Friday, August 8, 2008

WELCOME HOME, MR. HINKMAN

Friend o’ TAH, Gary Hicklin (we can’t remember exactly how he got the nickname Mr. Hinkman, but it had something to do with Puffy Buffett, volleyball and the long-lost beloved Cardinal Restaurant. It’s a long story, and, frankly, we can’t remember most of it.) had a life-long dream to ride a bicycle all the way across the good ole U.S. of A.

We know what you’re thinking, and, no, he’s not crazy. He’s determined, and in DAMN GOOD SHAPE. He trained up to this and planned it meticulously. He sent his bike and his gear and ultimately himself across the country from Warrenton, VA to a little hitching post called Warrenton, OR.

On June 1, he dipped his rear tire into the Pacific Ocean (symbolic gesture), and embarked on a bike ride across our nation. He has had all sorts of adventures, and you, loyal reader, can check them out at http://pedalscience.blogspot.com/. Gary doesn’t lack for a good sense of humor, and you will enjoy his prose and his photos. We particularly liked the title of his post after he entered the great potato state – “I-DA-HO and proud of it.”

That’s quality blog, and we know good blog when we see it.

In short, he has spent over 350 hours in the saddle covering over 4,200 miles. Here’s the update straight from the one-man-peloton’s mouth:

“On Friday, the final segment of my route will take me from the Skyline Drive, down Thornton Gap, into Sperryville and East on 211 into Warrenton. After lunch in Sperryville, I will most likely get to the Warrenton PO around 4:00 and then pedal over to Highland School to meet with Lise to catch a ride home (EDITOR'S NOTE: Hey, Lise, how about giving the old man a ride in the CAR from the Post Office to Highland? Jeez, help a brother out!). At some point in time, I will complete the coast to coast connection to the Eastern Shore.”

Well done, Mr. Hinkman. We are all damn proud of you.

Can’t wait to hear all the stories.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO:

什么?(HMMM…)

Up front: The moral of this story is when an authoritarian government of a super power says the sky is blue, 天空是蓝色的! (THE DAMN SKY IS BLUE!!) Got it?

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection declared Monday to be an excellent air-quality day, with an air pollution index of 35 -- anything under 50 is considered good -- well below the plus-100 readings reported in late July, when the authorities instituted driving restrictions in the city.

Evidently, in the wide wonderful world of authoritarian capitalism you control air pollution just like you control the population…Got an odd numbered license plate? No problem, you can drive one day. Got an even numbered plate, you can drive the next day. Repeat until the government tells you otherwise.

With that as preface, despite the absence of any hint of blue above the horizon, the environmental ministry released a statement on that very same Monday headlined, "Blue Sky over Beijing with Olympics 5 Days Away."

Outside experts have questioned the reliability of the air pollution index, noting that China does not include two of the most dangerous pollutants, ozone and small particulate matter, known as PM2.5, in the readings. A Chinese news agency reported Monday that China will begin monitoring those pollutants after the Olympics. (Editor’s note: Well, duhhh…)

Evidently a group of hyper-sensitive American cyclists spoiled and coddled by a first amendment crazed democracy caused a stir recently when they showed up in protective gear including face masks.

This caused our good friends, the Chinese communists, to pick up the red phone and shout "送在军事坦克!" (“SEND IN THE TANKS!”)

Shortly thereafter, Michael Friedman (pictured), Sarah Hammer, Bobby Lea and Jennie Reed released a statement of apology (of sorts):

"The wearing of protective masks upon our arrival into Beijing was strictly a precautionary measure we as athletes chose to take, and was in no way meant to serve as an environmental or political statement," the athletes said. "We deeply regret the nature of our choices. Our decision was not intended to insult BOCOG or countless others who have put forth a tremendous amount of effort to improve the air quality in Beijing."

