Sunday, July 31, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/31/05

"In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior." Sir Francis Bacon

Banshee Polling

Old Poll: Last week, Banshee Blog asked a simple question. Are you married? I have to admit, I am a little surprised by the results. 64% of the respondents said that they are married. Only 35% said that they were not. Based primarily on the past Ask Banshee questions that have been sent in, I was under the impression that most of this blog's readership was single.

New Poll: This week's question is inspired by a movie I saw this weekend. The question is: Have you ever written or responded to a personal ad?

Trading Deadline

The trading deadline for Major League Baseball expired today at 4:00 p.m. And, the big news is that nothing happened. There were a few minor trades, but there was nothing resembling the Nomar Garciaparra blockbuster of last July. Out of all the rumors that were swirling in the past week, the only one that came true was the Pirates dealing Matt Lawton to the Cubs. The trade that will probably have the most impact on the post-season is the Atlanta Braves' acquisistion of the hard-throwing Kyle Farnsworth from the Detroit Tigers. Farnsworth has been having a good year closing in Detroit, and Braves' coaching has traditionally made Cy Young out of any pitcher that joined their staff.

Oh, and in case you were wondering ... Manny Ramirez is still a member of the Boston Red Sox.


No race today. Next week, NASCAR goes to Indy for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The Indy race has traditionally been held on a Saturday afternoon, but this year the race will be on Sunday. It will air at 2:30 on NBC.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/30/05

"Too much of a good thing is wonderful." Mae West

Eating Champion Crowned

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the Alka-Seltzer U.S. Open of Competitive Eating was under way this weekend in Las Vegas, NV. Today, the competition wrapped up. As in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating competition over the Fourth of July, Takeru Kobayashi and SonjaThomas proved to be in the class of the field. And once again, it was Kobayashi who took home the crown. During the course of the competition, Kobyashi set a new world record for pasta eating. In addition to that record, Kobayashi also owns the world record for hot dogs, rice balls, hamburgers and cow brains. Mmmm, mmmmm.

Lynchburg Adventures

Soon after the Banshee moved to Central Virginia, Mimi passed along this website of Little Known Attractions in the Lynchburg Area. Today, the Banshee and Baby Sister set out with a Lynchburg city map in search the local curiosities. We only had a limited amount of time, so we chose 5 attractions. We looked for the Seven Hills Swingers Club, Chestnut Hill, the boyhood home of the inventor of the catcher's mask, the first area home with indoor plumbing, and the worlds ugliest building. I had been told by several co-workers that this entire site was an absolute hoax. After 3 hours of driving inside the city limits, I would have to agree that there is limited truthfulness to that website.

The only site we were able to visit was the world's ugliest building. I already knew where this was, so it was not a huge discovery. However, a close examination of the building cast some doubt on the history described on the site. As for the rest of the sites ... well, the addresses listed on the website simply don't exist. The addresses are on real streets that are in plausible parts of town, but the streets always came to an end before the we got to the house number.

But, the day was not a total loss. Most of our trip wound around through skinny streets in questionable parts of town. So, we found plenty of interesting stuff. We found a deserted warehouse on the banks of the James River. This warehouse is apparently in the process of being renovated into an upscale apartment complex. But, that paled in comparison to the discovery of the day. A couple blocks away from the warehouse, in a sketchy dead-end parking lot, Baby Sister and I discovered a 15 foot high, red, high heeled shoe. This shoe was truly a blog-worthy item. Perhaps, if the Banshee gains access to a digital camera in the near future, I will be able to get a photo on the website.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/29/05

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." Mark Twain

Holy Cheese Fries, Fat Man

If you've been living under a rock the last few days, you might not be aware that the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating is going on in Las Vegas, NV. Actually, I believe this event might already be over, but it is being broadcast on ESPN from July 28-30. The event, appropriately sponsored by Alka-Seltzer, is being held at the ESPN Zone in Sin City.

The Open consists of 5 rounds. Competitors are seeded much like in the NCAA basketball tournament. Then they compete against each other in head-to-head matches. The competitor who eats the most food in a set time period moves on to the next round. Each round has a different type of food. Some rounds require utensils. Some do not.

The first round was cheese fries. Each plate contained 2 pounds of the greesy goodness. The matches lasted 5 minutes. Several competitors polished off two full plates. Hot dog king, Takeru Kobayashi, is the top seed in the Open, and was the class of the first round. Although utensils were not required, Kobayashi used an innovative two fork method. He gripped both forks in one hand, creating a large shovel that allowed him to jam fries into his mouth at an alarming rate.

