January 10, 2015 archive

Throwball Division Playoffs 2015, AFC Afternoon: Ravens @ Patsies

Look, I have my reasons to hate the Patsies and like the Ravens the primary one being that the Ravens, since they are new, haven’t dinked around cities the way the Patsies have.

Oh, and Bill Belichick and Pat Brady are steroid addled assholes, but that’s so common in Throwball it’s hardly worth mentioning.

The truth is that I’d be very surprised to see the Ravens walk off the Foxborough turf victors.  Belichick has used Brady to build himself a buffer of talented role players without wasting time and money on a Quarterback hunt and it shows in the system which should last (given good luck and Robert Kraft staying out of the way which he seems inclined to do) beyond both their careers.

I still think they’re all thoroughly horrible people and brain damage only accounts for some of it although it helps.

The game is on NBC starting at 4:30 pm.

Charlie Hebdo in 2006

From the New York Times Op-Docs.

‘Charlie Hebdo, Before the Massacre’

By Jérôme Lambert and Philippe Picard

In February 2006 the editors of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo met to discuss a matter of what turned out to be deadly consequence: Would they publish a satirical image of Muhammad on their cover? We were making a documentary about Jean Cabut, known as Cabu, one of the most famous cartoonists in France. So we were there, filming his conversation with his colleagues as they chose the cover. The issue that came out of this meeting – with a Cabu cartoon on the cover and the images they discussed here – turned out to be one of the most popular in the magazine’s history. Almost nine years later, gunmen stormed this very meeting and killed 10 editors and cartoonists, including three of the people in this film: Cabu, Bernard Verlhac (known as Tignous) and Georges Wolinski.

Lire en français


The Breakfast Club (Fast and Loud)

And Now For Something Completely Different-

You see, a good writer can write about anything and make it mostly painless and accessible to the non-expert reader.  You need some style and a fair vocabulary, but no special expertise in the subject.  In fact expertise is kind of a handicap because what you are chronicling is a joint voyage of discovery with your partner, the reader, and if you know a lot more about things than they do and suppose some common connection you mostly limit your audience.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgWhich is why I’m proud of my ignorance.

I can read music, but not sight read it (i.e. hear the tune from the notation, I have to listen to it first and then I can say- Aha!  I know what this means).  I can make fart noises into tubes and, provided there are not too many buttons and I don’t have to push them very fast, produce sounds that are arguably recognizable as tunes.

By the time I was in 6th grade I had already advanced to the important position of first seat, third Trumpet where my duties were primarily to ensure that in those parts of pieces where we were actually supposed to be playing I and the rest of my section held our instruments in a fashion that could easily be mistaken by people with bad distance vision as contributing to the group effort without actually audibly detracting from it.

In my Junior High years it was gently suggested I take up the euphonium because, as hopeless as Leonard Falcone pronounced me, I was better at that than Trumpet and in due course I rose to section lead and finally switched to French Horn as a Senior since we were one short in the Mellophone line (Weird French Horn trivia- I no longer remember what exactly that 4th key does and playing French Horn can mess with your heart rhythm, seriously, French Horn players are about 4x more likely than average people to die of heart attacks).

Oh, and we marched.  Field shows in the fall and parades in the spring.  Our great and bitter rivals for state supremacy were the hated and despised East Slime.  Screw the Runball (our Coach didn’t believe in the Pass very much so our offense was run left, run right, run up the middle, and punt) team, those people were in the stands to see us.

This experience (13 years of it) warped me profoundly to the point where I enjoy and am impressed by groups like the Mummers and DCI Bands, and one of my favorite pranks is to take a police whistle and induce a roll off so the band plays in front of my house.

So, fun games you can play with a marching band.  Here’s how you do it with the “Commandant’s Own”.  Remember, these folks are trained combat infantrymen for whom this is only a hobby.

Did you catch that last tune?  It was Stars and Stripes Forever, the National March of the United States composed by the “March King”, John Philip Sousa who was director of the band from 1880 to 1892.  He wrote over 136 marches, most of them entirely forgettable except you hear them all the time, and some Operettas that sound like marches.

