out; & 4) owner Wayne Weaver said he'd have to sell the team before he dies (he's in his 70's) as his children don't want to inherit the team. A similar situation to Buffalo, but without the long history of the Bills, and not in a region of money men willing to keep the team in town.
    ODDS: 3-1

    Minnesota Vikings
    The Vikings have always had one foot on the moving van because they play in the Metrodome (which is like being a bachelor and living with your parents - sure you have a roof over your head, but you're kind of embarrassed to bring girls home). But a new stadium is being planned in downtown Minneapolis (whether is gets built or not is another story) and the new owner who came onboard a few years ago seems to want to keep the team in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I don't think the Vikes are moving.
    ODDS: 100-1

    Oakland Raiders
    Started in Oakland, moved to Los Angeles, moved back to Oakland, maybe back to Los Angeles. How odd would that be? The facts are that the Raiders now share a media market with a historically better team (the 49ers) and currently do not sell out a lot of games. Also, Al Davis is crazy. Why did Davis move before? The Oakland Coliseum needed luxury boxes, and the county balked, so Al ran to the L.A. Coliseum (which just lost the Rams to Anaheim). Al left L.A. because the L.A. Coliseum also lacked luxury boxes (fyi, the Coliseum today still looks like it did when it hosted Olympics. Not the one in 1984, the one in 1932). Oakland renovated their Coliseum to be suitable to Al, but now doesn't sell out its games. Don't think Al won't move into a fresh stadium if he has the chance.
    ODDS: 8-1

    St. Louis Rams
    Even since the death of owner Georgia Frontiere, the prospect of the team being sold by her family is high. And many think that whoever buys the Rams might very well take them back to Los Angeles. Added bonus, the lease in St. Louis is up, at the latest, in 2014, so a new owner wouldn't have to wait long to move. Everything points to the Rams coming back to L.A. But recently, owner of the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues, Dave Checketts, said he was interested in buying the Rams. He certainly would keep the Rams in St. Louis. Of course, the Rams aren't officially for sale, and other teams may beat the Rams to the punch before all is said and done.
    ODDS: 15-1

    San Diego Chargers
    By geography alone, the Chargers became L.A.'s team once the Rams and Raiders left town. That was a godsend to the Chargers because it could now go to the city and county of San Diego and say "Give, give, give, or we're going to Los Angeles." But then the Chargers got good. People were actually paying to see the games in person, ensuring sell outs, and it had stars with household names (a first since Dan Fouts). Qualcomm Stadium is still, according to many NFL insiders, a quality building (it's still hosting Super Bowls, always a good sign). If the Chargers were a crappy team, I said odds of a move were high. Right now though... not so much.
    ODDS: 25-1

    San Francisco 49ers
    While Candlestick Park is the oldest stadium in the NFL (that hasn't undergone a major renovation), the 49ers continue to state that they don't want to leave the Bay Area. In fact, there were on the brink of leaving San Francisco, but only to go to Santa Clara, about 40 miles away. While their stadium situation makes them prime for a poaching, I can't imagine the Niners leaving for L.A. Consequently, I can't imagine anyone in L.A. (which the majority are either current/former Raiders or Rams fans) rooting for the Niners.
    ODDS: 100-1
    And just for honorable mention, the Indianapolis Colts were always 5 minutes away from moving but they got their new Lucas Oil Stadium so they're not going anywhere. The Seattle Seahawks should have been in Los Angeles at least a dozen times, but the NFL balked and finally Paul Allen bought the team, built Qwest Field and kept the team in the Pacific Northwest. The New Orleans Saints always used Los Angeles as a bargaining chip with the state of Louisiana, but that became moot when Katrina struck. And the Arizona Cardinals were always linked with a move, but got a shiny new building and are staying in the Grand Canyon State (does anyone else find it ironic that the Cards didn't want to play in a college stadium, so they left Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University, moved into their own building, but then called it University of Phoenix Stadium? Anyone?)

    So where does that leave us? Odds are I'll soon be cheering on the Los Angeles Jaguars. But the fact of the matter is that Los Angeles is doing quite alright without a National Football League team. We've been fine for over a decade. And except for maybe the Lakers, this town doesn't do a good job of selling out for the other SEVEN professional sports franchises here (well, the Angels draw decent crowds).

