Monday, March 31, 2008

COM: Blogarithmic #234

I got to see Taylor Overbey play baseball this weekend for Sugar Land Clements High School. They beat Travis 9-4. Taylor had a great hit and scored a run. I'll be putting together a highlight video and posting it here and on YouTube and Facebook.

My brackets took a beating in the first round, but my choices eventually panned out. I had Texas picked for the final four but that's the only team that i missed out on there. So after languishing in the bottom of the standings for a while i'm suddenly in the running again, ranking 5th out of 32 Facebook friends, and 108 out of 410 in the Ag pool. Not bad considereing where i was.

In the EPL pool though i am smoking right now. I am currently ranked #212 out of 174,242. Not too shabby. I rank 1st of the Texans in the pool -- sadly that's only 13 total, and six of us are friends. Having a connection to Man U has been helpful too. Speaking of which Andy Rooney scoring a hat trick and Ronaldo punching in a backheel this weekend should have deflated the league pretty well. Rooney NEVER scores it seems. and all Ronaldo needed was a circus trick to punctuate his ridiculous season.

Looking forward to Thursday as the ITM Thespians go to Area comp in Schertz with an adaptation of Twelfth Night. What a great bunch of kids, and they have a wonderful show under the tutelage of Holly Riedel and Marie Cearley. The only other school we know about is district co-winners Wimberley who have a fantastic History of Tom Jones to put on the stage. It would be wonderful if we both advanced to regionals, repeating the scenario of about four years ago.

And here's Jeff Cameron with some phenomenal drumming -- songs by At The Drive In and The Mars Volta:

more news to come, i plan to update today!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

ATH: US v. Argentina

It's Official: USA - Argentina
Courtesy of US Soccer Communications, 03/27/2008 2:47 PM

CHICAGO, IL (Mar 27, 2008) USSF -- The US Men’s National Team will face Argentina at Giants Stadium on June 8 to cap off a blockbuster trio of friendlies before kicking off 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying. The game against the world’s No. 1 ranked team follows a two-game tour in Europe where the US will take on England on May 28 in London and Spain on June 4 in Santander.

The game against Argentina will kickoff at 7:30pm ET and will be televised live on ESPN Classic and Galavision.

"Argentina is clearly one of the best teams in the world and playing against an opponent of that caliber is a great opportunity for our team," said US head coach Bob Bradley. "Combined with the games against England and Spain, we have put together a very good schedule to help us prepare for World Cup qualifying. We expect it will be a fantastic crowd at Giants Stadium, and we are looking forward to an exciting atmosphere."

The US begins the quest to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on Barbados on June 15 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The second leg of the home-and-away series will be played either June 21 or 22 in Barbados. Prior to the USA’s first World Cup qualifier, the US will have faced six teams that have been ranked in the top 15 in the world since 2007 – Argentina, Brazil, England, Mexico, Sweden and Spain.

The US has played top-ranked Argentina eight times in their history, holding a lifetime record of 2-6-0 against the South American juggernaut. Of those eight games, only three have been played in the United States, with the other five taking place in neutral sites. The two US victories include a 3-0 upset of the defending champions in the group phase of the 1995 Copa America, and a 1-0 win in 1999 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., when a Joe-Max Moore goal was the difference.

This will be the last friendly game for the US Men at Giants Stadium. The US Men have played at Giants Stadium seven times in their history, holding a 4-1-2 record. One of the most memorable games in US history occurred at the East Rutherford venue on June 11, 2000, when the US defeated Mexico, 3-0, to win the 2000 Nike US Cup. The emphatic victory was the beginning of the team’s current 10-game undefeated streak on home soil against their archrival.

The US played their last two games at Giants Stadium during the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, defeating Honduras, 2-1, in the semifinals and then Panama in penalty kicks to earn the title.

The teams last met during the 2007 Copa America, with the Argentines outclassing a young and inexperienced US team in their 4-1 win on June 28 in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Argentina advanced to the final before falling to Brazil, 3-0, to finish in second place.

Argentina currently sits in second place of CONMEBOL qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, collecting three victories while suffering one defeat through four games. Following the game against the United States, the Argentines will play qualifiers against Colombia at home on June 14 and away in Brazil three days later.

The game against England on May 28 will take place at the new 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium and will kick off at 8pm local (3pm ET), live on ESPN Classic and Univision. The US will then move to continental Europe to take on fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander.

The US won their first-ever back-to-back games on European soil when they defeated Poland, 3-0, on March 26 in Krakow, a few months after downing Switzerland, 1-0, in Basel.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

ATH: US 1, Poland 0

US Beats Poland
Courtesy of US Soccer Communications , 03/26/2008 3:16 PM

WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 26, 2008) USSoccerPlayers -- The United States took advantage of two first half restarts to take a 3-0 win over Poland in a friendly on Wednesday. Landon Donovan setup both goals from a freekick and a restart, with US defenders Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu heading in for the goals. Eddie Lewis scored in the 73rd minute directly from a freekick to make it 3-0.

The United States dominated possession, with Landon Donovan creating several chances and Josh Wolff and Jay DeMerit coming close late.

KRAKOW, POLAND (Mar 26, 2008) -- Goals by a pair of defenders and a swerving free kick from Eddie Lewis paced the US to a convincing 3-0 win against Poland as the US improved their lifetime record against Poland to an even 7-7-2. Landon Donovan provided both assists on the first half goals from Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu as the US remained unbeaten in 2008, posting a 2-0-1 record.

The victory marked the first time the US MNT has won consecutive games on European soil. The US defeated Switzerland, 1-0, in Basel on Oct. 17, 2007, in their last trip across the pond. The three-goal margin of victory was also the largest for the US in Europe since a 3-0 victory against Austria in Vienna in 1998.

“I thought it was a great team effort tonight,” said US head coach Bob Bradley. “Obviously we took advantage of set pieces, which is always a positive. More importantly, we showed the mentality and discipline necessary to win games on the road against good opponents like Poland. I thought the crowd tonight was fantastic. It was a special atmosphere, one that our players really appreciated.”

After coming off the field in Krakow, the US learned their opponent for the second round of 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, as Barbados defeated Dominica 1-0 to win the first-round series 2-1 on aggregate. The US hosts their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played either June 20 or 21 in Barbados.

In preparation for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying, the US will play a set of friendlies in Europe, facing England on May 28 in London before moving to continental Europe to play fourth-ranked Spain on June 4 at the Estadio El Sardinero in Santander. Kickoff against England at the new, 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium is set for 8pm local time (3pm ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Univision.

Against Poland, the US came out organized and disciplined from the opening whistle, and Bradley’s side dealt with the slippery conditions much better than the hosts. Time and again, the US pressure led to poor passes and turnovers from Poland, and the US was able to string together series of combinations to create opportunities.

The US snatched the lead in the 12th minute off a trademark Donovan free kick, which was earned when a charging Heath Pearce was fouled on the left flank. Set up 25 yards from goal along the sideline, he swerved an in-swinger six yards in front of the near post, where Bocanegra laid more shoulder than head to the ball, directing a shot to the lower left corner. The goal marked the ninth international strike for the US captain, who was named Sierra Mist Man of the Match for also having an impressive performance with his defensive duties to help earn the shutout.

