Monday, July 4, 2016

2007-2008 New Jersey Nets

New Jersey Nets

Last Season: 41-41, 2nd Place (Atlantic)

New Jersey has so much veteran leadership and talent that there is absolutely no reason why they should not make the playoffs. The sudden emergence of Boston and the young and talented Toronto Raptors provide stiff competition, but a healthy Nets team should take care of business. The Nets struggled a bit last season with the early injury to big man Nenad Krstic. However with a healthy Krstic, the Nets will have that inside presence they need to win games. A playoff appearance should be in the works.

Projected Starting Lineup
PG – Jason Kidd
SG – Vince Carter
SF – Richard Jefferson
PF – Nenad Krstic
C – Jamaal Magloire

Top reserves who should receive a significant amount of playing time
Marcus Williams – PG
Bostjan Nachbar – SF/PF
Jason Collins – C
Sean Williams – PF/C

Fantasy Expectations: (per game averages)
PG – Json Kidd – 12 pts, 9 ast, 8 reb, 1.5 stl, 1.5 3pt, 40 fg%, 75 ft%
SG – Vince Carter – 25 pts, 4.5 ast, 6 reb, 1 stl, 2 3pt, 45 fg%, 80 ft%
SF – Richard Jefferson – 20 pts, 6 reb, 3 ast, 1 3pt, 45 fg%, 80 ft%
PF – Nenad Krstic – 14 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast, 1 blk, 50 fg%, 70 ft%
C – Jamaal Magloire – 8 pts, 8 reb, 1 blk, 50 fg%, 55 ft%

Marcus Williams – 8 pts, 4 ast, 2 reb, 1 stl, 1 3pt, 42 fg%, 82 ft%
Bostjan Nachbar – 12 pts, 3 reb, 1 ast, 1.5 3pt, 45 fg%, 75 ft%
Jason Collins – 3 pts, 4 reb, 42 fg%, 60 ft%
Sean Williams – 4 pts, 4 reb, 1 blk, 50 fg%, 60 ft%

When healthy, the Nets have a very potent lineup. Jason Kidd should again lead the way while posting nearly a triple double night in and night out. His shooting percentage has always been his downfall, but if you are a fantasy manager who can afford to take on his low field goal percentage you will be rewarded greatly with his outstanding all-around stat totals. Richard Jefferson is the wildcard, even though he is an already clearly established player in the league. If he can get back to his pre-injury play of three years ago, he will be a draft day steal for many managers. Nenad Krstic’s fantasy potential is hard to gauge based on his recovery from last season’s torn ACL. Before suffering this drastic injury, Krstic was posting career highs in points, rebounds, blocks, assists, and field goal percentage. He may not start the season playing well, but come playoff time in the fantasy world, he should definitely be worth a starting roster spot.

Tags:2007-2008 New Jersey Nets

2007-08 NBA Preview: Washington Wizards

Last season the Washington Wizards made a repeat trip to the NBA playoffs but were without the services of team lead scoring machine, Gilbert Arenas, who sat out the series with an injury. Due to this the Wizards were promptly knocked out of contention by the Cleveland Cavaliers, lead by Lebron James. Lebron and his Cavs went on to challenge for the NBA title, while the Wizards were left watching at home. For the upcoming season, the Wizards still feature a hungry and talented trio capable of making a deep run into the NBA playoffs, however they may lack the necessary depth to make it to the NBA Finals.

The Wizards, coached by Eddie Jordan, feature a “big three” in their lineup which consists of superstar guard Gilbert Arenas, and forwards Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison. These three all-star caliber players make for a versatile scoring threat capable of running up the score against the likes of most NBA teams. Arenas is easily the team’s greatest weapon in that he can run the show, and put up major scoring numbers to the tune of 30, 40 and even 50 point performances. When a player is capable of scoring half of the total team points, it makes for a dangerous threat for any opponent. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison provide scoring as well and front court solidarity, which is what makes this trio so dangerous. The only other team with 3 men of equal comparison would seem to be the new look Celtics with Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

