Adam Levine does everything right!

Normally, my insecurities, ingrained into my DNA, and giving me an excuse to hate those guys who seem perfect, would not allow me to show any respect or give any praise to the extremely talented and super-nice-guy, Adam Levine.

He is just too cool and seems to be nice to everyone he meets.  He covers Prince’s Purple Rain for Howard’s birthday bash and the performance may be his best ever!

Adam Levine, Purple Rain  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8w2lNpixqOc

Adam Levine Performs  Purple Rain  At The Howard Stern Birthday Bash on SiriusXM   YouTube

 

 

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Prince does “Creep” at 2008 Coachella- Beautiful!

One of the most beautiful “covers” ever!  It stands on its own as a masterpiece!

-Creep    Prince at Coachella 2008  Uploaded via Permission from Radiohead   NPG Music Publishing    YouTube

“Creep” – Prince at Coachella 2008 (Uploaded via Permission from Radiohead & NPG Music Publishing):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFXZNt4oLkE

 

The Final Days of Albert Einstein

This is from the Princeton University Press Blog,

November 24, 2015 by

In April of 1955, shortly after Einstein’s death, a pathologist removed his brain without the permission of his family, and stored it in formaldehyde until around 2007, shortly before dying himself. In that time, the brain of the man who has been credited with the some of the most beautiful and imaginative ideas in all of science was photographed, fragmented —small sections parceled to various researchers. His eyes were given to his ophthalmologist.

These indignities in the name of science netted several so-called findings—that the inferior parietal lobe, the part said to be responsible for mathematical reasoning was wider, that the unique makeup of the Sulvian fissure could have allowed more neurons to make connections. And yet, there remains the sense that no differences can truly account for the cognitive abilities that made his genius so striking.

Along with an exhaustive amount of information on  the personal, scientific, and public spheres of Einstein’s life, An Einstein Encyclopedia includes this well-known if macabre “brain in a jar” story. But there is a quieter one that is far more revealing of the man himself: The story in which Helen Dukas, Einstein’s longtime secretary and companion, recounts his last days. Dukas, the encyclopedia notes, was “well known for being intelligent, modest, shy, and passionately loyal to Einstein.” Her account is at once unsensational and unadorned.

One might expect a story of encroaching death, however restrained, to chronicle confusion and fear. Medically supported death was a regular occurrence by the middle of the 20th century, and Einstein died in his local hospital. But what is immediately striking from the account is the simplicity and calmness with which Einstein met his own passing, which he regarded as a natural event. The telling of this chapter is matter of fact, from his collapse at home, to his diagnosis with a hemorrhage, to his reluctant trip to the hospital and refusal of a famous heart surgeon. Dukas writes that he endured the pain from an internal hemorrhage (“the worst pain one can have”) with a smile, occasionally taking morphine. On his final day, during a respite from pain, he read the paper and talked about politics and scientific matters.

“You’re really hysterical—I have to pass on sometime, and it doesn’t really matter when.” he tells Dukas, when she rises in the night to check on him.

What did Einstein believe at the end? We can’t know, but An Einstein Encyclopedia opens with his own words,

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose….To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort or happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.

http://blog.press.princeton.edu/2015/11/24/the-final-days-of-albert-einstein/

Pike Place Market Bubble Gum Wall – Cleaned of Decay

Evoking lips by Man Ray, many pieces of gum went into this attachment to Post Alley's Gum Wall. Scheduled to be cleaned in a week.  (Tuesday Nov 3, 2015)  Seattle Times
Evoking lips by Man Ray, many pieces of gum went into this attachment to Post Alley’s Gum Wall.  Scheduled to be cleaned in a week. (Tuesday Nov 3, 2015) Seattle Times

Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a very popular tourist attraction and one of my favorite things to do at the market is to visit and even make a contribution to the Pike Place Bubble Gum Wall.  That will all change when the wall is scrubbed clean next week. Officials admit the gum will probably return, but they feel the accumulation is too much and must be removed.

Some Facts:

  • The gum wall is cleaned “every other month” with a steamer, but this will be the first time all the gum is removed
  • The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) has hired a contractor, Cascadian Building Maintenance, “because it’s going to be a very large job.”
  • The gum will be removed with an “industrial steam machine that works like a pressure washer.”
  • The machine will melt the gum with 280-degree steam; it will fall to the ground, and a two- to three-man crew will collect the gum in five-gallon buckets.
  • “This is probably the weirdest job we’ve done,” Kelly Foster, of Cascadian Building Maintenance
  • The PDA estimates 1 million pieces of gum are adhered to the walls of Post Alley, and the buildup is in some places 6 inches thick. The cleaning job is expected to cost $4,000.
  • Crawford said the gum needs to be cleaned off the walls to preserve the historic buildings in the Market district. “It was never part of the charter or the history of the Market to have the walls covered with gum,” she said. “Gum is made of chemicals, sugar, additives. Things that aren’t good for us. I can’t imagine it’s good for brick.”
  • The job will likely take three or four days.
  • “We’re not saying it can’t come back,” Crawford said. “We need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh.”

Source: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/pike-place-market-to-give-post-alley-gum-wall-a-scrubdown/

           

Kentucky Derby Facts and Information

Kentucky Derby facts:

  • First Saturday in May- The Kentucky Derby is run annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Triple Crown Part 1- The Derby is the first race in horse racing’s coveted Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
  • Greatest Two Minutes in Sports- The race is known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” for its approximate run time. The Derby is also referred to as “The Run for the Roses” due to the garland of 554 red roses draped over the winner.
  • 3-Year Old Race- The maximum age for a competing horse is three years.  All the horses are 3 years old.
  • Mint Julep-  the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. (What is a Mint Julep?)
  • Approximately 120,000 mint juleps are served annually during the two day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
  • Female Derby Champs?- Only three fillies have won the Derby: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988).
  • No Rain-outs- No Derby has ever been postponed because of rain or bad weather.

Timeline:

May 17, 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby is held. The winner is Aristides, a three-year-old chestnut colt, beating fourteen other horses.

1892 – Only three horses run the race, making it the smallest field ever for a Kentucky Derby.

1896 – The race distance is reduced from 1.5 miles to its present 1.25 miles.

1925 – N.Y. Journal-American writer Bill Corum coins the phrase “run for the roses.”

May 3, 1952 – The Kentucky Derby is televised nationally for the first time.

1956 – The first Kentucky Derby Festival is held. This annual event runs for the two weeks preceding the actual races.

1973 – Secretariat wins with a time of 1:59 minutes, setting the record for the fastest time.

May 3, 2008 – Shortly after winner Big Brown crosses the finish line, second place finisher Eight Belles suffers fractures in both front legs and falls to the ground. Due to the severity of the injuries, the filly is euthanized on the track.

Above facts: CNN

The Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875.

The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup.

No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without having raced at age two.

In 1970 Diane Crump became the first female jockey to ride in the Derby, finishing 15th aboard Fathom.

In 2005, the purse distribution for the Derby was changed, so that horses finishing fifth would henceforth receive a share of the purse; previously only the first four finishers did so.

