2012/8/27 | 投稿者: watches

After months of real-world woe eating away at college football, the games can’t get here fast enough for those longing for the simplicity of past comforts.

Bring on the band, the cheerleaders, the singing of the alma mater. Fire up the tailgate grill.

Give us all the emotion, pomp and circumstance that has stirred hearts since Rutgers and Princeton met in the first game on a New Jersey field measuring 75-by-120 yards a mere four years after the end of the Civil War.

Cheers greeted Rutgers’ 6-4 victory on Nov.6, 1869, just as they cheered 90 years ago in new Ohio Stadium, where 105,000-plus will cheer again on Saturday when the Urban Meyer era begins with his Ohio State Buckeyes meeting the Miami RedHawks.

It is OK to cheer, right?

Well, how exactly should you feel about college football in 2012? What do you see when you stare at a sport that now seems like a house of mirrors?

All perspectives changed on Nov.5, when Penn State’s world as it had been known for decades imploded in the child sex-abuse case of former Nittany Lions assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

“Think a year ago, how everything looked compared to right now,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said recently. “The whole thing is basically, for me, hard to comprehend.”

Beyond that scandal of immeasurable degree, past the destruction of the late Joe Paterno’s once-stellar reputation, lies the challenge of what to make of a sport bloated by TV demands and revenue.

For certain, the 143rd season that begins on Thursday with 17 games is not as tidy as, say, 1968, when Ohio State saw fit to play its first game on Sept.28. This 2012 marathon stretches from August until the Bowl Championship Series championship game on Jan.7, and long gone is the sport’s quaint regional nature.

“Everybody watches everybody else now,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said.

We do so amid the constant drumbeat of fawning praise for the Southeastern Conference, whose teams have won the past six national championships, in case you haven’t been reminded of that fact in the past 10 minutes.

It’s the SEC’s world; we’re just renting space.

The worship of Southern-fried achievements buries report from last year that no other conference has committed more NCAA major infractions since 1987.

Outrage? Uh, not quite. The SEC has three of the top six teams, five of the top 10 and a sixth school ranked in this preseason’s Associated Press Top 25 poll.

2012/8/24 | 投稿者: watches

I'm talking about the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Oh and by the way, I’m hooked. The latest offering is a fruity mixture of crusty has-beens and tacky attention-seekers. Housemates include ex-EastEnders regulars Cheryl Fergison and Martin Kemp, former Corrie barmaid Julie Goodyear and camp comedian Julian Clary.

This has led to wholesale scoffing as potential viewers ponder the level of notoriety the newbie housemates have earned ― a trait that’s par for the course when any new CBB line up is announced.

The latest concoction is actually textbook with Kemp and Goodyear playing alpha-male and alpha-female ― although Julie is often juxtaposition. The smart money must surely be on one of them to win.

Of course there are many telly snobs out there who believe it beneath them to watch any reality television, let alone to press button 5 on their remote control.

These people seem to forget that the producers don’t select the housemates to be loved or loathed, they’re carefully cast to attract an audience. Nearly three million watched this motley crew enter the famous house on the opening night and the show is Channel Five’s top performer by some distance ― not that that says much.

Already housemates have come over all emotional, got physical and been down right confrontational. Just what the producers ordered. My favourite line of this series so far? Its come from Julian Clary, whose effortless laconic wit is a joy to behold.

He asked Jersey Shore’s Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino on the first night: “And what’s your function?”

“What’s a function?” replied a deadpan Sorrentino. Beautiful.

And it’s this uncompromising banter that justifies the continued scheduling of the show. Another housemate who was causing ripples was Simon Cowell’s ‘ex’ Jasmine Lennard.

I’m assuming Simon hasn’t been watching but if he had he wouldn’t have been too comfortable. The worryingly skinny model reckoned the media mogul would have been “dying” watching her in the house. She was gagged from any in-depth chat on their romance, though claimed he was still the “love of her life”. Aye, right.

Fiery Jasmine’s made more friends than enemies during the first ten days and as a result was first to go.

The other evictee for the axe is Page 3 favourite Rhian Sugden. She entered the house to prove she was more than just a blonde with big boobs. Granted she’s eye candy but so far she’s been just a blonde with big boobs ― her survival thanks only to the apparent hatred towards Jasmine.

