Editor's Note: We often repeat photos from different parts of the site. All photos are taken by me.
As kids we would stretch out on our backs and imagine the different objects the clouds formed in the sky. If you're lucky you haven't stopped just because you're no longer chronologically a kid. It's still all the magic of reality and illusion. Being in Florida, we're probably just a little more careful about where we stretch out.
This exact wispy configuration, like all clouds, will never be seen again except as how the viewer interprets what the camera saw for that instant one afternoon in August. Looking now I see a bay or lagoon…maybe a sound with another island, maybe a barrier island. I see an animal about to leap. I see loosened glaciers calving. I didn't see any of this when I first made the photo. It's that magic again.
|Fort Pickens is a wonderful place to
study history, hike, swim, bird watch, fish, camp,
picnic and so much more. It was built in 1834
and has served as a Civil War fort which remained in
Union hands for the entire war. It later served
as a prison for Geronimo and other Native American
fighters. It is part of the Gulf Islands
National Seashore and is run by the National Park
Service. It is located on the west bound road
out of Pensacola Beach.
Before Tyler Mahle threw his perfect game on 4-22-17, Pensacola Wahoo pitchers Daniel Corcino and Wilkin De La Rosa combined for the first Wahoo no-hitter on 6-16-2012
I was asked who won the game. That's easy. In your spring intrasquad game your team always wins. UWF won but it was larger than just football. The UWF Athletic Department has created a competitive team from scratch while displaying the character that is found throughout the whole athletic operation. UWF does things the right way and Coach Shinnick and his excellent staff have brought about a hundred fine young men onto the campus to pursue education and athletic exposure. That is a win for them and it's a win for the community. We're proud and appreciative. Who won? We all did. Thanks.
IS THIS A GREAT TOWN OR WHAT?
I don't work for the Blue Wahoos, the city of Pensacola, the Chamber Of Commerce, the University of West Florida, Ballet Pensacola. or Seville Quarter. I often feel like they work for me. It started Thursday with the opening game for the Blue Wahoos, the AA Minor League franchise for the Cincinnati Reds—Baseball's original professional team. The Maritime Park stadium is considered one of the most picturesque in sports.
The Blue Wahoos are rated as the best operation in baseball. After five great and family friendly years there didn't seem to be any room for improving the fan friendly operation. Season ticket holders arrived at the stadium to find their seats displaying their names! No other team does that!
It doesn't end there. Quint Studer created a concierge position to assist season ticket holders. It's a move taken out of the playbooks of legendary organizations like Disney. He then found an unbelievable addition to the staff for the position. Nancy Berry is enthusiastic, helpful and sincere. She brings much to the position including executive assistant experience with two Major League teams! I might be seen as a little prejudiced after she and Downtown Dave greeted me on camera after my return from a season long illness. They make quite a team. We nobodies are somebody at Maritime Park. (The Wahoos won the opener.)
Friday night found ballet fans at Pensacola's Little Theater for a performance of Alice In Wonderland. Artistic director Richard Steinert got the event off with intrigue with the advice we weren't about to see our grandmother's Alice In Wonderland. Amen brother. This "Alice" embarked on a dark excursion outside of the bounds of sanity. We were reminded why some see successful psychiatry as far more art than science. The performance was incredible. The Pensacola Ballet company has more talent than we deserve. Alice descended to her depths and by the end had lost each and every saving grace and as her ground in sanity was gone she stood alone with her back to the audience. It took us a few heartbeats to be reminded to breathe and applaud with enthusiasm.
The Pensacola Little Theater is not little in size or talent
Saturday night saw a return to baseball followed by a fantastic fireworks display visible across the surrounding neighborhoods. Those of us who rode the Seville Shuttle to the stadium returned to the nightclub district to find another tradition. Some local religion group was making their weekly appearance in the entertainment district. They were a little hard to hear amid the traffic and hustle and bustle but as near as I can tell they were either promoting their particular religious interpretations or protesting what they perceived as sin on the opposite side of the street.
THE UWF BASKETBALL TEAM ADVANCED TO THE ELITE EIGHT OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT WITH A HARD FOUGHT WIN OVER ROLLINS. IF YOU CAN'T MAKE THE ROAD TRIP TO COLUMBUS OHIO, THE BEST WAY TO FOLLOW THE ARGOS IS THROUGH THE EXCELLENT OFFICIAL ARGOS WEB SITE. GOARGOS.COM. IT CONTAINS PHOTOS AS WELL AS GAME INFORMATION AND IMPORTANT LINKS TO SEE AND HEAR THE ARGOS LIVE! I am not a UWF employee but I have been a long time contributing photographer to their site.
Photography is art and art does not lend itself well to competition. I am amused by the photographers who take themselves too seriously. Ansel Adams and Margaret Bourke White were the pioneers of the craft but they are gone along with their film and primitive equipment. I see photographers guarding their digital shots and camera settings like state secrets. They hide behind copyrights and watermarks and make sure no one can study the settings of their shots. There are applications called EXIF viewing programs which can tell you a lot about a photo from imbedded information if the photographer doesn't block it. Here is a useful and free site. http://www.exifviewer.toolur.com/ I am flattered if someone uses such a viewer to see how I succeeded or failed. It's a learning and communication tool. Everyone is using digital photography to capture memories and express something they feel moved to share. That's the nature of art. Buy the best camera and lens you can afford and search the internet for sites and videos to show the properties and uses of that camera. If you get desperate click HERE. for a site I built to cover the subject. Experienced photographers use post production tools such as the pricey but excellent Photoshop and Lightroom. Picasa is a free site and also excellent.
HIGH PLACES...WILD PLACES
A GUIDE TO HIKING AND BACKPACKING
You may have noted I have been increasingly adding links and pages that go beyond simply unique photos of Western Florida. I got tired of being concerned about hacking, viruses and other irritations that went along with maintaining the dozens of sites I created. I'm consolidating pages I am interested in continuing and the logical repository is the one site where I spend the money necessary to vigorously protect one site from intruders. Adware lurks everywhere and the increasing growth of ApplE/Mac equipment has attracted the interest of those trying to plant more serious problems such as ransomware and similar abominations. The nice thing is most of the new pages can be avoided by simply not clicking on the link.
I taught Natural History during the dark days before the Internet and digital photography. Now I teach myself. This is a partial description and illustration of the natural environment I encountered on one third of an acre of a suburban neighborhood in the Florida Panhandle. This represents a small percentage of the natural scene. Whether you believe in intelligent design/creation or natural selection/evolution or both or neither, I hope you find this interesting. Why not do the same with your kids and/or grandchildren and publish it on the Internet? CLICK HERE FOR MY SITE
|THE SOUTHERN BLACK RACER. Others
have used this photo on their sites. It's a
fairly common snake here. They feed in daytime
and are sometimes mistaken for the deadly Cottonmouth
or Water Moccasin. They were once
mistaken another way. When I initiated and wrote
the Wikipedia article on this snake it was challenged
by an editor living in Paris. The title made him
suspect I was promoting some kind of cartoon super
hero—The Black Racer. It's a true story.
|These are commonly called Banana
Spiders. This one was about 4 inches long.
The original intro for the TV series "Swamp
People" in Louisiana showed one of these.
|Bluebirds (female left, male right)
are great and fearless parents. I caught
this pair feeding their young and
diving at intruding animals. I once had a duck
feign having an injured wing (and thus being
easy prey) until her flock of little ones made an
escape. Her wing immediately healed and she took
off to lead her flock.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, HOLY DAYS OR SPECIAL DAYS!
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MELANIE SAFKA
Melanie Safka is a timeless talent. From before Woodstock until tomorrow her voice and her personality
have been an American treasure. Google: YouTube Melanie Safka & YouTube Melanie Safka and Miley.
Wasn't it just summer? And then I was in California and it never stopped being summer. It was hot all the way through September.
October even, I think. I missed autumn, in time and in my heart. Some of my family is faraway. Some here. Some gone.
Merry Christmas ~ and may you prosper and flourish in the New Year. I demand it :)
The First Family also sent their Christmas greetings!
I had the pleasure of attending an annual holiday treat in Pensacola. The Nutcracker is a very professional and enjoyable performance by
Ballet Pensacola. Artistic director Richard Steinert is a hardworking genius who brings out the best in his dancers and his community,
The Saenger Theater is a national treasure and the comfortable site of concerts and performances that are world class. I've seen
everything there from breathtaking ballet to Neil Young. The seats are comfortable and the decor is the equal of any in a larger city.
The modern American version of basketball may well be the greatest game in the world. Certainly, modern basketball players are the greatest athletes. The modern game has evolved from the peach basket days of its origin to today's fast paced sport. If you're a baby boomer or a little older, the game of your youth is almost unrecognizable. These great athletes in the photos are typical of the agile and athletic men and women who created a third part of the game. Originally, there was offense and defense but today's game features what I call the transition game. The whole court is in play. The rules have evolved to keep pace with the abilities. In 1960 each of these "moves" shown below would probably have been violations…"carrying" or "palming" the ball. Originally you had to keep your hand on top of the ball when dribbling.
Three modern ball handling moves...It "ain't" your grandfather's "Hoosiers."