The 2004 Derby marked the first time that jockeys, as a result of a court order, were allowed to wear corporate advertising logos on their clothing.

In 2010 Calvin Borel set a new record, being the first jockey to win 3 out of 4 consecutive Kentucky Derbys

As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville Marching Band plays Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home,” a tradition which began in 1921

The fastest time ever run in the Derby (at its present distance) was set in 1973 at 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds when Secretariat broke the record set by Northern Dancer in 1964. Not only has Secretariat’s record time stood for 41 years, but in the race itself, he did something unique in Triple Crown races: each successive quarter, his times were faster. Though times for non-winners were not recorded, in 1973 Sham finished second, two and a half lengths behind Secretariat in the same race. Using the thoroughbred racing convention of one length equaling one-fifth of a second to calculate Sham’s time, he also finished in under two minutes. Another sub-two-minute finish, only the third, was set in 2001 by Monarchos at 1:59.97

   Source: Wikipedia

Pick a horse name beginning with the letter “S”- There have been 19 winning horses in the Kentucky Derby whose names began with the letter “S.” Horses beginning with the letter ‘S’ have won 19times, and there are no winners beginning with the letters ‘Q’, ‘X’ or ‘Y’. Following is a list of the number of Derby winners followed by number of starters for each letter of the alphabet and the most recent horse to win with that letter.  Alphabet KD

Kentucky Derby 138 Fun Facts- Churchill Downs realeased this list of facts about the Kentucky Derby including; the race, the food, the wagering, the people, the horses, the trophy, the flowers, the weather, and more: 138 Kentucky Derby Fun Facts

Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, sometimes shortened to Triple Crown, consists of three races for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. Winning all three of these Thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment of a Thoroughbred racehorse. The term originated in mid-19th century England and different nations where thoroughbred racing is popular each have their own Triple Crown series.

The Triple Crown is considered to be one of the most difficult triumphs to attain in all of sports.  The three Grade 1 races run in May and early June of each year consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.  The complexity can be attributed to the grueling schedule of having to partake in three races within five weeks, each of which are at longer distances than the three-year-olds have previously run throughout their careers. The Belmont Stakes is extremely punishing as most thoroughbreds never run such a long distance (1 1/2 miles). TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS

  • Only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown: The Triple Crown winners are Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), and American Pharoah (2015)

All three Triple Crown legs are open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds.   In all three races, colts and geldings carry 126 pounds and fillies carry 121 lbs.

Kentucky Derby-  (1 1⁄4-mile) held annually at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May.  The race is one and a quarter miles.  A new points system was started in 2012 for Kentucky Derby qualification.

The Preakness Stakes (1 3⁄16-mile) held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a Grade I race run over a distance of one and 3/16 miles.

The Belmont Stakes- (1 1⁄2-mile)  held every June at Belmont Park in Egmont, New York. It is  1.5 miles in length, the longest race the horses will probably ever run.  The race is the third and final leg of the US Triple Crown, following exactly five weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. Consequently, it is run on Saturday, but never before June 5, nor after June 11.

Triple Crown Race Distances The Kentucky Derby is one and 1/4 miles, followed 2 weeks later by The Preakness, a little shorter at one and 3/16 miles.  Three weeks after the Preakness, the Belmont is the longest at one and 1/2 miles.

Triple Crown Winners Face Fresh Horses- Owners may decide to run their horse in all three races (if they are good enough) or in just one or possibly two legs of the Triple Crown.  Thus, a horse trying to win the Triple Crown will face horses in the Belmont that didn’t run in the Preakness two weeks previously.  This makes the Triple Crown even more elusive.

California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn was a bitter man after his horse lost the 2014 Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown  to Tonalist, which did not run in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.  His horse won the first two legs and Coburn didn’t think it was fair that horses were allowed to run in the Belmont even if they didn’t run in the Derby and Preakness.

Coburn, normally mild-mannered, said it was a “coward’s way out” that horses who don’t run the other two Triple Crown races come in fresh and win this.

“It’s all or nothing. It’s not fair to these horses that are running their guts out. This is a cowards’ way out,” Coburn said. “If you’ve got a horse that earns points, that runs in the Kentucky Derby, those horses should be the only ones who should run in all three races.” Read more

He later apologized for making his comments. On Good Morning America, he said was ashamed of himself for his rants after his horse came up short in its bid to win the first Triple Crown since 1978.  Coburn blamed his post-race tirade on his desire to make many people happy.  “This is America’s horse. I wanted it so much for this horse to win the Triple Crown for the people of America,” he told ABC during an emotional interview in which he held back tears. “And I was very emotional.” Read more

Triple Crown Race Records

Fastest Kentucky Derby- The mighty Secretariat holds the record for fastest Kentucky Derby, which has held since his 1973 victory in the Run for the Roses.

Secretariat Finally Gets Preakness Record- Secretariat did not hold the record in the Preakness,  however, until 2012, even though experts at the race agreed his 1973 race was indeed record-setting. The official timer had malfunctioned and the Maryland Racing Commission refused to award the record to Secretariat, It took 39 years, a movie on Secretariat,  new technology leading to even more evidence, and a rule change which allowed the use of information beyond official clockings to determine race times to convince the commission to finally declare the fastest Preakness ever was run by the mighty Secretariat.

Fastest Belmont- The fastest Belmont Stakes was also clocked by Secretariat and since it is rare for horses to run one and a half miles anymore, this record might not be broken for a long time.  In the 1973 Belmont Stakes, Secretariat won the race by an amazing 31 lengths!

Interesting Facts

Sham- In the 1973 Kentucky Derby, Secretariat defeated Sham, who was runner-up in the Derby and Preakness, even though Sham ran one of the 4 fastest Kentucky Derby times recorded.

Alydar- In 1978, Alydar finished a close second to Triple Crown winner Affirmed in all three races, a feat not achieved before or repeated since. He has been described as the best horse in the history of Thoroughbred racing never to have won a championship.  In all three legs of the Triple Crown, Alydar lost to Affirmed by a combined total of less than two lengths.

Read Quiet was Real Close- In 1998, Real Quiet won the Derby and Preakness and was winning the Belmont, but could not hold on as Victory Gallop edged him out by a nose. Visa had offered $5 million to a Triple Crown winner, and owner Mike Pegram was just a nose away from that $5 million!

Seattle Slew-In 1977, Seattle Slew became the first horse to win the Triple Crown undefeated.

Triple Crown near misses:  A total of 22 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but did not win the Belmont.  Nine of these near misses have been since 1997. Big Brown just missed the Triple Crown when he was pulled up at Belmont in 2008. In 2012, I’ll Have Another won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but was scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes, due to tendonitis. In 2014, California Chrome finished in a tie for 4th place, extending the longest Triple Crown drought in history, which ended one year later when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown in 2015.