On her exit interview Jasmine referred to Rhian as a complete skank. No love lost there then.

Over the next fortnight, expect screeds of scheming, dollops of double dealing and more contempt than that other infamous house ― where Cameron and Miliband hang out.

It’s easy to mock but nobody’s comparing Big Brother to the Olympics.

This crop of housemates make for incredibly entertaining viewing. Far more so than than the public competition which seems to drag on longer than the creative wording of an independence referendum ballot question.

Moving forward, might I suggest, fresh from his antics in Vegas, how about drafting in Prince Harry for the next series?

2012/8/23 | 投稿者: watches

People in Desert Hot Springs are cleaning up Wednesday after a quick summer storm left several inches of water in their homes.

Alejandra Serrano's home was one of the hardest hit, "Its really sad. I really don't want to cry, but its sad."

After 20 minutes of rain, the Serrano family has quite a mess to clean up.

"Now I don't know what to do. I'm going to call my insurance company, but I'm not sure if I have flood insurance," said Serrano.

Muddy water flooded the garage and came into their home. Our crews were there as Serrano surveyed the damage for the first time.

"Yes, all over the place, the carpet, and the living room," said Serrano.

The family tells us the problem isn't with Mother Nature, it's actually with a neighboring road. When it rains, all of the water on Mesquite Avenue runs right into the Serrano's home instead of draining down the street.

Fabian Serrano watches his parent's home flood every rainy season. "This is the first time that it actually went inside," said Fabian.

Alejandra Serrano says, "I'm always here and I always take care of that. Today I wasn't here."

The Serranos first complained to the city two years ago.

"We sent an email after that with pictures and video and everything, and now I have this problem," said Serrano.

Fabian Serrano says, "It's frustrating because they have to deal with the city and they haven't done anything. My parents tried in every way to get around this."

The Public Works Department in Desert Hot Springs says they have listened and are working to solve the problem.

Hal Goldenberg, public works manager for Desert Hot Springs, says, "We hired Granite about three months ago for our 2012 Street Rehabilitation Project. Part of that project is to put an AC berm down the south side of the street."

The problem for the Serranos is that phase of the project isn't set to begin for another two weeks.

Serrano says, "We've got a lot of mess now and I'm not working now."

2012/8/22 | 投稿者: watches

Former Granite Falls boys varsity basketball coach Steve Hume has a passion for basketball. He also has a passion for helping others get better.

That's why Hume created a basketball clinic for local players, mostly at the high school and college level that want to improve their games. Hume works out the players twice a week and at those practices, the players get the opportunity to use a few of the more extravagant teaching tools he has at his disposal.

Hume's approach is largely technologically based.

The Gun 8000 shooting machine made by the Shoot-a-way company and the motion-sensor basketballs made by 94fifty Sports Technologies Hume uses can be found at any one of his practices. These aren't just any old tools; the Gun 8000 keeps track of players shooting percentages from different spots on the floor and helps the players work on the arc of their shot. The 94fifty basketballs keep track of everything from revolutions of the ball on a jump shot to the amount of time it takes to get a shot up after a pass.

These tools offer a technological approach to helping players improve their shooting. They also aren't cheap. Hume said the Gun 8000 cost about $6,000 and the motion sensor basketballs and the computer that comes along with it cost $2,000. Hume paid for both on his own dime.

On top of that, Hume said he isn't interested in turning a profit with his basketball camps, only helping players get better. The money he charges, $100 per month, goes to gym rentals, buying equipment and to pay liability insurance.

Hume's technological approach is innovative and rare. It is also fun for the players, but make no mistake, the practices are rigorous and push his players to their limits. And Hume wants players who are willing to put in the work.

"I try to make the workouts as difficult as possible," Hume said. "I've probably had seven college players who played somewhere last year that didn't make it out to more than two or three practices because they don't want to work."

One such player who has made the commitment to Hume's clinics is a familiar face to those who attended a Snohomish High School basketball game this past season. The Herald's All-Area Player of the Year, Luke Hamlin, can be found at nearly all of Hume's practices. Hamlin is the highest profile player at the clinic and is working to improve his game for his upcoming freshman season at Seattle Pacific University.

"It's tough, but if you want to get better, it's the way to go," Hamlin said of Hume's clinic.

