Congratulations to Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers... Yesterday, he was named the National League's Most Valuable Player in 2011. He batted .332, hit 33 home runs, had 111 RBIs, and stole 33 bases. He also had a chance to overtake Jose Reyes for the batting title on the last day of the season, but ended up finishing a very close second. His 77 extra-base hits were the best in the league.
Braun is also the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year, and a four-time All-Star.
To put things into perspective (for those of you outside Wisconsin), Ryan Braun is to the Milwaukee Brewers what Aaron Rodgers is to the Green Bay Packers.
Braun is the first Brewers player to win the MVP award in the National League, and the first since Robin Yount won in 1989 -- when Milwaukee were still in the AL East.
Congratulations Ryan. This is an award well-deserved!
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely..." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, yesterday (Tuesday) was a pretty miserable day. I was sick. My best guess: the 24-hour stomach flu. The good news is, a day and a half later, I'm pretty sure I'm on the mend. Here's hoping, however, that the other people in Brillion -- those who also reported being sick with the flu this week -- are feeling better as well.
Because the flu, no matter how long it lasts, is nowhere near my concept of fun.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting bit of trivia, and one that makes me very grateful for our present-day ability to better diagnose medical ailments. What I am recovering from, is, most likely, a version of the very same virus that killed U.S. President Zachary Taylor on July 9, 1850. (Source: Wikipedia)
"Rosa is an epic sci-fi short film that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where all natural life has disappeared. From the destruction, awakes Rosa, a cyborg deployed from the Kernel project, mankind's last attempt to restore the earth's ecosystem. Rosa will soon learn that she is not the only entity that has awakened, and must fight for her survival."
The most interesting thing about this film, though, is that it was made by Jesús Orellana, a Barcelona man who works in the Spanish comic industry. He made this film entirely by himself -- with no budget. He taught himself the art programs necessary, and then spent a year putting it together.
What you see above is the result. It's been played at the Seattle International Film Festival, Screamfest, Toronto After Dark, as well as a few other film events. I think it's quite good. Take a peek and see for yourself.
Buzludzha National Park is situated right in the middle of Bulgaria at the heart of its rose growing area. Yet, when one arrives at the Shipka Pass, something unexpected awaits them. It's as if a huge flying saucer landed here, in the Balkan Mountains, and was abandoned by its owners.
But it's not a flying saucer. In reality, it's a once-beautiful, very unusual, 30-year-old monument that was opened in 1981 on the 1300th anniversary of the founding of the state of Bulgaria. It was, however, abruptly abandoned less than twenty years later after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. It's been left to ruin ever since.
Architecturally, it's a beautiful building -- even in ruins. Take a moment and click on over to the Buzludzha Monument article on Kuriositas to see photos and learn more.
Last month, the Milwaukee Brewers ended their 2011 season with a bitter loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS. They were only two wins away from a World Series appearance. It was a disappointing way to go out, many hearts were broken... but it was a fantastic season getting there. The Crew won the NL Central for the first time in 29 years, they set a franchise record with 96 regular season wins, and fan support couldn’t be any higher.
Sadly, though, all things come to an end. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series, and the Brewers went home to their families. The off-season had begun.
But not all fans relish the lack of baseball after so much excitement. Some wish to look back and ponder the question: What if things had played out differently? With a second chance, and a few changes, could the Brewers have earned a spot in the World Series? Could 2011 have been an even better season?
Enter the Milwaukee Brewers Replay.
But first, a little backstory...
As many of you already know, I'm a hard-core, life-long Brewers fan. I grew up following the team through the '80's, the '90's, and the present. I went to games and events at the old County Stadium with my dad. I filmed a movie at the new Miller Park. I collected Brewers baseball cards. I obtained player autographs. And I simulated dozens of fictional baseball seasons through statistical board games, computer games and the like. My father and I would sit down, and simulate match-ups together using our favorite game, Strat-O-Matic Baseball. I loved that game. It provided hours and hours of "What If..." fun.
I've grown older now, my father and I live in different states, but I still enjoy a good solitary "What If..." baseball simulation every now and then. Only, these days, I do so with the help of Baseball Mogul.
After the great season we witnessed in 2011, I thought it might be interesting to take that “What If..” approach, and, with the help of Baseball Mogul, replay the entire 2011 season. I thought I’d take it one step further, though, and incorporate the input of fellow Brewers fans, like myself, who wanted to help me manage the team. To that end, I set up a social Facebook page, and I’m posting the Replay line-ups, statistics, and game results there on a daily basis. Anyone who “likes” the page, is welcome to help me determine the everyday team moves. Moves like: Who should be in the line-up? Who gets sent down to the minors? Who replaces an injured player? Things like that. It’s a joint effort. An online collaboration between dedicated Brewer fans.
To remain as realistic as possible, I've confined my simulation to the same trades, contracts, schedule and ownership decisions as in real life. However, the roster moves, line-ups, injuries, and everything else on-field will play out differently – as if the 2011 Brewers had a second chance at greatness.
It’s a fascinating idea. A social experiment. And, quite possibly, the first time something like this has ever been done on Facebook.
If you're interested in this kind of thing; if you want to follow along with the stats and standings; if you'd like to help me manage this Replay version of the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers, I encourage you to come check out the project's Facebook page. Click "Like" and help me/us manage the team to the World Series the team narrowly missed in real life. I'll be simulating things all the way through the off-season, so there's plenty of opportunities to be involved.
It'll be fun project! It's one of the best seasons of Brewers baseball, replayed collaboratively during the off-season. What's not to like!?
Come join us! Stats and standings are updated daily.
UPDATE: Head on over to BrewCrewBall.com for a recap of the month of April in the Milwaukee Brewers Replay. I'll be guest posting over there throughout the real-life off-season, and sharing updates on how the re-played season is going. Check it out!
Amy Shackleton doesn't use brushes to paint her pictures. Instead, she applies wet paint to a canvas and then elevates and turns it so that the paint runs in the direction that she wants. After many carefully staged pourings over one or two weeks, she ends up with an extraordinarily brilliant, surprisingly coherent image. Her technique seems to work well for nighttime scenes. You can view more images and a time-lapse video of Shackleton at work at the link.
You can view a fantastic photo collection of some of her paintings, as well as a video of her in action (at the bottom of the linked page). Take a peek at her unique creativity, and enjoy!
Lately, with all the bad economic news coming out of Greece, it's easy to look at the Mediterranean country and see the irresponsible borrowing, the overgenerous retirement benefits, and the employment problems and reluctance to pay taxes that have led to the current economic crisis in Europe. It's a nightmare over there; the socialist economy is in shambles.
But despite all the bad news, there's a lot more to Greece than we often realize. They've had a HUGE impact upon the progression and advancement of every nation on the globe. Here is a list of some of the things Greece is credited with inventing... that we take for granted in our everyday lives:
- The Modern Olympics - Trial by Jury - Theater - Democracy - The Shower - Analog Computers - Pizza - Mathematics - The Catapult and Crossbow - The Steam Engine
Jelly Bean art at it's best! This video took a crew of 30 people 1,357 hours to move 288,000 jelly beans and produce this cute animated music video for "In Your Arms" by Kina Grannis. You've probably never seen anything like it. Give it a watch, and enjoy!
Did you know... there are actually live webcams located within the flame of the Statue of Liberty? Yep. INSIDE the torch. Four torch cams were installed and turned on in celebration of Lady Liberty's 125th birthday on October 28, 2011. They provide live views of Ellis and Governors Islands, Liberty Island and the Freedom Tower. Take a peek!
As some of you may know, I'm a big fan of Conan O'Brien, the late-night talk-show host on TBS. I enjoy his show, and last week, he filmed it in New York City (his studio is in Los Angeles). One of the big things they were planning to do while in the Big Apple, was host a same-sex wedding, on the stage, during one of the episodes.
Now, I won't get into the politics of the event, that's not my point in write about it here. What I did find interesting, was how the event was covered in the media. Quite often, we don't realize just how much our favorite television news program depends upon someone else to write their scrips and news copy. Point of fact, broadcast news is rarely ever original.
Here's a humorous compilation to prove my point. It's a segment from one of those Conan O'Brien shows last week -- before the wedding. Watch for the news clips as the TV broadcasters put their own unique spin on this breaking news for their viewers. Enjoy! ... [video]
I am hereby declaring victory over the nasty cold that took me out this past week. Blogging was on hold -- as previously mentioned -- because I just didn't have the motivation to write anything. It's Monday now, and a new week begins, so I figure it's time to get back into the habit of posting again. If you've got anything you'd like me to write about, let me know. Otherwise.... it's blogging as usual!
I just thought I'd drop a quick note to let you know that I am currently enduring a particularly nasty cold that has taken away most of my motivation to be creative -- which, sadly, includes blogging, writing, reading blogs, etc. I've had this under-the-weather status since Saturday, and it's really been kicking my butt. I'll be back to blogging again soon, though. In the meantime, come on over to my Facebook page. Posts from there don't take as much effort, and you can still stay up-to-date.
I hope none of you are sick. 'Tis the season, sure, but I wouldn't wish this kind of miserable-ness on anyone, even those I don't get along with.