Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Real Housewives of...NASCAR!?

Well, actually, "no," since TLC, the network which ordered eight episodes of NASCAR Wives did not follow through with the show. Why? Because the NASCAR wives cast for the show didn't offer up enough conflict, a la their counterparts on the various Real Housewives series.

The subjects of NASCAR Wives were Kelley Earnhardt, sister of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; DeLana Harvick, wife of Kevin Harvick; Angie Skinner, wife of Mike Skinner; and Shana Mayfield, wife of Jeremy Mayfield--a driver who is suing NASCAR in a dispute over his failed drug test.

In a recent article about the show which appeared in the Sports Business Journal, Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, said, "When they're casting for these shows, they're looking for someone to do things without a script that's interesting to watch. It's a lot harder to make a hit when it's about women who don't have hissy fits."

True, but the action I've seen on Real Housewives goes way beyond "hissy fits."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wrapping up another week

Idle musings as another work week winds down:

- Really!? A second-grader in Rhode Island violated the school's no-weapons policy. How? He glued toy soldiers to his hat as a theme for a class project. School officials, however, objected to the tiny guns displayed by the soldiers, citing a "zero tolerance for weapons."

- Quote of the week: Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, received a phone call from the UGGA before last week's tournament at Pebble Beach, asking him to return the trophy. Glover, however, let it slip that he had a memory lapse, saying, "I was supposed to do it when I was home and I forgot."

- Speaking of the Open, noted sports reporter and author, John Feinstein, wrote this in Golf World about what likely was Tom Watson's final U.S. Open appearance at Pebble Beach, site of Watson's only Open win in 1982. "The once stoic Midwesterner made no attempt to hide his tears as the cheers washed over him. He knew the week was about more than a last missed birdie putt or where he finished. What mattered was the hug with Michael (his son, who also caddied for him last weekend) on the 18th green on almost the exact spot where Watson hugged (Bruce) Edwards after their 1982 victory. It was sweet then and it was sweet now--a moment more than worthy of the many tears that were shed."

- Did you know that today is the first anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson? It doesn't seem that it's been a year.

- In the wacky world of celebrity pairings, The Bachelor's Jake Pavelka and fiance, Vienna, have called it quits. She apparently called Pavelka a "fame whore." Hmm...OK. Elsewhere, Jesse James is moving to Austin where, yep, estranged wife Sandra Bullock resides. And, actress Megan Fox and actor Brian Austin Green are engaged for a second time after calling off the first, three-year engagement. What does this all mean? I have no clue, although the "fame whore" part is pretty funny...

- I can somewhat rationalize why Sherron Collins wasn't drafted last night in the NBA Draft given concerns about injury issues plus his propensity to gain weight. But, seriously, isn't Collins a safer, smarter pick than Dexter Pittman or Andy Rautins? And, what of Scottie Reynolds of Villanova--a first-team All American who did not get picked!? You can throw Denis Clemente of Kansas State into this mix and I'd say, "I wouldn't mind having a backcourt of those three guys," all of whom will seek out an NBA team on their own.

- Speaking of the NBA Draft, the vuvuzela made it's way into that televised event last night at Madison Square Garden. Although spectators didn't use them in the steady drone we've come to love at the World Cup, they did make their horn's presence known during several of the selections.

- If you're a man and looking for a quick kick in the self-esteem department, look no further than the current edition of The Atlantic. The cover story is titled "The End of Men." The story says that the new economy values "social intelligence, open communication, the ability to sit still and focus"--all traits found more often in women than in men. During the recession, around 75% of the eight million jobs lost belong to men. The magazine contends that women "dominate" colleges and professional schools, with three women receiving a B.A. degree for each two men.

- Set your DVRs now--there are several classic movies coming up over the next two weeks. On Thursday, July 1, Rebel Without A Cause will air at 7 p.m. CT on TCM. The film stars James Dean with a cast including Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and the recently deceased Dennis Hopper. The Paper Chase, for which John Houseman won an Oscar, airs on Tuesday, July 6, 7 p.m. CT, FMC. And, Vertigo, perhaps Alfred Hitchcock's best, is on Saturday, July 10, 5:30 a.m., Cinemax.

