Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Prosper!

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015 - Live Long and Prosper!

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015 - Live Long and Prosper!

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015 - Live Long and Prosper!

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015 - Live Long and Prosper! is deeply saddened to report the passing of Leonard Nimoy. The legend -- an actor, writer, producer, director, poet, host, voiceover artist, photographer, husband, father and grandfather, as well as Star Trek's beloved Spock -- died today at the age of 83 at his home in Los Angeles. Nimoy succumbed to the end stages of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), an illness that resulted from years of smoking and which afflicted him despite having quit smoking three decades ago. In 2014, he announced via Twitter that he was battling COPD and urged fans to stop smoking before it was too late.

Nimoy's career spanned generations. Born and raised in Boston, he started acting as a boy, but moved to Los Angeles at age 18 to give it a go on a professional level. He worked his way up from small roles in the likes of Queen for a Day, Zombies of the Stratosphere and Them! to major guest star turns in such shows as Broken Arrow, Dragnet, Sea Hunt, Twilight Zone, Wagon Train and The Outer Limits. At one point, he acted in an episode of The Lieutenant, a show written and created by a rising behind-the-scenes talent named Gene Roddenberry, and he acted in an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with a young Canadian by the name of William Shatner.

It wouldn't be long before their lives intersected again. Roddenberry created Star Trek: The Original Series, tapping Nimoy to play Spock and Jeffrey Hunter to play Captain Pike. NBC rejected the pilot, but asked Roddenberry to try again. The second pilot once again featured Nimoy as Spock, but after Hunter opted out of his contract, Roddenberry hired Shatner to play Captain Kirk. DeForest Kelley, who'd turned down the role of Spock, came on board to portray Dr. McCoy, and that unforgettable trio -- complemented by Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, George Takei and, starting with season two, Walter Koenig -- formed the cast that would see Star Trek through three seasons of the original show, 20-plus episodes of an animated series and six feature films, not to mention numerous television commercials and countless convention appearances.

Nimoy at times waged an internal battle when it came to Spock. He titled his first autobiography I Am Not Spock. Twenty years later, though, he wrote I Am Spock. He turned down the proposed Star Trek: Phase II series, but returned for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Spock died in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, only to be resurrected for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, which Nimoy directed. He also directed Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and produced and developed the story for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and, as a tie-in, he guest starred as Ambassador Spock on two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. And in 2009, after 18 long years, Nimoy helped J.J. Abrams reboot the Star Trek franchise by playing Spock Prime in Star Trek (2009), passing the torch to Zachary Quinto, who became a close friend. He also voiced Spock for Star Trek Online, made a cameo in Star Trek Into Darkness and was reportedly in talks to appear in the upcoming Star Trek film at the time of his death.

Beyond Star Trek, Nimoy's many film, TV and stage credits included Mission: Impossible, A Woman Called Golda, In Search Of..., Equus, Never Forget, Vincent, Standby: Lights! Camera! Action!, The Simpsons, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Fringe. With his friend and TNG's Q, John de Lancie, he created Alien Voices, which staged and recorded radio play-style productions of classic and original sci-fi/fantasy stories. And yes, who could forget Nimoy's music pursuits, which included such tunes as "Proud Mary" and "The Legend of Bilbo Baggins"? Nimoy joined Twitter in 2010 and gave William Shatner a run for his money, tweeting more than 1,700 times and amassing more than one million followers.

He was also a friend to, helping re-launch the site in 2010 with an opening statement, granting an extensive, career-spanning interview in 2011, contributing a guest blog in 2012 about his creation of the split-fingered Vulcan greeting, and checking in with us often over the years for interviews and with updates on his current projects, as well as to answer specific questions about Star Trek as they came up. He ended his emails to us as he did every tweet to the public, with the acronym LLAP... Live Long and Prosper.

Back in May 2012, teased Nimoy about being the busiest retired man in history. Asked if he truly considered himself retired, Nimoy replied, "Yeah, I do. I am. Look, I liken myself to a steamship that's been going full-blast and the captain pulls that handle back and then says, 'Full stop,' but the ship doesn't stop. It keeps moving from inertia. It keeps moving. It keeps moving. It'll start slowing down, but it doesn't stop. It doesn't come to a dead stop. That's the way I am. I still have a few odds and ends things that I enjoy doing. I don't want to get up in the morning and have nothing to do that day. That would be boring." Perfectly logical, right? And in his final tweet, which he posted on Feb. 23, Nimoy wrote, "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP."

