Sunday, December 30, 2007

When Politics and Sports Collide...

About two months ago I posted a note about the various "fashions for sale" at the official online stores of most of the 2008 presidential candidates ("When Politics and Fashion Collide..., 10.26.2007). And now, politics and sports are colliding! Sports Illustrated posted this fun slide show of Barack Obama's one-on-one game against a Sports Illustrated senior writer while on the campaign trail in Spencer, Iowa. The pictures suggest that the senator from Illinois takes his basketball game very seriously.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A College Football Fan's Dream

I just discovered the BCS Guru (, an insightful and intelligent blog that carefully sizes up college football matches, demystifies the BCS, and makes fans like me who are in constant pursuit of more college football knowledge very happy. Thank you, CNN article on the revenue that bloggers generate by posting ads on their sites, for the heads up. If only I had known about the Guru at the beginning of this year's college football season...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007

Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's first female prime minister, was assassinated on Thursday in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Extensive coverage from CNN can be found here, and extensive coverage from The New York Times can be found here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Better Late Than Never...

Two more days and I would have gone an entire month without a single entry! Unfortunately, blogging took a back seat during the month of December, first to final exam preparation, and then to holiday preparation. But now, in preparation for another holiday (Happy New Year!), I am resolving to blog more regularly.

With that out of the way, two things:

1. After a thrilling season, college football is ending on a fairly anticlimactic note this year. Perhaps I am speaking prematurely; after all, most of the major bowl games have yet to be played. I am looking forward to the Capital One Bowl--my favorite team, the Florida Gators, will play my dad's favorite team, the Michigan Wolverines (my dad is once again comfortable pulling for the Wolverines now that Lloyd Carr has passed the torch to Rich Rodriguez), on January 1. And when Ohio State and LSU meet in the National Championship game on January 7, I will tune in to show my support for the Southeastern Conference (go Tigers!). But I'm just not as excited as I would have hoped. Of course, following Florida's stellar football and basketball championship seasons last year, I was bound to be a little disappointed this year.

2. On the other hand, the presidential primary season has never been more exciting! With neither an incumbent nor a consistent front-runner among the Republican and Democratic hopefuls, the candidates are campaigning harder than ever and the pundits are (over)analyzing more than ever: What's the impact of Obama's Oprah-factor? How about Hillary's Bill-factor? What caused Mike Huckabee's rapid rise in the polls? What caused Rudy Giuliani's steady decline in the polls? Keeping up with the candidates and those who seek answers to these questions (nightly, and before a national audience) has become a new obsession of mine. I think that I may be looking forward to the Iowa caucuses on January 3 as much as I am looking forward to the aforementioned bowl games. Gasp!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sad News

Sean Taylor, a safety for the Washington Redskins, died early Tuesday morning, one day after being shot in his South Florida home. He was only 24.

My thoughts and prayers are with Taylor's family, teammates, and friends.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Update: Michelle Obama Will Not Appear on The View

Today on The View, Whoopi Goldberg announced that Michelle Obama will not appear as a guest co-host on December 5 after all. It seems that both Michelle Obama and John Edwards canceled scheduled appearances on The View to demonstrate their support for the television writers' strike. Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters clarified that The View is able to continue despite the writers' strike (and presumably without offending the strikers?) because the show doesn't rely on writers--there's no monologue (unlike Leno, Letterman, Kimmel, and Ellen), and as we all know, the banter among the co-hosts is unscripted.

Michelle Obama and John Edwards are obviously free to schedule and cancel appearances as they please, but I'm not sure that their respective appearances (Obama as a guest co-host, Edwards as a guest) would have been interpreted as not supportive of the writers' strike. Then again, perhaps there's a complex television industry issue here that I just don't understand and that would have made their appearances entirely offensive to the strikers' efforts. I guess Hillary Clinton was lucky to make her appearance of The View before any of this began...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Two Things I'm Thankful For...

It's Thanksgiving week(end). I've spent the past few days in sunny Florida with my family, and I've had some time to reflect on two of the many things I'm thankful for...

1. My Family: On Friday, my mother and grandmother read my little blog and offered very helpful suggestions. (Thanks to you, Mom, for your help with the new layout--so cute! Thanks to you, Grandma, for reading a sports entry and spotting two errors. You were absolutely right; Oregon lost to Arizona 34-24, not 34-34). Also on Friday, my brother braved the after-Thanksgiving shopping crowds with me at 5am to check out the deals that retailers were pushing in an attempt to save what has been a lackluster year for sales. (Thanks to you, Tommy, for driving us everywhere and for not protesting too much when I asked you to hold my handbag so that I could try on a jacket). And on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, my dad and I watched football games together. (Thanks to you Dad, for explaining to me that pass interference carries a different penalty in college football than it does in professional football. Note: While I'm a huge football fan, I admittedly don't know all the rules (yet), and I always appreciate when someone is willing to teach me).

