Wednesday, July 13, 2016

1st Birthday

Her little girl was turning a year old soon.

August 1, 2001
That night Tara was on top of the world and she didn’t know why. But she felt this tremendous surge of energy and happiness unlike she’d known in her life, she was pretty sure.

Maybe it was just the full moon, which always affected her. But she felt actually thrilled about the adoption. She put up new pix of MacKenzie and her apartment looked great. She could actually watch a show about adoption and be unemotional.

She wrote a poem for MacKenzie and sent it to her for her 1st birthday with a card:

Number One

Your laughter
they just ache to hear
your skin like silk
a baby’s breath.
Your smile a whisper
to our hearts
awakening us
to your sweet spirit.
Your soul
a flower
opening up
Each day a grand
experience.
Your birthday wishes
wrapped in pink
blowing kisses
waving goodbye
I visited the playground today
and smiling, remembered
our time together.
The way your tiny arms
flailed about
my arms against yours,
the sun’s bright hue.
Not long ago you were
so tiny,
growing inside me
waiting to sprout.
And now you crawl,
you stand, you play,
each day’s your own
amusement park.

For the first time in a long time, Tara didn’t want to go to bed because of happiness and an excitement she couldn’t name. This time it wasn’t because of insomnia or fear of nightmares. She just wanted to play all night.

It was as if MacKenzie’s spirit was right there. And it was, really.

It didn’t matter at that moment that Tara and Chelsea couldn’t agree on Tara not continuing to send Chelsea emails from her APs.

For this moment Tara was at peace no matter how long it lasted.

August 2, 2001
Tara was up at 6:00 a.m., an hour and a half early. She went and emailed the scanned new pix of MacKenzie to friends and family. She always got great responses.

Tara’s old boss and the birth mom, who had lived at Gladney with her, posted her story on the online birth mom support group:

“I picked my APs as her parents and because I had private health insurance was able to call most of the shots in regard to how I wanted the adoption to go,” she wrote. “Ellen (my daughter) was never placed in Transitional Care and left the hospital with her parents two days after I gave birth to her. I signed my final paperwork exactly 48 hours after she was born. Her birthday is June 10, 2000. Like Tara, I had a face-to-face (visit) in December. It was the most incredible experience. Honestly, I was terrified before I did it. My daughter was so beautiful and it was a wonderful chance to see how my APs are growing as parents.

I would definitely recommend having the six months face-to-face to every birth mother that’s given the opportunity. For Ellen’s first birthday I planted a tree for her instead of sending her a “present.” I wanted it to be in a special place where when and if we’re reunited we can visit it together. I plan on returning to visit each year as I celebrate my daughter’s birthday and thank God for the life that He has blessed both of us with!”

Tara got an email from her online support buddy for her addiction:

“That’s a really good point about when you were true to your feelings that you didn’t act out!” she wrote. “I’ve found the same thing.

Sometimes I even find the opposite to be true – when I don’t act out I find a lot more feelings come up that I am pushing away when I do act out. Does that make sense? About your grandmother, I think it’s only natural to feel some guilt when someone we love dies. I don’t know why that is but it seems to be human response. For months after my boyfriend was killed I felt horribly guilty over something that had happened before he died and I was convinced if I had done things differently that he would still be alive. I’m sure that even though you didn’t get to visit your grandmother often or go to her funeral that she knew how much you cared for her.”

Tara was in a good mood at work, though tired, until lunch when a co-worker brought her newborn baby girl in to work for the first time.

She was still on maternity leave until October.

Walking down the hallway at work, Tara spotted the baby car seat sitting in the hall and a couple of her co-workers gathered around it,
ooohhing and ahhhing. Tara looked at the baby out of the corner of her eye and said, “Excuse me” more than once before anyone noticed her as she tried to wedge her way past the women in the doorway back to her desk.

As sudden as a dark cloud, she got emotional and though she didn’t display it, she was overcome with sudden sadness and loss.

Then she got angry with herself. She thought she was doing so well.

Luckily it was time for her to go to lunch and it helped to get away. As she drove to pick up her paycheck she cursed at the situation and herself for her response. It wasn’t the first or last time she’d see a baby since MacKenzie’s birth.

But this emotion came out of nowhere after the great night she’d had the night before.

Busying herself with errands, the emotion left her and by the time she got back to work, she was back to “normal.” She noticed it didn’t last as long as it would’ve a month ago or even longer than that.

This was progress.

She and Chelsea made up more or less over email and Tara still planned to visit. She knew she would always have to take care of Chelsea’s feelings but she loved her too much to do anything less.

August 6, 2001
Tara dreamed about her grandma the night before who had just died but didn’t remember much about it, only that she was sick. In the same dream Tara was having an asthma attack and no one would listen to her or help her.

