Wednesday, October 31, 2007

COM: Spirograph, ah the days

Created by Anu Garg.

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ATH: Cobi Jones explained

From the US National Team Players Association

The Cobi Jones Career Report Card: A+
By Andrea Canales, 10/31/2007 10:00 AM

LOS ANGELES (October 31, 2007) USSoccerPlayers -- When Cobi Jones stepped on to the field for the LA Galaxy’s inaugural appearance in 1996, it might have crossed his mind that he’d one day line up for the team’s last ever game too. After all, some predicted that Major League Soccer would fold in just a few years.

Jones certainly wasn’t looking too far ahead.

“At that time, you’re thinking that you’re going to play forever,” Jones said. “You never think that it’s going to end, that things will wind down. You’re not looking at the twilight of your career. In 1996, in the Rose Bowl, I was just playing for the fun of it. I didn’t know if we were going to last more than a couple of years.”

It was a good thing for Jones that the league lasted longer than the skeptics had forecast -- his Galaxy squad was the original heartbreak team of MLS, losing three finals until the team eventually broke through to take the 2002 championship game.

Jones was captain of the Galaxy that season. The MLS Cup (and a second one in 2005) was just another feat in a long list of accomplishments he amassed in his playing career, including participation at three World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002) for the US, setting the all-time US men’s team international caps record (164), and registering both scoring and assist records for the Galaxy.

“He’s done it all,” said Galaxy midfielder Pete Vagenas.

Along the way, Jones became US soccer’s most recognizable icon, known to casual and dedicated fans for his bouncy dreadlocks and blistering runs up the wing. He served as an inspiration to countless kids, and even his own teammates.

“When I first came to the team, all I wanted to accomplish as a professional soccer player was for Cobi Jones to say that I was his teammate, for Cobi Jones to say, He’s good enough to play with me,” Vagenas said. “I thought if I could get that, I didn’t care what else happened. I could quit the next day and I’d be the happiest man -- if he would accept me as his teammate.”

Even sworn opponents of Jones always respected him. Current Galaxy coach Frank Yallop, who started his MLS career in 1996 as a gritty defender, recalled how his view of Jones evolved.

“I didn’t really like him when I played against him or coached against him, but when you get to know Cobi, he’s a good guy and a great teammate,” Yallop said. “He deserves everything he gets. He’s one of the best American players to play the game.”

To a certain extent, it’s difficult to believe that the 2008 MLS season will kick off without him. After so many years of seeing his familiar number 13 jersey dashing past rivals on its way to the goal, perhaps some fans took the phenomenon for granted. In the league’s 12-year life, Jones became the only man to play in every year for the same squad. In that time he’s scored 76 goals and registered 104 assists in all MLS play.

Proving the old adage that we don’t appreciate something until it’s gone, perhaps it was easy to overlook Jones stepping away from the game, the team and the league in which he believed so fervently. After all, fans and media were both distracted by other big stories. Would the Galaxy’s miraculous playoff run end in joy or tears? Would Beckham play? Would Frank Yallop stay on as coach?

Yet the importance of Los Angeles’ original Cobi was recognized by some. As Yallop put it: “Cobi means a lot to this city and this club and this league. He’s been great for us.”

One of the ways Cobi contributed was in his willingness to go into different media outlets to support and promote US soccer. He even briefly hosted his own MTV fitness show. “He shouldered that burden,” said Vagenas of the work by Jones to raise the game’s profile.

However, nothing hindered Jones in his quest to remain a top player for the Galaxy. He remained focused on that to the end, even with his promised retirement approaching.

“It’s surreal,” Jones said. “It will hit me once the season is over, like it does every year. When the season is over, you look back. This time I’ll look back and think, wow, it’s really over. I won’t be playing with this team again.”

At the Galaxy’s final home game this year, a tribute video to Jones was shown before the match. An emotional Jones watched teammates from the past and the present laud his competitive spirit.

“It was nice to see a lot of the players up there, some current players and players from the past on both the Galaxy and the National Team,” Jones said. “It was great to see all the kind words from a variety of players at different stages of my career.”

Jones was still digesting the finality of his decision to depart as he said, “That’s the last time I’ll be wearing a Galaxy jersey, representing the city of Los Angeles.”

However, it’s not as if Jones has no plans to keep busy in retirement.

“That is definitely one of my goals, to give back to the game and be some type of ambassador, or be involved with the Galaxy or US Soccer,” he said. “That would be great for me. I would love to use the notoriety I have to promote the sport and to do good things with the name recognition that I do have.”

In fact, that would just be a continuation of what Jones has already done.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ENV: New Oldest Animal

Clam, 405, is oldest animal ever
By Richard Alleyne, Last Updated: 12:41pm GMT 30/10/2007

It has been christened Ming and it's officially the oldest animal to have ever lived.

A British scientific team discovered the 405-year-old clam, named after the Chinese dynasty and not the former Liberal Democrat leader, at the bottom of the ocean, and hope its longevity will reveal the secrets of ageing.