Beyond the big three the Wizards seem to lack the necessary depth to make a deep run into the NBA playoffs, preventing them from being NBA title favorites or contenders. They have Brendan Haywood and Etan Thomas, two centers who have spent many years with the team, but neither is considered near all-star quality. In addition, they have other players such as DeShawn Stevenson, Tony Massenburg, and Roger Mason who can be considered journeymen type role players who typically move from team to team. This is not to say they won’t have an impact, but the bench is certainly a concern for the Wizards and could be strengthened. Antonio Daniels is a definite veteran bright spot for the team in that he has served in the NBA for 10 years and has proven leadership ability. Only Tony Massenburg on the team has played a longer NBA career. Three rookies were also added to the rotation but don’t expect immediate impact from Nick Young (USC), Domenic McGuire (Fresno State) or European draftee Oleksiy Pecherov this season.

The Wizards are a definite playoff contender once again in 2007-08 but are still not considered favorites to compete for the NBA title. They are missing the addition of a better center, point guard and more depth on their bench before Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison can bring it to that next level of serious competition.

Tags:2007-08 NBA Preview: Washington Wizards

2007-2008 NBA Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia hasn’t seen a really bright day in a long time. Considering the sports teams that have played in the historic city, championships have been far and few. In the 76ers’ case, the closest to an NBA championship that the team has gotten to was in 2001, led by media martyr and long-time Philly hero Allen Iverson. The days of The Answer’s presence are now over, and so a new chapter has begun.

Traded in December of 2006, Iverson left the Sixers with no immediate leader, especially after fellow former teammate Chris Webber left the team in mid-season as well (and eventually signed with his hometown Detroit Pistons). With Andre Iguodala being seen as the most competent and talented player on the team, he proceeded to lead the disheveled roster to playoff contention in the rest of the 2006-2007 season. As a result, a new hope has formed for the city’s lone professional basketball squad.

With the ball being left in the hands of point guard Andre Miller, who was acquired for Iverson, the Sixers addressed what often times was the most controversial topic surrounding the team’s play. Last year’s rookie swingman Rodney Carney was solid and showed promise as an actual basketball player, aside from his own natural super-athleticism.

Through the draft, the Sixers injected new blood into their team with the likes of Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith. Young, a lottery pick forward from Georgia Tech University, has the ability to bring many options on the wing through his shooting, rebounding, and knack for getting to the basket; he’ll likely play small forward, though he has the ability to play a bigger position if he gains more weight. Smith is a 7-foot power forward from Colorado State, whose touch around the basket had him projected as a much higher pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, than at the spot he was taken (20th overall). By trade with Denver in September, Reggie Evans also gives the team much needed muscle, hustle and rebounding, as well as some raw offensive skills that make for a somewhat formidable frontcourt with starting center Samuel Dalembert.

The Sixers can win next year, but the challenge is largely upon Dalembert to be aggressive and to really look for the ball in the paint, seeing how Philadelphia no longer has a legitimate go-to post player; he must step up his game. Also, Carney must make shooting a top priority, as his athleticism can only get him so far, and backup point guard Kevin Ollie must also be consistent and shoot well to keep the defense honest.

Philadelphia can return to the glory of 1983, when Julius Erving and Moses Malone steered the Sixers to a championship against Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. There’s no more Doctor, and there’s no more Magic, but effort and willingness to play hard can bring what the city has needed for 24 years: a lot of love of the brotherly kind.

Tags:2007-2008 NBA Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

2007-08 NBA Season Preview: Phoenix Suns

Last season could certainly be called a major disappointment for the Phoenix Suns, as sports reporters, analysts and many NBA fans had them penciled in as the eventual NBA champions. However, the Suns fell in a tough playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs who went on to win the NBA title, solidifying their status as an NBA dynasty type team. This season, the Suns will look to bounce back from that disappointment as they continue with their talented roster looking for an NBA Finals appearance and the elusive NBA title.

