Friday, October 24, 2014

ESPN College Gameday at Tiger Stadium!

ESPN College Gameday at LSU Tiger Stadium - October 25, 2014

ESPN College Gameday at LSU Tiger Stadium - October 25, 2014

ESPN College Gameday at LSU Tiger Stadium - October 25, 2014


The Ole Miss Rebels will put their SEC West aspirations to the test once again on the road Saturday, heading to Death Valley for a big-time meeting with the LSU Tigers.

Hugh Freeze's third-ranked Rebels have set the SEC on fire this season with an upset over Alabama, and they have since validated that victory with blowouts over Texas A&M and Tennessee. But LSU is feeling confident as well, coming off victories over Florida and Kentucky.

To make the battle even bigger, ESPN's College GameDay will be on hand!

The Tigers have had a rough go of things in an SEC West that they usually dominate, falling to both Mississippi State and Auburn in distasteful defeats. But while their College Football Playoff hopes might be dashed, they'll be hungry to prove themselves and spoil the Rebels' season.

All the talk in the SEC West is about everyone other than LSU, but Death Valley will be at the center of the college football world Saturday to give the Tigers a chance to thrust themselves back into the conversation.

Check out the article at The Bleacher Report.

Geaux Tigers, time to play spoiler!!!

P.S. In case you were wondering, Yes Katy Perry still likes corndogs! =P

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Katy Perry Likes Corndogs!

Katy Perry Likes Corndogs!!!

Katy Perry Likes Corndogs!!!

Katy Perry Likes Corndogs!!!

A few weeks ago, singer Katy Perry tore through Oxford, Miss.

She was in town for the Ole Miss-Alabama game and was the guest picker on College Gameday, where she hit on Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight and threw corn dogs. She pulled the corn dogs out when picking the LSU-Auburn game, a nod to an old joke about LSU’s Tiger Stadium smelling like corn dogs.

Later, after the Rebels knocked off the Crimson Tide, she capped the night by chugging beers and jumping off a bar at a local establishment. It was quite a performance and sadly the last we thought we’d hear about her.

Thankfully, Les Miles has moved the story forward. “What happened? She likes corn dogs?” Miles said the other day after practice when asked about Perry’s joke on TV. He hadn't seen it, so he then was filled in.

“Oh no she didn't," Miles responded. “I guess there’s things to talk about that are important and things that are not, right? I’d have to say that people who make observations about how other people smell based on the fact that their nose doesn’t work well. I guess if that’s the issue -- I want you to know one thing and I’ll say it very honestly: I have gone to Tiger Stadium and never smelled corn dogs.”

That’s because you’re too busy smelling grass, Les. Nonetheless, we score this round a win for Miles. You know I love you Katy, but you don’t mess with our guy Les!

Check out the article at Fox Sports.

Haha, Les Miles is a hoot!

No ill will toward Katy. She's sexy, entertaining, and fun! I even had to laugh when she started throwing corndogs. So, right back at ya, girlie... hope you don't mind the tongue-and-cheek. Just let us know if you need some more sauce! ;)

P.S. Yep, that's my photochop at the top. Feel free to steal, but a backlink would be appreciated.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blue Angels at San Francisco Fleet Week

Blue Angels at San Francisco Fleet Week 2014

Blue Angels at San Francisco Fleet Week 2014

Blue Angels at San Francisco Fleet Week 2014

F22 Raptor at San Francisco Fleet Week 2014

F15E Eagle at San Francisco Fleet Week 2014

B2 Spirit at San Francisco Fleet Week 2014

A California man shot some absolutely jaw-dropping photos of the U.S. Navy's famed Blue Angels the week before last during the lead-up to San Francisco's Fleet Week festivities.

Click through the slideshow of his series of photos above. All of the images are spectacular, but the money shot is a surreal photo of the No. 5 fighter jet flying at a very low altitude as it passes above the bridge while cars and pedestrians cross over the iconic span in each direction during rush hour. (Scroll down to see it at full size). The photo has gone viral on Facebook and the online message board Reddit.

The photos were captured by Rich Shelton, 55, of Tiburon, which is just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. Shelton, a self-described 'semi-serious amateur photographer' told AOL.com in an email that he had staked out in an old World War II bunker just west of the bridge's toll plaza on Thursday, October 9, as the Blue Angels were conducting a practice run before the air show that was held a few days later.

'It's a great spot because the bridge's towers align perfectly,' he said.

Shelton said he used a full-frame Sony a7 with 70-400mm lens, which he typically uses to photograph landscapes and is a tricky camera to use for high-speed action.

'During Thursday's practices they made numerous passes over the bridge in different positions,' he explained. 'Due to the ... approach speeds, there's a fair bit of luck involved trying to catch a perfectly centered shot.'