So significant is the find that Help The Aged have awarded a £40,000 grant to the team to investigate how the molusc, born when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and William Shakespeare was writing The Merry Wives of Windsor, has survived over the centuries.

The record-breaking shellfish, 31 years older than the previous oldest animal, another clam, was caught last year when scientists from the Bangor University School of Ocean Sciences were dredging the seabed north of Iceland.

The "Arctica islandica" was among a haul of 3,000 empty shells and 34 live molluscs taken to the laboratory.

Unfortunately, by the time its true age had been established Ming was already dead. But the scientists aged the 3.4in clam from its shell which like trees has a layer or ring of growth for every year that the animal has been alive.

The shell only grows in summer when the water is warmer and the plankton it eats is plentiful.

Each year a layer as thin as 0.1mm is laid down.

When Dr Alan Wanamaker, one of the researchers, cut the clam's shell in half, he counted 405 lines.

The clam far outlives other venerable animal species such as the Galapagos tortoise (the oldest known specimen of which lived for 176 years) and the bowhead whale (130 years).

Its age makes the ocean quahog a remarkable environmental sentinel, because the exact thickness of each layer in its shell is determined by the state of its environment at the time it grew.

"It was a large animal so I expected it to be old," said Dr Wanamaker. "But we never expected it to be so extraordinarily old. I knew that the previous record was 374 years and so when I realised it was older I called a colleague to verify it."

The shellfish was dredged as part of a study into climate change over the centuries but because of its extreme age it is now also being investigated by a team of biologists looking into ageing.

"Al rushed up to my office to announce that they had found a record-breaker," said team member Prof Chris Richardson. "If, in Arctica islandica, evolution has created a model of successful resistance to the damage of ageing, it is possible that an investigation of the tissues of these real life Methuselahs might help us to understand the processes of ageing."

Richard Faragher, a gerontologist at Brighton University working with the Bangor team, said: "Most of what we know about the ocean quahog is what it tastes like. We need to find out how it retains muscle strength, remains cancer-free and keeps its nervous system intact over such a long period of time."

It must have come as an unpleasant shock to the Iceland clam to be scraped up after more than four centuries of doing virtually nothing - the quiet, safe life of a clam, according to Faragher, could explain its longevity.

"It has the most boring life," he said. "It even has a low rate of reproduction."

Perhaps not surprisingly, the sexual capacity of the 405-year-old clam is described by the scientists as "spent".

"It may be that reproduction has given up by that age," said Prof Richardson.

Mike Foster, a spokesman for the research arm of Help the Aged, said: "This discovery is not just a curiosity - it is a chance to discover how it remains fit and healthy for hundreds of years."

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the existing record for the longest-lived animal belongs to a 220 year old Arctica clam collected in 1982 from American waters.

Unofficially, the record belongs to a 374 year old Icelandic clam in a German museum.

The oldest ever...
Tree, bristlecone pine: USA: 4,844 (years)
Fish, lake sturgeon: 154
Mammal: bowhead whale: 130
Human: Jeanne Calment: 122
Macaw: 106
Elephant: 78
Horse: 62
Japanese salamander: 55
Herring gull: 49
Bat: 32
Dog: 24
Rabbit: 18

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Monday, October 29, 2007

ENV: Circus of the Spineless Time!

Circus Time Again!

Yep! It's Time for the Circus of the Spineless #26. Send your submissions to to kaz146(at) pronto, so we can get a peek at them at The Other 95% !

#27 will be at The Hawk Owl’s Nest

send your submissions by November 29 to pbelardo(at)

#28 will be at Catalogue of Organisms

send your submission by December 30 to gerarus(at)

#29 will be at Andrea’s Buzzing About:

send your submissions by January 30, 2008 to araychandler(at)

#30 will be at A D.C. Birding Blog

send your submissions by February 27, 2008 to empidonax(at)

And of course, we’re looking for hosts for March and beyond!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

ATH: Ryan fired

From the National Team Players Association -- boo hiss

Ryan Out As Women's Coach
WASHINGTON DC (October 22, 2007) USSoccerPlayers

Greg Ryan has been dismissed as coach of the US Women’s Team, US Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati announced today.

Speaking to journalists via teleconference, Gulati said that Ryan’s contract, which expires at the end of 2007, would not be renewed, and that a new coach will be appointed “within 30-45 days, if not sooner.”

Gulati will be joined by former Women’s Team captain Mia Hamm, and USSF Secretary General Dan Flynn in the process to review candidates and select a new coach. He said the nominee will be “someone who’s coached at the highest level, and been successful at the highest level,” and that it would also be “hard for anyone with no experience of the US game to be considered.”

Asked if Ryan’s dismissal was down to the his decision to drop goalkeeper Hope Solo for the World Cup semifinal game against Brazil, Gulati said that the Federation “considered everything, principally from the last 45 days,” but also from the past two years. But he declined to point to any one factor behind Ryan’s departure.