Today's game is a game often played above the rim. In the "old" days the game was played much closer to the floor. Training methods have changed, making today's player physically superior. Players now play almost year round whereas in the old days players sometimes preserved their eligibility by playing in summer leagues under assumed names or not playing organized ball at all in the off season. Skills were developed on the playgrounds. It was widely believed that weight training was bad for basketball players. A few coaches held that weights could be used to improve jumping only by holding a barbell and weights on the shoulders while performing deep knee bends. I can imagine the orthopedic surgeons hearing that and groaning. Is it considered limping if both knees are still aching?
Even the equipment and uniforms have kept pace with the modern athlete. Flexible rims aren't destroyed when the modern athlete hangs on the rim to facilitate landing on the floor safely after a dunk. Such a move was once a violation. Today it is a necessity. The ball hasn't changed much but the uniforms and shoes have. Check out this guy from circa 1960. The Converse All Star was the only sensible choice in those days. Today the choices are many. The old uniforms and socks are almost comical by today's stylish standards.
Short shorts, long socks and Converse All Stars...high fashion back in the day!
Rules have evolved. In post World War II basketball there were no three second rules, shot clocks, 5 second rules, alternating possessions or 3-point shots. The addition of big (and slow) players led to some boring games. The Ft. Wayne Pistons (Now the Detroit Pistons) and the Minneapolis Lakers (Now the Los Angeles Lakers) once battled to a 19-18 championship game (Circa 1950). Over-matched teams at all levels resorted to stalling tactics that are near legendary. In 1983 the University of Cincinnati (UC) was in a rebuilding year. Destined to go 3-25 that year, their center and tallest player stood 6-6. The University of Kentucky (UK) was on the way to a 29-5 season and boasted a front line of 6-11, 7-1 and 6-8. They were almost laughable picks to win the game. UC chose to play stall ball. There was no shot clock. UC once passed and dribbled for over 7 minutes without shooting en route to a 24 to 11 loss. They were "in" the game until the end but UK fans were going out of their minds in frustration. TV network executives were probably in tears.
The women's game has evolved also. In 1960 many schools played the 6 person version of women's basketball. Three guards stayed on the defensive half while three forwards were required to stay on the offensive half. Only forwards could shoot. Crossing over was forbidden. A player was allowed 2 bounces of the ball before passing or shooting. Surprisingly, this version of the game was played in some states into the 1990s.
IMHO there remains one stupid rule in basketball. Players or coaches can call timeout when a player is hopelessly trapped or in danger of being tied up. No other major sport allows a timeout to be called while the ball is in play. Can you imagine a runner in baseball calling timeout before being tagged? How about a quarterback avoiding a sack by flashing a timeout signal to the referee? Why do we allow a player in basketball to call timeout to end play when the ball is in play? Why do we allow a player to call timeout when great defensive efforts are making it difficult to inbound the ball? I actually don't even like allowing the offense to call timeout when the ball is "live." And while I'm pontificating, how about enlarging the court? Leave the baskets the same distance apart. (The court is supposed to be 94' long with the baskets about 4' in from the end line...thereby making the baskets 86' apart.) Add 18" onto each end line to accommodate today's players who jump far longer and higher than those players from the time when the current dimensions were set. Driving to the basket would also be encouraged.
It's still a wonderful game.
A print from the old USSR (CCCP) days
The story goes that Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891 in Massachusetts as a vehicle for keeping his athletes in shape. Some feel he also was motivated to keep his athletes away from the very dangerous sport of football in those days of little padding, flying wedges and no helmets. He chose a basket height of 10 feet simply because it was the height of the overhead running track to which he fastened peach baskets. Games were low scoring affairs—sometimes even ending in scores such as 2-1 and 3-2. With no hole in the bottom of the wicker baskets, play was slowed to get out the ladder to retrieve the ball. To slow play even more, jump balls were held after each score.
Basketball evolved into what I believe is a game with the world's most athletic participants. Today the game uses a ball that is about 9.5 inches in diameter. The inside diameter of the rim is 18 inches—almost double that of the ball. It's not as easy to thread the needle as it would appear. (In golf for instance, the ball is 1.68" in diameter while the cup is 4.25". Creating a similar relationship between a basketball and rim would create a target almost 6 inches wider. You could keep Shaq in the last minutes of a close game.)
The greatest player I ever saw was Wilt Chamberlain. At 7-1 and 270 pounds of muscle he was unstoppable when the rules of the sport were followed. One year he averaged over 50 points a game. Of course he perfected powerful slam dunks but he also had a great fall away jumper and a finger roll type move. Defenders were allowed to push and hack him similar to what some big men face today. If the rules were enforced he would have scored 100 points (as he did one night) and each defender would foul out. He averaged 22 rebounds a game for his entire career. One night he grabbed 55 rebounds. Bill Russell was also a force, mostly as a defender and rebounder. His battles with Chamberlain were legendary. Because he dominated around the basket, he is largely responsible for goal tending rules similar to what we have today.
Without changes the game could have become a travesty as it did in a game in Sweeden where someone named Mats Wermelin scored all 272 points of his team's 272-0 rout of another. I saw a 6 foot tall high school player named Danny Cornett score 87 points in a 32 minute game BEFORE the days of the three point shot or the shot clock. It wasn't even close to a state or national record as another player had once netted 114 points. On the college level Frank Selvy of Furman scored 100 in a game while Bevo Francis once scored 116 for Rio Grande. The college record was set in 2012 by D-III guard Jack Taylor who scored 138 points in a game for Grinnell. Selvy went on to a distinguished pro career with the Celtics. Francis and Taylor did not play pro ball.
UMPIRES HAVE A TOUGH JOB
(REPEATED FROM AN EARLIER POST)
I'd rather have arguments instead of instant replay. I'm old school when it comes to watchin' or playin' ball. The off season belongs to the "Hot Stove League" where fans sit around and dissect the season. The lore is full of stories such as Merkle's Blunder. In 1908 Giants rookie Fred Merkle was on first with two outs and the other bases occupied with teammates. The batter laced a single and Merkle (and his team) thought the winning run had just been scored. Merkle ran toward second but veered off toward the clubhouse to celebrate without touching the base. The Chicago players noticed and so did the umpire. You can figure the rest. Stories abound of hidden ball tricks, stolen signals and "spit balls." There are tons of disputed calls and blunders. The mystique of this great game is ruined when officials spend 5 minutes looking at instant replays.
Look up the Youtube clip about Elrod Hendrick's tagging Pensacola resident Bernie Carbo as he tries to score in the 1970 World Series. Even the announcers joined the umpire in failing to see the catcher tagged the runner with his empty glove while he kept the ball in his bare hand. See: CARBO TAGGED? ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF0FCsWcuy4)
With that in mind allow me to show you some situations worthy of Hot Stove League arguments but not instant replay.
I am a little more satisfied with these soccer photos although I'm still not able to move around the field. Like the volleyball, baseball and softball events, I have more than 100 decent shots from Sunday but they're all from the same spot. That is not the way to photograph sports but it will take some time to regain my balance, stamina and strength. Successful cancer therapy required the killing of healthy cells and nerves as a side effect of twice removing a deadly disease. Major surgery contributed to the physical problems. My hair is returning and I want to believe I'll once again have feeling in my feet and lower legs. Unfortunately, I have been unable to shoot men's soccer, football, cross country and swimming because of these physical limits. I'm not really complaining. All of these problems are a fair trade for remission and/or cure.
I hope you enjoy the photos They, and the web site displaying them, are free and will remain my tribute to the community and the athletes and supporters of UWF. This site is owned and produced by me and neither the University of West Florida nor Pensacola are responsible for the site.
Occasionally some of my photo files become corrupted as illustrated below. I've seen this on other sites but I don't know why this happens on any site. However if you notify me that a file has become corrupted I can correct it. I would advise you to drag and drop favorite photos to your own computer in case they get damaged. In any event, I hope someone will notify me if files become corrupted. I'm trying to find a way to prevent the problem but so far I've only been able to create a way to correct corrupted files.
Same Photo Fixed
A LITTLE NAME DROPPING
I took this photo when I met Roy Jones Jr. a few years ago at the Baseball Complex on the UWF campus. He was taking part in a charity fund raiser softball game. Some experts believe he is the greatest fighter of all time. He's still fighting at age 47 and has a current record of 64-9. The Pensacola native has won championship belts as a middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight.
I thought of Roy Jones Jr. when the sad news reached me of the death of Aaron Pryor. He was also considered to be an all time great. The "Hawk" was known for his energetic style. He would race across the ring at the opening of the round and catch his opponent barely risen from his corner stool. Many consider him the greatest junior welterweight of all time and he retired with a record of 39-1 with 35 KOs. I met him in Cincinnati in the early 1980s. He died of a heart problem last week at age 60.
I was 12 years old when I met Rocky Marciano. He had recently retired and was on a promotional tour. He is often mentioned in discussions about the greatest heavyweight of all time. His record was 49-0. He died in a plane crash in 1969 at age 45.
