Archive for October, 2009

Honest Ade Cranberry Lemonade: Greatest Drink Ever?

October 30, 2009

I’m starting to think that Honest Ade’s Cranberry Lemonade is the greatest drink of all-time.  I love it so much.  It is the best.  It has just the right amount of sweetness.  It’s very easy to drink and goes down smoothly.  I can chug these things.  Regular cranberry juice is either too strong or too bitter, while regular lemonade usually has too much sugar in it, but this drink has just the right amount of sugar – about 12 grams per serving.  It could possibly use a couple fewer grams of sugar but you have to be realistic.  Buyers might not buy it if they took any more sugar out.  The cranberries and lemonade are an amazing blend.  If I saw you with an Honest Ade Cranberry Lemonade I might just assume you were a good person.

The ingredients are:  Purified water, organic cane sugar, organic lemon juice concentrate, organic lemon extract, organic cranberry juice concentrate, organic cranberry flavor, carrot extract (for color), and citric acid.  The only thing is that it can get expensive because they only sell it in 16.9 oz. bottles.

Water is actually the greatest drink of all time but I think this one is second.  Fresh squeezed orange juice would make the list too. Sometimes I’ll buy one Orange Mango with Mangosteen for every five or six Cranberry Lemonades just so the Orange Mango with Mangosteen won’t feel left out, but it can’t compare.  The other one I’ve been having lately is the Honest Tea Peach White Tea which doesn’t have the aftertaste of many teas and it has 150 mg of superantioxidant ECGC per bottle.  Remember, peaches came in ranked at number three on my list of the 10 most underrated fruits (http://mikefrandsen.org/2009/07/10/ten-most-underrated-fruits/). Actually, the list goes to 11.  But what are you going to take out? Lingonberries?  Nectarines?  Blackberries?  I don’t think so.

The Honest Kids drinks are also very good.

Honorable mention goes to the Honest Ade Superfruit Punch with Yumberry and Goji Berry.  Do you realize there is actually a review for this drink on the web at http://www.healthydrinkreviews.com/honest-tea/honest-ade-superfruit-punch/?  Then there are actually two comments after the review!  Get a life, people.

Wait a minute… D’OH!

(By the way, “D’OH” is not an acceptable scrabble word.  I tried to use it the other night.  It’s urban legend that it has been added to the scrabble dictionary).

Nice segues by me, by the way.  My previous post was about NFL quarterbacks Vince Young and Jay Cutler.

Ok.  Now I’m officially blogging just to avoid doing important things that I need to get done.  So until the next post…

Vince Young is Underrated; Jay Cutler is Overrated

October 29, 2009

Isn’t it odd that the media hates Vince Young so much even though he has an 18-11 career NFL record, while Jay Cutler has practically already been inducted into the Hall of Fame despite a starting record in the NFL of 20-23 even though he had QB guru Mike Shanahan as his coach for his first two seasons?  Oh, and Cutler has had unbelievable receivers in Denver and Young had no receivers.  How about some objectivity?

Here’s a blog that also mentions Cutler’s sorry record in college: http://rwridley.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/cutler-sucks/. Does winning ever matter?  Apparently not.

Steve Blake is better than Andre Miller

October 29, 2009

I’m a little bit tired already of members of the media being surprised that Steve Blake is starting ahead of Andre Miller in Portland. There is a reason for this.  Blake is better.  He doesn’t finish as well but you don’t need to with all the players on the Blazers.  Blake is quicker than Miller and four years younger too.  Blake started for the Blazers last year and they won 56 games.  Argument over.

Russ Grimm should be the new Redskins Coach

October 29, 2009

Russ Grimm should be the next Redskins coach.  See http://myredskinsblog.com/2009/10/29/russ-grimm-should-be-the-new-redskins-coach/.  My Redskins blog should be getting more hits. Come on, people.

Bring the old Washington Post look back

October 21, 2009

I don’t like the changes in format that the Washington Post has made.  It looks like a combination of the New York Times and the Gaithersburg Gazette.  The font looks strange – not as weirdly pretentious as those New York Times headlines that look like they’re from the 1940s and seem like a parody of a newspaper, but it still looks a little too retro.