Blue skies, smiling at me…

Nothin’ but blue skies do I see…

THE ACC IN THE OLYMPICS

NEWS FLASH: The University of North Carolina leads all ACC schools in the number of athletes participating in the Beijing Olympics. The Tar Heels are runaway winners with 20 athletes taking up the gold medal chase. Sixteen of them will represent the good ol’ U.S. of A. and the other four will play for the Bahamas, Haiti, Canada and India.

Florida State comes in second with ten athletes and two coaches. Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia each have eight participants, and Wake Forest and Maryland are sending seven. Miami is sending six, and only one is representing U.S.A. Likewise, Virginia Tech is only sending four with only Queen Harrison playing for the home team while her school chums are wearing Mali, Turkey and Latvia’s colors.

Duke is sending five total including Coach K. N.C. State has but three total (one coach) and Boston College sends a soccer player and sailor into the mix.

A total of 90 former and current student-athletes and coaches from the ACC will participate. ACC student-athletes and coaches will participate in 15 medal-awarding sports for 23 countries' Olympic Teams. Fifty will represent the United States. Eleven ACC student-athletes are among the 16-member roster of the USA Olympic Field Hockey Team. (OK, we’ll fess up, 12 of UNC’s 20 athletes play either soccer (7) or field hockey (5).)

To no one’s surprise, the ACC has three players on the Men’s Basketball team – Chris Paul (Wake), Chris Bosh (one-and-done at GT) and Carlos Boozer (UNJD). Maryland’s Sarunas Jasikevicius and Wake’s Darius Songalia will pay for Lithuania.

A complete school-by-school list is as follows:

BOSTON COLLEGE: Charlie Davies Soccer (M) Athlete United States and Carrie Howe Sailing (W) Yngling crew United States.

CLEMSON: Shawn Crawford Track & Field (M) 200 meters United States, Stuart Holden Soccer (M) Athlete United States, Itay Magidi Track & Field (M) 3000m Steeplechase Israel, Cowin Mills Track & Field (M) 4x400m relay Trinidad & Tobago, Travis Padgett Track & Field (M) 4x100m relay United States, Ato Stephens Track & Field (M) 400 meters, 4x400m relay Trinidad & Tobago, Nathan Sturgis Soccer (M) Athlete United States and Dwight Thomas Track & Field (M) 4x100m relay Jamaica.

DUKE: Mike Krzylmb7ski Basketball (M) Head Coach United States, Carlos Boozer Basketball (M) Athlete United States, Shannon Rowbury Track & Field (W) 1,500m United States, Rebecca Ward Fencing (W) Individual Saber & Team Saber United States and Rebecca Smith Soccer (W) Athlete New Zealand.

FLORIDA STATE: Yuruby Alicart Softball Athlete Venezuela, Lonni Alameda Softball Assistant Coach Canada, Gonzalo Barroilhet Track & Field (M) Decathlon Chile, Ricardo Chambers Track & Field (M) 400m Jamaica, Rafeeq Curry Track & Field (M) Triple Jump United States, Walter Dix Track & Field (M) 100m, 200m, 4x100m Relay United States, Tom Lancashire Track & Field (M) 1500m Great Britain, Andrew Lemoncello Track & Field (M) 3000m Steeplechase Great Britain, Ngoni Makusha Track & Field (M) Long Jump Zimbabwe, Barbara Parker Track & Field (W) 3000m Steeplechase Great Britain, Paul Rodgers Soccer (M) Assistant Coach Canada and Dorian Scott Track & Field (M) Shot Put Jamaica.

GEORGIA TECH: Chris Bosh Basketball (M) Athlete United States, Fatmata Fofanah Track & Field (W) 100m Hurdles Guinea, Chante Howard Track & Field (W) High Jump United States, Caitlin Lever Softball Athlete Canada, Gal Nevo Swimming (M) 200m IM; 400m IM Israel, Angelo Taylor Track & Field (M) 400m Hurdles United States, Onur Uras Swimming (M) 100m Fly Turkey and Jen Yee Softball Athlete Canada.

