Thursday, June 25, 2009

LSU Takes CWS Final - 2009 National Champions!!!

LSU Baseball - National Champions - CWS 2009

LSU Baseball - Louis Coleman - National Champions - CWS 2009

LSU Baseball - National Champions - CWS 2009

LSU Baseball - National Champions - CWS 2009

LSU Baseball - National Champions - CWS 2009

LSU Baseball - National Champions - CWS 2009

LSU Baseball - National Champions - CWS 2009

OMAHA, Nebraska — Nine years ago, most of the players on LSU’s current roster were still just young boys whose baseball futures were only beginning to take shape on baseball diamonds all over Louisiana as well as in corners as far away as New Jersey, Michigan, California and Florida.

For many of them, watching the mighty Tigers carve out their place as college baseball’s dynasty of the ’90s was central to what they wanted to do someday.

At the heart of their baseball dreams.

Sometimes, dreams come true.

Sometime arrived in style Wednesday night, when LSU surged past Texas 11-4 at Rosenblatt Stadium to win the College World Series.

The championship is the Tigers’ sixth, their first since 2000. A nine-year drought that gave some new aspirations a chance to percolate.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be put in a position where in Baton Rouge you’re remembered forever,” LSU right fielder Jared Mitchell said. He and Chad Jones already possess national championship rings in football from the Tigers’ 2007 BCS national championship in football.

“We put LSU baseball back on top where it belongs and for years to come, and to be a part of that is something special.”

To get back to the top, LSU (56-17) got contributions up and down the lineup to knock off Texas (50-16-1) as the Tigers won the best-of-three championship series.

Mitchell, named the CWS Most Outstanding Player, got his college swan song started in rousing fashion with a three-run, two-out, first-inning home run.

Tough-as-nails pitcher Anthony Ranaudo gutted out 51/3 innings on short rest and battled as long as he possibly could to keep LSU in front.

When the Longhorns threatened to snatch momentum away, freshman center fielder Mikie Mahtook came through in the clutch again and then Sean Ochinko stuck a dagger in Texas’ heart with a two-out, two-run single.

And in the most fitting of endings, senior Louis Coleman — LSU’s unquestionable heart-and-soul — struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning to ignite a wild celebration in the middle of a Rosenblatt diamond that has been so kind to the Tigers through the years.

Coleman launched his glove in the air and braced for a bear hug from catcher Micah Gibbs as the LSU players converged on the mound. Paul Mainieri shared the moment in a long hug in front of the dugout with sons Nick and Tommy. Then, he found his 80-year-old father and mentor, Demie “Doc” Mainieri, as quickly as he could.

“I’ve dreamt my whole life of having this moment after the game to be able to talk about a national championship, and now it’s here. It’s almost surreal,” said Mainieri, who guided the Tigers to the national crown in his third season.

“I’m filled with so many different emotions right now. But all I could think about during the ninth inning was my father. I’m just so happy he could be here to share it with us. But I’ll tell you, I’m so proud to be the coach at LSU and represent that great state and all the great people in that state and a wonderful university.

“And all I could think about that was these wonderful kids I’ve had a chance to coach. … I’m so happy for these kids — they’ve done everything you ask them to do, and they’re great kids, and they deserve it.”

There was the customary victory lap and the sought-after national championship hardware was distributed, but the celebration was only getting started.

Because after nine years of waiting, the Tigers are back on top — the champions of college baseball again. And a new corps of little boys has a new set of heroes and a new set of dreams to hatch.

“If there’s a better way, you write the story for me,” Mitchell said when asked if the ending to the season was as good as he could’ve expected. “I can’t explain it. It’s been so much fun with these guys who I really care about to really come together the way we did.”

No. 1-ranked LSU danced with destiny all season long and did so with nearly perfect rhythm.

The Tigers began the season ranked No. 1 in two major polls, stayed in the top 10 of every ranking throughout the season, battled through the grinding Southeastern Conference to tie for the regular-season championship and then stormed back to win the league tournament.