Solo remains part of the team, and any discussion about her future “will be up to the new coach.”

Gulati also mentioned that while Ryan’s record in charge had been “very good” in terms of win percentages, the World Cup in China had caused the Federation to think about “a number of different reasons” why the team hadn’t performed up to scratch. That included a review of games that the team had won or tied, not just the Brazil defeat.

“We do bring a different level of expectation to the women’s program [compared with the men’s],” Gulati said. “The expectations are much higher. The expectation is that we’ll be competing for a gold medal.”

He also denied that the US women’s program had fallen behind Germany’s, but said “once you’re in the top five, what it takes to stay even is pretty demanding.”

Had the US style been out-trumped by the skill of the Brazilians in China? Gulati replied that while the Brazilians were “technically very gifted,” they hadn’t yet won a gold medal.

Gulati declined to discuss individual candidates for the post, because some of them are currently in paid positions. He also said that current players would be consulted as part of the process.

Asked about Hamm’s involvement in the selection of a new coach, Gulati said they wanted player involvement, but that it was thought best to choose a player no longer on the team. The group was kept deliberately small due to the time constraints, and the need to appoint a candidate swiftly ahead of the coming Olympic year.

Ryan was told of his dismissal Sunday. Flynn said Ryan had been “very thankful” for the opportunity to coach the Women’s Team, but also “disappointed” he wouldn’t have the chance to chase the Olympic Gold.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

ENV: Mystery Dragon

Red Rock Skimmer sp., Paltothemis lineatipes
TX: Real Co., Big Springs Ranch, 20 October 2007
New County Record

Thanks to Scott Young, Bob Barber, Dennis Paulson and John Abbott for establishing the identification of this critter.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

COM: Presidential Issues

Poll: Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

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ATH: Cobi Jones

Cobi Jones' legacy should not be forgotten Jamie Trecker / Special to

Cobi Jones may play for the final time in a Los Angeles Galaxy jersey, at home, tonight.

It might prove to be a quiet end for a career that spans two decades, but Jones' home bow will wrap up a career that helped define modern American soccer. Jones is one of the final links still active today, bridging the dark days of U.S. Soccer in the wilderness to the expectations of today.

Statistics only tell you so much about what Jones meant to American soccer:

# He is far and away the all-time caps leader in U.S. Soccer history, with 164 games under his belt from 1992-2006. He is second only to Landon Donovan on the all-time assists toteboard (22). His 15 goals are good enough to be tied for 7th on the all-time scoring list.
# He appeared in three straight World Cups, from 1994-2002, and arguably should have been considered for the 2006 roster.
# He will pass an astonishing 25,000 minutes in a Galaxy uniform, having played all 12 seasons in Los Angeles — the only player in MLS history to do so.

Jones should be remembered as a trailblazer. He was the first American player to sign with a Brazilian club (Vasco da Gama) and he was one of a very few American players to get a chance in England. And, alongside Robin Fraser and Desmond Armstrong, he helped integrate what had been an overwhelmingly white American national team.

He should be remembered as a leader of one of MLS' most successful franchises. Jones scored the first ever goal for the Galaxy (Wynalda's strike for the now-defunct Clash was MLS' first) and has presided over a club that has won two MLS Cups, two U.S. Open Cups and the CONCACAF Champions' Cup back in 2000.

It's odd then, that Jones seems like a forgotten man. He is no longer one of the faces of the American game and while Jones was one of the most important founders of MLS back in 1996, it's uncertain how his legacy will hold up. Like Tab Ramos and Tony Meola, Jones may fade into memory, overshadowed by the more visible and the more boisterous.

Why is that?

One of the reasons Jones doesn't enjoy the currency that John Harkes, Eric Wynalda or Brian McBride does is because he was one of the rare athletes who did not court the sports media in an era when few people paid any attention at all to the sport. He made few allies in the sports pages with an approach that often seemed sullen and withdrawn. Few reporters bothered to investigate why.

The truth is that Jones was a man who had been burned. In 1994, he became one of the first African-Americans to play in England, signing a one-year deal with Coventry City. The experience was jarring. He was mercilessly and cruelly taunted for his race from the terraces, and he returned to America the next year a changed man.

What Jones demanded was respect and privacy; he has always been smart enough to demand attention on his own terms, and that approach didn't always sit well with a sometimes-selfish (and self-important) media. It was hardly a radical approach for an athlete, but for a soccer player — in an era where some even questioned if soccer was really a sport — it was dramatic.

And for a while, Jones got what he demanded and deserved. In the mid 1990's Jones was a genuine celebrity, perhaps the first in America since Pele to speak beyond soccer's small enclave. He was a regular on MTV and in the pages of Teen Beat and for a few years, Jones was the face of not just the American game but also the promise that sport might one hold.

Today, Jones' floppy dreadlocks and flank runs no longer register with the sports world at large. As Jones has diligently, even quietly, carved out a Hall of Fame career with the Galaxy, the sport has moved on. It's no longer rare to see an American in England, let alone overseas. It's no longer a novelty to see an American soccer player on television.