Kobayashi at Coney Island over the Fourth of July (AP)

Round 2 was spaghetti. Utensils were required for this food, and the rounds were 14 minutes long. The world record for pasta fell 4 times in the course of this round. Kobayashi ate last and was the holder of the record at the end of the night. The most entertaining match from the first two rounds was undoubtedly the match between bitter rivals, Timothy Janus and Dale Boone. Janus is known as Eater X and wears WWF-style makeup. Dale Boone claims to be a descendant of Daniel Boone and wears a coonskin cap in competition.


Eater X was victorious.

To learn more about the various eaters on the competitive eating circuit, follow this link to the International Federation of Competitive Eating.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/28/05

"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese." Unknown.

(Contributed by Cyndee Hawk)

Sports Round-Up

Crying in Football. This week, members of the Miami Dolphins reported to training camp. Rookie defensive tackle, Manuel Wright, reported to camp overweight and with back problems. For this, new head coach, Nick Saban, lit into the 21 year-old in front of the entire team. Wright broke down in tears when the screaming ended. The worst part of the whole incident is that the cameras were rolling. I have seen this poor kid crying no less than ten times in the last 24 hours.

You might be surprised to hear compassion coming out of the Banshee when it comes to crying in football. But, I gotta say that I really feel for this kid. Okay, so if you get a $190,000 signing bonus as an undrafted rookie then you shouldn't come into camp overweight. Nonetheless, there is almost nothing worse than being publicly chastised by someone from whom you are trying desperately to gain approval.

I say good luck to you, Mr. Wright. And to the media, I say enough is enough. Stop showing this.

Welcome home. Those words lit up the marquee at Madison Square Garden this afternoon. New York native Larry Brown has finally reached an agreement to coach the New York Knicks next season. Despite his age and his poor health, the Knicks signed Brown to a 4 year deal worth between $8-10 million a season. If I recall correctly, that makes Brown the second highest paid coach in all of sports. Phil Jackson holds the top spot. If any basketball coach is worth that kind of money, Brown is that coach. This signing is probably a good move for the woeful Knicks because it has already generated buzz around the upcoming season. That's always good for ticket sales. Brown has made his name by bringing horrible teams up to respectability and even playoff success. But, this Knicks team has about the worst front office in the history of basketball. This team is about $50 million over the salary cap and 20 games under .500. Even Brown can't work this miracle. At least not next year.

Manny gone wild. The MLB trading deadline is coming up in just a few short days. And rumors are swirling around the northeast that the Boston Red Sox are entertaining offers for World Series MVP Manny Ramirez. I am going to declare right now that the chances of Manny Ramirez being traded during this season are absolutely zero. Zilch. There is no chance.

Even a rabid Red Sox hater like the Banshee cannot dispute the fact that Manny is an astonishing hitter. He hits for power and average and is a run producing machine. But, this guy is just way too weird for any other team to take on mid-season. My fingers are too tired to type out a whole history of what a weirdo this guy is. So, I'll stick to just this past week. During a home game at Fenway last week, there was a brief meeting on the mound. This was not a pitching change. Yet, Manny took the opportunity to disappear into the Green Monster in left field. Why? To urinate, of course. The thing is, there is no bathroom inside the Monster. Manny wasn't back on the field when play was set to resume. Then over the weekend, Manny renewed his yearly request that he be traded. But, if anyone was considering coming after this guy and his gargantuan contract, Manny pretty much ended that with his antics last night. Yesterday, Manny refused to play despite the fact that injuries had left the Sox shorthanded in the outfield. Why the refusal? Because he'd already asked for the day off.

Manny Ramirez still has 4 years and $60+ million left on his current contract. The only team in baseball that could afford to take on that contract right now is the New York Yankees. That will simply never happen. The Sox will not send their top slugger to the Yanks, and Joe Torre would not take on this guy's antics.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/27/05

"What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease." George Dennison Prentice

Ask Banshee

Dear Wild Banshee,

When do you consider someone too old, if ever, to have stuffed animals on their bed? I am assuming this is a more acceptable practice for females, but still, any thoughts?

I Heart My Stuffed Friends


Dear Heart,

Before answering this question, I consulted with my close friend and advisor Darla Beagle. Darla and I have decided that girls are never ever too old to have stuffed animals on their bed. That being said, stuffed animals may be a bit inconvenient once you are married. It should be noted, though, that Darla disagrees with that assertion.

As for boys, well, teddy bears on the bed are certainly not very manly. There is no way that John Wayne had stuffed animals on his bed. Even Darla agrees with that. As for a bright line age ... well, that's a tough one. Stuffed animals certainly are not like Barbie Dolls. Giving them to your young sons won't turn them into wimpering sissies. But, men's dorms at college are not real good places for stuffed animals.

In summary, there is a difference between guys and gals when it comes to stuffed animals. Grown men shouldn't really be cuddling with them, but girls can hang on as long as they want to.

~ Banshee

If you have a burning question on your mind, please, Ask Banshee.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/26/05

"Money can't buy friends, but it can get you a better class of enemy." Spike Milligan

Check this out ....