2. This Year's College Football Season: I'm still a little bummed that Florida didn't have a better season. But this year's wildly unpredictable college football season has been so entertaining that I've hardly had the time to feel sorry for myself or my Gators (who, by the way, beat their in-state rivals, the Florida State Seminoles, 45-12 earlier today). The Arkansas Razorbacks' victory over top-ranked LSU last night (50-48 in triple overtime) was just one in a series of stunning upsets that has left me and college football fans everywhere wondering who will have a BCS National Championship Title to be thankful for in January...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Project Runway Gets Bitten!

The lovely Sarah Jessica Parker was the surprise style icon for whom the designers would be working on tonight's episode of Project Runway. And she really did look lovely--she was fresh, modern, and also incredibly kind to the contestants.

The designers' task this week was to create a two-piece outfit for Bitten, SJP's affordably priced line for Steve & Barry's. (As an aside, the reviews for Bitten have been mixed. My entirely unprofessional opinion is that both a keen eye and a willingness to try at least one, maybe two sizes larger than usual are absolute prerequisites for a successful Bitten shopping experience. After some trial and error, I stumbled upon two winners-- a wool funnel neck pea coat in eggplant and a fitted corduroy blazer in olive. At $20 each, I've already gotten my money's worth.)

I wasn't totally wowed by the winning design--a rather complicated black (or was it smoky gray?) dress with a long necktie/bow/distraction attached at the collar. The dress was paired with a cropped, plaid racerback vest. I actually preferred the dress/cape combo designed by Elisa, the eccentric multimedia artist. On the other hand, I did agree with the judges' decision about the losing design. While I can see where this design may have been headed, the wannabe bohemian dress definitely looked more like an itchy blanket than a fashionable and affordable garment that would appeal to a wide range of women. Heidi Klum commented that it looked like it came from someone's basement. Or a trash can. That was harsh, I thought. But not entirely inaccurate.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Michelle Obama to Co-host The View

Here's some fun television news: On December 5, Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, will be the guest co-host on The View. I cannot wait for this! Michelle Obama has been one of my favorite figures in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, and I am sure that this Princeton and Harvard educated attorney and former Vice President for Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals will do an amazing job as co-host. It's too bad that Elisabeth Hasselbeck will still be on maternity leave when Obama visits--it would have been really interesting to see the two of them host together. Of course, when Hillary Clinton appeared on The View as a guest a few weeks ago, she and Hasselbeck seemed to get along just swimmingly. And just in case there was any doubt, on today's show Barbara Walters revealed that Clinton had sent Hasselbeck a lovely gift congratulating her on the birth of her son. Very thoughtful! Or political. Either way, it was a nice gesture.

15 days until Michelle Obama's appearance on The View!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sports: Still the New Television Drama

It's been a busy two days. First, we learn that Alex Rodriguez will likely return to the Yankees after all, courtesy of a 10-year, $275 million contract. That's ridiculous. Clearly, there is a back story here, and I'm going to wait patiently for the details. In the meantime, I'll just be disgusted.

Next, we learn that a grand jury in San Francisco has indicted Barry Bonds on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. The charges suggest that Bonds lied to a grand jury that was investigating steroid use among athletes. Sure, Barry Bonds probably used steroids, but he's not the only one. And while "everyone else is doing it" is no excuse, this witch hunt couldn't be more transparent. If Barry Bonds is guilty of what the indictment alleges, then fine. But he shouldn't be the only one to suffer a severe punishment for what is so clearly a league-wide problem.

And finally, some sad college football news. Heisman trophy favorite Dennis Dixon, the star quarterback for the Oregon Ducks, went down with a knee injury in last night's 34-24 loss to Arizona, and it doesn't look like he will return to the game soon. This is really too bad; Dixon was having an incredible season, and the Ducks were ranked #2 in the BCS standings before this loss. With that said, Dixon's health is far more important than any game. Here's hoping that he recovers well.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Shocking Football Games Wait for No One!

