Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve 2013

New Year's Eve is my least favorite holiday, but this year was at least varied.

Taking off in the morning, Sharon and I hiked the South Fork American River Trail. We did it as a through hike from Magnolia Ranch to Skunk Hollow. We took two cars and dropped a car at Skunk Hollow. Hitting the trail about 10:15 am, we covered 11 1/2 miles in almost exactly five hours. My RunKeeper app showed that we were hiking for about 4 hours and 5 minutes. We stopped for lunch near the old movie set. Maps and Google Earth views of the hike are here.

Getting home and cleaned up, we wandered over to one of our neighbors [Dan and Deborah] for a small get together. From there we went to a late dinner at Plan B. We took a bottle of Sea Smoke Pinot Noir that I had given Sharon for Christmas last year. Sharon had duck comfit, while I had rack of lamb.

We finished the night like we did last year watching the fireworks from the upstairs deck and listening to the turkeys gobble.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Lub vs Dub

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!


Code Expiration: March 25, 2013

Starbucks ITunes Pick of the Week - Minor Alps - I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks ITunes Pick of the Week - Minor Alps - I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands

Code Expiration: March 25, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Google+ built this video of some of my 2013 pictures. It is a great summary of the year until the odd last frame…

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another Holiday Get Together

With Drew and Nicki in Northern California and the Tom Frames back from Arizona, we hosted a small holiday get together [Drew, Nicki, Tom, Becky, Eric, Kevin, Jack, Sharon and I]. We barbecued hamburgers and played with our new dog.

We finished the night listening to some samples of new songs for the upcoming Milo Greene album and from another project that Drew is working on with a couple of guys in Nashville.


On Sunday morning, we drove to Vacaville to pick up a puppy!?!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday Get Together

Sharon and I had great dinner with the Larkins and the Gainsley at the Mighty Tavern. The Big Easy 2014!

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 78

On Day 78, I rode 21.2 miles across southeastern Nebraska. Starting at the Kiowa Station Pony Express Station [40° 13' 37.60", 97° 45' 24.50"], I headed straight east along an unnamed country road. I finished the ride in the town of Alexandria at the corner of Mercy and South Streets.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Friday, December 27, 2013

California Historical Landmark #3

On Thursday afternoon, December 26, I visited ten California Historical Markers in Sonoma, including: Mission San Francisco Solano [#3]; General M. G. Vallejo Home [#4]; Bear Flag Monument [#7]; Blue Wing Inn [#17]; Presidio of Sonoma [#316]; Swiss Hotel [#496]; Salvador Vallejo Adobe [#501]; Union Hotel and Union Hall [#627]; Nash Adobe [#667], and; San Francisco Solano Mission Vineyard [#739].

Mission San Francisco Solano
California State Historical Landmark #3

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This landmark is located in the Sonoma State Historic Park at the northwest corner of Spain and East 1st Streets, Sonoma, California. There are 26 other California State Historical Landmarks in Sonoma County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 38° 17.620 W 122° 27.355.

A list of California missions is here. The missions that I have visited are highlighted in red.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

California Historical Landmark #3

On July 4, 1823, Padre José Altamira founded this northernmost of California's Franciscan missions, the only one established in California under independent Mexico. In 1834, secularization orders were carried out by Military Commandant M. G. Vallejo, and Mission San Francisco Solano became a parish church serving the Pueblo and Sonoma Valley until it was sold in 1881.

California Historical Landmark #3

California Historical Landmark #3

California Missions

San Diego de Alcala, 1st mission
The mission trail in California began here on July 16, 1769, when Fathers Serra, Palou and Parron dug a hole eight feet into the beachhead near the mouth of the San Diego River and planted a large cross. A bell was suspended from the limb of a nearby tree and the site was dedicated to St. Didacus. Today, the mission's own priests bless the trio of bells which ring each Sunday before mass. Bougainvillea cascades over adobe walls surrounding the gardens and California's first historic cemetery. The gardens contain centuries-old hibiscus, succulents, olive trees, citrus and avocado.

San Luis Rey de Francia, 18th mission
Known as the King of the Missions, San Luis Rey de Francia lies in a sheltered valley just east of Oceanside on State Highway 76. Named for Louis IX, the crusading King of France, the cross-shaped church was dedicated on the Feast of St. Anthony in 1798 by Father Lasuen. Architecturally the most graceful of California's missions, it has been restored according to the original plans and designs. Today the mission gardens include a fruit orchard where California's first pepper tree still grows. The church, which seats 1,000, is adjacent to a six-acre enclosed central square that includes a sunken garden, elaborate stone terrace and octagonal mortuary chapel.

San Juan Capistrano, 7th mission
Named for Crusader Saint John of Capistrano and designed in the shape of a cross, the great stone church once held seven domes and a bell tower so tall it could be seen from ten miles away. Severely damaged by an 1812 earthquake, the ruins are currently being preserved by archaeologists and engineers. Ivy covers the broken walls, willows sway over the fountain in the quadrangle and orange Birds of Paradise grace the mission gardens. A gilded altarpiece illuminates the Serra Chapel of 1777, the oldest building still in use in California and the only surviving church where Father Serra said mass. Each year on St. Joseph's Day, March 19, the mission celebrates the return of the cliff swallows from Argentina with a traditional Mexican fiesta.