Everyone knows about the athletic talent in Pensacola. Baseball, football, golf and other sports all find this area to be a prime location to recruit. The area seems to promote championship youth athletic activities. In addition, The University Of West Florida uses local athletes while recruiting great athletes from around the state, the nation and internationally! The same is true for the artistic world. Music, dance and the performing arts are alive and well. We just viewed a great dance performance at the Pensacola Cultural Center. The vehicle was called the Jukebox Time Machine and performers illustrated and interpreted music from 1901 to the present. Standing in front of the "Magic Jukebox" are two of Pensacola's major forces in local performance arts. Christine Duhon and Richard Steinert are responsible for many of the local performances. You can learn about upcoming presentations at balletpensacola.com.
MILFORD OHIO...One Of The Places I've Lived
"There is a town in North Ontario
Dream comfort mem'ry to spare
And in my mind I still need a place to go
All my changes were there."
"Helpless" Neil Young longing for the simple times of his youth...
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
"A Moveable Feast" Ernest Hemingway describing Paris...
"A Fine And Pleasant Misery"
Patrick McManus describing his youth in Idaho...
"Seven years of
Well, OK...sometimes it did seem like it was never going to end.
The class of '63 spent their final three years in a new building.
No one has said when they'll demolish that building.
One of the final views of our old school...
"This ole house was home and comfort as we fought the storms of life..."
But nothing lasts forever...
Some golfers are idiots
I live next to a golf course. It's usually quiet and a great study in human nature. Golfers
embarrass themselves with their immaturity. In this case a player on a par 3 hole must
have driven his ball to my front porch. His ball landed closer to my porch than the target.
He apparently chose to (in violation of golf rules) play the ball from far out of bounds. I
know this because his illegal approach was so bad, he broke his club in half and threw the
head half on my roof! It was a good club (8 iron) and not cheap. So much for a matched set.
THE GRATEFUL DEAD
by any other name is still the Grateful Dead to fans and followers!
Summer Tour 2016—has new faces and old faces DBA "Dead And Company."
Fans range in age from young teens to seventy-somethings.
Show me another band that has been in operation in one dispensation or another for over 50 years...and played over 2300 (and still counting) shows?
Show me a band that has telephone book size data bases listing all of its concerts and songs. It includes when and where
every song was played and what preceded it and followed it and the particular length (which varies every time they play).
How about a band whose followers traveled from venue to venue with them?
How many bands permit and encourage fans to record their shows?
Which other band has an internet music site 24/7 where free music is played?
What band has internet video streams (pay per view) of many shows?
I've been to around 200 concerts and performances...half of these were Grateful Dead shows all over the country from California to Albany NY to Florida. Nothing
compares to the Dead. They even have an in house ticket sales operation that enables people like me to get special tickets to bring in elaborate taping equipment and
reserve places for us to set up tall microphone stands. The sound board crew sometimes allowed us to patch in to their equipment. The ticket sales people operated
out of someone's kitchen and deterred scalpers and reserved front row tickets for regular fans. I regularly got first and second row tickets for indoor shows when I
wasn't adding to many hours of cassette tapes. I don't know of one fan who ever sold a tape—instead, they were traded freely. Likewise, tickets were never scalped.
I'd say these things are unique.
John Mayer and Bob Weir
(L to R) Otiel Burbridge, Donna Jean Godchaux, John Mayer and Bob Weir
Donna Jean and her husband Keith Godchaux are beloved former members although Donna occasionally lends her great voice from time to time. She is 68.
Donna Jean, John and Bob
Jeff Chimenti with the famous Hammond B3 in the background
Front man Bob Weir
Otiel Burbridge is 51. A great addition as bass guitar, he formerly played with the Allman Brothers. Founding
member Phil Lesh (age 76) has chosen to skip the current Dead Summer Tour and instead is touring with his other band,
Phil Lesh And Friends. Both Otiel and Phil are hugely talented...each with a beloved and interesting style and stage presence.
John Mayer is 38. An incredible musician, he has stepped right into his position...learning virtually many dozens of Dead tunes.
John has his own style and voice. He is so talented he didn't have to try to replace or imitate legendary Dead leader, the late Jerry Garcia.
Founding member Mickey Hart is 72. He is a world class master at his craft.
Jeff Chimenti is 48 and is the equal of all the talented and beloved keyboardists in the band's history...Ron "Pigpen"
McKernan, Keith Godchaux, Tom Constanten, Brent Mydland, Vince Welnick and briefly, Bruce Hornsby.
(All are deceased except Constanten and Hornsby (and of course, Chimenti.)
Founding member, and leader, Bob Weir is 68. He and Garcia shared the singing and guitar work that has made the Band a legend.
Founding drummer Bill Kreutzmann is 70 and a very talented and energetic drummer.
I only have a few photos and I'm just too tired to begin processing and uploading them. I'm going to try to get a few photos Sunday and then return home and see if I can't post photos.
For the second time in my life I heard a doctor say the word cancer. I will have significant surgery on Tuesday and should start treatment sometime after that if needed. I'm confident. I have a great family supporting me and I have a great doctor. We fought this same disease off once before. The first time around I labored over shielding my wife and daughter and breaking the news to them "gently." I long suspected they were smarter than I. I found out they are stronger also. I've been through a world of chemotherapy, blood tests, CT scans, waiting for reports and biopsies. I don't want to preach but I just have to say it is wise to include your spiritual beliefs in your support system.
I'll be back.
The Wahoos are the AA affiliate minor league team of the Cincinnati Reds. The team is owned by Quint and Rishy Studer and Bubba Watson. The Reds are the oldest professional baseball team in America. Major League Baseball recognizes Cincinnati's history by allowing the Reds to always play the first game of the season at home. At one time there was a rule that no major league game could begin before the Reds' opener but that is no longer true. Cincinnati still has a parade to begin the season. Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench are always mentioned when someone attempts to compile a list of the greatest players of all time.
There is a beautiful view of the water. I join in stating that Quint Studer has been successful because of how he treats people. The stadium is very fan friendly and safe. There is an old time aura to this modern stadium. The staff is incredible. To a person, they act as if they're glad you are there. Look closely at the left side of this photo. The Wahoos have joined minor league teams in erecting safety netting. It will make photography more difficult but it will make the stadium far more safe.
I'm sorry if you hoped to see photos from today's match with Concordia. It was raining and storming this morning at 9AM and I couldn't get any information about a delay or schedule change. Somehow the match was played. This is a good time to remind people that I am not an employee of the university although I am considered a contributing photographer. This web page is maintained and financed by me and I've done this for a few years. It reflects my interests and they include athletics. The time I had reserved for photographing this match was put to some use with the next entry on 3-26-16 about one of the places I've lived.
I am repeating these thoughts for the benefit of my Ohio friends who received word that this building from our youth was being demolished. For the most part I grew up in a little Midwestern town called Milford. Writer Patrick McManus titled his book about growing up in Idaho as "A Fine And Pleasant Misery." I share his mix of angst and pleasure. A few years after I graduated from high school I was introduced to Hemingway's posthumously published work "A Moveable Feast." He wrote: "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Milford was not Paris but, for good or evil, it has stayed with us in our wandering. I met some good people and I also met some people who reminded me of what Bill Bryson said in "A Walk In The Woods." He wrote: "I have long known that it is part of God's plan for me to spend a little time with each of the most stupid people on earth." At the least, feelings for my little town are expressed by Neil Young in his song Helpless. He sang: "There is a town in north Ontario, With dream comfort memory to spare, And in my mind I still need a place to go, All my changes were there." Here is a link to a serious look at one formative year in the life of this town.
|I have been criticized (not by Tennis
players...they are athletes in every sense of the
word) for not having the ball in every photo I have of
every sport. It's like they can't tell what's
happening without the ball in the photo.
Hmm...what exactly do they Alex Peyrot is up to with
that object he's swinging?
I'm tempted to Photoshop a football into the picture to help the critics.
I've also been criticized for not having the full face of the athlete visible in the photo. Folks, Douglas Boe hasn't won 9 straight matches by holding still and posing for the camera.
I remember years ago casually mentioning something about where they move the holes on the greens for every round of the Masters and how they like the toughest hole locations for the final round. A lady at the party looked at me like I was crazy. "They can't move a hole," she argued and I could not convince her it was true. I knew there was no point in explaining how they zip up a sand trap and move it or how they move those giant oak trees. We've got to find some new friends to talk sports with.
In the mean time we have great tennis to watch at UWF. Coach Racine has again gathered a group of the nicest, most skilled and smartest athletes in Division II. They are friendly and they don't take themselves too seriously...just watch out when the match starts. That they take VERY seriously.
MORE MYTHS AND MISTAKES
Earlier on 2-23-16 we began a feature on mistakes made in entertainment.
JOHNNY CASHJohnny Cash is widely believed to have performed concerts in Folsom and San Quentin prisons while an inmate. Nothing could be further from the truth. He performed concerts at both prisons but he was never an inmate in ANY prison. He was arrested and held overnight several times in city jails. The arrests dealt with prescription drugs and once, for trespassing on private property to pick flowers. He did spend one night in a county jail when he was stopped for having a bag of apparently legal prescription drugs. His offense was attempting to bribe the arresting deputy. Maybe his most serious brush with the law concerned a destructive forest fire that was the result of his campfire getting out of control.