  • Since 1978, 13 horses have won the first two races, but have fallen short of the Triple Crown:  1979- Spectacular Bid, 1981- Pleasant Colony, 1987- Alysheba, 1989- Sunday Silence, 1997- Silver Charm, 1998- Real Quiet, 1999- Charismatic, 2002- War Emblem, 2003 Funny Cide, 2004- Smarty Jones, 2008- Big Brown, 2012- I’ll Have Another, 2014- California Chrome
  • There have been 46 horses who won two out of the three Triple Crown races but only 21 who won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in the Belmont Stakes.

Preakness- Two weeks after Derby- Enough rest? Derby Champ to win Preakness?

California Chrome wins the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.  Recent history shows he has a good chance of winning again in the Preakness!
California Chrome wins the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. Recent history shows he has a good chance of winning again in the Preakness!

It sometimes doesn’t seem fair when the winner of the Kentucky Derby is defeated in Baltimore two weeks later by a horse that didn’t even race in the Derby.  However, often times there is a repeat, and the first two legs of the Triple Crown are captured yet again, only to break the hearts of millions, 3 weeks later in the Belmont.

The Kentucky Derby is just tough to predict and even good handicapers may rarely cash in winning tickets.  A good bet in the Preakness Stakes is to stay on the winner in Kentucky.  An even better bet 3 weeks later in the Belmont, is to get off that horse, the Belmont is a heartbreaker, plain and simple.   The Belmont is the impossible leg of the Triple Crown, hope for it, but bet against it.

Just three horses from the Kentucky Derby field will start in the Preakness this Saturday, continuing a trend in recent years, with many claiming the two-week period between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes isn’t enough rest for the horses.

The belief that horses need lengthy rest between races has become part of the orthodoxy of the sport. It’s a radical change from the past. In the 1950s and ’60s, good horses often raced with a week’s rest (or less). Now 3-year-olds get their final prep race three, four or five weeks before the Derby, and so the 14-day layoff before the Preakness looks like a daunting challenge.

Why do modern-day thoroughbreds need such gentle handling? The change in training philosophy may have occurred because horses are less robust than their forebears. It may have to do with the almost-universal use of Lasix; the diuretic causes horses to lose significant weight, and they need time to recover from a race. Many leading trainers are believers in the Ragozin Sheets and the Thoro-graph speed figures, both of which espouse the philosophy that horses will “bounce” — i.e., run an inferior race — if they run back too quickly from a peak effort. Five-time Preakness-winning trainer Bob Baffert believes that the Derby’s now-common fields of 20 horses puts so much stress on runners that they need more time to recover than the Preakness allows.

Preakness Stakes updates:Because the trainer of a Derby winner will almost always take a shot at the Triple Crown, the Preakness is one of the few races in which top horses will run with two weeks’ rest. The results at Pimlico contradict the belief that this short layoff is too difficult for the horses.

Kentucky Derby winners regularly come back to deliver smashing performances in Baltimore: Funny Cide (2003) won by nearly 10 lengths, Smarty Jones (2004) won by 11.5  Big Brown (2008) by 5.5. In 2012 I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister finished 1-2 in the Derby, then ran much faster in the Preakness and finished 1-2 again. None of them bounced. When Derby winners have flopped in Baltimore — such as Orb in 2013 and Super Saver in 2010 — the explanation may be that they benefited from perfect trips at Churchill and didn’t get such an easy setup at Pimlico.

Article: A fortnight’s rest is often not enough these days, which hurts the Preakness field

Bet on the Kentucky Derby Champion to win the Preakness The paragraph above explains why many bet with a strategy of choosing the Kentucky Derby Champion to win again in the Preakness, which is very similar at in length, the Preakness being  just 1/16 of a mile shorter than the Derby.  However, if the horse does win both  the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, staying on that horse as it tries for a triple crown is wishful thinking, as it just hasn’t been done since 1978!

“Selfie” in1920

"Selfie in 1920
“Selfie in 1920”   Click on photo for full size

This 1920 version of the “selfie” was on an excellent Twitter page, History in Pictures

Users can browse through a variety of fascinating photographs, with new ones added daily.

George Brett Story

George Brett Shits Pants- This is a true classic.  I like the look on the players faces as they listen to him tell the story.  At the end of his story, he shifts gears and gets right back into the game, ha:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PseNrUeSmXk#t=47

Gary Player says “Arnold Pooped On Green” in Japan-  I think there is a little “lost in translation” here with Player’s South African English seeming to label farting as pooping.  Gary Player is a classy guy and iron tough, even at his age: http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2014/4/9/5597634/heres-a-story-about-arnold-palmer-pooping-on-a-green

 

Augusta National, The Masters- 2014

The big course change/update this year is the absence of the Eisenhower Tree, which was probably the most famous tree in golf and one of the most famous landmarks in golf.

The Eisenhower Tree in 2011.
The Eisenhower Tree in 2011 at Augusta National, Augusta Georgia.

The tree  was a loblolly pine. It stood about 65 feet  tall and was located on the 17th hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, approximately 210 yards (190 m) from the Masters tee on the left side of the fairway. It was estimated to be 100 to 125 years old at the time it died.
The tree was named after President Eisenhower, an Augusta National member.  Ike hit the tree while playing golf so many times that, at a 1956 club meeting, he proposed that it be cut down. Not wanting to offend the president, the club’s chairman, Clifford Roberts, immediately adjourned the meeting rather than reject the request. The tree was linked to Eisenhower ever since.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne released a short statement confirming the demise of the famous tree (via Golf Channel): “The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept. We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible …”

The Eisenhower Tree before and after the February 2014 ice storm.  It has been completely removed from the 17th.

In 2011, Tiger Woods was playing a shot from underneath the Eisenhower and damaged his left knee and Achilles tendon when he slipped on some pine straw. The injuries sidelined him until August 2011 and his world ranking dropped to 58th.

Woods under the Eisenhower Tree in The 2011 Masters Tournament.

Augusta National Golf Club is a private with a restricted membership list, and many fans know the course well. The course was formerly a plant nursery and each hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated. Here is a tour of the course, hole-by-hole.  2014 Masters- Augusta National Golf Club course guide

The  Masters Tournament, is one of the four major championships in professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course.  It is also the first major of the season, played in early April.

Sources:   Wikipedia- Augusta National Golf Club

SBNation: Eisenhower Tree Removed

ESPN: Ike’s tree lives only as a memory

Tiger Woods is out for the 2014 Masters

Tiger Woods will miss the 2014 Masters and his chance at a 5th Masters title and the accompanying green jacket!  Read about it HERE

The 2014 Masters:  http://www.masters.com/en_US/index.html

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975)] is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. Currently the World No. 1, he has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.  See some of his impressive achievements below. (Most taken from Wikipedia, see links at bottom of post)

Childhood Achievements:

  • He was a child prodigy, introduced to golf before the age of two, by his athletic father Earl, a single-figure handicap amateur golfer
  •  At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes over the Cypress Navy course
  • Before turning seven, Tiger won the Under Age 10 section of the Drive, Pitch, and Putt competition, held at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California.
  • He first broke 80 at age eight
  • In 1984 at the age of eight, he won the 9–10 boys’ event, the youngest age group available, at the Junior World Golf Championships.
  • He went on to win the Junior World Championships six times
  • Tiger first defeated his dad at the age of 11 years, with Earl trying his best. Earl lost to Tiger every time from then on
  • First broke 70 on a regulation golf course at age 12
  • At the age of 15, Woods became the youngest ever U.S. Junior Amateur champion (a record which stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010)
  • In 1993, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship; he remains the event’s only three-time winner
  • In 1994, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida, he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record he held until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee
  • Graduated from Western High School, in Anaheim, CA in 1994 at age 18, and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” among the graduating class.