LSU then blazed through NCAA regional and super regional play unbeaten and won three games in Omaha to get to the CWS finals without a hiccup.

Texas had the Tigers beat in the championship series opener, but DJ LeMahieu gave LSU life with a two-out, two-run ninth inning double and Mahtook drove in the game-winner two innings later.

The ’Horns finally wobbled the Tigers with a 5-1 victory Tuesday to force the decisive third meeting, but that wasn’t enough to separate LSU from what it wanted to accomplish.

Not even close.

Wednesday’s victory fulfilled destiny’s call by pulling together all the strands of success the Tigers have relied on all season long.

Ranaudo’s grit was at the heart of the triumph. He labored through his stint, at times showing flashes of brilliance that helped him win 12 games, at others reaching down deep to find whatever he could muster.

“I knew he was going to give us a chance,” Ochinko said. “I put my head on my pillow last night knowing that Anthony Ranaudo was going to get it done for us.”

Jones, known more as a football safety, amplified the element he has added since his late-season emergence as a left-handed reliever out of the bullpen with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief that bridged the gap to Coleman.

Together, those two capped a magical final series by the bullpen: only three runs allowed in 15 2/3 innings.

Ochinko swung the bat like he did early in the season when he helped carry the offense. He went 4-for-5 Wednesday with a monstrous exclamation-point home run in the ninth inning after he singled three times, none bigger than a two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning.

After the feisty ’Horns drew even at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers clawed back in front in the top of the sixth by erupting for five runs.

Mitchell continued a memorable championship day by beginning the inning by working Texas reliever Brandon Workman for a full-count walk. That snapped Workman’s streak of nine hitters in a row mowed down and seemed to rattle him.

UT catcher Cameron Rupp got handcuffed on a pitch that got away from him for a passed ball that allowed Mitchell to scamper to second with nobody out. Mahtook delivered his second big hit against Workman in the finals when he rifled a double to right-center to plate Mitchell with the go-ahead run.

As he reached second base, Mahtook pumped both fists.

“I didn’t have great at-bats my first three,” Mahtook said. “He threw me a fastball and I got it in the gap. Like they say, I play with a football mentality, and I just showed my emotions on second base.”

Gibbs laid down a perfect bunt to move Mahtook to third and UT reliever Austin Dicharry’s throw to first base was off the mark, allowing Gibbs to reach safely. Derek Helenihi cranked a deep fly ball to left field to score Mahtook for a 6-4 advantage, but LSU wasn’t finished.

Dicharry got Austin Nola on a groundout but walked LeMahieu on four pitches. Austin Wood took over and couldn’t get the door shut. He hit Ryan Schimpf and Blake Dean with pitches back-to-back to force in a run.

Then, on his first pitch to Ochinko, the first baseman rammed a single to left field to score LeMahieu and Schimpf for a 9-4 LSU lead.

“Got to two outs and we were in pretty good shape and then the wheels fell off the car,” legendary Texas coach Augie Garrido said. “We walked people, hit people and they kept the rally going by capitalizing on our mistakes. And then they added to it.

“Once they smelled the blood in the water, I think they did what they should do and really put us away.”

Things started with a dramatic shot in the arm for LSU when Mitchell wrapped a three-run home run around the right-field foul pole with two outs to give the Tigers an immediate lead and their earliest of the CWS finals.

Though buoyed by the quick advantage, Ranaudo wasn’t sharp like he has been most of the season, and the Longhorns got to him to cut the deficit in half in the third inning.

Travis Tucker laced a leadoff double into the left-field corner and Ranaudo walked Brandon Belt. Those two worked a double steal with one out and Tucker came home on a groundout.

With two outs Ranaudo walked three straight hitters, with Preston Clark forcing in a run when he won a 10-pitch battle with Ranaudo for an RBI walk.