I'm ashamed to say that it's been over a week since the last post. This time, I'd be lying if I said that academic obligations alone kept me away. I may have squeezed in a (fantastic) mini-vacation during this past week as well. But just because I was resting doesn't mean that the football season was resting, too. And so, I may be late, but I am nevertheless compelled to comment on two *crazy* things that happened this past weekend:

1. In college football action, the top-ranked, previously undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes lost to the Fighting Illini on Saturday, 28-21. Ohio State's loss paved the way for LSU (9-1) to make its way back to the top of the BCS Standings and the AP Top 25, while Ohio State (10-1) fell to #7 on both lists. This is a tough break for Ohio State. I feel for the Buckeyes, and I'd probably feel even more if I weren't distracted by Florida's steady climb back toward the Top 10 (#12 BCS, #14 AP Top 25) following last weekend's convincing win over South Carolina, 51-31.

2. In professional football action, Adam Vinatieri chose an incredibly inopportune time to miss a 29 yard field goal on Sunday night. The Colts were playing the Chargers in San Diego, and they were down 21-23 with 1:34 left in the game. Vinatieri kicked, missed, and the Colts lost. It was heartbreaking.

The moral of these stories is this: In the coming weeks, the television writers' strike may force tons of shows into reruns prematurely. I support the writers' position. It is an absolute shame that the writers are not getting an equitable share of the profits generated via new distribution channels for the shows that they bring to life, and I truly hope that there is a swift and fair resolution. In the meantime, it's comforting to know that, at least for the next few weeks, football upsets and flukes just might provide otherwise deprived television fans with a little unscripted entertainment.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Celebrity Sighting at Benihana

Academic obligations prevented me from blogging dutifully during the past week, but I emerged from the depths of graduate school to share this fun anecdote: Earlier this evening, while celebrating my birthday at Benihana (which, by the way, is the restaurant of choice for birthday girls and boys--no fewer than five November 5th babies were there tonight, and each received a scoop of vanilla ice cream adorned with cocktail umbrellas and a commemorative Polaroid to mark the occasion), I happened to glance up from the hibachi only to spot former Florida Gator turned Atlanta Hawk Al Horford dining a few tables away from us! A brief detour to his table on our way out of the restaurant revealed that Mr. Horford is both friendly and gracious, and also remarkably understanding when strangers interrupt his meal to tell him how great he is.

The Atlanta Hawks are playing the New Jersey Nets at Continental Airlines Arena tomorrow night, which explains why Al Horford was dining in a Manhattan Benihaha tonight. Go Hawks!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Highlight from the Democratic Debate

The City of Brotherly Love hosted tonight's Democratic Debate. The candidates discussed several serious and important issues, including Iraq, Iran, immigration policy, and health care.

While I tuned in to hear the candidates discuss serious issues, here's what I want to discuss: Dennis Kucinich's UFO sighting. According to Shirley MacLaine's new book, Kucinich spotted a UFO while visiting MacLaine at her Graham, Washington home some years ago. When Tim Russert inquired about the sighting tonight, Kucinich didn't exactly deny it. Instead, he made what I think was a joke about opening an office in Roswell, New Mexico.

The really funny part is this: After Kucinich finished his response, Tim Russert turned to Barack Obama and basically asked Obama if he believed in aliens. With a look of utter astonishment on his face, Obama responded (and I'm paraphrasing here) that while he wasn't certain about life anywhere else, he was certain about life on Earth. And life on Earth was his primary concern.

I'm realizing that this might not be nearly as funny here as it was on live television. But trust me. It was funny.

Dennis Kucinich's Close Encounter

Monday, October 29, 2007

So Many Sports, So Little Time...

It's been a busy few days. Lots of college football action. Lots of professional football action. Lots of baseball action, both on and off the field.

1. It was a tough weekend for the legions of loyal college football fans from the state of Florida. The Gators lost to the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, 42-30. I think it's probably time for me to accept that this season belongs to another team. And since Ohio State's football and basketball teams fell to Florida in championship games last year, I'm fine with Ohio State rising to the top of the BCS Standings this year. Sort of.

In other unfortunate college football news, South Florida lost to Connecticut (22-15) on Saturday after losing to Rutgers ( 30-27) last week. Despite back-to-back setbacks, I still believe in the South Florida Bulls.

The fallout from these losses wasn't as devastating as it could have been. The BCS Standings now list Florida at #20, while South Florida is two spots ahead of Florida at #18. But really, enough of the bad news. Moving on.