Unhealthy, USA

Centrum and BestPlaces recently collaborated on a study that ranked the health of the United States' 50 largest metropolitan areas. The factors that were considered in the rankings included the following: health status, nutrition and exercise, mental health and life balance. I'm not sure how empirical any of these factors really are, but the Banshee is a sucker for any countdown.

According to this study, the healthiest city in America is San Jose, CA. San Jose was followed by Washington, D.C. D.C. probably managed to finish that high because drug use and violent crime are not factors in the study. But enough about the healthy places. Let's look at the other end of the spectrum.

The unhealthiest city in America is ... drum roll, please ... New Orleans, LA. The Banshee just visited the Big Easy about 6 weeks ago, and I gotta tell you that this ranking comes as no surprise. After all, this is a city where public drunkeness is actually encouraged. Drinks are served in to-go cups so that you don't even have to take a break as you walk from one bar to another. Plus, just breathing in the stanko air down there for any length of time has got to give you some kind of lung fungus. Don't get me wrong, though, there is plenty of fun in Nawlins.

Perhaps the most shocking info in the study is the horrid health condition of the state of Ohio. All three of the of the Buckeye state's major cities made it into the top ten. Columbus ranked 6, Cleveland ranked 4, and Cincinnati ranked 3. Perhaps this explains why Ohio sports franchises range from mediocre (the Indians) to downright embarassing (the Brownies). Once players get there, they are doomed to becoming fat and sick.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/25/05

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." Mark Twain

Parenting as a Vocation

I first heard a discussion about vocations during my days in Catholic high school. My religion teacher explained to the class that some people are called to the vocations of being priests or nuns. She went on to explain that God is no less active and has just as much purpose in calling other people into other roles in society. While I didn't adopt most Catholic doctrine during my plaid skirt days, I really did take this teaching to heart.

For the past couple of Sundays, my pastor has been preaching about the vocations of Christians in society. This week, he touched on the high calling of parenthood. Like the Banshee, my pastor is not yet a parent. But, again like the Banshee, my pastor views parenthood as perhaps the highest calling there is in life. Discussion of this topic continued after church when one of the older men in the congregation shared an interesting bit of trivia. He said that the Latin root of the word parent means "in place of God." This tied in nicely with pastor's message.

Certainly, parents do not replace God. That is absurd. But, they do serve as a substitute caregiver for the children that God allows them to have. In addition to caring for the child's physical safety, parents also bear a responsibility to aid in the child's intellectual development. Everyone would agree with that. But, pastor encouraged parents to take their duty of training up their children in the ways of the Lord just as seriously as they take their duty to feed their children and teach them to read. Pastor said that churches serve an important role in aiding parents in their duty to teach children about their need for the Savior and the forgiveness we enjoy in Christ. But, the emphasis should be on the word "aid." It is still the parents' responsibility to continue Christian education the other six days of the week when church is not in session.

This post is not meant to be a scolding or an admonishment to anyone. Certainly, a girl who spends her days watching DIRECTV and playing PS2 is in no position to instruct anyone as to how they should parent. Rather, this post is meant as an encouragement to those of you who are engaged in the hard work of building a Christian home. The Banshee has been the beneficiary of two parents who certainly took their duty of Christian education quite seriously. For those of you who are now in the early part of the parenting journey, I want to say this on behalf of your children. Five, ten or twenty years from now, there is nothing that will have been a more positive force in your child's life than the confidence that can only be gained through a firm knowledge that we belong to God and have been saved through Christ.

Disappearing Act

As many of you probably noticed, Wild Banshee has been on a 2+ week hiatus. I'd like to say that this can be attributed to long hours at the office or new commitments to volunteering at charities. But, neither of those is really the case. The Banshee's negligence cannot even be attributed to DIRECTV addiction since the dish only went up a few days ago. In reality, the break from the blog can mostly be attributed to the Banshee's love of sports.

From the very inception of this blog, there has always been a healthy dose of sports content. However, I have made a firm commitment to myself that I would not turn Banshee Blog into a sports-only site. But lately, I just can't get my focus off of the sports world. I know that during my absence the high court ruled that Americans have no property rights, that terrorists attacked our close friends the Brits, and that a new justice has been nominated for the Supreme Court. But, the Banshee's waking thoughts have been almost entirely consumed with the Yankees closing the gap in the AL East, Tiger's domination of the British Open, the Larry Brown saga in Detroit and New York, Dale Jr.'s struggles, rumors of Penn State's return to the top 25, T.O.'s threats in Philly and Ricky Williams' return to the Dolphins.

