Monday, March 31, 2008

Get this woman a napkin...

Ever wonder what would happen if life were a musical?

Some innocent people found out when they visited a food court.

The group's Web site is I bet they watch reruns of "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" whenever they can.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A man of influence

Baseball writer and administrator Bill James taught me to look at the sport (and hopefully at the rest of my life) from different perspectives. It's no coincidence that my hockey blog, "The Hockey Abstract," is named what it is as a tribute to him.

Morley Safer of "60 Minutes" aired a profile of James on tonight's program. I set the VCR for hours to make sure I wouldn't miss it (you never know how long a basketball game will last). I need not have worried; it was posted on the CBS News Web site. And now it's available here.

Forever young

It costs less than $10 each for my wife and I to be turned into kids for a while on Saturday.

We went to the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester.

Forget the slightly ponderous title. It's a fabulous place.

The museum is ranked as a "gem" by AAA, and it takes about three minutes after walking through the front door to see why. The facility expanded to its current size in 2006 and takes up a good amount of space in downtown Rochester (fairly near the Blue Cross Arena).

The first floor has all sorts of interactive ventures that had tons of kids running around, gleefully yelling and laughing. There are sections devoted to such places as "Sesame Street" and "Field of Play." A local supermarket chain has a fake grocery store in which children can go shopping in kid-sized carts, learning about nutrition along the way, and then have their items scanned at registers. I paricular liked an area designed to encourage reading, even if there were no copies of "Rayzor's Edge" available for the children to study.

Upstairs has more for adults. There's a National Toy Hall of Fame up there, with such items as the Slinky, Viewmaster, Play-Doh, Scrabble and Silly Putty. There are bunches of glassed-in displays of old toys, including dolls and games. For adults, it's like reliving a childhood ("I had that one..."). An area has been set up as something of a radio station, in which kids can practice their announcing skills.

If the adults get bored playing, they can always go into the adjoining butterfly museum (we didn't have time for that). And there are other play areas outside that certainly figured to get plenty of use when the weather is warmer.

I can't imagine a better place to take kids under 10; an afternoon there ought to wear them out for days. For adults who still have a bit of child in them, it's definitely worth a look.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A bit of the excitement... was nice enough to post a clip of the opening part of the Detroit Medley from the Buffalo show. Here it is for your viewing pleasure ... and turn it up:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lost in space

The Buffalo Niagara Film Festival is going on this week around town. The festival is in its second year, and it's a nice idea -- show a variety of films on all sorts of subject, and bring in some special guests. The event is still in its infancy, but has shown some growth since last year.

One problem has been advertising; I haven't noticed any. However, there was a story in the newspaper on the festival, and I excitedly noticed that a documentary on Bill Lee, former major league pitcher, was scheduled for today. Even better -- Lee himself was said to be speaking. I immediately ordered my ticket on line for the showing.

Lee -- nicknamed "The Spaceman" -- is one of the great characters in baseball history. He's naturally funny, and came up with the Red Sox in the late 1960's -- when he was virtually adopted by the counter-culture of Boston and eventually the nation. Lee was a man who questioned authority whenever possible, putting him at odds with the baseball power structure. In other words, he and manager Don Zimmer were like watching re-runs of "All in the Family."

As a Red Sox fan, this was a must-attend, if that's a word. When I arrived for the showing 15 minutes early, I already had questions ready -- "How did you know that you and Zimmer weren't going to be best friends?" and "How did Boston's win in the 2004 World Series change your life?" Heck, I brought a camera. "Hey, Bill, can you pose for a picture with me?"

The documentary, "High and Outside," was shown as planned, and it was well done. Basically, you could simply turn on the camera and let Lee talk in order to have a funny movie, and there were plenty of funny quotes. My favorite was along the lines of "Educated people have a sense of regionalism and take pride in their area. Uneducated people don't have that, so they just follow the money ... and become Yankee fans." Some of the footage was quite good, including shots of Lee's first major league game. Interviews with Peter Gammons and Marvin Miller were particularly insightful.

