Monday, November 29, 2010

Catching up after a holiday weekend

- According to the Wall Street Journal, Black Friday was a success with retail and website traffic up 8.7% versus last year. The average shopper spent $365.34, up 6.4% over 2009 data.

- Also according to the Journal, hot items this holiday season are gadgets like the iPad, smartphones, and gaming systems.

- Folks, the fact that we don't have a national championship playoff in college football is what's causing conference realignment to continue. Today, TCU announced that it would join the Big East Conference. Now, I'm no geography wizard but I know that Fort Worth is a very long way from Syracuse, N.Y. The Horned Frogs are making the move largely to join a BCS conference in football, meaning they don't have to sweat out BCS bowl consideration as they have the past three seasons. It's the same reason that joining the Pac 12 was so appealing to Utah. If we had a fair national playoff system, then the dependency on belonging to a BCS conference would not be so acute.

- The Samsung Tab is a very nice device and a good alternative to the iPad. The ergonomics of the Tab are much different--a bit fatter and small enough to hold in one hand. Obviously, the screen is smaller than the iPad but the Tab does run Flash.

- More on TCU...the Horned Frogs' travel in basketball will likely not be as bad as football. The Big East currently has a 16-team basketball league and could split into geographic divisions to accommodate easier travel. If Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State had joined the Big East, which likely would have happened had Texas gone to the Pac 10, then those four would have been paired with schools like Marquette, Notre Dame, DePaul, Louisville and Cincinnati.

- R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen.

- Laura Hillenbrand, the author of Seabiscuit, has written another terrific read. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption is the story of Louie Zamperini, a juvenile delinquent who became an Olympic runner and, ultimately, an Army hero. One of Zamperini's idols, once he discovered running, was former University of Kansas miler Glenn Cunningham.

- Kanye West appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York. But, the crowd at the parade was anything but friendly to the controversial rapper. In a video appearing on YouTube, the crowd around West's float was unruly and can be heard yelling epithets.

- We can only hope they'll do this when they return to the States for their tour: U2 had opening act Jay Z join them on stage for "Sunday Bloody Sunday" during their recent concert dates in New Zealand and Australia.

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