Dec 24, 2012

Over 100 Absolutely True Facts About Christmas Carols

For the past week I've been publishing Christmas carol trivia on Twitter: @xmascarolfacts

Here are all the facts in one big list.  Merry Christmas.

  1. The French lyrics to "Twelve Days of Christmas" include eight chewing cows, three wooden branches and seven windmills. 
  2. Paul McCartney played every instrument and sang on his song "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime." 
  3. "Silent Night" has"intangible cultural heritage" according to UNESCO. 
  4. "The Huron Carol" (or "Jesous Ahatonhia") is considered to be the first Canadian Christmas carol, written by Jean de Brebeuf around 1642. 
  5. The original lyric for "Silver Bells" was actually "Tinkle Bells", inspired by a tiny bell on the desk of composers Livingston and Evans. 
  6. According to this web site, 12 of 25 most popular Christmas songs were written by Jewish composers.
  7. "12 Days of Christmas": In Britain, the lyrics are "my true love SENT to me". In the United States, the lyrics are "my true love GAVE to me". 
  8. "The Christmas Song" (aka "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire") was written by Mel Torme and Bob Wells on a blistering hot summer day. 
  9. Meredith Willson, the composer of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", was once a member of John Philip Sousa's band. 
  10. Charles Dickens references "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen" in his classic "A Christmas Carol". 
  11. Gemini 7 astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell asked to have "I'll Be Home For Christmas" played for them while they were in orbit in 1965. 
  12. Thurl Ravenscroft sang "You're A Mean One Mister Grinch". He was also the voice for Tony The Tiger of Frosted Flakes fame. 
  13. "O Tannenbaum" was originally a tragic love song. During the 19th century it evolved into a Christmas song. 
  14. "Carol of the Bells" is based on a Ukranian folk song called "Shchedryk", which originally celebrated the coming of spring. 
  15. Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph" was co-written by Johnny Marks, who wrote the original "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" song.
  16. The "Currier & Ives" mentioned in "Sleigh Ride" was a 19th century printmaking firm
  17. The park across from the Grand Hotel in Yarmouth (referenced in "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas") is called "Frost Park".
  18. "Must Be Santa" is based on a German drinking song.
  19. In "Up on the Housetop", Santa brings one of the kids a hammer and tacks. Another child gets a whip. 
  20. "Merry Christmas Baby" dates back to 1947. Recorded by Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, a west coast blues group. 
  21. The first year royalties from Wham's "Last Christmas" were donated to charity after an out-of-court settlement of a copyright dispute. 
  22. "Feliz Navidad, próspero año y felicidad" translates to "Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness". 
  23. Music publishers at first rejected "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" because they thought it was too childish and wouldn't sell. 
  24. The German lyrics to "O Christmas Tree" ("O Tannenbaum") aren't about a Christmas tree specifically.  They're about a fir tree.
  25. "Little Drummer Boy" was originally published as "Carol of the Drum", and was based on a Czech Christmas carol.
  26. Felix Mendelssohn composted the tune to "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" as a tribute to printer/inventor Johann Gutenberg. 
  27. Gene Autry got the idea for "Here Comes Santa Claus" after riding his horse in a parade in Los Angeles in 1946. 
  28. Fascinating history of the making of The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York".
  29. TV Guide named the Crosby-Bowie "Little Drummer Boy" duet as as one of the 25 most memorable musical moments of 20th-century tv. 
  30. "O Holy Night" was the second piece of music to ever be broadcast on radio, in 1906. 
  31. "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella" is a 16th century French carol, originally used as dance music by French nobles. 
  32. There's no mention of Christmas in the lyrics of "Let It Snow". It was written in Hollywood, California. 
  33. The Grand Hotel from "It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas" is believed to be in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