College Career- Golfing at Stanford University

  • He enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship, winning his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, that September
  • He was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford’s Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports)
  • Woods participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters Tournament, and tied for 41st as the only amateur to make the cut.
  • At age 20 in 1996, he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles and won the NCAA individual golf championship

Professional Career

  • Woods became a professional golfer in August 1996, and immediately signed deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time
  • Woods turned professional in 1996, and by April 1997 he had already won his first major, the Masters, becoming the tournament’s youngest-ever winner.
  • The 1997 Masters in a record-breaking performance, winning the tournament by 12 strokes
  • He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997.
  • In the 2000 U.S. Open, he broke or tied nine tournament records in what Sports Illustrated called “the greatest performance in golf history,” in which Woods won the tournament by a 15-stroke margin .
  • Through the 2000’s, Woods was the dominant force in golf.

Fall from the top- From December 2009 to early April 2010, Woods took leave from professional golf to focus on his marriage after he admitted infidelity. His many extra-marital indiscretions were revealed by several different women, through many worldwide media sources. This was followed by a loss of golf form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011.

Back on top-  Ended a career-long win less streak of 107 weeks when he captured the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, 2013, he ascended to the No.1 ranking once again.

Tiger’s Golf Records:

  • He has been world number one for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any other golfer.
  • He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record eleven times
  • Leader of money list in ten different seasons.
  • Has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18) and 79 PGA Tour events, second all time behind Sam Snead, who had 82 wins.
  • He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer.
  • He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, . Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times.
  • Is the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour
  • Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods

Official Website: http://www.tigerwoods.com/home

 PGA Tour- Tiger Woods:  http://www.pgatour.com/players/player.08793.tiger-woods.html

Blowing in the Bottle, and Chops!

I knew Mungo Jerry did “In the Summertime,” but until I saw this video I was not aware of the influence of the bottle in this song.  Check it out, and don’t miss the chops!

Rivalry Weekend in Pac-12

Rivalry Weekend: Each year in late November, rivalry weekend brings upsets, bragging rights, huge crowds, office jokes, family feuds and much, much more.  Here are some of the games that make the Pac-12 special:

The Apple Cup- The Apple Cup is the trophy awarded to the winner of an American college football rivalry game played annually by the teams of the two largest public universities in the U.S. state of Washington: the University of Washington (UW) Huskies and the Washington State University (WSU) Cougars. More

The Civil War-  an American college football rivalry game played annually by the Oregon Ducks football team of the University of Oregon and Oregon State Beavers football team of Oregon State University. First played in 1894, it is the seventh most played college football rivalry game in the United States. MORE

The Territorial Cup- The Arizona–Arizona State football rivalry, sometimes known as the Duel in the Desert, is a college football rivalry between the University of Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State University Sun Devils. The winner receives the Territorial Cup, the oldest trophy in college football. The two schools first played in 1899, and the game now continues annually as a Pacific-12 Conference match-up. It is part of the wider Arizona–Arizona State rivalry, which crosses all sports.  More

Territorial: The History of the Duel in the Desert

UCLA–USC Rivalry- The UCLA–USC rivalry is the American college rivalry between the UCLA Bruins sports teams of the University of California, Los Angeles and USC Trojans sports teams of the University of Southern California.
Both universities are located in Los Angeles. The rivalry between the two is among the more unusual in NCAA Division I sports because the campuses are only 12 miles (19 km) apart, and both are located within the same city. The close proximity of both alumni and students, and the likelihood of encountering each other and interacting on a daily basis make this one of the most intense college rivalries in the United States. MORE

The Big Game-  The Big Game is an American college football rivalry game played by the California Golden Bears football team of the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Cardinal football team of Stanford University. It is typically played in late November or early December and the rivalry. First played in 1892, it is the ninth most played college football rivalry game in the United States.  MORE

The Play-  The Play refers to a last-second kickoff return during a college football game between the University of California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday, November 20, 1982. Given the circumstances and rivalry, the wild game that preceded it, the very unusual way in which The Play unfolded, and its lingering aftermath on players and fans, it is recognized as one of the most memorable plays in college football history and among the most memorable in American sports.  More on The Play   Video of “The Play” 

Alaska is Huge! Also a link to the best map of USA ever made!

ReDiscover the USA / Alaska is so big that…

…if Alaska were divided into two states of equal area, Texas would be our 3rd largest state, even if it included Louisiana. –Dave Imus

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Russia had acquired Alaska in the mid-18th century and wanted to sell the vast territory.  In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, after very intense negotiations, was able to help the USA to buy Alaska from Russia, for $7.2 million. This worked out to a cost of roughly two cents an acre, which is an amazing price, even back then.  However, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s folly,” and “Seward’s icebox,” and it was ratified by the U.S. Senate by a margin of just one vote!  Of course nobody could predict the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896, or the wealth of the oil fields and other resources abundant in Alaska, making the purchase one of the best deals in history.   More info:  HERE

This map and info on Alaska is from a FaceBook post put out by the company that makes these maps, Imus Geographics. (I have nothing to do with the company, I’m just sharing a great map/company) My father-in-law bought me a copy of The Essential Geography of the USA,, made by company founder and owner, cartographer Dave Imus.  It is the best map I have ever seen!  I absolutely love geography and this map is at the very top of the list!  Read all about the map and even order one of your own at the website below.

“Until the publication of the Essential Geography of the USA, Americans lacked the most basic tool of geographic understanding, a general map of the place we call “home.” By allowing us to visualize the basic layout of our country, the Essential Geography, the first and only general map of the United States, has the power to increase awareness and understanding of basic US geography, and help start a new tradition of geographic literacy in America.”

Thank you,

David Imus, Cartographer

The best map ever made of the USA:  http://www.imusgeographics.com/map-of-the-usa

Links to various maps of states and regions in the USA:  http://www.imusgeographics.com/maps-of-the-states-of-the-usa

Website:  The Essential Geography of the United States of America: LINK

 

Yosemite’s Frazil Ice and Giant Snow Cone (and Horsetail Fall)

This unique phenomenon takes place in March and April, in Yosemite National Park, as a slurry of slushy, watery, snow pushes down Yosemite Creek and into the Yosemite Valley.   A giant snow cone is formed under the falls and pieces of ice fall off the cliff onto the cone. (watch at about 4:30 for the snow cone)

“Horsetail Fall looks like a glowing fire fall in February” (6:53)  See additional video below

“The Snowcone, at the base of Upper Yosemite Fall” (7:00)

Frazil Ice

Horsetail Fall – At about 4:00 watch people push coals over the edge to put on a show for spectaors below

And they continue to punt!