His reputation as a "bad dude" was created not lived. He had a scar on his cheek that gave him a tough image. Many people thought it must have been the result of a fight. Before being honorably discharged from the Air Force as a staff sergeant, he had minor surgery to remove a cyst and a doctor botched the surgery, leaving the scar.
Even his music was misleading. Arguably his most famous song, Folsom Prison Blues, has the main character incarcerated in Folsom Prison for shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die. Over shadowed by this lament is the fact Reno is in Nevada, not California. A murder is a state offense punishable by a state court in the jurisdiction where it is committed. He could have easily corrected this by singing about Chino or Lodi being the scene of the crime. Reno was more famous I guess.
THE 1996 MOVIE RATTLED
Herpetologists must have been delighted in this movie that dealt with a small town's invasion by rattlesnakes. It was a believable movie until a rattlesnake somehow got on the top of a dresser and leaped (leapt?) all the way across a large room to strike a man in the neck. Rattlesnakes don't leap into the air off the ground and can strike roughly the length they can drawback in a striking pose...around half their length—certainly not across a room.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Young inmate Tommy Williams met with the warden about Andy Dufrense's innocence. He is shot by Captain Hadley after the warden's signal. In the first versions of the movie 3 shots rang out but the body had 4 distinct entrance wounds. The Warren Commission met and determined one of the bullets entered the victim and backed out and paused in mid air only to strike again in a different spot. Later copies of the film had a 4th shot added. The Warren Commission later gained fame for another investigation.
Andy escapes by smashing a hole in the sewage pipe and raw sewage erupts from the pipe apparently under significant pressure. Once in the pipe you see only ankle deep sewage and no evidence of pressure.
Andy drags a package behind him as he escapes through the sewage pipe and into the creek. The plastic encased package is far too small to contain everything that is supposed to be in it...the warden's dress shoes, a full man's suit jacket and pants, a dress shirt and tie, chess set and board and the large packet containing the evidence that will be sent to the newspaper.
Red narrates the story of Andy's escape through what he says is a trip through 500 yards of sewage, the length of 5 football fields, just shy of a half mile. Unfortunately, 500 yards is less than a third of a mile.
How Andy got clean and dry, changed into the suit and got from the isolated prison site into town without cash or transportation is a mystery. Judging by where his prison clothes and rock hammer were found there would have been a thorough search of the area and an "all points bulletin." Why did he discard the rock hammer after going to the trouble of taking it with him in the escape?
Sonny goes after his brother-in-law in a memorable fight scene amid a spraying water hydrant. He throws a right handed punch that makes a loud impact sound as Carlo's head jerks around. Unfortunately the punch clearly misses Carlo by a good half foot!
Moe Green was killed by a shot to the eye. (Hyman Roth laments Moe's fate: "...someone put a bullet in his eye..." to Michael in Cuba. Watch the scene carefully if you don't wince too much. Moe's glasses are shattered but there is no bullet hole in the lens.
Earlier there was an assassination attempt on Don Corleone. There are 10 to 12 shots at point blank range by 2 assassins. The Godfather is later to be described as having been shot 5 times. (Virgil "The Turk"Sollozzo laments: "He's still alive. They hit him with five shots and he's still alive..."). I count 12 shots but even if there were just 10, no assassin would have missed even one shot at virtually arms length.
In the flashback to Vito Corleone's early years he meets Clemenza for the first time and does him a favor. As a reward Clemenza steals a carpet after breaking into a house. As he. begins rolling up the rug a policeman knocks on the door but soon goes away. The rug the two men carry into Vito's apartment is far larger than the one first rolled,
In the introduction to episodes of Superman on TV a bad guy breaks a chair over Superman. The guy empties his gun as Superman stands defiantly, bullets bouncing off him harmlessly. When the gun is empty the bad guy throws it at Superman AND HE DUCKS. Apparently a chair can be broken over Superman's head and bullets don't affect him but he is vulnerable to a thrown object like a revolver.
Clark Kent disguises himself from being recognized as Superman with a pair of eyeglasses! No one ever notices that Clark Kent and his known friend Superman have NEVER been seen together. No one ever finds a man's suit, shirt, tie, shoes and glasses in an alley or phone booth where Clark changes into the super hero. Too funny.
Some people did not recognize the show and character as the farce it was. No one believed Superman was real in the sense the Shawshank and Godfather characters had an air of possibility if not reality about them. Those were simpler times and people asked to be entertained. TV was new and we all had a childlike wonder if not naivete. That notwithstanding, the "mistakes" are still noteworthy.
I love listening to music or watching movies or TV to spot mistakes. Everyone has seen the western where a cowboy, armed with a six-shooter, fires a steady stream of bullets without reloading. Music has its gems also.
Hudie Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly to blues and folk fans, sang Midnight Special and In New Orleans (later covered by many as The House of the Rising Sun) among many songs. He wrote and sang "Cotton Fields." It has been covered by everyone from Elvis to the Grateful Dead. The mistake is the line: "It was down in Louisiana, just about a mile from Texarkana." That mile is closer to 30 miles as the crow flies.
Chuck Berry had a great hit that also has been covered by a multitude of famous singers. It's called "Promised Land" and it's the story of a poor boy trying to get to California from Virginia by way of the Greyhound bus. (The hound broke down and left us all stranded in downtown Birmingham.") After an adventure filled trip he reaches the Promised Land and calls home."Los Angeles, give me Norfolk Virginia, Tidewater 4-10-0-9. Tell the folks back home this is the Promised Land calling and the poor boy's on the line." Too bad the call never got through. Even today it's impossible to have a phone number ending in 4-10-0-9. There has never been a "10" on the dial!
Lefty Frizzell (not to be confused with basketball coach Lefty Driesell) was a one hit wonder with the country ballad, Saginaw Michigan. The narrator tells of going to Alaska to dig for gold in hopes of winning his girl friend's hand from her disapproving father. He reports back that he was coming home rich after hitting the biggest strike in Klondike history. He sells his phony Klondike claim to his greedy father-in-law who goes digging for gold in the cold Alaskan ground. It's no wonder neither found gold. The Klondike, site of the famed gold strike, is in the Yukon in Canada, not Alaska.
It's been another great week of technological wonders here in Lake Wobegon South. Maybe that should be Lake Wobegon Light. We're changing phone service providers but wish to keep the same phone number. You can see where that's heading. We spent a few days without phone service because one of the companies had no record of service to us. Maybe it had something to do with them being the company we were trying to get set up with. We were given a temporary number that never worked. That's not so bad because the phone was soon reduced to a meaningless hum anyway. It's not a big deal except I got a personal phone call once about three years ago and I hate the thought of actually getting another call and missing it. Oh, I get calls...there's that guy with the heavy sub continent accent who wants to fix my Windows computer...and there's the guy who wants intimate details of my security system. I love the robo calls also. Political "push polls" are also precious. You can see why I'd hate to miss an actual personal call. We were stood up twice by repair persons with whom we had what I thought was a date and time...they referred to it as a "window." Things that have the word window somewhere in their name seldom work here. Anyway, we were stood up for both "windows." I haven't been stood up that many times since my high school proms. I was promised the third time would be the charm. All I had to do was answer the phone for their call to make sure I was home...their call at the phone and number they were coming to install. Look I'm not a techie. I have a cell phone. Sometimes it works. Often it simply freezes and warns me about some kind of "unpacking" that was taking place. Prying the phone apart to simply remove the battery and reinstalling it seems to satisfy the phone's need to humiliate me. You don't have to worry about me texting while driving. My phone requires 2 hands to operate. The previous cell phone was worse.
Recently I took almost a thousand photos of my favorite tennis team while it demolished opponents. (See them below) I thought they were safely on the internet for the world to see. A friend emailed and said the photos weren't accessible. I knew some could see them but now some could not. I can't explain that. I decided to use my Mac and wi fi to see if our Windows 10 laptop could display the photos. It was then that I was suddenly notified in the middle of my work that neither machine was connected to the internet. Seconds earlier I had been joyfully typing away. I restarted each...I waited a few seconds to see if the resetting the tech people advise was actually true or a myth. It's a myth...at least in my office. I checked every cable and connection on two computers, the modem and the router. It was then that I discovered the wireless mouse I had been using to avoid the sadistically designed track pad no longer responded. The little protuberance that was used to help the mouse connect with the computer could not be removed. I somehow forced the little plug out and reinstalled it. The mouse resumed its designed function. My Mac announced it had rejoined the internet first. Suddenly the Windows 10 arrived at the same place. Both events occurred without me doing a thing. Anyway, I fixed the problem with the photo display. Don't ask how I did it...just know threats were involved. THE TENNIS PHOTOS ARE LINKED BELOW.
High Tech Circa My Youth
This was high tech when I grew up. Portable? It depended on how long your cord was. Our phone number was TE 1086. (Later it was 831-1086 as demand for phones grew.) Small towns still had dial-less phones and operators who plugged in wires to access call destinations. Ours was a fancy dial phone. It was a party line shared with total strangers. First come, first served although the operator could cut in for an emergency. It was considered rude to listen to other people on your party line. There was no area code. To call long distance you contacted the operator by spinning the dial all the way around from "O" to the stopping device and letting it spin back. You told her (it was always "her") the number and city you were calling and she connected you through an operator in the city you sought. You could call station to station where you were charged when anyone answered. If you could afford it you called the pricier person to person and paid only if the right person was home to receive your call. Cell phones and car phones were the stuff of fiction. Maybe this high tech stuff is not so bad.