Offensively, the US continued to maintain pressure, while staying strong in the back. The central tandem of Bocanegra and Onyewu kept the middle clean and Steve Cherundolo and Pearce contained the runs of the Polish wingers.

Another service from Donovan, who earned his 99th cap against Poland, led to the USA doubling their advantage in the 35th minute. This time it was Onyewu who was on the end of the expert service. A corner kick delivery from the right reached the head of the 6’4” defender, who got free when defender Marcin Wasilewski slipped while jostling in the area. Onyewu made no mistake, powering home a drive from seven yards to record the fourth goal of his career, and mark the first ever time scoring in back-to-back games.

Despite several changes at halftime by Leo Beenhhakker, the US never took their foot off the gas and nearly struck again just three minutes into the second stanza. Taking advantage of a miscue by defender Grzegorz Bronowicki, who was the last man with Poland’s entire team pushed forward, Donovan snuck behind him and stole the ball inside the midfield circle. With Bronowicki chasing, Donovan sprinted in alone on goal and tried to curl a shot to the far corner when the ‘keeper came to cut off his angle, but his attempt narrowly skimmed past the right post.

A pair of second-half substitutes combined to end all hope for Poland in the 73rd minute. A foul on Josh Wolff about 20 yards from goal set the table, leaving Lewis and Clint Dempsey standing over the ball. It would be Lewis to pull the trigger, the left-footer bending a wicked strike over the Polish wall that nestled into the lower right corner.

Poland’s best chance of the night was in the 30th minute when a poor clearance by Pearce allowed Poland to regain possession near the top of the penalty area. The ball was eventually played back to Dariusz Dudka and he unleashed a bullet on target, but Tim Howard was up to the challenge, diving to his left to push it wide of the post. With only three saves on the night, Howard picked up his 11th career shutout and 18th career victory.

-- Game Report --

Match-up: USA vs. Poland
Date: March 26, 2008
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Wisla Stadium – Krakow, Poland
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 20,000 – sell out
Weather: Cold, Snowy

Scoring Summary:
1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
POL 0 0 0

USA – Carlos Bocanegra (Landon Donovan) 12th minute
USA – Oguchi Onyewu (Landon Donovan) 35.
USA – Eddie Lewis 73.

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo (17-Jonathan Spector, 72), 22-Oguchi Onyewu (23-Jay DeMerit, 63), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (Capt.), 5-Heath Pearce (20-Benny Feilhaber, 85); 10-Landon Donovan (7-Eddie Lewis, 64) 13-Ricardo Clark, 4-Michael Bradley, 8-Clint Dempsey; 11-Brian Ching (16-Josh Wolff, 63), 9-Eddie Johnson
Subs not used: 24-Marcus Hahnemann, 12-Cory Gibbs
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

POL: 1-Artur Boruc; 3-Grzegorz Bronowicki, 13-Marcin Wasilewski, 6-Jacek Bak; 5-Dariusz Dudka, 8-Jacek Krzynowek (7-Euzebiusz Smolarek, 46) 16-Arkadiusz Radomski (19-Michal Golinski, 63), 18-Mariusz Lewandowski; 9-Maciej Zurawski (10-Lukasz Gargula, 46), 20-Pawel Brozek (11-Radolsaw Matusiak, 46), 21-Lukasz Piszczek (17-Wojciech Lobodzinski, 46).
Subs not used: 2-Mariusz Jop, 4-Pawel Golanski, 15-Michal Pazdan
Head Coach: Leo Beenhakker

Stats Summary:
Shots 10 / 9
Shots on goal 5 / 3
Saves 3 / 2
Corner Kicks 6 / 8
Fouls 8 / 9
Offside 3 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
POL – Marcin Wasilewski (caution) 37th minute.
USA – Josh Wolff (caution) 89.

Referee: Anders Hermansen (DEN)
First Asst.: Ole V. Hansen (DEN)
Second Asst.: Anders Norrestrand (DEN)
Fourth Official: Krzysztof Myrmus (POL)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Brilliant lead performances by a trio of Ingram Tom Moore Thespians, anchored by superb work from the narrators, and a dynamite full cast and crew, propelled ITM’s “Twelfth Night” into the area competition of UIL One Act Play last Wednesday.

The group joins district compatriots Wimberley, with their “The History of Tom Jones”, at Schertz Steele High School on Thursday, April 3rd to make a run at going to Regional competition for the first time since 2005.

In addition, for those are fans who missed the public performances, pre-Area rehearsals on Monday, March 31st and Wednesday, April 2nd, will be open to the public. These will be staged at ITM’s Warrior Theatre, 510 College Street in Ingram adjacent to the Ingram ISD Administration Building at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

The show, directed by Holly Riedel and Marie Cearley, is a special 35 minute cutting of one of William Shakespeare’s masterpieces, and tells the story of brother and sister, shipwrecked, only to wash ashore in a land far away. The sister, in order to survive, disguises herself as a serving boy, and their resemblance leads to mistaken identities and loves. Only by accident is the relationship discovered.

Kaleb Dworsky, an ITM senior, was named Best Actor from the five plays presented. Lindsey Morris and Madelyn Beaudoin were named to the All-Star Cast, Shana Baldwin and Taylor Danielson were named Honorable Mention All-Star Cast, and Jordan Spradling was named All-Star Crew. The remaining cast members include Logan Stehling, Tanya Gardner, Laura Kulbicki, Caleb Weaver, Tara Frels, Tino Rodriguez, Kylie Nidever, and Katrina Greenshield, with Macy Wilson and Brendan Flowers as alternates. The crew includes Benton del Toro as Stage Manager, Jason Gardner as Assistant Stage Manager, and Zack Morris on Sound.

Competition at Area begins at 4:00 p.m. with Wimberley. Ingram is set to go on 4th. Folks planning to attend only Ingram’s show should be plan to be there by 5:30 p.m., as the shows proceed immediately after the finish of the one previous. Doors are open only between shows and no late entrances are allowed. Admission for all shows is $5.

Llano, with “By the Bog of Cats”, was designated the alternate play, with other wonderful performances by Bandera, with “King Lear”, and Canyon Lake, with “The Diary of Adam & Eve.”

