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Friday, March 30, 2012

"Jon Baas Tempts Mega Millions Fate"

I posted this on my Facebook page not long ago:

"Just for the fun of it, I'm going to tempt fate, and NOT pick up a ticket for tonight's record lottery jackpot. If I had played the lottery, I would have used these numbers: "21-7-40-1-3 / 31". So, if fate is consistent, those numbers will be nowhere near the numbers drawn tonight. -- Yep. I'm a rebel like that. :)"

The odds of anyone winning the historic $640 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot tonight are 1-in-176-million. Someone will win -- eventually. But it won't be me. Perhaps, if no one wins tonight, I *might* go get a ticket for the next draw, just to say I participated. You know, for the experience. We'll see.

Whomever wins, though, I think it should be someone from Wisconsin. Just because.

"Y! Blog: Mega Millions long odds and unreasoned dreams"


UPDATE: (10:58 PM)
As expected, fate was on my side. Tonight's lottery numbers were "2-4-23-38-46 / 23". If I had bought a ticket with those numbers, I would have won $0. Now we wait and see if someone(s) got lucky tonight, or, if we go another round of numbers on Tuesday. We'll know by tomorrow morning.

You know, I'm not even playing the lottery, and yet, this whole craze has me paying attention. What can I say, stories like this are fascinating to watch.


UPDATE: (Saturday, 12:22 AM)
Here's a great article about the whole Mega Millions lottery craze:

"Mega Millions Tickets: Why We Buy Into The Lotto"


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"Urbex - The Art Of Urban Exploration"

We live in a world where almost everything is mapped, explored, discovered. From time to time, however, there are certain places that become unseen, left to their own devices, or forgotten by the people that once made them known. When a whole new generation of explorers find these abandoned places all over again, the photos can be fascinating!


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

"MLB Baseball... In London?"

Major League Baseball is looking at the possibility of playing a few games in London, England. They're eying London's Olympic Stadium, a post-Olympics 60,000-seat multipurpose venue that could be temporarily converted to host baseball.

Another option is a new $20 million stadium being built in the Netherlands, which will have 3,000 permanent seats, but room for temporary seating of 25,000. It’s expected to open in early 2014.

Either way... I'm all for it. Since 1992, Major League games have already been played in Japan, China, and Taiwan. The UK would be a great addition to that international list!

"MLB eyes London Olympic stadium for baseball games"


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"Opening Day: 2012 MLB Baseball Season"

The 2012 Major League Baseball season has officially begun. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics met up last night in the first of 4,860 MLB games to be played this season, but they did so.... in the Tokyo Dome, in Japan. Seattle won, 3-1 in eleven innings.

MLB and the players' association are using the Tokyo series to assist rebuilding in Japan after last year's earthquake and tsunami. A group of players and coaches traveled to the disaster zone on Tuesday to conduct a baseball clinic.

The rest of the American MLB teams will start play on April 4th, when the renamed Miami Marlins open their new ballpark against last year's World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals will then travel to Milwaukee to play the Brewers in their first game -- at Miller Park -- on April 6th.

The baseball season has started. Let the fun begin!

"Suzuki stars in Japan, M’s beat A’s in MLB opener"


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Jon Baas: WBAY Facebook Fan of the Day"

Here's a little something that made me smile:

Earlier this morning, I was featured on the local Green Bay, Wisconsin, ABC morning news as their "Facebook Fan of the Day". They displayed my photo, my name, my hometown (aka, Brillion), and, I'm going to guess, probably some brief audio as well. I didn't see the segment since I was sleeping at the time, and Kelli missed it too. However, later in the day, while Kelli was off at school, one of her former kindergarten students (now in second grade) came up to her, and informed her that "Mr. Baas was on the news this morning!"

When Kelli came home later in the day, she told me about it. I looked on the station's Facebook page, and... sure enough, there was a screenshot of my appearance on the morning news. It's a regular feature; the station picks someone from among their 32,000+ Facebook fans and features them during each morning broadcast. I just happened to be today's honoree.

In the end, it made for some great on-Facebook conversation well into the evening, it was my "fame for the day", and... it made me smile. Goal achieved! Thanks for the recognition WBAY!


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

"The Booms In Clintonville"

There's something strange happening in Clintonville, Wisconsin -- a city of nearly 5,000 people only 45 miles northwest of Brillion. For the past three nights, strange booms have been coming from somewhere underground, rattling windows and doors, and shaking the city. The police have fielded hundreds of calls so far from people all over town reporting the booms, and comparing them to anything from rattling pipes to fireworks, even to thunder.

As of this blog post, no one knows what's causing these mysterious booms. The city administrator has already ruled out a long list of possible causes which include gas lines and earthquakes. An engineering firm will be arriving there later this week with equipment to try and find the epicenter and depth of the shaking. We may know more after they've finished their analysis.

For now... it's a mystery. A mystery rather close to home.

"Clintonville Leaders Face Public Over Unexplained Noises, Shaking"


UPDATE: (11:37 PM)
The strange booms in Clintonville have now been ruled an earthquake four miles under the surface of the earth with a magnitude of 1.5.

"Mystery is Solved, but Clintonville Residents Still Want Answers"


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Nullarbor is a 10-minute animated film written by Patrick Sarell and directed by Alister Lockhart. It tells the story of two men... traveling on Australia's longest, straightest, treeless stretch of desert road. Enjoy!


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"Titanic On Twitter"

On Friday, April 15, 2012, it will be 100 years since the infamous sinking of RMS Titanic. To commemorate this anniversary, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic will use Twitter to broadcast the vessel's original wireless transmissions.

Ten years prior to Titanic's sinking, the first wireless transmission to cross the Atlantic from North America was sent from the Marconi station in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. Much like the short messages we send today via text, instant messaging, Twitter or Facebook, wireless transmissions bridged distances between people and made it possible to share information across the world. When disaster struck the Titanic, those wireless messages were crucial in saving lives and informing others about the death of the largest and grandest ocean liner of the time.

This year, on April 15, the real-time messages will start Twittercasting at 11:55 pm Newfoundland Standard Time (due to the ship's geographic location at the time of sinking). Follow the hash tag #TitanicMMA to experience the very same wireless messages operators received in 1912.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Rome Reborn"

Rome Reborn is an international initiative to create a 3D digital model of the ancient city as it might have appeared in A.D. 320. This video presents a fly-through of the latest version of Rome Reborn. I found it to be a fascinating journey, and an interesting look into the past. Take a peek, and enjoy!


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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"The First Day Of Spring"

Today is officially the first day of Spring. Get out there an enjoy it!


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

"How To Play Parrises Squares"


Parrises Squares is a challenging game of athletic skill played in the Star Trek universe. Since rules were never specified on any of the television series', nor was a game ever seen in action, I've come up with rules based upon the details we do know. The following is a fair approximation of the sport.

Parrises Squares  consists of a large raised (padded) playing field with a 12-level pyramid in the center, and two ramped “end zones” on either end. Two eight-square defense grids separate the pyramid from the end zones. A round vertical hoop extends above the top of each end zone. Teams score points when one of their players throws or places a soccer-sized handball through their appropriate hoop.

There are two teams in Parrises Squares, with four players on each team. Every player wears a padded uniform featuring a color shared by all four players. Red, blue and yellow are the most common colors.

One player on each team is known as the keeper. He/she defends the opposing team’s goal, and must keep that team from putting the ball through the hoop. The keeper, however, must remain in either the eight squares on the defense grid or in the ramped end zone. He/she cannot participate in the offensive or defensive strategies taking place on the pyramid. The keeper is also equipped with a padded ion mallet designed to extend his/her reach in the case of thrown balls, or to help fight off any opponents that enter his/her defensive areas.

The other three players on a team comprise the core players. These players engage in offense and defense strategies as required. Their task is to keep the other team's players from crossing the pyramid and moving closer to their goal, while also tossing the ball between their fellow team-mates, in an attempt to cross the pyramid so that they can score on their own goal.
There are no limits to how long a player may hold the ball, however, a good offensive strategy is to keep tossing it between teammates to move it across the field faster, and to minimize fumbling when tackled by the opposing team.

Players score for their team by doing one of two things: they throw the ball from anywhere on the field, and it goes through their goal hoop, or, they rush it past the opposing keeper, and place the ball directly through the hoop. Balls thrown from the top of the pyramid, that go through the hoop, score seven points. Balls thrown from anywhere else on the field score three points. Balls placed through the hoop in the ramped end zone score ten points.

If a ball goes out of play, a replacement is immediately tossed in from the sidelines. It enters play at the same place it left the field. Any player may recover the ball and continue the game.
There is a wall on the sides of the pyramid so that players are forced to go up and over the pyramid to get to the other side. A padded pit exists outside both sides of the playing field to minimize injury from players falling off the pyramid. If a player falls off the field into the pit, they must re-enter the playing field by way of the access ramp on their side of the pyramid. Game play continues while a player is returning to the field, so their absence is an advantage to the opposing team.

Only one offensive player may enter their team's ramped end zone. And only the keeper may defend within that end zone. However, if the scoring player falls off the playing field, another teammate my jump down onto the end zone and attempt to score in their absence. The other three defending players must remain on the playing field.

A standard game of Parrises Squares consists of four quarters of fifteen minutes each, with breaks of five minutes between each quarter. Substitute players may be swapped into play during any of those five minute quarter breaks. If a player is injured and unable to finish the quarter, a substitute (if available) may enter the game. If there are no substitute players remaining, the other team must choose one of their four players to leave the game. Both teams must always have an equal number of players on the field.

The team that scores the most points by the end of the fourth quarter wins. If games are tied after four quarters, additional 15-minute quarters are added until one team finishes the game with more points.


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Quote of the Day"

"Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public."
- Winston Churchill


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Friday, March 09, 2012

"Jon Baas - The Last Brillion Blogger?"

Are you looking for a Brillion blog? Wondering who has the most established blog in the Brillion, Wisconsin area? Well... you've found him. At least as far as visibility is concerned. Do a Google search. I'm the only active local blogger that shows up. Why? I don't know. I guess people around here just don't do much online (outside of Facebook, that is). To me, it seems like a missed opportunity (especially for the businesses). But, then again, maybe it's just not a small-city priority.

Point of fact, two weeks ago, the local once-a-week newspaper (that's been in print for 118 years) just started an online version. JUST last month. They created a new website for it and everything. They've even stepped up their presence in social media. While I'm thrilled to see that, especially from an established media outlet, it's still a bit sad. Counting them... and me... and the Facebook page for one of the major factories in town... that's three -- three entities in the entire Brillion area that have any sort of significant active PR-minded web presence. You'd think an international manufacturing city would be more connected than that. Apparently not.

I know I'm from the big city (aka, Milwaukee); down there people's dogs have websites. I've been online for over a decade -- my website has represented me online, my blog has been reviewed in magazines. I've gotten notoriety from it; I write what I know. When I moved here, there was one other established local blogger -- a political blogger. He had some interesting stuff -- and an interesting perspective on local politics. Unfortunately, he closed up shop and deleted the entire blog this past winter.

That leaves me. Jon Baas. I'm the only Brillion blogger left.

The pulse of Brillion comes down to me -- a tech-saavy entrepreneurial guy who moved here two years ago (and started the unofficial Brillion Facebook page) -- and the recently internet-ized Brillion News (that's just starting to build a name for themselves online).

I suppose, on one hand, that makes me a notable Brillionite. A local celebrity of sorts. But on the other hand... it's rather lonely here at the top.

If you live in Brillion, Wisconsin; if you're interested in blogging, join me. Start writing. Share what you know. Become a local personality. Because, my friend, trust me, there's plenty of room for growth here. Plenty. Ya just gotta step outside the box of "this-is-how-it's-always-been-done" and make a go of it.

Innovation takes work. Growth takes effort. But trail-blazing... that's where the fun is! Find your passion, find your niche. Blaze a trail. Build a blog!

Your Brillion-blogging friend,

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

"Titanic Belfast - A New Titanic Museum"

Something wonderful is happening in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A hundred years after the Titanic set sail on her disasterous maiden voyage, a new museum center dedicated to the ship, her makers and passengers, will open in the city which built her. Titanic Belfast stands in the very place the great ship was built, and it's a structure as colossal as the ship it honors.


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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

"The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence"

In 1975, a strange half-hour pilot for a variety show aired on ABC. It was titled "The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence", and yes... it featured the lovable Muppets. Although, the demographic was a decidedly older one than we're used to. According to Muppet Wiki, this one-off pilot was a "parody of the proliferation of sex and violence on television". It's an odd show, yet... familiar. And, although it's only an early shadow of what the actual Muppet Show would become... it's strangely entertaining.

I enjoyed it. You might as well.

That said, I've included the entire "Sex and Violence" pilot below, in three installments. Sit back, click play.... and enjoy the pre-Muppet Show, version 1.


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Monday, March 05, 2012

"Rémi Gaillard’s Elevator Prank"

I bet this happens to you every day. .... [video]


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Jon Baas

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