Many say the success of the Phoenix Suns rises and falls with their superstar point guard, Steve Nash. Nash has been a two-time Most Valuable Player in the league, earning his second MVP award when star player Amare Stoudamire was injured for the season. Nash has the ability to improve all players around him, as he sees the court well and distributes the ball like no other. His assist numbers have consistently been solid and contributed to high scoring wins by the team. The Suns should continue to pile up points and victories this coming season as long as Nash stays healthy and in charge of the show.

Amare Stoudamire was considered a question mark last season, but came back from knee surgery and produced mightily. As Amare continues to mature and excel, his presence along with the very versatile Shawn Marion gives the Suns a great trio of talented players. Nash, Stoudamire and Marion are all capable of changing the flow of a game and enabling the Suns to win. However, the bench of the Suns is another great strength, and they have added the services of longtime NBA star, Grant Hill. When healthy, Hill can make solid contributions to a team and will definitely give the Suns even more depth and star power. The team has many great interchangeable parts, such as guards Marcus Banks, Leandro Barboso and Raja Bell, each of whom can enter the game and provide relief to Nash or play alongside him. There is also talented six-man award winner, Boris Diaw, a forward who can play alongside or in the place of Shawn Marion. The Suns added just two rookies in the draft with DJ Strawberry from Maryland and Alando Tucker from Wisconsin, which will give them a bit more depth. However, the rookies will be far from the focus as the team is full of solid veterans poised for title contention.

It’s not hard to see the Phoenix Suns being amongst the top three teams for the Western Conference playoffs this season, barring injuries to their three key players, Nash, Stoudamire and Marion. The key games for the Suns will definitely be those against the other top tier Western Conference teams, such as the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs These are the three teams most likely to be vying for the NBA’s much coveted trophy in 2008. Expect the Suns to be a favorite of many analysts and fans again and for them to continue to rack up points and victories as they have consistently done for several seasons now.

Tags:2007-08 NBA Season Preview: Phoenix Suns

2006's Weirdest Happenings in Los Angeles

When Los Angelinos want to let their hair down they head straight to Las Vegas, a mere four or five hour drive straight along the I-15 freeway. Despite many people finding Vegas a Hell on earth, I have come to love it as a mix of the best and the worst. Sure, it’s a monument to tackiness and designed purely to make money, but it also offers that unique American dream: you can walk away a millionaire for just a 25c gamble.

Anyway, on my last visit I checked out one of the several Irish-themed casinos on downtown Fremont Street. Fremont is the Vegas you see in the old movies; there’s the neon cowboy giving a thumbs up, the cowgirl kicking her legs, the Golden Nugget casino and so on. Nowadays it feels more like a shopping mall, but it’s also home to Fitzgerald’s Casino, which offered a very Vegas way to live the dream.

Forget the multi-hold computerized slots, the high stakes poker and the chance of winning a Mustang AND a Harley, this game beautifully demonstrated the very art of gambling: What The Cluck? The Tic-Tac-Toe Chicken Challenge (noughts and crosses as it’s known outside the US) offered the chance to “Beat A Birdbrain”.

A hostess – complete with showgirl garb and tiara – sat in front of a large red box. On one side of the box is a small touch screen, and on the other (behind glass I hasten to add) is a rather large, white chicken (or maybe a rooster, since he had the red beard) named Oscar. He scratches around and occasionally pecks at an area of the wall, making his own “move” in response to your X or O.

The queue of contenders who took on Oscar was long, but the number of winners was small. Oscar, it seems, is a tic-tac-toe genius. Granted, we couldn’t actually see him choosing where he pecked his O or X, but that was hardly the point: it was man versus chicken, and the chicken was coming out on top. Me? My usual run of bad luck was already enough without the chance of losing in a head-to-head with poultry.

There were some strange goings on during the summer, with news about a real-life Freddy Krueger stalking Hollywood Boulevard and reports of a disease that seemed straight out of the X-Files….

Hollywood Boulevard regularly hosts movie premieres, and Mann’s Chinese Theatre – the place with all the foot and handprints outside – is one of the most lucrative spots in town. From first light you will see performers/actors there working the tourists, and on any day you might see Spiderman, Superman, Marilyn Monroe, Homer Simpson, Shrek and many others.