The F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets are capable of reaching speeds of just under Mach 2, almost twice the speed of sound -- or about 1,400 mph. However, the top speed pilots are allowed to fly the jets during a performance is about 700 mph, or just under Mach 1.

The U.S. Navy won't confirm the authenticity of any photo not shot by an official Navy photographer, but Lieutenant Amber Lynn Daniel, confirmed to AOL.com that the Blue Angels were practicing around the time the photo was shot.

Daniel, the Blue Angels' public affairs officer, said she consulted with expert colleagues who estimated that the jet seen in the photo would have been flying at an approximate altitude of 600 feet at the moment the photo was taken and traveling at a speed of about 300 knots, or 350 mph. Both of those figures illustrate how difficult a feat it is to capture a perfect photo of a passing jet using a static camera position.

But Shelton managed to pull it off, nailing the amazing shot of the F/A-18 Hornet, piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Dave Tickle, in perfect crisp focus seemingly frozen between the orange support towers of the legendary suspension bridge. Although, surprisingly, after he achieved the one-of-a-kind image, he didn't think all that much of it. 'I thought it was just another interesting Blue Angels shot,' he recalled.

That all changed when he posted it on his Facebook page where it immediately began racking up hundreds of likes. Then, someone re-posted the image on Reddit and it rocketed to more than a million views on that site, Shelton said. His original Facebook post topped out at nearly 4,000 likes. 'I only expected 30 or 40,' he confessed. 'There were also many kind comments from Facebook folks, along with a number of skeptics.'

'It was a calculated but lucky photo, and I'm very happy with it,' he added.

Shelton is married with a grown son and is retired now. He volunteers as a search manager for the Marin County Sheriff Search and Rescue unit, which keeps him 'very busy.'

He's been enamored with photography since he was a kid, he said, and even managed to pay for college with money he earned doing event photography. Lately, he's rediscovered the art.

'The advent of digital cameras and printers have really reignited my love of photography,' Shelton told AOL.com. 'I'm always looking at the world around me in the context of how I might capture an interesting photo.'

Check out the article at AOL.com.

Awesome photos from what appears to have been an awesome airshow!!!

Be sure to check out the Rich Shelton's Flickr photostream for more awesome photos!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

LSU Tiger Bingo!

Geaux Bingo!

This year, Tiger fans might need a little distraction and humor on Saturday nights. We’re here to help.

Cut out this bingo card, grab some friends and some beverages, turn on the game and get ready to play. First, decide how you want to play — we recommend saving the blackout for the fourth quarter. Using beans, beer caps or whatever you have around, mark off your squares as each thing happens. Les turns a new phrase at the half? That’s a square. The camera shows an Elvis costume in the student section? Yup. The announcers wax poetic about the food in Baton Rouge? Grab yourself a beer cap.

Have fun and enjoy responsibly.

Check out the article and Geaux Bingo! card at The Advocate.

Haha, Advocate, very funny! I'm no fair-weather fan... I remember being soaked to the bone in Tiger Stadium during the 1988 Miami Hurricanes debacle... Geaux Tigers!

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Friday, October 03, 2014

College Footbal Fan Map

NCAA College Football Fan Map

Twice so far at the Upshot, we’ve published maps showing where fan support for one team begins and another ends — once for baseball and once for basketball. Now we’re pleased to offer another one: the United States according to college football fans.

Unlike professional sports, the college game is much more provincial, with scrappy regional programs dominating their corners of the country. Texas and Oregon are two of the most popular teams, but together they account for only 25 percent of territory in the lower 48 states. There is no team with a level of national support that approaches that of, say, the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox or the Los Angeles Lakers.

If you squint while looking at the college football map, you might even think you’re looking at a state map. In the Southeast, strong programs like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana State and Oklahoma dominate their states — and stop right at the border.

But there are enough exceptions to make this quite different from the state maps we all grew up learning. The Minnesota Golden Gophers have been so mediocre for so long — failing to finish in the top 15 nationwide since the Kennedy administration — that fans have moved their support to the Wisconsin Badgers. And Nebraska! They do love their Cornhuskers across much of the Great Plains.

But programs can divide a state, too. Seven colleges, led by the Longhorns, lay claim to at least some part of Texas. Elsewhere, some teams have managed to carve out bits of territory, extending only a bit beyond their campus: Vanderbilt around Nashville; U.C.L.A. on the west side of Los Angeles; and Oregon State, around Corvallis, south of Portland. Then there’s the Northeast, with its relative lack of interest in college football. Once you’re east of the Hudson, no team dominates, and many teams claim a small percentage of fans.

All told, 84 programs can reasonably claim to be the most popular college football team somewhere in the United States.

Like the other sets of maps, these were created using estimates of team support based on each team’s share of Facebook “likes” in a ZIP code. We then applied an algorithm to deal with statistical noise and fill in gaps where data was missing. Facebook “likes” are an imperfect measure, but as we've noted before, Facebook likes show broadly similar patterns to polls.

