Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Darwin Award Winners of 2005

I recieved these from a friend of mine via email. Some of these might even make old P.T. Barnum ("A sucker born every minute.") shake his head. Thanks Patti Sonz!
Yes, it's that magical time of the year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.

Here then, are the glorious winners:

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James
Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked..... And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for him self. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer...$15. (If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?)

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher.
Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied,
"Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 a.m., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.


10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

In the interest of bettering human kind please share these with your friends and family, unless of course one of these 10 individuals by chance is a distant relative or long lost friend. In that case be glad they are distant and hope they remain lost.

Morning Reading

PebblePie reads cereal boxes and notes a curious situation with the calorie count of Honey Nut Cheerios and regular Cheerios.

I too read cereal boxes and the Honey Nut Cheerios box has peaked my ire more than curiosity. Not with their calorie lists, oh no. It’s something more important than that. It’s about Baseball, Apple Pie and America!

General Mills runs a comic on the back of the HNC box that shows Buzz (the hero bee) being called upon to pitch for the hive and strike out the oppositions slugger to win the game. Buzz does all that with one pitch that is heavily laden with sticky honey. The ball—and Buzz’ hand—are so coated with honey that the sticky stuff pulls the ball back to Buzz as though it were an elastic band and the hitter is left swinging at empty space. Buzz gets carted off the field as the hero of the game.

But, and here’s where I get angry, BUZZ IS A CHEATER! The rules of baseball clearly prohibit the use of any foreign substance on the ball! Buzz should not be a celebrated hero he should be fined and suspended for violation of the Rules of Baseball! (And where does the home team get to go into the stands for a player in the middle of the game? Sheesh!) And yet, this comic panel has been running for over a year. What kind of message does the cartoon image of a cheater being celebrated as a hero send? Would Wheaties boxes have pictures of athletes banned from competition for rules violations? I think not! General Mills should be demoted.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Dumb Crooks, part 2

Now this guy had a bad day.
A woman didn't have to look far to figure out who likely broke into her home and took a camera from her purse. Police said the burglar left behind his probation and parole card.
I would have loved to have been the judge at his arraignment.

Via Yahoo! News.

Mmmm, Chocolate!

Now here’s a medical report I can get along with.
Leave it to the Dutch to help demonstrate the health benefits of chocolate. A study of older men in The Netherlands, known for its luscious chocolate, indicated those who ate the equivalent of one-third of a chocolate bar every day had lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of death.

What’s the science behind the improvement in health?
This time, researchers examined the eating habits of 470 healthy men who were not taking blood pressure medicine. The men who ate the most products made from cocoa beans — including cocoa drinks, chocolate bars and chocolate pudding — had lower blood pressure and a 50 percent lower risk of death.

Cocoa beans contain flavanols, which are thought to increase nitric oxide in the blood and improve the function of blood vessels.
Of course the study was of healthy men and there are a lot of women who want to know if it works for them too. According to Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, who co-authored the study
"If you look at the other interventional studies, you see the same effects in men and women, younger people and older people. It may be the findings are generalizable to women, but you never know."

I’m something of a binge chocoholic. I can go for days without but then find myself downing a 1-pound bag of M & Ms or box of malted milk balls in an afternoon.

Despite that, when I went in for surgery on my back and knee the doctors commented upon my low BP and pulse rate. Is there a connection? I hope so!

Via Yahoo! News

Rutgers 48 Connecticut 42.

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With the victory over No. 8/6 Connecticut, No. 7/8 Rutgers ends the regular season as Champions of the Big East. And they did it while shooting just 26%.

It's difficult to believe, but RU trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half and never held the lead until Cappie Pondexter sank a 3-pointer with 6:35 remaining in the game to give the Knights a 42-41 edge. Pondexter finished the game with 26 points.

UConn scored just 12 points in the second half and just one in the final 11:38.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers ends the season 24-3 and a perfect 16-0 in the Big East.
Connecticut falls to 26-4 and is 14-2 in the Big East.

Rutgers’ Big East Tournament starts on Sunday March 5th in Hartford, Connecticut. Their opponent has yet to be determined.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Knights Down Bulls 62-44
Strengthen Big East Chances

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Rutgers had a 7-6 lead early on and then went on a 14-0 run. Rutgers extended the lead to 26-8 and never looked back. The closest the Bulls would come during the rest of the game was 11 points.

While RU started very hot, they cooled down after the first ten minutes. Neither team had a very high shooting percentage. South Florida shot only 31.5% (17-54) while Rutgers managed just 33.9% (19-56) from the field. The difference was at the charity stripe where RU made 16-21 to the Bulls 6-8, and beyond the 3-point line where RU made 8-19 to South Florida's 4-12.

Quincy Douby had 23 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double. He has now scored 20 or more points in 21 or RU’s 27 games this season. Marquis Webb contributed 15 points.

Marvin Buckley and James Holmes each had 14 points for the Bulls.

The 44 points scored by South Florida are the fewest allowed by the Scarlet Knights since a 49-47 victory on January 29, 1997 over St. John’s.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers is now 16-12, 6-9 in the Big East.
South Florida remains winless in their first season in the Big East with a 0-14 record, 6-21 overall.

Rutgers ends its regular season at St. John’s on Sunday, March 5th at 2:00 PM.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rutgers’ Women Win 23rd
Consecutive Big East Game

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Cappie Pondexter’s 23 points led the No. 7 Scarlet Knights to their 23rd consecutive Big East victory this afternoon as they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers 65-50. Rutgers clinched a tie for the Big East title with the victory and can capture the number one seed in the Big East tournament with a victory over Connecticut on Monday.

Rutgers took control early with a 9-2 run as they jumped out to a 15-8 lead. Pitt fought back to close it to 19-16 but couldn’t overtake the Knights who never relinquished the lead.

Matee Ajavon contributed 14 points, while Essence Carson on 5-8 shooting added 10 and Mariota Theodoris came off the bench to add 10 points and had 11 rebounds.

Marcedes Walker led all scorers with 24 points on 7 for 18 from the field and 10 for 13 from the free-throw stripe for the losing Panthers. Mallorie Winn was the only other double-digit scorer with 12.

Rutgers improves to 23-3 and 15-0 in the Big East.
Pittsburgh falls to 18-8 and 9-6 in the Big East.

Rutgers next takes to the court against Connecticut at the RAC on Monday, February 27 at 7:30 PM. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Hybrid Autos

Terry will need a new car in a year or two to replace her 10 year-old Lumina (I just hope my truck won’t need replacement, too.) and we have discussed a possible hybrid in our future. After looking at this article (The Top 10 Hybrid Myths), I would say that the possibility is closer to reality. We’ll just have to see where things are two years from now.

"I was really hotter than a pistol!"

You might say that!

Here’s a real nice story out of upstate NY:

Autistic Team Manager Makes Hoop Dream Come True
High School Senior Scores 20 Points in Waning Moments of His Only Game

The kid made six (6) three-pointers (6-10 shooting) and would have had a seventh but his foot was on the line. And he did it all in the last four minutes of the game!

Well done Jason McElwain!


As I sat on the shoulder of Route 17 yesterday I was thankful that I was pretty much alone at the time the tire decided to go off on its own. With the exception of another car some 1/4-mile behind me there was no one in view. Being a divided highway with two lanes each way and a very wide median also made that particular stretch much safer than others. The tire rolled off the shoulder instead of heading on to the median and then down hill to the west bound lanes of the highway. Add the fact that the fields on the shoulder sloped ever so gently upward meant the tire, when it finally rolled to a stop, rested in an area where it could be easily retrieved. I can’t say I was lucky but things could have been a hell of a lot worse.

I also thought of the trips made with a travel trailer and thought of how much more complicated the situation might have been!

Having been a casual observer of the Daytona 500 last Sunday, I also remembered seeing tires going down the track at far greater speeds than those At which I was traveling and couldn't imagine what it would be like to be going 180+mph and watching your rear tire pass you! It's scary--and surreal--enough at 60 mph.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Best Laid Plans or Sh*t Happens

So, I got up bright and early this morning, got myself dressed, heated a cup of coffee in my travel mug and headed out to PA to drop off some stuff before swinging north to the cabin to drop off even more stuff.