  34. Paul McCartney used an Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synth on "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime". 
  35. "White Christmas" actually has a first verse about a New Yorker stranded in Los Angeles for Christmas. 
  36. Lyricist Richard Smith was inspired to write "Winter Wonderland" after seeing a park in Honesdale, Pennsylvania covered in snow. 
  37. The music for John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" is based on a folk song called "Stewball". 
  38. Richard Smith, the lyricist for "Winter Wonderland", was a newspaper editor before his career in music. 
  39. The "Holly and the Ivy" are Pagan fertility symbols. They've also been used as Christmas church decorations since at least the 15th century. 
  40. "O Christmas Tree" (aka O Tannenbaum) music is based on a 16th century Silesian folk song.
  41. Some historians believe "O Come All Ye Faithful" is actually an ode to the birth of Bonnie Prince Charlie, aka Charles III, born in 1720. 
  42. Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph" was co-written by Johnny Marks, who wrote the original "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" song.
  43. As far as I can tell, Lady Gaga is the only performer to release a Christmas song about oral sex.
  44. One industry insider estimates Paul McCartney earns about $500k annually in royalties from "Wonderful Christmastime"
  45. Jingle Bells was originally composed for Thanksgiving.
  46. Mariah Carey wrote "All I Want For Christmas Is You" as a tribute to her then-husband, Tommy Mottola. 
  47. Chris Rea's "Driving Home for Christmas" was inspired by a road trip. He was stuck in traffic in an Austin Mini.
  48. "We Three Kings" was written by Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr. In 1857 for an annual Christmas pageant. 
  49. The five golden rings in "12 Days of Christmas" probably refers to a bird, not jewelry.
  50. There's a statue of Good King Wenceslas at Wenceslaus Square in Prague. 
  51. It's "The First Noël", not "The First Nowell". Noël is the French word for Christmas. 
  52. Dick Smith wrote the words for "Winter Wonderland" while recovering from tuberculosis in Scranton, Pennsylvania. 
  53. Australians have their own version of "Twelve Days of Christmas" where all of the animals are replaced by wildlife from down under. 
  54. "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" was once used by Jamaica in a tourism commercial. 
  55. Irving Berlin, composer of "White Christmas", once claimed it is "the best song anybody's ever written". 
  56. "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" dates back to the 16th century, when carolers would sing in exchange for food or gifts. Trick or treat?
  57. During the Christmas Truce in 1914 during WWI, soldiers from Germany, France and Britain ceased fire and sang "Silent Night" together. 
  58. "Although Fairytale of New York" mentions the NYPD choir, New York's police department does not in fact have a choir. 
  59. Bing Crosby's last television appearance was in 1977 when he performed "Little Drummer Boy" with David Bowie. 
  60. "Silent Night" has been translated into at least 140 languages. 
  61. "Winter Wonderland" is frequently used by soccer fans in Britain. They make up new lyrics to taunt opposing fans. 
  62. Randy Bachman recorded a Christmas version of "Takin' Care of Business" called "Takin' Care of Christmas".
  63. "Jingle Bell Rock" was featured in the opening of the movie Lethal Weapon. 
  64. Charles Brown, the pianist on the original 1947 version of "Merry Christmas Baby", also performed the song with Bonnie Raitt in 1992. 
  65. In the Johnny Marks' "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1949) it's Donner but in the "A Visit From Santa Claus" poem (1823) it's Dunder. 
  66. U2's Adam Clayton played bass on "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and Phil Collins played drums. 
  67. "Mele Kalikimaka" was written by Hawaiian businessman R. Alex Anderson, who wrote songs as a hobby. 
  68. The lyrics to "Sleigh Ride" never specifically mention Christmas, but do include mention of a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray. 
  69. Brenda Lee was 13 when she recorded "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". 
  70. "Good King Wenceslas" may have been murdered by his own brother back in 935. (That's not part of the song.) 
  71. In 1964, after performing "Little Saint Nick" on television, Brian Wilson had a nervous breakdown. 