Other awards included:
Best Actress:
Kaitlyn Newell (Llano)

All-Star Cast:
Calen Cabler (Wimberley)
Walker Pickens (Wimberley)
Chris Bakka (Wimberley)
Joshua McCoy (Bandera)
Bryce Jeter (Bandera)
Chris Griffith (Llano)

Honorable Mention All-Star Cast:
Harry Tork (Wimberley)
Andy Patoski (Wimberley)
Reilly Downes (Bandera)
Jimi Fitzgerald (Canyon Lake)
Ciara Rowland (Canyon Lake)
Caitlyn Thibodeaux (Llano)

All-Star Crew:
Sydnie Ross (Wimberley)
Rebekah Segaloff (Bandera)
Stephen Ratliff (Canyon Lake)
Tiffanie Vollbrecht (Llano)

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ATH: Carter Blackburn

So midweek last week i noticed a monster jump in my counter stats for this blog. In fact over double the usual rate for a couple of days. Usually i can attribute this to something goofy i wrote that someone passed along, and i could identify it by the source from which people were clicking through. No such clue last week, so, intrigued, i checked out the recent search terms for google and yahoo and quickly figured out that people were searching for Carter Blackburn and ending up here. That's because i have tried to keep up with Carter amd have written about him a few times over the years. Carter was already into his future career as a sportscaster while he was at Tivy High School in Kerrville. I was coching there then, soccer, and Carter was buds with most of my team, though he was focused on basketball and baseball for his broadcasting forays. In any case, he's big news now because he's anchoring some NCAA Tournament broadcasts, and suddenly the sports world is anxious to know who he is.

Today, the local paper finally caught on . . . here's the lede and a link:

Kerrville native making way as sportscaster
The Daily Times, Published March 26, 2008

Carter Blackburn figured he was destined for greatness when he was 9 years old and playing in the Kerrville Little League. He wanted to be the next Don Mattingly — until he learned he had “zero athletic ability.”

No worries. He decided he would become the next Bob Costas, instead.

Twenty years later, that prediction is right on track.

Blackburn recently broadcast his first NCAA Tournament game, the youngest person to do so in more than 20 years. Even with all of the success starting to come his way, Blackburn still remembers where he came from.

“I started broadcasting Tivy baseball games when I was in the 10th grade,” Blackburn said. “Jessie Hinton asked me to be the public announcer when Bill Stacy was on KERV radio. Bill asked me to do some announcing with him and he and Steve Alex trained me on setting up the equipment, how to do coaches’ interviews and broadcast the games. They pretty much let me take over, and I owe a lot to those guys.”

After graduating from Tivy in 1997, Blackburn went to Syracuse University and its legendary journalism school. He worked for WAER, a student radio station where he broadcast Syracuse football, basketball and lacrosse games.

“Everybody from Marv Albert to Mike Tirico got their start broadcasting on that network,” Blackburn said.

After graduation, Blackburn got a job in Winston-Salem, N.C., working for ISP Sports. He was a jack-of-all trades at the network, producing college radio stations throughout the area and filling in on Fox Sports South.

His first big break came when College Sports Television kicked off in August, 2003. Blackburn was one of their first broadcasters and was assigned to the 1-AA college football game of the week.

“The first game we got to do was the Maine vs. Montana football game in Orono, Maine. There was 7,600 people there and it was the largest crowd to ever watch a football game in Maine,” Blackburn said with a laugh.

From that first game, Blackburn has built up an impressive resume including broadcasting NFL Europe, NCAA football, baseball, basketball and even an NFL game between the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.

However, the highlight for Blackburn came last week when he broadcast his first tournament game. Dick Enberg was having throat problems, and Blackburn got the call to fill in for the first two games of a four-game slate.

“I felt like I was pinch hitting for a hall of famer,” Blackburn said. “Dick Enberg is one of the classiest people you’ll ever meet — very welcoming. I felt like I had won a contest sitting next to Enberg and Jay Bilas talking basketball.”

“It’s stunning,” Enberg said in an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News. “He reminds me of (Bob) Costas. I was at NBC when Costas first came aboard and he’d start rattling off these factoids ... and you’d be like, ‘How do you know that?’”

For now, Blackburn will return to his regular gig with CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) but he looks upon his time at the “big dance” as a glimpse of what is to come.

“It was like getting called up to the major leagues at the end of the year,” Blackburn said. “You take what you’ve learned, continue to work hard and wait for the next chance to be called up.”

Although he loves what he is doing, Blackburn admitted there are a few drawbacks to being a sports broadcaster.

“Traveling is definitely the most challenging part of the job, especially during basketball season. As soon as I get home, I’m thinking about leaving again. Luckily, I have a very understanding wife who has some flexibility in her job, so we get to spend quality time with each other when I’m home — and I manage to bring her to some of the more interesting places I get to go like New York or Malibu.”

When asked what his dream job would be, Blackburn said he has three lifetime goals, one of which was accomplished last week. The three include calling a World Series game, calling an NCAA tournament game and making piñatas on a beach when he’s done with broadcasting.

Look out, South Padre, Carter Blackburn usually accomplishes what he sets his mind to.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ATH: Jonathan Perry MVP

Jonathon Perry named West Texas MVP
Paul White, The Daily Times, Published March 25, 2008

If Jonathon Perry continues on his present course, he will have to build a new trophy case by the time he graduates.

The Tivy sophomore recently was named as the only sophomore on the All-Region IV basketball team by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. He previously was selected to the District 27-4A first team.

This past week the 6-foot-4-inch guard added another honor to the list. Not only did The San Angelo Standard Times name Perry to its All-West Texas Boys Super Team, they tabbed him as the Most Valuable Player in Classes 3A-5A.

“This is quite an honor for Jonathon,” said Antler head coach Brian Young. “He worked hard for all his accolades and achievements. He did not just show up at the gym and get by on his talent. He put in the necessary hours.”

Perry’s emergence was a key factor in Tivy’s success this past season, as he averaged 17.8 points per game and pulled down an average of 6.2 rebounds per outing. The Antlers finished with a record of 26-6 and placed second in District 27-4A.

Besides his work ethic, Young said he feels there is another reason for Perry’s success.

“He loves the game of basketball,” the coach said. “He is a good kid and a good person. It is great to see good things happen to great people.”

With Perry returning for two more seasons, there could be quite a bit of greatness to come in the Antler’s future.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

COM: Telling it like it is

my bud dispensing wisdom . . .

Rules from a Texas Gentleman

Stand when she walks in, keep your hand out of her purse, and, for the love of God, be humble. Some tips from Lyle Lovett—a man who knows what he's talking about.
By Lyle Lovett

The first rule of manhood is that they are in charge. Give it up. Realize they're smarter and better looking. We don't have a chance. You have to do everything you can to help yourself.

A woman comes to a table and you're supposed to get up. Period. But I don't always do it. In general, you're supposed to do it every time. But sometimes you're seated against the wall and it's awkward.

Never guess a woman's age. Never guess a woman's weight. Never even talk about weight in front of a woman. And never, ever ask a woman when she's due.

Tipping your hat to a lady is good form. If you're at a dinner table, you'd most certainly take your hat off -- cowboy hat, baseball hat, or otherwise.

Women always go through the door first. Even ardent feminists would admit it's nice. It's not an acknowledgment of women as the weaker sex; it's perhaps an acknowledgment of women as the stronger sex. We follow.

Never pass a woman a single roll, even if she says, "Don't pass them all over." Don't do it. Bring her the whole basket. Some things are a trick. I can hear the phone conversation later on with a girlfriend, "I asked him to pass a single roll. And he did!" It's a trap.

There's etiquette to listening: If they're talking, shut up. Just shut up. Simple enough?