Check out the article and College Football Fan Map at The New York Times.

Cool map, but definitely could've been better by using team logos.

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Extreme Selfies!

Jet Fighter Pilot Selfie with Boeing Dreamliner

Jet Fighter Pilot Selfie Launching Missile

Jet Fighter Pilot Selfie at Mach 3

Jet Fighter Pilot Selfie over Kyle Field

Astronaut Selfie - Out of this World!

No offense to that selfie you snapped at that wedding or that baseball game. But THESE are some of the coolest selfies ever!

Check out the slideshow at The Hollywood Gossip.

Awesome!!!

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Brussels Blooms with Begonia Flower Carpet

Brussels Blooms with Begonia Flower Carpet

Brussels Blooms with Begonia Flower Carpet

Brussels Blooms with Begonia Flower Carpet

The Grand-Place in Brussels is in full bloom as the bi-annual flower carpet has been unfurled in the city.

The first Grand-Place flower carpet was made in 1971 to celebrate Belgium's begonia flower.

Check out the slideshow at MSN News.

I would love to see this work of art in person... somehow, I doubt the photographs do it much justice!

Be sure to check out the official Flower Carpet website.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

SEC Network launches TODAY!!!

SEC Network launches at 6pm EST on August 14, 2014

SEC Network launches at 6pm EST on August 14, 2014

Tim Tebow - SEC Network launches at 6pm EST on August 14, 2014

Kaylee Hartung - SEC Network launches at 6pm EST on August 14, 2014

SEC Network launches at 6pm EST on August 14, 2014

With all the focus on Thursday’s debut of the SEC Network, ESPN’s Dan Margulis said the joke around the network studios in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been “What will we do Aug. 15?”

Of course, there is a plan. The SEC Network is no one-off media event, like a single game or a concert. Thursday merely marks the starting point for a 24/7 sports channel devoted to the Southeastern Conference, its constantly renewed future and its rich past.

Considering the estimates of what the SEC Network will be worth to the conference and its 14 member schools, the future looks pretty rich, too.

“It’s the beginning of a long life, we hope,” said Margulis, ESPN’s senior director of college sports programming.

“As we like to say, ‘It’s time to light the candle.’ ”

The SEC Network will be switched on at 5 p.m. CDT Thursday.

With its availability to 87 million homes, it will in an instant reportedly become the nation’s fourth-largest sports network in terms of viewership behind only ESPN, ESPN2 and Fox Sports 1. Its reach will eclipse established channels like the NFL Network, the Big Ten Network and ESPNU.

Unlike the Big Ten Network, which started in 2007, the SEC leaned on the marketing muscle of ESPN to distribute the network and produce virtually all of its programming bound for cable and satellite providers.

SEC schools will be responsible for producing virtually all of the events that can be viewed online and on mobile devices.

In its first year, the SEC Network is expected to have about 450 games on the television (or linear) network and a minimum of 550 events available online and through apps, though the latter number is quickly expected to grow.

Kevin Wagner, LSU’s assistant athletic director for television operations, said each school is required to produce a minimum of 40 games per year selected by the SEC Network. Each school may elect to produce up to 80 additional events, though the schools must bear most of the production costs.

“All of that will be live on ESPN3 or WatchESPN or on an app,” Wagner said.

The SEC Network will debut to the fanfare of an opening essay from famous athletic voices throughout the SEC’s history. They will include LSU basketball great Shaquille O’Neal, SEC quarterback legends Peyton, Eli and Archie Manning, 12-time Olympic swimming Dara Torres and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath.

That introduction will lead into a three hour-long show called “SEC Now,” which will be SEC Network’s version of “SportsCenter.”

The inaugural “SEC Now” will feature live reports from every SEC campus. LSU pitching great Ben McDonald and SEC Network announcer Peter Burns are set to go live from outside Mike the Tiger’s habitat near Tiger Stadium, with interviews with LSU football coach Les Miles and baseball coach Paul Mainieri.

Margulis said it’s important for the SEC Network to demonstrate a balance of coverage from the start among the SEC’s 14 member schools.

“You’ve got to be cognizant of it,” he said. “You want to cover the stories of national interest that may not involve all 14 schools, but at the same time you serve 14 schools and 14 audiences.

“The first 14 days of the network will have eight or nine hours each day dedicated to a different school, with football previews for each. There are some exciting realities for all the schools.”

After Thursday’s debut, the SEC’s next big milestone will be its Aug. 28 football doubleheader. Texas A&M plays at South Carolina at 5 p.m. that day, followed by Temple at Vanderbilt at 8:15 p.m.

In all, the SEC Network will carry 45 football games, fronted each Saturday by an on-campus “College Game Day” like program called “SEC Nation.” The show will visit every SEC campus, as will the network during the first few weeks of the season.

LSU’s first football game on the SEC Network will be its Sept. 6 home opener against Sam Houston State.

