Friday, August 29, 2008

Unusual Events set up Historic LSU Season Opener

LSU Tiger Stadium

2008 LSU Tigers Schedule Desktop Wallpaper

2008 LSU Tigers Desktop Wallpaper

2008 LSU Tigers Desktop Wallpaper

2007 LSU Tigers BCS Championship Art by Craig Routh

2008 LSU Tigers Tigertoons Schedule

In folklore and in fact, it might someday be hard to separate Appalachian State’s season-opening upset of Michigan in 2007 from Appalachian State’s season-opening visit to LSU this weekend.

The Tigers, who will entertain the Mountaineers at 4 p.m. Saturday, are fully versed in the specifics of Appalachian State’s 34-32 shot heard ’round the college football world nearly a year ago.

“We see a lot of the Michigan film,” LSU coach Les Miles said Monday at a news conference to discuss his fourth season opener as coach of the Tigers.

That Miles, a Michigan man, has studied his alma mater’s stunning loss to Appalachian State is but one in a series of connect-the-dots plot lines tying this weekend’s matchup to various stops on the road map of history.

Miles, of course, played and coached at Michigan. After the Wolverines lost to Appalachian State in the Big House, Miles became the most widely discussed potential candidate to replace Lloyd Carr as Michigan coach.

Instead, Miles stayed at LSU, famously denying a report that had him taking the Michigan job as his Tigers prepared to play Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game.

Michigan eventually hired Rich Rodriguez, whose West Virginia team followed LSU’s victory against Tennessee with a shocking loss at Pittsburgh, opening the door for the Tigers to play for the national championship.

The same Rich Rodriguez long ago showed Jerry Moore the finer points of Rodriguez’s spread-formation football. Moore put his own touches to the hottest trend in the college game and coached Appalachian State to the past three national championships in the former Division I-AA.

Those are just some of the moments on history’s timeline that will echo Saturday in Tiger Stadium when LSU, the reigning national champion of the Football Bowl Subdivision, meets Appalachian State, the reigning national champion of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Here’s one you may have forgotten: LSU was supposed to open the 2007 season at home against Appalachian State, but the prospect of a Thursday night ESPN game at Mississippi State became more attractive to LSU.

Appalachian State had to find another opponent. Michigan obliged.

On Sept. 1, 2007, LSU was two days removed from its 45-0 victory at Mississippi State. Miles and his staff were in their offices preparing for Virginia Tech when word filtered down the hall of a brewing shocker in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Miles didn’t see any of it live, but he later watched highlights, including the final play of the game.

“Michigan lined up to kick the field goal to win the game,” Miles said, “and it didn’t work out that way.”

A game many casual fans considered a Michigan tune-up for bigger and better things turned out to be a humbling defeat for the Wolverines.

“That’s a great example for our team,” Miles said.

It’s certainly a timely one.

Considering Michigan regrouped in time to end the season with a victory against Florida, the reigning national champion at the time, the gravity of Appalachian State’s accomplishment is impossible for the Tigers to deny.

Just in case, LSU offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has been hammering his charges with the theme of respect for the Mountaineers.

“We have to match that mentality and not take this team lightly because they’re a great team and they haven’t won multiple national championships for no reason.”

LSU will pay Appalachian State $750,000 to play in Tiger Stadium, including $100,000 in compensation for forcing the Mountaineers to scramble for opponents on multiple occasions, LSU officials said.

An LSU schedule conflict caused the schools to scrap the original playing date — this season — and agree to play in 2007, Ausberry said. Then the chain of events began that led to the historic upset in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The increasingly common shuffling of schedules then prompted LSU to ask Appalachian State to move the game to 2009. Then, in the spring, with ESPN helping to put back the deal it helped negate previously, the schools settled on this year’s opener as a showcase national TV game.

Miles acknowledged the Mountaineers don’t seem intimidated by any team.

“They play well year after year,” Miles said. “I think Jerry’s done a great job in guiding the program. Certainly, they’re in position to play strong against anybody. They have a great football team. It’s not specific to any division. They have a good football team.”

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Another Football season is upon us! WOOT! It seems that another hurricane decided to disrupt the Tigers, as well. The kick-off has been bumped up to 10am due to Hurricane Gustav! Hope you like beer in your cheerios!