It is amazing that this has not been more of an issue and a topic of intense and widespread discussion.  Teams at every level of football continue to punt on 4th down when the numbers show that in most situations, coaches should run a play instead of punting on 4th down. Punting should be a rare event, a unique novelty, talked about but seldom seen. It will be interesting to look back at this conservative approach to the offensive game, even in programs running wide-open, offenses.  If high-scoring, yard-gobbling teams commonly punt, one can only wonder about the wasted opportunities. How much better could teams have been with logical and open-minded coaching?

Football coaches have been trained to punt since they learned the game.  As players and as assistant coaches, punting was called almost automatically on 4th down with some rare exceptions.  This way of playing is ingrained in coaches minds and nobody questions or argues when the punting team is sent to the field to use their remaining play of the series and kick the ball back to the other team.  Giving that team a first down and a chance to score. (That is if the other team is stopped before returning the punt for a touchdown, or a yardage gain which essentially cancels out the reason for punting in the first place.)  It is much safer for coaches to punt, and the risk-reward payout leans toward punting, thereby eliminating many scoring opportunities and applying the brakes to offensive production.  They could play that fourth down and increase their chances of scoring and winning the game, and giving the fans a more exciting, better coached game. This could have a positive mental impact on their team and cold build confidence and morale.  It could also make a statement to opposing teams and help win the psychological battle always present in any athletic event. However,the ridicule coaches risk facing if they fail or fall short of earning a first down can be damaging to their reputations and job safety, and possibly their head coaching careers.  If they were able to see what would happen if they changed their mindset and played aggressive football, the call would be almost automatic. “Go for it!”

Hire me as part of any coaching staff.  I can guarantee any team will gain more yards, score more points and probably win more games if they hire me as their 4th Down Assistant Coach.  On any 4th down situation, I make the call.  Every single time I wave off the punting team and give the team and the fans what they want, an opportunity to gain yards, score and win games! If it makes no sense to punt, why do coaches continue to almost unanimously choose punting over getting another chance to earn a first down, gain yards, and/or score?  Coaches and players are entrenched in the game and often in the position and small portion of the game for which they are responsible. Can they get a view of the entire game from their super-focused situation?  How many players or even coaches have detailed and extensive knowledge of the entire game?  Not many.  There is so much to learn about each specific facet of the game, unless the opportunity presents itself or someone is forced into it, they probably don’t have the time, energy or most important of all, the passion to care about other positions, duties and responsibilities beyond the one in which they are immersed.

Game changer Looking at it one way, not punting opens up one more down and therefore one more chance for a team to earn a first down.  A team could also score while they earn that first down. However, using all four downs to score does much more than allow one more opportunity to convert.  Once players (and players collectively playing as a team) know they have four downs, they have a new way of looking at each down.  Conversely, defenses also aware that a team will strike at them with all four opportunities, need to adjust and react to this new offensive approach.  In this era of punt-mania, the teams choosing to eliminate punting will face defenses with no experience defending this 4-stike attack and will inevitably make mistakes.  This opens up scoring chances and games as these defenses lose confidence and the offense builds even more momentum.

Eliminating punting changes the individual characteristics of each of four downs. First down becomes a new type of down never seen in organized football. This is a play which is guaranteed to be followed by three punt-free plays. (Unless there is a score or a turnover, running out of time, etc…)  Sure, this happens when teams have 1st and goal, or 1st and 10 inside 30 yards of their target end zone, but not when a team is in their own territory with a huge field full of opportunity spread out in front of them.  Even in the rare situation where teams will play all four downs without punting, the entire situation is different since these teams normally punt and have no experience and have not developed the new mind-set and philosophy and all the positive attributes that come with this new approach.  This is all new territory…. Second downs are called and played with far less pressure and allow wide-open plays, similar to traditional first downs.  Third down doesn’t have the coin-toss type of drama, forcing fans to cross their fingers and pray for a first down and avoid yet another series ending with the punting team jogging on to the field to punt the ball, and give up another opportunity for the offense to play (players have worked hard year round to prepare for very limited opportunities and they end up giving many away, one for sure each time the punting team takes the field.)

Failing to earn first downs can be tough on morale.  Choosing to never punt should increase the number of first downs earned and thereby lessen this loss of morale experienced by failed 3rd downs.  The no-punt offense can boost confidence and excitement when first downs are earned as a result of the increased number of downs, which also make more big plays possible. This positive momentum is also affected simply by experiencing the new dynamics of this approach, which can confuse, exhaust and frustrate defenses which are accustomed to the traditional three-downs and out (punt) system.  We can all visualize a punting team jogging onto the field, heads hanging a little bit, as they are about to attempt to recoup 30 or 40 yards of field position after the offense just failed to score.  They have little chance to score with this play and this is another opportunity squandered.  Why run plays that don’t give a team a chance to score?  The impact on a team’s fan base will be significant.  Those coaches who are the first to successfully execute a punt-less approach will not only see a rise in offensive production, scores and wins, but will also attract attention from all levels and formats of the media. Fans will respond with enthusiasm and teams will experience increased season tickets sales. College programs will see a rise in donations and a variety of support for the football program, the athletic program and the school.

References

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=40

“The average punt in high school nets you 30 yards, but we convert around half our fourth downs, so it doesn’t make sense to give up the ball,” Kelley says. “Besides, if your offense knows it has four downs instead of three, it totally changes the game. I don’t believe in punting and really can’t ever see doing it again.” Kevin Kelley, head coach of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark.  Read More:   Just Go For It! A coach’s case for kicking conventional wisdom to the curb

The punt seems to contradict football’s essence, as coaches voluntarily relinquish the ball even though they have at least one more chance to move it forward. “If everyone agrees out of fear or ignorance to sort of play ultraconservative, nobody really has an advantage,” Burke said. “There’s no development, no evolution. Coaches have strategies that are generations behind where the sport really is. It’s going to take someone to stick their neck out.”  Read more at NY Times-Punting Less Can Be Rewarding but Coaches Aren’t Risking Jobs on It

New Yorker Magazine piece makes a case against punting on 4th down:  It is not news that we often act against our own interest. Human nature yanks us in so many ways as to make rational decision-making almost impossible. Parents give their teen-agers cars and cell phones. Much of the middle class votes Republican. And N.F.L. head coaches continue to punt the ball on fourth down. A paper by David Romer (PDF), a professor of political economy at the University of California at Berkeley, has become “the gospel for the antipunting faction.” Romer’s determination, after studying punt data from 1998 to 2004, was that teams should never punt when facing fourth down with less than four yards to go for the first, regardless of where they are on the field. Other analysis has suggested that teams should never punt from inside their opponent’s forty-yard line. As a corollary, they should always go for a touchdown, rather than a field goal, from inside the five-yard line.