San Gabriel Arcangel, 4th mission
Founded in 1771 by Junipero Serra, this fortress-like structure with five-foot thick walls and narrow windows is a design not found in any other mission. Located nine miles east of downtown Los Angeles, at one time it covered several hundred thousand acres; one fourth of the wealth of California missions in stock and grain was credited to San Gabriel. The original vaulted roof was of a Moorish design patterned after the cathedral at Cordova, Spain, with slender capped buttresses and a six-belled campanario. One bell, which weighs a ton, can be heard eight miles away. The hammered copper baptismal font was a gift of King Carlos III of Spain and the six priceless altar statues were brought around the Horn from Spain in 1791. The winery, kitchen gardens and graveyard are still intact and the museum exhibits old books, Indian paintings and parchments.

San Fernando Rey de Espana, 17th mission
Father Lasuen named this mission in honor of King Ferdinand III of Spain in 1797. Located 25 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, the convento is the largest freestanding adobe in California, and was originally used as a hospice for travelers. Today, the church, school, convento and workshops have all been restored to their original purposes and are open for viewing. Above the church altar is a statue of Saint Ferdinand brought from Spain 300 years ago. In the old mission plaza sits the original flower-shaped fountain.

San Buenaventura, 9th mission
The ninth mission in the chain was founded on Easter Sunday in 1782 by Father Serra and dedicated to St. Bonaventure. It was the last mission the humble priest would christen. Restored in 1957, the facade exhibits an unusual triangular design which opens into the gardens. A museum exhibits artifacts that include two old wooden bells, the only ones of their type known in California. Situated three blocks from the ocean, the mission fronts on the main street of Ventura.

Santa Barbara, 10th mission
Founded in 1786, the "Queen of the Missions" was the first to be christened by Father Lasuen, and has continuously served as a parish church for the local population since its founding. The church was destroyed in 1925 by earthquake; however, restorations have returned it to its original grandeur of wrought iron, terra cotta and carved wood. Patterned after an ancient Latin chapel in pre-Christian Rome, its twin bell towers and Doric facade present an imposing impression of strength. Located on a hilltop overlooking the city, the mission provides a spectacular view of the ocean. The museum contains a vast store of historical material and displays many original items.

Santa Ines, 19th mission
Named for a 13 year-old Roman martyr, St. Agnes, who refused to sacrafice to the pagan gods in 304 AD, Santa Ines was dedicated in 1804 by Father Estevan Tapis. Amazingly, it survived the numerous earthquakes. The museum contains a notable collection of vestments, church records and missals, and the church displays some of the original decorations on a wall behind the altar. A historic grape arbor shelters a walkway that transports the visitor back in time, emerging in the lovely gardens that appear today much as they did nearly 200 years ago.

La Purisima Conception, 11th mission
Founded in 1787 by Father Lasuen the mission is located 50 miles west of Santa Barbara. Considered to be the best example of mission architecture, it has 37 rooms that have been completely restored and furnished. Volunteers perform living history demonstrations of mission life such as candle making and weaving. In the garden area, water flows through a series of pools and a fountain before passing through the lavandareas where the mission women washed clothes. Plants were brought from the 20 other mission gardens to form one of the finest collections of early California flora in existence. Horses, cattle, burros and the four-horned Churro sheep graze in the quiet pastures.

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, 5th mission
The humble chapel built of logs was dedicated to St. Louis, Bishop of Tolosa in 1772, and was the first mission to use tiles extensively on the roof due to repeated attacks by Indians who used flaming arrows to ignite the original thatched roof. Situated in the fertile, well-watered Valley of the Bears, the mission produced an abundance of crops, and two water-powered grist mills processed foods normally ground by hand. The mission underwent an extensive restoration program in the 1930's and today welcomes visitors to its nearly-original condition. The museum features a rare collection of early California photographs, authentic Serra relics and specimens of Chumash Indian craftsmanship.

San Miguel Arcangel, 16th mission
Founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen to complete the mission chain from San Luis Obispo to Mission Dolores in San Francisco, San Miguel was located in the Salinas Valley as a mid point between the San Luis Obispo and San Antonio Missions. Under the direction of Esteban Munros, the Indians painted the walls and ceilings with ornate designs; the original murals are today the best preserved in California. San Miguel had no bell tower, its 2,000 lb. bell rang out from a wooden platform in front of the mission and now sits in its own campanario behind the church. The mission has an annual fiesta on the third Sunday in September to celebrate the Feast Day of its patron, Saint Michael, chief of the Archangels and Prince of the Heavenly Armies.

San Antonio de Padua, 3rd mission
Located 40 miles north of Paso Robles this picturesque mission is nestled in the grasslands and oak trees of the San Antonio Valley. Named for a saint known as the 'miracle worker', it was dedicated in 1771 by Father Serra. The church is known for its campanario and archway bells, and is today largely restored to its original condition. The fertile soil, water and climate produced excellent wheat and pasture for herds of cattle and horses. The valley comes alive with wildflowers each spring when poppies, lupines and the Golden Blazing Star begin to bloom.

Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, 13th mission
The padres named this mission for Our Lady of Solitude in 1791, which fits the isolated location of Soledad. Settled next to the Salinas River in the pastures and rolling hills 45 miles south of Monterrey, this lonely outpost was cold, damp and frequently whipped by winds. The soil was rich and the water plentiful however, and by 1805 Soledad was producing more than 100,000 bushels of wheat per year, owned nearly 17,000 head of livestock, and had become well-known for its hospitality. The chapel and one wing of the quadrangle have been completely restored and the church still has the original title floor. A small museum is housed is the quadrangle.

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, 2nd mission
Founded by Father Serra in 1770 on Pentecost Sunday, this mission was considered to be his favorite, and both he and Father Lasuen are buried here. It served as the ecclesiastical capital of California and also as Father Serra's headquarters for administrative duties as presidente of the missions. Set against the sea and mountains 115 miles south of San Francisco, this beautiful mission presents the complete quadrangle courtyard typical of mission architecture. The architecture is Moorish in design and the facade holds a star-shaped window directly above the main entrance. The gardens include culinary and medicinal herbs, citrus and olive trees, roses, Mexican sage and bougainvillea.

San Juan Bautista, 15th mission
Founded by Father Lasuen in 1797 this mission was unwittingly located directly above the San Andreas fault. Much of the original structure remains and has been restored to once again be the largest California mission church and the only one with three aisles. It was named for John the Baptist. Musical arts were taught here and the mission owned many instruments, which the Indians readily took to. Father Tapis developed a colored musical notation system and taught the Indians to read music as well as play it. Some of the parchments with colored notations still survive and the reredos behind the altar is so well-preserved that the paint is still brilliant.

Santa Cruz, 12th mission
Although the soil was excellent and the location ideal, this mission never reached its potential. The dedication of Mission la Exaltacion de la Santa Cruz was made in 1791 by Father Lasuen at a site that was unfortunately located next to Branciforte pueblo, a community of ex-convicts and thieves. Shaken by earthquakes and frustrated by the influence and behavior of the colonists, the padres abandoned the mission. The chapel was eventually rebuilt to service the town that had grown up around the mission plaza, and today a half-scale replica of the 1794 Santa Cruz Mission Church sits about seventy-five yards from the original site.

Santa Clara de Asis, 8th mission
Located on the Guadeloupe River, the log chapel was founded in 1777 by Father Serra in honor of St. Clare only three months before his death. In 1851 the work began which ultimately produced Santa Clara University as we know it today. Located about 40 miles south of San Francisco, the main garden is devoted to tree roses, a mission tradition, and the string of willows planted along the miles between the mission and the pueblo of San Jose is today a well-traveled San Jose street known as The Alameda. Some initial mission walls exist and the bell tower holds the original bells sent from Spain. The University is rich in relics of the mission with a library of notable archival material.

San Jose, 14th mission
The most recent mission to have its church restored, the work truly captures the look and feel of its 1830's prosperity. Founded in 1797 by Father Lasuen, the fertile site was chosen because of its view of Mission Dolores and Yerba Buena Island. At one time the mission lands reached north almost to Oakland and east to include the Sacramento Delta. The mission was named after Joseph, spouse of Mary and while nothing remains of the original church, the $5 million remodel has closely reproduced the 1809 structure. A parish church now stands on the site with relics including a hammered baptismal font, altar bells and vestments.

San Francisco de Asis, Mission Dolores, 6th mission
On a site selected by Juan Bautista de Anza, the first mission church was a 50-foot long log and mud structure that was eventually moved to higher ground, adjacent to Lake Dolores which gives it its second name, Mission Dolores. Dedicated to Saint Francis by Father Serra in 1776, today the mission sits in the heart of San Francisco and is the oldest building in the city. Much of the original church interior is intact and the guilded reredos and colorful wall paintings are good examples of early California art.

San Rafael Arcangel, 20th mission
This mission is located 20 miles north of San Francisco at the foot of Mount Tamalpais. It was established as a sanitarium and hospital for San Francisco neophytes suffering from depression and disease. The one padre in California who had medical training, Luis Gil y Taboado was so successful that other missions soon began sending their sick Indians. Within five years it was raised to full mission status and dedicated to the patron of health in 1817. The small church with star windows was modeled after Carmel, however the structure was torn down in 1870 to be used for firewood. Today a chapel at the site duplicates most of the original mission church.

San Francisco Solano, 21st mission
Founded in 1823 on July 4 by Father Jose Altimira, this historic mission is the site of the Bear Flag Revolt and the effort to establish the Republic of California in 1846. The church seen today is a parish church built in 1840; the original was mostly washed away by a tremendous thunderstorm. A small portion of the original quadrangle exists, and the world-famous Sebastiani Vineyards include much of the original mission vineyard. The annual Vintage Festival is the oldest in the state, and each year the blessing of the grapes is performed by a Franciscan priest in front of the mission. A small museum is housed in the former padres wing with a display of California mission paintings.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Waymarking in Sonoma County

With my company spread around Northern California and my job taking me to most of the sites, I started more than eight and a half years ago visiting, photographing and mapping California Historical Landmarks across Northern California.  In the last few years, I have typically taken one of the days of the Christmas holiday to explore a different part of Northern California.  In 2012, I roamed over Placer, Yuba and Nevada Counties.  In 2010, I covered parts of Amador and El Dorado Counties.