- Also on the small screen, Entourage begins season seven on Sunday night on HBO. It's the next-to-last season for Vince, Ari and the boys.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quick Hits: Facts and figures

- Not surprisingly, Father's Day isn't a big "dine out" day. Father's Day is the fifth most popular day for going out to a restaurant. Which restaurant chains are the hot destinations for Dad? Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse and Applebee's.

- The biggest TV event each year in the U.S. is the Super Bowl, which draws an average of slightly over 100 million viewers. The World Cup final, in comparison, draws 715 million.

- Who was Fast Company magazine's "most creative person in business?" It was none other than Lady Gaga who, wrote the magazine, "melded her inspirations with au courant dance pop and Web savvy to build a business empire notable for both the speed of its creation and the diversity of its platforms." Trailing Gaga were notables like Eddy Cue, VP of Internet Services at Apple; Jay-Z, Founder, Roc Nation; and John Skipper, EVP for Content at ESPN.

- Tuesday is the most popular day for Twitter activity, with the majority of the tweets occurring between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (Does this surprise you--who wants to tweet on Mondays?)

World Cup win for U.S. could set internet traffic record

In stoppage time today, United States soccer star Landon Donovan kicked a rebound into Algeria's net setting off nationalistic hysteria on the floor of the U.S. Stock Exchange, in the halls of Capitol Hill, and elsewhere around the U.S.A. The United States' team will advance to the round of 16 and, for the first time since 1930, as a winner of its Group.

On the internet, the dramatic ending may translate into the heaviest internet traffic time period ever. According to CNN.com, and Akamai's Net Usage Index, in the minutes following Donovan's dramatic goal, traffic spiked to 11.2 million visitors per minute. This moved the event past the 2008 presidential election as the second highest traffic day of all time.

The high traffic was not only spurred by the U.S. win but by the important match being played at the same time between England and Slovenia. (England won and thus will advance, along with the U.S., from Group C.)

The overall traffic record occurred earlier this month during the first day of the World Cup when traffic exceeded 12 million visitors per minute. The final numbers from Akamai will determine whether Donovan and his U.S. mates' achievement will rate them as #1 on the 'net.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Got Milk?

The "Got Milk?" campaign, originally created in 1993 by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, has showcased successful print for a number of years in support of the California Milk Processor Board.

But, it's this television commercial which started it all and remains one of the funniest ever to air.

Enjoy this blast from the past:


Monday, June 21, 2010

New favorites

In case you don't check out the "favorites" list on my blog, there are some new notable mentions:

- Be sure and check out Tom Petty's new CD, Mojo. The new offering is more bluesy than past Petty albums but is vintage, classic rock-and-roll.

- We got to eat this past weekend at Brix in Yountville, CA--perhaps my favorite restaurant in the U.S.

- For a sobering portrayal of the war in Afghanistan, read Sebastian Junger's War.

- Download Art & Copy, a fun, insightful look at the world of advertising as told by industry icons like Lee Clow, Rich Silverstein, Jeff Goodby and Dan Weiden.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More backroom drama unveiled

For those who can't get enough on how Dan Beebe and his compadres saved the Big 12, take a read of Chip Brown's (orangebloods.com) account:


Mid-week musings

- Did you hear about the guy in New Zealand who attended funerals in order to get the free food at the reception/wake after the ceremony? The perp would attend a funeral, then take home the food in Tupperware containers. He ultimately was discovered when one funeral director noticed him attending up to four funerals per week.

- I'm still scratching my head at the fact that Elton John played at Rush Limbaugh's recent wedding. I guess the appearance fee of $1 million was enough to get Sir Elton to push aside his political differences with Limbaugh.

- Let's give it up again to Dan Beebe and those involved with keeping the Big 12 (with 10 teams) alive. There is much work to be done to ensure the long-term viability of the league, but the fact that we are here on Wednesday even talking about the league's future is nothing short of amazing.

- Sign of the apocalypse: Ozzy Osbourne has been signed by the London Sunday Times to write a health advice column. Huh!?

- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon needs to keep his mouth shut. After dissing Texas Tech and Oklahoma State several weeks ago, during the rumored discussions between the Big Ten and Missouri, Nixon this week didn't make any friends in Colorado or Nebraska, noting that the two departing schools "had the worst basketball programs in the league."

- Finally, here's one more sign that the music industry, as we know it, is dying. For the week ending May 30, the U.S. music industry sold 4,984,000 albums, the lowest for one week since 1994, according to Billboard.com.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today's quote(s) of the week

Well, there's a lot of material here from noted Oklahoma State benefactor T. Boone Pickens, once again proving that if you're old and have money, you can say just about anything:


Monday, June 14, 2010

The new college math

The word "academics" has been used--occasionally--during the past couple of weeks of frenetic conference realignment activity. But, academics have to be questioning the math skills of those involved.

Follow along, if you can. The Big Ten, which actually had 11 schools in its conference, added another on Friday when Nebraska announced its intentions to join the league, thus making a total of 12 member institutions. The Big 12 not only lost Nebraska on Friday but also Colorado, who announced plans to move to the Pac 10. So, if you're keeping score at home, the Big Ten, which actually has 11, increases by one to 12, yet will still be called the Big Ten. The Big 12 loses two but will still be called by the same name even though it now only has 10 members. And, the Pac 10 now has 11. Got it?

Today was a big day given that, in the ever-shifting news reports on realignment, a ray of good news came out of the state of Texas where the University of Texas, and Texas A&M University, issued statements saying that they planned to stay with the Big 12. The collective sigh of relief you heard came from the following geographic locales:

- Kansas City: Yep, this is big news for our home town. Not only does Kansas City remain a player for the Big 12 post-season Mens and Womens basketball tournaments (already at the Sprint Center and Municipal Auditorium in 2011, 2012 and 2013) but also for major events like Kansas-Missouri football at Arrowhead Stadium.

- Manhattan: The past two weeks have been a cold slap in the face to the Purple Nation, never mentioned as a candidate for the Pac 10, the Big Ten, the SEC or the ACC. Keeping the Big 12 in place is critical for Kansas State.

- Ames: See above under "Manhattan."

- Waco: See above under "Manhattan" and "Ames." And, while some of us would like to see TCU join the Big 12, there will be some serious resistance to that from Baylor administrators who had to be incredibly miffed when word leaked that the Horned Frogs were lobbying to keep BU out of a possible Mountain West expansion scenario.

You could potentially add Columbia, MO to the above list, given that Mizzou never received an invitation from the Big Ten and was not prominently mentioned in the talk about the Pac 10 or SEC. Yet, I have to believe that if the Big Ten does eventually expand, as had been anticipated, that MU would be on the short list of future potential candidates.

While many hours remain until Commissioner Dan Beebe's press conference tomorrow at Noon, let's stay optimistic that sanity has reigned, at least for now, and the Big 12 will not implode. This news is good for us in Kansas City and it's something that all alums, that I spoke with, from Missouri, Kansas State and Kansas wanted to have happen.

It may be a short-term solution but, for now, it's a solution which is far more palatable versus some of the extreme conference realignment options being rumored over the past four days.

Thank you, Dan Beebe, for hanging tough and keeping this group of 10 quality academic institutions, with storied sports programs across a variety of sports, together.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The day in college athletics

Wow. I don't know what else to say.

It was quite the day in college athletics. And this seemingly is only the beginning as the face of college sports is about to go through some major plastic surgery.

We first were treated to the press conference in Boulder, Colorado as the University of Colorado accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10. This shift, if you really think about it, makes perfect sense for both the Buffaloes and for the conference. Colorado has always had ties to California--they have a large amount of students who migrate to Boulder from there, they have a sizable alumni base there, and they actively recruit there. Culturally, CU is more of a "western" school and has always been mentioned as a possible school for the Pac-10.

I felt the administrators who spoke at Boulder, along with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott, handled the news with the proper diplomacy, talking very positively about CU's time in the Big Eight and Big 12 but also pragmatically explaining why this move west made sense for the institution.