Everyone has been hitting the stores for supplies with the storm looming... I just hope they're not out of beer – with the Tigers playing tomorrow, Labor Day weekend to celebrate, and hurricane partying to do – we're gonna need a lot!

On the political front, Obama stirred the welfare millions last night with a rousing speech sure to go down in history - provided that you overlook the empty promises and blatant contradictions... basically pure BS, but he sure knows how to dish it up right!

Additionally, McCain announced today that the hot governor from Alaska, Sarah Palin, will be his running mate. She's much easier on the eyes than Dick Cheney, that's for sure! Excellent strategy on his part!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Star Wars Video Game - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Indiana Jones Video Game - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Batman Video Game - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Iwo Jima - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Moon Landing - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Tiananmen Square - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Beijing Bird's Nest - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

LEGO Beijing Water Cube - Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

Happy 30th Birthday LEGO Man!

NEW YORK — Happy birthday, LEGO man!

On Monday, one of America's favorite yellow toy figures turned 30 years old. He's having a birthday party, and yes, you're invited.

If you lost touch with him long ago, it's time to catch up with your old childhood friend. Here's what he's been up to: He's held a variety of jobs over the years, from secret agent to superhero, traveled the world, made loads of friends and has been to his share of glitzy parties.

And recently, he's started his own blog called Yes, really.

Actually, he's not all that different from the average 30-year-old man — except that he's yellow, and plastic, and he's been cloned and re-accessorized over four billion times.

"I'm sure plenty of people who see all the places I've been and things I've done probably wonder when I'll slow down; but I feel as if the adventure is just beginning," says LEGO man.

The yellow guy looks like he hasn't aged a bit; in fact, he's gotten more flexible.

Typically standing the equivalent of four stacked LEGO blocks, or 1.5 inches tall, he can move his body in more than 970 different ways.

The first LEGO figures — a family of four — were created from combinations of static LEGO bricks in 1973. Two years later, a smaller figure was invented with a head on an unmovable body.

That design was tweaked to create a movable, more-fun figure, and the first policeman LEGO mini-figure was born on August 25, 1978.

That was when LEGO man swung into action: orbiting the earth as an astronaut, wrangling cattle as a cowboy, stealing booty as a pirate and going after sunken treasure as a deep-sea diver. Through the more than 8 quadrillion possible combinations of minifigures, which can be made by swapping each figure's body and clothing parts, the yellow guy has held just about every job under the sun. He's even been a cross-dressing princess.

In 1998 he made a splash in Hollywood as a movie star and superhero when the first LEGO Star Wars figures were launched. Since then, he's played a host of other film roles, including Harry Potter.

"For 30 years, the figures have embodied the creative hopes and dreams of children as they explore their imaginations through LEGO play," said Jette Orduna, manager of the LEGO Group archives.

In the past three decades, over 4 billion minifigures have been produced; that's more than 12 times the population of the United States. Every second, 3.9 minifigures are sold around the world; that's 122 million per year.

And the most popular figure of them all? After 30 years, it is still the original policeman.

In honor of his 30th birthday LEGO man is throwing a big party, complete with videos, games, news, and contests on his Web site, aiming to reconnect children with the iconic yellow toy.

It's often said 'Life begins at 30,' so we look forward to seeing where the world's children of all ages take the mini-figure next through building and play," said Orduna.

Check out the article at Fox News.

As cheesy as he may appear, LEGO Man's got style! He's been just about everywhere and done just about everything! Plus, I gotta admit... it's pretty cool to watch him play out a movie's dramatic scenes in his own humorous way. Happy Birthday, LEGO Man!

Be sure to check out:

For some AWESOME LEGO Photos, check out:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

EA Sports Video Game Testing Center coming to LSU!

Electronic Arts Inc. eventually to hire 220 people at facility

EA Sports video game testing center coming to LSU

Rarely has recruiting a new company with a $6 million yearly payroll created such a buzz in Baton Rouge, but it’s the kind of jobs and the potential for keeping young people excited about staying in Louisiana that animated Wednesday’s announcement of a video game testing center coming to LSU.

Electronic Arts Inc.’s center at LSU’s South Campus on GSRI Avenue eventually will hire 220 people, 200 of whom will form a part-time platoon of students doing the heavy lifting on games like EA’s 20-year-old Madden NFL franchise, its Tiger Woods PGA Tour game and its NCAA Football series to make sure they’re consumer-ready.