Tara’s old boss heard from a resident who had been with them at Gladney and who was now there again but didn’t know what to say to her. It was clear she didn’t want help or see the need for it.

Another co-worker brought in her newborn baby only this time Tara didn’t get upset about it.

Go figure. And it was a girl.

Tara had been feeling the need to hang out at the playground where she placed MacKenzie. She knew it was because her birthday was coming up on the 15th. Her friend had gone into a coma on that same day and her uncle died that day, too.

Tara had a session with her counselor and vented some feelings about her anger and general feeling of being fed up with everyone seeing her as pathetic. She fought self-destructing all weekend.

She slept her bad mood away after dinner and didn’t want to get up but forced herself to.

The “Creating Futures” Gladney birth mom newsletter came out. The cover story called “To Tell or Not to Tell” regarding adoption was pretty good. It stressed the importance of a confident attitude when discussing adoption with others.

Not feeling safe in telling one’s story makes for a hard road. Roadblocks like Chelsea not wanting any more emails from the APs
can occur. Negative responses shouldn’t be taken personally but that was hard, too. Birth moms are in control of the situation, according to
the article. But it’s important to make a decision one way or the other as to if a birth mom is going to disclose her adoption story or not.

That day Tara left a message regarding an ad for egg donors because she was desperate for money. It also called for surrogate moms but not only was that illegal in Tara’s state, but she couldn’t go through placing another child again.

The only thing about egg donation was that if she ever got back with Mark, her ex-husband, he wanted kids and that would rule that out.

Still, she desperately needed money and $1,000 to $2,000 would really help.

One of the requirements to be a donor included passing a psych test, which Tara knew she wouldn’t pass. She’d faked her way through a few but she doubted she’d get by. Still, she left the message anyway.

August 7, 2001
Tara got an email from Veronica:

“I asked Ben what he wants to get MacKenzie and his dad for their birthdays,” she wrote. “He thought and thought and just knows his dad would like a really big kite to �fly with me.’ And MacKenzie gets a �really soft teddy bear.’ Not bad ideas! Thus far we got her a baby doll and some dishes to go with the kitchen she got a few weeks ago. We also got her a playhouse which Ben says is his.”

August 8, 2001
James was supposed to call but she forgot to wait by the phone after she went to the ER with chest pains. She didn’t rush home like she usually did when remembering his call.

That was progress that she no longer put her health in jeopardy for a guy.

August 8, 2001
Tara submitted her testimony for the new visitor’s center built as part of the new Gladney building:

“Adoption enabled me to break the chain of abuse in my family by giving my daughter a new family tree with fresh roots,” she wrote. “It had made a difference in my life by allowing me to see her happy and thriving, something she wouldn’t be if I had raised her. I thank God every day that she has non-abusive parents, a two-parent home, a big brother who thinks she’s �his baby,’ and a loving, safe, stable household. In her I see my own childhood spirit and I have hope for the future. She gives me reason to live and to keep moving.”

She sent the entry to Veronica who responded:

“Wow, what a powerful message in just a few short sentences,” she wrote. “You are such a fabulous writer. I hope they pick your entry. We love you.”

August 9, 2001
Tara had stayed out of work that day after her trip to the ER the night before.

She thought of a name for her journal – “MacKenzie’s Hope” – a play on MacKenzie’s first and middle name.

After running around doing errands, Tara laid back down, realizing she had overdone it. On the news they told everyone with respiratory problems like Tara to stay inside, but someone had to pay the bills. Tara had thought about her ex-husband, Mark all that day.

She forced herself to exercise even though she didn’t feel like it and probably shouldn’t have. She hadn’t been pushing herself enough but she hadn’t been taking care of herself either.

That night she dreamed about Mark, that they were getting remarried; only someone ruined the wedding. She was back at their apartment in Florida and as she walked around the place, she cried, realizing what she had lost. She knew he was out there somewhere but couldn’t reach him, kind of like reality. In the dream another wedding took place of someone else’s instead of her own.

In the dream she told someone “He told me I’d keep pushing him away until he was gone.”

Then in another scene she saw herself walking down the aisle and he had a big smile on his face.

When she woke up, she was sad.

She still didn’t know what all these dreams meant. Was she supposed to mail those letters she’d been hanging on to or was all this just coincidence because she’d been thinking about him?

She remembered in the dream asking herself, “Can I be faithful now? Do I want to be?”

