About Geoff 'DeafGeoff' Herbert

Your neighborhood-friendly DeafGeoff. I'm a deaf DJ (yes, really) who also does web design, social media, search engine optimization, motivational speaking and lipreading tweets during Syracuse basketball games. Reporter and SEO Lead for Syracuse.com.

This Calvin and Hobbes-themed wedding will make your day

Calvin Hobbes wedding

Jonathan and Stephanie tied the knot in July 2012 at Casa Real Winery in Livermore, CA. Photos by Junshien Lau.

I don’t typically gush over wedding themes and engagement photo shoots, but I’m a big fan of Calvin & Hobbes so I just had to share this with you.

Indeed, these Calvin and Hobbes wedding photos will melt your heart if you loved Bill Watterson’s classic comic strip, which ran from 1985 to 1995 and sadly (or perhaps gladly) hasn’t been touched since, even for a movie, TV show or cheap merchandising. Jonathan and Stephanie tied the knot in July 2012 at Casa Real Winery in Livermore, California, and they’ve just this week shared pictures from photographer Junshien Lau here.

“We wanted our wedding to feel like our relationship — joyful, kid-at-heart, quirky, whimsical, breezy, with a dash of mischievousness,” Stephanie writes. “We came to the realization that these were all adjectives that described our beloved Calvin and Hobbes comic series — one of the first things we bonded over, when we met five years ago! We decided to have fun with it and drew all our inspiration from the comic.”

The theme included an engagement photo shoot with Jonathan dressed as Calvin, posing with a red wagon and a transmogrifier box while Stephanie holds Hobbes, the beloved orange tiger that made the comic come to life. Save-the-dates, wedding invitations, programs and more used the comic’s quirky font, the ring bearer wore a red-and-black striped t-shirt and carried Hobbes while the flower girl perhaps personified Susie Derkins. They even had Calvin & Hobbes cake toppers and dinosaur-shaped bubbles (because Calvin and Jonathan both love dinosaurs) instead of rice!

Calvin and Hobbes wedding

Jonathan and Stephanie tied the knot in July 2012 at Casa Real Winery in Livermore, CA. Photos by Junshien Lau.

Calvin and Hobbes wedding

Jonathan and Stephanie tied the knot in July 2012 at Casa Real Winery in Livermore, CA. Photos by Junshien Lau.

Calvin and Hobbes wedding

Jonathan and Stephanie tied the knot in July 2012 at Casa Real Winery in Livermore, CA. Photos by Junshien Lau.

See more photos here.

29 things that will make you feel old

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller knew what he was talking about, and I always get a kick out of taking a moment to look at what’s happened — and how long it’s been since they happened. For example, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off came out when I was just two years old. In honor of my 29th birthday (that’s right, Geoff Herbert has been turning it up as “DeafGeoff” since Feb. 20, 1984) here are 29 facts that will make you feel just as old as I am. Enjoy!

1. Kids born in the year 2000 become teenagers this year.
Whoa.

Britney kisses Madonna

Britney and Madonna locked lips during the 2003 VMAs. 10 years ago!

2. Madonna kissed Britney Spears a decade ago.
The two pop stars made out on stage during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. Madge also kissed Christina Aguilera, but no one remembers that.

3. Elijah Wood and Macauley Culkin are both 32.
“The Good Son,” starring both of the child actors, came out 20 years ago.

4. Magazines now out of print: Spin, Newsweek, Blender, The Sporting News.
Apparently people read stuff on this thing called the Internet nowadays.

5. Metallica’s first album came out 30 years ago.
James Hetfield is now 49 years old with three kids.

6. Cory and Topanga from “Boy Meets World” have a teen daughter now.
The TGIF couple married in 2000 (on the show, not in real life) and are coming back to TV with a 13-year-old child for “Girl Meets World.”

7. Every player on the 2012-13 Syracuse basketball team was born in the ’90s.
Senior James Southerland was born in April 1990 and the youngest player, freshman guard Jerami Grant, is younger than the “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam. (Jerami was born in March ’94 and the song appeared on Eddie Vedder and co.’s 1991 album Ten.)

8. Nintendo Entertainment System
The first NES was released in Japan in 1983 — 30 years ago — and Nintendo launched the iconic video game console in North America beginning in ’85.