This article and/or the graphics were made available to government teachers and were also used as part of a presentation to the California General Assembly and other places. .Hopefully you will agree that my effort is a non-partisan presentation of the problem.
Gerrymandering has been around since the early years of the United States. The term was first used in 1812 to describe abuses in the method used by the governor of Massachusetts to draw congressional districts. In a political cartoon, some of Governor Elbridge Gerry’s districts looked like salamanders. Political opponents quickly coined the term “Gerrymander” and the word has been a part of politics ever since.
By legal necessity, congressional districts must be redrawn to reflect population shifts. We have 435 members of the House of Representatives. They are to be assigned based on population. Each state is guaranteed at least one representative no matter how many people live in that state. Currently we should have approximately one representative for every 600,000 people. Wyoming has fewer than 600,000 people but still is entitled to 1 representative. Montana has over 900,000 people but receives only one representative. (Each state is given two senators regardless of population.)
Populations shift and a census is done every 10 years. In the average Baby Boomer’s lifetime, Florida has seen its number of congressmen increase from 8 to 25. California has grown from 25 to 53. It works both ways. For example, Ohio’s delegation has fallen from 23 to 18.
Populations change within a state and the districts must be redrawn to make each district as equal in population as possible. After all, representatives represent people, not land. It usually falls to the state legislature to draw districts. Sometimes the process is misused by the party in power to gain political advantage. Since many people identify with one party over another, political scientists can identify areas as to their likely vote. Past elections and polls can pretty well establish the likely vote.
To best explain this, we will create a new state called brilliantly, “New State.” In another stroke of genius, we will establish that this state is equally split between the Red Party and the Blue Party. Our new addition is entitled to 8 representatives.
Obviously, it is unlikely that any state would look like this and have such convenient boundaries. We’re exaggerating to make a point about the process. Nothing is foolproof or definitely predictable. In our real world, Democrats can be elected from Republican districts and vise-versa. People can also change party affiliations. Designing districts to favor one party only increases the chances for that party to win. It is not a guarantee.
In a fair and non-partisan world, we might expect districts to look like the one below. We’ll ignore geographic aberrations and other considerations such as ethnicity, income and cultural factors. Rightly or wrongly, ethnicity and other factors sometime enter the equation in drawing districts but again, we’re just explaining the process here.
FAIR AND EQUAL DISTRICTS MIGHT LOOK LIKE THIS.
Legislators in New State have drawn 8 reasonable districts. The districts were created to have geographic convenience and equal populations. Not considering the personal appeal of candidates or other factors, we would expect Blue and Red to have a good chance to win 3 districts each. Two districts, C and D, would be in play.
What happens if the Red Party has control of the process and draws the districts?
We could get this:
Here is an exploded view:
As you can see, the Red Party has a solid majority in districts A, C, E, F, G and H. and Blue is likely to win B and D. Of course, both must still field viable candidates and conduct campaigns. Members of the Blue Party make up half the population of New State but they will have only 25% of the representatives. We could have made the example even more extreme. Our mythical state would have about 4,800,000 people. We could have created a state and drawn districts for a state that was 60% of one party. Using the above plan, the 40% minority party would still have the advantage and would likely win 6 of the 8 districts. Again, this arrangement does not guarantee anything other than the majority party would appear to have a big advantage. Nothing is certain.
What happens when the Blue Party draws the districts?
Here is an exploded view:
Everything changes with Blue in control. Six districts are now likely to fall to them. Red has the advantage in only 2 districts. Notice Blue has a 5 to 3 advantage (or better) in Districts A, B, C, D, E and G. Red should win F and H. And again, we could have managed the statistics to have Blue with just 40% of the population yet having the opportunity to win 75% of the representation. Blue is guaranteed nothing. However, if people vote along party affiliations, Blue would appear to have an unfair advantage.
We see very similar “Gerrymanders” created across the country. It has become a fact of political life and it has been practiced by Democrats and Republicans. In this age of the partisanship promoted by some politicians, the "To the victor belongs the spoils" attitude seems almost to deny representation to large blocks of people. American history classes always acknowledges the Revolutionary War slogan of "No taxation without representation."
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGEWELL MAYBE THE LAWMAKING BRANCH CAN GET A LITTLE WACKY WITH ITS STRANGE DISTRICTS BUT AT LEAST EVERYTHING IS FAIR AND SIMPLE WHEN IT'S TIME TO ELECT A PRESIDENT TO LEAD THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. RIGHT? EVERY VOTE COUNTS...RIGHT?
The only American college that plays once every four years!
THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTIONS IS : "USUALLY BUT NOT ALWAYS." FOUR TIMES IN OUR HISTORY A PERSON HAS BEEN ELECTED PRESIDENT DESPITE HAVING FEWER VOTES THAN HIS OPPONENT. ONCE IT WAS OVER A HALF MILLION VOTES DIFFERENCE. ANOTHER TIME IT WAS A QUARTER OF A MILLION VOTES. I'LL LEAVE IT TO YOU TO RESEARCH THE ELECTIONS OF 1824, 1876, 1888 AND 2000.
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM
It's my hope I don't appear to be taking sides. There are sound arguments both for and against our system for electing a president. The purpose of this document is to mainly explain how the system works by creating a worse case scenario—sort of what some in the legal profession may call "A Parade Of Horribles."
Basically, the Electoral College refers to a meeting of people selected in state elections to meet and choose a president. A college is defined as an organized group meeting for a common purpose. A presidential election is actually 50 separate elections wherein each state chooses representatives to travel to a meeting where a president is chosen. For the most part, it is a winner take all election where the electors pledged to the winning candidate vote for that candidate when the college meets. Obviously, in the formative years of this country a candidate could not have traveled to every state, city and town to campaign. We didn't have trains, planes and automobiles. We hardly had roads. It was wiser for each state to pick trusted representatives to travel to "vet" the candidates. A couple of states divide electoral votes according to election results but the rest take part in a winner take all competition. A candidate's name is on the ballot but technically, the voters are voting for a slate of electors pledged to that candidate. Rarely, an elector will violate his pledge.
Our fictional creation is a newly formed island nation called Tusoa. (There are island nations...Indonesia has over 17,000 islands and the Philippines has over 7000.) Tusoa has almost 60,000 people of voting age spread over 7 islands. They have decide to copy the United States and its system for electing a leader. It has been decided that each island will get 1 electoral vote for every thousand citizens. The nation is divided into 2 rival political parties. The parties are based on age old points of contention and they are bitter rivals. The Green Party is the majority party.
This is how each island (state) is populated:
Islands A, D and F are Green one-party strongholds. They have far more people (29,000) on just these 3 islands than the whole total population of Red Party supporters on all islands combined (17,000). Besides that, the Greens have another 13,000 people scattered on the other islands. Altogether, the total Green population outnumbers the Reds 42,000 to 17,000. If both sides follow traditions and vote for their own party the Greens will be selecting the president from within their own ranks.
But wait, what about that parade of horribles I alluded to? What if Tusoa has designed an election system after that of the United States. That system calls for a winner take all rule for every state. Look closely. The Red Party has a slim margin in states B, C, E and G. (Tusoans don't name their states with much imagination). Green has 43,000 popular votes to just 17,000 for the Reds but Red wins the election because of where they got votes, not how many total. Their 17,000 popular votes translate into 30 electoral votes. Despite having about 2 1/2 times as many votes as their opponent, the Greens lose the election with 29 electoral votes. Might we expect rioting or worse? Fortunately, the aforementioned 4 times in our history where the popular vote "winner" didn't win did not result in the election of a president worthy of riot or rebellion.Red has a slim popular vote win in District but gets all 7 electoral votes for the same reason.
Green wins the popular vote in District A and gets all 11 electoral votes because it is "winner take all."
Red has the same slim win in District C and gets all 7 electoral votes.
Green wins the popular vote count in Districts D and F and gets all 18 electoral votes.
Red has narrow wins in Districts E and G and under "winner takes all" gets all 16 electoral votes.
What appeared to be an easy victory for the majority Green became a slim victory for Red.
Under the rules, Green has about 72% of the voters but only about 49% of the electoral votes.
The University of West Florida Tennis Team looks like the world. Florida and several continents are represented in what is the true lesson of sport. The best person gets the job. You are judged by your abilities and how you exhibit them in practice and in competition. Character is at the core of everything. These young people are among the friendliest and most sincere people on this campus. They are very skilled and confident without being egotistical. That's not as easy as it sounds. These are more than just words. Their families and Coach Racine should be very proud...so should the entire community. This day they won 17-1 while treating their opponents with class. That also, is not always easy for champion athletes.
In some ways, sport is a universal language that unifies people from different cultures rather than dividing them. Nations export and import sports and participants. That part of the world is working. Let's hope it is contagious.
