Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Nazgul flying from the Black Tower - The Lord of the Rings

The Black Riders - The Lord of the Rings

Ringwraith - The Lord of the Rings

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Check out the article at History.com.

I love Halloween!!! Then again, who doesn't? Check out today's Google art:

Google Halloween 2008

Happy Halloween!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nearby Solar System Looks a Lot Like Our Own

Epsilon Eridani art

Epsilon Eridani comparison with our own solar system

A nearby star, visible with the unaided eye, is ringed with two rocky asteroid belts and an outer icy halo, making it a three-ring cosmic circus.

The inner asteroid belt appears to be a virtual twin to the belt in our solar system.

The presence of the separate rings of material around the nearby star, called Epsilon Eridani, suggests unseen planets lurk there, where they confine and shape the rings, say the researchers.

If there were in fact rocky planets within the inner gap between the star and asteroid belt, the worlds would likely reside within the star's habitable zone where temperatures would be such that life could survive.

Located 10.5 light-years from Earth in the constellation Eridanus, the star is the ninth closest to the sun.

Our sun's three nearest known stars are gravitationally bound in a system called Alpha Centauri, which is 4.36 light-years away. (A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, about 6 trillion miles or 10 trillion km.)

Epsilon Eridani is slightly smaller and cooler than the sun. And it's also younger. While the sun is an estimated 4.5 billion years old, Epsilon Eridani has been around for just 850 million years.

"Studying Epsilon Eridani is like having a time machine to look at our solar system when it was young," said researcher Massimo Marengo, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts.

Rocky rings

Astronomers had known about the star's outer icy ring, but they were surprised when NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope revealed two rocky rings between the icy halo and the star.

The inner asteroid belt looks identical to ours in terms of material, and it orbits at 3 astronomical units (AU) from Epsilon Eridani — the same distance between the sun and the rocky asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. (An astronomical unit equals the average Earth-sun distance of 93 million miles, or about 150 million km.)

Epsilon Eridani's second asteroid belt is 20 AU from the star, or about where Uranus is in relation to our sun, and it is crowded with as much mass as Earth's moon.

The outer icy ring, previously observed, extends about 35 AU to 100 AU from Epsilon Eridani and is similar in composition to our Kuiper Belt, a region of icy objects beyond Neptune. Eridani's outer ring holds about 100 times more material than ours, however.

New exoplanets?

The rings formed when the system was very young, likely when collisions between planets and other smaller bodies resulted in small bits and big chunks of debris that took shape as the asteroid belts and icy ring, the researchers suggest.

And the gaps between these rings were likely shaped by planets whose gravitational forces could remove any excess material flung from the belts, while also keeping the shape of the rings. Planets in our solar system exert similar shaping effects.

"The big planets that are now keeping those gaps are determining the geometry of the system of rings," Marengo told SPACE.com.

He and his colleagues propose that three planets with masses between those of Neptune and Jupiter could be in orbit about Epsilon Eridani.

A Jupiter-mass exoplanet was detected in 2000 by the radial velocity method in which astronomers look for wobbling motion of a star due to the gravitational tug of a planet. That planet is located near the edge of the innermost ring.

A second planet must lurk near the second asteroid belt, and a third at about 35 AU near the inner edge of Epsilon Eridani's Kuiper Belt, the researchers say.

Terrestrial planets could reside inside the innermost asteroid belt as well, though there currently is no clear indication of that, Marengo said.

The research will be detailed in the Jan. 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

Check out the article at Fox News.

Cool! Maybe one day we'll develop the technology to travel there! Who knows, maybe it'll be soon enough that my kids or grandkids could go explore the planets there!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Umpire Gives LSU Assist!

Geaux LSU Tigers!

No thanks for the help, ref!


Instinct or self-defense?

Or was Wilbur Hackett Jr. just reliving his days as a linebacker at Kentucky?

Somewhere in the answers to those three questions lies an explanation for why a Southeastern Conference umpire is a YouTube.com phenomenon this week.

Hackett landed in the spotlight — but not in hot water — when he inadvertently (apparently) logged an assisted tackle against South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia during LSU’s 24-17 triumph against the Gamecocks Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Late in the first half, South Carolina’s Carlos Thomas intercepted a Jarrett Lee pass and returned it to the Tigers’ 8-yard-line. On the Gamecocks’ first snap, Garcia took a shotgun snap and ran to the right side on an option read play.