9. 50 Cent’s “In Da Club”
Fiddy’s first massive hit came out in January 2003. That’s more than 10 years ago.

10. Curly Sue is married and the Spy Kids girl is divorced.
Curly Sue star Alisan Porter is 31 now and tied the knot last year, even welcoming a baby boy in the summer. Alexa Vega first played ‘Spy Kid’ Carmen Cortez in 2001 and she’s not only old enough (24) to play a slutty badass in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills (coming this year), but also had her first divorce last year.

11. “Teletubbies” has been off the air for more than a decade.
Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po, and Tinky Winky last appeared on TV in January 2002.

12. The Nirvana baby is old enough to legally drink alcohol.
Spencer Elden, who showed the world his penis on the cover of Nevermind, turns 22 this year.

The Nirvana baby!

The Nirvana baby!

13. The Mighty Ducks turned 20 last year.
Emilio! Estevez played triple-deke inventor and youth hockey coach Gordon Bombay for the first time in 1992. Kind of surprised a D4: The Mighty Ducks hasn’t happened yet at this point.

14. The New Kids are now in their 40s.
All of NKOTB (or New Kids on the Block, however you refer to them) are 40 years old or older. Jonathan Knight is 44.

15. Maggie from “The Simpsons” would be 24 years old today.
If she aged, that is. The first episode of the longest-running cartoon aired on Dec. 17, 1989.

16. ‘N Sync’s last televised performance was 10 years ago.
Justin Timberlake is busy with his “Suit & Tie” these days, too busy to get back together with Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and JC Chasez. The boy band went on hiatus in 2002 but sang together at the 2003 Grammy Awards in a tribute to the Bee Gees.

17. Jurassic Park came out 20 years ago.
The first dinosaur epic came out in 1993. Jurassic Park IV is on the way, due in theaters in 2014.

18. ’90s bands are now playing nostalgia tours.
Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Gin Blossoms, Vertical Horizon, Fastball are touring together (if this was 1998, this would blow your mind!) this summer.

19. The final episode of “M*A*S*H” aired 30 years ago.
More than 100 million viewers tuned in for the Feb. 1983 finale — still the most-watched ever.

20. Eminem’s daughter turns 18 this year.

Don’t be a creep about it, but Hailie Mathers was born in December 1995.

21. McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” ad campaign started a decade ago.
Remember JT even did a song about it? Holy 2003.

22. The top songs 15 years ago include “The Boy is Mine,” “Truly Madly Deeply” and “My Heart Will Go On.”

Next’s “Too Close” and Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” also came out in 1998.

23. New TV shows in 1993: “The X-Files,” “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” “Frasier,” “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” and “Beavis & Butt-head.”
They just don’t make ’em like they used to.

24. Kids today have no idea what a floppy disk or a diskette is.
Yet they click on a picture of one to save files in Microsoft Word.

25. “1999” was 30 years ago.
Prince wanted to party like it’s the end of the millenium (which was technically Dec. 31, 2000) in 1983.

26.Brad Pitt turns 50 years old this year.
Speaking of Prince, he and Michael J. Fox, Ellen DeGeneres, Madonna, Colin Firth and Antonio Banderas are all in their 50s already.

27. The dancing baby has been around for more than 15 years.

First an Internet phenomenon in 1996, you may best remember the baby cha-cha-ing to “Hooked on a Feeling (Oogachaka)” in 1998 on “Ally McBeal.”

28. You can’t buy Surge, Crystal Pepsi, Hi*C Ecto Cooler or Squeezit drinks anymore.
I’m thirsty.

29. Michael Jordan first retired 20 years ago.
The now 50-year-old legendary athlete quit basketball in 1993, played baseball briefly, and then thankfully brought us more hoops greatness (and Space Jam).

Lipreading Syracuse basketball’s Jim Boeheim: My first feature article in The Post-Standard

Lipreading Jim Boeheim

A sneak preview of Geoff Herbert’s first feature article in The Post-Standard, appearing in print on Sunday, February 10, 2013.