Additionally, the SEC Network will feature more than 100 men’s basketball games, 75 baseball games and 60 women’s basketball games.

All 21 SEC sports will receive some sort of coverage or feature, Margulis said, though just how much coverage many Olympic sports will receive remains to be determined.

Like a football team rolling toward a championship season, ESPN spent the spring and summer knocking off one distribution deal after another with providers such as Cox, AT&T U-Verse, Dish Network, Time Warner, and more recently DirecTV and Comcast. Hundreds of local and regional providers, such as EATEL in Ascension and Livingston parishes, negotiated collectively with ESPN to hammer out their contract.

“We talk about aggressive risk-taking and we think this fits that,” Margulis said of the SEC Network. “We’re fortunate to have a great partnership with the SEC.”

“I really applaud (SEC) Commissioner (Mike) Slive and the ESPN folks for the distribution we have to date,” LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said. “I thought we would get distribution going well, but frankly I’m surprised. I thought it would take a year or two.”

The publication Sports Business Journal reported the fee for carrying the SEC Network will be about $1.40 per subscriber per month in the 11-state SEC footprint and 25 cents per subscriber elsewhere.

Despite these costs, spokespersons Sharon Bethea of Cox and Trae Russell of EATEL said their companies do not anticipate any rate increases for their customers at this time.

If the Sports Business Journal numbers are correct, it’s estimated that each SEC school’s share of SEC Network revenue could ultimately be about $14 million per year. SEC schools each received in $20.9 million in revenue from the conference this year, based largely on the championship events and TV network deals already has in place.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

WOOT!!! This is going to be the best sports network in the country in just a few short years!

Be sure to check out the SEC Network online!

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Friday, June 06, 2014

D-Day - 70th Anniversary

70th Anniversary of D-Day Normandy - June 6, 1944 - 2014

LCVP -aka Higgins Boat- on D-Day in Normandy, France - June 6, 1944

LCVP -aka Higgins Boat- on D-Day in Normandy, France - June 6, 1944

Landing Supplies at Normandy, France - June, 1944

General Eisenhower speaks to paratroopers of the 101st Airborne - June 5, 1944

D-Day assault routes into Normandy, France

View of the American Cemetery from the Memorial - Normandy, France

Omaha Beach from Normandy Cemetery - present day

National World War II Museum - New Orleans, Louisiana

Every generation has its generational markers. For those of the World War II era, December 7, 1941, stands supreme, but the events of June 6, 1944, rank a close second. Seventy years ago on that day, 156,000 Allied soldiers, supported by many more sailors, airmen and marines, embarked on the long-awaited invasion of occupied Europe. This was an Allied effort, but American fighting men bore the brunt of the combat and the resulting sacrifice.

For decades, the members of the World War II generation have remembered where they were that June morning when they heard the news that the Allies had landed in Europe. The road to victory, still to be hard, nevertheless now appeared assured.

For years as I grew up, my own grandfather – too old to serve himself, but well aware in 1944 that his 18-year-old only son was about to deploy to the Pacific – would remind me, “Today’s the anniversary of D-Day; that’s the day we knew we were going to win.”

From paratroopers who jumped into the black skies above Sainte-Mere-Église to U.S. Army Rangers who waded ashore in neck-deep water to scale the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, Operation Overlord was necessary to bring Nazi Germany to its knees. Once this direct assault across the storm-tossed English Channel was underway, there would be numerous stories of individual heroism and exceptional leadership, but the very first occurred with the decision to send the armada on its way.

That decision rested squarely on the shoulders of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander. The weather was dicey; the chance of failure high; the logistics of coordinating the largest amphibious invasion in history daunting.

The initial target date was June 5. But faced with horrendous weather, Eisenhower ordered a postponement – no small thing with a million men, 5,000 ships and 11,000 aircraft queued up and ready to go. When the weather showed no sign of easing on June 6, Eisenhower summoned up his own personal courage and made the affirmative decision nonetheless.

In an example of leadership that those purporting to be leaders today should remember, Eisenhower scribbled a communiqué to be issued only if the invasion failed. Accepting sole and full responsibility, he wrote that any blame or fault was “mine alone.”

The invasion forces began landing in Normandy at about 6:30 a.m. on June 6 along a 50-mile sweep of rocky beaches. British troops spearheaded operations against sectors codenamed Gold, Juno and Sword, while Americans attacked Utah and Omaha beaches. The fight for Omaha was the most horrific. There, the veterans of the 1st Infantry Division teamed with the 29th Infantry Division and two battalions of rangers for the assault.

Planning down to the company level had been meticulous, but in the rough seas and early morning darkness, little went according to plan. Strong winds and currents pushed the first waves of landing craft away from their intended targets and caused follow-up waves to be further scattered or delayed.

