A League of Her Own

Cubs Live Game Thread: Cubs Take My Advice; Fail Miserably Anyway

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Photo courtesy Chicago Tribune Breaking Sports

So when I wrote yesterday that the Chicago Cubs are in need of massive changes in their marketing department and front office, the above is not exactly what I had in mind.

According to the article, this is purported to be a giant noodle. . . you know, as in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese noodles. Raise your hand if you got that without a little help.

I didn't think so.

Now raise you hand if you, like I do, feel like the Cubs have hired someone from the Electric Company as the head of marketing. How many giant things do we need in and around one park? Giant pictures of the players! A giant Toyota sign! A giant litter box in the men's bathrooms to pee into! A giant noodle!

 And, while I hate to harp on the "bad corporate sponsorship" thing, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that, in a country where childhood obesity is running rampant, a product that comes in a box with a packet of powdered cheese and encourages you to add whole milk and butter to it ain't exactly helping.

Also, how much does it tick you all off that the giant noodle is probably paying for John Grabow's salary?

But let's be fair. Let's hear from the tone-deaf head of Cubs marketing:

As the Cubs continue to flounder in the Central Division, the Ricketts' family is finding new ways of bringing in revenue for a team with the second-highest payroll in baseball.

"We'll continue to generate incremental revenue for the ballclub so we can continue to help the performance on the field," Hayward said. "And we'll continue to renovate and preserve Wrigley Field for the next generation of fans.

"It's outside the ballpark. It's out along the street. It's creating a lot of excitement. People are googling 'You know you love it,' and it takes them to the Kraft mac-and-cheese web site...It's a nice way to bring in a corporate partner at a significant deal without doing anything inside the ballpark."

Hayward took umbrage at the suggestion the Cubs are turning Wrigley Field into the Wisconsin Dells. He pointed to the billboards on buildings outside the ballpark which create revenue for others, but not the Cubs.

Actually, I was thinking more like River North than the Wisconsin Dells. I can't wait until Rainforest Cafe pays $500 to stick a giant plastic frog on top of the lights at Wrigley and the park gets its very own Hard Rock Cafe.

Can someone please explain to me the benefit of googling "You Know You Love It" and then winding up on the Kraft page? Personally, that would honk me right off. "A crummy commercial?!?!?!?!" I would say. Then I wouldn't buy Kraft Mac & Cheese for months, just because I was offended. And I have a feeling I wouldn't be alone.

Unless Kraft pays itself per page hits on its own site, in which case, all of this is moot.

Look Ricketts familly, this is not the way to endear yourself to the fans. You can put up all the giant plastic food products you want in and around Wrigley. The whole neighborhood can look like a damn Old Country Buffet, for all I care. But continuing to try to raise revenue by selling every inch of space in and around the park is only going to result in the inevitable fan backlash and fewer butts in the seats.

On the same note, today I was contacted by @CubsInsider on Twitter, who informed me that the Cubs front office is INDEED on Twitter. That's nice, but if someone like me, who is on Twitter all day long talking about the Cubs and trolling the web for information doesn't even know you're there, what does that say about your social media presence?

I actually have a lot to say about all the things the Cubs are doing wrong on Twitter, FB, and other social media, but perhaps I'll save that for another day. For now I'll just say this: You're doing it wrong. And you're missing a great chance to engage and excite your fans.

On to the game:

After looking like the "before" video for some "Learn Baseball Fundamentals!" dvd you can order off tv during The Wendy Williams Show, the Cubs are back at it against the far, FAR superior Oakland As.

Game time: 7:05 pm CT

Channel: WGN

Pitchers: Ryan Dempster (4-5, 3.74) v. Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.79)

Lineup:

Theriot 2B
Baker 3B
Byrd CF
Lee 1B
Nady RF
Soriano LF
Soto C
Castro SS
Dempster P     

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97 Comments

flyball said:

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ok, my brain instantly thought "yum, mac and cheese sounds really good. I wonder if that thing is for the Cheesy Noodle place"

but it definitely thought of mac n cheese, and its a silly thing outside the ballpark so it doesn't bother me

AndCounting said:

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I googled "You know you love it" and found that Mac&Cheese only shows up in the sponsored links. Really, Cubs? That's the kind of crap line you feed your client, not the entire public.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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This is going way too far.

flyball said:

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but its harmless, the Toyota sign is obnoxious

Aisle424 said:

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I don't even notice the Toyota sign. I still notice the Under Armour ads more often because they are on the field of play.

berselius said:

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I don't care about any of the ads either. I hope Ricketts wises up and gets a jumbotron. They're as useful as they are annoying.