Contrast that to what happened in Lincoln, Nebraska an hour or so later. In what was one of the most brazen 12 minutes of public speaking ever, Chancellor Harvey Perlman did everything in his power to say "we didn't break up the Big 12," and "it's all MU's fault, who started the public flirtation with the Big Ten, and Texas, who got its Big South brethen to talk to the Pac 10." Maybe you agree that MU should be held accountable for starting all this realignment talk. Or, maybe you hold Texas as the culprit given that they were invited to join the Big 12 and immediately shifted the power of the conference to their state. Regardless, what Nebraska's leadership did, in a public forum, was petty and classless. They did what they needed to do for their institution. They just handled it in a very public, very negative way.

What's to come? Who the heck knows! I think the Big 12 is officially done--losing the Denver TV market and the marquee football program in the North Division puts a major dent in the conference. And, what the Pac 10 is dangling to Texas, Oklahoma and others, in the way of potential TV revenue, is incredibly compelling.

Who would have thought that we'd see the day when Kansas, Missouri and Kansas State very likely will end up in different conferences?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup...1994

Sixteen years ago, this week, the world's biggest sporting event came to America and over the course of a month, matches were held at nine different venues across three U.S. time zones.

I have to admit to a bout of nostalgia, as this weekend's World Cup soccer matches begin, given my personal involvement in leading a big sponsorship effort in '94 on behalf of Sprint and our partnership with U.S. Soccer and World Cup USA 1994. The accomplishments of that team of people--from Sprint and from our agency partners--was truly monumental and a proud professional moment.

The World Cup grabs the world's attention. And, while we here in the States seem to have finally figured out that this is, indeed, a big deal, it still does not command the attention given the Super Bowl or even the NCAA Mens College Basketball Tournament.

In '94, the expectation was that hosting the World Cup would be the impetus for soccer "finally" taking off in the U.S. That didn't happen. Sure, the Cup held here was the most successful and profitable ever. And, it birthed Major League Soccer. But, that league has not exactly captured the attention of fans across American and the U.S. team's efforts internationally have improved, yet have been inconsistent since '94.

Soccer in America remains a sport for children and the close to 16 million who play the sport in leagues across the country. It is a game anyone can play, when young, and is enjoyed by both boys and girls.

It's disappointing, personally, that soccer still struggles here in the States as both a professional sport and given the lack of a large fan base following our national team's exploits. Do me a favor and tune in Saturday when the U.S. takes on England. It has the potential to be the biggest match played by our boys since their stunning victory over England in the 1960 Cup.

Ole, ole, ole, ole...USA, USA!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The state of college athletics

The first domino has fallen--multiple sources are reporting tonight that the University of Nebraska will accept an invitation to join the Big Ten. It also appears certain that the University of Colorado is poised to accept a similar invitation from the Pac 10 and join that conference, which also has eyes for Big 12 schools Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

So, what does this all mean, and what of Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri?

- It means the NCAA is an ineffectual body. When have you seen an NCAA official quoted in any story on conference realignment? Where is the righteous indignation from this group on the effect of all these shifts on the "student-athlete," a term the NCAA uses hundreds of times over the course of the three Mens Basketball Tournament each late March/early April?

- It means that Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe has no influence in the world of college athletics, and has been played by his counterparts in the Big Ten and Pac 10.

- In the category of "thou doth protest too much," it means Nebraska and its Athletic Director, Tom Osborne, has never forgiven the University of Texas for the impact they've had on the power within the Big 12. Osborne, of course, denies that this was an impetus for NU's impending departure.

- It means Notre Dame thought about the Big Ten but again rejected it for its basketball affiliation with the Big East and, more importantly, its exclusive TV deal with NBC as football's lone major independent school.

So, what of Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri? Will they be left sitting at the curb while the Big Ten and Pac 10 buses pull away with their conference mates, less Iowa State and Baylor?

It's my prediction that the Texas schools will reject the Pac 10 and stay affiliated with the remaining 10 schools in the Big 12. Staying together allows Texas to basically control the league and provides an opportunity to recruit in TCU. While Arkansas would be the next logical suspect to poach into a revamped Big 12, the Razorbacks would have to gain a commitment that their revenue impact will be equaled by leaving the profitable SEC deal for a reunion with their old Southwest Conference brethren in the Big 12 South.