August 10, 2001
Tara got a long email from Veronica after asking if MacKenzie had any new feats:

“Working aggressively with Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) on eating,” she wrote. “She is still liking peaches. She’s trying to get another tooth and is chewing on everything – including some dog food she got her hands into. She loves the dogs’ food. Kinda gross, huh? I guess as its little pellets that she can grasp in her hands. She sees it and makes a beeline for it and crawling she’s very very fast. Anyway, she doesn’t actually get it into her mouth, just likes the way it feels in her hands. And the look on her face if she �beats’ us to it is gleeful! She’s still trying to walk – will hold on to the couch, coffee table; etc. to get around or �cruise.’ She also will walk holding onto our hands and is very proud of herself.

We want to send you something on the 15th (her birthday). I’m looking for the time and energy to go get MacKenzie’s pic taken for you. My
sister and brother-in-law are reconfirming their wedding vows on Saturday on their anniversary. I think that’s so sweet. She’s doing really well with her pregnancy – 22 weeks now and it’s another boy. He’ll be called Chase.”

August 13, 2001
Tara’s old boss invited her over for dinner for the 15th, MacKenzie’s first birthday. Tara planned on working during the day then maybe taking off early.

Tara met with her counselor that night and they talked about her recent dreams about Mark, her ex-husband and what they could mean. Her counselor thought she should pursue him but Tara just thought she was just being obsessive.

Tara and Chelsea were trying to plan her trip to see her and her mom. Though Tara couldn’t even pay her rent or bills, she knew her mom needed her.

She didn’t know what to do.

August 14, 2001
Tara finally figured out a way to celebrate MacKenzie’s birthday. She planned on going to the park where Placement had been held and releasing a balloon. Every year she would increase the amount of balloons depending on MacKenzie’s age.

She was in a deep depression that day, just thinking about MacKenzie’s birthday, which she knew was normal. She just wanted to escape her grief.

The resident who had been at Gladney emailed that she was going crazy there for the third time.

August 15, 2001
Tara got a slew of emails on MacKenzie’s birthday:

“Hope your balloon releasing holds special comfort for you,” Chelsea wrote. “I’m sending MacKenzie birthday energy and love and prayers for a happy, healthy life.”

“Happy Birthday to your daughter!” another birth mom posted. “Remember to take time for yourself today to grieve your loss and enjoy your memories with her! You will be in my thoughts and prayers.”

August 16, 2001
When Tara got home there was a box with a blue teddy bear, letter and poem from Veronica waiting for her. Veronica didn’t know that the specific bear was one she’d been eyeing for months but couldn’t afford to buy. And it was her favorite color – blue.

“I remembered this (poem) being in one of the books you prepared for MacKenzie,” Veronica wrote. “Eventually I’ll type it on nice paper with a border and frame for her room but I just scanned this in. I’m shedding a few tears today (the 15th) – tears of thankfulness for an unselfish mother who placed her precious infant daughter in our arms. We are always so thankful to you but especially on this first birthday.

Wanted to send you flowers but afraid the delivery person would miss you so we went shopping and MacKenzie literally reached out and grabbed this Teddy. So it’s straight from her arms to yours. I know you can squeeze and squeeze him and still feel empty arms but please know what loving thoughts are with you today and every day. We love you.”

With the package was a copy of the “A Birthday Poem,” something Tara had put in MacKenzie’s scrapbook when she was making it.

Veronica had highlighted these words at the end:

“I have a prayer: Oh God, that I may never forget that “someone” who suffered so much to give life to my child. That she loved my child so very much that she gave him the right to Live. May I never forget for a moment and especially now, today, to offer a prayer of thanks for that “someone” and that you, dear God, will always be there beside her, to help her through the pain she will have when she stops to think that “Today is my child’s birthday.”

Tara wrote Veronica and Frank:

“You have the biggest hearts,” she said. “When I got home yesterday and opened my package, finding that bear I always wanted along with the amazing letter and poem, it made my day. I am the luckiest birth mom in the world and I know it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m so glad MacKenzie is so well taken care of and happy. I’m very glad I made the decision I did and will never regret it.

My other teddy bear I’d had for ten years and my dog wanted to play with it! Thank you as always for your prayers. They mean a lot to me.
There’s another birth mom who was with me at Gladney and had her baby August 18th last year. This is her third trip and none of us know what to say to her. She was drunk and got raped this time.

Anyway, I also met a birth mom who’s due in two weeks and living at Gladney from Colorado. She’ll return there a few days after the birth.
I feel like I can help other birth moms now and that is a blessing. I gave her lots of encouragement and we exchanged emails, etc.

P.S. A birth mom who went with me to release the balloon the other day (who was with me at Gladney/my old boss) told me that after her little girl turned one in June she felt like a big burden had been lifted and she could have closure; that the pain was gone. Not the burden of the child, but the burden of the grief.”