Maybe they’re trying to save money.  I don’t mind that they’re taking the color out, but now they have those pictures of columnists, only they’re not pictures – they are like pictures that have been computerized somehow like they do in the Wall Street Journal.  Just what we need, the newspaper to look more cheap and unlike the Washington Post.

It looks bad.  It just looks wrong.  The old look was good.  Bring it back.

Howard Stern: Get rid of the Phony Outrage

October 21, 2009

Howard Stern has been pretending to be mad at Stuttering John of Jay Leno’s Tonight show lately because John supposedly stole his bit of having a chicken pick NFL games.  But long before Howard did that bit, Washington, DC sportscaster Glenn Brenner was having an elephant pick games.  This happened in the 1980s, and Howard was in Washington from 1981 to 1982 at DC-101.  I’m pretty sure Glenn had not started the elephant bit when Howard was still there.  Anyway, I have a lot of those old Channel sportscasts on tape.  So I’m not saying Stern stole it from Brenner, but at a minimum, Brenner was clearly doing this bit 15 years before Stern did.  I also include a couple of blog entries:

From http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/04/25/DI2008042503005.html: Easton, Md.: Your “monkey” stunt brings to mind the elephant prognosticator used by the late, great Glenn Brenner to pick NFL games. Each week Glenn would ask a celebrity guest to pick each week’s winning teams, with the winner receiving a donation to his or her favorite charity. One year the winner was a 90 year old cloistered nun! But far and away the best was his use of a trained elephant. He put the helmets of the 2 teams side by side, and the elephant would indicate his choice with his trunk.

http://dc.metblogs.com/2006/01/14/remembering-glenn-brenner/:  Also popular was the guest prognosticators segment featuring celebrities, local and national, as well as an elephant.

Brenner was one of the funniest people I’ve ever seen — possibly the funniest person I’ve ever seen in my life besides myself when I’m on (kidding).  I put him right up there with David Letterman from the 1980s.  (In the 1990s and beyond, Letterman seemed to jump the shark for me as he just wasn’t cutting edge anymore, and started being too nice to his guests – sounds a lot like the road Howard has taken).  Brenner made sports interesting and funny.  He was way ahead of his time.  His humor was a lot more genuine and spontaneous than the smug one-liners that ESPN anchors are known for.  He was in another universe than someone like Tony Kornheiser, who thinks that he is the funniest guy out there.  (Though, back in the day, when Kornheiser wrote columns, he was actually very funny – about 25 years ago).  The rapport Brenner had with his news anchors Gordon Peterson and Maureen Bunyan was unbelievable.

Check out some of the youtube clips (unfortunately there are only a few and they only begin to show Glenn’s humor): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxFBvGI_iW8&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo_Zu_uiSQc&feature=related

I have tons of Channel 9 sportscasts from the 1980s on betamax somewhere.

In interned at Channel 9 sports during the summer of 1988, though Glenn was actually off about half of that summer on vacation.  On January 12, 1992, the Redskins beat the Lions 41-10 in the NFC Championship game.  After the game, I was standing about 10 feet away from Joe Gibbs in the locker room when he said the game ball was for Glenn Brenner, who was in the hospital because of an inoperable brain tumor.  Glenn died a couple of days later at 44.  He had collapsed two months earlier while running in the Marine Corps Marathon.

The 1980s was a golden era for Washington TV sportscasters.  Glenn Brenner at Channel 9, George Michael at Channel 4, Frank Herzog at Channel 7, and Bernie Smilovitz at Channel 5 were all stars and great at what they did.  Nobody knows or cares who the current anchors are.

Stern is right that he changed radio and spawned many imitators.  But remember that Glenn did the animals picking NFL games bit first.

Used Books for sale on Amazon.com

October 20, 2009

I have some books for sale on my amazon.com site at http://www.amazon.com/shops/mikeneedsakidneydotcom.  Most people are familiar with buying used books on amazon.  For any particular book, you can find a certain number of used copies for sale listed by price.  So for example when you search on “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway, the audiocassette version, this comes up:  “2 new from $100.39, 15 used from $5.45.”  So the cheapest one is $5.45.  I always list mine as the cheapest, with the exception that I won’t go below $4.50.  Sellers constantly lower prices by a penny at a time so at any one time there may be a book that is slightly cheaper than mine, but for the most part I make sure that my books are the cheapest ones you can buy.  I have a lot of books on art, history, and fiction, and they include hardbacks, paperbacks, and books on tape (cd or cassette).