I wasn’t on the road for more than 20 minutes when I heard that awful sound of air hissing from a tire and then the thump-thump-thump of a flat. The driver’s side rear tire on the truck was flatter than a pancake. I was on I-80 west bound just past the Route 15 interchange in Morris County. It was dark. It was cold. It was 5:20 AM. I had a backseat full of stuff for PA and NY that had to be off loaded so I could get to the jack and tire irons. Luckily I had a flashlight and a crushable felt hat to serve as a flashlight holder.

Five minutes to unload the seat and reach the tools. Five minutes to lower the spare from beneath the truck bed. Two minutes to jack up the tire. Five minutes to remove the lug nuts and flat tire. Five minutes to hoist the spare into place and tighten the lug nuts again. Two minutes to hook up the flat and winch it back into place. Two minutes to lower the truck off the jack. Five minutes to load everything back into the truck.

About half an hour lost to changing a flat tire. The rest of the trip to PA was uneventful and I was unloading stuff into the storage unit by 9:00 and finishing by 9:30. A light snow began to fall while I was unloading the truck. After a quick stop at the post office to pick up our mail, I headed northeast via Routes 6 and 220. I stopped for gas in Athens, PA and checked the tire I had put on that morning. Everything looked and felt fine.

Ten miles or so down the road I was heading east on Route 17 and had just crossed the Susquehanna River in near white-out conditions as the snow thickened when there was a thump and the left rear quarter of the truck settled to the ground with a metallic shriek. As I veered onto the road’s shoulder I saw the left rear tire continue on its way down the centerline of the roadway. A car coming up behind me slowed and followed the tire about a quarter mile before the tire rolled off the right shoulder and rested in the grass.

It was just after 11 AM and I wasn’t going anywhere soon. I called 911 to report the need for assistance. In the now definitely white-out that existed at the time, I figured it was an emergency. I had no flares and didn’t relish the idea of another vehicle smacking into the rear of the truck. I retrieved the tire and a few minutes later a state trooper pulled in behind me. He looked over the situation and called for a flatbed tow vehicle to haul my sorry truck to a repair shop in Waverly, NY. By noon I was providing the shop manager with contact information and then calling my insurance agency to report the accident and arrange for an assessment of the damage. The shop manager also called to arrange for a rental car from enterprise Car Rental in Athens, PA. They would come and pick me up and drive me back to the office to complete the paperwork.

By 1 PM I was on my way in a low mileage Chevy Cobalt heading for Route 17 again but this time to head back to NJ. Delivery of the stuff to the Adirondack cabin will have to wait for another day. Hopefully it won’t be to far into the future.

The rental vehicle is going to cost me around $350 for a week—I hope it won’t be longer—and I have no idea what the repairs to the truck will cost. I’ve a $500 deductible for collision (I think that is where it fits) so this little episode is going to cost me over a grand. And I was all set to get some new tires next week before the sh*t hit the fan today since the current tires have approximately 55K miles on them and were looking a little thin for good traction in the snow of the Adirondacks or the soon to be mud of PA’s Northern Tier. Heck, mud season will soon be here in the Adirondacks, too. It usually arrives around the Ides of March even if it can (and usually does) continue to snow through April and May. Figure the tires are going to cost me around $600 and this was a very expensive day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

RU Women Down Marquette 71-50

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The Scarlet Knights began a two-game road trip, taking on Marquette in Milwaukee this evening. Rutgers controlled the game from early on and maintained their dominance all game. Guards Matee Ajavon (18 points) and Essence Carson (12 points) provided the bulk of the scoring for the RU squad in the first half but once again Cappie Pondexter came to life in the second half ending with 20 points.

No. 7/8 Rutgers improves to 22-3, 14-0 Big East.
Marquette falls to 17-8, 8-6 in the Big East.

Rutgers completes their road trip Saturday afternoon (February 25) at 2:00 PM facing the Pittsburgh Panthers.

Georgetown Hoyas RU 66-50

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It was a looooong night for the Scarlet Knights’ men’s basketball team. Only Quincy Douby could be counted upon to do any scoring and even he had to do much of it at the foul line. Douby ended the game with 29 points.
He did get some help in the rebounding category from Byron Joynes who played a strong game on the boards despite facing a very tall Hoya front line.

No. 23 Georgetown took charge early, erasing RU’s opening 2-point lead and surging out to a 14 point lead at the half (34-20) and to a 16 point lead early in the second half. While they went back and forth for just a tiny bit in the second half, RU was never able to mount any real offense other than Quincy Douby. As a team, RU shot just 31% from the field.

For Georgetown, 7’ 2” sophomore center Roy Hibbert recorded 25 points.

Rutgers falls to 15-12, and is 5-9 in the Big East.
#23 Georgetown improves to 18-7, and 9-5 in the Big East.

Rutgers limps home to play at the RAC against South Florida on Sunday, February 26 at 2:00PM.

Washington’s Birthday?

Today we celebrate the birth of George Washington. Well, we don’t…not really…not any more. Now that we have Presidents’ Day, Lincoln and Washington get lumped together for one Monday in February. Lincoln, of course, was born on February 11th.

Actually, if you had attended George Washington’s birth back in 1732, the calendar on the wall in Westmoreland County, Virginia would have shown the day to be…February 11th! Just like Lincoln!

Why, then do we say he was born on February 22nd? Well, that calendar on the wall in his mother’s room was not the calendar being used around the world. There were two calendars in usage in 1732. The Julian Calendar was used by much of the Protestant world while the Gregorian Calendar had been in use by much of the Catholic world since 1582. (The difference in the two lies in when they celebrate Leap Year. The Julian has one every 4 years while the Gregorian has one every 4 years except in century years unless they are divisible by 400.) The Julian Calendar ran slow in comparison to the Gregorian Calendar and was by the time of Washington’s birth some 11 days behind. The British (stubborn as always) finally adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752 (British Calendar Act of 1751*) at which time the 20 year-old George Washington celebrated the anniversary of his birth one full year (365 days) after his last birthday celebration—on February 22nd—and he celebrated his birth ever after on the 22nd.

*The British Calendar Act of 1751 was interesting in that it made the transition from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar by removing 11 days from the year. September 3-13 of 1752 did not exist in the British world.

Log Home Update: Permit and Ground Breaking

I spoke to Don, our general contractor, earlier in the week. He has submitted the building plans to the township building inspector and he expects to have a building permit in hand before the month is out. Once he has that, it will be time to break ground for the foundation. The weather has been cooperative on that count. When Terry and I were out last Thursday, no snow lay on the ground at the building site and noe has fallen since nor is any predicted for the next week.

I can’t wait. Once the hole is started, it will seem like a reality.

Of course we also have to put the NJ house on the marked soon. We’ll be contacting a realtor on March 1st for that purpose.

More Stuff to Go; And Painting Too

We’ve been doing a lot of packing and tomorrow I make a long triangular trip to PA and then NY with boxes of stuff for storage and the cabin. It’s 230 miles to PA and then another 230 from the to the cabin in NY. In between I’ll be unloading about half the truck to put crystal and photos in the storage unit. If I get an early start in the morning, I could be at the cabin before sunset (around 5:40 PM tomorrow). I’ll stay over night and unload the remaining stuff on Friday morning.

In between filling boxes I’ve been painting. The dining room is finished and that was the most difficult room having three colors to deal with. There was the ceiling white (also used on the walls above the chair rail), a bright blue below the chair rail, and then the chair rail and the base molding in bright white. The downstairs hall got its ceiling painted, so it too is finished. I also painted the ceiling of our bedroom so it is done. Finally, I painted the ceiling in Terry’s downstairs sewing room and replacing a section of base molding we had taken out some years ago, finishing that room. While I was doing the painting, Terry has been packing up much of the glassware we had on display in the dining room hutch.