The Longhorns erased LSU’s lead in the fifth inning on Kevin Keyes’ prodigious two-run blast into a section of left-center field bleachers populated by burnt orange-clad Longhorns fans.

That knotted the score 4-4 and allowed Texas to hit the reset button and turn the game into a four-inning battle for the championship.

LSU won that abbreviated showdown by scoring the final seven runs.

“They did the thing they needed to do to beat us twice,” Garrido said. “They are the best team we faced this season. By far.”

Best is what these Tigers will always be known as in 2009. Which means it’s time for new dreams.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Sweet!!! What an awesome College World Series this has been... and with such a fitting end!

Be sure to check out Return of the Tigers! at

Congratulations Tigers!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Texas Longhorns = TIGER BAIT!!!

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

OMAHA, Neb. -- After second baseman DJ LeMahieu erased a 6-4 deficit with a two-out RBI double in the ninth, centerfielder Mikie Mahtook laced a two-out RBI single in the 11th to give top-ranked LSU a 7-6 victory over Texas in game 1 of the National Championship series Monday night at Rosenblatt Stadium.

Freshman right-hander Matty Ott (4-2) earned the win for LSU, throwing three shutout innings between the ninth and eleventh, allowing no hits and striking out three.

“That was one of the most courageous, never-say-die, resilient effort out of one of my teams in 27 years of coaching,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “It was a total team effort for the ages.”

The Tigers (55-16) will face Texas (49-15-1) Tuesday night at 6 p.m. CT. An LSU win will clinch a sixth national championship and its first since 2000.

Game 2 will be televised on ESPN-HD and will be aired on the LSU Sports Radio Network (WDGL 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge). Live audio and stats can be accessed in the Geaux Zone at

LSU’s bullpen of Chad Jones, Paul Bertuccini and Ott allowed no hits in the final five innings in relief of starter Louis Coleman.

“Our bullpen has been fantastic the last month of the season,” Mainieri said. “It was great to see the rest of the guys pick up Coleman and rally around him, because he had a pretty tough outing.”

Coleman pitched six innings and allowed six runs on nine hits, including five solo homers, while striking out six.

Offensively, the Tigers were led by a 2-for-4 performance by LeMahieu, who also had three RBI and scored twice. Rightfielder Jared Mitchell also had two hits, including a two-RBI triple.

LSU wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as leftfielder Ryan Schimpf, the second batter of the game, blasted the second pitch from Texas starter Chance Ruffin over the wall in right center to put the Tigers up 1-0. It was Schimpf’s 22nd homer of the season and his third in the College World Series.

After notching only one hit through the first three innings, Texas tied the score in the fourth with a solo home run by second baseman Travis Tucker to tie the score at 1-1.

Two batters later, designated hitter Russell Moldenhauer crushed a ball off one of the flagpoles in centerfield to give the Longhorns a 2-1 advantage. It was only the second homer of the year for Moldenhauer.

Texas right fielder Kevin Keyes belted the Longhorns’ third solo homer in the inning two batters later, giving Texas a 3-1 lead. It was the first time a team has hit three homers in an inning at the College World Series since June 1, 1998, when LSU hit three against Mississippi State.

In the sixth, Ruffin left the game with two outs and Blake Dean on third and Micah Gibbs on first, giving way to left-handed reliever Austin Wood. The next batter, Jared Mitchell, hit a triple to left-center field, scoring Dean and Gibbs, tying the score at 3-3.

Ruffin threw 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on five hits with one walk, while tying a season-high with 10 strikeouts.

The Longhorns responded in the bottom of the frame when Moldenhauer launched his second solo homer of the game off Coleman, putting Texas back on top 4-3.

Texas made the score 5-3 when Keyes crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Coleman. The senior right-hander ended the sixth by striking out leftfielder Preston Clark with a runner on third.

The Tigers pulled the score within one in the seventh when second baseman DJ LeMahieu pounded a solo homer over the wall in center to make the score 5-4.