There was also a performer dressed as Freddy Krueger, only it emerged that he had real 6-inch knives in his gloves, and when he got into a scuffle with a drunken man. He didn’t eviscerate the guy à la Freddy, but it was a good warning for tourists planning to visit: think twice before you give that guy dressed as SpongeBob SquarePants a hard time, right?

Secondly, and much more eerily, were dozens of reports of Morgellon’s Disease and started with a Californian family. The symptoms? Sweating a black, tar-like substance, pulling blue, red, yellow and other colored string-like threads from sores on your body, and feeling like your skin is alive, crawling with bugs you can never itch.

Apparently around 3,500 people are suffering from this disease around the country, but some of the medical community doubt that this is a new, real disease. Some say it’s scabies or Lyme disease (both contagious skin infections caused by a mite), a combination of fungal infections, or even the results of parasitic delusions and not medically based at all.

No such delusions for millionaire Richard Moriarty, who hit the headlines when he had a special installation affixed to the wall of his new home: a black 1974 Lamborghini. It took a 70-ton crane and crew about an hour to hoist it through the skylight, and it will be hooked up to the electricity supply so the dashboard still lights up. It doesn’t have an engine though – that’s already being used as a coffee table.

Looking for his first million was a guy in Montclair who, excited by the frantic beeping noises a metal detector made when he swept his front garden, hired three workers to dig a shaft and get seachin’. Neighbours didn’t buy that the 60 foot deep shaft was for a swimming pool, and authorities stepped in to find the digger breathing through a garden hose deep under the ground! The reason the owner wanted to find gold? To direct the movie version of his book about the Vietnam War, naturally.

“Best Things Wot I Saw in 2006” included a rare sea beast, the 15-foot long oarfish (a sort of snake-like monster with a crimson mane and a hatchet-shaped head) that was found dead on the coast and is now on display at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, and the Bradbury Building, which movie fans will remember from Bladerunner.

It’s the building where cop Rick Dekard (Harrison Ford) had his final showdown with Roy (Rutger Hauer). The designer George Wyman was totally untested at the time he got the commission for the building, and he only took on the job after contacting his brother in a séance and being told to go ahead because “It will make you famous!”

The icons of West Coast life, palm trees, are still swaying over most of the city as we speak, but may not be for much longer: they recently came under threat when a report announced that the Los Angeles City Council wants sycamores, oaks and other leafy trees to be planted through out the city.

Apparently the palm trees – which can grown to extraordinary heights – may look groovy, but they’re actually bad for the environment, believe it or not. They apparently offer little shade, don’t collect much rainwater as they only have a small amount of leaf/frond growth, and pump less oxygen back into the smog-ridden Los Angeles skies than their barked cousins. Who knew?

LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has a plan to plant a million trees, and since many of the current palm trees are getting close to the end of their natural life (about 100 years) and have been suffering with a lethal fungus, it seems that time is going to be called. There are arguments on both sides, and one of them revolves around how movies will be able to instantly show that we are in Beverly Hills or Hollywood without them?

Ironically of course, casinos in Vegas pay a fortune to have real palm trees, so maybe that’s where I’ll have to go in the future if I want to see a real one – along with the mini Eiffel Tower and mini Statue of Liberty. 2006 also saw the end of another local legend with a closing down sale at Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard.

Known for it’s celebrity record and then CD shoppers over the last few decades, Tower was a landmark for musos far and wide, and was even the sight of a stunt by maverick movie director David Lynch in it’s last days. Lynch took a cow named Georgia and a guy playing piano and sat with them outside Tower for a few hours in a “For Your Consideration” campaign for his new and unexplainable movie Inland Empire.

Which brings up nicely to Tinsel Town circa early 2007, and the madness of awards season. Not a day goes by without movies, actors and directors being awarded the “Best” something by a panel, committee, organization or board, and the L.A. Times is rammed with advertisements for an endless slew of movies out, or about to come out.