Director Peter Vogt was on hand. He seemed to have a lot of friends there, based on the reception. But Lee wasn't there. Vogt said that Lee was in Vermont for a showing of the film there (Lee lives in that state), and didn't know why Lee was advertised to appear here. That disappointed me as well as the middle-aged guy in the Red Sox jersey whose wife had a copy of Lee's book, "The Wrong Stuff," in her purse for autographing purposes.

"High and Outside" is scheduled for a brief theatrical release soon, then it is on to DVD and television. As one critic put it, it's worthwhile if you know who Bill Lee is.

Still, it wasn't a fulfilling afternoon -- at least compared to what it could/should have been.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Oprah Winfrey's Day Off

Scene from a life ... in this case, mine:

I was waiting for my car to be inspected at my friendly dealer the other day. There is a waiting area with chairs and a television. After a soap opera ended, I boldly changed the channel to the NCAA basketball tournament, waking up the men sitting in the area. Then I sat down next to a woman.

A few minutes later, her cell phone rang. One of the problems with cell phones is that it's impossible to not overhear the conversations of strangers.

After a minute of chit-chat, the woman said over the phone, "When does this basketball crap finally end?"

I didn't have the heart to blurt out the answer: early April.

After a moment, she said, "I guess I'm going to miss Oprah again today."

I laughed silently to myself and then went back to watching the game and, during the commercials, reading my book on basketball legends Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

One man's madness is another person's sadness, apparently.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Video village

Silly things can happen when a newspaper has a contest ... such as someone working for the competition winning it.

Check out this video from the Newspaper Wars of Chicago:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Two quick notes...

1. The Google ads that are on the top of this blog usually have some sort of connection to the text below. I can delete ads that I don't want. It's kind of funny to see what comes up. After the last column, for example, an ad came up for a poll asking if Diana crash photos should be be banned from release.

2. I was watching the Yankees-Virginia Tech replay on the YES Network the other night -- I'm sorry, but I have a friend who works at Va. Tech who was at the game -- and was paying slight attention to the score crawl at the bottom of the screen. Around midnight, the following crawl came up: "Hi Sarah. Don't drink too much."

Think anyone got into trouble about that one?

Monday, March 17, 2008

The nature of celebrity

Recently Tina Brown came to town to speak at the University at Buffalo. Brown is a former editor of The New Yorker, among many other accomplishments. She's working as an American columnist for a London newspaper as well as researching a book on Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Her speech, though, was all about Princess Diana. She wrote a book on Diana a few years ago -- "The Diana Chronicles." Brown had gotten to know Diana over the years, and talked to a ton of people about her life. She sold a lot of books, so I can't blame her for speaking on this subject.

However, during the question-and-answer session, I had the strange feeling that Brown was feeling a bit conflicted over the book and the whole concept of celebrity worship. That's not an unfamiliar feeling for anyone in the media.

Diana was an extremely public, popular figure, of course, and there was intense interest in everything she did. Diana used that popularity to her advantage by dragging the media along when she dealt with important causes, such as AIDS and land mines. However, in the end that relationship with the media turned tragic. Her car got into a chase with a photographer, and a fatal accident followed.

The question comes down to this: where's the line for determining what a "celebrity" is? Diana probably qualified as something of a world figure, even if her level of influence probably was overdone. Most of us are trying to figure out why anyone would chase Paris Hilton down a street to take a picture of her doing, well, something, since she hasn't given us much reason to care about her life. The line is in-between the two of them. But where?

There's a really good story about the paparazzi in this month's issue of the Atlantic magazine. The author spends some time with the photographers, who often run red lights and race down one-way streets the wrong way in order to get yet another picture of Britney Spears. At least Britney sold some CD's once upon a time, but it's tough to know when she made the transformation from music star to caricature. (Probably when the hair came off.) Anna Nicole Smith, moving even farther down the scale, was much more famous in death than she ever was in life. Nevertheless, the money involved in taking pictures of such people on a daily basis is larger than you could believe.

The media is in the business to tell the public what it needs to know and what it wants to know. Sometimes it's easy to feel like you're on a board sitting on top of a cylinder, trying to maintain balance while knowing it won't take much to push you off. I wonder if Tina Brown feels that way sometimes.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

March sadness

There is much to like about the NCAA basketball tournament. There is one thing I don't like.

