Archive for June 2013

The Ugliest Yard Has This Lovely Flower   Leave a comment

A little judicious cropping, good framing … and you don’t see all of the weeds around this beauty. The spider web just might be a clue, though….Iris

Posted June 20, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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ESPN’s Baseball Rule Quiz   2 comments

BaseballIt’s a sports day.

Just saw this great quiz about baseball’s arcane and absolutely counter-intuitive rules. There’s a quiz, and an article about how the baseball professionals – and media – did when they took it.

Me, I got a solid 5.

The quiz.

The article about the quiz.

 

Posted June 19, 2013 by henrymowry in Sports

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The Death Of The NCAA: Paying Athletes   Leave a comment

Here's the new weight room for Alabama's student athletes. Not the students - just the student athletes.

Here’s the new weight room for Alabama’s student athletes. Not the students – just the student athletes.

Big time college athletics are a big business.

The University of Tennessee now has 4 full-sized practice fields for their football team (3 outdoor, 1 indoor). Alabama now has a waterfall in their locker room.

A waterfall.

The University of Oregon, with key support from the founder of Nike, is building a new complex of buildings for its football team that will include movie theaters, an Oregon football museum, private classrooms for top players, a player’s lounge and deck.

Who’s paying for this? You are, of course. ESPN is one of the highest-cost cable networks going. Whether you watch sports or not, your cable provider is paying ESPN. And ESPN is paying the conferences and schools … and they’re buying practice fields and waterfalls.

Well, many of them are. UCLA still has only one undersized, outdoor practice field for their football team. UCLA may be a grand school, but no one thinks they have good facilities for their football team, and that means that most elite athletes won’t consider going there. They’re going for the waterfalls and movie theaters.

There is a lawsuit, however, that may change all of this. A key ruling is being argued in court tomorrow, which will determine if the lawsuit will be certified as a class action, or if it will continue as an individual lawsuit. What’s at stake?

Money.

If a video game incorporates college logos emblazoned across the chest of a legendary college quarterback, should that player see some money? Or how about simply marketing the University, showing star players in uniform … if those images are on billboards or in Times Square … should the players receive compensation? Should colleges have to pay athletes for the use of their image? Or should colleges & universities get to continue the current system, where athletes receive no compensation, but do get access to a quality education?

Personally, I love college athletics. I follow Mizzou and UCLA, and I’m all in with their football and basketball programs. I buy logo’d merchandise. I buy tickets.

And the athletes are exploited to further the brand of each University, without question. Success in athletics often drives alumni’s contributions to their schools. Star players are needed for winning programs, and those star players play a year or three at the college level, and then they’re off to the pros for the (hopefully) really big bucks. If colleges want to win, they need those star players. To attract the top-shelf athletes, there’s currently an arms race going on between elite college programs, so now we’re seeing waterfalls and movie theaters. How do elite athletes choose their college? It’s not about the education, at least not entirely. It’s about the athletic department’s bling.

And that’s wrong. I hope the courts agree.

More

Bloomberg: The Lawsuit That Could Bring Down The NCAA

SB Nation: O’Bannon v. NCAA

Mr. SEC.com: A Waterfall In ‘Bama’s Locker Room?

A Look Inside Alabama’s New Weight Room (video)

Kentucky Builds Palace For Players

Our Wonderful, Horrible Schools

Agave Americana   1 comment

When last we visited this particular succulent, it was beginning to flower and was still an unknown plant to me. Here’s the original post with pictures.

Now, we know that it’s Agave americana.  Common name is the century plant … but the Agave americana only lives 10-30 years. Further, we know this particular plant is now actively dying, yet it still struggles to break into full flower. Note the leaves that are drooping around the base of the flower stalk … that process will continue until the flowers above are in full bloom, and the leaves below are a flacid, dead mess.

Agave americana is used to make mezcal in the Oaxaca region of Mexico (where it’s called a maguey plant). It’s also a source for some agave nectars. A cousin, Agave tequilana, is the blue agave that is the source of tequila.