In the bottom of the frame, Texas blasted their fifth solo homer off the game, this time off the bat of centerfielder Connor Rowe, to put the Longhorns ahead 6-4.

Jones entered the game for Coleman after Rowe’s homer and retired the Longhorns in order, striking out first baseman Brandon Belt to end the inning.

The Tigers erased a 6-4 deficit with two outs in the ninth when LeMahieu laced a double down the left field line scoring Leon Landry and Derek Helenihi, tying the score at 6-6 heading to the bottom of the ninth.

After Ott got out of the ninth unscathed, the Tigers loaded the bases in the tenth, but Texas right-hander Brandon Workman entered the game with one out and struck out Helenihi and Tyler Hanover to end the LSU threat.

In the 11th, Ott struck out shortstop Brandon Loy and Maitland before forcing Rowe to ground out to Hanover at second base to end the game.

Check out the article at LSU

Gotta give them Texas boys props for a great game played... we're just lucky all of their homers were solos! In the end, the Tigers persevered and took one more step in proving to the nation why we deserve the title!!!

Everyone's getting in on the action! Gov. Bobby Jindal bet Texas Gov. Rick Perry a tray of Louisiana seafood against a tray of Texas Bar-B-Que that LSU will win!

Mmmmm.... Longhorn Ribeye!!! Geaux Tigers!!!

Be sure to check out LSU Baseball at

Also check out Line Drives: LSU Baseball with Randy Rosetta.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LSU Rocking College World Series 2009!

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

LSU Baseball CWS 2009

OMAHA, Neb. — It’s really not meant to look this easy.

So far, though, LSU’s journey back to the top of the college baseball world hasn’t required much heavy lifting.

The No. 1-ranked Tigers blazed past Arkansas 9-1 Monday at Rosenblatt Stadium, seizing one of the cherished catbird seats at the College World Series.

The Tigers (53-16) get three days off and can sit back and watch as the Razorbacks (40-23) and Virginia battle to determine who gets the next shot at LSU at 1 p.m. Friday.

If the Tigers win that game, they punch a ticket to the best-of-three national championship series, which starts Monday.

To arrive at that enviable position, LSU jumped on Arkansas quickly to give senior pitcher Louis Coleman some immediate breathing room.

Freshman Mikie Mahtook launched a three-run first-inning home run to kick-start the Tigers and Coleman worked through a rocky beginning to discover a comfort zone.

By the time Coleman exited after six innings on the way to his 14th victory, LSU had erupted for a five-run sixth inning, anchored by home runs from Austin Nola and Blake Dean.

That was all the Tigers needed to cruise for their 12th win in a row, and the most important of Coleman’s career and coach Paul Mainieri’s three-year tenure.

How important? Now the Tigers get some extra time, which Coleman really wanted.

To make sure he and his teammates get to tour the world-famous Henry Doorly Zoo next door to Rosenblatt.

“Knowing that it could be a three-game swing,” Coleman said at first when asked about his frame of mind before the game.

“We talked about it a little bit before the game started, saying if we win (Monday), it makes it a whole lot easier. If we lose, then we’ve got to win two or maybe three to get to the end. That was really what my mentality was.”

Then after a brief pause: “And we get to go the zoo.”

Baffled earlier this season when Coleman twirled a two-hit, complete-game shutout against them, the Razorbacks couldn’t do much more with him Monday, even though he wasn’t nearly as dominant.

“When you give ball to Louis, you know he’s going to compete with everything that he’s got for his team,” Mainieri said. “Even though maybe he wasn’t electric early, I thought he became electric in the middle innings and his stuff got better as the game went on.”

Mahtook made calming down much easier for Coleman and everybody else.

With hard-throwing right-hander Brett Eibner on the mound, leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu lashed a single to right-center field to begin the game and stole second base with Ryan Schimpf at the plate.

Schimpf fell behind Eibner 1-and-2, fouled off four pitches, took a second ball and fouled off four more pitches before finally drawing a walk to end a 13-pitch battle.