MARYLAND: Chris Seitz Soccer (M) Athlete United States, Robbie Rogers Soccer (M) Athlete United States, Maurice Edu Soccer (M) Athlete United States, Sarunas Jasikevicius Basketball (M) Athlete Lithuania, Lauren Powley Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States, Dina Rizzo Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States and Keli Smith Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States.

MIAMI: Randy Ableman Diving (W) Coach South Africa, Jenna Dreyer Diving (W) 3m Springboard South Africa, Ginou Etienne Track & Field (W) 400 Meters Haiti, Ruben Ross Diving (M) 3m, 10m Springboard Canada, Manon Van Rooijen Swimming (W) 400m Relay; 800m Relay Netherlands and Lauryn Williams Track & Field (W) 100m; 400m Relay United States.

NORTH CAROLINA: Kate Barber Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States,
Lori Chalupny Soccer (W) Athlete United States, Rachel Dawson Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States, Dominic Demeritte Track & Field (M) 200m Bahamas, Erin Donohue Track & Field (W) 1,500m United States, Katelyn Falgowski Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States, Nadine Faustin-Parker Track & Field (W) 100m Hurdles Haiti, Shalane Flannagan Track & Field (W) 5K, 10K United States, Robyn Gayle Soccer (W) Athlete Canada, Jesse Gey Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States, Vikas Gowda Track & Field (M) Discus India, Tobin Heath Soccer (W) Athlete United States, Carrie Lingo Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States, Dax McCarty Soccer (M) Athlete United States, Heather O'Reilly Soccer (W) Athlete United States, Blake Russell Track & Field (W) Marathon United States, Alice Schmidt Track & Field (W) 800m United States, Lindsay Tarpley Soccer (W) Athlete United States, Amy Tran Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States and Kacey White Soccer (W) Athlete United States.

NC STATE: Cullen Jones Swimming (M) 400m Relay United States, Nate McMillan Basketball (M) Assistant Coach United States, and Dan Velez Swmming (M) 100m Breast Puerto Rico.

VIRGINIA: Angela Hucles (below) Soccer (W) Athlete United States, Melanie Kok Rowing (W) Lightweight Double Canada, Adam Nelson Track & Field (M) Shot Put United States, Vanja Rogulj Swimming (M) 100m Breaststroke Croatia, Roby Rojas Softball Athlete Venezuela, Lindsay Shoop Rowing (W) Women's Eight United States, Dawn Staley Basketball (W) Assistant Coach United States and Erika Stewart Swimming (W) 200m Medley Colombia.

VIRGINIA TECH: Nare Diawara Basketball (W) Athlete (will not compete - injured) Mali, Queen Harrison (above) Track & Field (W) 400m Hurdles United States, Kaan Tayla Swimming (M) 50m Freestyle Turkey and Ieva Kublina Basketball (W) Athlete Latvia.

WAKE FOREST: Chris Paul Basketball (M) Athlete United States, Michael Bingham Track & Field (M) 400m Relay Great Britain, Hunter Kemper Track & Field (M) Triathlon United States, Kelly Doton Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States, Lauren Crandall Field Hockey (W) Athlete United States, Michael Parkhurst Soccer (M) Athlete United States and Darius Songaila Basketball (M) Athlete Lithuania.

Pictured from top: Rebecca Ward (Duke), Walter Dix (FSU), Sarunas Jasikevicius (MD), Jenna Dreyer (Miami), Rachel Dawson (r) (UNC), Lindsay Shoop (VA), Queen Harrison (VT), Angela Hucles (VA).

PICTURE OF THE DAY

HAPPY OLYMPICS...Singer Song Zuying, the last torchbearer of the day, lights the Olympic flame ending the second day of the Beijing leg of Olympic torch relay at Ditan Park on August 7, 2008 in Beijing, China.

(Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY 2

THERE’S BEEN A LITTLE RAIN…at the Beijing Olympics' Volleyball venue, but Chinese authorities assure us that the courts are 干燥和准备好比杆数赛 (dry and ready for medal play).

OK, put the tank down, we’re kidding.

