On Chicken Wings and Super Bowl XLVII

The Atlanta-Business Chronicle reports that chicken wing prices are the highest ever ahead of Super Bowl XLVII:

Chicken wing prices typically increase around the Super Bowl, but this year the ballgame favorite has reached a record high.

Wholesale wings are currently at about $2.11 a pound (Northeast), the highest on record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up 26 cents or 14 percent from a year earlier, according to The National Chicken Council.

The council says Americans will eat 1.23 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday. That’s down one percent from 2011 due to a shortage in the number of chicken wings produced.

There’s also this:

Meanwhile, here in metro Atlanta, two men were arrested for stealing $65,000 in frozen chicken from Nordic Cold Storage in the 4300 block of Pleasantdale Road in Doraville where they were employed, reports Fox 5 Atlanta.

Get your chicken while it’s hot, folks.

Best Super Bowl Trivia

This Sunday, the Giants will face the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Everyone will watch or care about the game for different reasons: there’s Madonna at the halftime show, the gambler who wants to cover the spread, the nonchalant fan, the ones in it for the commercials, and of course, the die-hard fans of the Giants and the Pats.

But Ken Jennings (the 74-time Jeopardy! champion and the author of books Maphead and Brainiac) argues that no one appreciates the Super Bowl as a whole the way a trivia buff does. So he compiled a top ten list of best Super Bowls in trivia history:

10. Super Bowl XIX

In beating the Dolphins, the 49ers became the only team ever to win the Super Bowl at home (sort of — Stanford Stadium is less than 30 miles from Candlestick). But this game is mostly of note to fans of movie trivia, since a fictional San Francisco-Miami championship was a major plot point in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Any Given Sunday. Oh, and Teri Hatcher was a 49ers cheerleader in 1985, and got almost as many ABC-TV close-ups during this game as she did during the third season of Desperate Housewives.

9. Super Bowl XLV

In 20 years, will anyone remember that the Packers won Super Bowl XLV? I doubt it. But will they remember Christina Aguilera mangling the national anthem by singing “What so proudly we watched, at the twilight’s last reaming”? Absolutely. Will they remember Lindsay Lohan’s $100 million lawsuit of E*Trade, for featuring a substance-abusing baby named Lindsay in one of their ads? I hope so. Will they remember Bryan Bulaga, the 21-year-old Green Bay lineman who became the youngest starter in Super Bowl history? Okay, probably not.

8. Super Bowl XXIX

This was the highest-scoring Super Bowl in history (49ers over Chargers 49-26) and a record fifth-straight Super Bowl for one player: backup Chargers QB Gale Gilbert, who had been signed from the Bills during the offseason. It’s also the game that Jerry was forced to attend with his nemesis Newman in the Seinfeld episode “The Label Maker.” But the highlight for me was the bizarre Disney synergy exercise of a halftime show, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye,” in which an Indy look-alike (Harrison Ford refused to participate) rescued the stolen Vince Lombardi Trophy from a jungle lair whose dangers included frenzied temple worshipers, the evil Eye of Mara, and Patti LaBelle singing “New Attitude.”

7. Super Bowl IV

The first Super Bowls weren’t quite ready for prime time. (Even literally! Super Bowl XII was the first evening game.) In the very first AFL-NFL championship, for example, the first touchdown was scored by a hastily suited-up (and hungover) Packers reserve named Max McGee, and the second-half kickoff had to be rekicked because the TV cameras had missed it. Super Bowl IV’s halftime show was the first one headlined by a big celebrity: Miss Carol Channing. The on-field accomplishments were just as dubious: This was the game that marked the beginning of the Minnesota Vikings’ 0-4 Super Bowl record that, amazingly, still doesn’t include a single first-half score.

6. Super Bowl XXXVIII

This Patriots-Panthers showdown been called the greatest Super Bowl of all time, and you probably remember it as a classic quarterback duel. Tom Brady’s 32 completions are still a Super Bowl record, as is Jake Delhomme’s 85-yard pass to Muhsin Muhammad. But only trivia fans remember the record scoreless 27 minutes that opened the first half. And the British streaker who tried to crash the second-half kickoff in a G-string but got clobbered by linebacker Matt Chatham. And a terrible Bud Light commercial about a farting horse. With all that going on, the “wardrobe malfunction” seems like almost an afterthought.

5. Super Bowl XXIII

The first Bud Bowl! And a halftime show that was a stadium-wide 3-D card trick performed by a magician named — I wish I were making this up — “Elvis Presto.” For me the trivia MVPs of the game were Mike Cofer, the 49ers kicker who made a 41-yard field goal only to miss a 19-yarder (!) on the next drive, and legendary Canadian comedian John Candy. As the story goes, with the 49ers down three with three minutes to go, Montana calmed down a nervous huddle by pointing into the crowd and asking, “Isn’t that John Candy?” Then he proceeded to march the team 92 yards downfield for the game-winning touchdown to John Taylor. Cool customer.

 For the trivia and sports fan in you, the complete list is worth reading.

Links of the Day (02/08/10)

Here’s what I’ve been reading recently:

(1) “Will You Be E-Mailing This Column? It’s Awesome” [New York Times] – I am not e-mailing this column, but I am blogging about it. The New York Times conducted a six month study to determine which articles were the most popular ones (as measured by number of times the articles were e-mailed):

To make sense of these trends in “virality,” the Penn researchers tracked more than 7,500 articles published from August 2008 to February 2009. They assessed each article’s popularity after controlling for factors like the time of day it was published online, the section in which it appeared and how much promotion it received on the Web home page.

The results of the study are interesting. Most people preferred to send out emotional articles (in particular, those articles that were positive or happy in nature). I also found it surprising that people preferred to share articles which were longer in length (perhaps because longer articles are better researched or more compelling in general). The New York Times elaborates:

Sharing recipes or financial tips or medical advice makes sense according to classic economic utility theory: I give you something of practical value in the hope that you’ll someday return the favor. There can also be self-interested reasons for sharing surprising articles: I get to show off how well informed I am by sending news that will shock you.

The only thing left to do is for you, Dear Reader, to email that article to your friends (or you can just tell them about this blog).

(2) “The Time It Takes to Win It All” [Wall Street Journal] – The New Orleans Saints defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV last night. This article explores the amount of work that players and coaches spend working in a typical NFL season. The most eye-opening paragraph:

According to an operational study of National Football League teams prepared for The Wall Street Journal by Boston Consulting Group, the typical NFL season requires 514,000 hours of labor per team. That’s about eight times the effort it took to conceptualize, build and market Apple’s iPod, according to BCG, and enough time to build 25 America’s Cup yachts. If both Super Bowl teams dedicated themselves to construction rather than football, their members could have built the Empire State Building in seven seasons.

It’s a well-researched article and definitely worth reading.

(3) “In Search of the World’s Hardest Language” [The Economist] – this article is from December 2009, but I just read it the other day in my print version of The Economist. I recommend reading the entire piece (did you know that in Turkish you can create a sentence such as “Çekoslovakyalilastiramadiklarimizdanmissiniz?”, which means “Were you one of those people whom we could not make into a Czechoslovakian?”) but if you’re curious, the Economist’s conclusion for the world’s hardest language:

With all that in mind, which is the hardest language? On balance The Economist would go for Tuyuca, of the eastern Amazon. It has a sound system with simple consonants and a few nasal vowels, so is not as hard to speak as Ubykh or !Xóõ.