The Golden Globes and the Oscars are the big ones of course, but there are endless TV programmes and magazines that will cover that. As a rough guide, I think it’s going to be a good year for The Queen, The Departed and Little Miss Sunshine, but it’s already movie overload – there’s too much I want to see!

Either way, after any awards ceremony here in Hollywood you will always see limos, Humvees and other classic pimped cars parked outside Pink’s hot dog stand on LaBrea/Melrose. You’d recognise Pink’s – you’ve seen it in loads of movies, pop videos and ads – and they actually do a good dog.

Rain or shine there is always, always a long queue outside, and inside the walls are lined with signed photos of almost every celebrity who has visited in the last 67 years or so. What I like about the place is that everyone queues no matter who they are, hence the late night assortment of drivers, bodyguards and assistants standing in the queue.

Tags:2006’s Weirdest Happenings in Los Angeles

2007-08 NHL Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

What a difference a year made for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two years ago the Pens were a perennial basement dweller and were almost assured to be leaving Pittsburgh for Kansas City, Las Vegas, or possibly Oregon. Last season the Pens improved by 25 wins and 47 points to emerge as a playoff team before being eliminated in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup finalists, the Ottawa Senators. The improvement of the team wasn’t the only good news for fans of the Pens. The team and the city of Pittsburgh finally came to an agreement on a new arena that would keep the team in Pittsburgh for the next 30 years. The new arena is set to open at the beginning of the 2010-2011 regular season.

Now that all of the off-the-ice matters are finally settled the franchise can be 100 percent committed to the goal of winning a Stanley Cup. Pens fans are overjoyed about their team staying in Pittsburgh but that doesn’t at all diminish the lofty expectations they have for this young team. The Pens have some of the best young talent in the game not to mention the greatest hockey player on the planet. Fans are ready for championship.

The Penguins will have a new captain at the beginning of this season. Some young kid. I hear he’s pretty good. Just don’t call him “Sid the Kid” anymore. He’s now “Captain Crosby.” Sidney Crosby, the best player in the game today, is officially the leader of this young squad. Crosby won the scoring title at age 19 (Yes. 19) last season with a 120-point season and also won pretty much every award possible. There are no adequate words to describe just how good this young man is. I’m not even going to try to do it.

Crosby definitely isn’t the only young star the Pens have. Evgeni Malkin had an outstanding rookie campaign, racking up 85 points last season. Another stellar year like that will make fans forget just how awful he was in the playoff series against Ottawa. Jordan Staal had 42 points in his rookie year last year. Most impressive were his seven shorthanded goals. Let’s just hope the young man won’t get another citation for underage drinking

The Pens aren’t just young guns, though. Plenty of veterans are still around to help guide the youth. Georges Laraque was an essential pickup before the trade deadline last season. The ageless one, Mark Recchi, has stated that he is willing to take a diminished role with the Pens in order to stay with the team. The Pens couldn’t have anybody better than Recchi to give pointers to the team’s young wingers. The Pens picked up two other veterans, Petr Sykora and Darryl Sydor, during the off-season. These two may be past their prime but they still have plenty of good hockey left in them.

A lot of people, including myself, have had doubts about goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The stats show that Fleury had a much better season than most give him credit for. Fleury ranked fourth in the NHL in wins with 40 and his six shutouts were sixth best in the NHL. Oh yeah. Did I mention he’s only 22 years old? He’s quick, he’s agile, and he’s only going to get better. Keep the faith, fans. I’ll try to do the same.

Fleury has a great defense helping him out this season. The Pens re-signed Ryan Whitney in July, giving the 24-year old a six-year deal. At 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, Whitney is great at both sides of the ice. He finished last season with 59 points and has the talent to surpass that in 2007-08. Like Fleury, Whitney can only get better. Sergei Gonchar is another fantastic two-way defenseman. I’m a fan of Brooks Orpik even if my friends make fun of me for it. Add Sydor to the group of defensemen the team has and the Pens should be even better on their half of the ice this coming season.