Eibner nearly got off the hook when he got Blake Dean on a fly ball to left field and struck out cleanup hitter Micah Gibbs.

But Mahtook worked the count full, fouling off a 2-and-2 offering, and then blasted a bomb toward the left-field foul pole that just cleared the top of the fence for three runs.

“He threw me a slider on the first pitch and I chased it in the dirt,” Mahtook said. “After that, I pretty much saw every pitch he threw pretty well. He tried to sneak a fastball by me, and I fouled it off. Then I was looking for the slider, because he’d thrown it a couple of times. He threw the slider and left it up a little bit. I put a good swing on it and was able to get enough of it to get it out.”

Added Mainieri, “I thought Mikie Mahtook really gave us the big lift in the first inning. We had first and second and nobody out, we did nothing in the next two at-bats. And then Mikie, with two outs, hits a three-run homer, and it’s off to the races for us.”

Arkansas took a small bite out of the lead with a run in the first when Ben Tschepikow laced a one-out opposite-field double to left, Scott Lyons singled and Andy Wilkins knocked home a run on a fly ball to left field.

That was all the Hogs mustered, though. Arkansas threatened in the second and third as well, but Coleman evaded trouble both times.

In the third, he magnified the Razorbacks’ frustration by striking out pinch-hitter Jacob House with the bases loaded with no damage done.

Arkansas never mounted another serious threat on the way to its first loss of the NCAA tournament. Starting with House’s strikeout, Coleman clicked into a groove and retired 10 of the final 12 batters he faced.

“You have to give credit to Louis Coleman,” Hogs coach Dave Van Horn said. “He was outstanding.

“We were getting runners on, just not driving them in. … We were down 4-1 with the bases loaded, and we didn’t get the hit. We didn’t even hit the ball hard. If we get the hit, we’re right there.”

LSU, meanwhile, kept pummeling the baseball.

In the second, Schimpf doubled home LeMahieu for a 4-1 lead.

Arkansas reliever TJ Forrest — a former LSU pitcher — quieted the Tigers bats for a while with 3 1/3 scoreless frames.

But Nola, the nine-hole hitter, injected some new life when he cranked out a 2-and-0 pitch for a solo home run in the sixth. Schimpf walked with two outs and Dean unloaded a two-run bomb to right that stretched the lead to 7-1.

Two more runs came home after Gibbs singled, Mahtook walked and both scored on Jared Mitchell’s base hit to left field — Mahtook when House’s throw to third base was wide left.

As meaningful as the final five-run assault was, Dean credited Mahtook’s early blow for LSU’s offensive prowess.

“Mahtook brings a lot of fire to the team,” Dean said. “The older guys tend to go with the flow. When he hits a home run, he almost takes your arm off. As veterans, we try to calm them down and the young guys bring the fire.”

As does Coleman, who pitched in a fifth consecutive CWS game Monday and responded with another gritty performance, this time with a lot of help from his friends.

“When you get Louis nine runs, it’s going to be hard to lose the ballgame,” Dean said.

Added Mainieri, “Every time you give him the ball you expect him to keep you in the game and give you a chance to win.”

Check out the article at The Advocate.

The Tigers are on fire at #1! The 2009 College World Series is theirs for the taking!

Be sure to check out LSU Baseball at

Also check out Line Drives: LSU Baseball with Randy Rosetta.

Geaux Tigers!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-DAY: June 6, 1944

Omaha Beach from Normandy Cemetery - present day

LST 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

National World War II Museum - New Orleans, Louisiana

LA CAMBE, France — American and German World War II veterans paid respects to their fallen comrades at a cemetery near a D-Day landing site Friday before an international commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy.

During the ceremony, military bands played anthems of the United States, Germany, Britain and France and German visitors piled wreaths of flowers at the foot of a mound at the center of the cemetery at La Cambe. Some 22,000 German soldiers are buried beneath clusters of rounded brown crosses in a grassy meadow not far from Omaha Beach.