Nimoy leaves behind his wife, Susan Bay, two children and several grandchildren. Please join in offering our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and millions of fans around the galaxy.

Check out the article at

R.I.P. Spock!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monster Black Hole is the Largest and Brightest Ever!

Monster Black Hole Is the Largest and Brightest Ever Found

Monster Black Hole Is the Largest and Brightest Ever Found

Astronomers have discovered the largest and most luminous black hole ever seen — an ancient monster with a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun — that dates back to when the universe was less than 1 billion years old.

It remains a mystery how black holes could have grown so huge in such a relatively brief time after the dawn of the universe, researchers say.

Supermassive black holes are thought to lurk in the hearts of most, if not all, large galaxies. The largest black holes found so far in the nearby universe have masses more than 10 billion times that of the sun. In comparison, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is thought to have a mass only 4 million to 5 million times that of the sun.

Although not even light can escape the powerful gravitational pulls of black holes — hence, their name — black holes are often bright. That's because they're surrounded by features known as accretion disks, which are made up of gas and dust that heat up and give off light as it swirl into the black holes. Astronomers suspect that quasars, the brightest objects in the universe, contain supermassive black holes that release extraordinarily large amounts of light as they rip apart stars.

So far, astronomers have discovered 40 quasars — each with a black hole about 1 billion times the mass of the sun — dating back to when the universe was less than 1 billion years old. Now, scientists report the discovery of a supermassive black hole 12 billion times the mass of the sun about 12.8 billion light-years from Earth that dates back to when the universe was only about 875 million years old.

This black hole — technically known as SDSS J010013.02+280225.8, or J0100+2802 for short — is not only the most massive quasar ever seen in the early universe but also the most luminous. It is about 429 trillion times brighter than the sun and seven times brighter than the most distant quasar known.

The light from very distant quasars can take billions of years to reach Earth. As such, astronomers can see quasars as they were when the universe was young.

This black hole dates back to a little more than 6 percent of the universe's current age of 13.8 billion years.

"This is quite surprising because it presents serious challenges to theories of black hole growth in the early universe," said lead study author Xue-Bing Wu, an astrophysicist at Peking University in Beijing.

Accretion discs limit the speed of modern black holes' growth. First, as gas and dust in the disks get close to black holes, traffic jams slow down any other material that's falling into them. Second, as matter collides in these traffic jams, it heats up, emitting radiation that drives gas and dust away from the black holes.

Scientists still do not have a satisfactory theory to explain how these supermassive objects formed in the early universe, Wu said.

"It requires either very special ways to quickly grow the black hole or a huge seed black hole," Wu told For instance, a recent study suggested that because the early universe was much smaller than it is today, gas was often denser, obscuring a substantial amount of the radiation given off by accretion disks and thus helping matter fall into black holes.

The researchers noted that the light from this black hole could help provide clues about the dark corners of the distant cosmos. As the quasar's light shines toward Earth, it passes through intergalactic gas that colors the light. By deducing how this intergalactic gas influenced the spectrum of light from the quasar, scientists can deduce which elements make up this gas. This knowledge, in turn, can provide insight into the star-formation processes that were at work shortly after the Big Bang that produced these elements.

"This quasar is the most luminous one in the early universe, which, like a lighthouse, will provide us chances to use it as a unique tool to study the cosmic structure of the dark, distant universe," Wu said.

The scientists detailed their findings in the Feb. 26 issue of the journal Nature.

Check out the article at

Cool stuff!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Mardi Gras!!!