If, of course, the gang of five from the Big 12 South chase the big TV bucks in a new Pac 10 super-conference, covering the Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Oklahoma City and San Antonio TV markets, then it is indeed college sports' Armageddon. KU, KSU and MU would scramble to find a new home...and it would be hard to consider them banding together with some hodge-podge lineup of schools like TCU, Baylor, Iowa State, Utah and Boise State. Would they Big Ten make a play to pick up these Big 12 scraps? What about the ACC or SEC--do they make any moves or stand pat?

Now that the first domino has fallen and the second is teetering, how many more will fall?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Helen Thomas

To those who ever watched a Presidential press conference, you likely aren't surprised that the once illustrious journalistic career of Helen Thomas has ended because she didn't understand when to keep her mouth shut.

Thomas, 89, has covered every U.S. president since John Kennedy. And, her blunt questioning and tough manner caused Kennedy to once say, "she'd be a nice girl if she'd ever get rid of that pad and pencil." Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said this of Thomas, "Isn't there a war somewhere where we could send her?"

It was this toughness and no-back-down approach which earned Thomas great respect from her mostly male colleagues, early in her career, and helped pave the way for the deference she was accorded later in life. Thomas always occupied a front row seat at press conferences with the many presidents she covered and traditionally always asked the first question.

In recent years, however, Thomas' questions, and comments, became more hostile, and even offensive to some. Thus, this week's revelation that Thomas said that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go home to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else" wasn't surprising nor was the consequence--her resignation/retirement.

Thomas started her press career with United Press International. She was the first female officer of the National Press Club and the first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association. She most recently worked for Hearst but as a columnist after starting with the company as a news reporter.

"Stubborn," "cranky," "acerbic"--all were adjectives which described Thomas at various moments of her career. Ultimately, that willingness to speak, with little or no filter, was her undoing.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quote of the day

Gary Sherrer, vice chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents, said "There are many fine universities that aren't in major conferences. You don't have to have that to be really quality university."

Sherrer's comment was in response to the variety of reports and rumors relative to conference realignment, and the fact that Kansas and Kansas State have not been publicly mentioned in the nationwide discussion.

I would challenge Sherrer to name one "quality university," which is public, that is not a part of a major/BCS conference. Hint: There isn't one. And, that is why it's imperative that the Board of Regents of Kansas, along with the chancellors and athletic directors of both KU and KSU, get ultra-involved to ensure that these two schools aren't on the outside looking in as conferences realign into likely four super conferences.

Saturday morning coffee

- One of my prized possessions is an NCAA Final Four basketball signed by former UCLA coach John Wooden. I mourned, with the rest of America, Wooden's passing last night. His impact extended far beyond the game of basketball played between the lines of a basketball court. Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" had a huge impact on those he coached and was extended into a lesson for business leaders and others. His books sold because they were full of homilies on life and how to live it effectively. Wooden also taught us how to treasure and love one's spouse. There aren't many people in life who have the impact of a man like John Wooden.

- How would you like to be the head of BP's Corporate Communications department? BP's CEO, Tony Hayward, is a walking oral loose cannon. I'm sure BP's PR folks shudder whenever a microphone is thrust in front of Hayward.

- Fans of the World Cup were dealt a blow yesterday when it was announced that Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba broke his arm in a pre-tournament match versus Japan. But reports surfacing today indicate that Drogba may be able to play--that he didn't break his arm but dislocated an elbow.

- If you're in the mood for a good legal thriller, check out Scott Turow's latest, Innocent.

- It's good to see the Big 12 get one thing right, which is the decision to award the Big 12 Mens Basketball Tournament to Kansas City through 2015, and the Womens Tournament through 2014. Kansas City has a long, distinguished history as a college hoops town; has an infrastructure of dedicated volunteers and support corporations; and offers a classic new venue (Sprint Center) and historical venue (Municipal Auditorium) book-ending an entertainment district, which is the perfect gathering place for fans.