After the ceremony, most visitors headed out, but a few dozen stayed on in a corner of the cemetery, where a German priest and a few soldiers buried the remains of a German soldier discovered last year. A Frenchman conducting construction work near the German battery at Grand Camp Maisy, a dozen miles away, came across first a gun and then the remains, which have yet to be identified.

"It's a great feeling ... to come here," said Austin Cox of Crisfield, Maryland, a sergeant with the 29th Division of the U.S. 115th infantry regiment who landed on Omaha Beach at 9 a.m. on the epic day that turned the tide of World War II.

"My comrades though are buried over at Omaha," said Cox, 90.

Flags from nations on both sides of World War II flew in the spring breeze.

A low, granite entrance leads into the cemetery containing the graves of the German soldiers, each marked with a small, flat stone. The main American cemetery at nearby Colleville-Sur-Mer has about 9,300 graves. Most U.S. war dead were repatriated.

Earlier Friday, British paratroopers swooped down on Ranville as part of the commemorations. Later in the day, a fireworks display was planned up and down the shore where Allied troops launched the Battle of Normandy that helped turn the tide of the war.

The big event is Saturday, when President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Canadian and British prime ministers and Prince Charles gather for a ceremony amid the rows of white crosses and Stars of David at the American cemetery, which is U.S. territory.

Check out the article at Fox News.

A brief history...

D-Day - June 6, 1944

The Battle of Normandy was fought in 1944 between Nazi Germany in Western Europe and the invading Allied forces as part of the larger conflict of World War II. Operation Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion of northwest Europe, which began on June 6, 1944, and ended on August 19, 1944, when the Allies crossed the River Seine. Over sixty years later, the Normandy Invasion still remains the largest seaborne invasion in history, involving almost three million troops crossing the English Channel from England to Normandy. Operation Neptune was the codename given to the initial assault phase of Operation Overlord; its mission, to gain a foothold on the continent, started on June 6, 1944 (most commonly known by the name D-Day) and ended on June 30, 1944.

The primary Allied formations that saw combat in Normandy came from the United States of America, United Kingdom and Canada. Substantial Free French and Polish forces also participated in the battle after the assault phase, and there were also contingents from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, and Norway.

The Normandy invasion began with overnight parachute and glider landings, massive air attacks, naval bombardments, and an early morning amphibious phase began on June 6, 1944. The “D-Day” forces deployed from bases along the south coast of England, the most important of these being Portsmouth. The battle for Normandy continued for more than two months, with campaigns to establish, expand, and eventually break out of the Allied beachheads, and concluded with the liberation of Paris and the fall of the Falaise pocket in late August 1944.

The Battle of Normandy was described thus by Adolf Hitler: “In the East, the vastness of space will... permit a loss of territory... without suffering a mortal blow to Germany’s chance for survival. Not so in the West! If the enemy here succeeds… consequences of staggering proportions will follow within a short time.”

Check out the article at Wikipedia.

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 and the Wikipedia List of WWII Films.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tiananmen Square - 20 Years Later

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

BEIJING — Chinese police aggressively deterred dissent on Thursday's 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy activists in Tiananmen Square, ignoring calls from Hillary Rodham Clinton and even Taiwan's China-friendly president for Beijing to face up to the 1989 violence.

Foreign journalists were barred from the vast square as uniformed and plainclothes police stood guard across the area which was the epicenter of the student-led movement that was crushed by the military on the night of June 3-4, 1989.

Security officials checking passports also blocked foreign TV camera operators and photographers from entering the square to cover the raising of China's national flag, which happens at dawn every day. Plain clothes officers aggressively confronted journalists on the streets surrounding the square, cursing and threatening violence against them.

The extraordinary security moves come after government censors shut down social networking and image-sharing Web sites such as Twitter and Flickr, and blacked out CNN and other foreign news channels each time they aired stories about Tiananmen.

Dissidents and families of crackdown victims were confined to their homes or forced to leave Beijing, part of sweeping efforts to prevent online debate or organized commemorations of the anniversary.