The format itself is thrilling. It's always great to watch a Game Seven in sports, where everything is on the line for both teams. Well, this is the equivalent of having 64 such games within a few weeks of each other. Thirty-two of them come in the first two days of the tournament.

As Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News once said, there's nothing better in sports than when a shot is in the air when the buzzer sounds, and its outcome -- in the basket or not -- determines which team's season is over. And you can get two or three of those moments within an hour during the next week, if you're very lucky.

Then there's the whole idea of inviting everyone to the big dance. The Ivy League and the Big East are even in the sense that both get a chance to win it all. OK, Cornell's chance is smaller than Georgetown's chance realistically, but both teams still have to win to advance. It's great to see the little schools get to play the big schools on a neutral court, matchups that rarely take place during the regular season.

Such a game came in Buffalo last year, when Virginia Commonwealth faced Duke. VCU probably has been looking up at Duke in terms of attention for decades, but that didn't matter when the score was tied in the final seconds last year. Virginia Commonwealth's Eric Maynor hit a shot to win it, sending its many fans in the building to ecstacy and guaranteeing that Maynor will be eating free meals in Richmond for the rest of his life.

Lastly, we come up with a champion through a fair process. The computers don't determine the two finalists; teams have to earn it. (That's the obligatory BCS putdown.) There is always grumbling about teams that get left out on Selection Sunday, but there are few teams that are in the NIT each year that seem capable of playing for the national championship -- which is the point of the exercise.

I have no idea who might win the title this year. My usual rooting favorite, Syracuse, will be watching again this year. And while the upsets give the tournament some charm, it is good to see four great teams meet in the Final Four for the best possible matchups in the showcase games. I guess I'm rooting for dramatic, thrilling games with few important upsets in that sense.

That brings us to the downer: bracket pools.

It's become a national mania to play some sort of pool at tournament time. For some, the predictions merely add to March Madness, while for others it's the only source of entertainment about it all. If I played the pools, which I don't (I know so little about most of the teams that it seems like an exercise in futility), I'd care about how I was doing. But I wouldn't want to inflict on anyone my feelings about how Drake's first-round loss cost me one of my Final Four picks and thus causing financial ruin ($5 down the drain).

So, I'll be paying attention to the games instead of my predictions this year. I'm glad you are interested in the show, but I hope you'll understand if I stay respectfully quiet during discussions of your picks.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Well, that didn't take long

America's T-shirt manufacturers have obviously been keeping up with the latest news. Click here to see the latest in Eliot Spitzer apparel:

My favorite was "I was Client No. 8 and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." And, "I'm not only the Governor, I'm also a client."

Better order soon if you are interested. This stuff probably has a short shelf life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ten Comments Overheard in Gov. Spitzer's Office

1. "It's your wife, Governor. She says it's kind of important."
2. "Wonder if Mr. Spitzer paid sales tax on the out-of-state transaction."
3. "Maybe she was just trying to get a driver's license."
4. "You'd think for $4,000 an hour, they'd throw in stuff from the mini-bar."
5. "This Just In: John Faso has asked for a recount."
6. "The Web site of the Emperor's Club seems to have crashed."
7. "He's only Client 9? How important are Clients 1 through 8?"
8. "'Troopergate' doesn't seem so bad now, does it?"
9. "No, sir, I don't think it was part of a personal investigation by Mr. Spitzer."
10. "I need some good advice … call the airport and get me Larry Craig."

Passed along without comment ... except to say that ridicule can be as effective as rage.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A week in the life

Ah, March, the cruelest month. At least in Buffalo.

You get just a hint that spring isn't far away, and then you get slapped.

Let's take the last seven days. On Monday, the forecast was for temperatures close to 50. The actual high was around 63. People fled their houses to go for walks and runs in the park. The roads had tiny rivers along the curbs as the snowpack was quickly disappearing. In fact, by Monday night, the grass was more or less exposed everywhere except for areas that had man-made piles of snow on them.

Tuesday morning, it was already snowing by morning drive. So much for the grass. By midafternoon, there was an inch or two on the ground. Then at nightfall the temperature aloft went up just enough to turn a light snowstorm into a good-sized ice storm. Words fail me when trying to describe the sound of the freezing rain hitting the windows of my house at 1 a.m.