Before I get to the baseball game I wanted to mention the celebrities in the crowd. Spooner Field is beginning to look like the Staples Center in Los Angeles where the Lakers play. On any given night Jack Nicholson, Denzell Washington, Paula Abdul or Demi Moore may be in the crowd with other stars. This day, Spooner Field played host to the UWF Softball team enjoying a "Busman's Holiday of sorts. The Lady Argos are sporting an 8-3 record on 11 road games. They have 5 more road games before coming home for their home opener on 2-24-16.
(For those who are not as old as dirt like me—A BUSMAN'S HOLIDAYrefers to the big city practice in the old days of allowing bus and trolley drivers to ride free on Sunday. Some would make a day of it and take their families around town on a bus or trolley similar to the one they drove all week. The softball team practices ball or plays ball games every day and when they get a day off they go watch and support the other ball team in town. They deserve the same loyalty.)
A WONDERFUL VOICE FROM THE PAST
THE PASSING OF BOB ELLIOTT AT 92
It's been referred to as The Golden Age Of Radio. I eschewed TV for the voices that came out of those now ancient looking boxes. Even FM radio had not scored its inroads. My fellow "radiophiles" will remember the radio comedy team of Bob & Ray. I don't think their style translated as well to TV but in the day they ruled radio comedy. Sometimes acting as ace reporter Wally Ballou, Bob Elliot joined with partner Ray Goulding to interview and encounter absurd, confused and egocentric fictional characters. Modern comedy, including Saturday Night Live, various sitcoms, radio voices like Bob & Tom and Gary Burbank among others have followed the trail blazed by Bob & Ray. Ray Goulding passed several years ago and yesterday we learned of the death of Bob Elliott.
Here is a representative sample of their shtick:
Bob & Ray and US History skit etc.
MY WORLD RECORD
Like many of you, I've always wanted to own a world record. I thought about going for the 100 yard dash record. I think I had a shot at it but it rained all day today. It wasn't the slippery track. It was the clouds. You can't time someone with a sun dial if it's cloudy. The next best opportunity was a game called Yahtzee which I hope will soon be an Olympic event. I mean, they did add golf as an event for 2016. Surely there is room for a dice game. Anyway, I've just been recognized and congratulated for tying (or setting) an all-time world record for the lowest score ever in the venerable old game of Yahtzee. Barring a change in the rules of this event, my score of a perfect "5" cannot be beaten. As soon as the weather warms I'm going to begin training for solo synchronized swimming. If you wish to join me in holding a world record or just killing some time waiting for baseball season on a rainy winter's day, I would recommend this great site: https://cardgames.io
This brings us to an event scheduled for a three day run beginning February 19th. It's called Pensacon and it is considered a major gathering for those interested in comic books, science fiction, fantasy, wrestling and other elements of fan culture. It's a family friendly event that brings interesting people to take part along with spending over a million dollars in our restaurants, hotels and other attractions. Details can be found at pensacon.com.
Maybe I'll set up a booth and sell autographed dice.
PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO ARE MAC USERS...
SOME ADVICE FOR THE SOMETIMES MALIGNED iPHOTO
I'm told iPhoto is "out." I still use it. But I also sometimes use an old version of Apple Works...an app that has been "out" for several Mac dispensations. I have heard that several people have shared my iPhoto problem of very slow loading. It can take several minutes of crashes, stalls and that infuriating spinning beach ball symbol. Of course you are also reminded that iPhoto was not responding. Oh really Mr Obvious? I did the following 3 things that appear to be helping...load time is now usually under an acceptable 25 seconds.
Personally, I wouldn't take technical advice from someone like me. It's like my philosophy on travel. I don't travel in a boat, vehicle or aircraft I built. Maybe the same should be applied to the computer. Use my technical advice at your own risk. A cautious person would back up all of their computer information and files before attempting repairs suggested by anyone.
I was talking to a friend about the cold spells we can get here. We live in the subtropics, not the tropics. While we don't really get much in the way of measurable snowfall, we do get sub freezing weather and ice storms. A few years back local schools were closed because of a forecast that included an inch of snow. We're mostly a population of people who have never driven on ice or snow. In such conditions the best advice is to stay home. If you must venture out when there is the possibility of snow or ice accumulation there are some tips. Stop and start slowly. Watch your braking by trying to anticipate stops. Double (or more) the stopping distance you maintain. Try to go up hills without stopping. Don't use cruise control. If you feel your car going into a skid, turn your steering wheel smoothly in the direction you're skidding and let off the gas. I still own a sled but I'm afraid it's wishful thinking.
If you've never lived in a cold climate you've missed something. Frostbite and pneumonia come to mind. Just kidding. Winter is an energizing event of hats, gloves, sleds and snowballs. It's the North Wind and it's every bit as refreshing as feeling the ocean breezes that reward you for living on the coast—even a coast as beautiful as this one. I don't remember much if anything about Chicago winters but I know they are sometimes brutal. The family took the train to Ohio.
Eventually we ended up in this Ohio house. There was a furnace of sorts built into the hall floor. You pumped until you spotted oil accumulating and the ignition system consisted of dropping pieces of burning paper into the unit to ignite the fuel. Heat was to radiate up through a metal grate that ended up too hot to step on in bare feet. My father was from rural Wisconsin. He had no problem with someone being able to see his breath upon waking. My mother was orphaned and often near homeless before homelessness got our attention. Both parents were children of the Great Depression. It was nicer housing than they ever thought they could have,
Breakfast (and sometimes lunch and dinner) often consisted of an obscure German-American poverty food called goetta. It consisted of steel cut oats (called pinhead oats) and inexpensive meats (usually pork) that had most fat trimmed away before cooking and grinding. It was pronounced "gutta" in Low German. Today, most Germans on any continent have probably never heard of it. I still make a vegetarian version of it today. It's gone from a poverty food to a comfort food.
Summers were hot and humid. Spring was full of the hope of happy futures (and baseball). Autumn featured the aroma of burning leaves and gradually colder nights and frosty mornings. Winter was the king of all of that. Cold, dark nights were tempered by lengthening daylight. The radio sometimes announced a snow day. For a little kid who hated school and generally feared the wrath of nuns, a snow day was a comfort. It's been easy to love winter and these occasional Florida cold (actually, cool) snaps are a touch of Paradise.
I know what Hamblen was really talking
about but it just sounded appropriate here.
Massive climatic events are a problem from coast to coast. In many places the aging infrastructure is crumbling on its own. Even steel and concrete get old. The blizzards, floods and storms (such as our 20 inch + deluge in one day) are speeding up the decline of what supports our activities. It's not always this visible. Infrastructure weaknesses and wear are often out of sight until a tragedy reveals them on the evening news. The county has hired a firm to prevent further damage and reverse this erosion.
This week we ventured out from our trusty Mac computer to add a Windows 10 laptop to the mix. If photographing these young champion athletes didn't make me feel old, struggling with my first ever non-Mac computer has made me feel quite old. I became keenly aware that the "Windows 10 For Senior Dummies" is appropriate. Remember, I'm the guy who can barely play a radio and now I'm using computers from two different universes. I'll keep relying on the Mac but the wireless feature and cost of the Asus was too good to pass up.
So far, the competition between Mac and Windows 10 for "out of the box" ease of use and learning curve goes to Mac. Part of that is probably my prejudice from having owned seven Macs since that fateful day in the mid 1980s when a friend brought his new "Macintosh" to my house. It had a whopping 128 kb of RAM. In an hour I knew more about using his computer than I knew about my trusty Commodore 64. It was a time of floppy disc drives and dot matrix printers. I was hooked. I had a brief lapse of loyalty with the Macs in the 1990s. They brought out a new expensive model that no longer supported some of the features I liked. I fired off a letter of complaint to Steve Jobs and began looking for a new computer from the IBM collection. I told Apple about the Macs I'd owned and why I was switching to the enemy. A week later I got a phone call from the secretary of Steve Jobs himself. We talked for over 20 minutes about my letter and why I was disappointed. She explained to me that Macs were more expensive because they had no cheap "entry level" machine as the competitors offered. She said changes they made to the operating system were motivated by the necessity of keeping costs down and quality up. She pointed out the difference in features between Macs and the similarly priced models of competing companies. As the call came to a close she said "Now Bill, you're not going to quit us are you?" It's a true story and one of the reasons Apple's strength is the almost cult-like following that has grown since the pioneering days of the personal computer. Sadly, I'm afraid that cult-like loyalty between company and customer will not survive current market conditions.
This photo was taken about 25 years after the game was invented. Dr. James Naismith worked in the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA. Legend has it he was looking for a safe sport to promote conditioning between fall and spring sports He made up a few rules and the rest of the game evolved from there. Notice the size of the ball. Originally, men and women both used a soccer ball.
What was handy was what was used. At first a peach basket was nailed to the frame of an elevated running track old gyms often had so the floor could be used while people ran laps on the banked track above. A few of these old gyms still exist. After each score the janitor brought out a ladder to retrieve the ball. It wasn't as bad as it sounds—the sport was low scoring. The first college game ended 3-0. Even so, someone brainstormed the idea of cutting the bottom out of the basket.
