Archive for the ‘Things I Love’ Category

Awesome.

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Man, I just read the Mars Rover Opportunity’s last message to home and I have to admit I’m a little choked up right now. I mean, we send him 33.9-million miles from home for a 90-day mission in July of 2003, he arrives on Mars in January 2004, and he outlives his expected lifespan by a freakin’ decade and a half. Then, alone on a faraway planet, a giant goddamn dust storm swoops in last June and we haven’t heard from him since.

That alone is sad enough, but then we hear what our hero’s last message was and it’s almost too much to take, man. I’ll tell you what he said, but I need a second to gather myself.

OK, I think I’m ready. Here are little Opp’s last words, sent home as the storm approached:

“My battery is low and it’s getting very, very dark . . .”

 

Well, hell. Hold on, I have something in my eye again.

PS- NASA sent their last message to Opportunity today. Nuthin’. 

PPS- There was another Rover named Spirit that went up the same time as Opportunity, and he kicked the bucket back in 2011. Just didn’t have the heart of my boy Opp.

PPPS- It would have been really cool if the last message was something like, “Wooohooo! Go straight to hell Martian dust storm! I’m gone suckers! Peace out!”

PPPPS- How great would it be if we suddenly got another message after 7-months of silence? Those nerd scientists would wet themselves.*

*Me too.

So school was cancelled again today at many schools in southern Ohio, this time because of water I guess? Anyway, it seems like school gets cancelled more and more often these days. It can be too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too whatever. Not sure what changed over the years, but it sure seems like we’ve become softer, doesn’t it? With that in mind, let’s take a look at what it’s like to attend school in Finland. These photos were taken during a normal school day where the temperature was a balmy 15°. As you can see, students in Finland are not deterred by a little cold weather or snow on the ground. Out of 1200 kids at this school, 1000 arrive by bicycle, 100 to 150 walk, and the rest travel by skiing or on kicksleds. I’m assuming they have recess outside, play shirts and skins basketball and skin a moose during Biology class. Anywho, kids in Finland? Badasses.

PS- Those kicksleds look cool as hell, man.

These images were captured by a Trail Cam set up by photographer Will Burrard-Lucas in Kenya, and they’re the first photographs taken of a Black Panther since 1909. The animal’s color is due to a condition called melanism, a gene mutation that results in an over-production of pigment. It’s the opposite of albinism. The end result is an absolutely beautiful creature. Click and scroll to check her out:

Check out that Skinny Pig, man. The Skinny Pig is an almost hairless breed of Guinea pig. They typically have hair on their muzzles, feet, and legs but are hairless over the remainder of their bodies. Some of them have a thin covering of fuzzy hair on their backs as well. A Skinny has skin that is mostly smooth with some wrinkling around the legs and neck, the body is full with no appearance of spine or ribs. “Skinny” is the term used for them to describe the illusion of their visually thinner appearance. The modern Skinny Pig breed originated with a cross between haired guinea pigs and a hairless lab strain back in 1978. Anywho, Skinny Pig.

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Boy, bad day for the big cats, huh? First a mountain lion gets murdered by a human and now an 80-pound leopard gets its ass kicked by a 20-pound Honey Badger. That’s just embarrassing, man. Get it together, large cats. You’re better’n at.

When you think people pay $50,000 to be guided up the mountain this is pretty funny stuff. Love it.

The Takeout: In the admittedly narrow world of Cheetos-fast food mashups, Burger King’s Mac-And-Cheetos and Taco Bell’s Cheetos Quesadillas have some new competition. KFC announced it is testing a new Cheetos Sandwich in selected restaurants at locations in North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. KFC lovingly describes in a press release: “Made by coating a juicy, hand-breaded Extra Crispy chicken filet with special Cheetos sauce and placing it on a toasted bun with mayo and a layer of crunchy Cheetos, the Cheetos Sandwich will give you a blast of craveable Cheetos in every bite.” In this manner, KFC doubles up on the Cheetos-ness, providing a Cheetos sauce as well as actual Cheetos in the sandwich.

Listen, I’m not a big KFC guy but HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. Juicy? Check. Extra crispy? Check. Toasted bun? Check. Cheetos sauce? Check. CHEETOS? Check. I’m in. Who’s up for a Road Trip to Virginia?

Over the years I’ve written a few articles about coaching and my opinions and outlook on various aspects of it. Among these were two called The Truth About Coaching and Some Thoughts On Coaching.

As many of you know I’m not coaching this year so I’ve had the opportunity to watch games and practices all over Southern Ohio, and as I watch thoughts inevitably come to mind. When that happens I jot down some notes with the idea that when I gathered enough I’d publish another article.