Aisle424 said:

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I'll take a jumbotron as long as it is used for stats and information, advertisements, and replays. I H-A-T-E being told how and when to cheer like with that rah-rah two hands clapping or fan noise-meter that always goes off the charts even if everyone is silent. That stuff makes you dumber every time you have to sit through it.

berselius said:

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exactly. The WORST is when they have some sort of in-game 'program' with the team marketing department that hosts crap live between innings. I've seen it a few times at Miller Park.

r_vance_b said:

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it seems fairly effective, as a branding ad. i mean, you not only brought my attention to it, you mentioned Kraft 5 times in this blog. i grew up eating the contents of a blue box 2-3 times a week, and while i do struggle with 10 lbs just above my belt that aren't doing me any favors, i'd have a hard time not laughing at a claim toward my obesity.

that said, i don't disagree that it looks stupid. and your point about the dells/river north did hit home in my mind.

JulieDiCaro said:

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i don't know. . . does it matter how many times someone mentions your company if they do it in the process of running it down?

Packaged foods isn't one of those industries where I would think "there's no such thing as bad publicity" would apply.

berselius said:

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I wouldn't buy Kraft Mac&Cheese for months, because it sucks

JulieDiCaro said:

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this is probably part of my problem, too. I find Kraft Mac & Cheese revolting.

Even so, I had no idea what that thing was until someone told me.

berselius said:

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I hated it when I was a kid. But my brother looooved it and always asked for it.

Now I love mac+cheese thanks to an awesome recipe from my in-laws, which is just as bad for you in different ways than the kraft stuff (even when I sub out the velveeta - yuck)

berselius said:

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I tried some of the organic boxed mac+cheese from Annie's, thinking it would be better (as I'm addicted to their cheddar bunnies). It was even worse than Kraft.

sloan peterson said:

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I would not have thought of mac and cheese until you said it. If they like giant, why not a giant roll of Rolaids or Tums? That would be more appropriate...

Aisle424 said:

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The Cubs get money that doesn't come out of my pocket, so they can do whatever they want to assault my senses as long as it somehow goes to improving the team.

Besides, I went to the game last night and must have walked past this thing on Clark and I didn't even see it. I wouldn't even know it existed if not for the Trib story and the photo.

What I don't get is why they are assaulting us with recorded intro music for the Cubs' plate appearances for free. I try not to pimp my posts too often here, but since it all ties into the marketing milieu, I'll go ahead and pimp away...

http://424tales.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-much-would-you-pay-for-ryan-theriot.html

JulieDiCaro said:

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i think they're just putting it up today.

i'm anti-having-my-senses-assaulted, but I could live with it if they used it to buy better players. so far, i don't see that happening any time soon, especially since the guy in charge of buying better players made John Grabow one of his top priorities in the off-season.

Aisle424 said:

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I saw a twitpic of it yesterday, I thought. Maybe not. Maybe I dreamed it. Tonight I'll dream about the Cubs having a power hitter at the corner infield positions that actually hit for power.

JulieDiCaro said:

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okay, then i'm probably wrong.

berselius said:

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Over/under on errors tonight (fielding, baserunning, general mental)?

JulieDiCaro said:

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I'll set it at 2.

JulieDiCaro said:

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and i'll take the over.

berselius said:

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I'll set it at 3.5...and take the over

AndCounting said:

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There have to be at least that many in the formation of the batting order. I'll set it at a baker's dozen.

And I'll take the over.

berselius said:

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So you're saying 12 errors for Baker?

/lamejoke

AndCounting said:

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I feel violated for having laughed at that.

cadarnell said:

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I'll take the under on 1.5 scored errors tonight ... we are gonna play much better and win ...