The archetype for non-punting football has become a high-school team in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Pulaski Academy Bruins do not return punts (fumbles and penalties outweigh big returns, they say), they perform onside kicks after almost every score, and they never, ever punt. Last season, they went undefeated and won the state title.  Read more- THE CASE AGAINST PUNTING

Here is an example of a coach who is out of punters but keeps punting anyway:   Raiders – Chargers game(9/11/12) gave one team a unique opportunity to implement the no-punt strategy.  With the Raiders’ long-snapper hurt, the Raiders coach had a much less risk-averse reason to try always going for it on fourth down. Especially after the first punt was blown and the punter tackled with the ball, who could blame the coach for going for it on fourth every time? Alas, he proceeded to attempt more punts, and three in a row were blocked or otherwise blown.   (Freakonomics.com)

In this post I’ll explain, as clearly and simply as possible, why the evidence points to a more aggressive attack on 4th down.”  The 4th Down Study – Part 1

This article has stats and even a calculator to help make decisions based n statistical data:  Are NFL Teams Making a Mistake by Punting on 4th Down? When Economists Talk, Pulaski Academy Listens

  • Don’t punt on the opponent’s side of the field.
  • Really consider going for it on 4th down after crossing your own 40.
  • Field goals only make sense if there are more than 5 yards to go and you are between the 10 and 30 yard lines.
  • If you’re in opponent territory and these two criteria aren’t true, you should be going for it.   Fourth Down Decisions: Never Punt With Tebow

Orb will be challenged in Preakness Stakes by Departing, a boyhood friend!

Orb finishes hard in the mud to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby
Orb finishes hard in the mud to win the 2013 Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby winner Orb could face five of his beaten rivals in the May 18 Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, including Departing, from the same Clairborne Farm as Orb.

  • The numbers for the 1 3/16-mile middle leg of the Triple Crown is notorious for fluctuating greatly.
  • So far, Derby horses besides Orb running in the Preakness are: , sixth-place Oxbow, eighth-place Will Take Charge and 17th place Goldencents is “a strong possibility.” Fifth-place Mylute and 15th place Itsmyluckyday termed “60-40” to run by trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.
  • Preakness candidates who did not run in the Preakness are headed by Departing, the Illinois Derby winner. Others under consideration are Sunland Derby winner Govenor Charlie, who skipped the Derby after missing some training with a foot bruise; Fear the Kitten, unable to run in the Derby as the 21st horse in preference; and Bellarmine, winner of a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on the Derby undercard.
  • Departing is co-owned by Claiborne Farm, the same Paris, Ky., farm where Orb was born and raised for Claiborne’s long-time clients, the Phipps family and Stuart Janney III. When Orb is retired to a stallion career, it almost assuredly will be at Claiborne. In fact, Orb and Departing actually were raised in the same paddock at Claiborne.

Source:  http://blogs.courier-journal.com/racing/2013/05/05/preakness-2013-derby-winner-orb-will-face-departing/

Preakness Stakes: http://www.preakness.com/

Kentucky Derby Fees- Horses

The fees to own and race a horse in the Kentucky Derby go beyond buying a horse or breeding a horse capable of qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.  Owners are faced with decisions as they navigate an interesting fee system for the Triple Crown races. (This same system is used for the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes)

Many owners pay a relatively small fee early on, if they feel their horse has  a chance at qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.  The fee goes up geometrically as the date of the race approaches.

  • The nomination fee an owner pays to make a horse eligible for the Kentucky Derby is $600 per horse — if you register during the “early period,” which runs through late January. After that, the fee goes up to $6,000 through late March. Last-minute entries will pay a supplemental fee of $200,000.
  • The entry fee for the Kentucky Derby is another $25,000. Another $25,000 is paid if the horse enters the starting gate. By now, the owner has also paid entry fees at a number of other races through the winter and spring as the trainers prepare the horses in “prep” races.

Link: http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/dollars/post/_/id/3423/the-cost-of-owning-a-kentucky-derby-horse

The Redesigned $100 Note

Front view of the new $100 bill, which will begin circulation in October, 2013

The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced that the redesigned $100 note will begin circulating on October 8, 2013. This note, which incorporates new security features such as a blue, 3-D security ribbon, will be easier for the public to authenticate but more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.  Full press release: http://www.newmoney.gov/stakeholder/journalist/release_04242013.htm

The Redesigned $100 Note
The new $100 note is the latest denomination of U.S. currency to be redesigned. Over a decade of research and development went into its new security features.  Read more:  http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/default.aspx

New Security Features
The advanced security features offer a simple and subtle way to verify that a new $100 note is real.

  • 3-D Security Ribbon-  Look for a blue ribbon on the front of the note. Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the blue ribbon. You will see the bells change to 100s as they move. 
  • Bell in the Inkwell- Look for an image of a color-shifting bell, inside a copper-colored inkwell, on the front of the new $100 note.

Additional Design and Security Features

  •  Portrait Watermark- Hold the note to light and look for a faint image of Benjamin Franklin in the blank space to the right of the portrait. The image is visible from either side of the note.
  • Also:  security thread, a color-shifting “100” on bill, raised printing, and more.

Security Features:  http://www.newmoney.gov/uscurrency/redesigned100.htm

Many additional features are included in the redesigned bill for added security

Neil Diamond at Fenway Park

Boston showed the world how to overcome a tragedy, by joining together and refusing to be victims.  There is a lot of pain, but the people of Boston showed why they and their city are so special and they made us all proud!

  • Neil Diamond surprised baseball fans at Boston’s Fenway Park on Saturday, taking the field during a Red Sox game to lead the crowd in a sing-along of his classic hit, “Sweet Caroline.”
  • The 1969 song has been an eighth-inning ritual for some time now, played at every Fenway game since 2002.
  • Diamond reportedly flew in to the city just to attend the game.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/videos/neil-diamond-leads-sweet-caroline-sing-along-at-fenway-park-20130420#ixzz2R9VbUjef

 

Yankees play “Sweet Caroline”/Honor Boston

Sweet Caroline at Yankee Stadium 4/16/13 to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Classy gesture by the Yankees and Yankee fans showing respect.

Adam Scott Wins 2013 Masters!

Adam Scott wins the Masters Green Jacket in  playoff!
Adam Scott wins the Masters Green Jacket in playoff!

On a rainy Sunday in Augusta, Georgia, Australian Adam Scott, 32, captured his first green jacket by winning Augusta National’s Masters Tournament.  Argentinian Angel Cabrera,43, who was the 2009 champ, was trying to earn his second green jacket and came close with a clutch birdie putt on the 18th, forcing a playoff with Scott, who had finished a group ahead. They tied on the first playoff hole, # 18, when each scored a birdie, then went to the 10th, where both had similar drives and approach shots.  When Cabrerra’s birdie putt came painfully close, Scott made an amazing putt to take the title. No Masters sudden-death playoff has gone past 2 playoff holes since the current system was adopted in 1976. (Replacing the 10-hole playoff) Cabrerra had been there before, winning his  title in a 3-way playoff with Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.  Overall, this was the 17th playoff at Augusta. (See link below)

Winning the Masters is huge.  Champions get a life time exemption to The Masters, a 5 year exemption on the PGA Tour and a 5 year exemption to the other 3 majors.  They get their name on the Masters trophy, access to the Masters Champions Locker Room, over $1.3 million in prize money,  and they are awarded the coveted green jacket. (although after one year, they must give the jacket back)  Champions also get to host the following year’s Champions Dinner.  HERE

Who gets invited?-  The Masters invites the smallest field of the majors, generally under 100 players.