I have to say that I really, really hate painting white-on-white. You can never tell when you’ve covered an area when the base is the same color. If you’re lucky age has changed the shade of white (it gets grimy after many, many years) or the shade of white is just ever so slightly different from the base color and you can see where you’ve been applying the new paint. You can’t always count on the glistening of the wet paint. Sometimes it is so shiny that it blinds you to small areas where the roller may have left a partial gap—and that’s not going to be visible until the paint dries, usually after you’ve cleaned up for the day.

While I’m on my long run, Terry and Jessica will be taking more of Jess’ stuff to Grandma’s house on Thursday. Terry will then take a couple of boxes of computer stuff to the county recycling center for disposal.

When I get back home on Friday evening, it will be time to seriously work on my wood working shop. While this trip will take some of the scrap lumber and a few tools, there’re still a number of bench tools I can take out and more than a little wood for scroll saw projects I have planned.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sic ‘em!

You know, it’s just possible that lawyers could be useful in the War on Terrorism.
Injured Soldier, Widow of Slain Medic Win $102.6 Million Judgment for Afghanistan Attack
Injured Soldier, Widow of Slain Medic Win $102.6 Million Judgment for Afghanistan Attack

Maybe we could bankrupt the SOBs out of existence.

h/t Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit

Rutgers’ Women Win Streak at 9

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The No. 7 Scarlet Knights continued their dominance of the Big East this afternoon by defeating the Syracuse Orange 60-43. It was their ninth state victory.

Five Rutgers players scored in double figures lead by Michelle Campbell and Cappie Pondexter with 13 points each. Matee Ajavon and Essence Carson had 11 each and Kia Vaughn added 10.

Vaughn also provided a much needed presence inside grabbing 9 rebounds and holding Vadia Sipaviciute to just 8 points for Syracuse.

Ajavon had six steals helping RU force 16 turnovers.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers is now 21-3 and remains undefeated in the Big East 13-0.
Syracuse falls to 9-15, 2-11 in the Big East.

Rutgers travels to Marquette for a Wednesday night game with tip-off at 8:00 PM. Then they are at Pittsburgh on Saturday with a 2:00 PM start. Their final game of the season will be at home in the RAC against Connecticut on Monday, February 27th at 7:30 PM in a game to be televised on ESPN2.


If you’ve curling has attached itself to your soul as it has mine, you’ll be interested in two things.

The USA Men’s Curling Team has a web site (portions are a little out of date because—well, they have been busy lately) with pictures of and information about the team and its competition.

Then there is the U.S. Women’s Team. They haven’t been doing too well with several heartbreaking losses. They’ll need help from other teams but could still make the medal round.

Then there’s Jonathan Coulton. He has been writing songs and posting them on a weekly basis. Here’s one he wrote a couple of weeks ago for the US men’s curling team. It’s simply called Curl and it is cool.

Curling (at Wikipedia)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rutgers Defeats USF Bulls, 65-51

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In a must win situation, the Scarlet Knights traveled to Tampa to play the University of South Florida. They scored early and often. Opening a 14-point lead by half time and never giving any back, the Knights maintained their advantage winning 65-51.

Big East leading scorer, Quincy Douby had 33 points to lead all scorers.
Rutgers (15-11, 5-8) also received a tremendous floor game from freshman guard Anthony Farmer, who tallied 15 points, grabbed a career-high seven rebounds and dished out two assists while still feeling the effects sof [sic] a bruised right shoulder. Junior swingman Marquis Webb added 10 points, five rebounds and twwo [sic] assists and played a major role in an RU defensive effort that limited the Bulls to 34.8% shooting from the field.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers is now 15-11, 5-8 in the BIG EAST.
South Florida falls to 6-19 and 0-12 in the BIG EAST.

After dealing with questions about Gary Waters’ status all week, the road victory (something RU has had problems with in the past) had to have been a satisfying one. Coupled with a loss by St. John’s earlier in the day, the win boosts Rutgers’ chances of advancing to the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden in March. The loss virtually guarantees South Florida will be one of the four teams not invited to participate.

Rutgers’ next game is against Georgetown in Washington, DC on Wednesday, February 22 with a 7:30 PM tip-off.

Swiss down Canada in hockey

The Switzerland’s men’s hockey team downed the defending Olympic champion Canadians 2-0 this afternoon in what is being considered a shocking upset.
Call it inconceivable. Call it incredible. All the adjectives fit.
To obtain their victory, the Swiss held the Canadian powerplay scoreless in 11 attempts.

This victory may go a little ways toward erasing the memory of Switzerland’s (or anyone’s) worst loss in Olympic play: And, if nothing else, the Swiss no longer must be reminded they lost to Canada 33-0 in the 1924 Olympics, the most one-sided hockey loss in Olympic history.

The Hawk was out and about.

Sounds like they had a leeetle bit of wind in upstate NY.
My buddy, Mark, was up to our cabins. He said he had to wait until they had cleared the trees off the road. He also said that we had no power. He also heard that Saratoga may have no power for a week.

Apparently, while it will be quite cold around our place in the Adirondacks, there's precious little snow on the ground. The on-again-off-again warm temperatures have only been broken by a week or so at a time of flurries (that's up to 6") and that mostly melts when the warm spells sweep in.

Strange. Very Strange.

Mike Yamamoto has posted a link to a very , very strange—yet fascinating—view ofRoger Moore’s fantabulous eyebrows over on c|net.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Brain Patterns

Your Brain's Pattern

Your mind is a firestorm - full of intensity and drama.
Your thoughts may seem scattered to you most of the time...
But they often seem strong and passionate to those around you.
You are a natural influencer. The thoughts you share are very powerful and persuading.

I'll leave the comments to others.

(got this one from gail at Scribal Terror)

Music Quiz

With some interesting results.
You scored as Tuba. You're a tuba.
That's all.

If you were in an orchestra, what instrument would match your personality?
created with QuizFarm.com
(First seen by me at Villainous Company)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rutgers Loses A Heart Breaker to St. John’s 54-51

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Quincy Douby had a miserable first half scoring only 8 points for the Scarlet Knights. Yet, while both he and his teammates shot poorly in the first half (just 9 for 27 or 33.3% and 9-26 in the second half for 34.0% for the game.), they still managed to battle St. John’s (they shot just 20-47 or 42.6% for the game themselves) to the final seconds of the game. Douby would finish with a game-high 23 points--ironically just about 3 points below his average. Both he and the Scarlet Knights could have used the final shot, attempted with 4.4 second remaining, that got away.

With the score 52-51 and just 6.6 seconds left in the game, RU's Anthony Farmer missed a jumper. A bad call on the ball going out of bounds on the rebound gave the ball to St. John’s. There followed a 5-second call on St. John’s giving the ball back to RU. On the inbounds play Quincy Douby shot and watched helplessly as his 3-point attempt from the right corner with just 4.4 seconds went in and out. A foul on the rebound gave 6-11 Lamont Hamilton of the Redstorm two free throws which he converted to produce the final margin of victory for St. John’s.

(Game Story and stats here.)

RUTGERS falls to 14-11 and just 4-8 in the BIG EAST.
ST. JOHN'S improves to 11-12 and is also 4-8 in the BIG EAST. The two teams are tied for 12th place in the league and the final tournament position.

Rutgers heads to Tampa to play South Florida Saturday, Feb. 18 in a game televised on MSG at 7:00 PM

Rutgers Women Down Villanova, 62-56

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The first half was close and ended with Villanova holding a 2-point lead, 25-23. But the Scarlet Knights outscored Villanova 29-12 to start the second half taking a 52-37 lead with 8:36 left and Rutgers never looked back.

Cappie Pondexter suffered from the flu, as did several of her teammates. She ended up scoring only nine points, thus ending her double-digit streak at 28 games. Balanced scoring proved to be the Knights’ salvation. All seven players for Rutgers this night scored 6 points or more. Matee Ajavon scored 14 points and Essence Carlson added 13. Kia Vaughn was a perfect 4-4 from the field for 8 points in just 15 minutes of playing time.