    The Jaguars are leaving Jacksonville sooner rather than later (that's almost certain) but that doesn't mean it's coming to Los Angeles. I hear San Antonio is nice. The Commish has also said a franchise in London is possible (yes, that London). The only thing that I can tell you is a guarantee about a Los Angeles franchise... me, and almost everyone else in town, will watch them... from our couches.

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2009-1024.html

    What's Up!October 21, 2009


    I think I actually reached a level that I thought was unreachable: I have computer fatigue.

    I've spent a great deal of time in front of my screen (both here and at work), and at one point, about a week ago, I decided I needed a break.

    I'd maybe get in a Facebook or Twitter update, but my time on those sites was small. The Weekly Goods got abandoned, and the series of articles on Western New York went on abrupt hiatus. What gives? It was almost like I was *GASP* bored with it all.

    Maybe it was the 'stache (which for the record, needed the chops. I'm glad I went that way with it). I shaved it off, and look, I'm back online. Coincidence?

    Maybe it's Zoe. I spend all my time chasing the Baby Dynamo around, and if it weren't for Bear in the Big Blue House, I'd never actually sit down and rest. Thank you, Bear.

    Maybe I'm doing what I do best. I do random things. Conversely, I also do things randomly. However, I have never done random things randomly. Actually, I don't think you can. It's like a double negative.

    Well, whatever it was, I'm over it (for now), as evident by the fact that you're reading this.

    The series on Western New York will continue for at least two more issues (tentatively titled "The Eats," and "The Hats"), so be on the look out for those soon.

    This ends this Brief Interlude.

    What's Up!October 2, 2009

    WNY: PART 2

    My mother-in-law told me something that I found intriguing. She said, "The Bills are the only thing Buffalo's got. I am not talking just sports. In everything, the Bills are the only thing we have."

    Now, you can read this as an indication that the greater Buffalo/Niagara Falls Metropolitan Area (once the 8th most populous region in the nation) is a dying metropolis where the future isn't as bright as it once was and now has little to embrace, or you can read this as an indication that this is a rare occasion where a professional franchise and its city and fans are so intertwined, that one can't live without the other. Depending on who you ask, both views are true, but I'll vote for the latter (since it'll make for a more upbeat article).

    BillsNow just in case you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. Yes, those Buffalo Bills. The team of O.J. Simpson's pro career. The "Wide Right" guys (Scott Norwood would be at the Bill Buckner level of infamy, but the Bills lost the next 3 straight Super Bowls, so you can't pin it all on him). The current home of Terrell Owens. This is a team, that for many, is the heart and soul of Western New York, warts and all.

    Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I used to have an anti-Bills viewpoint. And only for two reasons. 1) They lost four Super Bowls in a row so they are worthy of ridicule and scorn. 2) My band director as a junior in high school, Scott Lang, was a purported Bills fan (despite being from Arizona), and we had to razz the guy about something (because truth be told, he was kind of cool). I say, "used to," because that's changed. More on that later.

    Random Tangent
    A question that has to be asked is, why the name "Buffalo Bills?" It gets a little muddy so hang with me... In the 1940's there was a rival league to the NFL called the All-American Football Conference. Buffalo had a team in that league called the Buffalo Bisons (fyi, a buffalo and a bison are, in actuality, two very different animals, and what we know as the "American Buffalo" is actually a bison as buffaloes aren't native to North America... but I digress).

    The Buffalo Bisons was also the name used by both a minor-league baseball and hockey team that played in the city, so the team held a pick-the-name contest. Now according to one lass on the internet, Over 4,500 entries were submitted, and "the Bills" won over "Bullets," "Nickels" and "Blue Devils." Several contestants suggested the winning name, but James F. Dyson was named the winner of the $500 prize based on his essay comparing the team to a band of "Buffalo Bills." He wrote that, while the legendary Indian Scout William "Buffalo Bill" Cody helped trailblaze the American Frontier, the football team was opening a new frontier in Buffalo sports.

    These Buffalo Bills sort of merged with the Cleveland Browns when they joined the NFL, and were no more. When yet another rival league was formed, the American Football League, Buffalo was awarded a team, and the Bills name was still popular with the citizens of that fine city, so the new Buffalo Bills were born. Told you... muddy.

    Back to the Love Affair
    Now maybe I don't understand because I live in Los Angeles where we have two National Basketball Association teams (well, one and a half), two National Hockey League teams, two Major League Baseball teams, two Major League Soccer teams, and two big Division 1 NCAA schools. Oh, and at one point, we did have two NFL teams. This town is too big to care about any one thing. L.A. is not only the second largest city in the nation, it's the 13th largest metropolitan area in the world. Life doesn't stop for a team here. No time. This isn't the case in Western New York.