Over the next decade, Gov. Bobby Jindal and economic development Secretary Stephen Moret envision EA’s Baton Rouge presence growing to higher-paying jobs for professionals who actually develop the video games, something that now takes place for EA largely in Orlando, Fla., and Vancouver, British Columbia.

If Baton Rouge reaches that zenith, construction of a digital research complex for kindred companies could result on LSU’s 200-acre South Campus area, Moret said.

“Ladies and gentlemen, with EA Sports this place definitely is more cool today than it was yesterday,” Adam Knapp, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Generation X chief executive, told a Capitol audience at Wednesday’s announcement. “We have some investors (at the chamber) who believe and dream that the Baton Rouge area can be cool — and it is.”

Among the noteworthy Baton Rouge credentials cited by EA leaders in their location decision is this stunner: Not only is Louisiana’s obsession with LSU football and other sports not a negative as is often assumed by critics of the state’s higher education priorities, but the sports obsession is a huge plus, because the testers need to be savvy about the games they play for a living at EA.

“Is it fun? Does it have the right feel? Is it too hard? Is it too easy” are among the questions EA employees will answer at LSU, where Southern University and Baton Rouge Community College students are expected to fill the testing ranks as well, said Dave Steele, EA’s senior director of quality assurance.

“Because of the sports knowledge here, people can look at a football game and have the skills needed to test functions,” he said. “They still have to have a feel for the game. You’re down by less than a touchdown with less than two minutes to go on fourth down — what do you do? That’s really one of the reasons we wanted to come to Baton Rouge.”

The company also benefits from Louisiana’s offer of a 20 percent tax credit against state income tax liability, credits that can be claimed by the company or sold to a third-party for a cash advance.

All told, EA’s incentives for bringing the testing center to Baton Rouge will be worth about $14 million in the next decade, including payroll tax credits through the state’s Quality Jobs program.

Jindal said EA’s recruitment is invaluable for what it will mean to building the digital industry in the state, but it’s a good deal on the bottom line alone for this project.

“The state Department of Economic Development really looks at a 10-year return on investment as a good deal,” the governor said. “Within five years, we will get our return on investment. We look at this as the first step toward a much larger and bigger relationship with EA Sports.”

Simon Carless, publisher of Game Developer magazine, agreed that EA’s site selection represents a coup for Louisiana that could generate many more digital media gains.

It’s unusual for a global video game software company to open a testing-only center, which leads to the conclusion that actual video-game development business from EA could be within Baton Rouge’s reach, he said.

“I think what states struggle to do is get large-name publishers to set up offices in their area,” Carless said. “Electronic Arts is the world’s largest publisher, so I think it’s important if you can get someone like that. I think it’s definitely a positive introductory step, but it’s also important for individual area to reach a critical mass of game production or development before you can really get an ecosystem there, if you will.”

So far, three significant game developers have emerged in Baton Rouge: Founded by Southern University engineering graduate and former Motorola executive Jacqueline Beauchamp, Nerjyzed Entertainment LLC has published “Black College Football: The Experience”; Yatec LLC will publish its third major game, “Say N Play,” with voice recognition software late this year; and a Resurgent Entertainment LLC unit publishes the “Enigma: Rising Tide” war game.

“The industry will not develop overnight in Louisiana,” Redman said by e-mail Wednesday. “We said that back in 2005, but a couple of small companies every few months add up, and the synergy with Louisiana’s film industry will only become more apparent. … With EA, Louisiana has an enormous win to hold up and show to the world.”

Check out the article at LSU Sports.

Excellent news coming out of LSU! That's exactly the kind of thing we needed here! Not to mention... What a kick-ass job that would be!!!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games - 08/08/08

Beijing Olympics 2008

Beijing National Stadium - The Bird's Nest - Olympics 2008

Beijing Olympics 2008

Beijing Olympics 2008

Beijing Olympics 2008

Beijing National Stadium - The Bird's Nest - Olympics 2008

Beijing Olympic Mascots 2008

URUMQI, China — Once-reclusive China commandeered the world stage Friday, celebrating its first-time role as Olympic host with a stunning display of pageantry and pyrotechnics to open a Summer Games unrivaled for its mix of problems and promise.

At the end of the ceremony, retired Chinese gymnast Li Ning lit the Beijing Olympic flame, which will remain lit throughout the Olympic games.