By Wednesday, the driveway needed plowing, if only to get another coating of snow off of the top of the icepack that had formed on the pavement. Thursday was calm, and the warm late winter sun actually did a little melting of the snowpack.

Now you know where the phrase "the calm before the storm" started. Snow was falling lightly on Friday morning, and the weather service was full alert status -- winter storm warning!. The light to moderate snow continued through the day (another snowblower run), leaving things a little slippery. By late evening, we probably had roughly six to eight inches on the ground ... with a forecast for heavy snow on Saturday.

The snow kept coming on Saturday (another snowblower run), interrupted by ice pellets every so often. That may have kept the accumulation total down a bit, but it was still pretty significant. A representative of the Weather Channel was in town on Saturday, which is never a good sign ("Don't you have a tornado or something to cover?"). On Saturday night the side streets were pretty messy; cars simply aimed down the middle and bounced their way to the main road.

By Sunday morning, the storm was gone and the sun was out ... but about 21 inches of snow officially had been left behind (one more snowblower run). That's a lot, enough to disrupt life a bit even in Buffalo, but at least the snowfall was spread out over more than two days so it was more of an inconvenience than an interruption.

I'm fond of saying that snow totals after March 1 don't bother me too much because I know they won't be around for two months. This week tested my resolve.

A warming trend is forecast for the rest of the week. I'm not getting my baseball glove out quite yet.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Boss in Buffalo

It seemed only fair that Bruce Springsteen opened his Buffalo show on on March 7 with "The Ties That Bind," and not just because he played the same song to open the show in HSBC Arena in 1999. Springsteen has plenty of connections to Buffalo that date back decades.

In the early 1970's, Springsteen made a few appearances in the Buffalo area. He made a connection to the late Jerry Nathan, who promoted concerts under the name of "Festival East" back then. Springsteen was starting to bust out of being a New York City favorite at that point, and Springsteen never forgot Nathan's generosity. So he always tried, and tries, to come back here when he's touring.

Springsteen's most memorable appearance might have been in 1977. He played Kleinhans Music Hall in February, 1977 -- right after the famous Blizzard of '77. In fact, it was the night the driving ban was lifted. The Boss said this trip that he remembered how stir crazy everyone was after a couple of weeks of being locked up in the house.

More than a year later, Springsteen made his most important visit to Buffalo in a sense. His legal troubles with Mike Appel were settled, and he had finally been able to release a sequel to "Born to Run" called "Darkness on the Edge of Town." Under the circumstances, it might have been his biggest show since he played before music company executives in New York a few years before that to justify his contract. America's top music critics came to Shea's Buffalo Theater to see how rock and roll future would do in the present. The verdict: just fine ... even if Springsteen did need to bring the lyrics to "Tenth Avenue Freezeout" out on stage during the encore.

Springsteen played Memorial Auditorium a couple of times after that, including one September night that was so hot in the building (no air conditioning, of course) that the handrails on the stairs seemed to be perspiring. He also celebrated a birthday here, as the touring group took over a skating rink in Cheektowaga for the party. An eyewitness said Bruce mostly stayed in the corner with a female accomplice.

Bruce's current accomplice was back in New Jersey this time watching their three teenagers, but the band still put on a fine show -- the best, according to an informal poll of three veterans sitting in a bar afterwards, since the group returned in 1999. A few other notes about the 2008 performance:

* Clarence Clemons is said to be having a few health problems, and he didn't have much byplay with the rest of the band. The Big Man certainly came through on sax as usual though.

* Garry Tallent was placed on risers near drummer Max Weinberg, which was unexpected. He's always been down with the guitars. Might have been getting crowded down there.

* Nicest surprise of the night was hearing the "Detroit Medley" for the first time in 25 years or so.

Springsteen acted like he was having a great time in Buffalo again. Or else he just didn't want to go outside into the snow anytime soon. A near-sellout crowd knew the feeling.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Appointment listening

I'm sorry, but I can't get together with you Friday night. An old friend is in town.

I always try to get together with my pal, Bruce Springsteen, when he's around. I've been doing it for more than 30 years. Many of my favorite bands have broken up, or lost members to illness, but Springsteen and the E Street Band go on and on. The music still sounds good, too.

