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What I Learned Over Thanksgiving Break

Some odds and ends from my week back in Jersey, mostly unrelated to Syracuse sports (probably for the best):

We left on Saturday and returned on Saturday and I cannot possibly stress this tactic enough. Absolutely no lines in either case, no security delays, no massive crowds to weave through, no overcrowded yourself the headaches next year and do the same if you're traveling on Thanksgiving.

Realizing you kept your headphones from the last time you flew your upcoming airline? Fantastic. Finding out the in-flight movie is Hairspray. Disappointing.

Arriving in NJ it was clear right away that the Rutgers lovefest, while still apparent in places, has officially come back to reality. It's still jarring seeing Rutgers bumper stickers and I'm not quite sure why those who have them feel the need to have at least four, but the difference from last year can't be missed. Didn't see too many storefronts in random towns strewn in Scarlet either.

What I did realize is that Rutgers fanbase seems to have settled in. Barring a season that includes a national title run, the Rutgers love is going to nestle into the Central New Jersey area and n
ot much further North or South. Folks I spent time with in North Jersey only concern themselves with NY teams per usual and folks in Philly are obviously uninterested. If I were running the Rutgers marketing program, I'd start hitting up the Jersey Shore, probably your best bet for building the fan base. Investing your time and money in New York City might be as feeble as, well, Syracuse attempting that.

Speaking of NYC, those taxi cab banners really seem to have paid off. I think I saw at least three Syracuse shirts in two days in Manhattan. That's like more than one a day!

But MJFor3, Syracuse played two basketball games in NYC while you were there. Why didn't you attend? For those of you too young or naive to understand, let me put in mathematical terms:

Wife's desire to see "Sex And The City" landmarks > Husband's desire to watch NIT consolation game.

Just because, how bout some NYC Do's and Don'ts during Thanksgiving time:

DO visit Brooklyn. While everyone else is cramming themselves into Rockefeller Center and Central Park, a half hour ride on the F train will bring you to Prospect Park and Park Slope, much more chill and basically the same stuff.

DON'T visit Times Square. The most God-forsaken place on Earth.

DO visit the Village. Why the hell are you spending so much time above 14th street? Everyone knows the cool kids are hanging out down below. Besides, you came for the bagels, pizza and falafel right? All the best are here.

DO "get lost". Forget the maps and the landmarks. Just walk around, you'll feel like you accomplished something rather than just re-tracing steps.

DON'T get too lost. You don't want to be looking for hip
downtown eateries, go two avenues too far and suddenly find yourself face-to-face with a toothless crack dealer who smells like Pittsburgh and wants to know if you "need sumptin'?" And in that instance, just trust me in telling you that you do not indeed need "sumptin."

DO mack on some Magnolia cupcakes. If you have to do the Sex And The City tour with the significant other, you might as well enjoy yourself.

DON'T go inside FAO Schwartz. If possible. If you have children or a significant other who's never been to NYC before...grit your teeth.

DO stop by the Corner Bistro for a burger, if that's your thing. But make sure you order well-done or at least medium well. Anything less and its coming out rawer than Syracuse's free throw shooting.

While staying at my mom's house, we watched a lot of Showtime, which we don't get at home. I've been an HBO man since as long as I can remember and I gotta tell you...I think the time to switch it up has come. I'm officially hooked on Dexter (Thanks, On Demand) and "Weeds" and "Brotherhood" have my intrigued. As far as HBO, most of their best stuff is behind them (Sopranos, Oz, Six Feet Under, Entourage when it was good) and it might be nice to watch Showtime's slate of movies 47 times instead of HBO's. Then again, I'm sure the cable company will talk me into getting both so it's a moot argument.
Wanted to mention that Syracuse's rep in the Northeast is, shall we say, as poor as you might think. But at least we're making changes in the football program to improve things, right? RIGHT?

On the flight back, I made sure our seats were in the Emergency Row and again I can't stress this enough, if for no other reason than the leg room. You can't stow your carry-on bag under your seat but its a small price to pay for being able to rotate your knee properly. As for the actual "in case of an emergency" thing, let the chips fall where they may. The guy next to me looked brawny, I'm sure he could handle it.

Good to be back but there's a ton to catch up on. Apparently our football and basketball programs played a lot of games. I'm sure they all went well. I'm gonna go check the sports page right now and find out how we di...