In our modern world, what constitutes a thank-you note? Being able to dash off a text message has enabled me to be more immediate and less guilty. I believe the old adage that the sooner you write a thank-you note, the less you need to write. I realize that among real sticklers for manners, e-mails and texts would be verboten, but I think they can convey genuine sentiment.

Never look in a woman's purse -- invited or uninvited. Especially invited. Just refuse. Bring her her purse, don't fish around in there. We don't know what's in there, and we don't want to know.

Who are these guys that order for women? Never order for a woman. You're going to tell a woman what to eat? Never tell a woman anything. Ask. And be grateful for whatever reply you might get.

The idea is that you'd be like Cary Grant or George Clooney, in a graceful ballet of walking down the street, opening the door, and ushering a young lady into a limousine. But I'm really more like Maxwell Smart. I was opening a door for my fiancé today and I stepped on the back of her shoe and almost knocked her over. It happens a lot.

-- As told to Andy Langer

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MSC: MattRach Live!

Dynamite kid guitarist plays his first live show -- at the Hard Rock Cafe Paris!

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COM: Yep

MSC: Lyle does Ducati

Lovett Story
Wherein Lyle Meets His Monster and Learns To Love it
photographer: Kevin Wing

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ATH: U.S. Olympic Qualifying

Honduras Wins Qualifying Tournament

WASHINGTON, DC (Mar 23, 2008) USSoccerPlayers -- With both teams already qualifying for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the United States and Honduras played out a final for pride. Neither side found the net in regulation, sending the final to overtime. Hiondruas forward George Welcome found the net in the 103rd minute for the eventual winner.

The United States went with a new look roster, leaving out Freddy, Adu, Dax McCarthy, and Maurice Edu, three of the four US players named to the all tournament XI. Edu and regular starters Josmer Altidore and Chris Seitz also did not play in the Group A finale. Honduras started all-tournament keeper Kevin Hernandez and Oscar Morales, their other best XI honoree but also opted against using some of their regulars.

Both teams created chances, with Honduras unable to score in the second half after drawing Cervi well off his line. Without Freddy Adu - who was released back to Benfica after the semifinal - the US didn't have the same menace on restarts.

After dominating the offense at the end of regulation, the United States carried that into extra time. With Edu, Altidore, and Marvell Wynne brought on as substitutes, the US found their rhythm and looked likely to take the game from the run of play. They came close several times, but it was Honduras and Welcome who found the goal in the 13th minute of overtime.

NASHVILLE, TN (Mar 23, 2008) USSF -- The US Under-23 Men’s National Team fell to Honduras, 1-0, in overtime of the 2008 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Final. Both teams had already qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Honduras goal, scored by George Wilson Welcome in the 103nd minute, was the just the second goal allowed by the US during five games in qualifying, and the first goal since the opening half of their match against Cuba, a streak of 421 minutes.

Thursday night’s victory over Canada clinched the USA’s 13th trip to the Olympic Games on the men’s side. The 2008 Beijing Olympics will be played from Aug. 6-23 in five venues, and will mark the USA’s first trip to the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament since 2000, when the team advanced to the medal round and finished in fourth place.

“I congratulated our players in the locker room for their effort,” said US head coach Peter Nowak. “It was a very difficult tournament for us and for both teams in terms of knowing how you’re supposed to prepare yourself from game to game. As we said, we work on the spirit and the team mentality and it worked pretty well. We’re happy to be going to the Olympic Games and sometimes for the players it’s just, they’re relieved to get it all behind them and looking forward to getting some MLS games."

Overall, the US finished the tournament with a 3-1-1 record, allowing just two goals in five games while scoring six. Freddy Adu, who was named to the Best XI by the CONCACAF Technical Committee on Saturday, led all goalscorers with four tallies in three games played. Maurice Edu, Dax McCarty and Michael Orozco were also named to the Best XI, while midfielder Sacha Kljestan earned Honorable Mention.

Against Honduras, the US was without the services of four European-based players where allowed to return to their club teams for weekend matches. Along with Adu, Charlie Davies, Jonathan Spector and Sal Zizzo made their way back across the pond on Friday.

With just 16 players to choose from, Nowak once again made a number changes to his lineup, keeping Edu, McCarty and Jozy Altidore on the bench to start the match. Edu would come on in the 26th minute to replace an injured Hunter Freeman, while Altidore would come on in the 80th minute as the US looked for the game-winner.

Despite the changes, the US was the more dominant team throughout the match and outshot Honduras 23-9, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Stuart Holden, Robbie Findley and Eddie Gaven were at the center of most of the US opportunities in the first half, with Holden creating the first chance of the game in just the third minute. Getting free down the right flank, Holden swung in a cross, but the Honduras defense was up to the task, as it was all night, and cleared the ball out of danger.

The US started to pepper the Honduras goal early, but it was Holden who was able to put the first shot on goal for the US in the 27th minute. Four minutes later, Findley got free down the right side and crossed a ball into the box for forward Chad Barrett, but his header went just over the crossbar.

In the 33rd minute, the US created possibly the best chance for either team in the first half when Gaven collected the ball in midfield and pushed forward. The Columbus Crew midfielder fed the ball to Robbie Findley, who was able to avoid a tackle and slip the ball to Edu inside the box. Edu unleashed a shot that looked destined for the lower right corner, but Honduras goalkeeper Kevin Hernandez was able to push it wide.

The US had the first dangerous opportunity of the second half less than a minute after the whistle, when Barrett laid the ball off for Gaven., who found Holden in the box. Holden touched the ball back for Kljestan, but his hard shot was blocked by the head of Erick Norales and cleared away.

Despite the Americans controlling most of the match, Honduras almost took the lead in the 53rd minute when US goalkeeper Dominic Cervi came off his line for a through ball, beating the attacker but giving up a rebound. Luis Alfredo Lopez jumped on the loose ball and took a shot to the near post, but it was saved off the line by defender Pat Ianni. Marvin Sanchez pounced on the ensuing rebound, putting his shot toward the far post, but it went out for a corner.

The US had a fantastic opportunity to take the lead in the 71st minute when Barrett received the ball on the right wing and played it in for Findley, who headed the ball down on goal, but it bounced up and hit the cross bar before being touched out of bounds by Marvin Sanchez.

With the temperatures continuing to drop on a cool evening in Nashville, the teams moved into overtime to decide the Final and it was Honduras that took advantage. In the 103rd minute of the first overtime, Welcome produced a great individual effort that would eventually allow Honduras to raise the trophy on the field after the match. Sitting near the top of the penalty area, he received a ball from the left flank, touched it around Orozco and uncorked a driving shot into the upper right corner from 22 yards out.

The US and Honduras join 13 other teams who have already entered the 16-team tournament, with one spot still up for grabs for a team from Africa. The draw for the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament will take place on April 20 in Beijing.