The Boss and I first got together back in 1977, when I was a young punk in college. Our hair was longer then. I had seen the Time and Newsweek cover articles before that, and heard a certain buzz about his latest record album. A few friends of mine on campus who knew their music told me "Born to Run" was worth an investment. I think it cost me $4.50. It got played, a lot.

Some dorm friends were headed to Utica for a concert sometime in 1977, when they asked if I wanted a ticket and a ride. OK, I'll tag along. It may have been Springsteen's shortest show ever. It also was the best show any of us had ever seen. He only played for about 90 minutes (no idea why), but at the end everyone in the auditorium was yelling and screaming for more. Our group, which had floor seats about 25 rows back, was standing on those seats by the end of the show.

Then came one of those great moments that happens only once in a while. The house lights came up, and virtually no one left. The applause for another encore went on and on. The clapping was starting to die out a bit after five minutes when one of the roadies, who had been on stage for only a minute or two, looked off stage behind the curtain and obviously saw the band. He turned to the crowd, gave the "more applause" gesture with his hands, and the place exploded.

The house lights went back down, the band came back, and one more song was heard. Clarence Clemons slapped hands with the front row on his way out this time. I still haven't seen anything like it.

A year later I saw Springsteen in Olean, and he was just getting warmed up after 90 minutes. After a break, he played for another 90. He was in the stage of his career where he couldn't stop playing until he was totally exhausted. The reputation as rock's best live act followed Springsteen for the next several years, as he stopped in Buffalo for the next few tours.

When the band went its separate ways in the late 1980's, I figured the 1984 show was the last I had seen of Springsteen and the E Street Band. Luckily I was wrong, as they got back together in 1999. It was like a friend had re-entered my life. When someone asked me what the show was like afterwards. I replied, "Well, the sound was a little muddy, and Springsteen didn't have that same level of connection with the rest of the band that he did in the old days. On the other hand, I felt like crying when I heard 'Born to Run' again."

Now after another stop in Buffalo a few years ago, Springsteen is back in town with an excellent new CD and his tremendous old band. I remember reading in a Rolling Stone article once upon a time that when Springsteen was in full flight in a concert, there was no place on earth you'd rather be than that exact spot.

That's still true, 31 years after Utica.

Monday, March 03, 2008

If Larry King wrote this blog

You're certainly familiar with Larry King, the longtime interview host on CNN and, before that, late-night radio. You're probably less familiar with his writing.

Larry wrote a weekly column for a while for USA Today. He also wrote a similar column for The Sporting News for a bit. The writing style was, um, unique. Quirky. Unmatched.

Definitely unmatched. I should know, I tried today to write like Larry. I found out: IT'S TOUGH:

When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, I've learned never to bet against the defending champion.

If Bobby Knight is doing the talking on ESPN basketball coverage, I'm doing the watching.

Watch out, Tiger: Ernie Els is officially on the prowl.

Those NFL mock drafts sure make the countdown to spring go that much faster.

If life were an open book, Donny Most & Anson Williams would be Chapter 8.

It just doesn't seem like a Presidental campaign without Tom Tancredo.

Am I the only one who butters both sides of the bread?

I can't believe all this talk about bias in the media. They'll probably tell me next that the YES network is slanted toward the Yankees.

I'd watch auto racing more often if the cars went clockwise.

Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote ... It won't be an official reunion of Avalanche greats until Patrick Roy signs and suits up again.

It ain't a baseball season without Julio Franco. He makes me feel young again.

If you think condiments are the work of the Devil, you're my friend.

Hey, Paul Newman, that sequel to "Slap Shot" just wasn't the same without you.

You'd think inflation would have forced them to call it "The 800 Club" by now.

Is it just me, or are there others who think Will Ferrell's next movie should be about curling?

The scariest phrase for Red Sox Nation is "Now pitching for the Yankees ... Kyle Farnsworth."

I saw David Letterman & Morgan Fairchild guest on a "Mork & Mindy" re-run today -- talk about your "dream teams"!

You can have the Williams sisters. I'll take the Klitschko brothers.

I'll forgive Walter O'Malley, er, Paul Snyder one of these days, but not yet.

See what I mean? I'm through. From now on, Larry is on his own.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Reality check

When a free agent or potential free agent leaves his old professional home, you can always count on some fans to react with three complaints:

How much money does he need?