A great share of that is due to Jones, who not only paved the way for men like Clint Dempsey and Brian McBride abroad but for greater acceptance of African-American athletes like DaMarcus Beasley, Tony Sanneh and Tim Howard at home.

That's Jones' true legacy, and in every way that matters, the most important.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

OBT: Joey Bishop

Comedian Joey Bishop Dies at 89
Bishop Was Last, Most Famous of Sinatra's Rat Pack
LOS ANGELES Oct. 18, 2007

Joey Bishop, the stone-faced comedian who found success in night clubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra's boisterous Rat Pack, has died at his home, his publicist said Thursday. He was 89.

Bishop was the group's last surviving member. Peter Lawford died in 1984, Sammy Davis Jr. in 1990, Dean Martin in 1995, and Sinatra in 1998.

Bishop died Wednesday night of multiple causes at his home in Newport Beach, publicist and longtime friend Warren Cowen said.

The Rat Packers became a show business sensation in the late 1960s when they appeared together at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in shows that combined music and comedy in a seemingly chaotic manner.

Reviewers often claimed that Bishop played a minor role, but Sinatra knew otherwise. He termed the comedian "the hub of the big wheel."

The quintet continued their hilarity whenever members were free of their own commitments. They appeared together in such films as "Ocean's Eleven" and "Sergeants 3" and even at a special performance for President Kennedy.

The late 1990s brought a renaissance of the Rat Pack, with the group depicted in an HBO movie and portrayed by imitators in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The movie "Ocean's Eleven" was even remade in 2003 with George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the lead roles.

Before the renaissance, Bishop defended his fellow performers' rowdy reputations in a 1998 interview.

"Are we remembered as being drunk and chasing broads?" he asked. "I never saw Frank, Dean, Sammy or Peter drunk during performances. That was only a gag. And do you believe these guys had to chase broads? They had to chase 'em away."

Away from the Rat Pack, Bishop starred in two television series, both called "The Joey Bishop Show."

The first, an NBC sitcom, got off to a rocky start in 1961. Critical and audience response was generally negative, and the second season brought a change in format. The third season brought a change in network, with the show moving to ABC, but nothing seemed to help and it was canceled in 1965.

In the first series, Bishop played a TV talk show host.

In his next series, he really was a TV talk show host. The program, which aired on ABC, was launched in 1967 as a challenge to Johnny Carson's immensely popular "The Tonight Show."

Like Carson, Bishop sat behind a desk and bantered with a sidekick, TV newcomer Regis Philbin.

But despite an impressive guest list and outrageous stunts, Bishop couldn't dent Carson's ratings, and "The Joey Bishop Show" was canceled after two seasons.

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OBT: Deborah Kerr

‘King and I’ star Deborah Kerr dies at 86 Actress, who starred in ‘From Here to Eternity,’ suffered from Parkinson's The Associated Press, Updated: 10:48 a.m. CT Oct 18, 2007

LONDON - Deborah Kerr, who shared one of Hollywood’s most famous kisses while portraying an Army officer’s unhappy wife in “From Here to Eternity” and danced with the Siamese monarch in “The King and I,” has died. She was 86.

Kerr, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, died Tuesday in Suffolk in eastern England, her agent, Anne Hutton, said Thursday.

For many she will be remembered best for her kiss with Burt Lancaster as waves crashed over them on a Hawaiian beach in the wartime drama “From Here to Eternity.”

Kerr’s roles as forceful, sometimes frustrated women pushed the limits of Hollywood’s treatment of sex on the screen during the censor-bound 1950s.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Kerr six times for best actress, but never gave her an Academy Award until it presented an honorary Oscar in 1994 for her distinguished career as an “artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance.”

She had the reputation of a “no problem” actress.

“I have never had a fight with any director, good or bad,” she said toward the end of her career. “There is a way around everything if you are smart enough.”

Kerr (pronounced CARR) was the only daughter of a civil engineer and architect who died when she was 14. Born in Helensburgh, Scotland, she moved with her parents to England when she was 5, and she started to study dance in the Bristol school of her aunt. Kerr won a scholarship to continue studying ballet in London, and at 17 she made her stage debut as a member of the corps de ballet in “Prometheus.”

She soon switched to drama, however, and began playing small parts in repertory theater in London until it was shut down by the 1939 outbreak of World War II.

After reading children’s stories on British Broadcasting Corp. radio, she was given the part of a hatcheck girl with two lines in the film “Contraband,” but her speaking role ended on the cutting-room floor.

After more repertory acting she had another crack at films, reprising her stage role of Jenny, a Salvation Army worker, in a 1940 adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s “Major Barbara,” receiving favorable reviews both in Britain and the United States.

She continued making films in Britain during the war, including one — “Colonel Blimp” — in which she played three different women over a span of decades.