Garcia cut back against the grain and seemed to have an angle and open path toward the end zone, but Hackett at first held his ground and then appeared to plant his feet and unload a forearm shiver on the Gamecocks QB.

That slowed Garcia down enough for LSU safety Curtis Taylor to level Garcia at the 4.

The Gamecocks scored two plays later to take a 17-10 lead, but only after a hold-your-breath moment for USC fans when Garcia bobbled a third-down snap.

LSU coach Les Miles joked about the play Monday.

“We told (Hackett), ‘Listen, you’ve got to use your flipper, you’ve got to use your forearm, but then once you have contact, you gotta wrap up,’ ” Miles said, tongue-in-cheek. “He didn’t wrap up.

“I want you to know that we were disappointed in his effort to be honest with you. We felt like he could knock him down a little bit.”

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier wasn’t as jovial, but also didn’t fault Hackett.

“He was trying to get out of the way,” Spurrier said. “Stephen sort of cut back right into him. Sometimes that will happen.”

Hackett is no stranger to tackling quarterbacks.

He was a prep star in Louisville in the mid-1960s and spent three seasons at Kentucky, where is credited with being one of the SEC’s first black team captains. He has been an SEC official since 1998.

SEC Coordinator of Officials Rogers Redding reviewed the play and determined that Hackett was protecting himself on the play and no disciplinary action will he taken.

“That happens so regularly in games,” Miles said. “Sometimes the ball breaks right at him, and it’s very difficult. Certainly, everybody in this room would look to defend themselves, and I’m certain that’s what he was thinking when that ball came at him.”

Moving the chains

LSU has won six consecutive games against top-10 ranked teams, including a 26-21 triumph at then ninth-ranked Auburn on Sept. 20. … LSU and Georgia have combined to claim five of the last seven SEC Championships — the Tigers in 2001, ’03 and ’07, the Bulldogs in 2002 and ’05. The teams also rank 1-2 in overall wins in that stretch, LSU with 61 and Georgia with 57. … This is the Bulldogs middle game of a three-game stretch against ranked foes. Georgia beat No. 22 Vanderbilt 24-14 last week and collides with No. 7 Florida next week in Jacksonville, Fla. The last time the ’Dogs squared off with three straight ranked opponents was 1969 (No. 3 Tennessee, No. 13 Florida, No. 11 Auburn). … Georgia’s defense has recorded 14 scoreless quarters this season and has limited four opponents to under 60 yards rushing.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Thanks but no thanks, ref!!! We can handle it without your help! =)

Best of luck to the Tigers this weekend as they take on the Georgia Bulldogs!!! Hopefully we can break back into the top 10 with a W

Geaux Tigers!!!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Liberal Media Propaganda!?!?!

NObama 2008!

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

An open letter to the local daily paper -- almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor -- which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house -- along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of congressmen who support increasing their budget.)

Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."

Instead, it was Sen. Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" (http://snipurl.com/457to): "Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury."

These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.

Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!

What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?

Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.

And after Fred Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.

If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.

But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign -- because that campaign had sought his advice -- you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.

You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.

If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.

If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.

There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension -- so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)

If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie -- that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad -- even bad weather -- on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth -- even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means. That's how trust is earned.

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time -- and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter -- while you ignored the story of John Edwards' own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women (NOW) threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.

That's where you are right now.

It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.

You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.

This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.

If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe -- and vote as if -- President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.

If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats -- including Barack Obama -- and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans -- then you are not journalists by any standard.

You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city.

Check out the editorial by Orson Scott Card.

This is one extremely well-written and spot-on editorial by Orson Scott Card... who is also the author of Ender's Game, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

On to the subject at hand... Regardless of your political leanings, I have respect for your beliefs... as you should have respect for mine. I don't believe for a moment that the media should be feeding the masses lies, propaganda, or biased coverage for any candidate for public office. It is the media's responsibility to call these people down and hold them to account for their past actions and associations and their plans for the future. No individual seeking the highest power in the world should be excused from this most important of litmus tests. Unfortunately, Barack Obama has been given a free pass. If you don't watch Fox News, then you are a victim of the left's media propaganda machine... which Senator Obama has purchased with his vast campaign funds. It is a crying shame when an election can be bought so publicly right under our noses - WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

John McCain - A True Patriot!
Check out NObama.com
to learn the truth
about Barack Obama's agenda!
Be sure to check out
John McCain.com
to learn the truth
about what he stands for
and what he will do
for this great nation.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Corpus Clock Eats Time!