In his day he was about the most famous native composer from the U.S. among a European audience that regarded our Art Music as crude and simplistic, even compared to the Russians.  He wrote novels including The Transit of Venus (which was also a march) that is entirely less erotic than the title might suggest. “It was about a group of misogynists called the Alimony Club who, as a way of temporarily escaping the society of women, embark on a sea voyage to observe the transit of Venus. The captain’s niece, however, had stowed away on board and soon won over the men.”  His other best known works are The Fifth String and Pipetown Sandy.

(A) young violinist made a deal with the Devil for a magic violin with five strings. The strings can excite the emotions of Pity, Hope, Love and Joy – the fifth string was of Death and can be played only once before causing the player’s own death. He was unable to win the love of the woman he desired. At a final concert, he played upon the death string.

Pipetown Sandy… included a satirical poem titled “The Feast of the Monkeys”. The poem described “a lavish party attended by variety of animals, however, overshadowed by the King of Beasts, the lion…who allows the muttering guests the privilege of watching him eat the entire feast”. At the end of his gluttony, the lion explained, “Come all rejoice, You’ve seen your monarch dine.”

He was famous and avid trap shooter who helped found the Amateur Trapshooting Association– “Let me say that just about the sweetest music to me is when I call, ‘pull,’ the old gun barks, and the referee in perfect key announces, ‘dead’.”

He (as you might imagine) invented the Sousaphone as a Tuba replacement and you need a very special kind of cheek vibrating fart noise to make it work at all.  The fact that the fiberglass ones sound exactly the same as the much heavier brass ones really says all you need to say about the instrument

What makes a March a March?

Well, first of all is the strict enforcement of the 1 and 3 accents in a bar of common time.  Then you play it twice as fast (cut time) and loud.

I am a member of a community Marching Band that mostly does Fireman’s Parades, but I haven’t played or practiced in years.  My activist brother, the Music Major, is a pretty regular attender and he keeps trying to tempt me into a comeback-

“All you have to do is play fast and loud”, he says.

There are free beers and hotdogs at the end too.

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

On This Day In History January 10

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 10 is the 10th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 355 days remaining until the end of the year (356 in leap years).

On this day in 1901, a gusher signals start of U.S. oil industry

A drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produces an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet and signaling the advent of the American oil industry. The geyser was discovered at a depth of over 1,000 feet, flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels a day and took nine days to cap. Following the discovery, petroleum, which until that time had been used in the U.S. primarily as a lubricant and in kerosene for lamps, would become the main fuel source for new inventions such as cars and airplanes; coal-powered forms of transportation including ships and trains would also convert to the liquid fuel.

Crude oil, which became the world’s first trillion-dollar industry, is a natural mix of hundreds of different hydrocarbon compounds trapped in underground rock. The hydrocarbons were formed millions of years ago when tiny aquatic plants and animals died and settled on the bottoms of ancient waterways, creating a thick layer of organic material. Sediment later covered this material, putting heat and pressure on it and transforming it into the petroleum that comes out of the ground today.

(emphasis mine)

There had long been suspicions that oil might be under [“Spindletop Hill.” The area was known for its sulfur springs and bubbling gas seepages that would ignite if lit. In August 1892, George W. O’Brien, George W. Carroll, Pattillo Higgins and others formed the Gladys City Oil, Gas, and Manufacturing Company to do exploratory drilling on Spindletop Hill. The company drilled many dry holes and ran into trouble, as investors began to balk at pouring more money into drilling with no oil to show for it.

Pattillo Higgins left the company and teamed with Captain Anthony F. Lucas, the leading expert in the U.S. on salt dome formations. Lucas made a lease agreement in 1899 with the Gladys City Company and a later agreement with Higgins. Lucas drilled to 575 feet (180 m) before running out of money. He secured additional funding from John H. Galey and James M. Guffey of Pittsburgh, but the deal left Lucas with only a small share of the lease and Higgins with nothing.

Lucas continued drilling and on January 10, 1901, at a depth of 1,139 ft (347 m), what is known as the Lucas Gusher or the Lucas Geyser blew oil over 150 feet (50 m) in the air at a rate of 100,000 barrels per day (16,000 m3/d)(4,200,000 gallons). It took nine days before the well was brought under control. Spindletop was the largest gusher the world had seen and catapulted Beaumont into an oil-fueled boomtown. Beaumont’s population of 10,000 tripled in three months and eventually rose to 50,000. Speculation led land prices to increase rapidly. By the end of 1902, over 500 companies were formed and 285 active wells were in operation.