“It is astonishing how she manages to make the three parts distinctly separate as characterizations,” said New Movies magazine at the time.

Kerr was well-reviewed as an Irish spy in “The Adventuress” and as the tragic girlfriend of a Welsh miner in “Love on the Dole.”

She was invited to Hollywood in 1946 to play in “The Hucksters” opposite Clark Gable. She went on to work with virtually all the other top American actors and with many top directors, including John Huston, Otto Preminger and Elia Kazan.

Tired of being typecast in ladylike roles, she rebelled to win a release from her MGM contract and get the role of Karen Holmes in “From Here to Eternity.”

Playing the Army officer’s alcoholic, sex-starved wife in a fling with Lancaster’s Sgt. Warden opened up new possibilities for Kerr.

She played virtually every part imaginable from murderer to princess to a Roman Christian slave to a nun.

In “The King and I,” with her singing voice dubbed by Marni Nixon, she was Anna Leonowens, who takes her son to Siam so that she can teach the children of the king, played by Yul Brynner.

Her best-actress nominations were for “Edward, My Son” (1949), “From Here to Eternity” (1953), “The King and I” (1956), “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” (1957), “Separate Tables” (1958), and “The Sundowners” (1960).

Among her other movies is “An Affair to Remember” with Cary Grant.

Other notable roles were in “The Sundowners,” “Beloved Infidel,” “The Innocents” (an adaptation of the Henry James novella “Turn of the Screw”), “The Night of the Iguana” with Richard Burton and “The Arrangement” with Kirk Douglas.

After “The Arrangement” in 1968, she took what she called a “leave of absence” from acting, saying she felt she was “either too young or too old” for any role she was offered.

Kerr told The Associated Press that she turned down a number of scripts, either for being too explicit or because of excessive violence.

She refused to play a nude scene in “The Gypsy Moths,” released in 1968. “It was when they started that ‘Now everybody has got to take their clothes off,”’ she said. “My argument was that it was completely gratuitous. Had it been necessary for the dramatic content, I would have done it.”

In fact she undressed for “The Arrangement,” even though the scene was later cut. “There the nude scene was necessary, husband and wife in bed together,” Kerr said. “That was real.”

She returned to the stage, acting in Edward Albee’s “Seascape” on Broadway and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in Los Angeles.

Her Broadway debut came in 1953, when she was acclaimed as Laura Reynolds, a teacher’s wife who treats a sensitive student compassionately in “Tea and Sympathy.”

After a full season in New York, she took it on a national tour and recreated the role in a movie in 1956.

Kerr was active until the mid-1980s, with “The Assam Garden,” “Hold the Dream” and “Reunion at Fairborough” all in 1985.

She told the AP that TV reruns of her old movies have “kept me alive” for a new generation of film fans.

In 1945 Kerr married Anthony Charles Bartley, whom she had met when he was a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force. They had two daughters and were divorced in 1959. A year later she married novelist-screenwriter Peter Viertel with whom she lived on a large estate with two trout ponds in the Swiss Alpine resort of Klosters and in a villa in Marbella, Spain.

Kerr is survived by Viertel, two daughters and three grandchildren.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ATH: New U.S. Soccer Team Players

From U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association

Getting To Know The Young US Prospects
WASHINGTON DC (October 16, 2007) USSoccerPlayers10/16/2007 10:14 AM

Bob Bradley’s 23-man roster for Wednesday’s exhibition game against Switzerland at the St. Jakob Stadium in Basel contains a few surprise names, many of which may be unfamiliar to US soccer fans.

In mostly avoiding the call-up of players on Major League Soccer teams still involved in the race for honors, the coach picked out some American youngsters plying their trade in Denmark, the German third division or, most obscure of all, in Utah. Here are four pen portraits of US players as yet uncapped at senior level.

Steve Purdy. Central defender Purdy, 22, joined 1860 Munich of the German second division at the start of 2007 after four years playing for the California University Bears, where he was a Second Team NSCAA All-American in his final year. He has played ten times for the US U20 team, but was not on the U23 roster that traveled to Japan earlier this year.

Since the start of the 2007-08 season in August he has held down a starting spot in Munich’s reserve team, which plays in the country’s Third Division (South). In Germany, reserve teams are often used to nurture young players and give them game time in a pro league. Reserve team attendances are generally poor, and Purdy has been playing in front of around 1000 fans when Munich have played at home.

His performances have been good enough to keep him in the team for ten of the side’s 11 games. He was dropped to the bench one week for a 1-0 home loss against Ludwigshafen, but immediately regained his place for the following game. He has played through all ten games that he’s started, but faces tough competition within the club before he’s called up to join his American teammates Greg Berhalter and Josh Wolff in the 1860 first XI.

The 1860 reserves are in 13th place of the 18-team division, with a 4-6-1 record.

Preston Zimmerman. A product of the Bradenton Residency Program, the 18-year-old striker from Pasco, Washington, skipped the college system to sign for SV Hamburg of the German Bundesliga last year, and this season has been scoring regularly for the club’s reserve team in the Third Division (North).