Hamlin didn't always feel that way. He first met Hume while attending Snohomish when Hume came out to help Panthers coach Len Bone run a few workouts at practice.

"I actually hated him (Hume) at first," Hamlin said. "He had some tough workouts. It gets you better. If you aren't getting better at basketball, you are getting better at cardio and better strength. So I decided that this was my best option to get better for the next level."

Hume said Hamlin helps to set an example for many of the clinic's younger players.

For some, being told by a computer what you are doing wrong might be difficult to accept and Hamlin was no different. But as time went on, he began to embrace the technology.

"It's great to have, but at the same time it's not," Hamlin said. "Every part of your game is critiqued. Even me, I thought I had a great shot and it felt good. Then going out and doing the program, I have a lot of things to change, which, I mean, is a good thing because you get better, but it's frustrating knowing that you can change a few things whe

2012/8/21 | 投稿者: watches

Nearly 100 boats and barges were waiting for passage Monday along an 11-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that has been closed due to low water levels, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

New Orleans-based Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Tippets said the stretch of river near Greenville, Miss., has been closed intermittently since Aug. 11, when a vessel ran aground.

Tippets said the area is currently being surveyed for dredging and a Coast Guard boat is replacing eight navigation markers. He says 40 northbound vessels and 57 southbound vessels were stranded and waiting for passage Monday afternoon.

Tippets said it is not immediately clear when the river will re-open. A stretch of river near Greenville was also closed in 1988 due to low water levels caused by severe drought. The river hit a record low on the Memphis gauge that year.

The Mississippi River from Illinois to Louisiana has seen water levels plummet due to drought conditions in the past three months. Near Memphis, the river level was more than 12 feet lower than normal for this time of year.

Maintaining the navigation channel is essential to keeping vessels from colliding or running aground. Thousands of tons of material are shipped on the river each day.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is using dredges to dig out sand and ensure the navigation channel is deep enough for barges loaded with coal, steel, agricultural products and other goods. The corps is required to provide a minimum navigation channel that is 9 feet deep and 300 feet wide on the lower Mississippi River.

Shippers who move material up and down the river on a daily basis have complained that the shallow river is forcing them to lighten the loads on their barges to avoid hitting bottom. Lighter loads mean less revenue for the shippers, who still have to deal with costs such as labor and fuel.

Also, low water at docks and terminals makes it more difficult to load or unload material, as ships have trouble getting close enough to docks.

Just north of downtown Memphis on Friday, the dredge Hurley was cutting a 2,000-foot swath of river bottom to ensure that the channel is safe for vessels. The dredge is referred to as a dustpan, which means it uses a vacuum-like suction to suck up sand from the river bottom, said its captain, Frank Segree.

The Hurley can dredge to a depth of 75 feet and can remove up to 5,000 cubic yards of sediment per hour. That's enough to fill about 68 backyard swimming pools in one hour.

After the sand is removed, it is then pushed through a 1,200 foot pipeline that deposits it on the banks of the river. For safety's sake, the dredge tries to make the channel deeper than the required 9-foot mark whenever possible, Segree said.

The 350-foot long dredge is powered by three 16-cylinder engines that generate 10,000 horsepower combined, yet the vessel was moving just .12 miles per hour as it slowly removed the sand from the channel.

Before dredging begins, a survey crew checks the river bottom to see where the more shallow banks and shoals are located. After digging in one location, the survey crew and the dredge move on to another trouble spot.

"We're hitting the high spots, then getting out of the way," Segree said, adding that this has been his busiest year for dredging in the 20 years he has been with the Corps.

The river level in Memphis was minus-8.5 feet on Friday, according to the Corps of Engineers. The "minus" reading does not mean the river is dried up ― it's just a measurement based on how the Memphis river gauge is designed. Essentially, the reading means the river level is far below normal.

The record for the lowest measured water level for the Mississippi River near Memphis is minus-10.7 feet, in 1988. The Corps has said the river is not expected to reach record lows.

Segree said four dredges are currently working from St. Louis to Vicksburg, Miss., performing a job that is essential to U.S. industry but is hardly noticed by the general public.

"If we lose the river system it's just like losing the interstate highway system," Segree said. "Commerce is a vital part of our nation. This is a main artery for commerce."