Match-up: USA vs. Honduras
Competition: 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Final
Venue: LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.
Date: March 23, 2008
Attendance: 12,663
Weather: 55 degrees, breezy

Scoring Summary:
1 2 OT1 OT2 F
USA 0 0 0 0 0
HON 0 0 1 0 1

HON – Georgie Wilson Welcome (Marvin Sanchez) 103rd minute

USA: 18-Dominic Cervi; 15-Kamani Hill, 3-Michael Orozco, 4-Pat Ianni, 13-Hunter Freeman (6-Maurice Edu, 26); 7-Stuart Holden (2-Marvell Wynne, 89), 16-Sacha Kljestan (capt.), 5-Nathan Sturgis, 20-Eddie Gaven; 19-Chad Barrett (12-Jozy Altidore, 80), 14-Robbie Findley
Subs not used: 1-Chris Seitz, 10-Dax McCarty
Head Coach: Peter Nowak

HON: 1-Kevin Hernandez; 2-Quiarol Arzu, 3-David Alejandro Molina, 5-Erick Norales (capt.), 6-Luis Alfredo Lopez (18-Jose Cesar Guity, 69), 7-Rigoberto Padilla, 8-Irvin Reyna, 10-Ramon Nunez (13-Arnol Solorzano, 115), 16-Marvin Sanchez, 21-Oscar Morales (14-Misael Ruiz, 43), 24-George Wilson Welcome
Subs not used: 9-Jefferson Bernardez, 15-Mario Martinez, 17-Daniel Alvarez, 22-Levon Smith
Head Coach: Alexis Mendoza

Statistical Summary:
Shots: 23/9
Shots on Goal: 6/3
Saves: 2/5
Corner Kicks: 9/4
Fouls: 34/17
Offside: 0/4

Misconduct Summary:
HON – David Alejandro Molina (caution) 20th minute
HON – Marvin Sanchez (caution) 45+.
USA – Stuart Holden (caution) 68.
HON - Misael Ruiz (caution) 83.
USA – Marvell Wynne (caution) 119.
USA – Patrick Ianni (caution) 120.

Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
1st Asst.: William Torres (SLV)
2nd Asst.: Leonel Leal (CRC)
4th Official: Jose Guerrero (NCA)

Courtesy of US Soccer Communications

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ENV: Gulf dolphin mortality

News from the Texas Marine Mammals Stranding Network . . .

It has been another extremely busy week for TMMSN. In addition to the code 2 necropsies that were performed by Dr. Cowan last week, we have recovered 42 deceased bottlenose dolphins in the last 15 days. To date, 91 deceased dolphins have been recovered by TMMSN since January 1, 2008. Again, these strandings have been concentrated in Galveston and Jefferson counties. The dolphins are continuing to wash in as late stages of decomposition. An Unusual Mortality Event (
UME) Initiation Package was submitted by NOAA to the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program which consults with the “Working Group”, a group of individuals with extensive experience in different fields pertinent to the investigation process. After consideration of the information submitted, the Working Group will make their recommendation to NMFS on whether this will be deemed an official UME.

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ATH: Michel Platini and vision

One Grown Man: Find A Way
MIAMI, FL (Mar 4, 2008) USSoccerPlayers -- French legend Michel Platini was narrowly elected UEFA President a little over a year ago and has since made it clear that his administration was not simply going to be business as usual.

Let’s not get it twisted. Business has been good for UEFA. From the high profile leagues of England, Spain, Italy and Germany to the lucrative Champions league, European soccer has thrived because that’s where the money is. Clubs there are able to buy the best players, have resources to go and find these players wherever they may be, and negotiate lucrative television contracts - whether individually or collectively - that allow them to showcase those players.

While Platini has stated that he’s certainly not against making money, he’s concerned with the dominant role money has played. What he wants is a somewhat general concept, to return the game to what he calls its “true values.” When one looks at many of issues that Platini has been spoken about over the past year, it’s clear that he truly believes that the game and sports in general is a “bearer of values,” as he stated last week.

Platini’s comments came as he spoke out against a widely panned idea to play an additional round of Premiere League games outside of England, an idea he believes is one purely motivated by money, specifically to aid debt ridden English clubs. England has been a frequent target of his during his tenure as UEFA president. He has cited English clubs as an example of why European football needs to be exempt from the European Union rules on free movement of labor, criticizing the “foreign” influence in English football.

This is not so much of a belief that English clubs should have English players but more because of his belief that unchecked free market pushes the game further from its original aims of competition and as a “catalyst for social and cultural integration.”

It’s also not just something affecting England. The end of national bans on foreign players by some European countries, the Bosman Ruling, and the dropping of international borders for workers within the European Union didn’t just apply to the English game.

Platini has also spoken out against under-age player transfers, such as a 15 year-old Italian player being wooed by Chelsea and several of Arsenals young signees. “I’m totally against those who buy under-age lads in another country,” he told Reuters late last week.

Another issue that right fully has his attention is the continued ugliness that is racism in European football. Citing recent incidents in his native France among them a racist banner unfurled by Bastia fans directed a player from Burkino Faso. Platini said on French radio, “The fight against racism is the dossier I want to work the most on as it is something intolerable.”

At the end of January Platini suggested the formation of a European Sport Police Force to deal with issues such as match-fixing, hooliganism and racism and maintain soccer’s essential values. “Society has passed other scourges on to the world of sport: money laundering, match-fixing… racism and xenophobia, doping, child trafficking.”

I don’t know if I agree with all of Platini’s initiatives as he preaches his “money is the root of all evil” sermons. Nevertheless it’s this Grown Man’s Opinion that he appears to be working for the best interest of the game and society as a whole and that he’s using sports to do it.

This is by no means a revolutionary idea. Sports has always been one of the few things that unites a diverse nation or people. This is especially true in this country.

Baseball fans in the United States often say that the beginning of integration was when Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1946. As more Black players began appearing on the rosters for professional sports teams, the incidents of racism at these events decreased to the extent that the stadium incidents of racism that occur in some European terraces are virtually non-existent here.

Nor is Platini the first in Europe to call for such initiatives. The EU was urged to take account of sport’s “inherent social, education and cultural functions” during a Council of Europe meeting in 2000 and the UK’s sports minister Richard Caborn initiated an Independent European Sport Review which recognized a need for a European Sports model “deep rooted in the civil society and important expression of culture.”

MLS is far from the financial machine that European soccer has become. Despite the ambition illustrated by the expansion plans and new soccer stadiums, it will be a long time before our league rivals anything going on in Europe and arguably other sports here in the US. Right now, that might not be a bad thing.

MLS is not poaching African countries for players for whom puberty is a novelty. We’re not recovering from any match-fixing illegal betting scandals. Despite the many complaints that people tend to have about MLS (single entity, wage scales etc.) the league has not had to undergo any of the high profile problems that make the news every other month or so in Europe. MLS is like the naïve teenager, finding his legs in the world but unaware of the problems that await.

Soccer in this country can take a page from the philosophy, if not the initiatives, that Platini is putting forth to avoid the issues that Europe seems to be facing by ensuring that the game’s caretakers never lose sight that the game (and sports in general) “is not a product, it’s a part of our life” (as he told the London Financial Tiems last year). Platini is right, the game should be a part of our culture, indeed a “bearer of values.”