Krewe of Muses - Saints Spin the Bottle 2015

Krewe of Okeanos - Skinz and Bonez

Krewe of Thoth - Hell Float

Krewe of Bacchus - Bacchagator

Krewe of Bacchus - Bacchawhoppa

Krewe of Orpheus - Smokey Mary

Krewe of Orpheus - Trojan Horse

Krewe of Orpheus - Leviathan

Krewe of Zulu

Krewe of Zulu

Krewe of Rex - The Boeuf Gras

A boa served as a weathervane on Lundi Gras evening (Feb. 16), its feathers flying sideways as local and visiting New Orleanians gathered to kick off Mardi Gras with the traditional Spanish Plaza ritual: the mayor handing over the key to the city to Rex, King of Carnival, for a day of revelry.
After a cloudy, warm day, the forecast called for cold rain any minute. Everyone just prayed it wouldn't turn as cold and wet as last Mardi Gras, when people's lips turned as blue as their wigs. As the Soul Rebels Brass Band played, "I Can't Go for That."

A flock of brown paper napkins skirled across the pavement but the daiquiris still flowed even though the fountains didn't -- management had to turn off the water jets after the wind started blowing them into people's faces, attendees said.

Still, "rain or shine, people want their daiquiris," said Fat Tuesday staffer Amber Arceneaux.
Also, many had come from places up north where a forecast of 45 degrees sounded downright balmy. "To know my friends are at home getting 12 inches of snow ..." gloated Amy Graf, from Louisville, Ky.

"For them, this is springtime," said Vernon Coy, her father's old friend. He said he'd attended every single Spanish Plaza Lundi Gras celebration and pooh-poohed the forecast -- then admitted bad weather might curtail his Mardi Gras plans. Usually he and his friends from Kentucky stand at St. Charles and Napoleon but if it rains, "we stay in my house and play cards."

Perhaps the river was choppy, but no one knew and it didn't matter: For the first time in more than a century, Rex was to arrive by rail. The Ya-Ya Sisters stood on a bench overlooking the train tracks, wands held aloft.

The three friends, all in their 60s and born within 13 months of each other, had to shelve their three-foot-tall headdresses due to the wind. But you'd never know anything was missing, bedecked as they were in sequins, animal prints, feathers, bling and dangles.

"Since the hurricane, we all moved away so this is how we get together," said Wanda Punch, her blue curls blowing around her face. "Each parade is a new suit," she said -- all, she clarified, made from recycled materials. She beckoned a man over for a photo, saying, "We need some beef for our sandwich."

After a few false alarms -- including a streetcar holding barely more than a lone woman, who waved gamely at the crowds -- an ear-splitting whistle sounded and the train chugged into view. Two heralds squeezed themselves onto the back platform to play a fanfare for Rex, Christian :Christy" Brown.

Brown threw his arms open wide like a victorious quarterback, beaming and saying, "What a wonderful way to arrive."

He was hustled up to the stage for the reading of his Mardi Gras proclamation and the exchange of gifts with King Zulu, Andrew "Pete" Sanchez. The plumes on his attendants' helmets blew half-horizontal as Brown proposed a cessation from work, school, governance and ordinary selves.

Despite the gold robes, he was a Rex more jovial than regal: Sanchez greeted him by his real name.

Brown also gave a weather forecast.

"Tomorrow will be clear skies. And wonderful temperatures and big crowds! I hope you will come out," he declared.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu praised Brown and Sanchez' contributions to the city, saying, "Can you think of another place you would rather live in the world than New Orleans?" Cheers drowned out his answer.

"We've asked the mayor to consider Rex' proclamation," emcee Errol Laborde said, as the wind whipped off his ball cap. Would he give over the streets?

"Because Rex asked me to suspend belief," Landrieu said, "I'll do it on the condition that you return the streets to me with all of the potholes filled." He handed over the key and shouted, hoarsely, "All hail Rex!"

As fireworks reflected off the windows of the high-rises and a plane shot off gold sparks overhead, Brown waved again and again. All the dignitaries left as swiftly as they had come, leaving the plaza to the partiers.

Even after decades on the Spanish Plaza, "It never gets old, never grows old," said Coy, the local with Kentucky friends. "Nothing but the best and no rain." He shook his beer and his hips, singing, "Mardi Gras mambo, mambo, mambo."

And people danced around the stilled fountain for just a few minutes, until those green-purple-and-gold umbrellas were needed for real.