Thursday morning, Sharon and I took off for Sonoma. The plan for the day was to have an early lunch at the girl and the fig. Afterwards, I would explore Sonoma looking for a number of historical markers, while she shopped. I visited ten California Historical Markers in Sonoma, including: Mission San Francisco Solano [#3]; General M. G. Vallejo Home [#4]; Bear Flag Monument [#7]; Blue Wing Inn [#17]; Presidio of Sonoma [#316]; Swiss Hotel [#496]; Salvador Vallejo Adobe [#501]; Union Hotel and Union Hall [#627]; Nash Adobe [#667], and; San Francisco Solano Mission Vineyard [#739].

After we met back up, Sharon and I went back to the Mission San Francisco Solano and visited the chapel.  On the way home, we stopped the Bouchaine Vineyard for a tasting and to pick up Sharon's wine shipment.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

The three of us had a very nice Christmas morning opening presents around the tree. We had a lazy breakfast of quiche that we had brought at Whole Foods. Jack got a thermos from his aunt?!? Sharon and I got him a Playstation 4.

In the early afternoon, we went out for a movie on Christmas Day for the fifth year in a row. With the Tom Frames in Arizona and Kevin off with his girl friend, it was just the three of us. We went to see Anchorman 2. Sharon and Jack enjoyed the movie more than I did. Parts of the movie jumped the shark a little too much for me…

We had planned on finishing the day with dinner at Buca di Beppo. Unfortunately, the place was completely booked with reservations! We ended up having dinner across the street at Chevy's. In 2010, we ended up at the Chevy's in Elk Grove with Tom, Becky, Kevin and Eric on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Christmas Eve Dinner Table by heringermr
Christmas Eve Dinner Table, a photo by heringermr on Flickr.
Sharon, Jack and I went to the 4 pm Christmas Eve Mass at St. Ignatuis. We got there about 3:40 pm and just barely got a seat. After Mass, we rushed home. For the third straight year, we hosted Christmas Eve. Kevin showed up just as we were getting to the house. The group was a little smaller this year. It included: Tim; Kathy; Eileen; Kevin; Jim Dunn; and the three of us. The Tom Frames [Tom, Becky and Eric] were in Arizona spending Christmas with Becky's dad. Erin is in North Carolina with Dylan's family.

Sharon made a great dinner of prime rib, baked tomatoes and green beans. I picked up a cake for dessert from Nothing But Bundt Cake earlier in the day.

After dinner, we exchanged gifts. With a smaller group, the evening was not as late as some years.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Sketch Club

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Sketch Club

Code Expiration: March 18, 2013

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Hello Ninja by N.D. Wilson

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Code Expiration: March 18, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Neighborhood Christmas Party

Sharon and I decided to throw small Christmas Party and invite a few of our neighbors. The group included: Tom and Judy; their son John, daughter-in-law Sara and granddaughter Anna [who live next door]; Mike and Jill; Dan and Deborah; and, Kathy and Rod. Sharon's brother Tom and sister-in-law Becky also stopped by.

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol II Trailer: Youngstown Boys

The fifteenth film--Youngstown Boys--in ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume II premiered Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 9 pm ET.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Dinner

After his basketball game on Friday night, Alex spent the night at our house. In the morning, Sharon took Alex and Jack to the zoo so that they could get some pictures for project in their AP Biology Class.

Saturday night, Sharon and I met the Renterias and the Borjas for Dinner at The Porch. Originally, we had all been invited to the Wackman's Christmas party, but when that was cancelled, the group decided to put together our own holiday dinner. I had a very good pork chop, while all of the girls had fried chicken.

We finished the evening at The Capital Dime. It was a late night…

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol II Trailer: Bernie and Ernie

The fourteenth film--Bernie and Ernie--in ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume II premiered Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 8 pm ET.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 77

On Day 77, I rode 14.5 miles across Nebraska. Starting at the corner of Road Y and Road 4500 southeast of Edgar, I rode south on Road 4500 (65A). Turning east near Oak, I passed the Oak Grove Station Pony Express Station [40° 13' 48.80", 97° 52' 24.60]. Traveling along a number of unnamed roads, I finished the ride at the Kiowa Station Pony Express Station [40° 13' 37.60", 97° 45' 24.50"].

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Matt Walbeck

Matt Walbeck is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Anaheim Angels and Philadelphia Phillies from 1993 to 2003. He attended Sacramento High School. Jack has played and worked out with the Walbeck Baseball Academy since May of 2013.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - CHVRCHES - Recover

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!