Hamburg were impressed by Zimmerman at the 2005 U17 World Cup in Peru, where he scored a single goal, but displayed a determination, industry and physical presence that augured well for his adaptation to the German game. Although at 17 he was too young to sign for Hamburg due to FIFA rules, he signed a contract in January 2006 that became valid upon his 18th birthday in November of that year, and in the meantime played for the team anyway. Details on how this was allowed are vague.

Zimmerman, who is of German descent, has also played for the U20 National Team, and was called into the squad for this year’s World Cup in Canada as a late replacement for Johann Smith. Although he saw no playing time at the tournament, he’s been in good form for Hamburg Reserves this season, scoring five goals in nine starts.

Tally Hall. To West Coast college soccer fans, goalkeeper Talmon Henry Hall is a familiar name now playing for an unfamiliar club. Name your collegiate soccer award, and Hall was likely considered for it while at San Diego State. Los Angeles certainly noticed, drafting him in the fourth round, but probably not surprised that a player with his pedigree was still unpicked so late considering the rumors that were linking him to Europe.

Indeed, after three years of college soccer it was Denmark, not MLS that beckoned, with Hall opting for Esbjerg forenede Boldklubber, aka Esbjerg fB. The five-time Danish League champions last lifted the title six years before Hall was born. Esbjerg, the fifth largest city in Denmark, is on the west coast, about three hours from Copenhagen. With a little over 100,000 people, the club’s Blue Water Arena seats 5,282, plus standing areas.

Hall has yet to play a SAS Ligaen game, serving as a backup to Lars Winde.

Robbie Findley. An odd selection considering Findley was called into camp for Trinidad & Tobago’s Under-23 National Team and was not part of the United States youth soccer teams. Findley was a strong regional player for Oregon State in college, not breaking into the national awards picture, but honored by the Pac-10 Conference.

Drafted by Los Angeles in 2007, Findley played all of three months for the club before being traded to Real Salt Lake as part of the Chris Klein deal. He has played well for an underperforming team, scoring six goals in 16 games, and two in nine games for the Galaxy.

As bizarre as it sounds for a player traded early in his rookie season, not only has Findley earned himself a National Team camp invite, he’s also an outside candidate for MLS Rookie of the Year.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

MSC: Lyle Lovett at The Majestic and Award

Went with some friends to see Lyle at The Majestic in San Antonio on Sunday. The show was stunning (but what could anyone expect?). I couldn't have asked for any more great songs -- I Will Rise Up, Don't Cry a Tear, L.A. County, If I Had a Boat, Church, Closing Time . . . what a fantastic mix of brand new and old. And Lyle and April look great. Lyle was fnuny as ever. It was sure great seeing them as well as James Gilmer & John Hagen, and seeing Mitch Watkins play with them for the first time.

Here's a press release about another deserved, fine honor for Lyle, to be presented on his birthday no less.

October 2, 2007 — Lyle Lovett will receive the Americana Music Association's inaugural Trailblazer Award and perform at the organization's 2007 Honors and Awards show, slated for November 1 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will also sponsor a keynote interview with Lyle the following day during the association's annual conference. Dr. Warren Zanes, education advisor to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, will moderate the in-depth discussion with Lyle at 11 a.m. at the Nashville Convention Center.

Established to recognize true musical pioneers, the Americana Trailblazer Award seeks to honor artists who create timeless musical capsules of individualistic style and purpose. Lyle's gospel-roots-jazz-swing style has been well-documented in his 11 albums, four Grammys and distinct voice, both as a songwriter and vocal stylist over the past three decades.

"Lyle Lovett's designation as the first recipient of the Trailblazer Award really sets the tone for the honor itself," said Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly. "We at the AMA are consistently thrilled by the caliber of artist we represent and applaud. Lyle Lovett naturally falls into that elite fold."

Other artists scheduled to perform during the 8th annual Americana Awards and Honors ceremony include Emmylou Harris, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby, Todd Snider, the Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Hacienda Brothers and Elizabeth Cook. Hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featuring a band led by Buddy Miller, the event will also toast winners in six member-voted categories and will recognize Joe Ely with the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performance category. Guy Clark will accept the AMA President's Award on behalf of his friend, Townes Van Zandt.

Slated for Wednesday, October 31 through Saturday, November 3, the 8th Annual Americana Festival and Conference will offer daily seminars, panels and networking opportunities at the Nashville Convention Center. Each evening brings Americana showcases to key venues throughout Nashville.