- The Big 12 meetings concluded in Kansas City yesterday and the media reports and statements from University officials have led me to conclude that there is a general unease about the future of the conference. Any hope that these meetings would solve the talk of school defections simply didn't happen. Unfortunately, given timing and other factors, the Big 12's future resides with other conferences and the television rights fees they garner, and payouts they can offer, to current league institutions. Commissioner Dan Beebe has his work cut out for him if he expects to keep this conference intact. And, to do so, he'd better becomes best friends with Texas Athletic Director Deloss Dodds and UT President William Powers. Whether we who grew up with the Big Eight like it or not, Texas seemingly holds the power on the future make-up of the conference...or whether there even will be a Big 12.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mid-week musings

- If one were a betting person, who would have bet--in 1998, during the height of the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal--that Al and Tipper Gore would be divorced 12 years later and that the Clintons would still be married?

- The Memorial Day weekend may have offered up good weather around most of the U.S. but that did not help the summer movie weekend get off to an auspicious start.  Both Sex In the City 2 and Prince of Persia had lackluster openings.

- Aerosmith announced that it will kick off a U.S. tour on July 23 in Oakland.  Unfortunately for fans in Kansas City, the closest the band will get to our fair city are stops in Chicago and Dallas, both in August, unless additional dates are announced at a later time.

- There actually is an online poll today on AdAge.com titled "Should American Idol Be Retired?"  The story represents the growing sentiment about the potential demise of FOX's 10-year hit given declining ratings, poor talent on display this season, and the departure of judge Simon Cowell.  In addition, USA Today reported today that downloads for finalists Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox are about half of the sales total of Kris Allen and Adam Lambert after the 2009 finale.

- The World Cup begins on Friday, June 11.  And, the USA begins play against England on Saturday afternoon, June 12, at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.  Will this be the highest television rating ever for a U.S. soccer game?  The most highly ranked telecasts, for matches involving the U.S. (all on ESPN), are:  Germany-USA, 2002, 3.8 million households; Ghana-USA, 2006, 2.9 million; and Colombia-USA, 1994, 2.7 million.

Weiden's World Cup mural

Check out the 32 World Cup murals, created by Weiden & Kennedy, for ESPN.


For those who may not remember, W&K was the agency responsible for the Nike soccer commercial which we shared in this space several days ago.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In search of the perfect malt/shake

This past weekend, my wife and I ventured out one night to Winstead's, a local burger chain, for a quick cheeseburger and fries.  Feeling adventurous, and because it was the beginning of summer, I ordered a chocolate malt.  I, of course, had visions of the soda jerk in the back dipping the vanilla ice cream, mixing it with chocolate syrup, milk and malted milk, blending it together, and setting a glass full of the tasty concoction on our table with the extra beverage set to the side in the stainless steel cylinder used for blending the drink.

What arrived at our table was presented in a paper cup, with lid and straw.  After taking off the lid, I discovered something which looked vaguely like a Wendy's Frosty.  When I said "I ordered a chocolate malt" to our waiter, his response was "that's what this is."  I asked "what happened to the malts you used to make, served in glass and made from scratch?"  The look on his face told me I had ventured into a Q&A space for which he was woefully unprepared.

What's happened to the old-time ice cream parlors which served "hard" ice cream--sometimes even homemade--blended into frothy treats like ice cream sodas, root beer floats, banana splits and thick shakes of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry?  In their place are soft-serve out of a machine or frozen custard disguised as the "new" ice cream.

I decided, after last weekend's Winsteads disappointment, that I would make it a personal quest to seek out the best shake/malt I could find.  My first stop was tonight at Hubert Keller's San Francisco branch of The Burger Bar, an odd place perhaps to start my shake expedition but highly recommended by a fellow connoisseur of all things ice cream.

While the end product (a chocolate shake complemented with sliced bananas) was heavenly, it was also a bit too gourmet.  The shake was served in a tall glass with the appropriate whipped cream and chocolate chip garnishes, yet was overly chocolatey.  It satisfied my craving, for now, but I still am looking for an old-time shake or malt.

Let me know, loyal readers, where I should venture next.  The quest has just begun...