Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The "Old Ball Coach" Resigns

South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has resigned from his position, blaming himself for his team's recent decline, even calling himself a "recruiting liability".  Co-offensive coordinator Shawn Elliot has been named interim head coach.

Before coaching at SC, Spurrier had previously coached the Tampa Bay Bandits of the USFL; Duke and Florida of the NCAA; and the Washington Redskins of the NFL.  He is still has the most coaching wins at both South Carolina and Florida.  As a player, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1966, when he was Florida's quarterback.  In the NFL, he played for nine season with the San Francisco 49ers, mainly as a backup quarterback and punter, and one year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Known as the "Old Ball Coach", Spurrier is credited with dubbing Florida's home field "The Swamp".

Read more at The Times And Democrat, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and CBS Sports.

Random Musings #6

Here's another set of ideas that have been inspired by recent events, or just popped into my head:

One thing that reinforces my belief in a God who created the universe is the behavior of atoms and subatomic particles, which is the subject of the branch of science known as quantum mechanics.  Understanding completely how and why everything works at the quantum level is something that I think that only God might be truly capable of.

In a way, being a pro-life politician is pretty cheap, and I say that as a pro-lifer myself.  Since any laws passed to limit abortion are just about certain to be overturned in a court, using Roe v. Wade as precedent, pro-life politicians never truly have a chance to put their money where their mouth is.  Only if Roe is overturned, which would result, not in making abortion illegal, but in reinstating all of the state laws on abortion, will legislators actually have a chance to abolish or modify them.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Links For Columbus Day

According to a certain rhyme, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue."  Today, as we celebrate, or maybe decry, the arrival of Christopher Columbus, a.k.a. Cristobal Colon, a.k.a. Cristoforo Columbo, on a small island in what is now the Bahamas, here are some things going on:

From The Washington Times, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, formerly of Miami Sound Machine, are taking their musical that celebrates immigrants to Broadway.

From One News Now, the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission announces "Every Living Thing Matters".

From Fox News, President Obama gives his opinion on his former Secretary of State's email server.

From the New York Post, a man in California sets off bombs on a golf course.

From The Blaze, at a tailgate outside an NFL stadium, a man shoots someone while being "egged on".

From CNN, the U.S. delivers 50 tons of ammunition to Syrian rebels.  (How much of it will eventually fall into ISIS hands is currently anyone's guess.)

From Townhall, legal scholars declare their opposition to the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges.

From The Daily Star, Russia and Saudi Arabia discuss possible cooperation in Syria.  (via Albawaba)

From Zerohedge, Chinese stocks rally while U.S. markets have the day off.

From Wired, scientists can now predict intelligence from maps of people's brains.

From Medical Express, some discussion on whether to get a genetic test for breast cancer.

From CNS News, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says that he will not take in 200,000 Syrians "who could be ISIS".

From Louder With Crowder, deaths from guns have gone down.  (via Right Wing News)

From YNet News, Palestinians rioting in Gaza break through the border fence into Israel.  (Via Holger Awakens, whom I had the privilege of meeting in person almost four years ago.)

From ABC News, King Felipe VI of Spain presides over a parade celebrating his country's National Day.

From The Telegraph, Scotland Yard stops guarding the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been taking refuge.

From NewsBusters, how The New York Times covered the Justice or Else rally by omitting facts about its organizer Louis Farrakhan.

And while we Americans argue over the good and bad results of Columbus coming to America, Christian History provides some little-known facts, in an article published in 1992.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pork Removed From Federal Prison Menu

From The Washington Post:
The nation’s pork producers are in an uproar after the federal government abruptly removed bacon, pork chops, pork links, ham and all other pig products from the national menu for 206,000 federal inmates.
The ban started with the new fiscal year last week.
The Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for running 122 federal penitentiaries and feeding their inmates three meals a day, said the decision was based on a survey of prisoners’ food preferences:
They just don’t like the taste of pork.
As also noted by TWP, Jewish and Muslim dietary laws both forbid the consumption of pork, for which the prison system has already made accommodations, but the elimination of pork from the regular menu seems a bit much.  None of those inmates like bacon or ham with their eggs?