Corpus Clock Eats Time


CAMBRIDGE, England — Most clocks just tell time. Not the newly unveiled clock at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, which aims to disorient and dazzle, to remind people of their own mortality and to pay tribute to one of the most famous watchmakers of all time.

No wonder it cost more than 1 million pounds (US$1.8 million) to build and drew the attention of famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who formally unveiled the masterwork Friday.

This clock blasts away all preconceptions about timepieces. For one thing, it has no hands. And it is specially designed to run in erratic fashion, slowing down and speeding up from time to time.

The "Corpus clock" is the brainchild of inventor John Taylor, who used his own money to build it, in part to pay homage to the genius of John Harrison, the Englishman who in 1725 invented the "grasshopper" escapement — a mechanical device that helps regulate a clock's movement.

Making a visual pun on the grasshopper image, Taylor has designed a fantasy version of a grasshopper at the top of the clock face, and uses this beast — with its long needle teeth and barbed tail — as an integral part of the clockworks.

Its jaws begin to open halfway through a minute, then snap shut at 59 seconds. The creature's eyes, usually a dull green, occasionally flash bright yellow.

The oversize grasshopper is called a chronophage, or "time eater."

"Time is gone, he's eaten it," Taylor said. "My object was simply to turn a clock inside out so that the grasshopper became a reality."

At the unveiling, Hawking predicted the creature atop the clock would become "a much-loved, and possibly feared, addition to Cambridge's cityscape."

The chronophage stands atop the clock face, which is four feet in diameter. It displays time with light — a light races around the outer ring once every second, pausing briefly at the actual second. The next ring inside indicates the minute, and the inner ring shows the hour.

The lights are light-emitting diodes, or LEDS, which are constantly on. The apparent motion is regulated mechanically through slots in moving discs.

Weirdly, the pendulum slows down or speeds up. Sometimes it stops, the chronophage shakes a foot, and the pendulum moves again. Because of that, the time display may be as much as a minute off, although it swings back to the correct time every five minutes.

"There are so many expressions in everyday life about time going fast, time going slow and time standing still. Your life is not regular, it's relative to what's going on," Taylor said.

"This is the first clock in the world that does not set out to show accurate time," Taylor said.

He noted Albert Einstein's observation: "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity."

On Taylor's clock, the hour is tolled not by a bell or a cuckoo, but by the clanking of a chain that falls into a coffin, which then loudly bangs closed.

"I'm in my early 70s," Taylor told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "When you're a young person you think there is plenty of time. The sound was to remind me of my mortality."

The clock is the showpiece of Corpus Christi's new library, also a gift from Taylor. His wealth comes from inventing controls for electric tea kettles, inventions which he estimates are used 1 billion times a day around the globe.

Taylor is intrigued by making the ordinary interesting.

"Clocks are boring. They just tell the time, and people treat them as boring objects," he added. "This clock actually interacts with you."

Check out the article at Fox News.

Awesome concept! That is one cool clock!

For more info, check out the Corpus Clock Wiki Entry

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

20th Anniversary of The Earthquake Game!

The Earthquake Game - 1988 - LSU Tiger Stadium

LSU Tiger Stadium


It is the stuff of legend.

A packed Tiger Stadium. A physical, defensive game between two Southeastern Conference powerhouse football teams. A score of Auburn 6, LSU 0, late in the fourth quarter.

With national rankings at stake and a national audience watching on ESPN, LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson threw a touchdown pass to tailback Eddie Fuller on fourth down with 1 minute, 47 seconds remaining in the game. The eruption of the crowd registered as an earthquake on the seismograph located in LSU’s Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex.

Today, Hodson and Fuller say that after 20 years, the 1988 LSU-Auburn game is still an earthshaking experience. In fact, both say the famous play is even bigger now than it was then, since it has taken on a life of its own as part of LSU folklore.

“Initially, I didn’t believe it,” Fuller recalled of first hearing that the crowd noise registered on the seismograph. “I think it took a couple of years for it to sink in. It never dawned on me how big that play was here until years later, when I came back to LSU.”

Fuller said he first began to realize how amazing the “earthquake” game was when he saw it featured in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum in the early 1990s. “I was going through this Ripley’s museum in Niagara Falls, and I looked up and there it was!” he laughed.