The Scarlet Knights shot 51.9% (14-27) in the second half and held Villanova to just 29.4% (10-34) over the same time frame.

Rutgers improves to 20-3, 12-0 in the Big East.
Villanova falls to 14-9, 5-7 in the Big East.

Get the rest of the story and statshere.

The Lady Knights next square off against Syracuse at the RAC on Sunday, February 19th at 2:00 PM.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Uncle Owen has passed away

Phil Brown, a.k.a. Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen has passed away at age 89. Uncle Owen, R.I.P.

To Phil Brown, it seemed "a very unimportant role." But in Star Wars lore, it was anything but.

Brown, who died last week at age 89, was being remembered by Jedi faithful as Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen from the original Star Wars movie.
As Luke's Uncle Owen Lars he tried to protect his nephew from the dangers of fighting for what was right.

Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

I saw this quiz on several sites the last couple of days and thought I would give it a try. The results don't really surprise me.

(Actually, I was tied for two crews. The other was the Deep Space 9 crew.)

17 Days ‘til the Iditarod

What with the Winter Olympics and the Westminster Dog Show being broadcast last night and tonight; and with my thinking of first the Red Green Show and then Northern Exposure, I of course started to wonder about the Iditarod Dog Sled Race of 2006. Never really able to remember the starting date of that most amazing race—one that deserves far more TV time than it gets here in the tri-state area—I went to the official web page and learned that there are still 17 days until the race is scheduled to begin.

The weather in Alaska has been spotty at best. Just a few weeks ago Fairbanks was setting record cold temperatures, yet to day, Wasilla, the official starting point for the Iditarod, had 43 degree temperatures and Anchorage, the ceremonial starting point, had 36 degrees as its high. Nome, the finish line, reported a high of 34 degrees. Most of the towns along the route report temperatures above the freezing mark during the day with lows dropping into the upper 20s at night. With any luck, there will be enough snow on the ground for them to run the planned route and not the detoured one as they have had to use in the past.

The Iditarod is special.
It has been called the “Last Great Race on Earth” and it has won worldwide acclaim and interest…. It’s not just a dog sled race, it’s a race in which unique men and woman compete. Mushers enter from all walks of life. Fishermen, lawyers, doctors, miners, artists, natives, Canadians, Swiss, French and others; men and women each with their own story, each with their own reasons for going the distance. It’s a race organized and run primarily by volunteers, thousands of volunteers, men and women, students and village residents. They man headquarters at Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome and Wasilla. They fly volunteers, veterinarians, dog food and supplies. They act as checkers, coordinators, and family supporters of each musher.

The Spirit of Alaska! More Than a Race… a Commemoration

The race pits man and animal against nature, against wild Alaska at her best and as each mile is covered, a tribute to Alaska’s past is issued. The Iditarod is a tie to — a commemoration of — that colorful past.

The Iditarod Trail, now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ophir, Ruby and beyond to the west coast communities of Unalakleet, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain and Nome. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled. Heroes were made, legends were born.

In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail became a life saving highway for epidemic-stricken Nome. Diphtheria threatened and serum had to be brought in; again by intrepid dog mushers and their faithful hard-driving dogs.

The Iditarod is a commemoration of those yesterdays, a not-so-distant past that Alaskans honor and are proud of.

It is a race in which men, women and their dogs challenge the rhythm and solitude of the trail—not to mention the cold and the snow of a late Alaskan winter. Each team spends ten to seventeen days on the trail to cover a distance of 1150 miles and, while one time will be first, every one that finishes is a winner. Those who commit themselves to the race are amazing.
There are names which are automatically associated with the race — Joe Redington, Sr., co-founder of the classic and affectionately know as “Father of the Iditarod.” Rick Swenson from Two River, Alaska, the only five time winner, the only musher to have entered 20 Iditarod races and never finished out of the top ten. Dick Mackey from Nenana who beat Swenson by one second in 1978 to achieve the impossible photo finish after two weeks on the trail. Norman Vaughan who at the age of 88 has finished the race four times and led an expedition to Antarctica in the winter of 93–94. Four time winner, Susan Butcher, was the first woman to ever place in the top 10. And of course, Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985.

While perusing the site, I came across a report that was troubling. Susan Butcher, ( www.susanbutcher.com) four-time winner of Iditarod in the late 80s and early 90s was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), a malignant disease of the blood and bone marrow. She has been undergoing chemotherapy at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, Seattle. When she has finished that therapy she will need a bone marrow transfusion. She and her doctors are searching for a donor.

The Red Green Show

Maybe it was watching the Olympic curling and hearing the announcer’s pronounced Canadian accent (“aboot” for “about”; “doon” for “down”, etc.) or perhaps it is the 20+ inches of snow we had over the weekend. What ever it was, I got to thinking of a television show from the north that really tickled my fancy the few times I could find it on PBS.

The Red Green Show was one of those TV shows that you could watch over and over. It’s a Canadian product from the CBC and was shown for a time on PBS here in the States. (I’ve no idea if it is still on. When it ran in this area, PBS slotted it for a very, very late hour on Saturday nights. And its appearance on the schedule was erratic. It is no longer shown on any of the local PBS stations.) The show ran for 15 years and 300 episodes before they retired the program yet it never made a great impression on those folks from below the 48th parallel.

Steve Smith plays Red Green
the leader of Possum Lodge, Chapter 13, a northern Ontario eyesore who's motto is, Quondo Omni Flunkus Mortati (when all else fails, play dead). Red has the down home wisdon[sic] of Will Rogers, the rural charm of Garrison Keillor, and about 18 times as much handyman inventiveness as the entire cast of Home Improvement….Red has no children, just a television show that's a fishing show, a fix-it show, and a men's advice program all rolled into about 3/4.

Red is the glue that holds the lodge together. He is friendly, inventive, cheap, and as honest as the day is long, which means he's the least honest on December 21st. When he works on his Handyman projects, Red is not stupid, he's just sort of lazy, impatient, and prone to subsitute[sic] sub-standard items (such as using[sic] duct tape instead of nails, screws, bolts, glass, glue, rivets, solder, or welding) so Red's projects are always less than reliable and more than butt ugly.

If you can watch any one episode (picked at random) and not smile, laugh or even gaffaw sometime during the half hour, you’re not breathing. I may have to invest in some entertainment.

Some wisdom from Red Green:
If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

Carpe Ductum (Seize the tape.)

On the differences in the sexes: Men, remember, we’re all in the same boat and the women are on the shore laughing.

And the Men’s Prayer (recited at every lodge meeting): I’m a man… but I can change…if I have to…I guess.

From Red's column at Home Envy:
Target practice

When it comes to advertising, middle-aged men are becoming a larger and larger target, both individually and as a group. When you see any of the following features, you can be sure the products are aimed at guys like us:

* Relaxed fit
* Wrinkle-free
* Ultra-light
* Foolproof
* Non-flammable
* Guaranteed for life

Hoo-Ha from Cajun Country

Mostly Cajun
was on a roll yesterday (with a huge assist from his “MUCH older sister”). First there was the story of Boudreaux and the lawyer
, then Cajun’s MOS sent in Public Service
and More public service. If they don’t bring a smile to your face, you’re not breathing.

Our Gulf Coast friend also reminds us via a photo essay (Cameron Parish - the OTHER hurricane) that there were two hurricanes that struck Louisiana last fall. (Go back and take a look at the earlier pictures from Cameron Parish that Cajun posted back in October. They are here and here and here.

While we hear a great deal of Katrina’s victims, we don’t hear much about those who were under Rita’s heavy thumb. Could it be because they spend their time rebuilding and not complaining?

(Can you tell that I really like what Mostly Cajun blogs about?)

Valentine’s Day Inequity

Today we guys send cards, candy, flowers, perfume, jewelry, and lots of other gifts to the lady(s) of our desire. In return we get cards and candy and not much else. Listen to and watch the radio and television commercials. When was the last time you heard/saw one with the male as the receiver of the gifts? I don’t recall any, do you? Why isn’t there any promotion of men’s gifts; a nice St. Valentine’s Fishing Package or a Cupid’s Bow Hunting Combo. Why haven’t Cabela’s, Sear’s Hardware, Home Depot, orLowes come up with a counter to Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Zales and Kay Jewelers, and all the rest?