Teebob2000 said:

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...especially since a baker's dozen is 13...

berselius said:

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Does anyone here park at the DeVry lot when they go to Cubs games? I wonder if it's a big deal if I leave my car there past when they stop running shuttles

AndCounting said:

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I've done it before. I don't think it's a big deal at all for them, just kind of a pain for you.

berselius said:

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I should be able to get a ride down there later. Just wanted to make sure they don't ticket people or something for leaving cars in the lot too long. So long as it isn't left overnight I should be fine

baturkey said:

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Whole milk and butter are worth dying for. Mmmmm.

berselius said:

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My recipe uses 2 cups of cream and a stick of butter, though I usually cut the cream down to half and half (at least)

JulieDiCaro said:

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so you make a roux and then add the cheese. That's the REAL way to make mac & cheese.

berselius said:

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nah, no roux. Though the thought of that intrigues me. Maybe I'll pick up some mac+cheese stuff at the store this week

Teebob2000 said:

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How can you NOT make it based on a roux? What other way would there be? (That would make sense I mean.)

Best recipe I've found is Alton Browns from foodnetwork.com (see http://tinyurl.com/57auge). Except I make it with about 3/4 pound of elbows, sub 1 Tbl of onion powder for the diced onion and add a bunch of grated Swiss cheese to the sharp cheddar. The kicker is the Panko bread crumbs. Freaking kills every time.

Teebob2000 said:

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Thank you CN for making the right parens and period part of the hyperlink. You suck.

http://tinyurl.com/57auge

secdelahc said:

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I've also made Alton's recipe pretty much the same way you do, but I also forget the bay leaf. And added crumbled bacon to the panko bread crumbs

Teebob2000 said:

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Aw c'mon, using bacon's cheating. Everything gets better with bacon!

secdelahc said:

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And that's exactly why I use it!

flyball said:

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I have it on good authority that adding bacon (cooked) to pancake batter is not a good breakfast

Edelweiss said:

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I use either fontina or Monterrey jack, instead of cheddar, and add bacon and broccoli, with lots of onion, and a clove of minced garlic, seasoned with rosemary and tarragon, and topped with bread crumbs that have been sauteed in butter.

MN Pat said:

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I have an entire book of mac and cheese recipes, but my favorite may be one with goat cheese and bacon in the bread crumb topping. Delish.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Alton Brown taught me everything I know about cooking.

berselius said:

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Mine uses more cheese and is a little soupier. Basically after you cook the macaroni, you put it in your baking dish and throw in the butter. Then you add (most of) the cheese, the cream/milk, and whatever spices (usually salt and pepper). Then cook it till it's nice and bubbly.

Bread crumbs on mac+cheese are anaethema. Aside from Kraft, it's what turned me off to mac+cheese as a kid.

berselius said:

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I also have a big dislike for cheddar in general (probably my least favorite cheese). I usually make mine with mostly muenster. I guess Alton would be the first person to say that it's no big deal to change things in recipes though (laughing)

Teebob2000 said:

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Normal bread crumbs, no. Panko with some melted butter?? Yes, please!!

cadarnell said:

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my kids eat a lot of mac and cheese and they are skinny ... but they do get plenty of exercise running out of the living room when I'm watching the Cubs :0

JulieDiCaro said:

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my kids eat it too, and they're also skinny. i buy annie's when i'm at whole foods or make it from scratch when i can. kraft is my absolute LAST choice. also, i don't put butter in in (mwah-ah-ah-ahaaaaaaaaah)

Edelweiss said:

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The stuff is crap, but kids like it. They are so sophisticated, some of them even like Chef Boiardi and Franco American until they are about 7. Then they begin to appreciate what mom makes from home-grown tomatoes and lots of garlic.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Adam is having a moment:

http://networkedblogs.com/4UHay

AndCounting said:

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Thanks for the plug(s). I thought it would be fun to basically take a week to blame the fans in every way I could think of to mirror the criticism we dole out to Lou, Hendry, and company. It hasn't been as fun as I thought it would, but I'm seeing it through.

cadarnell said:

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I like it ... nice!!

baturkey said:

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I'm really starting to dislike first innings.

MN Pat said:

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Oh look. We're losing.

MillsChC said:

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I don't think I've ever had Kraft Mac and Cheese... I do like whatever company it is that makes those hamburger helper macaroni and cheese... now those are quite tasty.

Edelweiss said:

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EEEEWWWWWWW!

secdelahc said:

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Let's go Cubs!

cubby23(eric) said:

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Cubbies lead!!

secdelahc said:

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Why the hell did you waive Soto around? Even I could tell he would be out as soon as the ball was fielded.