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COM: Hill Country Children's Theatre

Recent news from the Hill Country Children's Theatre

Children's theater's newest production: "Bugsy and Me"

The HILL COUNTRY CHILDREN’S THEATER (HCCT) announced its next production, set to begin in October 27, 2007, will be “Bugsy and Me”. This original, two-act-show will bring the “roarin’ twenties” and New York City into the Texas Hill Country. “It is the 1920’s, and a gangster named Bugsy Monahan is struggling to maintain his criminal empire,” Scott Jones, HCCT’s executive director explained. “A somewhat ‘soft’ gangster, Bugsy’s image is more menacing than his “bite”. When the main character suddenly finds himself caring for his sister’s child, Bugsy is faced with a difficult decision: give up his life of crime or surrender the young girl to an orphanage. What follows is a heart-stopping series of events that unfairly place Bugsy in jail and send his young charge, Felicity, on her way to the orphanage. Escaping from the authorities, Felicity must find a way to clear her uncle’s name and save her new family before the vile, Momma Rossini can take over Bugsy’s territory.

“We have worked very hard at developing ‘Bugsy and Me’ into a thoroughly enjoyable experience for both the actors on stage and our audience,” Jones continued. “The addition of original music and choreography assistance is going to really enhance our production.” Jones went on to add that over 70% of the cast of their previous production, “Wonderland” is returning for the new show.

Rehearsals for “Bugsy and Me” will start on October 27, 2007. Parents meetings are scheduled for October 18th and 25th. The meetings will begin at 6:00 pm and are informal. Interested parents are encouraged to attend, where they will receive information on the theater, a rehearsal calendar, and other valuable information. Enrollment in the 12-week program costs $10.00 per child, and includes instruction in drama and other theater activities. Children ages 5 to 19 are welcome to participate, and no experience is necessary. The Parent’s meetings and first rehearsals will all be at First Presbyterian Church, 800 Jefferson, in Kerrville, at the Family Life Center. A rehearsal schedule and other information can be found on the theater’s website.

“Our rehearsals are very family-friendly,” Jones stressed. “Most of the rehearsals are on Saturdays, with only a few, school-night rehearsals scattered throughout the calendar. There will be no practices during the holiday periods.” Despite the technically difficult aspects of this new show, Jones wanted all parents to know that HCCT’s policies of not staring one child over another and allowing all children a chance to participate will not change. “The bar is raised for our newer participants,” Jones stated, “but, we will not leave any child behind.” Additionally, parents and interested adults are needed to fill many roles for this show, and having children is not a requirement.

Registrations for “Bugsy and Me” are being accepted now. You can contact the theater form more information on how to register. This show will take the stage in late January/February 2008 in Kerrville and Fredericksb urg.

More information on the theater and this show may be obtained by calling HCCT at: (830) 990-5752, by email at:, or on their website:

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NAT: Austin PowWow

The Austin PowWow is coming up Nov 3 at the Burger Center in Austin. One of the featured performers is our old friend Mark Standing Eagle Baez. Check out the website here:

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ENV: Fooling Dragonflies

From Doug Aguillard on the SWOdes listserv comes a link to a pretty fascinating story about dragonflies and fishing. Check it out here:

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ENV: Sincora Antwren

New species of antwren for Brazil 08-10-2007

"It would be sadly ironic if, as soon as it was discovered, Sincorá Antwren became threatened with extinction" —Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife International

A possible new species of antwren from Bahia, Brazil has recently been described in the journal Zootaxa. Sincorá Antwren Formicivora grantsaui is found only in the campo rupestre vegetation of the Serra do Sincorá between 850 m and 1,100 m in the Chapada Diamantina region. This is an important area that holds other restricted range species such as Grey-backed Tachuri Polystictus superciliaris and Pale-throated Pampa-finch Embernagra longicauda. First observed in 1997, it is closely related to Rusty-backed Antwren Formicivora rufa, with which it sometimes occurs sympatrically. It differs slightly in some plumage characters but more importantly it has quite distinctive vocalisations and each species utilises different habitats. Formicivora grantsaui occurs on rocky outcrops in the campo rupestre and F. rufa in the adjacent savannas. If confirmed, this discovery highlights the importance of researchers using vocalisations and habitat preference in identifying distinct species.

"This is potentially another new species for Brazil. Once confirmed, it is vital that we assess its conservation status and any potential threats. It would be sadly ironic if, as soon as it was discovered, Sincorá Antwren became threatened with extinction," says Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Species Programme Coordinator.

This taxa will be assessed in due course by the South American Classification Committee of the AOU (BirdLife’s taxonomic source for South America). If recognised as a valid species by SACC, BirdLife will then evaluate its extinction risk category for the IUCN Red List (for which BirdLife is the official Red List Authority).

LUIZ PEDREIRA GONZAGA, ANDRÉ M. P. CARVALHAES & DANTE R. C. BUZZETTI. 2007. A new species of Formicivora antwren from the Chapada Diamantina, eastern Brazil (Aves: Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae). Zootaxa 1473: 25–44

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

NAT: Chitimacha

ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Rosetta Stone Inc., creator of the world's No. 1 language-learning program, has formed a partnership with the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana to develop a unique edition of the award-winning software in the tribe's language, Sitimaxa.