Can you think of any really cool gifts to give to a guy on Valentine’s Day?

St. Valentine’s Day

Today, February 14th, we celebrate St. Valentine’s Day.

Who was St. Valentine?
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

But it wasn’t a Christian celebration until around 270 A.D. Why February?
Valentine's Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine's death or burial -- which probably occurred around 270 A.D -- others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine's feast day in the middle of February in an effort to 'christianize' celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
So even at its beginning mating and sex played a big role in the holiday.

(The History of Valentine's Day)

Traditions: Valentine’s Day Cards have been around for a while. (But why, oh why, did poor Charlie Brown have such a difficult time getting any cards every February? It must have been a simple case of nice guys finishing last.)
Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke graduate and native of Worcester, Mass., began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the holiday has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.

(Valentine’s Day History)

Why Cupid?
Cupid, another symbol of Valentines Day, became associated with it because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards holding a bow and arrows because he is believed to use magical arrows to inspire feelings of love.

Cupid had an earlier incarnation in the form of the Greek’s Eros, hence the worderotic. That may have something to do with the explosion of obscene cards of the late 1800s.
During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and the obscene St. Valentine's Day card became popular, despite the Victorian era being otherwise very prudish. As the numbers of racy valentines grew, several countries banned the practice of exchanging Valentine's Days cards. During this period, Chicago's post office rejected more than 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were so indecent, they were not fit to be carried through the U.S. mail.

(Valentine's Day Trivia)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Rutgers Downs Marquette 91-84

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In their first ever meeting, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeated the Golden Eagles of Marquette in a huge Big East game 91-84.

Quincy Douby had 14-points in the first half and then went scoreless in the first 10 minutes of the second half but then he caught fire. He finished with a game-high 32 points including 5 for 11 shooting from beyond the three-point line.

Anthony Farmer picked up the slack in the second half scoring all of his 14 points after the break before leaving the game early due to his tender shoulder. Ollie Bailey added 12 points and 7 rebounds and Jimmie Inglis came off the bench to score 10 points. Marquis Webb had 5 points and 6 rebounds, but proved most valuable as a defender, shutting down James in the second half. Including Inglis’ 10, the RU bench provided 24 points.

Dominic James’ 22 points led Marquette with Steve Novak (18 points) and Jerel McNeal (13 points) also scoring in double figures.

The Scarlet Knights shot 50% from the field on 29-58 shooting and 45% (9-20) from beyond the arc.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers improves to 14-10, 4-7 BIG EAST. Marquette falls to 16-8, 6-5 BIG EAST.

The Scarlet Knights play host to the St. John’s Redstorm on Wednesday at the RAC. The game will be televised on FSNY starting at 7:30 PM. St. John’s is currently 13th in the Big East while Rutgers is 12th. Only the top 12 teams will be in the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden starting March 8th. Rutgers has five games left: a home and away pair with both St. John’s and South Florida and a single game at Georgetown.

Damn that Punxsutawney Phil!

The son-of-a-gun is correct only one-third of the time, so why has he been on the mark so far this year?

After one of the warmest Januarys on record, Phil came out of his hole on February 2nd, saw his shadow and promptly dove back to the protection of his hibernation haven while proclaiming six more weeks of winter.

Since then I’ve experienced some of the winter we’ve been missing. Last weekend there fell a light snow in the Adirondacks with much heavier lake effect just to the north of my cabin (a foot or more) and the temperatures there have dropped to seasonal or below (single digit lows and highs in the upper teens).

Now this weekend we get a real nor’easter here on the Atlantic Coast and New Jersey—all of New Jersey—sits right in the middle. There was virtually nothing on the roads and just a light dusting on the grassy areas when I went to sleep last night. I woke up at 6:15 AM this morning to find 10 inches or more on the ground and snow falling at the rate of 2-3 inches an hour!

The good news for New Jersey? The temperatures will climb into the 40s starting tomorrow and may reach 50 by the end of the week. Combined with some late-week rain showers, all this snow may be gone by Presidents’ Day.

There’s good news for the PA property too. It’s located in the middle of the state from east-to-west and lies near the New York border. This places it too far west to be affected by the coastal storms like this one and just far enough away from both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario so lake effect snows seldom reach. With a little warmer temperatures we should be good to break ground in March.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ice Cream Time (Isn’t it always?)

As an ice cream fanatic, and something of an aficionado, I may have to start searching out this brand in the local 7-Elevens. Star Spangled Ice Cream Company sounds like it has some great flavors, just the right amount of humor (and un-pc attitude), and they are all-American. With flavors like Air Force “Plane” Vanilla, Fightin’ Marine Tough Cookies & Cream, G.I. Love Chocolate, Iraqi Road, Navy BattleCHIP, Smaller GovernMINT, Gun Nut, I Hate The French Vanilla, and Nutty Environmentalist how can you go wrong.

While B & J make some fine ice cream, their politics just rankles the hell out of me. Besides, they sold out to Lever of Belgium, so they, technically, aren’t even American any more.

Brands like Turkey Hill, Eddy’s, et. al. have a nice creamy consistency, but their choice of flavors is somewhat limited and unimaginative. And Breyer’s, while okay for a quick fix just doesn’t have that creamy texture I really desire.

Stewart’s Shops (they’re up in the Adirondacks and have, as far as I have been able to determine, nothing to do with the root beer joints that used to dot the New Jersey landscape) have some fine flavors like Crumbs Along the Mohawk and ADIRONDACK BEAR PAW (to name two of my favorites) plus Mint Marcy and Medieval Madness. (You can see all their flavors here.

(Incidently, nothing beats making your own in a big churn/freezer with it's dasher scraping the tiniest of ice crystals off the inner walls of a tub that holds a full gallon. I damn near cried when I put my old trusty out to the curb due to 1) rust and a dead motor and 2) cholestorol.)

RU Climbs Over the Mountaineers, 54-41

Rutgers R.small
Cappie Pondexter scored 22 points to lead the No. 8/8 Scarlet Knights over the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown this evening. It was the 28th consecutive game in which Pondexter scored in double figures. The 22 points also pushed here over the 2,000 point mark making her only the second Rutgers’ women to reach that level.

But defense also played a strong role in the Rutgers victory. The Scarlet Knights held the Mountaineers without a field goal in the first 11 minutes of the game allowing Rutgers to open a 22-6 lead. Unfortunately, the Knights then went cold and West Virginia then went on a 16-0 run to tie the game at 22 at the break.
The teams then traded leads four times in the first five minutes of the second half before Rutgers went on an 8-2 run to take a 37-30 lead with 11:37 left. West Virginia never got closer than four points
Rutgers improves to 19-3 and 11-0 in the Big East.
West Virginia falls to 12-10, 4-7 in the Big East. They are now 13th in the Big East and are in danger of not making the Big East tournament.

Game Story and stats here.

The Scarlet Knights return to the RAC to face Villanova on Valentine’s Day, February 14, at 7:30 PM.

Friday, February 10, 2006

When is 3 lbs. 7 oz. A BIG baby?

How would you like to give birth to a baby that weighed in at on tenth your own body weight? Well that’s just what Eloysa Vasquez did. Ms. Vasquez “suffers from Type 3 osteogenesis imperfecta, a disorder that makes bones soft and brittle.” Her new-born son was delivered by Caesarean section eight weeks before his due date. Timothy, as he has been named, came into this world weighing only 3 pounds 7 ounces. Before she became pregnant, Timmy’s three-foot tall mom weighed only 37 pounds. Timothy did not inherit his mother’s genetic condition. From the size of his fingers and toes, mom and dad (Roy) figure he’s going to be a big boy when he grows up.

Via Yahoo! News

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Songs Updated for the ---Mature

Mostly Cajun’s “MUCH older sister” sent him a list of song remakes for baby boomers who have started turning sixty. They are hilarious. Go take a look and (if your between 45 and whatever) I think you’ll agree.