Now ascendent as a global power, China welcomed scores of world leaders to an opening ceremony watched by 91,000 people at the eye-catching National Stadium and a potential audience of 4 billion worldwide. It was depicted as the largest, costliest extravaganza in Olympic history, bookended by barrages of some 30,000 fireworks.

To the beat of sparkling explosions, the crowd counted down the final seconds before the show began. A sea of drummers — 2,008 in all — pounded out rhythms with their hands, then acrobats on wires gently wafted down into the stadium as rockets shot up into the night sky from its rim.

President Bush and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were among the glittering roster of notables who watched China make this bold declaration that it had arrived. Bush, rebuked by China after he raised human-rights concerns this week, is the first U.S. president to attend an Olympics on foreign soil.

Already an economic juggernaut, China is given a good chance of overtaking the U.S. atop the gold-medal standings with its legions of athletes trained intensely since childhood. One dramatic showdown will be in women's gymnastics, where the U.S. and Chinese teams are co-favorites; in the pool, Chinese divers and U.S. swimmers are expected to dominate.

The run-up to the games had epic story lines — China investing $40 billion to build the needed infrastructure, reeling from a catastrophic earthquake in Sichuan province in May, struggling right up to Friday to diminish Beijing's stubborn smog. China's detentions of political activists, its crackdown on uprisings in Tibet and its economic ties to Sudan — home of the war-torn Darfur region — fueled relentless criticisms from human rights groups and calls for an Olympic boycott.

Second-guessed for awarding the games to Beijing, the International Olympic Committee stood firmly by its decision. It was time, the committee said, to bring the games to the homeland of 1.3 billion people, a fifth of humanity.

The games, said IOC President Jacques Rogge, "are a chance for the rest of the world to discover what China really is."

The story presented in Friday's ceremony sought to distill 5,000 years of Chinese history — featuring everything from the Great Wall to opera puppets to astronauts, and highlighting achievements in art, music and science. Roughly 15,000 people were in the cast, all under the direction of Zhang Yimou, whose early films often often ran afoul of government censors for their blunt portrayals of China's problems.

The show's script steered clear of modern politics — there were no references to Chairman Mao and the class struggle, nor to the more recent conflicts and controversies. The ceremony was taped for broadcast 12 hours later in the United States.

A record 204 delegations were set to parade their athletes through the stadium — superstars such as basketball idols Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming, as well as plucky underdogs from Iraq, Afghanistan and other embattled lands. The nations were marching not in the traditional alphabetical order but in a sequence based on the number of strokes it takes to write their names in Chinese. The exceptions were Greece, birthplace of the Olympics, which was given its traditional place at the start, and the 639-member Chinese team, which lined up last.

The American flag-bearer was 1500-meter runner Lopez Lomong, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, who spent a decade of his youth in a refugee camp in Kenya. He's a member of the Team Darfur coalition, representing athletes opposed to China's support for Sudan. On Friday he avoided any criticism and said the Chinese "have been great putting all these things together."

Abroad, human rights activists were less generous.
Beijing Olympics 2008

Beijing Olympics 2008

"The Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee have wasted a historic opportunity to use the Beijing Games to make real progress on human rights in China," said Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch.

For Chinese dissidents who have dared to challenge the Communist Party's monopoly on power, the start of the Olympics meant tighter surveillance and restrictions.

"It's not my Olympic Games," said Jiang Tianyong, a human rights lawyer. "It's not the games for the ordinary people."

By all indications, however, most Chinese have embraced the games, buying up tickets at a record pace, volunteering by the thousands for Olympic duties, nursing expectations of triumphs by their home team.

To their eyes, the omens were good. The ceremony began at 8 p.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008 — auspicious in a country where eight is the luckiest number.

"It not easy to meet with such a date," said Wang Wei, secretary general of Beijing Organizing Committee. "Hopefully this lucky day will bring luck."

Check out the article at Fox News.

I'm excited about the Olympics and will definitely be checking out the games, but I'm not too excited about red China hosting them. I feel that the International Olympic Committee could have done more to persuade China to earn the right to host the games in the future, instead of just handing it to them now and allowing their inhuman policies to go unpunished.

Oh well, not much I can do at this point, but to hope that the Chinese lose every single event! Not likely, since their athletes are raised from birth specifically to compete!


Be sure to check out 08-08-08: You're Lucky Day???