Here’s a list of some of them:

  • Call of the Wild by Jack London (audio book)
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (audio cassette)
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Antietam (Audio CD) by James Reasoner
  • As I Am: Abba Before & Beyond by Agnetha Faltskog
  • AWESOMISM!: A New Way to Understand the Diagnosis of Autism by Suzy Miller
  • Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend by Joshua Blu Buhs
  • Freedom Congress (Audio CD) by L. Ron Hubbard
  • FRENCH ART OF THE 18TH CENTURY by Abert Gilou
  • Mark Twain: A Life (audio CD) by Ron Powers
  • Mix with love: Cookbook for dogs by Maddelena Herbig
  • Modern Jewish history: A source reader by Robert Chazan
  • NEW ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES #25 (Audio Cassette) by Anthony Boucher
  • Pt 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II
  • The Great Gatsby CD (Audio CD) by F Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations, by Robert L. Cross
  • The Manchurian Candidate (Audio CD) by Richard Condon
  • The Perfect Storm (Audio CD)
  • The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How it Corrupts Democracy (Audio Cassette) by David Brock
  • The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life (Audio CD) by Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel
  • The Two Dragons of Dim Mak: Pressure Point Techniques for Healing & Martial Arts (Paperback) by Dr. Pier Tsui-Po
  • Writer’s Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents: Who They Are! What They Want! and How to Win Them Over! (13th Edition) by Jeff Herman
  • Wolverine Vol. 3: Return of the Native by Greg Rucka
  • Your Sixth Sense: Activating Your Psychic Potential (Audio Cassette) by Belleruth Naparstek
  • X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse Epic, Book 3 (Bk. 3) by Warren Ellis

Once again, the site is http://www.amazon.com/shops/mikeneedsakidneydotcom.  Thanks.

How Not to Manage

October 20, 2009

What if your boss undermined your authority by taking away a major part of your responsibilities, brought in a consultant to take over who was completely new to a situation that you were very familiar with, played games with you by not letting you know about your future, and just threw money at the problem in different directions without any cogent plan?

That’s what Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has done.  He has taken play-calling responsibilities away from coach Jim Zorn, given them to Sherman Lewis who he brought in two weeks ago (then Zorn explained the playbook to Lewis), refused to let Zorn know his job status, and threw money at high-priced players without having any plan for the future.

This strategy is not classy but more importantly is terrible for the team.

For more, please see www.myredskinsblog.com.

Miscellaneous Product Reviews

October 20, 2009

Product Review:  All printers I have ever owned in my life.

Rating:  Terrible.

If it’s not a paper jam, it’s an error message.  It takes forever for the printer to get reset, and most recently, ever since I’ve gotten wireless access, I periodically have to call the printer manufacturer to reset the settings.  Either that, or call the computer manufacturer.  One time I got an error message that basically said, “This is an error message.  See the manual for how to fix it.” Then the manual said something like, “Your printer has an error.”  It’s one of the reasons why one of my favorite all-time scenes in movies is during “Office Space,” when they take the printer out to the field and smash it with a baseball bat.

Product Review:  Every VCR or DVD player I’ve ever had.

Rating:  Terrible

They are so hard to set up.  Then if they don’t work it’s hard to figure out why.  Sorry, I’m admitting I’m not good at setting up DVD players.

Product Review:  Remote Controls

Rating:  Terrible

Every house I’ve ever been to has two or three remote controls — sometimes four or five.  They are impossibly complicated to figure out.

Using Disrespect to Motivate Yourself and Prove People Wrong

October 5, 2009

In sports, as in life, sometimes when you feel slighted and disrespected, it can give you extra motivation to do well to prove people wrong.

Michael Jordan was famous for it, Brett Favre is going through it now, and I’ve even used it myself for extra incentive.

“It” happens when people underestimate you.

A lot of people were put off by Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction speech last month, when he recounted many instances when people said he wasn’t good enough.  Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he never forgot it, so he became the greatest player of all time.  Writers said he’d never win a championship, so he won six.