My favorites?
#3 Bobby Darrin with Splish, Splash I was Having a Flash
#6 Johnny Nash with I Can't See Clearly Now
#10 Procol Harem with Whiter Shade of Hair
#16 Willie Nelson with On the Commode Again

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Notre Dame Routs Rutgers 90-63

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Playing without forwards JR Inman and Adrian Hill, without their point guard Anthony Farmer (he bruised his shoulder in practice earlier this week) and losing Byron Joynes at the half, the Scarlet Knights really didn’t have much of a chance. The Fighting Irish took advantage of the Knights’ weakened condition as they forced the ball inside early and often. Notre Dame took their first lead at 5-4 and never looked back.

While Marquis Webb managed to step up his scoring (14 points) and Quincy Douby had a game high 27 points, they were no match for the hot handed Irish. Notre Dame shot 58.9% from the floor (33-56) and 47.6% from three-point range (10-21). Ouch!

You can get the full story and stats here.

Notre Dame improves to 11-10, 4-6 in the Big East
Rutgers falls to 13-10 and 3-7 in the Big East

Rutgers limps home to take on Marquette at the RAC on Sunday, February 12 at 2 PM.


Rutgers R.small

Injuries are taking their toll on the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers’ freshman forward JR Inman fractured his right fibula in the first hallf against Seton Hall on Sunday. He’s going to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks which means the season. Inman was the top shot-blocker among the Big East freshman and the Scarlet Knights’ second leading scorer in Big East play. With junior forward Adrian Hill also sidelined after arthroscopic surgery on his knee, Rutgers will be going into tonight’s game against Notre Dame—and the rest of the season—without two much needed big men.

Junior Byron Joynes, senior Jimmie Inglis and sophomore Ollie Bailey will have to pick up the slack. Junior Frank Russell (6-11) and sophomore Dan Waterstradt (6-11) are sure to get more playing time. It might be time to give 6-10 freshman Zack Gibson more time, too.

I Went to a Funeral and a Bashing Broke Out

Rather than celebrate the life of Coretta Scott King and her husband Dr. Martin Luther King, several of the speakers chose to strike out against President Bush. As they did with the funeral of Congressman Paul Wellstone several years ago, the attempt was made to turn Mrs. King’s funeral into a Democratic Party pep-rally. These kinds of actions at what is supposed to be a memorial service—and this one was in a church for goodness sake—are deplorable. To politicize a funeral demonstrates a certain lack of class and of true feeling and respect for the person being laid to rest.

That is my opinion. Glenn Reynolds has more with lots of links here.

I find The Anchoress’ comments particularly interesting and meaningful—as usual.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Well, Duh!

The headline: Brains of Young Adults Not Fully Mature.

The story states that the researchers tested 18-year old freshmen who had traveled more than 100 miles from home to go to school. Now think about that for a moment. Boys and girls who had just graduated from high school leave an environment where Mom and Dad were probably dictating their every move and in which they had damn little autonomy or independence. They move a good two hours away from that environment, start to take college classes, live in a dorm with other college students, and have no one holding their hands or waking them up in the morning.

Of course their brains are going to grow! All the new stimulation of having to make decisions, meet deadlines, think for themselves…. The little freshmen minds have got to grow and mature. Or they will find themselves back home. Soon.

I wonder what a similar test done with Marine recruits fresh out of high school would have shown?

Of course it might also explain why so many liberals grow up to become conservatives upon reaching their 30s.

Via Yahoo! News

“Lost World” Found

This story is really cool. To think about all the human exploration in to the wildernesses of the world…and an area the size of Rhode Island is found to contain so many unknown species. Amazing.

"Lost world" found in Indonesian jungle
New Species Discovered in Indonesia Jungle
Scientists hail discovery of hundreds of new species in remote New Guinea

And It’s Rutgers! Wahoo!

Rutgers R.small
The Scarlet Knights defeated the Huskies up in Connecticut to remain the only undefeated team in the Big East. This game looked like it was going to be a blowout but turned out to be quite tight in the end. Leading by as many as 14 in the second half, the Scarlet Knights’ lead faded away as UConn finished on an 11-5 run. The Knights held on with some clutch baskets and free throws by Cappie Pondexter to win 60-56.

Rutgers had been 0-18 in Connecticut against the Huskies before tonight. (They had played well against other teams in the Storrs gym and in Hartford, but they have had trouble coming out on top against the Huskies.)

You can find the full story and stats here.

The Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights improve to 18-3, 10-0 in the Big East.
The Connecticut Huskies slip to 21-3, 10-1 in the Big East.

Rutgers travels down to Morgantown to play the West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday, February 10th. Tip off for that game is 7:00 PM.

Was January Warm?

Yeah, it was. In fact, January was America’s Warmest on Record.

While it was warm here in NJ, we didn’t set any monthly record. For that matter, the lower forty-eight, while warm, beat the old record by only 2.2 degrees.
The country's average temperature for the month was 39.5 degrees Fahrenheit, 8.5 degrees above average for January, the National Climatic Data Center said Tuesday. The old record for January warmth was 37.3 degrees set in 1953.

And before you start to think of Global Warming, it has to be…well, global.
On the other hand, while much of the United States was basking in warm weather, parts of Europe and Asia were being battered by bitter cold. Climate details for the rest of the world for January are expected to be available next week.
Most of the lower forty-eight were above average. Most of them well above their averages. But
On the other hand, north of the jet stream, temperatures across Alaska were much-below average. Fairbanks reached a minimum temperature of -51 F Jan. 27, with a high of only -40 F for that day.
And that’s pretty dng cold!

From Breitbart.com

Okay, guys. Which will it be? Perhaps both?

Scientists Warn of Melting Ice in Arctic
via Yahoo! News

Scientist predicts 'mini Ice Age'
via Lucianne

The first is happening now, according to the scientists quoted. The second will be happening in six or seven years with the coldest period beginning in 30-40 years.

If we link the two, one calling for an ice free Arctic Ocean in the near future and the other calling for falling temperatures due to the approaching solar minimum (2006/2007 is the predicted minimum), we could certainly have much, much heavier snows around the Arctic Circle. That snow, with its reflective surface could mean even less solar energy absorbed and still colder temperatures. Eventually the cold temperatures will freeze the Arctic Ocean for much of the year and the snow machine will be turned off as the solar maximum swings the temperatures upward ag

Wikipedia: Sunspot

Global warming's omitted variable

Two Will Enter
Only One Will Leave

As undefeated that is.
There can be only one!
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Tonight’s women’s basketball game between the No. 9/9 Scarlet Knights against the No. 4/3 Connecticut Huskies in Storrs. Both teams are undefeated in the Big East. They are the only undefeated teams in the Big East. So, after tonight, there will be only one.

If RU is going to be victorious, they will have to overcome a rather depressing history
Rutgers is 2-18 (.100) all time against Connecticut, including a 0-12 (.000) mark when playing on the Huskies' home court.

The last time the two teams met, UConn defeated Rutgers 67-51 in the championship game of the 2005 BIG EAST Tournament in Hartford (March 8).
Additional pregame information is available here.

Tip off is 8:00 PM. If you want to listen on WCTC 1450 AM you can go to the official RU Women’s Basketball page and click the icon to the upper right. (Otherwise you might tune in to WRSU 88.7 FM, the student run Rutgers radio station.)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Seton Hall Edges Rutgers, 73-67

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The struggling Scarlet Knights met the surging Pirates of Seton Hall in the Meadowlands’ Continental Airlines Arena this afternoon and Rutgers came up short again, 73-67.

Quincy Douby, the Big East’s leading scorer, had a game high 28 points including five three-pointers against the Pirates. As a team, Rutgers shot 51.9 percent on 29-for-52 from the field and 42.1 percent (8-for-19) from beyond the three-point line. They closed to within one at 65-64 with three minutes to go but Seton Hall held off the Knights forcing some poor shot selection down the stretch.

