We Go The Extra Yard For The Super Bowl

The Big Event is almost here, and we're not talking about "Spice World."

Sunday at 3:18 p.m., a little man wearing a helmet and a tight-fitting uniform will boot an egg-shaped ball into the air, signaling the start of the annual Super Blow, uh, Bowl. This year, it's the Cheeseheads vs. Mile High Salutes, Green vs. Orange, Favre vs. Elway, Wisconsin vs. Colorado, Budweiser frogs vs. Budweiser lizards. And as usual, the Big Game has nothing to do with the Seahawks. But that's OK. As we like to say here at Scene: If you can't join 'em, make fun of 'em. With that in mind, here are some Super tidbits to enjoy as you count down to Sunday.

Super halftime-show quiz:

The Super Bowl halftime show went showbiz a long time ago, and never turned back. So let's see how much of the real show you managed to catch.

Super Bowl XXXI

A. In last year's jailbird-themed Blues Brothers show, which real-life former jailbird was also featured in the performance lineup?

B. Now name the actor who joined Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi as part of the reconstituted Blues Brothers.

C. And, for mega-bonus points, to whom was the halftime show dedicated and why?

Super Bowl XXX

Diana Ross headlined the 1996 halftime show.

A. What was her dramatic exit from the Sun Devil Stadium?

B. What fate-tempting disco anthem was she singing when she left?

Super Bowl XXIX

The 1995 halftime show, which featured singers Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle along with 790 dancers, also included an elaborate storyline that featured a fictional movie adventurer searching for the stolen Super Bowl trophy.

A. Who?

B. Why?

Super Bowl XXVIII

In the comparatively sedate 1994 country extravaganza, there was one moment of drama. Among those featured in this year's lineup was a mother-daughter duo reunited after a two-year break. Name them.

Super Bowl XXVII

Finally, many credit the 1993 show with ushering in the era of halftime mega-concerts, with a performance by a now-fallen superstar. Who is he?

Useless facts to wow your friends

Super Bowl I (1967) vs. Super Bowl XXXII (1998)

Cost of 1 minute in advertising, '67: $85,000

Cost of 1 minute in advertising, '98: $2.6 million

Ticket prices in 1967: $6, $10, $12 (that $10 ticket in today's dollars: $48.07)

Ticket prices in 1998: $275, $350

TV audience, Super Bowl 1967: 50 million

TV audience, Super Bowl 1998: 800 million

-- The game got its name from Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, thanks to a "Super Ball" toy played with by his children.

-- More drivers are involved in alcohol-related accidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year except St. Patrick's Day, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

-- The median annual income of a Super Bowl ticket holder is $70,000, with 33 percent making over $100,000, according to the NFL.

-- Americans are projected to eat 8 million pounds of guacamole on Super Bowl Sunday (so says the California Avocado Commission, which could be just a wee bit self-serving here). - Sources: San Diego Super Bowl Host Committee; The Associated Press

Must-have Super Bowl snacks

Artery-clogging Fried Onion

Dipping sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 teaspoons ketchup 2 tablespoons cream-style horseradish

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano Dash of ground black pepper Dash of cayenne pepper

The onion 1 egg 1 cup milk 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

1/8 teaspoon cumin 1 giant Spanish onion ( 3/4 pound or more) Vegetable oil for frying

1. Prepare dipping sauce by combining ingredients and set aside. 2. Beat egg and combine with milk. 3. In separate bowl, combine flour, salt, peppers, oregano, thyme and cumin. 4. To slice onion: take 3/4 inch off top and bottom of onion. Remove papery skin. Cut 1-inch diameter out of core. Slice onion several times down center to create "petals." Slice through the center of the onion to about three-fourths of the way down. Turn the onion 90 degrees and slice it again in an X across the first slice. Continue slicing sections in half until you've cut the onion 16 times. Do not cut down to the bottom. 5. Dip the onion in the milk mixture, and then coat it liberally with dry ingredients. Separate the petals and sprinkle the dry coating between them. Dip it back into the wet mixture and into the dry coating again. Put onion in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. 6. Heat oil in deep fryer or deep pot to 350 degrees. Fry the onion right side up in oil for 10 minutes or until brown. 7. Drain on paper towels or rack. Open onion wide from the center and place a small dish of dipping sauce inside.