We may never truly realize these aims, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to keep them in mind as the game grows in this country. I would hate to hear an MLS commissioner 20 years from now repeat Platini’s words: “I am afraid of what has happened to football. We need to come back to the game."

Then again, this is just the opinion of One Grown Man who is taking a moment to salute Emmanuel “Ti Manno” Sanon.

Miami-based soccer writer Andrew Dixon pens a weekly column for USSoccerPlayers, and hosts ‘Back of the Net,’ which you can hear Saturday nights on the Black Athlete Sports Network.

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ART: Will Hubscher

i came to know Will via email because of, but not through, Austin Owen. anyway, i've come to love his artwork, and thought you might take a look too. here he is with some news:

Spring is all about renewal and new beginnings. And this is also the beginning of the 12 year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac, the Year Of The Rat, indicating good things to come and new beginnings (to generalize).

And with that in mind, a new opportunity has opened up for me. My art work is now on display at the Sinotique Showroom in Brooklyn, 70 John St. Between Bridge and Jay St., by appt. This is in the wonderful cobblestone streets of DUMBO (no, not Disney; Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). You can check it out on the Sinotique blog:

Primavera Feliz!!

"Cross Purposes We Travel Do"

Will Hubscher
Easton, PA 18042

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ATH: National Team Roster for Poland

Poland Roster Set

US Men’s National Team head coach Bob Bradley has named 18 players to the roster that will face Poland on Wednesday, March 26 in Krakow. Kickoff at Wisla Stadium is set for 8:30pm local time (3:30pm ET), and the game will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Marcus Hahnemann (Reading FC), Tim Howard (Everton FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Jay DeMerit (Watford FC), Cory Gibbs (Charlton Athletic), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Eddie Lewis (Derby County)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Eddie Johnson (Fulham FC), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich)

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

ATH: Proud of those Ags!!!

UCLA escapes Texas A&M upset

Bruins now face the winner of No. 12 W. Kentucky and No. 13 San Diego news services, updated 17 minutes ago

ANAHEIM, Calif. - UCLA escaped the West Region upset bug, but only barely.

Darren Collison scored on a layup with 9.5 seconds remaining to lift the top-seeded Bruins to a 53-49 victory over No. 9-seed Texas A&M on Saturday.

After a missed shot by Texas A&M, UCLA's Russell Westbrook ran the length of the floor for a final uncontested dunk at the buzzer.

UCLA will face the winner of today's game between two surprises, No. 12 seed Western Kentucky and and No. 13 San Diego.

Collison and Kevin Love led the Bruins with 19 points each.

A loss by UCLA wouldn't have been surprising in the wild West. Earlier Saturday, No. 2 Duke lost to West Virginia. On Friday, No. 4 Connecticut and No. 5 Drake lost. After the No. 1 Bruins and No. 3 Xavier, the highest seed standing is No. 7 West Virginia.

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ATH: Weir third

Buttle wins gold, but U.S. skater Weir shines
Bronze medal at World Figure Skating Championships 1st for U.S. this week
The Associated Press, updated 3:16 p.m. CT, Sat., March. 22, 2008

GOTEBORG, Sweden - Jeffrey Buttle won the world title and set off a debate.

No, this isn’t skating’s latest controversial victory. Buttle was brilliant in adding the men’s title at the World Figure Skating Championships to the Olympic bronze medal he already owns, with a program that was the perfect blend of artistry and athleticism. His footwork was whimsical and his spins thrilling.

But he had no quadruple jump — while all the other top contenders at least tried.

Buttle’s gold disproves — this time, at least — the notion that a man has to do a quad to win the big titles.

“I started skating because I watched Kurt Browning and Brian Orser and it was about the program. And the most memorable programs in skating, you remember the program and you don’t remember what elements they did,” said Buttle, the first Canadian since Elvis Stojko in 1997 to win the world title.

“I went out there and left everything on the ice. I had my heart on my sleeve.”

Now he has a gold medal around his neck.

Buttle’s score of 245.17 put him well ahead of defending champion Brian Joubert (231.22) and American Johnny Weir (221.84), who won his first world medal and kept the Americans from going home empty for the first time since 1994.

“That makes me feel incredible,” Weir said. “I feel great. I am happy to give the United States its only medal.”

Weir’s finish means the U.S. will be able to send three men to next year’s all-important world championships, where results determine slots for the Vancouver Olympics.

The top two men had to finish with a combined placement of 13 or lower to preserve the three spots, and Stephen Carriere was 10th in his first world championships. Jeremy Abbott, a late add after Evan Lysacek withdrew because of an injury last week, was 11th.

The debate over the weight of the quad has been going on since Browning landed the first four-revolution jump at the 1988 world championships — and won’t end here.

Some, like Joubert and U.S. champion Evan Lysacek, say the quad is an essential part of men’s skating. Joubert, who has done three quads in a program, complained to French television when he came off the ice that quads were undervalued in the current scoring system and their value should be raised.

“Right after the results, I was very disappointed,” Joubert said. “And I am still disappointed because Jeffrey did the perfect competition, he made no mistakes, but he didn’t try the quad jump.”

Others, like Buttle and Weir, say the quad is an important element, but it is only one element in a long list of what makes a great performance.

“I was fortunate to skate a clean program today. I concentrated very hard to do that, but it is not just the jumps. We work whole sessions on spins and stroking and all those things in between because that is figure skating,” Buttle said, sitting serenely next to Joubert.

“It’s everything that happens in those four and a half minutes. It’s not just about the jumps and ... those in-betweens don’t mean anything at all.”

Indeed, the quadless Buttle earned the highest technical marks with eight triple jumps, while all the men behind him tried quads — to one degree of success or another. Joubert opened his program with a big one, while Weir two-footed his. Japan’s Daisuke Takahashi and former world champ Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland each tried two, landing only one of them successfully. They finished fourth and fifth.

“I think it is a very strong statement that my sport is not defined by one jump ... and not defined by one element,” Weir said. “It’s a whole package that you have to have to be a top-level skater. You need to have everything.”

Buttle does. He brings an elegance to the ice that contrasts with Stojko, who was all about power and jumping. Stojko was the first to do a quad in combination, and was a driving force behind making it a staple in men’s skating. But often the effort put into the difficult jump zaps a skater of concentration for other elements. Stojko was often criticized for being wooden, and certainly many lower level-skaters who are pulling them off aren’t much to watch.

And a fall or stumble on the jump can be brutal to the confidence. Even Buttle says his quads aren’t consistent enough to try them in competition.

Maybe that was for the best, though. No one was talking about Buttle as a medal contender when the week began, and he was able to spend the week in a zenlike zone.

“I wouldn’t have bet on Jeffrey when I arrived here,” Joubert said. “But competition is competition. That will give me a lesson I will learn in the future.”

For Weir, his medal is affirmation of the big changes he made after last year’s dismal season. His program Saturday wasn’t his best — besides two-footing his quad, he missed several planned combinations — and he had to wait to see if it would be good enough for a medal.