“Wanna see my picture on the cover, wanna buy five copies for my mother…”

I recently began my new position as Entertainment Reporter at Syracuse Media Group, the new home of syracuse.com and The Post-Standard newspaper. I mainly focus on writing about hot topics that can include movies, music, television, celebrity gossip, technology news and Central New York life. On Friday, I wrote about something a little different that people have asked about many times so it seemed fitting to share:

#Lipreading Jim Boeheim: How Syracuse basketball gets even more fun on Twitter.”

While everything I write appears online at syracuse.com, I’m excited to say that the piece will also be appearing in print on Sunday, Feb. 10 — my first feature article in The Post-Standard!

I’ll be buying a few copies for family members (Look, mom! I have a job!) but I also recommend picking up one for yourself if you live in Central New York. Not only does it include great photos of the SU coach making his priceless facial expressions, but it’s also a lot better than the first two articles I wrote on syracuse.com in 2010 when I started as an Associate Producer.

Thank you to all for reading and supporting me, and a big thank you to my hundreds of new followers. I’m excited to share with you more lipreading tweets from upcoming Syracuse basketball games as well as stories, news and observations in 140 characters (or less). Let’s go Orange!

Video: Geoff ‘DeafGeoff’ Herbert speaks at TEDxBuffalo about hearing loss, listening

Geoff 'DeafGeoff' Herbert at TEDxBuffalo

Geoff “DeafGeoff” Herbert speaks at TEDxBuffalo in October 2012 about being a deaf DJ, growing up with hearing loss, and the importance of listening versus hearing.


I spoke at my first TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) event on October 9th at Canisius College in Buffalo, and I’m happy to share with you the final video cut (in HD! See my face for radio in crisp pictures!) from my TEDxBuffalo speech titled “Listening is More Important Than Hearing.”

As an adult who was born with a profound binaural hearing loss, I was happy to share my experiences growing up hard-of-hearing and how I pursued the careers that I’ve succeeded in, including more than 10 years as a DJ (including six years as a morning show producer at a Clear Channel radio station in Syracuse, perhaps as the only deaf on-air personality in the country). I talked about speech therapy, my love of music, and the importance of listening versus hearing.

I’m now an Entertainment Reporter for Syracuse Media Group, the home of syracuse.com and The Post-Standard newspaper, but also still work as a disc jockey for parties, dances, weddings and other events. I still embrace and advocate the value of listening because I still do the same thing at my job — listening to what the audience wants, responding to them and continuing to inform and entertain.

Thank you again to Kevin Purdy for inviting me to speak at TEDxBuffalo and much appreciation to all who attended, watched and/or tweeted me their thoughts afterwards. It was a fun experience and I’m always happy to share my experiences. If you have any follow-up questions or would like to know more, please feel free to contact me.

Twitter tips: 10.5 things you’re still doing wrong on social media

Twitter fail

Oops? Some so-called “experts” are still doing social media wrong, so review these Twitter tips to help.

1. Asking questions that you can get answers to elsewhere
I don’t mind if you post a photo of a new hat and ask people if they think it’s a good look for you, but please stop asking questions when you can get the answer elsewhere. “Hey what time is the game on?” “What channel is that show?” “How do you cook grilled cheese?” Use Google, a TV Guide or a calculator and look up answers yourself.

2. Tweeting without context or explanation
“Oh my god.” “What just happened.” “No way.” “I hate this so much.” The worst posts are the short little reactions to something that your followers have NO IDEA what you’re talking about. You may imagine everyone hanging on your every word so they realize that 75 minutes ago you were tweeting about the football game so they should assume you’re still talking about it, but NO ONE FOLLOWS JUST ONE PERSON. (Except @KanyeWest.) As a result, most people see your thoughts in a mix of posts about news, sports, work, music, personal life, food, etc. — so I have no idea if you’re angry about not getting enough ketchup on your burger or that your best friend forgot your birthday or your favorite character kissed the one you hate on a cable TV show. We’re not literally “following” your every move, so don’t assume we are. Add a hashtag or some other clue to what you’re talking about.

3. Tweeting with a . in front of @ mentions — every time
A good number of Twitter users probably don’t realize that if a tweet starts with an @ mention (i.e. “@MileyCyrus I love you!”) then the only ones who’ll see it are users who follow both you and the account you’re mentioning (and, of course, the account you’re mentioning). It brilliantly keeps conversations from cluttering Twitter feeds, but some have figured out that any reply/mention can be made visible to all followers by putting a period or other punctuation in front of the tweet (i.e. “.@MileyCyrus I want everyone to know I love you”). Use it sparingly — never for out-of-context tweets or conversations your followers aren’t part of (i.e. “.@MileyCyrus Your last tweet was great”).

4. Flooding feeds with Twitter chats or live-tweets
Twitter considers 45 tweets an hour to be spam and some people get dangerously close to it during chats or live-tweeting sports, which is understandable if they’re passionate about the topic. But for the sake of followers who aren’t interested, please do two things: 1) Warn people of the impending flood (“Hey I’m about to join a #xyzchat at noon”) or be ready to apologize after. We’ll always forgive it if you don’t act entitled, like we should hang on your every word. And 2) Minimize annoyance by tweeting unique thoughts with context and avoid unnecessary notes (“Next chat Q coming up in a moment”? Just ask the question).

5. Tweeting about trending topics just because they’re trending
Often trending topics are related to news — so don’t ask “why is Snooki trending?” just click on it and you’ll get your answer. Other times, trends are from what’s on TV or a popular user who started it. Don’t respond like the trending topics are talking to you (i.e. “OMG Mean Girls is trending, that reminds me of that time Sheila was mean to me”). Do feel free to join trending hashtag conversations, but don’t hijack them to promote your crap (i.e. “Check out my new photo! [link] #yolo #imsosickof #twitterconfessions #starwars”).

Facebook Thumbs Down

Facebook posts that automatically post to Twitter? Thumbs down!


6. Facebook posts that feed to Twitter, Twitlonger, etc.
It’s not quantum physics: Twitter has a 140 character limit. If you go over 140, whether through Twitlonger or another service that feeds to Twitter, then people have to click to see what else you said — it’s annoying. Also, keep in mind that if you feed Facebook to Twitter and you post a link on Facebook, your Twitter followers have to click the link to see the Facebook post before they can click the link you want them to — twice the clicks.

7. Inconsistent voice
Dear “community managers” and “brand ambassadors”: If the account represents a business with more than one person, the voice is always “we,” never “I.” Opinions should not be given, unless it’s about the brand (“We think our new thing is amazing!”) or a strong affiliate (“Pepsi thinks Beyoncé is going to rock #SB47!”). And hashtags should be consistent — stick to one tag for the brand and its customers to follow.

7.5. Accidentally posting personal tweets on professional accounts
To err is human, so sometimes you’ll “accidentally” post on the wrong Twitter account. If that happens, delete the tweet, apologize and move on — do not spend the rest of the day/week addressing or explaining the error and, most importantly, do not chastise followers upset by your mistake. It’s your mistake.

8. Hyperbole
How many concerts have you been to that are truly “epic”? Is this really “the worst” restaurant experience you’ve ever had? Opinions make things more interesting on social media (and in real life), so we want to know what movies you liked or hated but curb your enthusiasm when referring to extremes. I expect a 4-year-old to have a new “favorite” toy three times a day, but when you tweet “that was my favorite episode ever of all time” three times a week we assume you’re the least discerning person. Of all time.

9. When breaking news becomes “the telephone game”
Rumors quickly became fact on social media, and false news can spread because you’re tweeting based on what someone tweeted based on what someone else tweeted, etc. Being correct is more important than being first, so check sources and post updates based on credible information.

10. Calling yourself a “guru,” “ninja” or “master”
Adage found that, as of January 2013, more than 181,000 Twitter bios describe themselves as social media gurus, masters, ninjas or mavens. Stop it. How can you master something that’s barely a decade old and is constantly evolving?

Turn It Up 2012: My top 10 songs, albums of the year (and then some)

For some, 2012 was the year “Twilight” ended but the world didn’t. For me, it was another chance to discover great music from surprising sources — when I was obsessed with ’90s big beat like The Chemical Brothers, who would’ve guessed that 15 years later I’d become a fan of alt country (Drive-By Truckers! Tift Merritt!) or folk rock (Brandi Carlile!) or Swedish indie pop (Jens Lekman! First Aid Kit!)?? My tastes have changed, evolved, and broadened over the years — perhaps even more so now that I don’t work in radio and my hunger for finding great new artists is just as strong as ever. I love reading year-end music lists, and then comparing them to my own. Below are my favorite songs, albums (and then some) of 2012. Tune in and turn it up, kids!

BEST SONGS OF 2012
10. R. Kelly – “Fool For You”
9. Missy Higgins – “If I’m Honest”
8. The Shins – “Simple Song”
7. Elle Varner – “So Fly”
6. Shearwater – “You As You Were”
5. The Coup – “Magic Clap”
4. Frank Ocean – “Bad Religion”
3. Regina Spektor – “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)”
2. Blackberry Smoke – “Everybody Knows She’s Mine”
1. Jason Mraz – “I Won’t Give Up”

BEST POP/ETC. SONGS OF 2012
10. Usher – “Climax” (Flosstradamus and Diplo Remix)
9. Nas – “Reach Out” f/ Mary J. Blige
8. Little Mix – “Wings”
7. Rita Ora – “How We Do (Party)”
6. will.i.am – “Scream and Shout” f/ Britney Spears
5. Ellie Goulding – “Anything Could Happen”
4. fun. – “Some Nights”
3. Gotye – “Somebody That I Used To Know” f/ Kimbra
2. One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful”
1. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe”

SONGS I LOVED AND WAS OBSESSED WITH FOR TWO WEEKS
10. Lana Del Rey vs. Notorious B.I.G. – “Notorious Origin”
9. Adele – “Skyfall”
8. Kid Koala – “3 Bit Blues” <— blues meets hip-hop turntablism
7. Jackson 5 – "If The Shoe Don't Fit"
6. The Rolling Stones – "Doom and Gloom"
5. Chiddy Bang – "Ray Charles"
4. Rye Rye – "Never Will Be Mine" f/ Robyn
3. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – "Mayla"
2. Carolina Chocolate Drops – "You Be Illin'" <— Run DMC cover for Record Store Day
1. Masters in France – "Playing With My Friends"

2012’s BEST ALBUMS
*Honorable mentions: Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, Plan B, Bettye LaVette, The Little Willies, Jason Mraz, Fatboy Slim
10. Joss Stone – The Soul Sessions Vol. 2
9. Green Day – Uno!, Dos!, !Tre! <— yes, that's three albums
8. Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
7. Melanie Fiona – The MF Life
6. Grace Potter – The Lion The Beast The Beat
5. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
4. Brandi Carlile – Bear Creek
3. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
2. Solange – True (EP)
1. K’Naan – Country, God or the Girl <— guests incl. Bono, Keith Richards, will.i.am, Mark Foster, Nas, Nelly Furtado

BEST SHOWS I SAW LIVE IN 2012
5. Arrested Development / Sophistafunk
4. ‘Here Lies Love’ (musical written by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim)
3. Yellow Dubmarine
2. LL Cool J / DJ Z-Trip
1. DJ Shadow

THE YEAR’S BIGGEST MUSIC DISAPPOINTMENTS
5. Re: Generation (collaborations like Skrillex with The Doors, Pretty Lights with Ralph Stanley & LeAnn Rimes? Good, fun concept but bad sounds.)
4. The Avalanches (still no new album yet! Again!)
3. Dubstep (the genre’s already starting to sound played out)
2. The Civil Wars (everyone just discovered how awesome they are, and they broke up)
1. The Ting Tings (their second album bombed… what happened to all those fun hand claps??!?)

What were your favorite songs/albums/etc of the year? Leave a comment below! I love listening to and discovering great new music!

2012’s Best Halloween costumes: ‘Say Anything,’ Ludacris, ‘Back to the Future,’ leg lamp and more

Here’s my take on the best Halloween costumes of 2012, from celebrities dressed as other famous characters to ordinary people with really clever outfits. Enjoy!

Lloyd Dobler from ‘Say Anything…’ [link]

'Say Anything' Halloween costume

‘Say Anything’ Halloween costume by Nikki S, featuring her baby as the boombox John Cusack holds over his head.

‘Back to the Future’: Baby Marty McFly [link]

‘Back to the Future’: Baby Marty McFly in a flying Delorean


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Watch: Geoff ‘DeafGeoff’ Herbert speaks at TEDxBuffalo about being a deaf DJ

Geoff 'DeafGeoff' Herbert talks at TEDxBuffalo on Oct. 9, 2012

Geoff ‘DeafGeoff’ Herbert talks at TEDxBuffalo on Oct. 9, 2012 about being a deaf DJ and the importance of listening over hearing.

I was humbled and honored to be invited to speak at TEDxBuffalo, my first TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) event, about being a deaf DJ and the challenges I’ve faced in my life growing up mostly deaf. The event was held Tuesday, October 9, at Canisius College in Buffalo to an invite-only crowd and was also live-streamed online and recorded for future events.

In a speech titled “Listening Is More Important Than Hearing,” I shared how I was born with a profound binaural hearing loss and learned how to communicate through years of speech therapy. I demonstrated some of the challenges that come from lipreading, such as how “V” and “F” look identical but the sound is different by how much air comes out of your mouth and whether your voice box vibrates when saying it. I then talked about falling in love with music, and its transformative power that led me to pursuing a career in radio — and never once letting my “disability” stand in the way. I learned to appreciate music by listening to it, not just hearing it, and worked hard at radio stations in high school and college before landing a job at Clear Channel’s HOT 107.9 in Syracuse as a morning show producer and sidekick known as “DeafGeoff.” I worked with “Marty & Shannon in the Morning” for six years as possibly the only mostly deaf on-air personality in the country and our show was rated No. 1 in its target 18-34 demographic.

I’m now a producer/entertainment reporter at syracuse.com, the online affiliate of The Post-Standard newspaper but the challenges I face today are the same. At a radio station disc jockey (or as a club DJ), you have to listen to what your audience wants and respond to it. Social media users and website readers will often comment and/or share stories, and it’s the same thing — listening to the audience, responding to them, and continuing to inform and/or entertain.

I’m also still a DJ for parties, dances, weddings, events, etc. and I’m constantly listening to music and studying it, watching audiences to see how they react to songs. It’s amazing how hearing a favorite tune can change a person’s mood — or force them to start moonwalking (or shuffling or Gangnam-Styling or whatever) because the music is that infectious.

You can watch video of me speaking at TEDxBuffalo here, but please check out the other speakers as well. All had great, unique thoughts to bring to the event and I was happy to be a part of it.

Thank you to all who watched and tweeted me their thoughts afterwards, and thank you to Kevin Purdy for inviting me to speak at TEDxBuffalo. If anyone has any follow-up questions or would like to know more, please feel free to email me.

TMNT fail? The new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ don’t say ‘Cowabunga’ anymore

Image

Everyone’s still concerned that Michael Bay is going to ruin the legacy of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with his upcoming reboot where the heroes in a half-shell are an alien race — but a new ‘TMNT’ is on TV, and it’s just as bad. The pizza-loving sewer-residing quartet is back with new Saturday morning cartoons on Nickelodeon, and a lot has changed. 2007’s big-screen disasterpiece ‘TMNT’ was bad enough in changing April O’Neill from a reporter to an archaeologist. Change is inevitable, reboots and remakes are easy money for Hollywood, but this is going too far.

Splinter is no longer a rat that mutated when he came into contact with ooze. He’s a human that mutated into a rat when he was mugged in alley while carrying his pets: four baby turtles.

‘Cowabunga!’ is gone. None of the Ninja Turtles say the catchphrases that made us love them in the ’80s and ’90s. Times change, and it’s understandable that some things would get updated with the new series, but now the hot new catchphrase is ‘booyakasha’… Apparently, they started shooting the series with nothing in the script but then voice actor Greg Cipes (who plays Michelangelo) used the ridiculous NBA Jam-esque word and it has become a part of the show.

Raphael is apparently the best turtle, according to the premiere episode where we’re all re-introduced to the turtles with a twisted new origin story. The show begins with the four teen turtles practicing martial arts in their sewer lair. Leonardo and Raphael best Donatello and Michelangelo, and then Raph beats Leo. Every fan has a favorite (the blue one! the purple one! the orange one! no, the red one!) but the series never led us to believe one was a better fighter than the others. Instead, they all had specific skill sets that made them succeed as a team.

Jason Biggs and Sean Astin. Young viewers might have no idea the ‘American Pie’ star had sex with baked goods or who was ‘Rudy’ (or Samwise Gamgee from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy), but they are the voices of Leonardo and Raphael, respectively. It’s very distracting to hear recognizable voices as well-established characters, not to mention Biggs has already hurt the show with his racy, very R-rated commentary on Twitter.

Anime graphics. The Ninja Turtles might be popular in Asian markets or with U.S. viewers who also like anime, but they had their own visual look that keeps getting changed with each version of the show. ‘TMNT’ was bad, but the new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ TV show actually uses anime-like graphics such as an asterisk popping up when someone’s hit — or has a thought. There was a Japanese series called ‘Mutant Turtles: Choujin Densetsu-hen’ that satisfied the anime fans, so why not keep them separate?

Michelangelo has a new weapon. Leo still has his swords (or Katanas), Donny still has a bo (or staff), Raph has his sai — and Mikey has his nunchucks (or nunchaku) but now they apparently have sharp things at the end, like he’s going to whip them around and impale thugs in the head as he does it. The updated weapon is too scary, violent.

And to make matters worse, the show doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The Sept. 29 premiere episode was the week’s top telecast with kids 2-11 (6.2/2.1 million) and the cable network’s top-rated premiere for an animated series since 2009, reaching nearly 12 million total viewers in its debut weekend. 26 more episodes have been ordered and toys are coming. Cowabunga? Booyakasha?

Divorced Syracuse basketball fan wants custody of kids for day of NCAA Championship if SU is playing

Divorced Syracuse basketball fan wants custody of kids for day of NCAA Championship if SU is playing

In a divorce agreement, a Syracuse basketball fan (like the one pictured above) wants custody of his kids for the day of the NCAA title game… if SU is playing.

As a child of divorce and a Syracuse University alumnus, I couldn’t help but share this story about a truly die-hard SU basketball fan.

An Illinois man, identified only as Michael by Yahoo! Sports’ The Dagger, has made an unusual (and awesome, if you’re a sports fan) request in his child custody agreement. After divorcing, his ex-wife requested custody of their son and daughter for several Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving and Labor Day.

Most other holidays, including the kids’ birthdays, are divided up evenly or shared but dad wants 7-year-old Julia and 5-year-old Liam every Easter, St. Patrick’s Day and the day of two sporting events: Super Bowl Sunday and the “NCAA Men’s Basketball Final until end of game if Syracuse is in.”

That’s right, the father is demanding custody of his children for the NCAA Championship game if Syracuse is playing for the men’s college basketball title. A screenshot of the agreement can be seen at Cuse Country.

“Even though Syracuse has only won the title once and it may not happen for another 20 years, it’s something that’s really important to me,” Michael told The Dagger. “It’s not a holiday exactly, but it is holy to me. Other people define themselves by their religion or race. Frankly, Syracuse sports, especially basketball, football and lacrosse, are a big part of my heritage.”

And even though he now lives 700 miles from Central New York, Michael says he continues to teach his children to root for Syracuse. He even dressed them in SU sports gear and watches Syracuse football and basketball games with them.

According to The Dagger, Michael never attended Syracuse University but grew up in Syracuse rooting for the Orange when they were still called the Orangemen. In grade school, he and his family gathered to watch former SU basketball stars like Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Billy Owens and Rony Seikaly.

Of course, the only time Syracuse won the Big Dance was against Kansas in 2003 under head coach Jim Boeheim, with current NBA all-star (and Team USA Olympic player!) Carmelo Anthony. However, Huffington Post notes that SU’s strong performance this past season and already high predictions for the 2012-13 season, Michael just might get to see his kids on the day of the next NCAA title game.

As a fellow fan who bleeds Orange, I always hope Syracuse’s sports teams win big so I’m rooting for Michael’s request. I was a freshman at the school when Hakim Warrick blocked the shot in the final seconds of the 2003 championship, so I got spoiled early. As someone whose own parents are divorced, I don’t see anything wrong with the agreement — unless it’s a nasty jab at his ex-wife for being a fan of one of SU’s rivals, like Georgetown, UConn or whoever will be next in the ACC… which would just makes it more awesome. Go SU!