Code Expiration: March 11, 2013

Starbucks Pick of the Week - Doodle Jump Christmas Special

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks Pick of the Week - Doodle Jump Christmas Special

Code Expiration: March 11, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 76

On Day 76, I rode 15.1 miles across Nebraska. Starting from the Liberty Farm Pony Express Station [40° 21' 42.80", 98° 7' 57.40"], I rode east on Road 302, south for a short distance on Road K, and then nine miles along Road 301. Turning southeast briefly on Road 348, I finished the ride at the corner of Road Y and Road 4500.

For some reason, the bike put the grade for the last mile and a half at 10.5%. The climb took a lot out of my legs… Followed by two long runs over the weekend, my legs are sore.

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


After spending the day getting a few more Christmas decorations up and with Jack studying hard for finals, Sharon and I watched Limitless as an HD rental on the AppleTV.

Starring Bradley Cooper with a large role by Robert DeNiro, the plot revolves around a drug that allows Cooper to use more of his mental capacity.

Both Sharon and I liked the movie, but thought that the ending was a little abrupt and a little too convenient.

It is based on the 2001 novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Party

For the sixth year in a row [20122011, 2010, 2009, 2008], Sharon and I went to a Christmas Party at the home of the CIO. The group included IS leaders from across the organization, their spouses and significant others. With the inclusion of some of the regional security and SPS staff, it seemed like a bigger group than previous years.

At the end of the evening, they held a white elephant gift exchange. This is the first year that we have not taken a copy of Drew's music as our gift. We took the gift [toy soldier bookends] that we got at the Farm Credit West Christmas Party last weekend.

We miss the Gainsleys; Donna retired from Sutter last summer. Sharon finished the evening talking to the wives of two of my directors. While we were not the last to leave, we were close…

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol II Trailer: No Mas

The eleventh film--No Mas--in ESPN's 30 for 30 Volume II premiered Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 8 pm ET.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SportsCentury: Carlton Fisk

I watched the ESPN SportCentury documentary on Carlton Fisk. A SportCentury episode guide is here.

During a 24-year baseball career, Fisk played for both the Boston Red Sox (1969, 1971–1980) and Chicago White Sox (1981–1993). He holds the record for most years played as a catcher with 24 (1969, 1971–1993). Fisk was the final active position player in the 1990s who had played in the 1960s. He is one of only 29 players in baseball history to date to have appeared in Major League games in four decades.

Fisk is one of only sixteen catchers elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Among those, Fisk has the most hits (2,356) and runs scored (1,276).

Fisk is best known for "waving fair" his game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Raised in New Hampshire, I was fascinated by the fact that Fisk's high school baseball season was limited to 17 games annually due to the inclement weather.

Jack and I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in June of 2009. I particularly enjoyed the hall with the plaques. I would like to go back some day and look for a few more specific players.

SportsCentury Episode Guide

Reading those Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN has gotten me interested in the SportsCentury series that ESPN produced during the 2000's. I have started to record and watch the episodes.

SportsCentury: Top 50 Athletes of the 20th Century (Original series)

1. Michael Jordan
2. Babe Ruth
3. Muhammad Ali
4. Jim Brown
5. Wayne Gretzky
6. Jesse Owens
7. Jim Thorpe
8. Willie Mays
9. Jack Nicklaus
10. Babe Zaharias
11. Joe Louis
12. Carl Lewis
13. Wilt Chamberlain
14. Hank Aaron
15. Jackie Robinson
16. Ted Williams
17. Magic Johnson
18. Bill Russell
19. Martina Navratilova
20. Ty Cobb
21. Gordie Howe
22. Joe DiMaggio
23. Jackie Joyner-Kersee
24. Sugar Ray Robinson
25. Joe Montana
26. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
27. Jerry Rice
28. Red Grange
29. Arnold Palmer
30. Larry Bird
31. Bobby Orr
32. Johnny Unitas
33. Mark Spitz
34. Lou Gehrig
35. Secretariat
36. Oscar Robertson
37. Mickey Mantle
38. Ben Hogan
39. Walter Payton
40. Lawrence Taylor
41. Wilma Rudolph
42. Sandy Koufax
43. Julius Erving
44. Bobby Jones
45. Bill Tilden
46. Eric Heiden
47. Edwin Moses
48. Pete Sampras
49. O. J. Simpson
50. Chris Evert

SportsCentury: 51-100

51. Rocky Marciano
52. Jack Dempsey
53. Rafer Johnson
54. Greg Louganis
55. Mario Lemieux
56. Pete Rose
57. Bill Shoemaker
58. Elgin Baylor
59. Billie Jean King
60. Walter Johnson
61. Stan Musial
62. Jerry West
63. Satchel Paige
64. Sammy Baugh
65. Althea Gibson
66. Eddie Arcaro
67. Bob Gibson
68. Al Oerter
69. Bonnie Blair
70. Dick Butkus
71. Roberto Clemente
72. Bo Jackson
73. Josh Gibson
74. Deion Sanders
75. Dan Marino
76. Barry Sanders
77. Cy Young
78. Bob Mathias
79. Gale Sayers
80. A. J. Foyt
81. Jimmy Connors
82. Bobby Hull
83. Honus Wagner
84. Man o' War
85. Maurice Richard
86. Otto Graham
87. Henry Armstrong
88. Joe Namath
89. Rogers Hornsby
90. Richard Petty
91. Bob Beamon
92. Mario Andretti
93. Don Hutson
94. Bob Cousy
95. George Blanda
96. Michael Johnson
97. Citation
98. Don Budge
99. Sam Snead
100. Jack Johnson