Keep in mind I’m not critiquing any coach in particular, and just because I believe what you’re about to read doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct.

It’s just my personal opinion, kids. Chillax.

Bottom line, times have changed and kids have changed. Actually, parenting has changed and as a result kids have changed. It’s w-a-a-a-y different than it was when I began coaching all the way back in the Fall of 1983. If I tried to coach in 2015 the way I coached in 1991 I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did, trust me.

As I’ve said many times before on this site and when I speak to teams, coaching is about relationships. That’s always been the case to some extent but it’s exponentially more important today. There has to be some sort of a relationship between player and coach. Your players have to believe in you. As Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “Coaching is 90% creating an environment and 10% strategy.”

That is 100% true.

Some coaches believe that showing compassion for their players is a sign of weakness, as if they’re giving up some essential part of their power as leader of the team. The fact is that yelling and berating without compassion will get old really quickly with today’s athlete, and at some point the coach will lose the team.

The ironic part of all this, of course, is that if your players know you love them you can yell at them all you want because they know you’re coming from a good place.

So showing compassion is not a weakness, but a strength.

Another thing I’ve noticed while attending games is that coaches, especially at the smaller schools, are successful when they adjust to their talent. Some coaches have their “systems” or style they like and expect their players to fit into it regardless. Here’s the deal – you can’t recruit players at a small school.  So, you have to adjust and run an offense and defense that fits your team’s abilities and strengths.

Over my last 4-years of coaching I had a very talented 6′-11″, 305 center. It wouldn’t have been real bright of me to run a fast break and beat him down the floor just because I liked a running style, right? Therefore we mostly (but not always) walked it up and ran our offense through him. Defensively we mostly played a zone where we kept our big man guarding the rim while our guards got out and pressured the perimeter. Hey, you have the luxury of getting out and pressuring when you have a rim protector backing you up.

My point is that just because you, as a coach, like running and pressing doesn’t mean you can – set your ego aside and do what works best for your team.

And that whole “hey, we do what we do and don’t worry about our opponents” argument is about as dumb as it gets. Of course you have to adjust to your opponents. To not is a path to failure.

College, and some high schools, are different because you can recruit or have the numbers to pick and choose your team. At small schools that’s just not possible,

Collegiately it can go both ways. A coach like Bob Huggins at West Virginia or Jim Boeheim at Syracuse recruit their players to fit their system. Same for the majority of college coaches. On the other hand, guys at the really elite programs like Coach K at Duke, Coach Cal at Kentucky or Coach Self at Kansas grab the best players available and adjust their offense and defense accordingly.

But at small high schools? You have to set your ego and your favorite style aside and play the hand your dealt.

Finally, if there’s one thing I learned over the years it’s that the best coaches never, ever stop learning. The day you think you know everything is the day to quit. The game, and the players, are constantly changing and coaches have to change with it.

If you don’t, the game will soon pass you by.

PS- As I’ve mentioned before, many of the basic philosophies of coaching – developing relationships, being able to communicate, and more – apply to teaching as well as coaching. They’re closely related.

PPS- One more thing. Team success depends on many variables like team chemistry, injuries, players getting sick, interfering administrators, etc. Bottom line, they’re all a part of sports. Using them as an excuse will only give your team an excuse to fail. As the great Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.” 

We take trees for granted, man. Just walk by them every day without an ounce of appreciation for what they do for us. Not only are trees beautiful, they provide us with a little thing called oxygen. Listen, I’m no scientist but oxygen seems important to me. Anyway, here are some badass trees that refuse to give up.

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Meet Ace Davis, a 10-year-old kid from Lexington, Kentucky who created a science fair project about Tom Brady. While kids in New England might be trying to figure out how to scientifically prove that Brady is the greatest quarterback who ever lived, Ace decided to go in a different direction. He created a science fair project that proves that Brady is a cheater.

Ace sought to prove that Brady was a cheater through science. He wanted to show that deflated footballs gave Brady a competitive advantage. On his poster, he included the results of experiments he did with his mom and sister. Each of them threw footballs of varying inflation, and he measured the distance of each one and calculated the average. He found that the least inflated football traveled the farthest, therefore giving Brady a competitive advantage.

Of course, he included more than that on his poster. He used a Brady Deflategate meme, a picture of Brady crying, and a picture of Brady making a very weird face.

Ace won his Science Fair and is advancing to the Districts. When asked how he thinks he’ll do there he replied, “I’m gonna win that too.” He was then asked what he’d like to say to Brady. Ace’s response?

“Give me some of your money. You don’t deserve it.”

Damn Ace. Hate Brady much?