  • World’s top 50 prior to the event
  • Former Masters champions 
  • Current champions and top finishers of the major amateur championships. (Major tournament champions earn 5 year exemptions)
  • Most of the previous year’s PGA Tour winners
  • Official Masters Qualification for Invitation list: HERE
  • 2012 amendments to the invitation system HERE

Masters Playoff History: HERE.

Historical Records and Stats and Past Masters Champions: HERE

2012- Year in Review

Google Zeitgeist 2012- Year in Review- What did the world search for?

The Zeitgeist- (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought which typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time. For example, the Zeitgeist of modernism  typified and influenced architecture, art, and fashion during much of the 20th century.

www.google.com/zeitgeist/  1.2 trillion searches. 146 languages. See what the world searched for.

Google’s revealed its annual list of the year’s top searches, with the death of Whitney Houston gleaning more requests than even the Gangnam Style juggernaut and site powering over 1.2 trillion searches. One Direction topped the most searched image category, while events like Hurricane Sandy and the Olympics made an impact both in the primary top ten and the people we searched for. The top searched-for gadgets saw a conspicuous absence of the iPhone 5, likely due to its launch in the second half of the year. The new iPad (well, iPad 3) claiming first place, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy S III. We’ve included Google‘s obligatory uplifting video after the break, if you’ve already started to forget what happened this year.

Top 10 Global Searches

  1. Whitney Houston
  2. Gangnam Style
  3. Hurricane Sandy
  4. iPad 3
  5. Diablo 3
  6. Kate Middleton
  7. Olympics 2012
  8. Amanda Todd
  9. Michael Clarke Duncan
  10. BBB12

These were the top 10 news stories, according to the Associated Press:  Click HERE

USA today’s top stories:  HERE

Reuters 2012- Year in Review: HERE

Google “Street View” Expands

Google Street View Product Manager Ryan Falor controls the Trekker with his Android device.

In its ongoing effort to create the perfect map of the world at ground level, Google took a trek into the Grand Canyon this week. Although this is part of its Google Maps Street View project, there are of course no streets in the national park.

 

 

Read more:  http://www.technewsworld.com/story/76473.html

Just One Night!

Get a vintage stereo, or use anything you have and kick back, relax, and listen to Eric Clapton’s, Just One Night.  It is a live album recorded in Tokyo, in 1980.  It speaks for itself, a classic!

Early in the Morning

Worried life Blues

Double Trouble

NASA Curiosity

The Rover Curiosity carries the most advanced scientific gear ever used on Mars.

Curiosity to land on Mars.  Article: click here

Although at first glance the mission seems a lot like the others, it is bigger and more complex than ever.  Are Americans even aware that this spacecraft is hurtling toward Mars and about to land and explore our neighboring planet?   Or does the public need new territory as opposed to advancing science and studying a place we have already visited?  Do Americans feel threatened by the new competition from Europe and China?  Is it a blow to national pride that we rely solely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to shuttle humans and much of the supplies to the International Space Station and back?   I remember the Viking missions of the 1970s, then the Pathfinder in 1996 and the Odyssey in 2001. (although I did have to look up the years of those missions)  The Soviet Union was actually the first to send a ship to the planet, which crashed in 1960 and Japan and the European Union have also done some exploring, and now the Chinese are also giving it a go.

Spacecraft to Mars:  http://starryskies.com/solar_system/mars/spacecraft.html

Curiosity is bigger and better, but is it exciting for the average American?  One big problem facing NASA is where else do we go and explore?  The immense distances just in our own solar system are mind boggling and tough to even comprehend.  We have many amazing minds working on these missions and we continue to learn and improve technology.

Hubble Space Telescope- In my opinion,the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the best things we have done is space and Ultra Deep Field is some good proof of how important it has been to broaden our horizons.  The image was the deepest image ever taken by humans, was taken in a dark portion of the sky, and looked back some 13 billion years.

About Ultra Deep Field-  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Ultra-Deep_Field

The image was taken from an area equal to roughly one thirteen-millionth of the total area of the sky.  Still, over 10,000 galaxies were identified.  This could well be one of the biggest human achievements in history.

The Image- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hubble_ultra_deep_field_high_rez_edit1.jpg

Back to Curiosity- “… the space agency is tempting fate with a novel approach that involves a big parachute, a specially designed winch, and some very high hopes.”   http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57485016-76/how-nasa-tests-an-against-all-odds-mars-rover-landing/

Some facts on Curiosity:

  •  Mars Science Laboratory rover cost $2.5 billion
  •  Curiosity is a two-year mission.
  • For the first 90 days of the mission, controllers will work together as if each day were 24 hours and 40 minutes long — the approximate length of a Martian day.
  • Curiosity rover is big as a car, and contains a nuclear reactor for power. Its landing mechanism, the “sky crane,” represents a new way of delivering a payload onto the Martian surface. For the first time, this rover possesses a laser with which to vaporize rock and conduct experiments.  Link:  Click Here

Excellent website from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/

NASA continues to dazzle, amaze and spark our Curiosity!

Charismatic’s close finish, and others

Charismatic came out of a claiming race race 3 months before the Kentucky Derby and fired off as a 31-1 longshot, winning the 1999 Derby and Preakness. Charismatic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charismatic_(horse)  He was injured in the Belmont, but still finished 3rd, as jockey Chris Antley quickly dismounted and held up his leg, probably saving the horse’s life.  Sadly, Antley would be found dead less than 2 years later:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Antley 

Jockey Chris Antley dismounts to hold foot of Charismatic

Charismatic’s broken leg ends a promising racing career:  http://tinyurl.com/7wsv6mx

Video of the 1999 Belmont Stakes: http://tinyurl.com/83tlw7q

Charismatic is just one of many who have come close to winning the elusive Triple Crown: http://www.drf.com/news/triple-crown-near-misses-charismatic-1999

Triple Crown near-misses since the Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. (Click names below for information and videos)

Spectacular Bid (1979) Pleasant Colony (1981) Alysheba (1987) Sunday Silence (1989)
Silver Charm (1997) Real Quiet (1998) Charismatic (1999) War Emblem (2002)
Funny Cide (2003) Smarty Jones (2004) Big Brown (2008)

Almost- A list of all those who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but lost their triple crown chance in the Belmont Stakes. Click to open Pdf file: Triple Crown Almost

Rodney King- Interesting Individual

  Rodney King ended up playing a part in American culture, politics, violence and peace, he never intended to play.  He was a reluctant figure in civil rights, a victim, a peace-maker and an occasional criminal.  Quite a mix.  He appreciated life, yet died at the relatively young age of 47 years.