  72. "Do You Hear What I Hear" was written by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne. It was inspired by the Cuban Missile Crisis. 
  73. Most Christmas songs are written in a major key, but "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen" is in a minor key. It also contains the word "Satan". 
  74. "Christmas in Hollis" by Run-D.M.C. samples Clarence Carter's "Back Door Santa". 
  75. There's a version of "Twelve Days of Christmas" sung in Sussex, England where the calling birds are replaced by canaries. 
  76. "Little St. Nick by the Beach Boys" is remarkably similar to "Little Deuce Coupe" by The Beach Boys.
  77. Bing Crosby's real name is Harry Lillis Crosby. He was born on May 3, 1903 and died October 14, 1977 at age 74. 
  78. The actual lyric is "Deck the Hall", not "Deck the Halls". (Hall is singular, not plural.) 
  79. In 1977, Canada Post issued a series of three stamps commemorating "The Huron Carol".
  80. Bryan Adams' "Christmas Time" was recorded in Vancouver, British Columbia and was originally issued on green vinyl. 
  81. You can sing the words of "House of the Rising Sun" to the melody of "O Little Town of Bethlehem". (And vice versa.) 
  82. If you bought everything in "The 12 Days of Christmas", it would cost you $107,300.
  83. There's a traditional french carol called "Quelle est cette odeur agréable?". Translation: "What is that pleasant smell?"
  84. Darlene Love also recorded a non-holiday version of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" called "Johnny (Baby Please Come Home)"
  85. "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues has been in the top 20 in the UK every December since 2005. 
  86. Reveren John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who wrote "We Three Kings", was also a stained glass artist and book illustrator. 
  87. Wizzard recorded "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" in August, and wore coats and scarves in the studio for inspiration. 
  88. "O Tannenbaum" is German for "O Fir Tree". 
  89. Boney M's hit Christmas album was produced by Frank Farian, who later went on to create and produce for Milli Vanilli. 
  90. On the fourth day of Christmas, the original lyric was "four colly birds", also known as blackbirds. 
  91. The first five singers on "Do They Know It's Christmas" are Paul Young, Boy George, George Michael, Simon Le Bon, and Bono. 
  92. Back in 1990, everything in "The 12 Days of Christmas" cost $12,231.70.
  93. Elvis recorded "White Christmas" in 1957. Composer Irving Berlin tried to get it banned from the radio. He didn't like rock and roll music.
  94. Mitchell Parish, the lyricist for "Sleigh Ride", also wrote the words for "Stardust" and "Moonlight Serenade". 
  95. In 1983, the Carribean Island of St. Kitts issued a postage stamp honouring the song "Mary's Boy Child". 
  96. Darlene Love's recording of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" was featured in the opening titles of Gremlins. 
  97. José Feliciano, the composer of "Feliz Navidad", also wrote a song called "So Long Paul" about Paul McCartney's rumoured death. 
  98. The helmet and armour of Good King Wenceslas are on display inside the Prague Castle. 
  99. "Silent Night" was composed by Frank Gruber to be accompanied by a guitar. That's because mice ate through the bellows of the church organ. 
  100. Johnny Marks, composer of "Rudolph" (and many others),  is the great-uncle of Freakonomics co-author Steven Levitt. 
  101. "Jingle Bells" was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893). He was the uncle of American financier J.P. Morgan. 
  102. Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas" is one of the best-selling singles of all time, with over 50 million copies sold around the world. 
  103. Lewis Redner was a real state broker, but also played the church organ and composed the music to "O Little Town of Bethlehem" in 1868. 
  104. Meredith Willson, the composer of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas", also wrote the University of Iowa's fight song. 
  105. During his life time, Good King Wenceslas was a duke. Holy Roman Emperor Otto posthumously gave him his royal title. 
  106. "Winter Wonderland" first became a hit after it was recorded by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians in 1934. 
  107. Corey Hart's version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was recorded live at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa in August, 1985.