Posted June 18, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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MrsMowry’s Brussels Sprouts   1 comment

We had a discussion about whether this was Mrs. Mowry’s recipe, or MrsMowry’s recipe … and MrsMowry won! This is a wonderful way to serve these little cabbages.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds, fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5 oz pancetta
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • shallot salt
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Rinse & quarter Brussels sprouts. Heat large skillet, medium heat. Add olive oil & red pepper flakes. Add pancetta. Stir until pancetta is lightly browned and crisp. Add shallot. Stir until shallot is translucent. Sprinkle shallot salt. Pour Brussels sprouts into skillet. Drizzle top with olive oil; stir to coat. Stir occasionally over medium heat, 5-6 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water, salt and pepper. Cover skillet and cook 2-4 minutes until Brussels sprouts are fork tender.

Hats   Leave a comment

Sun protection is important ... keep a spare hat on your knee. This fun pic is of brothers-in-law; my Great Grandfather Artemus Shull is on the right and Guy Sewell is on the left. Circa 1905.

Sun protection is important … keep a spare hat on your knee. This fun pic is of brothers-in-law; my Great Grandfather Artemus Shull is on the right and Guy Sewell is on the left. Circa 1905.

Posted June 16, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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Nose Firmly Planted   Leave a comment

Here's Velda's nose, firmly planted to the grindstone ... heritage millstones used to grind wheat in pioneer days, and now displayed on campus at Kansas State University.

Here’s Velda’s nose, firmly planted to the grindstone … heritage millstones used to grind wheat in pioneer days, and now displayed on campus at Kansas State University. And, yes, she’s wearing a UCLA hoodie. She has to represent!

Posted June 15, 2013 by henrymowry in Photography

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June 14, 1777   Leave a comment

Why is today Flag Day?

Because 236 years ago TODAY, the Second Continental Congress finally decided on a flag:

“Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be Thirteen stripes alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

They did not specify the number of points on the stars, nor the arrangement of those stars. However, Francis Hopkinson, a member of the Congress, designed a flag and then actually billed the Congress for the design! They did not pay the bill. This flag is assumed to have first been raised at the 1777 Middlebrook encampment in New Jersey. A flag with this design still flies in Middlebrook today!

Hopkinson Flag - Middlebrook

A Hopkinson Flag still flies daily over the site of the encampment of the Continental Army in 1777 and 1778.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Francis Hopkinson portrait by Robert Edge Pine.

Francis Hopkinson portrait by Robert Edge Pine.

More

US Flag: The First

National Flag Day

Portraits: Abraham Lincoln   2 comments

This is Lincoln’s last portrait, purportedly taken on April 10, 1865—one week before his assassination. It’s also one of the few portraits that shows Lincoln grinning.

This is Lincoln’s last portrait, purportedly taken on April 10, 1865—one week before his assassination. It’s also one of the few portraits that shows Lincoln grinning. Photo by Alexander Gardner.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

The 16th President of the United States, 1861 – 1865

AKA: Honest Abe, The Rail-Splitter, The Ancient One, The Great Emancipator, The Great Liberator, The Tycoon, Uncle Abe

From: Illinois

College: One of 8 US Presidents that did not attend college

Married to: Mary Todd

Children: Robert Todd, Edward Baker “Eddie,” William Wallace “Willie,” and Thomas “Tad”

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Farm laborer, general store owner, captain in the Illinois militia, postmaster, surveyor, Illinois state representative, lawyer, newspaper publisher, US Congressman

In His Words: “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

“Well, I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.”

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”

“If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?”

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

This familiar image of Abraham Lincoln, a version of which appears on the copper penny, is easily the most ubiquitous of all Lincoln images. William Willard based this portrait on a photograph taken by Anthony Berger at Mathew Brady's studio in Washington, D.C., on February 9, 1864. The sitting occurred three weeks prior to Lincoln's appointment of General Ulysses S. Grant as commander of all the Union armies. The Lincoln penny was first minted in 1909, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth. National Portrait Gallery

William Willard based this portrait on a photograph taken by Anthony Berger in Washington, DC, February 9, 1864. This familiar image of Abraham Lincoln, a version of which appears on the copper penny, is easily the most ubiquitous of all Lincoln images. The Lincoln penny was first minted in 1909, on the one-hundredth anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. National Portrait Gallery

Not true: Some historians argue that Lincoln did not really want to free the slaves. Some historians argue that Lincoln’s perspective “evolved,” and he eventually decided that freeing the slaves was the right thing to do.