Never even seen one inning of football?

We'll help you survive the Super Bowl party, even if you answer "What's the spread" by saying, "why, it's pate."

To thrive amid a roomful of even the most life-lacking football fanatics, all one needs to do is rehearse a few insider-sounding phrases and drop the right cliche at the right time.

Pre-game: Before the game, you will hear a lot of discussion about who will win. During this phase of the party, the chances are good you will be asked to respond to two questions:

1. Whom do you like?

This query has nothing to do with your fellow guests. It means which team do you favor. Simply say, "The Pack is back."

2. What do you think?

You are being asked here to provide in-depth game analysis. The best way to handle this challenge is as follows: Look thoughtful for a second, then shrug, then say "turnovers," then double dip a chip into the point spread.

Kickoff: Just before the opening kickoff, there will be a lull. When everyone is quiet, take a loud, deep breath and sigh: "There's no tomorrow." The couch cognoscenti will nod in misty-eyed unison. They consider this phrase to be the essence of philosophical truth.

The game: At some point during the action, make the following observation: "They need to get into their nickel or dime more on third down." Don't worry about what this means. Just bask in the admiration.

Post-game: Rehashing a football game can go on for weeks. You can do it in one word: "intangibles." Then ask for your coat.

Plan B: While the above strategy is guaranteed to whisk you through any Super Bowl bash, there is one other sure-fire option.

Show up wearing a large yellow cheese wedge on your head. Source: Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service

Must-have Super Bowl snacks

Nuts and Bolts

(Makes about 2 quarts)

1/2 cup butter or margarine 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon seasoned salt 2 cups bite-size crispy corn squares 2 cups bite-size crispy wheat squares 2 cups ready-to-eat oat circles 2 3/4 cups salted nuts

1. Melt butter in a shallow pan over low heat. Sir in Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and seasoned salt. 2. Add cereal and nuts. Mix over low heat until all pieces are coated with butter. 3. Heat in preheated 250-degree oven 45 minutes. Spread out on an absorbent paper to cool.

Seattle organic cheese vs. Wisconsin's additive-laden stuff

Cheeseheads? Did you ever look at the ingredients of that Wisconsin stuff?

Here are some ingredients from a solid orange hunk of Maple Leaf brand cheese (sounds suspiciously like they're trying to pretend to be Canadians, with that bit about maple leaves, but they're based in Monroe, Wis.): Pasteurized cultured milk, vegetable rennet, salt, enzymes, annato, calcium chloride . . .

Calcium chloride? That sure sounds yummy.

Too bad they don't have the very-PC PCC in Cheeseland. At our favorite Puget Consumers Co-op, we picked up some locally-made Greenbank Farms (hometown: Preston) organic cheddar. It contained just organic cultured milk, vegetable enzymes and salt.

(Of course, it shared the shelf with made-in-California-where-it's-even-more-PC selections such as TofuRella, VeganRella and Zero-Fat Rella; unfortunately, we couldn't find another of the company's intriguingly named varieties, HempRella).

Oops, what's this? Organic Valley cheddar, also on the PCC shelf, is based in La Farge, Wis.! "No animal rennet, no hormones, antibiotics or pesticides!" Pretty PC.

But look at the labels: Organic Valley has a pic of slightly rolling green fields; Greenbank's features The Big Cheese in front of the majestic Cascades!

Besides, how about this conversation we heard at PCC:

Woman to clerk: "Where are the paper bags? There's nothing but plastic."

Second woman, whose shopping basket includes wheat gluten and non-meat hotdogs: "That's a really good point. I usually don't even use bags. In my Christmas letter, I said, `Say no to plastic! And make time to volunteer!' "

We just bet you wouldn't hear anything like that in Green Bay.

Super halftime-show quiz answers:

Super Bowl XXXI: A. The Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. B. John Goodman. C. Dinky Patterson, the bungee jumper killed during the production rehearsals.

Super Bowl XXX: A. She climbed into a helicopter that landed onstage and was whisked away while fireworks exploded. B. "I Will Survive."

Super Bowl XXIX: A. Indiana Jones. B. It was an elaborate, and very expensive, plug for Disneyland's new ride, The Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

Super Bowl XXVIII, Wynonna and Naomi Judd.

Super Bowl XXVII, Michael Jackson.