Sports Illustrated photographer David E. Klutho shot the Hannibal YMCA Men's Club 29th annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament earlier this month. Teams consisted of no more than eight players, with at least half of them female.

(Photos: David E. Klutho/SI)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

NICE HAT…Stefan Nimke of Germany's track cycling team wears his helmet during a training session at the Laoshan Velodrome on August 7, 2008 in Beijing. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games track cycling competition will start on August 15.

(Photo by Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

GOLD RUSH…? Tim Wadlow and Chris Rast of the United States of America practices in the 49er class training session held at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center ahead of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 7, 2008 in Qingdao, China.

We can't lose the 49er class, can we?
Cool sail.

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

WAHOOS CHAMPS OF CHAMPS

…Huh?

Before we get all wrapped up in the first major championship of ACC 2009, it only seemed fair to look back at ACC 2008 and see which fine institution led the way with the highest number of league championships. Drum roll, please…

Well (George, you were right), the winner is the University of Virginia.

The big and bad Wahoos earned the crown by powering their way to titles in Men’s Cross Country, Women’s Swimming, Men’s Diving, Men’s Swimming, Rowing, Women’s Lacrosse and Men’s Tennis. That’s an ACC-leading seven in all. Well done, Hoos.

Of course, if these other lame institutions (pun intended) could figure out how to field a polo team, the Hoos would, no doubt, up their tally to eight…but, we digress.

Coming in second was UNC as the Tar Heels brought home four trophies including three relatively important ones (not to diminish UVA tremendous accomplishment) in MEN'S BASKETBALL, Women’s Basketball and, of course, Women’s Soccer. The Heels also won the Field Hockey title.

Relative new-comers Florida State and Virginia Tech managed to tie the Heels with four titles each: The Seminoles in Women’s Cross Country, Men’s Indoor and Outdoor track and Men’s Golf and the Hokies in FOOTBALL, Women’s Indoor and Outdoor track and Softball. There isn’t a rule that says if you win your Indoor track championship, you have to win your Outdoor track championship, it just seems that way.

Clemson picked up two (Volleyball and Women’s Tennis) as did Duke (Women’s Golf and Men’s Lacrosse). Boston College won the Men’s Soccer title, Miami the Baseball crown and Maryland the Wrestling championship.

Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and N.C. State struck out in 2008 after each winning multiple titles the year before.

Now that we have that over with, let’s get that pigskin movin’!!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO...

...HMMM.

We’ve been travelling around the Old Dominion quite a lot this summer and we have seen some interesting sights. So many, in fact, that we have started to carry along a digital camera so we can report back to the TAH faithful.

On a recent trip to Fredericksburg to visit a member of the Virginia General Assembly, we had an occasion to visit a pre-fab office park where said Delegate’s office was located. We parked next to this establishment…and, well…it kind of catches the eye, no?

Welcome to the Kesitah Deliverance Ministry and Majestic Robes Co. (hours by appointment)! C'mon in!

First question to the esteemed public servant was pretty obvious: “Is your neighbor’s business a front and have you considered contacting the FBI and Homeland Security?”

Thus was born a new TAH feature. When retelling the story, we were pressed for a name for this new important segment. Assistant Creative Director Young A.T. advocated “Really Now” in honor of the hysterical SNL skit about Michael Vick called…well, it’s kind of obvious…”Really Now.”

While we liked that and the other suggestions offered by family members, friends and loyal readers, we ultimately decided to stick with a good ol’ TAH stand by…THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO: HMMMM…

RANDOLPH MACON INVITED TO JOIN ACC

Randolph Macon College (Yellow Jackets, 1,146 students, Ashland, VA) has been invited to join the ACC according to ACC Commish John Swofford. The invitation comes fast on the Princeton Review releasing it’s rankings of the top party schools in the nation and lil’ ol “Randy Mac” (as it’s known to its friends) pulling down a rock solid #9 amongst the likes of Florida, West Virginia and Texas. The only other ACC school to crack the top 20 -- the scantily clad Seminoles of FSU (#10).