Anyway, hell yes Ace Davis proved Tom Brady’s a cheater. Ace is out there fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Dude’s the damn superhero we all need right now, and if winning a Science Fair in Lexington, Kentucky isn’t proof that Touchdown Tawmy’s a cheater I don’t know what is. That’s just Science. Literally. The referees and the NFL won’t stand up to Brady, but you know who will? Ace Davis, that’s who, the kid who’s advancing to the Districts with intentions of winning the whole damn thing.

PS- Those quotes from Ace is pure gold. GOLD.

 

Good stuff.

Check out that Swimming Feather Star swimming in that video, man. That’s beautiful. Feather stars are a type of marine invertebrate with featherlike arms that radiate from a central body. They date back about 200-million years, which scientists say is a long time. Because they’ve been around so long Feather Stars are thought of as living fossils. The animals live from the equator to the poles and from the shallow waters on top of reefs to the depths of the ocean, so yeah, basically anywhere. Anywho, Swimming Feather Star.

So I ran across a list of the Top 50 Comics in an old Rolling Stone and it got me to thinking. Isn’t it weird how some comics appeal to some people and others don’t? I swear I sat through an hour and a half Dane Cook special at a friend’s house one night and never cracked smile. In the meantime everyone else in the room was rolling in convulsive laughter. Dane Cook, man. Dude just doesn’t tickle my funny bone. Others I don’t get? Don’t judge, but . . . Bernie Mac and, oh, this is going to piss some people off . . . Kevin Hart. Sorry, but I just don’t get his act. On a related note, his movies are intolerable.

But on to the comics I find funny, from #1 to #10. Being the professional blogger that I am, I shall include video. Let us commence . . 

Norm MacDonald

What can I say? Norm cracks me up every time. Check him out the night he hosted the ESPYS. Dude offended almost everyone.

And check out the time Norm absolutely hijacked the Conan O’Brien show. A television classic that I beseech you to watch until the end. Trust me, it’s worth it:

Richard Pryor

I know not how, but I got my hands on his CRAPS- After Hours album when I was 15 or so and my life changed as I knew it. Just wild stuff for a small town southern Ohio boy in 1971. Pryor hit his peak in the late 70’s – early 80’s, and he always made me laugh hysterically. Here’s a bit from his “Live on the Sunset Strip” show.

Jonathon Winters

Jonathon Winters was the Robin Williams of the 60s. You could give him a word like “tree” or “bicycle” and he’d do a 10-minute act about it. Here is on Johnny Carson just making stuff up as he goes along.

Steven Wright

Steven Wright’s low-key observations and quirky takes on every day life absolutely kills me. Every. Time.

George Carlin

George Carlin is consistently ranked among the Top 3 All-Time comedians, for good reason. Here’s his legendary take on Baseball vs. Football.

Sam Kinison

Sam, man. He was one of the most inappropriate, offensive, cringe-worthy comedians ever. I saw him live once and I swear my jaw was sore the next day from laughing so hard and so long. Don’t believe me? Listen to hit bit called “If Jesus Was Married.” Just remember, you have been warned.

Rodney Dangerfield

Oh, man. Rodney Freakin’ Dangerfield. If you’re not familiar just watch the movie “Back to School” and get back with me. For now, just watch Rodney on Johnny Carson back in the day:

Chris Rock

Chris Rock? Give a look to this video called, “How to Not Get You’re Ass Kicked By The Police.” ‘Nuff said.

David Letterman

Dave was always funniest when he was outside the studio, like the time he visited Taco Bell…

Robin Williams

Robin Williams was manic, out of control and insane. Here’s his first appearance on the Johnny Carson Show. Classic.

So there ya go. Sure, I left out a gazillion funnymen – Chapelle, Leno, Seinfeld, and many more. Still, those are my Top 10. Who you got?

 

 

 

 

 

This is a story about Jinjing the South American Magellanic Penguin that swims 5,000-miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life. The rescued Penguin was saved by João Pereira de Souza, a 73-year old part-time fisherman who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Joao found the tiny penguin at his local beach lying on rocks, covered in oil, could barely move and was close to death. Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named the penguin Jinjing. After he nursed Jinjing back to health he took him out to an island to set him free but Jinjing came back. Jinjing finally left, but now very year the little Penguin leaves to his breeding grounds and then returns to Joao for a few months.

Lord God almighty that looks tasty. Yes, please.

Note: Here’s the recipe if you’re interested.

It’s called “The Incident at Dyatlov Pass.” Here’s what went down . . .

On January 28th, 1959, 10-students and graduates of the Ural State Technical University embarked on a hike into Russia’s Ural Mountains. They were all experienced mountaineers, and they expected to reach their destination by February 12th.