2. I have confessed to not following professional football as closely as I should. As it gets closer to Super Bowl time, I'll get better. In the meantime, I'll continue to obsess about the NFL's global expansion. On Sunday, the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins (13-10) in London's Wembley Stadium before a sold-out crowd. Many people (and especially the Giants) consider this experiment to have been a success. I'm still on the fence, anxiously awaiting the NFL's next global move...

3. Congratulations Red Sox fans! Is it safe to say that the curse has officially ended?

4. And finally, on to the more outrageous baseball news: Alex Rodriguez totally quit the Yankees! Some are questioning his timing, and it does seem unlikely that A-Rod just happened to announce the break-up at the height of the World Series. And while I also agree that it's too bad that the focus has shifted a bit from the game to this dramatic development, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to watching the A-Rod saga unfold during the off-season.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boston Won Twice on Thursday; Saturday Means College Football!

Old news is news all the same: The Boston Red Sox won the second game of the World Series on Thursday night, 2-1. The Rockies lost again, yes, but losing by 1 run is better than losing by 12 runs. The series moves to Colorado tonight. Let's hope, for the sake of Rockies fans and for the sake of the Series, that the Rockies are more successful at home.

In Thursday night's college football action, the Boston College Eagles defended their (controversial?) #2 position by defeating #8 Virginia Tech. The Eagles were scoreless in the first three quarters, but two touchdowns in the 4th quarter led them to a 14-10 victory over the Hokies. Was the win convincing enough to keep the Eagles in the #2 spot? Probably, although this will depend in part on what happens today. Speaking of which, there are several exciting match-ups today. A few highlights:

1. Florida (#11) v. Georgia (#18). I live and die with the Florida Gators. They have to win this game. The Auburn loss was heartbreaking, and the LSU loss was heartbreaking, too. Florida and Georgina have identical records (5-2, 3-2 SEC), so in theory it's anyone's game. But Florida has the experience. And Tim Tebow. And my support. Go Gators!

2. Ohio State (#1) v. Penn State (#25).This game could be quite interesting: Ohio State's last regular season loss was to Penn State in 2005.

3. USC (#12) v. Oregon (#5). I respect USC's program, but I'm definitely pulling for Oregon. Go Ducks!

South Florida (#10) v. Connecticut (#23). The Florida Gators will always be my first love. But what about South Florida?!? The Bulls are having an amazing season. Last week's loss to Rutgers precipitated South Florida's fall from the #2 spot, but I am confident that they're hungry for a win this week.

(Note: Rankings refer to BCS Standings.)

World Series Coverage (ESPN)
College Football Coverage (ESPN)

Friday, October 26, 2007

When Politics and Fashion Collide...

The New York Times ran this fun article about the t-shirts, hats, messenger bags, and various sundries that are being offered for sale at the official online stores of most of the 2008 presidential candidates. The spin is that you can tell a lot about the demographic groups that the candidates are targeting from the merchandise in their official stores. Obama, it seems, is targeting 25-30 year old women with his "ribbed baby doll t-shirts." Giuliani's tactics appear to be more direct. He targets students, veterans, women, and sportsmen with "Students for Rudy," "Veterans for Rudy," "Women for Rudy," and "Sportsmen for Rudy" gear.

These are interesting observations. I also wonder to what extent the merchandise in candidates' official stores is an attempt to counter the proliferation of unofficial campaign merchandise bearing messages that the candidates do not control. Well over a year ago, before either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama announced their presidential campaigns, I passed a woman on the street whose "Clinton/Obama '08" tote bag suggested that she had already decided that they were running. As a ticket.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Favorite Fashion Finds

Sometimes my obsession with fashion is narrow. For months at a time, I'll wear a few favorite shirts, or a pair of worn jeans, or a pair of shoes (cute first, comfortable second) until they're begging to be retired. I wore a pair of gold loafers until my loved ones staged an intervention and asked me to stop. (In my defense, the gold loafers sound more outrageous than they actually were. And they were usually tucked under a pair of wide leg jeans and paired with a neutral top).

A few of my favorites are in heavy rotation right now. Luckily, they haven't gone the way of the gold loafers yet. But it's only a matter of time:

1. American Apparel Tri-blend T-shirts:I can only vouch for the lightweight raglan pullover and the short sleeve deep-v neck. But these shirts are amazing. The tri-blend (rayon/cotton/polyester) is surprisingly soft, the shirts retain their shape after many washes, and their retro look and feel give them a little more "ooomph" than your average t-shirt. I'll definitely wear these until they're torn and tattered. Then I'll buy some new ones.