    The first game of the season was on Monday Night Football, against the hated New England Patriots. Monday Night Football is broadcast on ESPN. On this Monday, the game was also broadcast on ABC. While the rest of the country was watching Dancing with the Stars, Buffalo got the Bills game, network be damned (this was not the case as Dancing with the Stars didn't start until the following Monday, but whatever was on got pre-empted by the local affiliate).

    Now, with victory in sight, a costly fumble leads to a Buffalo loss. To say that Tuesday saw the inhabitants of Western New York looking dour would not be a stretch. The front page of The Buffalo News... Bills-related. Like full-page spread. You may even have heard about how Leodis McKelvin, the dude who fumbled at the end of the game, had his lawn vandalized (it was minor, and done by a couple of kids, but strangely, no one in Western New York was surprised by this).

    Despite the Bills tendency to have a little of the bad luck, people still love this team. Flags fly at almost every home. Signs are posted in yards. Fresh bumper stickers go on. Yes, the Bills may be the only thing Buffalo has, but it loves them unconditionally.

    One Week Later
    The next Sunday was the home opener against Tampa Bay. What a dilemma. I've gone on the record as saying I'm a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, but do I root against the Bills in a Bills household. I couldn't root again my team. So what did I do, I cheered for every play. It was a win-win. Especially since we all agreed that Bryan Leftwich shouldn't be starting for the Bucs. But I did get a couple of warning glances from my father-in-law whenever Tampa Bay had a nice play and I cheered them on (in respectful, hushed tones).

    Nonetheless, the Bills won handily (T.O. even caught a touchdown pass) and the next day, the city was in high spirits. The Bills were 1-1, should have been 2-0, and things are looking up.

    The Matrix
    Truth be told, as I sit here trying to properly explain this phenomenon, I find that I can't do it justice. It really is like the Matrix. It can't be explained, only experienced. To have a community so supportive of a team is awe-inspiring. To see everyday joes and janes suspend everything for 3 hours each week to watch the Bills (and let's be honest, historically not a good team) is almost humbling.

    Random Tangent #2
    The cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills are called the Buffalo Jills. Seriously.

    What's My Point?
    I thought I had one, but I wasn't really sure when I started writing this thing (not to mention it's late, and I've come down with whatever the Mrs. and the Baby Dynamo had so I'm not 100%).

    Let me put in this way: imagine something in your life that you look forward to, and are happy is around. You may have your ups, you may have your downs, but in the end you have it, and it has you. That's Western New York's relationship with the Buffalo Bills.

    The Bills are celebrating their 50th Year of existence. Woot!

    Rooting... for the Bills?
    Lastly, my football allegiances are well-documented: they're flimsy. In my existence, I have called the following franchises "my team:" Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Baltimore Ravens; and San Diego Chargers. And I openly rooted for a slew of other teams. It's almost like I have football ADD (no offense to those suffering from legit football ADD).

    But I think I will start rooting for the Bills, and actually call myself a Bills fan. When I returned to Los Angeles, and the Bills games wasn't the one shown on local TV, I was kind of disappointed. The real reason I'm going to start rooting for the Bills, is that my family-in-law roots for the Bills. They are Western New Yorkers, which means they're Bills fans. I figured that being a Bills fan would give us something to connect over (besides me marrying their daughter and giving them another grandkid).

    And for the record, Dick Jauron needs to be replaced as coach.

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2009-1002.html

    What's Up!October 1, 2009

    WNY: PART 1

    If you follow Team Demosthenes, you know that we visited Western New York: the Buffalo - Niagara Falls region and their hinterlands (which isn't too much of an exaggeration). Now before I go in depth, I'm going to drop a What's Up first. I'm going to post the updates that I sent via Facebook and Twitter.

    Maintaining What's Up while on vacation is... let's say tedious, but the technology of Twitter and Facebook has made on-the-fly reporting easier. And the only reason I made Twitter and Facebook updates while away, was to keep parties on the Left Coast abreast of the goings-on of the Baby Dynamo. Also, this allows those who don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter to see what everyone else saw.

    Now before you get all up in arms about this lazy approach, I'd like to inform you that some "professional" journalists, working for real, print newspapers, publish a weekly article of what they tweeted over the last 7 days. Seriously. If that passes for journalism nowadays, I should be expecting my Pulitzer any day now.