"We've been under 24-hour surveillance for a week and aren't able to leave home to mourn. It's totally inhuman," said Xu Jue, whose son was 22 when he was shot in the chest by soldiers and bled to death on June 4, 1989.

Officers and police cars were also stationed outside the home of Wang Yannan, the daughter of Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party leader deposed for sympathizing with the pro-democracy protesters, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. Wang heads an auction firm and has never been politically active.

In a further sign of the government's intransigence, the second most-wanted student leader from 1989 was forced to return to Taiwan on Thursday after flying to the Chinese territory of Macau the day before in an attempt to return home.

Wu'er Kaixi, in exile since fleeing China after the crackdown, told The Associated Press by phone he was held overnight at the Macau airport's detention center and that being denied entry on the Tiananmen anniversary was a "tragedy."

The student leader who topped the most-wanted list, Wang Dan, was jailed for seven years before being expelled to the United States in 1998.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton said in a statement Wednesday that China, as an emerging global power, "should examine openly the darker events of its past and provide a public accounting of those killed, detained or missing, both to learn and to heal."

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou urged China to lift the taboo on discussing the crackdown.

"This painful chapter in history must be faced. Pretending it never happened is not an option," Ma said in a statement issued Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman attacked Clinton's comments as a "gross interference in China's internal affairs."

"We urge the U.S. to put aside its political prejudice and correct its wrongdoing and refrain from disrupting or undermining bilateral relations," Qin said in response to a question at a regularly scheduled news briefing.

Qin refused to comment on the security measures — or even acknowledge they were in place.

"Today is like any other day, stable," he said.

Beijing has never allowed an independent investigation into the military's crushing of the protests, in which possibly thousands of students, activists and ordinary citizens were killed. Young Chinese know little about the events, having grown up in a generation that has largely eschewed politics in favor of raw nationalism, wealth acquisition, and individual pursuits.

Authorities have been tightening surveillance of China's dissident community ahead of the anniversary, with some leading writers under close watch or house arrest for months.

Ding Zilin, a retired professor and advocate for Tiananmen victims, said by telephone that a dozen officers have been blocking her and her husband from leaving their Beijing apartment.

In contrast to the repression on the mainland, tens of thousands of people were expected to attend an annual candlelight vigil in the former British colony of Hong Kong, which has maintained its own legal system and open society since reverting to Chinese rule in 1997.

Check out article at Fox News.

What happened in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago should serve as a grande example why government control is not the answer to a people's problems. As was graphically illustrated: "It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong!"

For more info on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, check out the Wiki!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Happy 25th Birthday Tetris!

Happy 25th Birthday Tetris!

Happy 25th Birthday Tetris!

Happy 25th Birthday Tetris!

NEW YORK — With its scratches and sticky brown beer stains, the "Tetris" arcade machine near the back of a Brooklyn bar called Barcade has seen better days. Which makes sense, given that the machine was made in the 1980s.

Even today, though, it's not hard to find 20- and 30-somethings plucking away at its ancient controls, flipping shapes made up of four connected squares and fitting them into orderly patterns as they descend, faster and faster as the game goes on.

"You could just play infinitely," said Michael Pierce, 28, who was playing against Dan Rothfarb, also 28. Both have been fans since they — and the game — were young. "Tetris" has its 25th birthday this week.

Completed by a Soviet programmer in 1984, "Tetris" has come a long way from its square roots. It's played by millions, not just on computers and gaming consoles but now on Facebook and the iPhone as well.

"Tetris" stands out as one of the rare cultural products to come West from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And the addictive rhythm of its task-by-task race against time was an early sign of our inbox-clearing, Twitter-updating, BlackBerry-thumbing world to come.

In her book "Hamlet on the Holodeck," Georgia Tech professor Janet Murray called "Tetris" the "perfect enactment of the overtasked lives of Americans."