“We would welcome Randolph Macon to the fold based simply on their affinity for bong hits and watching ‘Harold and Kumar’ reruns,” said Swofford, “but, ultimately, we were really impressed by the volume of binge drinking, licentiousness, and overall torpor generated by such a small school with just nine fraternities and two sororities.”

While a recent press report noted, “But the truth is, pretty much every school you go to (at least in the U.S.) is going to offer evenings in cramped frat houses with kegs of beer, people making out in hallways and toilets full of unflushed vomit. Even MIT -- which is, of course, notorious for its nerdiness -- is known for having killer parties,” it is well known that the ACC seeks to dominate all categories of the college experience.

DUKE LEADS ACC SCHOOLS ACCORDING TO STUPID MAGAZINE

Meanwhile, over in the real world, the U.S. News and World Report put together a set of rankings based on somewhat legitimate criteria. Obviously, basketball wasn't one of them. The considered freshmen retention rates, acceptance rates, faculty resources, alumni giving percentages, etc. Here’s how the ACC stacked up.

Princeton University, 2. Harvard University, 3. Yale University, 4. Stanford University and 5. University of Pennsylvania.

Best ACC school was Duke #8, followed by UVA (23), UNC (28), Wake Forest (30), Boston College (35), Georgia Tech (35, tie), Miami (52), Maryland (54 – three quarterbacks), Clemson (67), Va Tech (71), NCSU (85), FSU (112 – no quarterback).

Here are a few other majors (non Ivy, non nerd schools) for perspective:

Vanderbilt (19), Notre Dame (20), Cal (21), Georgetown (23), UCLA (24), Michigan (25), USC (27), William & Mary (33), Wisconsin (38), Illinois (38), Washington (42), Texas (44), Penn State (48), Florida (49), George Washington (54), Ohio State (57), Pitt (59), Purdue (63), UConn (64), Delaware (71), Colorado (79), Kansas (85), Alabama (91), Nebraska (91), Auburn (96), Tennessee (97), Oklahoma (110) and South Carolina and Kentucky (112).

Do notice how those SEC schools are ranked down near the bottom…

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/brief/t1natudoc_brief.php

HAIL TO THE REDSKINS

Darrell Green of the Washington Redskins talks to fans during the Class of 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Fawcett Stadium on August 2, 2008 in Canton, Ohio.
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)






Art Monk of the Washington Redskins talks to fans during the Class of 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Fawcett Stadium on August 2, 2008 in Canton, Ohio.
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)






Coach Jim Zorn of the Washington Redskins hugs coach Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts after the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium on August 3, 2008 in Canton, Ohio.
Yes, it was just a meaningless exhibition game, but you have to believe Coach Z desperately wanted to win his debut.
Well done.
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

AS MR. NIKON SAYS…Coolpic…Sergio Garcia of Spain plays a tee shot during a practice round prior to the 90th PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club on August 5, 2008 in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

WHERE DO WE START…? That’s Chris Paul late of Wake Forest with the funny looking mustard stained ball. Then there’s the Russian uni…oh, my.

(Photo by MN Chan/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

HEY MAN-BOOB GUY…get your hand off my roo’s foot.

Australian swimmer Cate Campbell arrives at the Beijing International airport on August 3, 2008. Australian head coach Alan Thompson predicted the Olympic swimming competition will be the fastest and toughest ever witnessed. His comments bode well for a deluge of world records being shattered in Beijing where many competitors will benefit from wearing a controversial new piece of swimming technology Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit.

(Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 4

ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM…McLaren Mercedes' Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen drives at the Hungaroring racetrack on August 3, 2008 in Budapest during the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix. McLaren Mercedes' Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen won the race ahead of Toyota's German driver Timo Glock and Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen.

(Photo by Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 5

OUR OLD FRIENDS…THE CRAZY PEOPLE. Superbikes enter the first corner of race one of round 10 of the World Superbikes Championships at Brands Hatch Race track, on August 3, 2008. Ryuichi Kiyonari won.

(Photo by Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images)

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