What's your favourite Christmas song?  What's your favourite piece of Christmas trivia?

Dec 9, 2012

Great promotions: Aircraft carrier home run derby


Most creative Minor League Baseball promotions inspire employees of other teams to react with sentiments along the lines of "Why didn't I think of that?" 
And then there was the event that the Charleston RiverDogs staged on June 18, at which the sentiments were more likely to be along the lines of "I never would of thought of that!" 
The event in question, the 2012 MiLBY award winner for Promotion of the Year, was truly unprecedented: the RiverDogs held the first round of the South Atlantic League Home Run Derby on the deck of the USS Yorktown, a decommissioned World War II-era aircraft carrier turned living history museum stationed on the Charleston Harbor. Derby participants, standing within a makeshift inflatable batting cage, blasted baseballs into the water (where they were summarily retrieved by volunteers on jet skis). 
The RiverDogs' aquatic revitalization of a moribund All-Star festivities staple beat out 11 other contenders en route to being voted 2012's best promotion by readers. And for good reason, as this was an event that truly had it all: stunning visuals along with copious local and national media attention. It also had both a national sponsorship and philanthropic tie-in via MillerCoors' "Welcome Back to the High Life" initiative for returning American veterans. Oh, and that there was a cameo from RiverDogs co-owner Bill Murray (the team's "director of fun") sure didn't hurt. 
"If anything, this is a lesson in the process of thinking big and going beyond the ballpark," said [Dan] Migala. "When I first saw [the USS Yorktown], it was like the scene in Field of Dreams. But instead of seeing a baseball field in the cornfield, in this case it was on an aircraft carrier. From there, it was a matter of working out the logistics and finding a [sponsorship] partner, because this wasn't the type of event where it was just 'insert sponsor here.'" 
Enter Miller High Life, whose "Welcome Veterans Back to the High Life" promotional campaign seeks to provide veterans "with thousands of memorable 'High Life' experiences, such as tickets to professional sporting events and concerts." This iconic brand was eager to partner with the RiverDogs on this unique Home Run Derby, once Migala approached them with what he calls "seven innings worth of an idea." 
As Migala was working on the sponsorship parameters, Echols was engaged in the task of making sure that the derby would work on a logistical level. The USS Yorktown is now part of the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, and Echols said that the museum was eager to participate as they are "trying to find revenue-generating events, and always looking for ways to highlight the uniqueness of the ship."
Securing permission to hit baseballs into the harbor was a bigger concern for Echols and his staff, and in this regard he likely became the first general manager to deal with Harbor Police and the Department of Homeland Security while coordinating a promotion. 
"We had to work to assure them, and then the community, that we wouldn't be letting balls drop to the bottom, as this could endanger animals and the environment," he said. 
The aforementioned "volunteers on jet skis" took care of this potential problem, and Echols soon secured the necessary approvals from the various governmental agencies and city governments (on both sides of the water) that were needed to make the derby a reality. And soon, that's just what it was -- a glorious reality. 
Approximately 400 fans attended the free event, with their access to the USS Yorktowngranted upon providing a not-so-secret password of "Home Run Derby." These fans lined the sides and upper-deck sections of the USS Yorktown as some of the SAL's top hitting prospects blasted baseballs beneath an inflatable batting cage provided by InMotionAir. ("They sent me a blast email out the blue, advertising inflatable batting cages," recalled Echols. "Once I saw that, I thought, 'My goodness, someone wants to make this work.' Everything just fell into place.") 
American war veterans honored by Miller High Life also were taking swings beneath the inflatable cage along with Murray, a recent inductee into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame. Echols reports that the resulting local media coverage of the event "moved the needle" when it came to ticket sales for the following evening's All-Star Game at Joseph P. Riley Stadium, and though that was the main event, this is the rare instance in which a Home Run Derby ultimately overshadowed the game itself. 
"It was a total team effort and a flawless promotion that was fun to be a part of from start to finish," said Echols. "The combination of an influential industry leader in Dan Migala, the Veeck flair and a national sponsor gave our fans and the All-Star players a lifetime memory, and that is something our entire staff is extremely proud of." 

Read the entire article... 