Many of us who followed the story focused on the verdict and the violence the broke out after it was announced.   The public was also concerned about who was at fault in the violent arrest, which was caught on film and played in the media over and over as we all became jurors in the case.  However, what many don’t realize, or may have forgotten, is the severity of the injuries suffered by King, or the emotional and mental anguish he dealt with following the riots which took the lives of 53 people.

Below: NPR with an interesting piece on Rodney King-

Audio with text transcript:   http://www.npr.org/2012/04/27/151526928/rodney-king-two-wrongs-dont-make-a-right

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/06/18/155270776/rodney-king-what-i-had-to-do-was-make-it-better

There will not be another, this year…

Horse racing’s hope for its first Triple Crown winner in 34 years were dashed Friday. I’ll Have Another, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes last month, was scratched on the eve of the Belmont Stakes, ending his attempt to become just the 12th horse in history to win all three races.   http://tinyurl.com/bthf47r

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/tim_layden/06/08/ill.have.another.out/index.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/i-ll-have-another-is-out-of-belmont-stakes-trainer-o-neill-says.html

Hat Tip to Secretariat

09 Jun 1973, Elmont, New York, USA — The field is so far behind, jockey Ron Turcotte has to turn in the saddle to look for it as he guides Secretariat to victory in the Belmont Stakes.

June 9, 1973 ~ Belmont Stakes ~1 ½ mile ~ Belmont Park

31 lengths!

Secretariat raced into the ever glow of immortality in the 1973 Belmont Stakes. His victory, by one of the widest margins in the history of the American turf – 31 lengths ahead of his nearest challenger and in a world record time for the 1 1/2 miles distance – 2 minutes 24, remains one of the most memorable in sports history.

http://www.secretariat.com/past-performances/belmont/

Video of Secretariat’s 1973 Belmont:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cS4f6wiQJh4

Here is some Belmont trivia:  

-When anti-gambling legislation was passed in New York State, Belmont Racetrack was closed, and the race was cancelled in 1911 and 1912.
-Before 1921, the race was run in the clockwise tradition of English racing.
-Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, eleven times the Preakness was run before the Derby. On May 12, 1917 and again on May 13, 1922, the Preakness and the Derby were run on the same day. On eleven occasions, the Belmont Stakes was run before the Preakness Stakes.
Songs:  The Belmont Stakes is traditionally called “The Test of Champions” or “Run for the Carnations” because the winning horse is blanketed with white carnations. Through 1996, the post-parade song was “Sidewalks of New York.” From 1997 to 2009, the audience was invited to sing the Theme from New York, New York following the call to the “post”. In 2010, the song was Empire State of Mind. This tradition is similar to the singing of the state song at the post parades of the first two Triple Crown races: “My Old Kentucky Home” at the Kentucky Derby and “Maryland, My Maryland” at the Preakness Stakes.

Changes in distance

The Belmont Stakes was run at a mile and five furlongs from 1867 to 1873; a mile and a quarter in 1890, 1891, 1892, 1895, 1904 and 1905; a mile and a furlong in 1893 and 1894; a mile and three furlongs from 1896 to 1903 and from 1906 to 1925. The current distance of a mile and half was established in 1926.

I’ll Have Another- Preakness 2012

I'll Have Another- Preakness 2012

Another amazing finish puts I’ll Have Another in position to win the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978!

  •  He has won all four races he has run this year. And all have been with an unheralded jockey aboard: 25-year-old Mario Gutierrez, who has steadfastly refused to siphon accolades from the horse he adores.“It’s not about me; it’s about the horse,” Gutierrez said. “I’m so happy for him because he’s just a great horse. He has a tremendous kick in the end. And he’s more smart than I am. The horse deserves the credit.”

     

Man Wrestles Elephant!

This guy is tough!  He had no takers, so he had to switch species and take on an elephant!

This first link, from History.com, has volume and the commentary is good!  http://www.history.com/videos/elephant-wrestling#elephant-wrestling

Krispy Kreme Cheesburger

The Wisconsin State Fair has some interesting culinary creations, most of them deep-fried.  I would like to try one of those weird, deep-fried items, but this doesn’t even look or sound good.   Maybe I’m missing the boat.

http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/images/0817-cheeseburger.jpg/8491448-1-eng-US/0817-cheeseburger.jpg_full_380.jpg

Ted Kennedy- for the common American!

Ted Kennedy:

A great article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/27/us/politics/27year.html?pagewanted=1&hp

This from President Obama;

Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education’s promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me.

In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that’s one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.

I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I’ve benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we’ve all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.

For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today — to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.

Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.

Sincerely,

President Barack Obama

Michael Jackson

It has been a strange week, with the passing of Michael Jackson.   Why did society beat him up so badly, and yet morn so intensely when he died?  Since we all grew up with him, we can relate to his mortality.

He appears to have been a great dad and friend, and what else is important in life?

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/showbiz/2009/07/07/sot.paris.jackson.aeglive

Brooke Shields was more than impressive, as was Michael’s daughter, Paris.

I was never a huge Michael Jackson fan, but was always moved by “Will you be There?”  from the soundtrack of Free Willy.  I had a hunch it would be in the memorial service.  Jennifer Hudson hit it straight-on with an A+!

Billie Jean

I guess Quicy Jones did not want him to include this in Thriller.

The song’s lyrics refer to a real-life experience, in which a mentally ill female fan claimed that Jackson fathered one of her twins.

The pop star faced numerous disagreements with the song’s producer. Quincy Jones did not want “Billie Jean” to appear on Thriller; he felt that the song was too weak to be part of the collection.[5] The producer disliked the demo and did not care for the song’s bass line.[8] Jones wanted to cut Jackson’s 29 second introduction, which Jackson insisted be kept. “I said, ‘Michael we’ve got to cut that intro'”, Jones later recalled. “He said, ‘But that’s the jelly!’…’That’s what makes me want to dance’. And when Michael Jackson tells you, ‘That’s what makes me want to dance’, well, the rest of us just have to shut up.”[7]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billie_Jean

Elvis loved this fried chicken

I’m going for it, but I do have a concern about the 5 day soak in the buttermilk.  That seems 2 or 3 days over the top with raw chicken.

http://josotherblog.comluv.com/tag/google-staff-recipe-for-buttermilk-chicken/

Mine That Bird

People gave him little respect after his Kentucky Derby win, even his jockey picked a filly to ride instead of trying for a chance at the elusive Triple Crown.  However, jockey Mike Smith almost squeaked it out, but ran out of real estate, taking a very respectable 2nd place in the 2009 Preakness Stakes.  Maybe the 2009 Belmont will feature a rematch of these two great horses.  Rachel Alexandra, the Preakness winner is female and Mine That Bird is a gelding. (sans testicles)
Calvin Borel, the jockey who jumped over to the filly, has a shot at becoming the first Triple Crown Jockey to win on two different horses.  Strange distinction, but fascinating.

Very Dangerous Shuttle Mission to fix Hubble

Shuttle
Shuttle
NASA Website: http://www.nasa.gov/
This mission will fix the ailing Hubble Telescope, one of the best NASA projects.  The mission is amazing, as Hubble is in an orbit which is full of space junk.