Teebob2000 said:

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Yeah Stevie Wonder could see that coming. I don't care if Dempster's coming up next, Soto shouldn't have gone.

berselius said:

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I like seeing Derrek Lee hit things hard - hopefully there's more of that

secdelahc said:

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There's something you don't see very often!

JulieDiCaro said:

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Don't forget guys: tomorrow THE PRECIOUSSSSSSSSS is the giveaway at the game.

I.MUST.HAVE.ONE.

I will do anything. (winks suggestively) ANYTHING.

Teebob2000 said:

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I'm already in line outside the bleacher entrance. I WILL have one, my sweet.

JulieDiCaro said:

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hee hee hee

JulieDiCaro said:

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Who was the other porn name minor leagues besides Rocky Cherry? It wasn't Buck Naked, but it was close.

baturkey said:

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Buck Coats

JulieDiCaro said:

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THANK you.

Teebob2000 said:

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That's a porn name?? Can't compare to Dick Pole. To be fair, NOTHING can compare to Dick Pole.

flyball said:

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Buck Coats

Teebob2000 said:

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Anybody know what the music is they play when Castro comes to bat? And why the crowd "la-la-la-la-laaaa-la-la-la's" along with it? That's decidedly non-Wrigley behavior; almost wave-like.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I haven't even paid attention to the walk-up music yet. Will start doing so now.

Teebob2000 said:

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How about you go online and look it up yourself, idiot? It's called the "internet."

Per chicagobreakingsports.com:
Carlos Zambrano "Trouble Man," Marvin Gaye
Ted Lilly "Please Don't Go," John Lee Hooker
Starlin Castro "Smooth" Santana
Marlon Byrd "Bargain" The Who
John Grabow "All Apologies" Nirvana
Koyie Hill "Digging in the Dirt" Peter Gabriel
Ryan Dempster "King of Comedy" R.E.M.
Geovany Soto "Knock Me Down" Red Hot Chili Peppers
Carlos Silva "Redemption Song" Bob Marley and the Wailers
Tyler Colvin "Out of the Blue" Roxy Music
Xavier Nady "King of Pain" The Police
Derrek Lee "Going to California" Led Zeppelin
Jeff Baker "Keep it Together" Guster
Aramis Ramirez "Hurt" 9-Inch Nails
Kosuke Fukudome "How to Disappear Completely" Radiohead
Randy Wells "Nobody's Fault But My Own" Beck
Carlos Marmol "Don't Worry About Me" Frank Sinatra
Ryan Theriot "Lousiana Blues" Muddy Waters
Chad Tracy "Human Highway" Neil Young
Mike Fontenot "Reconsider Me" Warren Zevon
Lou Piniella "My Poor Brain" Foo Fighters

JulieDiCaro said:

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I believe those were Paul Sullivan's lame suggestions.

Edelweiss said:

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How about "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash for Jeff Baker?

Teebob2000 said:

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You really have an unhealthy fixation on Jeff Baker's ass problems.

JulieDiCaro said:

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sigh. why couldn't WE trade a minor-leaguer for Connor Jackson?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Uh-oh. the Cubs front office is now following me on Twitter.

MN Pat said:

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Give 'em hell, Julie.

MillsChC said:

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I thought they didn't have Twitter, Facebook, etc.

JulieDiCaro said:

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apparently, they're on Twitter. or someone is. they're practically invisible, though. they've only been listed 4 times more than I have.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Wow--that DP looked like a real baseball team turned it.

Teebob2000 said:

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You switched away from the Cubs game?

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hee.

you're on a roll tonight.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Cubs win and look good doing it! Wow--it's been a long time since we've seen that!

cubby23(eric) said:

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Has it happened all year?

JulieDiCaro said:

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not that i can remember.

cadarnell said:

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we rock !!!!! ... it's the noodle fo sho...

sloan peterson said:

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Does that mean it's the rally noodle?

JulieDiCaro said:

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for it to be a rally noodle, we have to slap a hat on it.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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And googly eyes.

JulieDiCaro said:

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definitely.

Edelweiss said:

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That noodle may be for mac n cheese, but it certainly has phallic implications. How many guys can look at it, and not think it looks just like them. How many girls can look at it and not punch their guy in the arm, and snicker?

Teebob2000 said:

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I guess maybe if you're hung like... macaroni??

Edelweiss said:

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Bet you would like to be hung like THAT macaroni!!!

Edelweiss said:

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Bet you'd like to be hung like THAT noodle!!!

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