Known as the “Big Red One” for their shoulder patch, the soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division had no monopoly on courage, sacrifice or sheer agony, but they were in the thick of the most critical minutes on Omaha Beach. Having come ashore too far east and stumbled into a killing zone of enemy crossfire, the division’s 16th Infantry Regiment stalled until regimental commander George Taylor exhorted, “Only two kinds of people are going to be on this beach: those who are dead and those who are about to die. Let’s get the hell out of here.”

They did, blasting their way through barbed wire, machine gun nests and concrete bunkers to gain the high ground atop Colleville Draw. Supporting fire from offshore destroyers aided the effort and helped the men on Omaha Beach break out of the beachhead via other heavily defended gullies.

The price for the Overlord invasion on June 6 was 4,413 Allied dead, of whom 2,499 were Americans. Many came to rest in the Normandy American Cemetery on the bluffs overlooking Omaha Beach. The first interment there was made on June 8, and today more than 9,300 American casualties of D-Day or the ensuing war in Europe lie there.

Second only to the awe due the courage and sacrifice of these brave men is the tremendous industrial might that made the Normandy invasion possible. In 1943 alone, American steel plants and shipyards built 1,949 ships and 68,600 aircraft. Onto the beaches of Normandy came thousands of the landing craft and tens of thousands of the tanks, jeeps and trucks churned out by American factories and frequently produced by American women manning the assembly lines of the home front.

The national effort at the time of the Normandy invasion was as united and singular of purpose as at any time in American history. What is frequently overlooked, if not forgotten, is that at this same moment, American marines and soldiers were also landing half a world away on the beaches of Saipan and Guam. Failure was certainly possible, but not a thing to be contemplated.

The D-Day invasion was so successful that within a week of the June 6 landings, the Normandy beachheads were secure and more than 325,000 troops and 100,000 tons of equipment and supplies were poised to race across France, eventually liberating Paris on August 25.

The number of men still alive who waded ashore, jumped from the air or sailed the choppy English Channel that June morning is dwindling. By the time the 75th anniversary of D-Day is celebrated five years hence, few will be left. Out of their collective experience, the central lessons of the Normandy invasion are the importance of personal courage in the face of great uncertainty and an entire generation’s can-do attitude to accomplish the seemingly impossible. The qualities of these remaining heroes that echo the loudest are commitment to mission, collaborative teamwork and unshakeable resolve. May we never forget them or their ideals.

Check out the article at Fox News.

Check out the D-Day 70th Anniversary website

Also check out the Defense.gov D-Day feature

Be sure to visit the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana for some exciting events going on today!

If you are interested in accurate D-Day and WWII history, I highly recommend the following books by Stephen Ambrose. He has written other WWII books, but those four are by far the most notable and my favorites:

The HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, inspired by Stephen Ambrose's book by the same title, is a must-see for any WWII history buff. I have found the series to be one of the most historically accurate movies made on the topic... I highly recommend checking it out!

There are MANY movies made in the WWII setting, check out World War II on Film at www.worldwar-2.net and the Wikipedia List of WWII Films.

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Sunday, June 01, 2014

Guess What???

I'm Back!!!

That's right people, I'm back! I took an extended hiatus to focus on other internet-related BS. But my readership demands that I return to slave over the keyboard yet again... who am I to deny both of them the opportunity to delve into my musings and interests? Haha, I'll be posting awesome, interesting, off-the-wall, or just downright stupid examples of the world around me. Stay tuned for more BS!

-BS

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras!!!

LSU's BCS loss is mocked in Le Krewe d’Etat Parade

LSU's BCS loss is mocked in Le Krewe d’Etat Parade

LSU's BCS loss is mocked in Le Krewe d’Etat Parade

Krewe of Zulu

Krewe of Zulu

Hail Bacchus!

Hail Bacchus!

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Bathed in spring-like warmth and showered with trinkets, beads and music, New Orleans reveled in the excesses of Fat Tuesday.

A seemingly endless stream of costumed marching groups and ornately-decorated float parades led by make-believe royalty poured out of the Garden District, while the French Quarter filled up with thrill seekers expecting to see debauchery.

And they did.

Some in the Quarter had a sleepless night after Monday’s Lundi Gras prequel party. The drinking was in full swing again shortly after dawn, and with it came outrageous costumes and flesh-flashing that would continue until police make their annual attempt to break up the merrymaking at midnight, when Lent begins.

Tom White, 46, clad in a pink tutu, bicycled with his wife, Allison, to the French Quarter. “I’m the pink fairy this year,” he said. “Costuming is the real fun of Mardi Gras. I’m not too creative but when you weigh 200 pounds and put on a tutu people still take your picture.”

His wife was not in costume. “He’s disgraced the family enough,” she said.

Brittany Davies struggled with her friends through the morning, feeling the effects of heavy drinking from the night before.

“They’re torturing me,” the Denver woman joked. “But I’ll be OK after a bloody mary.”