Can the Pens win it all this season? I think the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference are the Flyers and the Rangers. I realistically see the Pens as the third best team behind those two, though. Pittsburgh is going to score goals. There’s no question about that. Can they once again be dominant on the power play? Can their PK lines step it up? Can Fleury become the top-tier goaltender many people believe he can be? What will Sidney Crosby do next? These are the questions that face the 2007-08 Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s going to be fun watching these questions get answered.

Tags:2007-08 NHL Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

2006 Toyota Corolla Consumer Review

While the husband won’t be caught dead in the old Camry, he does accept the 2006 Toyota Corolla. Granted, with its four cylinder engine and 126 horse-powers it is not anything worth taking down Sunset for a leisurely evening of cruising, but with about 40 miles to the gallon of gasoline on the highway he can at least afford to drive to Los Angeles and back. Although neutral colors still seem to be highly favored, the cactus mica hue as well as the phantom gray pearl version are truly spectacular and fit the overall design to the letter.

When compared to the 2005 model, the 2006 Toyota Corolla does not really show any changes. Gas mileage has not dramatically improved, it’s not as drop dead gorgeous as a Honda Civic, but it stands out more than a Toyota Camry any day. As you are sitting in the passenger seat, the first thing you will notice is that the interior is not as quiet as perhaps you might have anticipated from a newer car. Sure, it is by far quieter than other models, but not as quiet as you know from the occasional late model luxury sedan you might have rented.

Pulling out of the driveway, the first thing that appears a bit odd is the fact that the 2006 Toyota Corolla takes a moment to get going. Once it kicks in, it feels a tiny bit like there is a kick as the car accelerates. This is not a bad thing, just a bit unusual. Of course, driving in Los Angeles’ bumper to bumper traffic during what is euphemistically called “rush hour,” the odds are good that you will not have a lot of opportunity to let the 126 horses run.

Considering this is a car that accommodates three passengers in the backseat – or two children in car seats and a very skinny dog between them – it is an adequate family car for a small family, just don’t plan on hauling a lot of things with your 2006 Toyota Corolla! In comparison with other models, the trunk space leaves something to be desired. On the other hand, when it comes to front leg room, this is a wonderful car to ride in!

With a phenomenal resale value, virtually nonexistent maintenance issues other than the standard upkeep, and a most virtuous attitude toward gasoline consumption, you cannot go wrong with the 2006 Toyota Corolla! It is compact, will fit into standard parking spaces even if it has to cram between two urban assault vehicles (which is a huge deal in the City of Angels), and although it does not inspire visions of a man and his car on the open road, it is the closest the family man on a budget can hope to get to a sports car look-alike that also hauls the kiddies.

Tags:2006 Toyota Corolla Consumer Review

2006-2009 Baby Boom

It seems like every entertainment television show out of Hollywood has a story about one or more celebrities that are pregnant and/or giving birth. The story reached Oscar status, with the movie, “Juno” which featured an un-wed, teenage, pregnant couple. Magazines are paying enough money for celebrity baby photos, to feed the homeless in the US for two years. Is this pregnant state of Hollywood carrying over into the real world? The numbers say yes.

2006 kicked off the second largest baby boom in US history. It also saw a rise in teenage pregnancies, which is still at its highest level to date. This “baby boom” has started an escalating chain of events that may be more than our country can pay for. More pregnant mothers are using their state’s health care systems, instead of insurance or private pay, to cover the expenses of the birth of their children. They are also placing a drain on programs such as WIC and Food Stamps. The American people will have no choice, but to pick up the tab of this population explosion through taxes. The last “Baby Boom” to hit the US, is beginning to leave its mark on our Social Security Administration. As the people in that generation begin to file for their benefits, our nation is once again hit with another cash drain. Can the American public continue to pick up the bill for hospital, daycare, welfare, Medicare and retirement expenses all at once?

Should it be the government’s responsibility to regulate and pay for the increase of its nation’s census? While the celebrity birth rate seems to be a mirror image of what is happening in today’s society, their income is not. Celebrities have ample financial budgets to take care of their own children and added expenses. Even Jamie Lynn Spears, our most famous teenage mother, is able to care for her child and financial obligations. Hollywood may be to blame for the glamorizing of pregnancy, but it is ultimately our own responsibility to practice safe sex and use good common sense. By applying those two simple judgments, we could begin to fix a problem that potentially could be left for our children and grand children to pay for.