One of the hikers, Yury Yudin, got sick early in the trip and had to stay behind. Turns out he was the group’s only survivor as well as one lucky flu victim.

So the group of 9-hikers heads into the woods and never came out. It’s sad, but it’s also one of the risks of wandering in the wilderness, right? The thing is, when they didn’t arrive at the expected time, the search-and-rescue team that was dispatched to find them discovered a terrifying and unexplainable scene that remains a mystery to this day.

First of all, the tent that the nine had shared had apparently been cut open from the inside and was full of the party’s food, warm clothing, and other essentials. The team then discovered five of the missing hikers about a mile from their tent. Two were discovered beside the remains of a campfire, and their hands were severely burned. The other three were discovered fairly close together of about 100-feet away, apparently attempting to return to their destroyed tent.

And get this – all five were found in various states of undress. Some were barefoot, others were wearing only their socks. One of the men, Rustem Slobodin, had a small fracture in his skull, but it was ruled that he had died from exposure, not injury.

The remaining four hikers were found approximately 3-months later. But instead of clarifying the situation, their bodies only made the story weirder. Some of the hikers were wearing clothes that belonged to hikers left at the campfire, indicating that they had scavenged those bodies in order to stay warm in the -30° weather, but all four apparently tumbled into a ravine and died there. These hikers had all suffered chest injuries that doctors compared to a car crash, and another was found to be missing her tongue.

Weird, right? But it gets weirder.

The hikers’ clothing was all strongly radioactive, and other than their severe injuries, there were no obvious signs of struggle or the presence of any other living thing in the area. One of the hikers, Semyon Zolotaryov, had apparently taken the time to grab his camera before fleeing the tent but left his clothing behind. What the hell had he hoped to photograph? And speaking of cameras, another member of the party, Yuri Krivonischenko, had taken a blurry picture of something weird and glowing before the incident.

Oh, and one more thing – the place they all died translates to “Mountain of the Dead.”

Gulp.

So, what could have killed the hikers? In short, nobody knows. There are a few theories that keep coming up, though. One is that they were attacked by someone or something in the woods, but there’s just one problem – the search teams found nine sets of footprints in the snow, one for each of the victims but no others. None made by humans, animals, Yetis, aliens, or otherwise.

So maybe it wasn’t an outsider? Maybe something happened between the hikers that caused them to turn on each other, or caused one to become extremely violent. Except there’s not really any great evidence of that, either. The diaries of the hikers found back in the tent didn’t indicate any kind of rising tension, nor did anyone who knew these nine believe they would have allowed their emotions to interfere in a survival situation. Some nearby residents reported seeing orange lights in the sky, leading some people to theorize UFOs had to be involved, and other slightly more rational minds suggested that they had been the accidental victims of some sort of Soviet weapons test. At least that would explain the radiation I guess? It would also explain why the official Russian investigation into the incident closed almost as quickly as it opened – investigators were satisfied to list “a compelling natural force” as the cause of death, and the region around the area where the incident occurred was closed for 3-years afterwards.

By the way, what exactly is “a compelling natural force”?

Oh, and about that aforementioned Yeti/Sasquatch/Bigfoot, you say? On one of the dead hikers cameras they found a mysterious photo of a man (or something). In any case it has a surreal look to it. Check it out:

Yikes. Fu-reaky.

It’s known as Photo 17, and it was the last photo taken on Nikolai Thibeaux-Brignolle’s camera. Is it human, or something else? Could it be a member of the group coming back from somewhere? Maybe somebody else with sinister intentions? Nobody knows, but damn that’s a weird looking photograph.

So, the questions remain:

  • What frightened the hikers so much that they raced barefoot and half-naked into freezing windy temperatures?
  • What caused the traumatic injuries that doctors compared to those gotten from a car crash?
  • What caused the traces of radiation on the hiker’s clothing?

Anyway, it’s an enduring mystery and one that fascinates the bejesus out of me. Sure, you can find people on the worldwide interweb that claim to explain everything, but they an all go straight to hell because that’s no fun. Bottom line, they ultimately explain nothing.

PS- If you’re as interested in this as I am here’s a bonus, and also chilling, video for y’all. It includes some of the theories I talked about above, as well as some others.

 

Well played, Kilroy’s. Well played indeed.

Dolphins, man.

Hanks, man. Pretty deep sketch if you think about it.

And he’s only 19-years old.

Good stuff.

Crowded.

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It was Picture Day at the farm yesterday. Most everyone posed nicely, although a couple of the ducks were arguing and ruined a shot. All in all a good day though.

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