    But to spice things up, I'll add any additional commentary (in blue) as needed. Without further ado...

    September 11 at 8:39am - Breezed through airport security. Thankfully, Zoe wasn't trying to smuggle any contraband.

    September 11 at 2:40pm - Landed in Atlanta. Zoe's diaper was not up to the challenge of the 4 hour flight!
    (however, we knew what to expect on the way home)

    September 11 at 7:28pm - Zoe is BUFFALO!

    September 12 at 10:45am - Apple pickin' in New York.
    (this was fun for everybody. I don't think I've ever been apple picking... at least on someone else's property)

    September 12 at 4:56pm - Apples picked by Zoe have been made into apple dumplings.
    (jealous? You should be. They were delicious. Even for breakfast the next day)

    September 14 at 12:11pm - Greetings from Lake Ontario.

    September 14 at 2:09pm - What a mess!
    (Zoe was rocking some frozen custard from Brownie's, a local establishment)
    September 15 at 7:01am - As you know, I'm in the Buffalo/Niagara region of western New York. What you didn't know was that when the Buffalo Bills were on Monday Night Football last night, the entire region came to a complete standstill. Life stops for the Bills, here. This is new to me.
    (more on this in a future issue)

    September 15 at 12:41pm - Greek Orthodox Church in Buffalo
    (not really looking for it, but stumbled across it on the way to the hat shop. Keep reading)
    September 15 at 4:26pm - Tackled Lake Erie today. That's #2 of the 5 Great Lakes. That's good enough.

    September 15 at 5:32pm - Buffalo Bills Birthday Cake Milk. Imagine milk flavored with rainbow sprinkles.
    (delicious, but random. Very, very random)
    September 15 at 9:18pm - East Coast bonus... saw Big Brother live. Color me satisfied.
    (satisfied in the sense that I'm glad Jordan won)

    September 16 at 8:39am - Went to the New Era Cap Flagship Store in Buffalo. The FLAGSHIP Store... and they still didn't have some hats in my size. I get it, I have a melon head, but it's the frakkin' FLAGSHIP Store.
    (I might dedicate an entire issue on this subject)

    September 16 at 4:18pm - Odd fact o' the day: Closest Target = 30 minutes away.
    (we were in the village of Wilson and it was in the City of Niagara Falls. A lot of Facebook comments on how disturbing this idea was to people)

    September 17 at 2:32pm - Zoe at Old Fort Niagara.
    (more photos at www.zoeisgo.com)

    September 18 at 12:02pm - It's T.O.'s! Terrell Owens toasted oats! Only in Buffalo.
    September 18 at 12:07pm - Had Buffalo Wings in Buffalo* (*actually in the next county over, but close enough)
    (they were actually in Val's cousin Bobby's restaurant. FYI, Buffalo is in Erie County, I was in Niagara County at the time)

    September 19 at 9:11am - Awesome fact o' the day: Page 1, Line 1 of the Owner's Manual for the Daisy 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun reads, "WARNING: THIS GUN CAN CAUSE THE LOSS OF AN EYE."

    September 19 at 3:23pm - Labatt's - Hooray Canadian Beer!
    (in the commemorative throwback can design no less)
    September 22 at 10:09am - is tired of drinking beer.
    (ok, let me explain. Throughout my visit with my in-laws, my drink choices were water, diet soda or beer. I don't like diet soda, and sometimes, you need something more than water to wash down your dinner. But I really had my fill of the stuff)

    September 22 at 12:10pm - Zoe is NIAGARA FALLS
    September 24 at 12:41pm - Goodbye Buffalo

    September 25 at 12:42am - Zoe is CALIFORNIA!

    So just in case the title didn't give it away, there will be a few more parts of thy WNY saga. Some funny, some bizarre, some boring, but since you asked for it, you're going to get it. Hey, I'm a giver.

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2009-1001.html

    What's Up!August 29, 2009


    Time for another of the immensely popular "ramblings that can't be expanded into stand-alone issues" article.

  • Zombies are overrated. Want proof? Check out the BBC article Science ponders "zombie attack." And someone got paid for this.

  • Vampires... equally as overrated. Here's something to chew on (no pun intended): vampire fans, especially those who want to be vampires = racists, in the truest sense of the word. Think about it. In most vampire lore, vampires are a different species than humans, and they want nothing more to dominate the "lesser" humans, who they feel aren't on the same level as them. You know what that smells like? Racism. Vampires = racists. You heard it here first.