Rutgers played without the services of Adrian Hill for the second game and then lost JR Inman late in the first half when he aggravated a leg injury.

Jamar Nutter had 16 points in the first half to give Seton Hall a 41-32 lead going in to the break. He finished the game with a team high 22. Kelly Whitney added 20 points for the Pirates.

With the loss, Rutgers falls to 13-9, 3-6 in the Big East.
Seton Hall improves to 14-6, 5-3 in the Big East.

Get the rest of the story and stats here.

The Scarlet Knights travel to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on Wednesday, February 8th. Tip off will be at 7:30 PM.

Conflicting Weather Forecasts

It’s not unusual for forecasters giving long term predictions to have a difference of opinion. Earlier this week Punxatawney Phil was dragged kicking and screaming from his burrow to say winter would continue for six more weeks before he dove out of sight again. (Okay, I made some of that up, but that could have happened.) Meanwhile, to our north in the land of Canada,
Shubenacadie Sam and Wiarton Willie scampered out of hibernation Thursday to declare to a nation normally chilled to the bone on Groundhog Day that, having failed to see their shadows, winter's days are numbered. …

"I talked to the groundhog a moment ago in Groundhogese," said Mac McKenzie, who founded the groundhog festival in the central Ontario town of Wiarton some 50 years ago, shortly after the famed albino marmot made his prediction.

"He tells me what you fools are doing is wrong. He said, 'I know spring is here now.' That's what our groundhog says."

Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam, Atlantic Canada's most famous weather-forecasting rodent, couldn't wait to show off his skills.

"He's not very fond of the snow. Groundhogs don't generally care for it," said Tracy Miller, an employee of Shubenacadie Wildlife Park near Halifax.

"Every once in a while he has to be bribed with something edible, but this year he was willing to come out and give us a prediction."

Further west, a lesser-known rodent by the name of Manitoba Merv emerged from his den at Oak Hammock Marsh shortly after dawn, looked around, and then retreated before issuing an "official prediction" that Manitoba would have an early spring.

So here’s hoping that Phil got it wrong. After all, he was out numbered 3 to 1. And if it gets to be spring in Canada six weeks early, it will be mighty tough for winter to hang on in Pennsylvania.

The article also mentions that they have taken the plows off the city trucks in Edmonton so they could focus on street sweeping instead of plowing. Now that is a sure sign of spring!

Skiing Fool--and I mean that in a good way.

I’ve done a little cross country skiing in my days up in the Adirondacks but I prefer my snowshoes because they can take me damn near anywhere in the woods while the skis need more of a trail. But this report of a Norwegian traversing Antarctica just blows my mind.
Norwegian adventurer Rune Gjeldnes completed a 93-day solo, unsupported trek across Antarctica on Friday, laying claim to two polar skiing records.

The 4,804-kilometre trek makes the 34-year-old Gjeldnes the first person to cross both the Arctic and the Antarctic with no outside help, and qualifies as the world's longest ski trip, his team said….

The former Royal Norwegian Navy commando's previous records include skiing unsupported over the polar ice cap from Russia to Canada with a teammate in 2000 and skiing the length of Greenland in 1996.

He set off from Queen Mauds Land on the edge of the Antarctic on Nov. 4, reached the South Pole on Dec. 20 and continued on to Victoria Land on the opposite side of the ice continent.

If Rune says he’s going out for a little trek, it might be a good idea to ask just when he expects to get back. Be sure to get the month and day.

Of course, he didn't have to worry about trees or hobble bush catching his ski tips.

“Don’t Walk”

According to This Day in History, back in 1952 New York City installed the first “Don’t Walk” signs in an attempt to decrease the number of pedestrian deaths occurring on the crowded streets of Manhattan. (If they have reduced the fatalities I hate to think of what they would be today without those signs. TDH reports there were 5,307 pedestrian deaths in 1997. Although they don’t say, the article leads you to believe this is just in NYC, but even if it is the national figure it is still ridiculous. Think of that the next time you see a report touting the number of soldiers who died fighting a war in Iraq!)

You’ve all seen those signs and the cruel joke of a button attached to them. You know, the one that says something to the effect “Push to Cross.” You’re supposed to be able to alter the light signals by pushing that little button so you, the waiting-but-in-a-hurry pedestrian, can scurry across the traffic lanes. Now, think about that for just one second. The city has had traffic engineers working for years to keep the traffic moving smoothly. Sensors have been installed beneath the road’s pavement to sense traffic movements. They have computerized the changing of the lights on intersections throughout town so as to minimize the possibility of gridlock. Do you really, really think they are going to let you come along a F**k that all up just so you can get across the street? I don’t think so! Yet people continue to walk up to the corner, look up at the “Don’t Walk” sign and push that stupid button! Must be the same wish/hope/desire that gets them to buy lottery tickets. But the odds are even worse. That light’s gonna change when it was programmed to change and you aren’t going to be able to override that program with that stupid little button—if it is even wired to anything at all!

UPDATE: Apparently, the figure for pedestrian deaths is a national one. I found this article Metro Area Tops Nation in Pedestrian Deaths from Wired New York Forum which states:
The Surface Transportation Policy Project, a national transportation reform coalition based in Washington, D.C., yesterday released the results of its latest two-year study of pedestrian safety in the U.S. -- a report called "Mean Streets 2004."

The coalition said walking is "by far" the most dangerous mode of travel per mile in the U.S. The fatality rate for public transit is 0.75 deaths per 100 million miles, while the rate is 1.3 in passenger cars and trucks, 7.3 on commercial airliners -- and 20.1 for pedestrians. …

There were 4,919 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in 2002 and 4,827 pedestrian deaths in 2003, according to the report.

The study, now in its fifth edition, found that, while the raw number of pedestrian fatalities has decreased between 1994 and 2003, the number is misleading -- because fewer people are walking now than they were in 1994. The percent of commuters who walked declined 24.9 percent between 1990 and 2000, according to the U.S. Census.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Rutgers Women Down DePaul
Still Undefeated in Big East

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Cappie Pondexter scored 27 points and had five rebounds while Matee Ajavon tallied 18 and had 7 assists to lead No. 9/9 Rutgers over No. 13/11 De Paul 67-57 at the RAC Saturday afternoon.

Down 11-3 in the early going, the Scarlet Knights responded with an 18-4 run. The Blue Demons battled back and the score was knotted at 27 all at the half.

Both teams traded the lead during the second half with neither gaining more than a three point advantage until the 5:02 mark in the game. At that point, Ajavon was fouled while converting a lay-up and the Knights held a 54-50 lead. Pondexter would make a three point shot to make it 57-50 at 3:57 and RU would use their defense in the final three minutes to push to the 67-57 victory.

You can get the full story and stats here.

Rutgers improved to 17-3, 90 in the Big East and DePaul dropped to 18-5, 5-5 in the Big East.

The Scarlet Knights go on the road to face the Connecticut Huskies in Storrs on Tuesday, February 7, at 8:00 PM.

Wild Critters of the Adirondacks

Mark has been having a pretty good string of luck with the camera behind the garage in the Adirondacks. He has managed to get nice photos of a coyote, a fox and a fisher.

The coyote tripped the camera setting off the flash and then, according to his tracks in the snow, headed away very, very quickly. He has come back since but refuses to go anywhere near where the camera is set up. Instead, he lurks in the distance probably waiting for some small critter to get careless and provide him with a meal. Coyote 01.12.2052

Neither the fox nor the fisher appear to have been bothered by the flash going off. I really didn’t expect the fox would be. I’ve held a flash light on the adult and four or five kits when they wandered past the glass door of the cabin and they didn’t so much as jump or shy away from the light. The fox has shown up several times and on at least one occasion stayed in the target area after the first picture was taken. If you look at the time stamp, the fox has appeared in the evening. (A third photo not shown here was taken on January 30th at 19:55 hours.)
Fox 01.21.2228
Fox 02.01.2047

The fisher seems to love the camera and has pranced around the small clearing that forms the target area getting its picture taken again and again. One morning it got snapped at 7:32, 7:40, 8:02,8:08 and 8:10! What a camera hog!
Fischer  01.22.0732
Fischer  01.22.0740
And the flash didn’t seem to bother the critter either.
It came back on February 1st at 3:32 AM.
Fischer  02.01.0332

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ground Hog’s Day

Today is Candlemas and Ground Hog’s Day. Here in the U.S. we turn our attention to Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil and await his early morning appearance to see whether or not he will see his shadow.
The groundhog's reputation as a weather prophet came to the U.S. in the mid-18th century with German immigrants. But this is really a very old holiday -- one that has its roots in astronomy. February 2nd is one of four cross-quarter days. It lies about halfway between a solstice and an equinox. Today's cross-quarter day was celebrated as Candlemas in England, where it marked the beginning of spring.