National anthem debate in sports continues: No anthem for a Pennsylvania hockey league

Posting this for my Algonquin College Sports Business Management students.  Each year we have a discussion on controversies and issues surrounding national anthems in sports.  Here's a good example for the "no anthem" side of the argument:
Pennsylvania Prep Hockey League Ices National Anthem
By Michael Popke — AB Managing Editor 
Citing the need to not waste precious ice time, the commissioner of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League has discouraged the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games. Late last week, Ed Sam sent an email to the PIHL's 183 high school team members in central and western Pennsylvania conveying that message.

“The National Anthem should not be played only because of time constrains [sic],” Sam told Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate, KDKA-TV. “It’s not that we’re not patriotic, that’s the furthest from the truth. Ice is very, very hard to get and it’s not cheap. We’re talking $300 an hour sometimes or even higher than that.” 
According to a Fox News Radio report, Sam later tried to soften his admitted "poor choice of words," telling reporter Todd Starnes that "a lot of our teams never really played the National Anthem. But some of them did."

(Thanks to former student Rod Jacobs for sending this one.) 

Minnesota Timberwolves Christmas card

This Christmas card video from the Minnesota Timberwolves is well done:

Great idea from the Seattle Sounders FC: "March to the Match"

Saw this via Mark Bradley's excellent Fan Experience blog. What a great tradition.  Fans get pumped up for the game and their enthusiasm goes viral in the community.

The “March to the Match” is a pre-match ritual that inspires fan support and community unity. Fans gather 60-minutes prior to kickoff in Occidental Park and march to CenturyLink Field together in unison while singing and chanting the Sounders FC fight songs. The “March to the Match” takes place 60-minutes before each Sounders FC home match at CenturyLink Field. Comic, broadcaster and halftime emcee Ken Carson can be found at "March to the Match" giving away Sounders FC prizes. The Sounders FC official band, Sound Wave, in partnership with the Sounders FC supporters groups leads the “March to the Match” procession.

Nov 3, 2012

Sign up for my new email newsletter - "GAMEDAY"

Hello faithful readers. I'm launching a new email newsletter called "GAMEDAY". Every week or so I'll send out some great examples of really creative sports entertainment marketing. You can subscribe by clicking here.

Aug 31, 2012

VIDEO: The "balloon artist" who orchestrated the massive balloon drop at the Republican National Convention

"Treb Heining has been doing the balloon drop at the past 7 Republican National Conventions, plus the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. He's also coordinated the confetti drop for New Year's Eve in Times Square for the past 21 years."

Aug 30, 2012

Pacers and Lightning "go long" with new video scoreboards

The Indiana Pacers and the Tampa Bay Lightning are both adding massive new video scoreboards for this fall, and both have a similar format.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we've seen centrehung boards this wide in an inside venue before -- other than the big screen at Cowboys Stadium.  Will be interesting to see how the teams use the space for content, stats, ads, etc.  

These huge screens will be an attraction unto themselves and a big upgrade for the fan experience in both arenas.  That said, I think fifty feet wide may actually be too big for arenas this size. I've seen Montreal's massive screen (30'x17') in action and it's great -- but from some locations it can be overwhelming and distract from what's happening on the ice. 

The Pacers main display will be 50 x 21 feet on the long side with smaller 24x15 screens on the ends.  Built by ANC, with 6mm resolution on each side.  (Here's a press release.

Here's a mock-up of the Tampa Bay Lightning video scoreboard, which will be 50x28 feet on the long side and 16x28 on the ends. Also 6mm, built by Daktronics. (Here's a press release.)

Oh, and the Blue Jackets are getting a new video scoreboard too. It will be called the "Dispatch Media Center" and measures 25x15 feet.

Aug 22, 2012

VIDEO: 1976 beer box stacking contest

Saw this recently on the blog.
From the Chicago White Sox, August 22, 1976.