Check out the article at

Here are some Mardi Gras headlines:


Friday, February 13, 2015

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015 - St. Valentine's Day Masquerade

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015 - St. Valentine's Day Masquerade

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015 - St. Valentine's Day Masquerade

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015 - St. Valentine's Day Masquerade

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015 - St. Valentine's Day Masquerade

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015 - St. Valentine's Day Masquerade

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2015 - St. Valentine's Day Masquerade

A 35-year tradition in Baton Rouge, the Krewe of Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade seems to get more irreverent as it ages. The Krewe of Partylons is no different.

Joining together in 1998, a group of thespian friends named its new krewe after Mary and Buford Bordelon, who were dubbed Mary and Buford “Partylon” as they frequently entertained large groups spontaneously at their home.

Now remarried, Mary Pittman said that since Buford Bordelon’s death in 2001, the Krewe of Partylons, a group he loved, gives a toast in his honor before each parade. Then, it’s down the route for the celebration, with thousands of screaming patrons hoping to catch a string of disco-ball beads.

Now preparing to ride in the Spanish Town parade for its 17th year, the krewe, best known for its huge disco ball-bedecked float, are ready to take this year’s parade theme, “St. Valentine’s Day Masquerade,” to a new level of raunchy with their “Tainted Love” installment.

Noting the well-known political incorrectness of the parade, Pittman said that she and her krewe will be depicting the “love” between people like Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, Bert and Ernie, Kermit and Miss Piggy, Morticia and Gomez Addams and more.

“The tainted love is sort of warped lovers and couples,” Pittman said.

But it isn’t as warped as her krewe has gotten over the years.

They’ve been “The Plank Road Personnel,” portraying pimps and ladies of the evening in accordance with Spanish Town’s 1999 “Leathers and Feathers” theme. They have also been mad scientists as “The Jury-rigging formula for Edwin Edwards.”

And while masking up may be a good time for anyone, what makes the costuming most fun for the krewe is the escape from their day jobs.

Riders, who must be at least 18, work in varying professions, from professor to priest, two architects, a church secretary, a welder, an engineer, a paralegal, a claims adjuster and many more. The variety of careers is also a reason why krewe members rarely see each other outside of their Spanish Town duties.

Pittman said they begin meeting each year just after the SPLL (Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana), the board who facilitates the annual parade, reveals its upcoming theme.

“The planning process is so much fun because we make a party out of everything,” Pittman said.

When the krewe first joined the parade, Pittman said lots of hiring-out was being done to create decorations for the float, but now the Partylons have a graphic designer onboard.

This year’s float will also carry a live DJ to make the disco ball all the more fitting.

Pittman also said the krewe often covers its float and travels with decorations and items to be used as judge-bait, but unfortunately the group has never won any awards at the parade. However, it did snag its first-ever Spanish Town-related win on Jan. 31 for best table decor at the Spanish Town Mardi Gras Ball.

At the end of Mardi Gras season, Pittman said all the decorations are recycled for later use, as the Partylons also ride in the Baton Rouge Halloween Parade.

But, there are never any throws left to save.

“Throws never make it past parade day,” Pittman said, laughing.

Construction along River Road and surrounding areas has created a change in this year’s parade route (see accompanying map). This year’s court is Queen Johanna Smith and Grand Marshal Allen Kirkpatrick. Honorary King is the late Shelby Holmes.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

It's Party Time!!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Congratulations Odell Beckham, Jr.

LSU's Times Square Billboard Tribute to Odell Beckham, Jr. - February, 2015

LSU's Times Square Billboard Tribute to Odell Beckham, Jr. - February, 2015

LSU has celebrated former Tiger and current New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with a billboard in Times Square.

Beckham, an All American at LSU where he played from 2011-13, was selected with the 12th pick in the 2014 draft by New York, had 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns despite missing the first four games of the season. He was the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

The billboard is located above the Good Morning America Studio on the 1500 block of Broadway at 43rd and 44th avenues. It’s scheduled to run through at least Thursday.

The sign was designed by Krystal Bennett-Faircloth of the LSU Sports Information Department. It features Beckham’s one-handed catch that he made against Iowa in the 2014 Outback Bowl along with one of his New York Giants action shots. A LSU football helmet along with the slogan, “Born on the Bayou” is featured on the sign as well as the LSU football Twitter handle @LSUfball.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Congratulations Odell Beckham, Jr.! Geaux Tigers!!!