Try this old English rhyme -- "If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another flight. But if it be dark with clouds and rain, winter is gone and will not come again."
From the Holiday Page: Ground Hog’s Day

The ground hog as a weather prognosticator is relatively new. It has only been used in that role since the 18th century. Prior to that, the badger, the bear or some other hibernating animal was used. The Pennsylvania Dutch (of German ancestry despite the moniker) transferred the job to the ground hog.

Should Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow we are supposed to have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will be right around the corner. In truth, as mentioned in the quote above, Candlemas is a cross-quarter day, halfway between the first day of winter and the first day of spring. So, no matter what good old Phil sees or doesn’t see, we still are only halfway through winter.

But it is a great excuse for a party and the town of Punxsutawney knows that for a fact.

PS: For what it's worth, Phil saw his shadow today when he was drawn from his burrow.

The Official Site of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club

Other links:
StormFax Weather Almanac: Groundhog Day


NOBLE: North of Boston Library Exchange

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Rutgers’ Women Beat Red Storm

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The No. 9/9 Scarlet Knights defeated No. 25 St. John’s 61-51 at the RAC tonight. Cappie Pondexter led all scorers with 24 points and also had 8 rebounds. Kia Vaughn added 15 points and 5 rebounds. But it was defense that spelled the difference. RU blasted out to a 33-6 lead in the first half only to see a 17-2 run by the Red Storm narrow the margin to 35-23 by the break. When they came back on the floor, the Knights again denied the Red Storm and breezed on to the final score.

You can get the rest of the story here.

The Lady Knights improve to 16-3, 8-0 in the Big East. St. John’s falls to 17-4, 7-3 in the Big East.

Next up for Rutgers are the DePaul Demons on Saturday, February 4th, at the RAC at 2 PM.

RU falls to Syracuse at the Dome in OT

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Rutgers entered tonight’s contest against Syracuse with a record of futility at the Carrier Dome having gone 0-8 in the Dome. They would leave with that streak intact but not for the lack of trying. They forced Syracuse into overtime on a last second 3-pointer by Marquis Webb before losing 86-84 on a Terrance Roberts 3-point field goal with 0.4 seconds to go.

With Quincy Douby had a career-high 41 points and nine 3-point field goals in the losing cause. The 41 points were a new Dome record by any player and the nine 3-pointers were a new Rutgers record. Even with Douby supplying such offense for the Scarlet Knights—much of it from several counties away—the Knights still had to struggle back from a 10-point deficit midway through the second half.

Quincy Douby had 19 points in the first half but a late Syracuse 12-0 run allowed the Orange to take a 39-35 lead into the break. JR Inman started the scoring in the second half with a 3-point field goal to pull the Knights to within one, but then RU went cold. The Knights struggled as Syracuse built a 10-point lead. RU didn’t get a field goal until Inman jammed it with 13 minutes left. Meanwhile Douby suffered his own cold spell. Getting no points and even sitting for a short time from 11:30 to 11:10. When he returned, however, he promptly found the range. Starting with a lay-up at 10:40, Douby started hitting from long distance. A 30-footer at the 4-minute mark tied the score at 63 and was soon followed by another that made it 66-63 in the Knights’ favor.

Joynes and Ingles fouled out in the last minutes of regulation as the Orange fought back taking a 1-point lead with 30 seconds left. Douby missed a long 3-pointer and Webb lost the rebound out of bounds. Syracuse’s Nichols was fouled on the in bound’s play and made the two free throws to put the Orange up by 3. Webb then made a 3-pointer with 0.3 on the clock to tie the game and send it into overtime with a score of 74 all.

In overtime Douby continued to be hot and it looked like RU would pullout the victory when, after Douby’s ninth 3-pointer, Syracuse’s Josh Wright brought the ball up court too slowly and committed a 10-second violation turning the ball over to the Knights while the Orange were up by one. Little used Frank Russell sank a hook shot for the Knights putting them up by one. Wright made up for his earlier error by sinking a 3-point shot. Sending Syracuse up by two with about 40 seconds left. After a RU took its only time out, Webb missed a three but Inman made a steal followed by an Anthony Farmer 3-pointer with 7.8 seconds left putting RU up, 84-83.

Terrance Roberts made an uncontested 3-point shot with 0.4 seconds left sending Syracuse to an 86-84 victory. It was Roberts second three of the night and only his fifth of the year.

You can get the whole story and statshere.

Rutgers falls to 13-8, 3-5 in the Big East while Syracuse is now 16-6, 4-4 in the Big East.

Rutgers has 8 games remaining in the regular season, all of them in the Big East. Five of those games are on the road (Seton Hall, Notre Dame, South Florida, Georgetown and St. John’s) and RU will have to win one or two of them while sweeping the games in the RAC (Marquette, Saint John’s and South Florida) or be in danger of not making the Big East Tournament.

The Scarlet Knights next play against the Seton Hall Pirates in the Meadowlands on Sunday at noon.

I still prefer bird songs

Perhaps birds are not the only ones to sing to attract mates. University of Queensland researchers believe male humpback whales sing to woo the lady of their choice. And while it may not attract the girls, the songs apparently do turn them on.
While he cannot say the songs attract the females, they do facilitate sex.

"Certainly there's evidence for courtship. It seems to certainly be a courtship display that facilitates mating interactions with females," he [researcher Joshua Smith] said.
"facilitates mating interactions" That's scientific speak for they get it on more often.

via Yahoo News

Cinnamon or Peppermint aid drivers

Here’s another reason to keep a tin of Altoids in the car when you’re traveling.

Researchers from West Virginia have found a little sniff of cinnamon or peppermint increases alertness and reduces fatigue. And if you’re likely to run into a traffic jamb, it also reduces anxiety and frustration.
"While we used scents delivered through the nose, our past research suggests that mints or gums could also provide the same effects," Dr Raudenbush said.

via Lucianne

Twenty-five sign letter of intent to Rutgers

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Rutgers announced the results of its 2006 football recruiting. I said earlier that they would have to do something to shore up the Scarlet Knights’ defense as well as their receiver corps. It would appear that Coach Greg Shiano has done just that.
Included in the group are six linebackers, four defensive linemen, a cornerback and a safety on defense. Offensively, the class includes a trio of wide receivers, two quarterbacks, tight ends, fullbacks and offensive linemen each, along with a running back. Rounding out the class is an athlete who is projected to play either offense or defense.
Coach has brought in nine players from New Jersey, eight from Florida, four from New York, three from Pennsylvania and one from Massachusetts. From those numbers, it would appear that Schiano and Rutgers’ bowl appearance have improved RU’s reputation with the locals. (The Floridians can be explained by Schiano’s previous incarnation as an assistant for the Miami Hurricanes.)

I've always believed that if RU could get some of the local stars to stay home--and import a few as well--the Scarlet Knights could compete with anyone in the country. Look at the rosters of some of the teams on national TV every Saturday and you'll find New Jersey guys starting for nearly all of them. With the excellent facilities now on the Rutgers campus and its reputation for academics, RU can already compete off the field. The other draw for recruits is the placement of players in the NFL, and there are more and more of those from RU every year. (It didn't hurt to have a Knights combo playing catch for the Eagles after McNabb went down. McMahon and Smith.)

You can read about the 25-member class here.