By Sport: Baseball (23) Football (20) Track/Field (12) Basketball (11) Tennis (8) Boxing (7) Hockey (6) Golf (6) Horse Racing (5: 2 jockeys, 3 horses) Auto Racing (3) Swimming/Diving (2) Speed Skating (2) Gymnastics(1)

By Gender:
89 Men
8 Women
((3 Horses))

SportsCentury: Greatest Coaches of the 20th Century

1. Vince Lombardi
2. John Wooden
3. Red Auerbach
4. Dean Smith
5. Bear Bryant
6. John McGraw
7. George Halas
8. Don Shula
9. Paul Brown
10. Knute Rockne

Other SportsCentury figures

1. Bill Veeck
2. Carlton Fisk
3. Carl Yastrzemski
4. Frank Gifford
5. Ruebin Carter
6. John McEnroe
7. Moe Berg
8. Lee Trevino
9. Frank Robinson
10. Connie Hawkins
11. Ernie Davis
12. Maurice Stokes
13. Nile Kinnick
14. Curt Flood
15. Billy Martin
16. Gene Mauch
17. Mark Fidrych
18. Jimmy Piersall
19. Charlie Finley
20. Cal Ripken, Jr
21. Jim Plunkett
22. Paul Hornung
23. Chuck Bednarik
24. Casey Stengel
25. Bud Wilkinson
26. Johnny Bench
27. Sparky Anderson
28. Don Larsen
29. Reggie Jackson
30. Bill Mazeroski
31. Jacques Plante
32. Roger Maris
33. Denny McLain
34. Bevo Francis
35. Tim Flock
36. Bill Walton
37. Jim McMahon
38. John Elway
39. Arthur Ashe
40. Jerry Lucas
41. Pete Maravich
42. Bob Feller
43. Hank Greenberg
44. Dan Gable
45. Seattle Slew
46. Rick Mears
50. Bill Vukovich
51. Charles Barkley
52. Andre Agassi
53. Pete Rozelle
54. Isiah Thomas
56. Bruce Jenner
57. Sugar Ray Leonard
58. Sonny Liston
59. Jennifer Capriati
60. Nancy Lopez
61. Joe Frazier
62. Roy Campanella
63. Barry Bonds
64. Brian Piccolo
65. Dale Earnhardt
66. Oscar De La Hoya
67. Don King
68. Eric Lindros
69. Woody Hayes

SportsCentury: Greatest Games of the 20th Century

1. NFL Championship: Baltimore Colts vs. New York Giants (1958)
2. Bobby Thomson home run (1951)
3. Super Bowl III: New York Jets defeat Baltimore Colts (1969)
4. Winter Olympics at Lake Placid: USA beats USSR in hockey (1980)
5. Ali vs. Frazier "Thrilla in Manila" (1975)
6. Packers defeat Cowboys in "Ice Bowl" (1967)
7. Red Sox win Game 6 of World Series on Carlton Fisk's homer (1975)
8. Tiger Woods wins the Masters (1997)
9. Willis Reed and Knicks beat Lakers in Game 7 (1970)
10. Borg-McEnroe Wimbledon thriller (1980)

Starbucks presents The Voice Alumni Playlist

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Cassadee Pope: You Hear a Song

Nicholas David: Say Goodbye

Terry McDermott: Pictures

Michelle Chamuel: Not Now

Jamar Rogers: Drink of You

Code Expiration: December 16, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

William Henry Harrison by Gail Collins

On the plane on the way back from Pasadena, I finished reading William Henry Harrison by Gail Collins. I stumbled across the book while browsing on Amazon. This is part of my project to read books about all of the presidents.

Harrison was the ninth president of the United States. He has a number of odd distinctions. Harrison was the first president to die in office. When inaugurated on March 4, 1841, he was 68 years and 23 days old. This was the oldest president to take office until Ronald Reagan in 1981. Harrison died on his 32nd day in office of complications from pneumonia. This is the shortest tenure in United States presidential history. He caught pneumonia getting the longest inaugural address in American history; the speech was nearly two hours.

Born into an old Virginia family, Harrison was the son of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He joined the army at age 18. Eventually raising to general, Harrison earned this reputation in the Indian skirmish called the Battle of Tippecanoe. He served as the governor of the Indiana Territory, a General in the War of 1812, congressman and senator from Ohio and the ambassador to Columbia. His grandson--Benjamin Harrison--became the 23rd President of the United States.

Harrison ran for president in 1836 as part of an unsuccessful Whig strategy to run several candidates against the strong Democrat Martin Van Buren. He had the best showing of all Whig candidates. Running again in 1840, he beat Van Buren. The 1840 presidential campaign is remarkable. Using jingles and songs, the Whigs marketed Harrison as a humble soldier with log cabin origins rather than a Virginia aristocrat. The election had a voter turnout of over 80%; a mark that has not been repeated since.

At only 125 pages, it is a short book. It is well written. I enjoyed the book a great deal and highly recommend it.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

2013 Christmas Tree

Xmas tree shopping
For the fifth year in a row, we got a Christmas Tree at Lamb's Christmas Trees on West Stockton Boulevard off of Sheldon. Sharon saw that they were selling Christmas trees at Cal Expo and we stopped there first on Saturday afternoon. We were so underwhelmed with the selection that we decided to head back out to Elk Grove.

Since 2000, we have been buying flocked Christmas trees. We skipped getting a flocked tree last year, but decided to go back to one this year. Next year, we may try to get a really big tree…

With the trip to Southern California last weekend for the baseball showcase, we are very far behind in getting the house decorated for Christmas.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

2013 Farm Credit West Christmas Party

For the third straight year [2011, 2102], Sharon and I went to the F@rm Credit West Christmas Party. This year, it was held at Suede Blue in Roseville. Unlike the two previous years, this was a sit down dinner.

The group included a number of people that I knew when I worked at banks, including Norma Udell, Chris Doherty, Ernie Hodges, Dan Clawson, and Kevin Ralph. This year, the group did not include the Bank for Cooperatives staff.

Last year, Sharon got a photo of the association CEO and several others as a white elephant gift. She wrapped it up in a big box and got the wife of the chief credit officer to select it.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Virtually Biking Across America - Day 75

On Day 75, I rode 18.3 miles across Nebraska. Starting in the middle of nowhere [40° 26.235' 98° 23.200'], I wound my way south and east. I went east on Monument Road, south on South Palomino Avenue, east on East Pauline Road, south on South Pawnee Avenue, east on East Silverlake Road, and then south on Road 18c. I ended the ride at the Liberty Farm Pony Express Station [40° 21' 42.80", 98° 7' 57.40"].

The trip log for Virtually Biking Across America is here.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

California Historical Landmark #302

Sharon and I wandered through this site after our hike on Saturday while Jack was playing in the showcase at Occidental College. It is the oldest commercial building in Southern California.

Old Mill
California State Historical Landmark #302

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This landmark is located at 1120 Old Mill Road, San Marino, California. There are 102 other California State Historical Landmarks in Los Angeles County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 34° 07.112 W 118° 07.661.

You can log your visit to this landmark at waymark.com.

California Historical Landmark #302

The Old Mill, El Molino Viejo, was designed by Father José María Zalvidea and built of fired bricks and adobe about 1816 to serve Mission San Gabriel. Another grist mill was built in 1823 near the mission and the old mill was gradually abandoned - it passed from mission control in 1846. The property remained in private hands until 1903, when Henry E. Huntington bought the building and used it for a golf clubhouse. Later owners, Mr. and Mrs. James Brehm, had the mill restored in 1928 by Frederick Rupple.

California Historical Landmark #302

California Historical Landmark #302

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

ESPN Films 30 for 30 Vol II: Big Shot

Sharon and I watched Big Shots. This is the twelfth installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Vol II. An episode guide for Vol II is here. With a very busy fall from a personal and professional perspective, I am still trying to catch up on all of the 30 for 30s that were released in October.

The Islanders were once a very successful hockey team. Founded in 1972, the team secured fourteen straight playoff berths starting with their third season. The Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cup championships between 1980 and 1983, the seventh of eight dynasties recognized by the National Hockey League. Between 1980 and 1984, they won 19 consecutive playoff series, a feat still unparalleled in the history of professional sports.

Unfortunately, by 1996, New York Islanders were in serious trouble. An aging arena, lousy performance and poor management were driving away the team's fan base.

At this point, the team was sold to a Dallas businessman named John Spano for 165 million dollars. With Spano actually taking ownership of the team, things started to look up.

In a wild turn of events, Spano was a fraud who never put up any money to buy the team. He deliberately misled the NHL and the Islanders about his net worth and did not have the assets required to complete the deal. The film includes the only interview Spano has ever given.

This is an interesting story, but like a couple of the other 30 for 30 Volume II's seems a little long. It could have been an hour instead of an hour and a half. Sharon actually got bored and only watched the first half of the film with me.

Bill Simmons talked to the director Kevin Connolly about the film on his podcast in October.

A www.youtube.com version of the film is here.

www.youtube.com: Big Shot

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN

Just before Thanksgiving, I finished reading Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales. I bought this book and an oral history of Saturday Night Live about two years ago after hearing Bill Simmons talk about the books on his podcast.

Those Guys Have All the Fun is an oral history of the ESPN. I have never read a book that used an oral history format. Essentially, the story is told by piecing together interviews with a large number of people. Very small transition sections written by the authors tie the story together and move it along.

I believe that my first recollection of watching ESPN was in a hotel room in Truckee during the Labor Day weekend of 1982. After playing in a rugby tournament and attending a group dinner, I ended up with Nooter et al watching Aussie Rules Football about midnight. We were all wondering what it was… Although I watched ESPN in hotels over the years, we didn't get ESPN at home until probably Christmas of 1997 when we first started using DirecTv in Shingle Springs.

Through the oral history, the authors highlight nine turning points over the last 35 years that paved the way for ESPN's road to world domination.  These include:
  1. Original founders Bill and Scott Rasmussen's decision to buy a transponder on RCA SATCOM I in 1978;
  2. Getty Oil's investment of $15 million in May of 1979;
  3. Creating a dual revenue stream in March 1983;
  4. Coverage of the America's Cup Challenge in 1987;
  5. Getting TV rights to NFL games in 1987;
  6. The $400 million, 4-year MLB deal in 1989;
  7. The mid-90s generated "THIS IS SPORTSCENTER" advertising campaign;
  8. The acquisition of a full season of NFL games in 1998; and
  9. The documentary series SPORTSCENTURY.
I particularly enjoyed the section of the book that talked about Jim Valvano's appearance at the ESPYs. This plays a key part of the 30 for 30 Vol II episode Survive and Advance.

The book also got me interested in two other parts of ESPN: the "This is Sportcenter" commercials and the SportsCentury documentaries. I watched the top 50 commercials in the last month and have started to record and watch a number of the SportCentury episodes.

At 750 pages, the book is load. I enjoyed; I felt like I got a chance to get some insights into the organization and a number of personalities. Nevertheless, I don't recommend the book to the casual sports fan. You need to be a serious sports and ESPN fan and be willing to fight your way through a lot of material.

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Kelly Clarkson - Run Run Rudolph

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Kelly Clarkson - Run Run Rudolph

Code Expiration: February 25, 2013

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Mary J Blige duet with Marc Anthony - Noche De Paz

The complete list of Starbucks iTunes picks of the week is here!

Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week - Mary J Blige duet with Marc Anthony - Noche De Paz (Silent Night)

Code Expiration: February 18, 2013

Monday, December 02, 2013

2013 Christmas Tree Lane

For the second straight year, Sharon and I went to the Loyola Guild’s 57th Annual Christmas Tree Lane Gala Dinner at the Red Lion Woodlake. The event included a shopping boutique, a dinner and a fashion show. The fashion show was really more of a variety show.

Last year, we ended up at an odd table. This year, we sat with the Sanborns and their friends (the Simmons?). In one of those small world stories, the Simmons' son played fall ball with Jack [Brett Little, a senior catcher]. We spent some time before dinner talking to Kristie Foy. One of her daughters was in the show. The other daughter is the "girlfriend" of one of Jack's friends, Eric. It was a lot more fun than last year!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

DeMarini Top 96 Showcase Day 2

While Sharon lounged at the hotel, Jack and I headed back to Anderson Field at Occidental College for the second day of the Academic West Coast Meets East Coast plus Ivy League Schools DeMarini Top 96 Showcase. Drew met us at the field.

Jack played in a nine inning showcase game. The rules for the batters are designed to speed things along. The batter starts with a 1 and 1 count. If he walks, a pitch runner is put on base. If the batter walks a second time, another pitch runner is added, but the count stays at 3 and 2. Combining these rules with an umpire that was calling a low outside strike and the fact that each pitcher only pitches two innings, you have the recipe for a long day at the plate.

Jack was 0 for 3 with two strike-outs, a walk and a hit by pitch. In his first at-bat, Jack struck out swinging on a 2 and 2 pitch. Jack struck out swinging on a 3 and 2 pitch in his second plate appearance. In his third at-bat, he was hit by a pitch with the count 2 and 2. Jack then walked on a 3 and 2 pitch. With the count staying at 3 and 2, he hit a grounder up the middle. The shortstop made a great diving stop in front of second base and threw Jack out at first.

Jack got a chance to be one of the pitch runners. He stole second, went to third on a hit batter and then ended the inning there.

In the field, Jack played five innings of the nine inning game. Playing two innings in centerfield, two innings in right field and an inning in left field, Jack had one put-out in right center. He fielded one ground ball to right field and an overthrow behind first base.

I wish I had counted the number of strike-outs. My guess is that there were more than 65 strikes-out in the 84 at-bats in the game that Jack played. Most of the boys were immediately falling behind in the count. Adding to the fact that they never got to see the same pitcher twice made for a rough day.

Jack was more than a little discouraged at the end of the day as we walked to the car. I reminded him of how well the fall ball went and how much he enjoyed the first showcase. I am not sure where baseball is going to lead Jack, but I am committed to giving him opportunity and repetition.

We headed back to the hotel to pick up Sharon. I was surprised how quickly Jack's mood bounced back. We spent the rest of the day with Drew. Jack enjoyed spending time with his brother. We went to Americana at Brand and had an early dinner at Din Tai Fung Dumpling House #3. We all really enjoyed the dinner of chinese dumplings. It is one of the most enjoyable meals that I have had in a while…

After dinner, Jack, Sharon and I headed to the Burbank Airport. In spite of the fact that it was Sunday night at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday, the airport was relatively sane. We caught a late 8:45 pm flight back to Sacramento and were home before 11:00 pm.