Aug 1, 2012

What a great idea: Baseball team offers free sunscreen to fans

Storm Chasers Equip Werner Park with Free Sunscreen for FansSPF 30 sunscreen available, for free, inside of Werner Park 
OMAHA, Neb. - The Omaha Storm Chasers are proud to partner with Alegent Health to provide fans with numerous sunscreen stations inside of Werner Park. The stations are stocked with SPF 30 sunscreen that is available for free to fans and was made possible with a generous grant of $10,000 by the Nebraska Cancer Coalition.
"We look at our fans as members of the Omaha Storm Chasers family," said the Omaha Storm Chasers President and General Manager Martie Cordaro. "We want to provide our fans and families with the safest, most enjoyable experience possible and teaming up with Alegent to promote sunscreen awareness fits our goals."
Currently, the Storm Chasers have sunscreen stations located down the left field line next to Valentino's, one behind home plate next to the Alegent Health First Aid Station, one down the first base line next to Omaha Steaks and another one in right field. There are plans to add additional sunscreen stations to Werner Park in the future.
According to dermatologists with the Alegent Health Clinic, it only takes 15 minutes for the sun to damage unprotected skin. Fans are advised to apply sunscreen before leaving their homes and reapply every two hours that they are outdoors or more often if they are sweating a great deal.
"Skin cancer is the one of the most preventable forms of cancer in the United States," said Cindy Alloway, chief operations officer of Alegent Health Midlands Hospital in Papillion. "We wanted to help keep people safe and one of the ways we could do that was by making sunscreen available to them at the ballpark."
Alegent Health surveyed fans at the beginning of the season on sun-safe behaviors and they will talk to them again at the end of the season to learn how many changed their habits and adopted more sun-safe behaviors at the ballpark like; wearing long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses, hats, staying in the shade and reapplying sunscreen.
To attend any game or event at Werner Park please call the Werner Park Ticket Office at (402) 738-5100 or visit

Jul 25, 2012

Music composed using data from goals scored during the 2012 NHL playoffs

Animated ambient data visualization of all goals and penalties of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

"There's one instrument sound for Western Conference teams, and another for Eastern Conference teams. Higher-seeded teams are assigned a higher pitch. This means you can actually hear whether higher- or lower-seeded teams are scoring more, and if Western or Eastern Conference teams are producing more goals. A melodic loop of lap steel guitar plays in the background, tying the sounds together into some kind of pseudo-ambient, pseudo-listenable music." More info here.
Stanley Cup Summed Up from Bard Edlund on Vimeo.

Jun 21, 2012

Announcing a new summer frozen treat: "SnoToast"

My good friend Andrew and I are very pleased to announced a new frozen treat concept that we call "SnoToast". Some artist concepts for the cart, logo, etc. are below.

(Other names we considered included "PolarLoaf" and "Toasticle".)

The concept is simple: it's a piece of bread, carefully frozen and then served up fresh from a bicycle freezer cart that we call the "SnoToastMobile".  Customers will have the option to sprinkle the toast with cinnamon for a delicious fun treat, sure to cool you off on a warm summer day.

We are looking at options to include various kinds of bread, including 12-grain whole wheat, flax, pumpernickel, raisin, banana, rye, sourdough, etc.  We will also offer gluten-free and nut-free bread for diet-conscious consumers.

But we need to raise some dough to make this happen, so if you'd like to invest in this exciting opportunity, please drop me a line.

Jun 1, 2012

The Flaming Lips write a song for the Oklahoma City Thunder

Not bad, as far as "songs written for sports teams by rock bands" goes. (via Eric Alper)

Mar 19, 2012

Photo of the video scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City

Daktronics LED scoreboard, installed in 2008.

  • From TV Technology: At almost 9,000 square feet (85-by-105), the giant Daktronix screen is powered by a Ross Switcher and a couple of EVS replays, Deko 3000s for graphics and Pro-Bel routing gear. The towering board—the nation’s largest, according to Daktronix—debuted at the Royals’ home opener against the Yankees Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium ... The screen, at 1584x1980, amounts to about two 16:9 screens on top of each other ... The $8 million-plus system board replaced a 17-year-old Sony.