What happened to loyalty to a team?

Why don't today's players love the game?

It came up again with the Brian Campbell saga in Buffalo, but you'd get the same discussion in any sport at other times. The complaints always leave me a bit infuriated. Let's take them one at a time:

1. How much money does he need? I guarantee you that practically every single player in the National Hockey League realizes he is well-paid to play a game. However, you could cut every salary by 90 percent, and you'd have the same discussion ("Isn't $600,000 enough to live on?") from fans. Yes, it's too bad no one pays to see firefighters, but that's the system we have.

There are a couple of key points. One, salaries are a way for these guys to keep score among themselves. They bring a great deal of pride and competitiveness to the table on and off the playing surface. If they think they are as good as another player in the league, they want to be paid the same. It's not the actual amount of money, it's the concept of fairness.

Second, to be specific for a moment, the difference in cash in Campbell's situation was not exactly insignificant. Let's say he had a three-year offer from the Sabres for three years at $6 million a year. That's $18 million total. If he becomes a free agent, he might get a six-year deal at $6.5 million per year. That's $39 million. Is there anyone going to tell me that $21 million is not a significant difference? You can use other case studies; the effect is the same.

Please remember during all this that these guys are one moment away from being on their way to retirement. Ask Pat LaFontaine.

2. What happened to loyalty to a team? Loyalty is a two-way street. The landscape is littered with one-sided contracts that favor management. There's a great deal of mistrust between the playoffs and owners, based on history. The streets also are littered with players who were quickly released when they were perceived to have little value to the team. How many players did NFL teams drop in the last week?

In fairness, sometimes unions discourage players from taking a "hometown discount" if they want to stay put. The unions believe that depresses salaries throughout the league. Still, players have been known to give teams every opportunity to re-sign them before the old deal expires, and there probably are savings involved. But it has limits.

3. Why don't today's players love the game? They do. They have to love the game. Do you think they'd put in the time over the course of a lifetime that would give them the chance to play professional sports if they didn't love it?

One time I was talking to Derek Plante about this subject, and I made that point. Derek likes to play hockey, and was always good at it. He also knew that hockey was his one ticket to college; he wasn't going to make it without a scholarship. Derek put in the time on the ice, and went to Minnesota-Duluth. He's still playing in Europe, 15 years after turning pro, and he can't believe that he's still on the ride.

Players have come and gone from teams for generations. In the old days, the players had no control over the process in virtually all sports. Now they have a much bigger say. The good organizations figure out how to work within the rules and either keep their best players or replace them when necessary.

That's not much comfort if you spent $150 on a Brian Campbell Sabres jersey at Christmas, but it is reality.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

A bargain at any price

Here's a little bit of information that's worth sharing ... which is exactly what I did.

My lovely wife recently took a look at the book listing for "Rayzor's Edge" by Rob Ray on She was happy to see that it was the best-selling hockey book in America as of this morning. Admittedly, there is not much new competition here. Most hockey books are released in the fall, while this one is coming out in trade paperback at some point in the future because the original one sold out so quickly.

(FYI, no one seems too sure when the book will be printed as a trade paperback, so if you stumbled here through a search engine, my only advice is to be patient.)

Then she looked at the used book listing for "Rayzor's Edge." You can see the entire page by going here.

You read correctly. Someone has put a $315 price tag on a book that cost $20 new in November, and will cost $16 when it comes out in paperback later this month.

I was ready to make my own jokes about that one. Such as, "For $315, I'll drive the book to your house and read it to you." Or, "Call the Federal Reserve Board, inflation really is getting out of hand." You get the idea. I sent the link via e-mail to my friends, who keep me humble on such matters, and they came through:

"Yeah, but it's in very good condition. You can't put a price on that."

"Yikes. Printed in gold with diamonds on the periods, semicolons and commas?"

"I'll take a dozen!"

"You're good, my friend, but not THAT good!!"

"And worth every penny."

"I'll sell mine for $300. Including shipping."

"Wow! A collectors' item already. Your book is doing better than my 401K."

"I thought for a second that maybe it was an autographed copy, but that would have decreased the value."

As Bill Simmons of would say, yup, these are my readers.