The denial of bacon, in my not-so-humble opinion, would almost seem like cruel and unusual punishment.  However, a small figurative bone has been thrown to prisoners who like pork.
Incarcerated pork lovers still have an option: The prison commissary, a convenience store that sells packaged pork rinds and precooked bacon. But they have to pay.
Read the full story.  I would have liked to present some other sources, but everything I've been able to look up refers back to the article in The Washington Post.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Two Bombs Kill 86 [UPDATE: 95] In Turkish Capitol

Two bombs were set off at a peace rally just outside the main train station in Ankara, Turkey, reportedly killing 86 people and injuring 186 more.  Authorities believe that both blasts were suicide attacks.  No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Read more at BGN News, Reuters, The Guardian, CNN and RUDAW.

UPDATE:  Some of the above links now indicate 95 people killed and 246 injured.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Four Shot At Northern Arizona University

Early this morning at Northern Arizona University, a confrontation between two groups of students escalated into a shooting, resulting in one person being killed and three others wounded.  The suspect, an 18-year-old freshman, has been taken into custody.  The victims and suspect are all male.

Read more at KERA News, KSL, The Denver Post, KTBS and NAU News, which is the school's website.

Pigs In Scotland Dig Up Ancient Tools

From Discovery News:
Pigs foraging along a Scottish coastline have unwittingly uprooted the earliest evidence for a remote population of hunter-gatherers.
The uprooted items, stone tools that have been dated to around 12,000 years ago, are described in the latest issue of British Archaeology. The tools were discovered on the east coast of the Isle of Islay, Scotland, and include sharp points -- likely used for hunting big game -- scrapers and more.
The pigs had been released so that they could eat bracken, a type of fern, but in their search for food, found something more.  Read the full story.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Skinny Dipper Nabbed In Congressional Fountain

Someone in Washington D.C. apparently decided to take a bath in the Library of Congress’ Court of Neptune fountain, dressing down for the occasion.  The perp turned out to be neither a congresscritter nor a certain former president.  From Heard On The Hill:
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Oct. 1, cops responded to 10 First St. SE, following a report of a nude male bathing in the fountain. Police say they discovered Wodaji Getawa Mekonnen “matching that description, with his genitalia exposed.”
Read the full story, and if you wish to bathe while visiting our nation's capitol, please do so in private.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cool Springs Park

Besides Lonaconing, Maryland, another interesting place that I've run across while driving in the mountainous areas in western Maryland and beyond is Cool Springs Park, in Rowlesburg, West Virginia.  I first happened upon this place 12 years ago while driving eastward on U.S. Highway 50 on my way back from a wedding in Indiana.  Just after passing a gas station, I noticed a bunch of unusual-looking contraptions and old railroad cars in an adjacent wooded area, so I decided to have a look.  As it turned out, the gas station was part of a building that also included a convenience store, a gift shop and a restaurant.  The building and the wooded area with all its old stuff were and are parts of Cool Springs Park.  As I wandered around to get a good look at the old machinery and railcars, realized that I was being followed - by a friendly donkey.

As with Lonaconing, I knew that sooner or later, I had to return and get some pictures with my digital camera.  As I had first done years ago, I again wandered around the wooded area, but this time was not followed by any four-legged critters.  The park now has two donkeys and a South American camel, of which species I don't know, but they all left me alone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Lonaconing Iron Furnace

About 20 years ago, while exploring the western part of my then-recently adopted home state, I passed through a small town named Lonaconing and stopped to see its iron furnace.  Although located in Maryland, the town somehow reminded me of places I'd seen in rural Pennsylvania.  Even the name, by ending in "-ing", seemed reminiscent of the Keystone State, in which there are towns or counties named Wyoming, Lycoming and Wyalusing.  (The name "Wyoming", although given to a western state, actually originates in Pennsylvania.)  The pictures in this post, as you might expect, are from a much more recent visit.

The Lonaconing furnace was the first in America to produce iron by burning coke, and was used from 1839 to 1856.  Long after it was closed, a high school was built in the area in front of the furnace, but today the area is a park.  Several lampposts stand in front of the furnace, which may be reached by walking up a few stairs.  Behind and above the furnace is a residential street.