  • From Business Wire: Daktronics HD-X LED technology will be installed in a huge outfield structure behind center field measuring more than 100 feet high by 85 feet wide, topped with the familiar Royals’ iconic golden crown. The LED display will contain more than 1800 full-color lines of resolution with lines on 16 millimeter (.63”) spacing. The display will be the largest HD LED board in the world, surpassing the former record holders designed and manufactured by Daktronics for Dolphin Stadium in Miami and Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin.

Mar 18, 2012

Items Photographed At The Nostalgia and Collectible Show

Photos taken at the Nostalgia and Collectible Show at the Nepean Sportsplex on March 18, 2012.

It was eBay, in real life!

Or like a more-organized and commercialized version of Hoarders.

Shows like this encourage people to fill up their basements with stuff because "maybe it'll be worth something some day".

But that's too cynical.  Most of the vendors were passionate about their collections, and told interesting stories about the items for sale.

And it's far more interesting to collect old stuff than to just chuck it in the garbage.

Here are some photos I took.

A Colonel Saunders piggy bank. You put the coins in his back.

Classic collectors item: buttons.

I think these were sold at Burger King.

Unopened cans of Coca-Cola.  Saw a lot of Coke memorabilia, not much Pepsi.

Besides cans of Coke, cans of oil are also popular collectors items.  

I've probably read every one of these.

Included here in the interest of balance.  I haven't read any of these.

Nothing makes you feel old like seeing toys you played with as a kid labeled as "collectible". (And the barn doors still moo.)

Finally figured out why they're called "Matchbox Cars".  Because they originally came in match boxes.

Early, clumsy attempts at artificial intelligence.

Just some hints, he's not giving everything away.

Creepy trolls.

People will try to sell anything.

People will collect anything.

Not a real ray gun.

From a binder full of old Valentine's cards.  Don't you love vegetable puns?

Theory: Given enough time, every doll will eventually look really, really creepy.

These ones are approaching the creepy stage much faster than the typical doll.

The cutest robots are always the deadliest.

Feb 28, 2012

Legendary PA announcer Budd Lynch still types his game notes

This is awesome.

Budd Lynch is the PA announcer for the Detroit Red Wings.  He's 94 years old. And here's a photo of his game notes from the other night.

Photo posted with kind permission of Ayron.

Feb 21, 2012

The Secularization of Shrove Tuesday

Happy Pancake Tuesday everyone.  Hope Aunt Jemima is good to you.

Feb 19, 2012

Strong candidate for "best fan costume of the season" at an NHL game: The Queen visits Winnipeg

Here's a photo that was posted to the Winnipeg Free Press web site this weekend. 

"Queen Elizabeth II makes an unexpected appearance at Friday night's Jets game. The winsome beauty graced the MTS Centre crowd with a wave of her elegantly gloved hand during the singing of the Canadian anthem. (FRED GREENSLADE / REUTERS)"