“I was so nervous and so scared. ... I didn’t want anything to go wrong,” Weir said. “I think you could see that in the performance because I was very tentative. I didn’t perform as I usually do. I was focused on one element and the next. It’s the kind of performance I don’t remember everything I did.”

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LIT: Thom the World Poet workshop

My neighbor, and wonderful writer, Anne Schneider is hosting my good friend, and wonderful writer, Thom Woodruff, better known as Thom the World Poet, for a workshop at her studio. He'll also be performing at the Schreiner University Coffeehouse, all in celebration of National Poetry Month. Here's the workshop info, etc. Below that you can find video clips of Thom from last year's coffeehouse.

You WANT to write....You NEED to write....You WILL write!

Just attend a workshop with THOM WORLD POET!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


911 Tanglewood Lane, Kerrville

6:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Using stimuli ranging from visual to verbal cues, Thom will guide you back to your Muse – freeing up your natural abilities to write, express and perform your works.

Devote some time to pampering your own inspiration, so you can be amazed at your abilities!

Using techniques from WRITING DOWN THE BONES as well as original applications, Thom will inspire you to trust your skills, and produce work worthy of attention.

This workshop is for all ages and all skill levels – so come prepared with an open mind and plenty of tabula rasae!

Workshop Fee: $20 -- Paid Registration due April 1st

For more information and to register contact

Anne Schneider at Ventana al Cielo Studio

830-895-3361 or

**Thom will be featured at Schreiner University’s final spring Coffeehouse, April 2, 7 – 9 p.m. at the Cailloux Activity Center**

Thom is an Australian borne Austin based improvising bard, who works with musicians around the world. He is a co-founder of AUSTIN INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL, as well as host of THE HIDEOUT Mondays, POETRY KARAOKE Tuesdays, VINNYS ITALIAN CAFE First Wednesdays, and EXPRESSIONS First Saturdays. He is a member of WORDJAZZ ENSEMBLE and has 152 books of poetry available, 16 CDs, and many tapes from improvised poetry to improvised music. Thom is a regular feature at CHELTENHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL, and runs writing workshops at YORKSHIRE ARTS CIRCUS annually. Thom has supported BOB DYLAN, RUSSELL CROWE, ROY HARPUR, etc and is available for performance and writing workshop sessions now.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

ENV: I and the Bird #71

One of my all-time favorite blogs, The House & Other Musings presents the lastest edition of the birding blog carnival I and the Bird. Check it out!

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COM: Area UIL-OAP Details

The next contest will be April 3 at Schertz Steele High School. Wimberley will perform 1st at 4 pm.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

REV: ITM, Wimberley Advance to Area!

Ingram (Twelfth Night) and Wimberley (The History of Tom Jones) put on great shows this afternoon and advance to OAP area competition. Kaleb Dworsky was named Best Actor, Madelyn Beaudoin and Lindsey Morris were named to the All-Star Cast, and Taylor Danielson and Shana Baldwin were named Honorable Mention. Jordan Spradling was named All-Star Crew. It was a competitive day as Bandera's King Lear was wonderful and Llano's By the Bog of Cats was likewise a stunner. Llano is the alternate. I'll post when we find out details about Area competition which is about two weeks from now.

Check back here for more details on All-Star casts and some review of the performances (like sometime tomorrow as it'll take me a while).

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ENV: Azores Bullfinch

Europe's rarest finch finds favour

Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina has become the latest Critically Endangered species to find a Champion through the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme. Birdwatch magazine has stepped forward to provide vital funds for the work of the Species Guardian, SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal).

Much work has already been done for this species with significant funding to SPEA through the EU Life Fund, but this is coming to an end. With so much already achieved Birdwatch’s decision has provided a timely intervention for conservation work to help Azores Bullfinch.

“It is fantastic news that Birdwatch has joined the Preventing Extinctions Programme and has become one of a growing number of Species Champions”, said Jim Lawrence, the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Development Manager.

Azores Bullfinch, known locally as Priolo, is confined to eastern São Miguel in the Azores, Portugal. It has suffered through widespread loss of native forest and invasion by exotic vegetation, which has largely overrun the remaining patches of natural vegetation within the species's breeding range. These funds will enable the continuation of crucial habitat restoration work to increase the core range of this species. The exact number of bullfinches is unclear. In the 1990s the population was estimated at 200-300 individuals. However, surveys since 2002 have indicated a rise to around 340 individuals, a sign that habitat restoration is already having an effect.

“We are proud to support BirdLife on this important mission and look forward to encouraging our large number of readers to get behind this vital initiative”, said Dominic Mitchell, Publisher and Editor of Birdwatch.

Already described as the biggest and most wide-ranging bird conservation programme the world has ever seen, BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme aims to save all 189 Critically Endangered birds, by finding ‘Species Champions’ who will fund the work of identified ‘Species Guardians’ for each bird - organisations and people best placed to carry out the conservation work necessary to prevent an otherwise certain extinction.

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ATH: Nat Team to England

England - USA On May 28th
03/19/2008 8:19 PM

CHICAGO, IL (March 19, 2008) USSF -- The US National Team will travel to England for the first time since 1994 to meet the English National Team on May 28th in London. Kickoff at the new, 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium is set for 8pm local time (3pm ET), and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Univision.

The ninth meeting between the countries will serve as preparation for both teams as they gear up for the start of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Ticket information for US fans wanting to travel to the England game will be announced shortly.

"We have consistently said that one of our goals is to play games against good opponents and in environments that will really challenge our team,” said US head coach Bob Bradley. “In addition to the quality of the English team, the tradition and passion for the sport in that country, the media focus, and the intensity of the fans all combine to make this a fantastic opportunity for our group. We are very pleased with the schedule we have put together to help us prepare for World Cup qualifying.”

With previously announced games against Poland on March 26 and Spain on June 4, the meeting with England will provide the US with an impressive three games on European soil in preparation for World Cup qualifying. The US will face Poland in Krakow at 3:30 ET (live on Fox Soccer Channel) and Spain at Estadio El Sardinero in Santander at 4pm ET.

The US begins the quest to qualify for their sixth-consecutive World Cup finals when they take on the winner of the first round series between Barbados and Dominica. The Caribbean nations drew 1-1 in the first leg on Feb. 6 in Dominica, with Barbados hosting the return leg on March 26 in Bridgetown. The US will host their first qualifier on June 15 at The Home Depot Center, with the second leg to be played between June 18-21 on the road.

The US and England last met on British soil at the original Wembley Stadium in London on Sept. 7, 1994, with the Three Lions earning a 2-0 victory. The teams last played on May 28, 2005, in Chicago where Clint Dempsey’s first international goal wasn’t enough to cancel out the pair from Kieran Richardson as England hung on for a 2-1 win before 47,637 fans at Soldier Field.

Courtesy of US Soccer Communications

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

COM: That Speech

This is why i believe in this man . . .