Dr. Naismith's original game featured nine players on each side. No, it had nothing to do with baseball or anything else that featured 9 on a side. He had an exercise class of 18 and he merely divided it in half. The original game featured no dribbling. You could run to catch a ball but you then had to stop and make a pass to another. You lost the ball if someone could also grasp it for a 5 count. Different types of contact like bumping, elbowing and shoving were forbidden. If a team made 3 straight fouls the opponent was given a point. That was a big deal in a sport that rarely tallied double figures.
The original game had no 3 second rule and allowed offensive and defensive goal tending. The arrival of very tall players made rule changes necessary. The 3 point shot is a rather new development that was designed to give average sized people a means to compete with the tall players. The 3 point shot arrived in the NBA in 1979. Goal tending and the 3 second rule became necessary after 6'10" George Mikan arrived in the 1940s. Today, there are YouTube videos of men so tall they can dunk without jumping.
The women's game mimicked the men's game and once dribbling was introduced scores piled up for both. The team in the photo was a legendary high school team in Ohio that once defeated an opponent 95-1. In some places the rules were changed for women to a slowed down version that existed until just a few years ago. The men had switched to a more manageable 5 on 5. This women's variation featured 6 on a side. Three forwards stayed on the offensive end and three guards were required to stay on the defensive end. Players were allowed 3 dribbles before they had to stop and pass or shoot the ball. The last organized 6 on 6 basketball game was played in Oklahoma in 1995. If anyone doubts the heights to which women's basketball has reached I invite them to watch Connecticut, Notre Dame or the University of West Florida.
Men's pro teams first existed in 1898. Today the men's NBA is recognized as the world leader in the sport. NBA stars are recognized around the world and the best foreign players strive to reach the NBA. The Women's National Basketball Association is likewise a world leader in the sport. Originally, the NBA had teams like the Ft. Wayne Pistons, (Detroit Pistons), The Syracuse Nationals (76ers), Buffalo Braves (Clippers), Rochester Royals.(Sacramento Kings), Tri City Black Hawks (Atlanta), Philadelphia Warriors (Golden State) and Chicago Packers (Washington Wizards). Salaries were low. The first NBA players worked at regular jobs in stores, factories, schools and offices in the off season. Ft Wayne is in Indiana and the team was named after an auto parts factory. The Tri City team was in Illinois and Iowa—now known as the Quad Cities.. The Chicago Packers were named after the meat processing industry—like sausages and hot dogs. Ever wonder how the Lakers got their name? Before moving to Los Angeles (which has no significant lakes and has to pump its water from far away) they were in Minneapolis on Lake Superior.
INTERESTING ADDENDUM TO THE NBA HISTORY
This has to be one of the strangest "ownership" stories in the history of sports. NBA teams have made a deal with Ozzie and Daniel Silna to pay the erstwhile team owners a reported $500,000,000. (The 8 zeroes are not a typo.) This is on top of the reported $300,000,000 paid to the brothers since the 1980s. What team is owned by the Silna brothers? None! Which NBA team did they own? None! I called them erstwhile owners because they did own a team (called "The Spirits" among other names) in a now defunct professional team in the equally now defunct American Basketball Association. The ABA eventually became a serious rival of the NBA. I believe bidding wars for players and competition for fans and advertising revenue eventually led to a merger of the two leagues. The NBA agreed to absorb 4 of the ABA teams and buy out the teams not selected. One of the owners was John Y. Brown, CEO of Kentucky Fried Chicken and later governor of Kentucky. He agreed to disband the Kentucky Colonels. I believe he received about 3 or 4 million dollars. The owners of the St Louis Spirits were the only owners who held out. It's believed they merely wanted to own a professional sports team and didn't realize just how lucrative a deal they received. I don't recall the name of their attorney but he sounds brilliant. He arranged an agreement where the Silna brothers would get annual broadcast revenues equal to what a team would have received had it been included in the merger "in perpetuity." Shortly after the merger, interest in professional basketball greatly expanded. It continues to grow in world-wide popularity and broadcast revenues. The Silnas received a check every year that eventually reached into the millions annually. They had to pay no front office, G.M. or coach. They paid no players and didn't have to rent an arena, pay for travel expenses, scouts, insurance or utilities.
It is alleged that all was not successful with the brothers. They apparently invested a tidy sum with Bernie Madoff.
In a most sad development, 5 of the best players the Silnas had under contract in the old ABA have died prematurely. It has nothing to do with the merger or anything else related to professional basketball owners or teams. If you're a basketball fan you will remember Maurice Lucas, Moses Malone, Marvin "Bad News" Barnes, Caldwell Jones and Don Adams. Each died 10 to 20 years before actuarial tables would expect. Find a good point guard and that group could win today in any league.
A SATURDAY NIGHT IN THE WINTER OF 2016
Special: Unusual in a good way, especially important or loved, superior, held in esteem.
UWF WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
COACH YELTON'S TEAM HAS WON 6 STRAIGHT...MORE PHOTOS
UWF MEN'S BASKETBALL
MORE PHOTOS OF UWF'S EXCITING VICTORY
SWIMMING & DIVING
UWF SWIM AND DIVE PHOTOS FROM 1-8-16
PENSACOLA AND AMERICA'S PASTIME
Where do you begin in talking about how the game has been played from beginning to now?
For selfish reasons I'll start with the CATCHER
Here a well protected modern catcher makes a play in a Wahoos game.
The modern glove is flexible and quite useful.
115 years later they are still abusing their arms.
Yes, a ball can curve.
Originally, the pitcher had to throw underhand up to what we call sidearm.
There were so many arguments as pitchers challenged the rule it was dropped.
Pitchers had fastballs, drop balls, curves and rise balls.
This would have been an illegal pitch in early baseball. We don't know how fast the early pitchers threw but I doubt if it approached the 90-100 MPH
we see today. The original pitching distance was 45'. It was soon moved to 50. Today it is 60'6". originally there was a box, not a mound.
FIELDING...The equipment has changed but the rules are the same.
The flexible, large gloves meant outfielders no longer needed to catch with both hands.
Little has changed except the speed and strength of the players.
WHY I CARE ABOUT BASEBALL
What would you be if you broke your niblick and had to use your cleek?
D. A Golfer
E. All Of The Above
Answer: E. All Of The Above
We regularly repeat previous articles and photos for new readers. The following comments and photos were last published in 2014.
A word about golf balls...
They come in different sizes...
and different colors and shades...
and brands with white still the favorite in all brands.
You're supposed to mark your own ball for identification...my favorite was one that said: "keep your head down stupid."
Some models get famous, sort of. Slazenger 7 was the model James
Bond used when he tricked and cheated the cheating Auric Goldfinger.
None can survive the lawn mower...
some are used for advertising targeted at golfers who are gamblers...
and those who need legal help. I guess this is targeted advertising.
A WORD ABOUT GOLFERS
Some have sold their sole to the Devil in exchange for golf luck...
some endanger their real soul and body by taking risks to continue playing...
and some say they play for stress. It works. They get stressed. After a poor shot this golfer's club was thrown further than the ball!
A WORD ABOUT GOLF COURSES
UWF owns a beautiful one...Scenic Hills.
It's beautiful but not easy.
No talk about golf in Pensacola can ignore two-time Masters Champ, part owner of the
Blue Wahoos baseball team, businessman and all around good guy...Bubba Watson!
Pensacola Is A Caring Community
TRACK AND FIELD
AIN'T THAT A KICK!
The more things change, the more they stay the same!
UWF SWIMMING & DIVING
(The cable with the blue and white banners is needed to warn people swimming the backstroke etc. that the end of the pool is close.)
SOME PHOTOS FROM 1-2-16
HAPPY NEW YEAR
A MESSAGE FOR ALL SEASONS FROM MELANIE
Received December, 2015 From Melanie Safka
You might remember her from Woodstock and also the songs:
Brand New Key & Look What They've Done To My Song Ma
and others. She has toured recently with her son and also has
recently teamed with Miley Cyrus for benefit work and songs.
Melanie & Miley (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX9A5vv-jOM)
She will soon turn 69 years old but her music remains timeless.
You can check out her great old and new music on You Tube.
"Well if the people are buying tears I'll be rich some day Ma."
Sad Irony, See: Tragedy
I FOUND IT!
She was called safe.
She was also called safe.
Out, I think...
Does stepping on a fielder's foot constitute touching the base?
At what point is the catch complete?
If you've read everything I've ever said about officials in all sports you'll see I have
concluded they are right 99.9% of the time and really don't care which team wins.
UWF WOMEN AND MEN VS DELTA STATE
WOMEN VS DELTA 12-19-15
UWF MEN VS DELTA 12-19-15
UWF WOMEN AND MEN VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE
UWF WOMEN'S BASKETBALL PHOTOS 12-17-15
UWF MEN'S BASKETBALL PHOTOS 12-17-15
THE GOOD THE BAD AND ME
A WARNING FOR THOSE WANTING TO VISIT FT PICKENS
SOME FAVORITE PAST SHOTS IN THE PANHANDLE
Hang in there...it's always early!
Getting by with a little help from a friend...
Supply your own caption...
I have a sweet young friend named Hope. She is brilliant beyond her years. She says:
"Always remember who you want to be. That is a wonderful way to live."