In 1993, LaBradford Smith of the Washington Bullets scored 37 points against Jordan and the Bulls and supposedly said, “Nice game, Mike.”  Jordan vowed to score 37 points against the Bullets the next game by halftime and he scored 36 by halftime, 47 in all in just 31 minutes.  The funny thing is that Jordan admitted later that Smith never taunted him, but he just made the story up to give him extra motivation.

Now, just hours before Brett Favre of the Minnesota Vikings takes on his former team, the Green Bay Packers, there’s a lot of talk of revenge.  This is different than the Jordan situation, though.  While the Packers decided to let Favre go a couple of years ago in favor of Aaron Rodgers, it was partly because Favre kept going back and forth and wouldn’t give Green Bay a decision about whether he wanted to come back instead of retire.  When the deadline had passed with Favre deciding to remain retired, the Pack decided to go with Rogers.

Last summer before Favre signed with the New York Jets, it was clear his first choice was to go to Minnesota because they were one of Green Bay’s major rivals.  Favre wanted revenge.  He would like nothing better than to prove the Packers wrong.  But the Packers made the right decision.  Favre broke down at the end of last season, and though he’s having success this year, it’s mainly because he’s on a very good team.  And most football insiders know that Favre takes away as much as he gives, as he has more interceptions than any QB in NFL history (Click on “Quarterbacks” on the right side of the blog to see what I wrote about Favre a year ago).

Still, the idea of proving someone wrong can be very strong, and if you can use it as motivation, more power to you.

You see this most often in sports when an underdog uses disrespect as extra motivation to win.

Three years ago I wrote about why I like working with kids with autism under my first FAQ at http://www.coachmike.net/autism-faq.php:

I’ve always loved sports, and I root for the underdog. Anybody who has played sports or been a sports fan knows that when someone says you can’t do something, you love to prove them wrong. I prefer working with the kids who have the most severe disabilities because I love the challenge. One of the things I like most about working with kids with autism is the amount of progress that they have the potential to make.

I remember a time when an autism therapist asked why multiplication should be taught to a child who would never have a reason to use it.  About a year after that, the child mastered triple digit multiplication.

When I tried out for the junior high school tennis team in ninth grade, I was cut from the team.  I made the team the next year in high school, and during my junior and senior seasons I had a combined record of 23 wins and eight losses in doubles.  Then I lettered for four years at Division III Ohio Wesleyan University, albeit a small university.  I never forgot that the coach wrongly cut me in ninth grade and put other players on the team ahead of me whom I was better than.

Then in 2000, I signed up to play in a 4.0-level tennis league.  They told me I would play the first match and then I showed up and they said I wasn’t going to play the first match – I would have to watch.  So I went home, cancelled the check, and looked for a 4.5-level (higher level) league.  I found one and won six of the eight matches I played in doubles.  Some tennis board had to decide whether to let me play or not after cancelling the check and writing a new one.  Luckily, they did.

I’m not trying to compare Michael Jordan to me, I’m just saying that proving people wrong can be a powerful motivational tool.

How many times has the media counted someone out?  John Elway can’t win a Super Bowl (he won two).  Peyton Manning can’t win the big one (he won a Super Bowl).  Kobe Bryant can’t win an NBA title without Shaq (he did it last year).

Keep giving people motivation.  Keep saying they can’t do something.  But don’t put limitations on anyone.  I just searched on the word “limit” from the “Autism” category of my blog.  It came up three times:

I quoted from the book “Engaging Autism” by Stanley Greenspan:  “Schools tend to be very structured and to put a high priority on compliance and limit setting, rather than on engaging, interacting, problem-solving, and thinking creatively and logically.”

Then, from “Sports for Children with Autism,” which I wrote last summer:

“I never would have thought hockey would be a great sport for kids with autism because of the need to skate and handle a stick simultaneously, but it turns out that it can be great, and it just goes to show that we shouldn’t put limitations on anyone.”

And finally, this:  “A lot of people are familiar with the amazing story of Jason McElwain, an autistic teenager who scored 6 three-point baskets in a game for his high school team a few years ago. This type of success doesn’t happen a lot, but it would never happen if too many limitations are put on children who have autism and other disabilities who want to play sports.”


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