Hogwash.

The issue of slavery became the central preoccupation of the US government during the mid-19th century. With Lincoln’s election, war was assured and the South seceded. Lincoln’s first priority, as he properly concluded, was for him to restore the Union. He did that.

He also worked strenuously to pass the Emancipation Proclamation. He overcame remarkable opposition from every side, and did, in fact, free the slaves. Sometimes the simple explanation is correct: Lincoln freed the slaves as quickly as he could.

True: Lincoln gave his father all of his income until he was 21. In later life, he often loaned his father money.

Lincoln received a patent in 1849 for a flotation device to move boats in shallow water. The patent was never commercialized, but he is the only President to hold a patent.

Lincoln was the first bearded President.

West Virginia and Nevada joined the Union during Lincoln’s Presidency.

Lincoln refused to change the US flag during the Civil War, believing that the secession was, in fact, illegal, and the southern states should therefore still be represented on the flag.

Abraham Lincoln used to walk alone at night to the War Department to find out news about the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln was known to beg or borrow books to read. He is often remembered for educating himself by candlelight at an early age. In any event, he was always reading. Later, he applied his self-taught reading habits as a lawyer, legislator and President. He often read aloud because he liked to hear the words.

Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated.

Historians generally rank Lincoln as the most effective President. Washington is generally ranked # 2, and Franklin Roosevelt # 3.

The Official Portrait: Lincoln sat for various artists while in office, but the official White House Portrait was painted after his death. In 1869, Congress decided to have a competition for a painting of Lincoln, with the incoming President to select the winner. Ulysses S Grant won the election, and his choice was a portrait by William Cogswell. George Healy also entered the competition, but his painting was not the President’s choice. Robert Todd Lincoln purchased Healy’s painting, commenting, “I have never seen a portrait of my father which is to be compared with it in any way.” After his death, Robert Lincoln’s widow bequeathed the Healy portrait to the White House in 1939.

Today, Healy’s portrait hangs in the State Dining Room, and the Cogswell portrait is in storage.

Abraham Lincoln, Official White House Portrait

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln by George P.A. Healy, 1869. The original version of this portrait was a template for artist George P. A. Healy’s large painting The Peacemakers, depicting Lincoln in consultation with three of his main military advisers at the end of the Civil War. But Healy recognized that this made a fine portrait in its own right and eventually made three replicas, including this one.

Abraham Lincoln signature

More

Big Mo: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Saved The Union, But Did He Really Free The Slaves?

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: Abraham Lincoln, Inventor?

Posted June 13, 2013 by henrymowry in POTUS

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Trusting Government Testimony   Leave a comment

In an interview with National Journal, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper clarified remarks over NSA snooping. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In an interview with National Journal, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper clarified remarks over NSA snooping. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Obama has told us we should trust that his administration is doing the right thing with the telephony metadata that they are collecting.

Trust.

Here’s what James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, said in a public, senate hearing 3 months ago on surveillance.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):

“Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

James Clapper:

“No.”

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon):

“It does not?”

James Clapper:

“Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect—but not wittingly.”

Last week, Mr. Clapper clarified what he meant when he said no:

“What I said was, the NSA does not voyeuristically pour through U.S. citizens’ e-mails. I stand by that.”

So there you have it. Mr. Clapper directly lied about what the NSA was doing. He lied, in public, in sworn testimony before the US Senate.

Here’s my bottom line: trust is a difficult thing to earn when you are known to lie.

And you know how I feel about people that lie.

More

Trusting Big Brother

“Secret Blanket Surveillance”

Reason.com: Clapper’s Testimony

National Journal: James Clapper Clarifies…

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