Tags:2006-2009 Baby Boom

2007 American Express Wish List

To consumers, the American Express Wish list is an opportunity for cardholders to buy specially marked down products from a list of 40,000 different retail participants such as KitchenAid, Best Buy and Toy R Us. To the company, this is a time to thank card members for their business throughout the year. It’s also a chance to entice cardholders to use their American Express card instead of other credit cards when making credit card purchases during the holiday season. The company also wants to boost its affluent membership ranks for households with yearly income from the 100,000’s. After all, American Express cardholders spend on average 4 times more than other credit card cardholders.

The American Express Wish List: What’s behind the strategy.

Many credit card companies launch promotions such as car and home giveaways, and American Express doesn’t want to be left out so they will launch their wish list promotion on November 27, at 10:00 a.m. and end it on December 13, at 7:00 p.m. So in order to be in the fun, the company offers cardholders a chance to participate in its promotion called MyWish List Deals.

The incentives include super-low prices on sought after items. The best deals are for products that are only offered on one day such as the Panasonic 42″ 1080p HD Plasma TV, retails for $1999 but the wish list price is $700. The Xbox Elite Game system and five games retails for $649.99 but the WishList price is $300 and available on December 11.

There are four ways to participate.

1) Hot products listed 3 times a day — very limited quantities of high demand products offered on a first come first serve basis.

2) Featured products offered 24 hours seven days a week while supplies last-new items are added though out the program.

3) Wish Certificates to be used on inventory released three times a day. These certificates offer savings up to 255 off.

4) Exclusive merchant offers from top-name merchants.

It’s not unusual for a company to try to go out of their way to distinguish their promotions from the likeness of others’. American Express capitalizes the on the shopping fever that occurs at the end of each year.

This is also an opportunity for each retailer to showcase their products and advertise their name. Most retailers make 50% of their years profits during this time from November to December. So any exposure they get is profitable. All retailers want o exploit the shopping phenomenon.

Many brands like the exposure they get to affluent American Cardholders. The AmEx wish list has works so great in the past almost triple the number of wishes each year, this accounts for a rush in American Express purchases. Not only does the company see an increase in purchases from existing customers but an influx of new cardholders wanting the an AmEx card in order to have access to such deals.

With the chance to get a Porsche Cayman coupe for a mere $5,000, who wouldn’t want an American Express card?

Tags:2007 American Express Wish List

2007 ARVLFC Ball in New Orleans

The theme for this year’s Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club (ARVLFC) Coven Ball will be The Time of the Witches. Scheduled for October 26, the Ball will be held at the Howlin’ Wolf from 9:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Tickets will range from $20 for fan club members to $30 for the general public. All Ball attendants must be 18 or older, and tickets can be purchased via the fan club’s website.

Anyone familiar with Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicle series of books has at least heard rumors of the Vampire Ball that takes place in New Orleans-Rice’s hometown until just a few years ago. The Ball is usually held just before Halloween, and though the famous author isn’t always in attendance, she’s made a point of addressing the event and all her fans who gather to celebrate. One year, her address was broadcast over the radio, and I happened to catch pieces of it, which was an unexpected treat, especially since I consider myself one of the many who have read and love her work.

Apparently, some fans loved the author’s fictional world so much that they decided to form a very devoted group, and VOILA! In 1988, the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club was born. Reading over the club’s website, I can surmise that the fan club is the organization that hosts the Coven Ball each year, and that they have been throwing this party intermittently since they first organized, which means the Vampire Ball has been around, off and on, for quite awhile now.

Alas, the most I’ll be doing for Halloween this year is walking Hermione Granger and James the Tank Engine around the neighborhood looking for treats, but wouldn’t it be cool if, just once, Mommy and Daddy could dress up as members of the Undead and revel in all our romantic glory? Yes, attending the Coven Ball is definitely going on my “100 Things to do Before I Die” list.