2. Tony Lama Cowboy Boots: I acquired a pair of these on a recent trip to San Antonio. Love them. If someone had told me that cowboy boots were just as comfortable as sneakers, but that you could dress them up more easily and that they make you appear taller to boot (bad, bad pun), then I would have been wearing them a long time ago.

3. The Black "Pashmina" that I Bought at a Street Fair for $5: So you can't find this online. And I'm cheating a little bit here because I haven't actually worn it yet. But it will match everything, and it will function as both a wrap and a scarf. Plus, it was $5! (The best fashion advice that my father ever gave me: If you're going to buy something cheap--i.e. a $5 pashmina at a street fair--buy it in a dark color. That way, the cheapness is less likely to show).

Major League Baseball Needs Love Too

I am told that there are some baseball games being played now. Okay, so maybe I'm not that clueless. But admittedly, I don't follow baseball as closely as I follow other sports. I was into the game back in 2004, when the Boston Red Sox rallied back from a 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees during the American League Championship Series (I was also into the "bloody sock" scandal that ensued). And I was into the game way back in 1998, when my dad took me to a Dodgers exhibition game (Admittedly, the game was secondary; I was most excited about the hot dogs and the giant sodas. And about hanging out with my dad).

Digressions aside, Colorado and Boston are playing in the World Series. Congratulations Rockies and Red Sox fans! I haven't been keeping up at all, but if I were forced to pick a favorite, I'd go with the Rockies. They're young (est. 1993), this is the first trip to the Series for the franchise, and, since the Red Sox ended their curse in 2004, it's now someone else's turn to win.

Colorado lost to Boston 13-1 last night. Yikes! Here's hoping the Rockies fare better tonight.

Real Coverage of the World Series (ESPN)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Non-Reality TV Is the New Guilty Pleasure

ABC's Dirty Sexy Money is one of my favorite new fall shows. After a healthy (over)dose of reality television, a quirky, and slightly over the top scripted show is a refreshing change. And while the intricately woven social lives of the Darlings ("New York's wealthiest family") are almost too much for even the most attentive viewer to follow, I end up challenging myself to do so each week. (Spoiler Alert: Spoiling begins now.)What amazes me about this show is its delightfully fast pace and endless supply of surprises--I thought for sure that it would be weeks before Brian's wife discovered that the orphaned child that she and her husband had been caring for was actually the child that her husband fathered with another woman. Karen and Nick were secretly engaged when they were nineteen!!--who knew?? (Nick's wife, Lisa, certainly didn't.) And Natalie's really not pregnant with Jeremy's child? Definitely didn't see that coming. Although maybe I should have...

Next up: We'll learn which of the Darling children isn't really a Darling. Patrick will have to reach some resolution about his Senate campaign and his extramarital affair. And after the strong lead-in, it seems inevitable that Blair Underwood's character is about to shake things up...

Dirty Sexy Money 101 (ABC)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Professional Football Across the Pond?

I find college football to be far more exciting than professional football, but this news caught my attention: As part of its plan for global expansion, the NFL is taking its show on the England. This Sunday, the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins will be playing in London's Wembley Stadium. According to the NY Times, around 88,000 tickets for the game sold out immediately. If all goes well, additional NFL games will be played overseas in the future.

This is an interesting idea. Will it work? I suppose that if David Beckham can play football (the other kind) in Los Angeles, then Eli Manning can play football in London. But this seems different. What about the hometown crowd--the die-hard New York and Miami fans? There's something uncomfortably impersonal about a regular season NFL game between the Giants and the Dolphins being played thousands of miles away from both New York and Miami...

The NFL's Transatlantic Trip (New York Times)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Fashion Obsessed Sports Fan Is Born!

Actually, she was born almost 26 years ago. But this blog was born today. After mulling over ways in which I could combine my enthusiasm for sports (especially college football and basketball--Go Gators!), fashion (particularly an obsession with fashion design and sample sales), television (i.e. reality television, the unscripted drama that is The View, ABC's entire fall lineup), and 24 hour news outlets (hence the current events), I decided to bring them together, here. As divergent as these interests may seem, I know I'm not the only girl who gets just as excited about the BCS National Championship Game as she does about the Manolo Blahnik sample sale. Nor can I be the only girl who programs her Tivo for both The Hills and Frontline. This is the place where the gridiron and the stiletto, and the low-brow and the high-brow, can exist in perfect harmony. Finally.