The game, she wrote, shows the "constant bombardment of tasks that demand our attention and that we must somehow fit into our overcrowded schedules and clear off our desks in order to make room for the next onslaught."

Many people who grew up with "Tetris" haven't stopped playing.

"Tetris" is easy to pick up. Rotate the falling shapes so that you form full lines at the bottom of the screen. Fit the shapes so there are as few open spaces left as possible. Aim for a Tetris: four lines completed in one swoop. Repeat. Watch your score zoom.

But Tetris is hard to master. Because the shapes — technically known as tetrominoes — come in a random order, it is hard to predict the best way to organize them so that they can form neat rows.

In fact, in 2002, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers determined that the potential combinations are so numerous that it would be impossible even for a computer to calculate the best place to put each falling shape.

Erik Demaine, an associate professor of computer science, praised the game's "mathematical elegance," which perhaps stems from the background of its developer.

Alexey Pajitnov was 29 and working for the Moscow Academy of Sciences when he completed "Tetris" on June 6, 1984, for a Soviet computer system called the Elektronika.

A computer programmer by day who researched artificial intelligence and automatic speech recognition, Pajitnov worked on the game in his spare time.

"All my life I liked puzzles, mathematical riddles and diversion," Pajitnov said in a recent interview from Moscow. "Tetris," he said, was just one of the games he made back then. The others are mostly long forgotten.

Pajitnov's creation spread in Moscow through the small community of people who had access to computers. Word filtered through computer circles to the West, where the game drew the interest of entrepreneurs.

A company called Spectrum HoloByte managed to obtain PC rights, but another, Mirrorsoft, also released a version.

Years of legal wrangling followed, with several companies claiming pieces of the "Tetris" pie — for handheld systems, computers and arcades.

Complicating matters, the Soviet Union did not allow privately held businesses. The Soviet state held the "Tetris" licensing rights and Pajitnov had no claim to the profits. He didn't fight it.

"Basically, at the moment I realized I wanted this game to be published, I understood that Soviet power will either help me or never let it happen," he said.

It wasn't until 1996 that Pajitnov got licensing rights. Asked whether he made enough money off the game to live comfortably, he says yes, but offers no more details.

Today, he is part owner of Tetris Co., which manages the game's licenses worldwide.

Nintendo Co. was an early and big beneficiary of the game, which stood out from its mid-'80s peers because it had no characters and no shooting.

When Nintendo was preparing to release its Game Boy device in 1989, the company planned to include with it one of the games that are also classics today: "Super Mario," "Donkey Kong" and "Zelda."

But Nintendo wanted something everyone would play — a "perfect killer game" that would sell the Game Boy, said Minoru Arakawa, the president of Nintendo of America from 1980 to 2002.

The solution was "Tetris" — though Nintendo needed help from Henk Rogers, a U.S. entrepreneur.

Rogers had spotted "Tetris" at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and bought the rights to a PC version of the game in Japan from Spectrum HoloByte.

In February 1989, he went to Moscow on a tourist visa to try to get the rights for Nintendo. He spent his first day in a taxi with a driver who didn't speak English, communicating by gestures and trying in vain to find the ministry of software and hardware export.

The next morning, he hired an interpreter and things went more smoothly, and "Tetris" got bundled into the first Game Boy.

Since then, "Tetris" has expanded to all kinds of devices and inspired a generation of knockoffs. Tetris Co. says 125 million copies have been sold in various incarnations.

Pajitnov says "Tetris" could stick around another quarter-century.

"I hope so, why not?" he said. "Technology changes a lot, but I can't say people change a lot."

Check out article at Fox News.

From playing against my brother via wire on long car trips... to hooking up my grandpa's Super-Gameboy on his TV so he could play Tetris without having to squint at the little screen... to competing against many family members for bragging rights on highest score... to downloading Tetris Party for the Wii and introducing it to my kids... I have many fond memories of this classic game! Congrats on 25 great years!!!

For more info, check out the Tetris Wiki!