Hodson said he remembers opening LSU’s student newspaper, The Reveille, and seeing a photo of the seismograph reading, or seismogram. “The story is even bigger now than when it happened,” Hodson said. “To have my name tied in with that play is an honor. It’s great to be a part of LSU history.”

The Earthquake Game is one of those magical moments in LSU history that fans and the media relive year after year. And although Hodson and Fuller are the two names most often mentioned in connection with the game, they were quick to give credit to some of the game’s unsung heroes.

“The defense,” they both said in unison. Indeed, the defense held Auburn — which was ranked No. 4 in the nation at the time — to only two field goals in the game. And after LSU scored the touchdown and kicked the extra point, Auburn’s offense got the ball back with 1:41 on the clock. The LSU defense preserved the 7-6 win.

Every Tiger fan who was at the Earthquake Game has some memory of that famous touchdown and the ensuing celebration. There are stories of downed light fixtures in the North Stadium dormitory, which was still open to students at the time; strangers hugging one another in the stands after the touchdown; and the incredible noise of the crowd. But Hodson and Fuller have their own memories of the game, and apparently, fans weren’t the only ones holding their breath on that fourth-down play.

“Time stood still,” Fuller said. “I saw Tommy throw the ball and it looked like a defender might have tipped it. It took forever for the ball to get to me, and it seemed like I almost dropped it because I had waited so long.”

“The defender didn’t tip it,” Hodson said with a smile. “But his hands were right there.”

When LSU fans learned that their reaction registered on a seismograph, they were pleasantly surprised. But LSU geologists were downright stunned.

Riley Milner, research associate with the Louisiana Geological Survey, was the first one to discover the seismograph reading. He walked into the Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex on the Monday after the game, and the seismogram caught his eye.

“I saw a very distinct recording of something and my first reaction was, ‘What in the world is this?’” he said. He took the seismogram to Donald Stevenson, the researcher then in charge of LSU’s seismic program. “We tried to figure out what it might be, and we backed up the time and realized it coordinated perfectly with the time of the touchdown,” Milner said. “It was a total surprise. We never expected the seismograph to pick up the ground shaking from a football game.”

Even more of a surprise was that the seismogram showed 15 to 20 minutes of recorded ground shaking. That’s right — 15 to 20 minutes. “It was a solid register of jubilation in the stadium,” Milner said.

Surprisingly, when asked about their fondest memories at LSU, neither Hodson nor Fuller mentioned their accomplishments on the football field.

“My greatest memories are of Broussard Hall (which was then the athletic dormitory) and the camaraderie with all the guys,” Hodson said. “There is a common bond among all LSU players that is amazing, even between players from different eras. That’s the greatest part of playing football for LSU.”

“My greatest accomplishment at LSU is graduating,” Fuller said. “When I got drafted by the Buffalo Bills, I promised my mom I would come back to LSU and finish my degree.”

Fuller said he intended to enroll for the spring semester of 1991 after his first pro football season ended. But instead, his team went to the Super Bowl, which meant the season didn’t wrap up until LSU’s spring semester was well under way. In fact, that happened for four years in a row, as the Bills and Fuller competed in four straight Super Bowls from 1991-1994. After his time with the Bills, Fuller played for the Carolina Panthers in 1995. He completed his degree — and his promise to his mother — in 1997.

Today, Fuller lives in Prairieville, La. After a working as a special events coordinator for LSU’s Tiger Athletic Foundation, Fuller moved on work in medical sales for Johnson and Johnson. He and his wife Tressa have one daughter, RaeDiance, who is 11 years old.

Hodson graduated from LSU in 1990 and played for the New England Patriots from 1990-1992. After brief stints with the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys, he played for the New Orleans Saints in 1995 and 1996. Today, he lives in Baton Rouge, where he works for JTH Agency, a company in electrical apparatus sales.

He and his wife, Andy have twin daughters named Catherine and Christina, who are 13 years old.

Both Hodson and Fuller agreed that one of the best things about the earthquake game being shown year after year is that their children get to see it. Also, they are forever linked with one of LSU’s greatest moments.

Article updated for 20th anniversary. Originally posted on LSUsports.net Oct 23, 2003.

Check out the article at LSU Sports.