UWF VS UNA
MORE PHOTOS FROM 12-5-15
UWF MEN VS UNA
MORE PHOTOS FROM 12-5-15
UWF WOMEN VS UAH 12-2-15
CLICK HERE FOR WOMEN'S BASKETBALL 12-2-15
UWF VS UAH 12-2-15
CLICK HERE FOR MEN'S BASKETBALL 12-2-15
UWF WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
MORE PHOTOS OF THE WIN OVER YOUNG HARRIS
UWF MEN'S BASKETBALL IS HERE
LENDWARD GRIFFIN IS BACK!
SOME PHOTOS FROM THE WIN OVER SPRING HILL
UWF VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
THE GRATEFUL DEAD
A MOVEABLE FEAST BY ANY NAME
THE UWF VOLLEYBALL TEAM WINS THE GSC (Again)
UWF DEFEATED UAH 3-0 AND BRINGS THE GSC TOURNAMENT BACK TO PENSACOLA
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 11-14-15
ANOTHER GREAT FAMILY WEEKEND!
You didn't have to go to the beach, zoo or fine dining spot to have a good time!
THERE WAS GREAT FOOTBALL RIGHT HERE
MORE SCRIMMAGE PHOTOS
ROBOTS BRIEFLY TOOK OVER UWF!
IT WAS A FANTASTIC EVENT WITH A HUGE AND ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD
VOLUNTEERS ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF MANY GREAT EVENTS.
BEING SMART IS A VIRTUE IN PENSACOLA'S HOME SCHOOLS, PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS!
DOWNTOWN FEATURED A GREAT FESTIVAL WITH BOOTHS, FOOD AND FUN!
THE HIGHLIGHT WAS ANOTHER GREAT PERFORMANCE FROM THE PEOPLE AT THE LITTLE THEATER
THIS WAS ONE OF SEVERAL DISPLAY AREAS.
WE WERE TREATED TO THE HISTORY OF THEATER FROM THE ANCIENT GREEKS TO BROADWAY!
ARGOS DEFEAT CBU 4-1
MORE TOURNAMENT PHOTOS
RECENT UWF SOCCER AND VOLLEYBALL GAMES
10-30-15 WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
10-31-15 WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL
10-31-15 WOMEN'S SOCCER
WE'RE ABOUT THE SEA
Playing in the Gulf Of Mexico
A sea of diamonds as far as you can see...
SURFING IN THE GULF
It's not Rincon or Makaha but it's also not the crowded California beaches either.
An intrepid member of the Pensacola surfing community...
TALL SHIPS AND BIG SHIPS VISIT THE DEEP PENSACOLA HARBOR
THE MIGHTY ORISKANY MADE PENSACOLA ITS FINAL STOP
The Oriskany was towed out and sunk as a reef and diving feature.
There are ships and then there are SHIPS
The San Pelaya shares the harbor with the Nor Goliath...
The Spanish Galeon San Pelaya is visiting until early November.
This reproduced galeon is similar to the ship Pensacola founder DeLuna used.
Ships come in all sizes in Pensacola.
UWF MEN AND WOMEN VS DELTA
UWF MEN VS DELTA 10-23-15
UWF WOMEN VS DELTA 10-23-15
PHOTOS OF UWF MEN AND WOMEN BEATING MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE
UWF WOMEN VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE
UWF MEN VS MISSISSIPPI COLLEGE
FOR THE WOMEN WE LOVE
THE FOUNTAIN NEAR THE SOUTH END OF PALAFOX IS PLAYING PINK
UWF FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE AT WAHOOS STADIUM
What a venue...what a team!
School Is In Session: Kick Returning 101
Running around, over and through would-be tacklers
MORE SCRIMMAGE PHOTOS
A Message For Students Of All Ages From An Old Friend Of Mine:
"Why is education the one thing where people are trying to get the least for their money?"
10-11-15 SOCCER PHOTOS
Click for photos of UWF vs UNA
Click here for UWF defeating Concordia
AS WE RECOGNIZE COLUMBUS DAY
IS THIS THE KIND OF VIEW THE CONQUISTADORS HAD AS THEY LANDED IN THE NEW WORLD?
We have beautiful beaches. In some ways we're a well kept secret...the forgotten coast. The Gulf Sand Alligator is rare. A
while back I came face-to-face with this dangerous creature. I stood my ground as the two of us engaged in a "stare down."
They'll often disappear into a high tide. I don't fear them. Pretty impressive huh? I don't get much more heroic than this.
We're called the Emerald Coast for good reason.
If the muse doesn't speak to you here you need to get out more...at night...on a lonely beach...
AH, THE COMPUTER AGE
BEWARE IF YOU HEAR THESE WORDS:
"This is Windows Company and we've detected a problem with your Windows."
10-2, 10-3 & 10-6
UWF defeated undefeated Valdosta State 3-1.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF ALL THREE GAMES
UWF WOMEN'S SOCCER 10-2-15 & 10-4-15
How can you not want to photograph people like the Lady Argos soccer team?
They're not alone on this campus in being excellent athletes and even better people.
Women's Soccer 10-2-15
Women's Soccer 10-4-15
PHOTOS: UWF DEFEATS SHORTER
UWF FOOTBALL SECOND SCRIMMAGE
Click Here: UWF FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE PHOTOS
Alex Peyrot And Kenny Brasil Are ITA Regional Doubles Champions!
It may have been the most exciting and well played doubles match I've ever seen.
CLICK FOR MORE PHOTOS OF KENNY AND ALEX
DOWNTOWN PENSACOLA IS A TREAT
"There was music in the cafes at night..."
Downtown Pensacola is a delight...great little (and big) cafes and restaurants...
Theater and arts thrive...
The Little Theater is not so little but it is an intimate site with several stages...
The Art Museum
The Wentworth Museum
It's a safe place...the cannons are from an earlier time...
There is a deep water harbor that serves the world...
The Nor Goliath is over 590 feet long!
A little perspective...if this ship were docked at home plate of the stadium, the other end would be 190 feet beyond the center field wall!
THIS WEB SITE HAS GONE TO THE BIRDS!
BIRD WATCHING EVEN EXTENDS INTO THE CITY!
A really strange and rare bird
Pigeons (Rock Doves) were once hunted for food...today some consider them a health hazard.
A Blue Heron
Sea Gulls...early Mormon settlers in Utah believed gulls were part of a divine sign if not an
actual miracle. I've seen people in San Francisco feeding them with hand held crackers!
The beach is the place to go if you want to encounter (feed?) these guys by the hundreds.
OTHER UWF FALL SPORTS
9-17 & 9-21
9-4-15 Second Game
9-18 & 9-19 VS UA, UG & Spring Hill
PHOTOS OF THE UWF WOMEN'S SOCCER GAME WITH MONTEVALLO ARE HERE
CLICK HERE FOR THE 9-22-15 GAME
THE UWF CROSS COUNTRY TEAM
Hosted the annual Gulf Coast Stampede
Click Here: UWF RACE PHOTOS
WHILE ON THE SUBJECT OF FLIGHT...
Our beloved Blue Angels will return for their Homecoming on November 6-7.
Bring your camera but remember the Naval Air Station does not permit
weapons of any kind and the show is very loud...earplugs are a must!
I made these Canon 60D shots at 1/5000th of a
second, f5.6 aperture, 250mm and ISO 100
DRAMA AT THE BIRD FEEDER
Of loyal parents, hapless squirrels and cardinal sin
IF YOU LIVED HERE YOU COULD WATCH BIRDS EVERY DAY
Click HERE To See More Of Drama At The Bird Feeder
A couple of bluebirds proved to be faithful parents at this feeder that became a nest!
A greedy squirrel encountered the male's protective wrath.
The female was quick to follow and strafe the invader.
I have a dozen punch lines here but I won't go sleazy just to get more readers.
Please follow the link to find dozens of my feathered friends posing for my
camera...or grab your camera and go out to enjoy the Panhandle's treasure.
AUTUMNAL EQUINOX 2015
THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE IS A LAND OF NATURAL WONDERS
Even an average suburban lot has a story to tell
Confessions Of A Backyard Naturalist
Don't tread on me!
The Southern Black Racer
Getting her ducks in a row
This photo has been "borrowed" by several sites on the Internet
Teach your children...
UWF Women's Soccer Won Its Home Opener Against Montevallo 2-0
WE HAVE FOOTBALL!
UWF HAS BROUGHT COLLEGE FOOTBALL TO PENSACOLA
OK, I CAN'T TEAR MYSELF AWAY SO QUICKLY FROM SPORTS
THIS IS CORA BIDLACK AND I BELIEVE HER POSITION IS OUTSIDE HITTER FOR UWF.
YOU WONDER WHY THE UWF VOLLEYBALL TEAM IS 9-2? JUST LOOK AT THIS VERTICAL LEAP!!
THEY PLAY HARD AND SMART FOR COACH WOLTER (WHO HAS 301 WINS)
By the way, the other shots in the sequence show she scored a kill on this play.
BUT IT'S NOT JUST GREAT VOLLEYBALL AT UWF
MARTIENN URBANCIC IS CELEBRATING ANOTHER GOAL FOR THE UNDEFEATED MEN'S SOCCER TEAM
WITH A LEVITATION MOVE THAT WOULD MAKE DAVID BLAINE TAKE NOTICE!
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