The tribe will own distribution and sales rights to the tribal language version created through the Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program, which has developed culturally relevant language-learning software with the Mohawk of Kahnawake, NANA Regional Corporation of Alaska, and other indigenous communities.

Through its new corporate grant program, the global language-learning software company will underwrite a substantial portion of development costs for the Sitimaxa software. Rosetta Stone has pledged to underwrite at least one project per year with endangered language speaking communities interested in developing editions of the cutting-edge immersion learning software.

"Our hope is that Sitimaxa Rosetta Stone(R) software will be a tool that will make a difference in the vitality of the language of the Chitimacha Tribe," said Marion Bittinger, manager of the Endangered Language Program. "We look forward to working with the tribe to help realize their vision for a living and growing language."

On Louisiana's coast, the Chitimacha tribe endured for century after century -. surviving war, settlement and assimilation. This same determination to survive has allowed the Chitimacha to revitalize their language, which they almost lost.

"Language is really the heart of who you are. It's not just about learning the words; it's about learning your past. It's that connection," said Kimberly S. Walden, M.Ed., cultural director of the 1,000 member tribe.

The native tongue of the Chitimacha people almost disappeared when its last fluent speaker died in 1934 and its last semi-fluent speaker died in 1940. One generation, then another, grew up knowing no more than a few words of the rich language of their ancestors.

Then in 1986, the Library of Congress mailed the tribe copies of wax cylinder recordings made in the 1930s by Swedish linguist Morris Swadesh. Tribal members listened to over 200 hours of their language - sounds no one had heard in decades, a cultural treasure buried in archives for half a lifetime. The Chitimacha began rebuilding these fragments back into a fluently spoken language. They recovered field notes made by Swadesh and his wife to help decode what was recorded.

"The recordings were very hard to understand, especially if you'd never heard the language spoken before," Walden said. "You have to realize that, as long as I was growing up, all we had in Sitimaxa was a few words on a museum brochure that no one could pronounce."

In 1995, the Chitimacha tribe established a cultural department. Employees asked archeological contractors in Louisiana if they knew of anyone familiar with the Chitimacha's language .- a long-shot request that, improbably, paid off. Contractors suggested the tribe contact Dr. Julian Granberry, a linguist and anthropologist living in Florida who had worked with Swadesh as a high school sophomore.

Granberry, now 80, had studied their language for decades, but had never visited the reservation. The tribe invited Granberry to share his findings. "When Dr. Granberry spoke Sitimaxa to a group of Chitimacha elders assembled at a meeting, some of the elders began to cry," said Walden. "Words started coming back. They remembered."

With Granberry's help, the Chitimacha tackled the Sitimaxa challenge, using the returned resources to develop dictionaries, curriculum, primers and recordings. The tribe now offers Sitimaxa classes for students as young as six weeks old at its child development center. Students in kindergarten through the eighth grade learn the language at the Chitimacha Tribal School, and adults in night classes.

Rachel Vilcan was one of the first students in the adult class. Now she's an aide in the K-8 Sitimaxa program. "The language sounds natural; it sounds like it fits me, like it fits the area," Vilcan said. "It was scary, at first, to be learning it as an adult, but the desire to learn was stronger. It's our identity."

Like other tribes working to bring tribal language back into daily use, the Chitimacha's goal is to develop conversational fluency. "We want to bring the language back to the point where we can use it conversationally when we gather as a tribe," said Walden.

Through its immersion-based software that can be customized to reflect unique linguistic and cultural features, Rosetta Stone will help the tribe solve this problem. The tribe will work with Rosetta Stone to translate and record lessons in Sitimaxa. The paired audio recordings of tribal speakers and images from the community will teach this endangered language in culturally relevant context using the company's award-winning Dynamic Immersion(TM) methodology.

"I think the chances are very great that they will succeed," Granberry said. "There has been for the last decade a strong interest on the part of a large number of the tribal members."

Ilse Ackerman, editor-in-chief at Rosetta Stone, said this language teaching tool multiplies existing efforts. "If you have a small number of fluent speakers, student time with these teachers is valuable and limited. The software can give students access to their teaching around the clock, allowing communities to save valuable face-to-face instruction time for conversational practice," said Ackerman.

The Chitimacha Tribe will use the immersion-based software to enhance ongoing education programs for children and adults. Tribal members as far away as Guam and Germany will be able to learn Sitimaxa using CDs or through online access when the project finishes.

Communities interested in learning more about the Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program should visit the program's Web site, at:, or call 1-800-788-0822, ext.5331.

About the Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program

The Rosetta Stone Endangered Language Program works with communities to develop unique immersion-learning software. The Endangered Language Program worked with the Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa to develop Mohawk software for the community of Kahnawake in 2006, and the NANA Corporation of Alaska to develop Inupiaq language learning software in 2007. The program and the Torngasok Cultural Centre in Labrador will produce a version in Inuttitut.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

ENV: Circus of the Spineless #25!

How about that Annotated Budak, putting up a GREAT Spineless #25? Check it out here!

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