Production began to decline rapidly after 1902, and the wells produced only 10,000 barrels per day (1,600 m3/d) by 1904. On November 14, 1925, the Yount-Lee Oil Company brought in its McFaddin No. 2 at a depth of about 2,500 feet (800 m), sparking a second boom, which culminated in the field’s peak production year of 1927, during which 21,000,000 barrels (3.3 GL) were produced. Over the ten years following the McFaddin discovery, over 72,000,000 barrels (11.4 GL) of oil were produced, mostly from the newer areas of the field. Spindletop continued as a productive source of oil until about 1936. It was then mined for sulfur from the 1950s to about 1975.

America’s first documented oil spill

Late Night Karaoke

Random Japan

 photo steve-jobs-chinese-woodcut_zps3d895075.jpg

 Here’s how Zen meditation changed Steve Jobs’ life and sparked a design revolution


When Steve Jobs showed up at the San Francisco airport at the age of 19, his parents didn’t recognize him.

Jobs, a Reed College dropout, had just spent a few months in India.

He had gone to meet the region’s contemplative traditions – Hinduism, Buddhism – and the Indian sun had darkened his skin a few shades.

The trip changed him in less obvious ways, too.

Although you couldn’t predict it then, his travels would end up changing the business world.

Back in the Bay Area, Jobs continued to cultivate his meditation practice. He was in the right place at the right time; 1970s San Francisco was where Zen Buddhism first began to flourish on American soil. He met Shunryu Suzuki, author of the groundbreaking “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind,” and sought the teaching of one of Suzuki’s students, Kobun Otogawa.

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Health and Fitness News, a weekly diary which is cross-posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette. It is open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here and on the right hand side of the Front Page.

Pastries to Ring In the New Year

Walnut Apricot Bundt Cake photo recipehealthbundt-articleLarge_zps4d5f9426.jpg

I’ve covered a number of good luck foods for the New Year in the Recipes for Health column, including beans, black-eyed peas and lentils, and greens. This year I had a lot of fun playing around with recipes for another type of good luck food: ring-shaped breads and pastries.

The rings symbolize the year’s coming full circle, and also eternity. Doughnuts come to mind, but that doesn’t quite fit the Recipes for Health profile. Neither do most bagels, even most whole wheat bagels (which are usually white bagels with a little brown flour thrown in).

~Martha Rose Shulman~

Peter Reinhart’s Whole Wheat Bagels

The magic of sprouted whole grain flours makes for delicious truly whole grain bagels.

Whole Wheat Sesame Rings (Simit)

A thick coating of sesame seeds gives this dense bread a delicious flavor.


A delicious rusklike Italian snack that is fragrant with olive oil.

Walnut Apricot Bundt Cake

A cake that is not too sweet and makes a perfect breakfast coffee cake or snack.

hole Wheat and Ricotta Bundt Cake With Lemon and Poppy Seeds

A dark and golden cake that has a wonderful moist texture, with a slight crunch.


At my Office, 1996 photo Office96.jpgIt was late Spring of 1992 when I first recollect being the me who I am now.  It came as a result of my fifth life crisis.  I was alone in our house, precisely halfway between Central Baptist College and the First Baptist Church in Conway, AR.

At the time there was the previous me, trying to make a go of life and an unformed thought of the me of now, both inhabiting the same biological structure.

Previous Me was undergoing his fifth nearly terminal event.  He wasn’t prepared.  He’d thought that since it had been 17 years since the last event, he was safe.  Maybe he would have been, but stuff happens.

As in Crisis 4, the “stuff” concerned The Woman who had rescued him from Crisis 3, The Woman whom he had married and who had conceived his daughter.  But she was trouble, that one.  This time she had been arrested for embezzling from the university which employed them both.  As had been the case much too often in his life, he had felt obligated to pay for her transgression.  And she had repaid him by obtaining a boyfriend.  

So he was feeling cold and lonely in their house and it felt like the walls were closing in.  Too much damn pressure.  He’d tried to release at least some of it by Dancing to the Oldies with Richard Simmons, and had seen his weight retreat to its 1976 level of 155 on his 6’3″ frame, what he had weighed when he was rowing lightweight crew at Penn.  But it wasn’t really working anymore.  The walls still seemed to want to crush him.  He felt as if he could stand in the center of the living room and spread his arms to touch both of he walls.