Indeed, the theme of the day was party hard and often.

Wearing a bright orange wig, a purple mask and green shoes, New Orleans resident Charlotte Hamrick walked along Canal Street to meet friends.

“I’ll be in the French Quarter all day,” Hamrick said. “I don’t even go to the parades. I love to take pictures of all the costumes and just be with my friends. It’s so fun.”

Police reported no major incidents along the parade route.

Across the globe, people dressed up in elaborate costumes and partied the day away. In Rio de Janeiro, an estimated 850,000 tourists joined the city’s massive five-day blowout. Meanwhile, the Portuguese, who have suffered deeply in Europe’s debt crisis, defied a government appeal to keep working.

In New Orleans, the streets filled with hundreds of thousands of people.

The predominantly African-American Zulu krewe was the first major parade to hit the streets, shortly after 8 a.m. Most krewe members were in the traditional black-face makeup and the Afro wigs Zulu riders have sported for decades. They handed out the organization’s coveted decorated coconuts and other sought-after trinkets.vIn the oak-lined Garden District, clarinetist Pete Fountain led his Half-Fast Walking Club on its annual march to the French Quarter.

Fountain, 82, gave a thumbs-up to start off and his band launched into “When The Saints Go Marching In” as they rounded the corner onto St. Charles Avenue shortly after 7 a.m. It was the 52nd time that Fountain’s group has paraded for Mardi Gras. This year, the group wore bright yellow suits and matching pork pie hats for its theme, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.”

Costumes were the order of the day, ranging from the predictable to the bizarre.

Wearing a purple wig, New Orleans resident Juli Shipley carried a gallon of booze down Bourbon Street and filled her friends’ cups when they got low. “We’re going to wander all day and people-watch,” Shipley said. “That’s the best part of Mardi Gras — the costumes. They’re amazing.”

Partygoers were dressed as Wizard of Oz characters Dorothy and the Wicked Witch, bags of popcorn, pirates, super heroes, clowns, jesters, princesses and lots of homemade costumes with the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.

At New Orleans’ antebellum former city hall, Mayor Mitch Landrieu toasted Zulu’s monarchs and special guests. Among them was New Orleans native and former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young who was on a float with National Urban League President Marc Morial, a former mayor of New Orleans, his wife, Michelle, and their two children.

“It’s good to be home,” Young said. And saluting the good weather of the day, he added, “God always smiles on New Orleans when it needs it.”

After Zulu, the parade of Rex, king of Carnival, made its trek down St. Charles Avenue and to the city’s business district. Along the way, parade-goers pleaded for beads and colorful aluminum coins, known as doubloons.

Small groups of families and friends had parades of their own. The Skeleton Krewe, 25 people dressed in black skeleton outfits, wandered along the parade route, heading toward St. Louis Cathedral.

Along the parade route that follows the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, die-hards had staked out prime parade-watching spots as early as Monday. Some had a Carnival-esque tailgate party under way early.

Stephanie Chapman and her family claimed their usual spot about 4 a.m. Tuesday and would be staying for the duration.

“This is a beautiful day and we’ll be here until it’s over. It won’t rain on my parade, but if it does I won’t pay any attention,” she said.

Rain stayed away and temperatures were in the 70s. As the day wore on and drinking intensified, the combination encouraged raunchy acts in the French Quarter, where women bared flesh in pleadings for beads tossed to the street by revelers on balconies.

By midafternoon, some folks were tuckered out.

Alison Scott, 35, of New Orleans, was part of a group that had a small city of tents and canopies set up at Lee Circle. She and her family had been coming to the spot for about 40 years. “Believe me, I’m always glad to get here and then I’m always glad to go home,” she said.

Her 6-year-old daughter, Shannon, was asleep nearby under a blanket of beads.

“She just pooped out. This is the first time she’s stopped. She’s been so excited all day,” Scott said.

In the Cajun country of southwest Louisiana, masked riders went from town to town, making merry along the way in the Courir du Mardi Gras. And parades were scheduled elsewhere around Louisiana and on the Gulf coasts of Mississippi and Alabama.

The celebration arrived in Louisiana in 1682 when the explorer LaSalle and his party stopped at a place they called Bayou Mardi Gras south of New Orleans to celebrate.

Parading and street revelry would give way to Mardi Gras’ elegant side, with the lavish and private grand balls of the Rex and Comus krewes on Tuesday night signaling the traditional end of the celebration.

Mardi Gras gives way to the beginning of Lent, the period of fasting and repentance before Easter Sunday.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Happy Mardi Gras!!! Hat's off to Le Krewe d’Etat for rubbing more salt in our wounds!

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Game of the Century - Part Deux!