Feb 12, 2012

30 True Grammy Facts, Compiled

I've been researching all day to come up with these little-known Grammy facts and pop music trivia.
  1. Grammy Fact: LMFAO's new single is actually a remake of an old Irving Berlin showtune, "Please Accept My Apologies For Party Rockin'" 
  2. Grammy Fact: The term "Grammy" is a nod to the proliferation of cocaine in the music industry. 
  3. Grammy Fact: Original Lyrics to Adele's hit song: "There's a fire / burning in my yard." 
  4. Grammy Fact: "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 only has one chord. 
  5. Grammy Fact: Forget Adele's return from throat surgery. Music insiders are eagerly anticipating Tony Bennett's return from laser eye surgery 
  6. Grammy Fact: Tonight's Coldplay performance deliberately scheduled at end of broadcast so that they don't put everybody to sleep. Thank you. 
  7. Grammy Fact: I'm not familiar with Deadmau5 but I did find one in my basement once. 
  8. Grammy Fact: An old tradition is that whoever wins "Best New Artist" has to buy all the other artists a round. 
  9. Grammy Fact: The award for "Best New Artist" has been handed out since 1959. Christina Aguilera has won it three times. 
  10. Grammy Fact: Diana Krall, the only Canadian performing at this year's awards, was invited by accident. 
  11. Grammy Fact: To reduce the length of the broadcast, all musical performances have been cut from the show this year.
  12. Grammy Fact: It took me more time to write all these facts than it did for Bruno Mars to write his entire album.
  13. Grammy Fact: Maroon 5 set to introduce their follow-up single, "Sits Kind Of Awkwardly At Piano Like Tori Amos".
  14. Grammy Fact: LL Cool J and Dexy's Midnight Runners set to perform "Knock Out Eileen" at tonight's awards:
  15. Grammy Fact: Carlos Santana still refuses to do a duet with Taylor Swift.
  16. Grammy Fact: The Grammy Awards have been held every year since 1959, except for 2010 during the Bird Flu epidemic.
  17. Grammy Fact: Legend has it that after Alanis won in 1996, she threw her award into the Rideau Canal.
  18. Grammy Fact: My kids have listened to Katy Perry's "Fireworks" about 850 times in the past year, iTunes reports.
  19. Grammy Fact: Hootie and the Blowfish won Best New Artist in 1996.
  20. Grammy Fact: In 1998, I was nominated (but did not win) for "Best Hockey Organist". (The category has since been dropped.)
  21. Grammy Fact: Prince and Adele to perform "Some 1 Like U" on tonight's broadcast. 
  22. Grammy Fact: Janet Jackson is the only artist to receive a "Best Album" award posthumously.
  23. Grammy Fact: Robert Goulet, who won Best New Artist in 1963, went on to a 14-year career with the Chicago Blackhawks and Quebec Nordiques. 
  24. Grammy Fact: As if Walter Ostanek has not been nominated this year. Seriously Grammys, WTF.
  25. Grammy Fact: The broadcast has had a 10-second delay ever since Raffi's explitive-filled tirade about endangered whales in 1985. 
  26. Grammy Fact: The Recording Academy blamed the 1989 snub of Technotronic on a rounding error, and fired their accounting firm. 
  27. Grammy Fact: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince was originally a prank to get nominated in the "Best Contemporary Jazz Artist" category. 
  28. Grammy Fact: Due to changing demographics, the Academy has added a "Best Old Artist" category this year. Nominees: Usher, Green Day. 
  29. Grammy Fact: The Grammy Awards are usually held in Los Angeles, except for in 1989 when they were held in Neil Young's barn.
  30. Grammy Fact: Unlike the MTV Music Awards, performers on the Grammy telecast are encouraged to play instruments.
Actually only two of these are true. Which ones?

Post Script: Incredibly, Grammy Fact #25 made it back to Raffi, who denied it via Twitter: "in a word, no. def not my style"

Jan 23, 2012

For my Wednesday morning class: "Florida Panthers’ AHL team may have world record for most dogs attending sporting event"

From Puck Daddy:

All-You-Can-Eat nights? Been there. Bobblehead dolls? Done that. Clearly, it's time for the next evolution for minor-league hockey promotions. Since the Las Vegas Wranglers have the Rapture covered, that leaves shattering irreverent world records as the next big thing. 
The Central Hockey League's Texas Brahmas attempted to break three Guinness World Records on Friday night: the longest air hockey marathon, the most simultaneous fist bumps and the longest conga line on ice. As the video shows, they might have pulled off the conga line record, at least
But over in San Antonio, home to the Florida Panthers' AHL affiliate the Rampage, the team believes it's set a record that will give you paws: The greatest number of dogs ever assembled to watch a live sporting event.
Full article here...

Jan 7, 2012

VIDEO: Capcity (The Sens Mix) and the story behind it

Back in November, Ottawa musician The Joynt released a great video called Capcity.  In the video, Peter Joynt is wearing a Sens t-shirt .  I called him up and asked if he was a Sens fan, and if he'd like to write a verse about the Sens that we could use at the arena.  Peter said yes, wrote the verse, and then asked if he could shoot a video too.   Here's the end result. I think it's great: