Big Johnson Winners Announced!

The Big Johnson Coed College Basketball Challenge is over, and for the tenth straight year, I lost!

Not surprising – there were over 90 entrants this year and next year we will shoot for over 100 with perhaps, a bigger prize?

This year’s Big Johnson champion, The Rev. Brian Johnson, is a repeat winner and will receive an Apple TV – plus, for winning the Womens side (and coming in 63rd nationally on ESPN) a personalized iPod Shuffle!

In second place – not by much – was my bowling buddy and teammate Keith Sun, who scored highest on the Mens side and will also receive a personalized iPod Shuffle.

Also beating my sorry @#$ at this game were the following contestants:

Ben Weiss • Sam Fielden • Brendan Hannemann • “dkb1063” • “cusetron” • Mark Crowder • “rearadmiral68” • Donny Samson • Joel Rosen • Suzanne Jackson • Pat Hayes • Fred Heggi • Geoff Young • Jess Jackson • Daniel Parker • “benjtp221” • “rduprau1” • Clif Sanders • Eric Torrey • Chris Hannemann

For this feat they will be offered their choice of a King Size CHUNKY Bar or a King Size Fast Break Bar (appropriate, no?).

I hope all of you and more will attempt to beat me in this next year’s Football and Basketball Big Johnson Challenges!

Parkway To Be Repaved – H@$$ Freezes Over

Patch reports that Fairfax County Parkway (or whatever it’s name is going to be) will finally be repaved, now that it’s a primary road and eligible for federal funding.

Here’s the report:

The Virginia Department of Transportation will repave 24 miles of the 32-mile, six-lane Fairfax County Parkway between Route 7 in Dranesville and Rolling Road in Springfield beginning this spring and lasting through October.

The $19 million maintenance project will take place mostly at night and on weekends, and will require lane closures and occasional detours.

In advance of the work, VDOT is holding four community meetings along the corridor to communicate the plan and schedule.  Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

“While work will begin in April and be complete in October, the heaviest traffic impacts will be scheduled from June until Labor Day, when Fairfax County schools are out for the summer,” said VDOT.   “Crews will re-pave the northern section of the Parkway first, from Route 7 to Baron Cameron Avenue, Route 606.”

Sections of the Parkway that will not be repaved include the construction work zone area at Fairfax [sic] Lakes Parkway and locations that were paved in the last five years.

They mean Fair Lakes Parkway. In any case, Hoo-Ray!

Springfield Town Center Needs A Marketing Director!

What ho! Vornado Realty Trust has an opening!

Marketing Director, Springfield Town Center (Springfield Mall redevelopment)

Vornado Realty Trust has an immediate need for a Marketing Director at Springfield Town Center in Springfield, VA. The existing Springfield Mall will soon undergo a major redevelopment which upon completion will become a grand new shopping environment. The Marketing Director will function as an important member of the mall management team and will be the on-site marketing lead during redevelopment and beyond. This position reports to the Director of Retail Marketing.

Specific responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Media and community outreach.
  • Create excitement for the project both during and after construction.
  • Strategic planning and execution of mall events and marketing programs.
  • Create new and innovative programs that will increase shopper traffic and sales.
  • Author, update and manage annual marketing plan and budget.
  • Regularly update and manage budget to approved levels.
  • Provide ongoing reporting to Director of Retail Marketing.
  • Support tenant marketing efforts to increase store sales. Build and maintain relationships with store managers. Obtain information on store sales and promotions and communicate them via mall signage, website, e-blasts and community partnerships.
  • Work with mall management and customer service teams to communicate and operate marketing programs, event logistics and set-up.
  • Merchandise vacant store windows and barricades in a timely and professional manner.
  • Seek out opportunities and build community relationships with schools, charities, sports and cultural organizations.
  • Produce and execute local public relations efforts.
  • Manage and regularly update mall website.
  • Build e-blast database and use to communicate merchant and mall sales, promotions and events.
  • Manage the day to day operation of the Customer Service department.
  • Coordinate with mall management and vendors to install and operate holiday décor, Santa and Easter bunny.
  • Research, negotiate and purchase promotional items to be used for special events.
  • Oversee and manage gift card program.
  • Support mall leasing efforts.


Qualifications include:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in marketing, promotions, and/or event planning
  • Trade area familiarity
  • Experience in a retail redevelopment environment highly preferable
  • Strong communications skills and organizational ability
  • Superior analytical and follow up skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills with a positive team player attitude
  • Must be willing to work evenings, weekends and holidays as needed
  • Strong skills in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Big Johnson Reminder!

If you were planning to enter the Big Johnson Co-ed Basketball Classic, now’s the time! All the brackets are set, all you have to do is go to the links below, create your entries (if you haven’t already) and join the Big Johnson group using the password kimsentme.


Mens Tournament:

Womens Tournament:

Remember, to have a chance at the top prize, you will need to enter both the Mens and Womens Tournaments! Entries to the Mens tournament close on Thursday morning, and for the Womens tournament on Saturday morning. Don’t delay!

Enter My FREE Basketball Pool And WIN!

It’s once again that time when people all over the country stop doing what they are doing and feverishly consider their picks for the NCAA Basketball Tournaments so they can enter the TENTH Annual Big Johnson COED College Basketball Tournament Classic, sponsored by yours truly, on ESPN.

Here’s your umpteenth chance to Stick It To The Man – that’s me! A new 1080p Apple TV awaits the talented owner of the highest COMBINED score of the Men’s and Women’s Big Johnsons! (YOUR gender is irrelevant. I am referring to the separate basketball tournaments.) For the winner of EACH tournament, it’s a personalized 2GB iPod Shuffle (your choice of color). And as usual, anyone who gets more points than The Man will win something.

How difficult can this contest really be? Well, there might be upsets. Or not. And gee, there are only – uh, lessee, 64 teams in each tournament – okay, 126 total games. (Not counting the four men’s play-in games, which we don’t.)

And it takes a real man (or woman) to enter BOTH the Men’s and Women’s tournaments. Yes, I mean you!

The brackets are being set by the NCAA (Men’s Sunday March 11; Women’s Monday March 12). The men’s first round games start on Thursday March 15, and the women’s first games are on Saturday March 17 – and the brackets are locked shortly before the first game of each tournament. That doesn’t leave you much time, so GET GOING!

The Group Name on ESPN is “Big Johnson” for each tournament, and the group password is:  kimsentme. That’s right, kimsentme, one word.

You can get there through the following URLs:

** Men’s Tournament Challenge:

** Women’s Tournament Challenge:

I know some of you like to fake out ESPN with an alias and throwaway email, but please be sure I can identify you from your name or the name of your entry. Otherwise I will keep your prize, ha ha.

After you create your entry, be sure to join the Big Johnson group in each tournament! (you can have up to three entries, but ONLY ONE ENTRY PER PERSON MAY BE IN MY GROUP). And, if you create your entry before the brackets are set, be sure to return in time to choose your winners before they lock. Most people will wait until a day or two before the tournaments start, but don’t forget! You will be humiliated as your entries with zero points sink inexorably to the bottom of the group . . .

ESPN tracks your points as the tournaments progress. I will weigh in every now and then with a Big Johnson update note.

FRIENDS ARE WELCOME, so you can forward this if you wish. Don’t forget your Significant Other – he or she may not have received this email directly, so be sure to forward it. Just be sure they identify themselves to me in their entry!

Best of luck to everyone!

Trulia Has Unicorns, Too

In her post “Zillow and Unicorns” on February 25, Kris Berg in San Diego analyzed the so-called “active listings” showing in Zillow in a particular zip code on a specific day. I urge you to read her piece because it will go through a lot of stuff you would like to know, so I don’t need to; and also, because it’s good, like darn near everything she writes.

The problem (as she notes) is that third-party real estate sites like Zillow have a lot of junk data, and overstate—usually wildly—the number of homes actually for sale. They make little if any effort to keep the data accurate. Conversely, they spend a lot of effort trying to sell advertising around the data—particularly to agents and brokers. The agents who buy this advertising get “featured” next to listings that may or may not actually exist, and if they do, the agents may or may not know anything about the home or neighborhood. They certainly are not the listing agents.

In any case, I undertook to do the same with the “active listings” showing in Trulia—Zillow’s major competitor excluding—for the zip code 22153 in my ‘hood.

On the date in question, February 27, Trulia showed 84 homes for sale in 22153. Of those homes, on that date, only 37 homes were really being offered for sale. Thus Trulia’s data overstated the number by 227%.

Here are the errors in Trulia’s data:

  • Homeowners late on payments (notice of default issued): 22
  • Bank-owned properties not yet for sale: 11
  • Already under contract, sold or withdrawn properties: 12
  • Duplicates: 2

Note that 70% of Trulia’s overstated “active listings” are derived from the hunger of the masses to get “a smokin’ deal on a foreclosure.” Trulia knows that’s what buyers think they want, and so they go for all the juice they can get to improve their Google ranking by stuffing their for-sale listings with not-for-sale properties. As Kris notes:

. . . requests for more information are funneled to their website where a buyer might pay to subscribe to a foreclosure notification service or be put in touch with a “neighborhood specialist” who will likely say something like, “That home isn’t available, but we have others!”

This is why agents call Zillow and Trulia the “Land of Make Believe,” and if you use these sites, you are just “Playing Zillow (or Trulia).” Have fun.

If you want to search seriously, use a real agent’s IDX site, such as this one.

And if you are serious about buying, don’t choose an agent based on their being “Featured” next to a home you like. They bought that placement, and you’re going to help them pay for it.