Nonetheless, I am gonna give blogging the old college try once again.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/24/05

"Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't." Pete Seeger

NACAR Update

This week, the boys of NASCAR thundered through the Pocono Mountains for the Pennsylvania 500. Pocono International Raceway is actually the only track where the Banshee has ever seen a race in person, so this race always holds a little extra excitement for me. This flat, 2.5 mile triangle is always a difficult test for drivers. So, it's no surprise that 3 of NASCAR's old vets finished in the top ten. In their final trips to Pocono, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin finished second and third while Ricky Rudd finished tenth. Mike Bliss had a surprisingly strong ninth place finish in his NetZero Chevrolet. But it was Kurt Busch who captured the checkers.

No one moved in or out of the all important top 10 in the championship standings. Jimmie Johnson remains in first place despite a poor showing this week. Tony Stewart's seventh place finish allowed him to jump Greg Biffle and move into second in the standings. Fan favorites Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remain on the outside -- now just barely peaking in.

Banshee Polling

Old Poll: During the Banshee's summer break, the same poll remained on the site for almost a month. Although website traffic remained high during that time, polling responses were pretty low. The poll asked readers about their favorite summer holiday. 87% of voters said that the Fourth of July was their favorite. 12% said that Memorial Day was their favorite. No one voted for Father's Day or Labor Day.

New Poll: Every once in a while, the Banshee likes to get an idea of who really reads this blog. So this week, Banshee Blog asks: Are you married? This poll doesn't take a lot of thinking so there should be good turnout.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/8/05

"Bismarck reflected that the supreme fact of the 19th century was that Great Britain and the United States shared the same language. And surely future historians will note that a supreme fact of this century was that Great Britain and the United States shared the same cause; the cause of human freedom." President Ronald Reagan, welcoming Prime Minister Thatcher in 1988.

Sisters Injured in London

College students Kathleen "Katie" Benton, 21, and Emily Benton, 20, sisters from Tennessee were on the subway in London when a terrorist' bomb exploded near them. Both girls were injured but will recover. Their church as begun posting updates on their conditions.

Their Pastor has said that he looks forward to seeing how God will use this terrible event in their lives for good. "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan." Romans 8:28

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/5/05

"Losing to a bear is not good because, for example, Anika Sorenstam would not lose to a bear." Tony Kornheiser, comparing the greatness of golfer Anika Sorenstam to that of champion eater, Takeru Kobayashi.

See archived post for more background.

Hot Dog King

Takeru Kobayashi did it again. For the fifth straight year, the 27 year-old Japanese man was declared the hot dog eating king at the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, New York.


Kobayashi ate 47 hot dogs in 12 minutes. This is a good amount of processed meat, but it is down from last year's mark of 52 dogs. Since Banshee Blog came online, Kobayashi's only hot dog-eating defeat came at the paws of a grizzly bear on Man vs. Beast I.

This was the ninth time in the last ten years that a Japanese man took home the coveted Yellow Belt. This year's runner-up was a woman from Alexandria, VA named Sonya Thomas a.k.a. The Black Widow.

Weekend Features

The Banshee returned safe and sound from my Dixieland travels. For those of you who logged on over the weekend, waiting breathlessly for the usual weekend features like the NASCAR update and a new poll ... sorry to disappoint. Here is an abbreviated version.

Banshee Polling: The current poll asks Which is your favorite summer holiday? Since the weather is warm, it's hard to be dedicated to surfing the Internet for polls like this. As a result, the voting this week was extremely slow. Therefore, the poll question will remain for another week. Please be sure to vote. It means a lot. After all, when the government decides which holidays will be official holidays, they always ask Wild Banshee for her advice.

NASCAR Update: This week's race was held on Saturday night. At least, that's when it started. The Pepsi 400 from Daytona is one of the Banshee's very favorite races of the year. However, rain pushed the start time back until almost 11 p.m. The Banshee's mind was willing, but the flesh was weak. I admit that I fell asleep after only about 25 green laps. To check on the results and the new championship standings, log on to

Friday, July 01, 2005

Quote of the Day 7/1/05

“A judicial activist is a judge who interprets the Constitution to mean what it would have said if he, instead of the Founding Fathers, had written it.” The late Senator Sam Ervin.

On the Road Again

Wild Banshee is heading out of town for the Fourth of July weekend. Banshee is headed off for some R&R with Hawk and Mimi. Posting will resume on July 5.

Sandra's Day is Done

Today, Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court. I have to say that this is a joyous day for the Banshee. I make it my policy not to criticize any Supreme Court Justice too harshly due to the fact that they have all recieved degrees from law schools that would not have granted me admission and they have all achieved far more after graduation than I can realistically aspire to achieve. However, I will say that Sandra Day O'Connor is my least favorite justice out of the nine. Why? It's largely because her never-ending quest for compromise has made her extremely unpredictable and apparently unprincipled in her judicial theory. Nonetheless, Justice O'Connor is noteworthy as the first woman to sit on the High Court. FOX News has provided a timeline of Justice O'Connor's life.