But just because yours truly won’t be able to make this year’s festivities doesn’t mean there aren’t other people who might attend if they know all the details. There’s a wine tasting scheduled for the 25th, which will kick start the party. And, according to the website, there will also be live entertainment and a fundraising event on the night of the Ball itself. Who knew vampires were such giving…creatures?!

A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Coven Ball will benefit the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. And as far as costumes, the Coven Ball welcomes not only vampires, but witches, werewolves, ghosts, and just about everything else in between.

Tags:2007 ARVLFC Ball in New Orleans

2007 Holiday Preschooler Gift Guide

The holidays are always hectic times. Shopping early will help make things less stressful and give you more time to celebrate. This guide help you find the perfect gift for any preschooler.

French Kitchen by WH Swiss Toys
The French Kitchen is a complete first kitchen set. The kitchen has two burners, an oven, a cabinet, a sink, and backboard for hanging accessories. Many other items are included to enhance kitchen play such as plates, a pan, and play food. A beautiful wooden set, this kitchen will get many years of play.
The French Kitchen is available online or by calling toll-free 888-825-4109.

Jungle Safari Figure 8 Train Set by Brio
All aboard! The jungle safari is a twenty-four piece set that will get your little enginer started in train play. The set includes a train engine and open transport car, animals, landscape, and track pieces. Brio uses quality materials and is built to list through generations. This wonderful present can be added on to with additional train cars, track pieces, and other accessories. The Jungle Safari Figure 8 Train set is available online or by calling toll-free 1866-798-8697.

Crowns and Swords from Magic Cabin
What child isn’t fascinated by knights, royalty, and fairy tales? The crowns and swords, made with colorful silks, make a great prop for a preschooler’s imaginative play. The crown comes in two styles: green and yellow and pink and lavender. The swords are available with a red or blue handle.
Crowns and swords are available exclusively from Magic Cabin online or by calling toll-free 1-888-623-3655.

Your Body Puzzle by Beleduc
The Your Body puzzle is an educational puzzle that will help preschooler’s understand their bodies. This detailed wooden puzzle has five pieces put together as layers. The top piece is a little girl or boy followed by an unclothed body, the body’s muscles, the body’s internal organs, and the body’s skeleton. This puzzle provides a child to work on fine motor skills and a science lesson. The Your Body puzzle is available online or by calling toll-free 888-825-4109.

The Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics
Can’t decide on the perfect book? The Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics will provide you a collection of the best of the best. This children’s treasury stands out among others, as it includes all of the original illustrations. Wonderful stories such as Pete’s a Pizza and Harold and the Purple Crayon are included. The Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics will be an instant favorite in any child’s library. The Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics is available online.

Cariboo by Cranium
Cariboo, the name of this game for preschooler’s just sounds fun. This cooperative game offers a chance for children to learn to recognize their letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Players use a key to unlock compartments as the search for brightly colored balls. When all the balls are found a treasure chess opens. This game can be played in a beginner version and an advanced version. The Cariboo game is available online or by calling toll-free 1-877-272-6486.

Ladybug Magazine from Carus Publishing
Ladybug is a literary magazine designed for children ages three to six. It is full of stories, poems, illustrations, and activity pages just for this age group. This gift will give through out the year. A one year subscription includes twelve, monthly issues. Your child will be waiting at the mail box. A subscription to Ladybug Magazine is available online or by calling toll-free 1-800-821-0115.

Play Silks from Magic Cabin
Play silks are perfect for any sort of imaginary play. These large pieces of colored silk will become many things in the hands of a child. They can be used for capes, forts, and grass to just give you a few ideas. Play silks are available in fourteen different colors and you’ll probably want more than one.
Play silks are available online or by calling toll-free 1-888-623-3655.

Animal Tambourines by Tatri
Let’s make some music. Children love to make noise, and what better way than with this tambourine. These brightly colored tambourine’s have enchanting animals painted around the edge. The animal tambourine is available in red, blue, or pink. Animal Tambourines are available online or by calling toll-free 888-825-4109.

Tags:2007 Holiday Preschooler Gift Guide

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...