Archive for January, 2008

links for 2008-01-21

January 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm Leave a comment

Theodore Roosevelt – An American Lion

Last week, I watched Part II of Theodore Roosevelt: An American Lion courtesy of Netflix. And now, I am totally smitten with T.R. Just like my visit to Jamestown, Valley Forge and even Evansville, Indiana, I uncovered a lot about history that I did not know (or at least remember). Here are a few snippets I found of interest.

Nobel Prize
Roosevelt was the first American to win a Nobel Prize! He got the Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. Though, in this quote to his son, the “peacemaker” doesn’t seem especially fond of either side:

I am having my hair turned gray by dealing with the Russian and the Japanese peace negotiations. The Japanese ask too much, but the Russians are ten times worse than the [Japanese] because they are so stupid and won’t tell the truth.

Muir and Roosevelt
Roosevelt considered his greatest legacy the Panama Canal. Bah! If I had a say, I would lobby for his conservation work. The land he set aside for the National Forests was greater than France, Belgium and Holland combined. But here is the really cool part— Theodore Roosevelt hiked with John Muir in Yosemite. #@!*&) John Muir! Founder of the Sierra Club! The same John Muir who uttered one of my favorite quotes:

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find that going to the mountains is going home.

Booyah! Roosevelt hiking with Muir!

I’m not sure who to be more jealous of– Roosevelt or Muir.

Roosevelt and Taft
I was pretty darn oblivious of friction between Roosevelt and Taft. Taft was Roosevelt’s Secretary of War. When Roosevelt’s second term was coming to an end, he pretty much handpicked Taft to be his successor. By promoting Taft, Roosevelt insured his protégé an easy win in 1908. However, when Roosevelt felt Taft was being weak on big business and undoing all his conservation work, he turned on his good friend. Roosevelt had so many harsh criticisms of Taft, the documentary said Taft was brought to tears.

Taft and Roosevelt fighting in a political cartoon

Their feud, which split the Republican Party in 1912 allowing Woodrow Wilson to take office, was so well-known and widespread, it made headlines in the New York Times when the two men shook hands and when they embraced.

Headlines of Roosevelt and Taft shaking hands and embracing (from New York Times)

A mentor. A protégé. The rivalry. The resentment. All the attention on handshakes and hugs. It seems Roosevelt and Taft were the Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini of the early 1900s. The media is different now, but the headlines are the same.

Google results for “Belichick Mangini Hug”. Their rift was so strong that Belichick uttering Mangini’s name was noteworthy! There is also a “Great Belichick-Mangini Handshake Debate” discussion!

January 20, 2008 at 9:16 pm 11 comments

Penn on Gravity

Last weekend, I babysat Penn and Gwyn for a morning. We partook in the typical adventures– riding the hammock, jumping on the BOSU Balance ball and visiting the playground. I also put them to work and had them help me collect all the sticks in the yard for the monthly brush collection. Once the yard was stick-free, Penn and I took an old ball from the garage and played soccer (Hey, I DO do something with balls other than throw them).

My front yard is a significant hill. Most non-SUV cars can’t get in my driveway without bottoming out. Of course, that doesn’t stop Larry who plows in and out anyway! His car has a fancy schmacy system that lets him know if he is about to back into something. The angle of my driveway always puts that system into a frenzy. So Larry’s visits are concluded with frantic (and futile) beeping followed by the awful sound of metal scraping on concrete.

The damage inflicted by my driveway is not necessarily confined to undercarriages. If you are parked in the level garage, you can’t see what’s behind/below you. That’s how one spring evening in 2001, my Isuzu Rodeo’s spare tire put a beautiful, circular imprint in Ryan Schutt’s hood. 🙂

Obviously the slope of my front yard poses a problem for parking. It adds challenges to soccer as well. So Penn and I joined forces, played as a team and took on a formidable opponent – gravity. Team Penn would kick the ball uphill, using the front porch as gravity’s goal. Meanwhile, we defended the brand new pile of sticks at the bottom of the yard as our goal.

Through good teamwork (and some suspicious counting on Penn’s part– with each goal we mysteriously gained three to five points), we beat gravity 16-5.

We got exercise and apparently the event was educational as well. At the end of our game, Penn rested his hands on his knees and worked to catch his breath.

“There is one thing I know about gravity,” he said between deep breaths, “It never gives up.”

January 20, 2008 at 7:27 pm 2 comments

Moving Old Glory

On this day 14 years ago, the world record for the largest transplanted tree was set by an Oak Tree from Pico Canyon, California known as “Old Glory”. On January 20 1994, the Senna Tree Company moved the tree about a 1/4 of a mile to save it from a development project. At the time of its move, Old Glory was 58 feet tall, had a 104 foot wide branch span and weighed over 415 tons.

I stumbled upon a YouTube video highlighting the transport effort:

And here is a Creative Commons Flickr picture taken on May 12, 2008 by tkksummers. Fourteen years after its move, the tree is still full of leaves.

Old Glory – May 2008 (Photo by tkksummers)

January 20, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Things You Can Do With Lots of Balls

Circa 2006, this comic about defining what it means to be a grownup appeared on xkcd.

xkcd’s “Grownups”

The comic inspired an online calculator to determine how many playpen balls you would need to fill your apartment (The first floor of my house would require 105,845 balls and cost over $20,000). One, Mike Machenry, felt inspired by the strip and constructed a ball pit in his own home. Then xkcd author, Randall Munroe, followed suit with his own ball pit.

Turns out, plastic colored balls don’t have to be confined to interior design. You can take them outside… and use them to protest.

News reports on the balls protest in Rome

See the balls in action

And here I was just using balls to throw like a sucker.  I have so little imagination.  🙂

January 19, 2008 at 11:43 am 6 comments

links for 2008-01-17

  • Whoa, I did not realize this, but Arbor Day varies between states. I would celebrate it the 2nd Friday in April. PassionPhish would be 3rd Friday in Feb and GeekHiker would have an entire week (March 7-14). Everyone glare at GeekHiker.
    (tags: trees arborday)

January 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm 3 comments

links for 2008-01-14

  • Plastic shopping bags are horribly bad for the environment, but it’s tricky to remember to take a reuseable bag to the store. This $5 reusable bag compacts down into a little stuff sack and can fit in a purse or pocket. I have mine on my keychain

January 14, 2008 at 2:22 pm 3 comments

links for 2008-01-13

January 13, 2008 at 2:17 pm Leave a comment

links for 2008-01-11

January 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

He Can Still Dance, Baby!

As I’ve mentioned before, many members of my extended family LOVE to dance…even when our skill set struggles.  Now, there wasn’t an official dance floor at the reception on Saturday and no one else was dancing.  But that did not stop the groom!  Having the blood he has, he found it difficult to stay still.  Here are some shots of him dancing alone:

Mark dances alone

Mark continues to dance alone


The determination of groom’s face reminds me of Ricky Gervais’ dance sequence from the The Office (U.K.):

Ricky Gervais– a younger Uncle Mark?

And in case you haven’t seen Ricky Gervais’ dancing skill set, here is his performance on YouTube.  He makes the Sawyers look especially talented!

January 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm 11 comments

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