Although I wasn't there that night, I distinctly remember watching The Earthquake Game on TV - it's hard to believe it's been 20 years!!! What an exciting finish that was... it just adds to the colorful history of LSU and the rivalry with Auburn.

Geaux Tigers!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Death Magnetic

Metallica - Death Magnetic

Metallica - Death Magnetic studio session

In the Eighties, thrash metal wasn't a scene, it was an arms race: riffs kept speeding up, drum kits got bigger. But with 1991's Black Album, Metallica opted for unilateral disarmament, slowing their tempos, shortening their songs and smelting their chugging guitars and piston-powered drums into armor-plated pop hooks. After that, the band rushed from one reinvention to another, starting with the Southern-rock infusion of 1996's Load and culminating in the muddled, bizarrely produced group-therapy session of 2003's St. Anger. No longer: Death Magnetic is the musical equivalent of Russia's invasion of Georgia — a sudden act of aggression from a sleeping giant.

Just as U2 re-embraced their essential U2-ness post-Pop, this album is Metallica becoming Metallica again — specifically, the epic, speed-obsessed version from the band's template-setting trilogy of mid-Eighties albums: Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning and, especially, the progged-out ...And Justice for All. That much is clear from the 90-second mark of Death Magnetic's first track, "That Was Just Your Life," where the band unleashes a barrage of James Hetfield's dutta-duh-duhnt riffing and Lars Ulrich's octuple-time double-bass-and-snare smashing. That long-vanished sound, as essential to Metallica as variations on the "Start Me Up" riff are to the Stones, is all over the album —you wonder how these fortysomething dudes are going to handle playing it live night after night. (Enter chiropractor.)

Death Magnetic marks the group's split with producer Bob Rock, who helmed every Metallica album from 1991 to 2004 and pushed them toward concision and immediacy — until St. Anger, when he seemed to throw up his hands altogether. (As the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster demonstrates, Rock deserved credit for getting any music at all out of a band determined to self-destruct.) New producer Rick Rubin shoves Metallica in the opposite direction: Half of Death Magnetic's tracks are over seven minutes long, with song structures that are not so much "verse/chorus/verse" as "long intro/heavy jam/verse/even heavier jam/chorus/bridge/wild solo/outro."

This feels like the right move for an era where Guitar Hero is the new rock radio. (Appropriately, the full album will be downloadable for GH play.) And it's not as if Top 40 stations were going to slip in Metallica between Chris Brown and the Jonas Brothers, anyway. These songs rarely feel too long: At their best, they combine the melodic smarts of Metallica's mature work with the fully armed-and-operational battle power of their early days. "The End of the Line" is a freight-train rocker with a ricocheting riff and lyrics about a doomed, drug-addicted star. It builds to a frantic guitar duel between Kirk Hammett and Hetfield, a wah-wah-crazed solo and, finally, a bridge that feels like an entirely new song. And the spectacular "All Nightmare Long" — a thematic sequel of sorts to "Enter Sandman" — combines relentless Master of Puppets guitars with a Black Album-worthy chorus.

St. Anger was a misguided attempt to recapture the band's mojo by sounding "raw" — but Death Magnetic manages to sound huge, polished and tough. The musicianship feels thrillingly live throughout, and nimble new bassist Robert Trujillo helps, even though he's mostly heard as a distant, ominous rumble. (Has there ever been a more bass-averse band in rock?)

There's supposed to be a lyrical theme here — something about death — but it's hard to discern. After expanding his lyrical palette on previous albums, Hetfield is now so determined to re-metallize that he pushes toward self-parody: "Venom of a life insane/Bites into your fragile vein," he barks on "The Judas Kiss." The "One"-style half-ballad, half-thrasher "The Day That Never Comes" appears to be yet another tale from Hetfield's rough childhood, complete with the awful pun "son shine."

But if you ignore the lyrics, Death Magnetic sounds more like it's about coming back to life. Everything comes together on the fan-favorite-to-be "Broken, Beat and Scarred," which manages to channel the full force of Metallica behind a positive message: "What don't kill ya make ya more strong," Hetfield sings, with enough power to make the cliché feel fresh. The aphorism he paraphrases happens to come from Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, which is subtitled How to Philosophize With a Hammer. Metallica's philosophizing may get shaky — but long may that hammer strike.

Check out the article at Rolling Stone.

Death Magnetic rocks!!! Metallica is back!!!

Be sure to check out Metallica's Wiki Entry, and of course... Metallica.com!

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