2012 BCS Championship! Geaux Tigers!!!

2012 BCS Championship! Geaux Tigers!!!

2012 BCS Championship! Geaux Tigers!!!

2012 BCS Championship! Geaux Tigers!!!

2012 BCS Championship! Geaux Tigers!!! Sean Peyton agrees!!!

2012 BCS Championship! Geaux Tigers!!! Lee Corso agrees!!!

Around the Bowl and Down the Hole, Roll Tide Roll!

NEW ORLEANS — The Southeastern Conference cordially invites you to watch the crowning of its sixth consecutive BCS champion.

No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama will meet Monday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to signal the end of the college football season, much as the Kings of Rex and Comus traditionally meet amid much pomp and circumstance just a few miles away to signal the end of Mardi Gras.

In this case, it is college football royalty meeting in a game for which ticket demand is greater than anyone around here can ever remember witnessing. A huge television audience on ESPN figures to tune in to watch the schools that have the most postseason appearances in New Orleans — No. 15 for the Tigers and No. 14 for the Crimson Tide.

It’s LSU and Alabama meeting for the 76th time, for the first time for a national championship and for the second time in 66 days.

“The LSU-Alabama game has become a good rivalry,” LSU safety Eric Reid said, “so why not play for a national championship?”

And why not play it in the Superdome, traditional home to the SEC champion as home team in the Sugar Bowl as this BCS title game features conference rivals — not to mention West Division rivals — for the first time?

This game will settle a score that wasn’t quite settled when the No. 1 Tigers edged the No. 2 Tide 9-6 in overtime Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in one of the most-hyped regular-season games ever.

“Nobody has played a game like we have when it comes to being up to the hype — that’s for LSU and for Alabama,” Tide running back Trent Richardson said.

“For us to be from the SEC and the same division, that tells you a lot about our football. Alabama-LSU — that’s just the powerhouse teams right now.”

LSU and Alabama. Again. For the BCS championship, what will be either the Tigers’ third in nine seasons or the Tide’s second in three.

An LSU victory would allow it to stake a claim as one of college football’s greatest teams. A Bama win would make the Tigers one of the most ballyhooed nonchampions ever and renew debate about the validity of the BCS system.

Guard Will Blackwell said the Tigers “kind of have the chip on our shoulder” about having to face the Tide again.

“We went to Tuscaloosa, and we beat them and they get another shot,” he said. “We don’t necessarily see that as fair. We kind of feel like if it were the other way around we wouldn’t be getting this opportunity. But it is what it is; you can’t change it. We’ll accept this challenge head on like we would any other team. We’re just glad we get to play them in New Orleans this time.”

Alabama won national titles in the Sugar Bowl following the 1978, 1979 and 1992 seasons, while the Tigers won BCS titles in Sugar Bowl after the 2003 season and the National Championship Game after the 2007 campaign.

“Whenever the BCS Championship Game is in New Orleans, LSU wins it,” Tigers defensive end Sam Montgomery said. “It’s tradition.”

The November meeting featured national-championship intensity and physicality — “definitely the most physical game I’ve ever been a part of,” Bama guard Barrett Jones said, echoing the sentiments of players from both teams.

A similar bruising battle is expected, though perhaps with a tad more points this time.

“We have to get in the end zone this time,” Tigers running back Spencer Ware said. “It’s a must.”

One visit to the end zone might be all either team needs to bring home the crystal football that is emblematic of college football supremacy.

Bama has the No. 1 defense in the country, LSU has the No. 2 defense and both defenses set the tone in the first meeting. The inability of either team to get in the end zone left it to the place-kickers to handle the scoring, and LSU’s Drew Alleman was 3-for-3 while Bama’s Jeremy Shelley and Cade Foster were a combined 2-for-6 in the most glaring difference in the first meeting.

“If you want a game that’s going to be 45-to-something, put somebody else in the game,” Richardson said, “but if you want a close ballgame that’s going to be well played and be a slugfest — the one thing you’re always going to get out of us is hard-nosed football.”

These teams mirror and respect one another, but they don’t particularly like one another.

“Not at all,” Blackwell said. “They’re Alabama, and we’re LSU. We have to go through each other to win the division. We have to go through each other to win the SEC. This year, we have to go through each other to win the national championship.”

The Tigers (13-0) were the only undefeated team in the regular season and beat eight ranked teams, including the No. 2 Tide and two No. 3s — Oregon and Arkansas. The Tide was dominant in 11 victories and worked its way back to No. 2 after the loss to LSU, thanks to losses by Stanford and Oklahoma State.

“I feel like, if we win this game, we’ll be one of the best teams there ever was,” Blackwell said, “just because of the strength of schedule and the simple fact of having to play them twice in one season.”

These teams have seemed destined all along to meet in this game, in this building, guaranteeing the SEC its sixth consecutive BCS title as soon as the pairing was announced 36 days ago. A rematch was discussed before the first game was even played.

“I guess, if you had to pick two teams for that particular scenario, there would be no two better than LSU and Alabama,” Blackwell said. “There’s a lot of tradition and pride and honor that goes into winning this game.”