    Chick in Boots
    It was the only thing I could find on short notice, but to the fellas out there...
    you're welcome.
  • From the "You Can't Make This Shit Up" files: The United Arab Emirates seized North Korean weapons bound for Iran, which was aboard a vessel owned by an Australian subsidiary of a French company, sailing under the Bahamian flag with material exported by an Italian company with offices in China. Who's going to keep that story straight? No wonder they got caught.

  • So what do you think of the new What's Up masthead? I was originally going to go with a brand new look, but could not find something that tickled my proverbial fancy. So as I was tinkering with the original masthead, I ended up with this refreshed version. Early focus group feedback was positive so we ran with it. One reviewer said it was a substantial upgrade over the previous "sophomoric" original. That's what we like to call, a back-handed compliment.

  • Chicks in boots. That's sexy. Now, I'm not talking about cowboy boots or Uggs, I'm talking about boots that go halfway up the calf (or more), and have a heel on them. That's a very sexy look. It shows confidence.

  • For those that do not know, Clan Spiropoulos has moved. Goodbye 92843, and hello 90720. An added plus, we're much closer to church so we should, in theory, be at church more often. I'm sure the Padre will enjoy seeing our smiling faces again (so Father John, be on the lookout for us... one of these days). I'm equally as sure the old Greek ladies will not enjoy our giggling in the back pews (which I'm sure will come up during my Exit Interview with God).

  • I don't usually backtrack, but if you haven't already, you should read the What's Up from February of this year titled, Party of 3. It's a fascinating read, and some of my best work (and I'm not saying that just for the gratuitous Grover Cleveland reference).

  • Fun fact of the day: my father's village in Greece didn't get electricity until 1961. My grandfather's first electric-powered purchase? A refrigerator.

  • So Zoe has a lot of toys. She's a kid, it happens. But there is one that I find odd. It's a Little Tikes branded train toy. You can swap out 3 different animals that clip to the top, but each animal has a chip that plays a different song when you press the smoke stack. The three songs: 1) "ABC" by the Jackson 5. Ok, that's fine; 2) "Hot Hot Hot" by Buster Poindexter. Not my first choice for a kid's toy, but it's festive its own little muzak way; 3) "The Final Countdown" by Europe. What the...? I actually had to listen to it 4 times to be really sure it was "The Final Countdown," but it really is. I say again, odd.

  • It's 6:44 p.m. (18:44 for our European and Military friends) and it's 90 degrees. The fan in the corner of the room is pointed right at me, and all it's doing it sending hot air my way. Nice.

  • I can say without hesitation that Usain Bolt is the greatest athlete I've ever seen. We all saw what he did in the Beijing Olympics, but at the recent Track & Field World Championships in Berlin, Bolt shattered his own world records in the 100 meters and the 200 meters. It was said that if Usain Bolt had not showboated in the 100 meters in Beijing, he might have tickled something in the 9.5 range. Well, in Berlin, he ran full tilt all the way down and set the new world record at 9.59.

    Bolt in Berlin
    In reality, it wasn't even as close as this picture would indicate

    I actually feel sorry for Tyson Gay. The American sprinter ran his best 100 meter race in Berlin and finished with 9.77, which a year ago, would have been a world record, but now, in a world with Usain Bolt, is only the THIRD fastest time in history.

    How special is Usain Bolt? In the 200 meters, Bolt broke the record in Beijing (which many thought would never be broken), and then broke his own record in Berlin. Just wow.

    There might be some arguments as to who's better: Dan Marino/Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods/Jack Nicklaus, Ali/Frazier, et al. But as ESPN's Colin Cowherd said the other day, "His business card reads: Fastest Dude Alive. There's no debate." I agree.

  • Fun Fact of the Day #2: I lettered twice in Varsity Track & Field in high school. Hey, I can throw a mean discus.

  • You know what's worse that losing to your rivals in soccer... eh, football? When you lose because of a late own goal. See today's Arsenal-Manchester United match.

    And I think I'm done for now. I might finally hook up our DVD player and game consoles. Maybe I'll rock out with a little Guitar Hero. Or maybe I'll go buy a new car. Night's still young.

    In case you're wondering (and in the spirit of full disclosure), I got the chick in the boots from here: http://www.luciotan.com/forum/thread-24658-1-3.html

    url: http://whatsup.dmounited.com/x/2009-0829.html

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