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COM: One-Act Play Distrtict Tomorrow

District competition for UIL One-Act Play is tomorrow, Wednesday, March 19th at Wimberley High School's Lone Star Theatre. Wimberley (The History of Tom Jones) is first on the bill and will take the stage at 1:00 p.m. Ingram (Twelfth Night) is last, and will likely perform sometime around 4:00 p.m. unless al the plays run long. In between WHS and ITM will be Bandera (King Lear), Llano and Canyon Lake, although i don't know the order. You can enter between any shows, but not during any, so if there are shows you want to see, be sure to get there in plenty of time. I think admission is $3 for the whole slate. See you there!

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OBT: Anthony Minghella

'English Patient' Director Anthony Minghella Dies at 54
By JILL LAWLESS, The Associated Press, LONDON

Anthony Minghella, a screenwriter, opera director and the Oscar-winning filmmaker of "The English Patient," died of a hemorrhage Tuesday at age 54.

Minghella's death came five days before the British TV premiere of his final film, "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency."

Spokesman Jonathan Rutter said Minghella died early Tuesday at London's Charing Cross Hospital. Rutter said Minghella underwent surgery last week for a growth in his neck. He said the operation "seemed to have gone well. At 5 a.m. today he had a fatal hemorrhage."

Britain's arts community reacted with shock to the loss of one of its best-known and best-liked figures. Tributes poured in from people as diverse as movie star Jude Law, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the president of Botswana.

Law, who appeared in three of Minghella's films, said he was "deeply shocked and saddened."

"He was a sweet, warm, bright and funny man who was interested in everything from football to opera, films, music, literature, people and most of all his family whom he adored and to whom I send my thoughts and love," said Law, who appeared in Minghella's films "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Cold Mountain" and "Breaking and Entering." "I shall miss him hugely."

Blair, who became friends with Minghella after the filmmaker directed a Labour Party election commercial in 2005, said Minghella was "a wonderful human being, creative and brilliant, but still humble, gentle and a joy to be with."

"Whatever I did with him, personally or professionally, left me with complete admiration for him, as a character and as an artist of the highest caliber," Blair said.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Minghella was "one of Britain's greatest creative talents, one of our finest screenwriters and directors, a great champion of the British film industry and an expert on literature and opera."

Minghella was in Botswana recently filming an adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's novel "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency," which the BBC plans to broadcast Sunday. A spokesman for Botswana's President Festus Mogae said Minghella's death was a "shock and an utter loss."

The project was the latest of Minghella's literary adaptations, which also included the Italy-set thriller "The Talented Mr. Ripley," the U.S. Civil War saga "Cold Mountain" and the World War II-era story "The English Patient," which came out in 1996 and earned the Academy Award for best picture, with Minghella winning an Oscar for best director.

But Minghella, who began his career as a writer, confessed he was not sure of his place as a director.

"I am a writer who was able to direct the films that I write," he said recently. "It is a naked thing to admit, but I feel very strongly that I want people to appreciate that I am not just a flash in the pan."

Minghella also turned his talents to opera. In 2005, he directed a highly successful staging of Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" at the English National Opera in London — choreographed by Minghella's wife, Carolyn Choa.

The following year, he staged it as the season opener of New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Minghella was working with composer Osvaldo Golijov on a new opera titled "Daedalus," for which he was to write the libretto and direct. It was to have premiered in the Metropolitan Opera's 2011-12 season.

Met general manager Peter Gelb remembered how the chorus invented its own award to present to Minghella during "Madama Butterfly."

"He was a brilliant renaissance man. This wasn't just a gifted filmmaker," Gelb said. "He was a musician, played the piano, was a playwright. It's a tremendous loss. It's very sad for me and the Met. He was deeply loved by everybody he came into contact with at the Met, from the performers to the stage crew. They respected him and his clarity of thinking and his kindness."

Born in 1954, Minghella grew up on the Isle of Wight, a holiday island off England's southern coast where his Italian parents ran an ice cream factory, and studied at the University of Hull in northern England.

Minghella came to moviemaking from a playwrighting career on the London "fringe" and, in 1986, on the West End with the play, "Made in Bangkok," a hard-hitting look at the sexual mores of a British tour group in Thailand.

He also wrote for radio and television, penning episodes of the BBC kids' drama "Grange Hill" and the popular detective series "Inspector Morse."

Film was a natural progression.

"I was never happy writing plays just set in rooms," Minghella told The Associated Press in a 1996 interview. "I wanted the plays to move and for time to shift — a more liquid way of storytelling."

He made his film directing debut in 1990 with "Truly, Madly, Deeply," a comedy about love and grief starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman.

His biggest hit was "The English Patient," a romantic epic set against the backdrop of World War II that won nine Oscars and became such a part of pop culture, it inspired an entire "Seinfeld" episode.

The success of the film, which also starred Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, was evidence of Minghella's strengths. It was adapted from a poetic, multi-stranded novel by Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje that many considered unfilmable. In Minghella's hands it was lush, evocative and epic.

Minghella typically wrote and directed his films — to acclaim, in the cases of "The English Patient" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley," less successfully with "Breaking and Entering," an underpowered 2006 drama set in London's gritty King's Cross district.

The 1999 movie "The Talented Mr. Ripley," starring Matt Damon as a murderous social climber, was based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith and earned five Oscar nominations, including best screenplay for Minghella.

His 2003 "Cold Mountain," based on Charles Frazier's novel of the U.S. Civil War, brought a best supporting actress Oscar for Renee Zellweger.

"The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" was based on the first in a series of novels about the adventures of Botswanan private eye Precious Ramotswe. HBO recently commissioned a 13-part TV series.

Minghella is survived by his wife, his actor-son Max Minghella and his daughter Hannah, who recently was named president of production at Sony Pictures Animation.


Associated Press Writers Raphael G. Satter in London and Celean Jacobson in Gaborone, Botswana, contributed to this report.

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RIO: Kip Dakil is famous!

This is one of the funniest things ever. Rio Vista dude Kip Dakil does American Idol.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

ENV: Togian White-eye

Scientists say they have discovered a new bird species in Indonesia
Mar 15, 2008

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A bird first reported spotted on the remote Indonesian island of Togian in 1996 has been declared a newly discovered species, a top taxonomist in the Southeast Asian country said Saturday.

The Togian white-eye or Zosterops somadikartai is named after taxonomist Soekarja Somadikarta and is being introduced in this month's edition of the Wilson Journal of Ornithology, according to a news release from Indonesia's Institute of Science.

Somadikarta said his colleague, Mochamad Indrawan, first spotted the small bird with green plumage and a band of red feathers around each eye in 1996.

The pair spent years collaborating with well-known Asian bird specialist Pamela Rasmussen of Michigan State University to identify it as a new species.

The red-beaked bird is found only near the coasts of three small islands off Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province, Somadikarta said.

He said its habitat is less than 5,000 square kilometres.

"We think it's endangered," he said. "It is very active and moves in small flocks."

Jakarta-based WWF endangered species campaigner Chairul Saleh said he believes the bird is a new species based on several years of observations by Indonesian and U.S. scientists.

"The new species is different from its closest family of Zosterops, or white circle-eye. Its eyes are circled by a band of red feathers, not white, and its beak is a more intense red," he said.

"We are still studying the number of the species' population, which is estimated at less at than 1,000," Saleh said.

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