Check out the article at The Advocate.

2012 BCS Championship! Geaux Tigers!!! Riding High!!!

NEW ORLEANS — If LSU beats Alabama on Monday in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game, the questions will immediately begin about the Tigers’ place among the all-time great teams.

LSU would become the first team ever to beat nine ranked opponents in one season and the first team since Notre Dame in 1943 with four wins against top-five opponents (No. 2 Alabama twice, No. 3 Oregon, No. 3 Arkansas).

The Tigers would also become the first program to win three BCS championships. If Alabama wins, it would join LSU (2003, 2007) and Florida (2006, 2008) with two each. The Crimson Tide also won in 2009.

LSU has already beaten the winners of the Rose Bowl (Oregon), the Orange Bowl (West Virginia), the Cotton Bowl (Arkansas), the Gator Bowl (Florida), the Chick-fil-A Bowl (Auburn) and the Music City Bowl (Mississippi State). The Tigers, also, have already beaten the other team in the national title game, Alabama.

Youth Not Served?

The Tigers are trying to make school history as well Monday. With a win, they would become the first LSU team ever to go 14-0.

At Alabama, 14-0 was done two years ago. The school claims 13 national championships. So Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron will try to do history all by himself — so to speak.

McCarron, a third-year sophomore, can become the first sophomore or freshman to ever lead a team to victory in a BCS championship game since the BCS began with the 1998 season.

Both of LSU’s titles were won with upperclassmen at quarterback: junior Matt Mauck in the 2003 season and senior Matt Flynn in 2007.

Drew the Greek?

LSU fans have to be hoping New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is as good picking winners as he is picking apart opposing defenses.

Brees was asked after his team’s 45-28 playoff victory Saturday night over the Detroit Lions who he likes between LSU and Alabama in Monday’s Allstate BCS National Championship Game.

“I’ve got to go with LSU again,” said Brees, who threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns to scorch the Lions. “They’re the local team.”

Brees said he picked the Tigers in their Nov. 5 game at Bama as well.

“Won a little money off Roman Harper,” said Brees, referring to the Saints and former Crimson Tide defensive back. “I hope I can do that again.”

Meanwhile, Saints and former LSU wide receiver Devery Henderson will be back in the Superdome on Monday for the BCS game.

“I feel pretty confident,” said Henderson, who helped LSU win the BCS title eight years ago against Oklahoma in the 2004 Sugar Bowl.

“Hopefully, my Tigers will come to play,” Henderson said. “If that’s the case, hopefully, it will be an easy win.”

Miles, Mathieu, Moms

Alabama TV reporter Sara Jane Harris got a surprised reaction from LSU coach Les Miles at Sunday’s final pre-BCS news conference when she told him she heard Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was researching the names of the Alabama players’ mothers to try to help him get in their heads Monday.

“That would be news to me,” said Miles, whose reply drew laughter from the packed assembly of reporters and cameramen. “Gamesmanship is one thing. I think that might be a touch much.”

Saban and Dumb Luck

Alabama and former LSU coach Nick Saban rarely gets enough credit for being an engrossing storyteller when he wants to be.

One story he never tires of telling is the one he tells on himself when he was coaching the Tigers in the 2001 Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Tennessee.

With LSU trailing No. 2 Tennessee 14-7, Saban decided to go for it on fourth-and-inches at the Tigers’ 29-yard line. LSU didn’t get it, and the Volunteers kicked a field goal to go up 17-7 at halftime.

“For the next five minutes of the game, I was like in la-la land, like, ‘Why did you do that? That’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done,’” Saban recalled. “My wife (Terry) even told me, ‘That’s the dumbest call I’ve seen you make.’”

Still, LSU rallied to win 31-20 for its first SEC title since 1988. Walking off the field afterward, Saban’s seniors told him it was the most important decision of the game.

“I said, ‘Really?’ They said, ‘Yeah, because when you did that, we really thought we could win.’

“So even sometimes the dumbest things you do, you never know how people are going to respond to them. And that was one of the dumb ones. … There’s many more in between, incidentally.”

Big 12 Refs to Call Game

An officiating crew from the Big 12 Conference will call the BCS championship game.

It was also a Big 12 crew that called the last BCS title showdown in New Orleans four years ago between LSU and Ohio State.

Entergy Light Show

Entergy is planning a BCS, LSU and New Orleans-themed light show which will be projected on one side of their 28-story headquarters adjacent to the Superdome.

The 12-story-high projections will include images, a BCS welcome message and a continuously updated scoreboard during the game.

The Last Word

“I expect it to be big-boy football. And I’d expect it to be very, very physical.” -Miles on the BCS Championship Game

Check out the article at The Advocate.

This game has such an epic feel to it... Geaux Tigers!!! BEAT BAMA!!! BEAT SABAN!!!

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