Veronica wrote back:

“I’m so glad you liked the Teddy Bear,” she said. “That poem was in your scrapbook for MacKenzie and has always meant a lot to me. Frank had a great birthday. I surprised him with a massage, which was his favorite present. We have another party tomorrow for him,
MacKenzie and my nice Ariel at my mom’s. I took pics of all “our kids” – youth as well as toddlers and infants in the pool. It gave me a really warm feeling to see all the kids MacKenzie and Ben will grow up with.

I know your trip is just around the corner. I hope you get to visit with your sister and your mother also.”

August 19, 2001
Tara slept the rest of the day away till about 5 when she forced herself to get up. She was at the end of her rope financially again. She had no money, no gas, no money to do laundry, and no food in the house. Luckily her neighbor let her use her washer and dryer which was a lifesaver.

A male friend was going to take her home later but he seemed pre-occupied with a hot chick in the corner so Tara asked someone else, a female friend.

She used to be the hot young thing in the corner but those days were gone.

Tara forced herself to go to bed later and had nightmares about her Dad abusing her. In the dream he was marrying his second wife, who in reality, he was divorced from.

Tara lay in bed motionless and grew sad that when all was said and done she was just a 35-year-old former foster child who didn’t have a clue as to how to live.

The only thing she had done right was giving her daughter a new chance.

August 20, 2001
Tara went to a job interview and decided she wasn’t qualified for the job then picked up some more food and things another friend had for her who had already called earlier.

She hugged her and they went their separate ways – her friend home to a verbally abusive husband and Tara back to her job.

August 21, 2001
Tara was in a bad mood most of the day and was completely unmotivated. She was right where she was two years ago – bouncing checks, unable to pay her rent and bills, and living in fear. She didn’t know how she got here, just that she had.

A birth mom, who placed her son a year ago, posted a distraught message on the board of the birth mom support group. Her APs recently told her they decided to cease contact now that her son was a year old:

“I talked to my adoptive family yesterday and I’m not doing so well today,” she wrote. “I know that I should be happy for them, for my son but I am so torn. I have to smile while talking to them or I will feel like screaming. They want to disconnect the 800 number. Why do I feel so betrayed by that? I don’t want to feel like that? Help!”

Tara tossed and turned that night and had a nightmare about her dad. She wondered why she was having so many lately and when they would end.

She wound up talking to her neighbor outside at midnight when taking her dog out to the bathroom since she couldn’t sleep. Her neighbor was upset that her daughter, who just turned 18, had been drinking a lot and taking anti-depressants on top of it. Over the weekend her daughter had gotten in a wreck and had bruises all over her.

“I’m exhausted,” the neighbor said.

August 22, 2001
In a week Tara would be in Florida, basking in the sun, meditating on the beach, relaxing, and really unwinding for the first time in probably a year.

The pet sitter was going to cost a small fortune but her friend offered to let her throw some things into a garage sale she was having that weekend to turn a small profit.

She could use all the help she could get.

Tara was very grateful that she didn’t have to deal with dorm life now.

That night Tara ran into a friend of hers who was talking to some friends of Tara’s about how she forgave her mom after years of hating her
.
Tara asked her about Tara’s dad and how she could get past her pain with him.

“Just because you forgive him doesn’t mean you let him back in your life,” she told Tara.

That night Tara had more dreams about her dad and woke up fatigued, like she’d been in a coma.

August 23, 2001
A co-worker asked Tara where her little girl lived that day.

“She’s an hour and a half away,” Tara said, nonchalantly. “That’s all I’m allowed to know because of confidentiality.”

“I don’t think that’s fair,” the co-worker said. “The mom should know. You’re the mom.”

“Yeah, but they have to do it because of some birth moms who try to kidnap the kid and get them back, so I understand. It’s cool,” Tara said and meant it.

“Still, I don’t think it’s fair,” the co-worker said and Tara went back to her desk, unaffected.

One of the birth moms from the online support group sent everyone a link to read a birth parent grief poem and an article on birth parent grief:
The article stated that losing a child to adoption is one of the most significant losses that birthparents will ever have to face and that today open adoption is often presented to birthparents as a way to lessen the grief of losing a child to adoption. The article said that one of the first steps in dealing with any loss is knowing how grief may manifest itself.

The phases of grief include shock and denial, the former of which is often confounded by the miracle of birth, which Tara could recognize, especially since she was heavily medicated before and after. Tara knew from past experiences with loss that shock was the first reaction to the impact of loss. As the shock wears off and more intense feelings of sadness and pain begin, many will enter a period of denial, according to the article. Other birthparents may deny the loss by directly avoiding it, as evidenced by some birth moms Tara had known.

Although painful, shock and denial are two very normal coping mechanisms, the article explained.

But denial that goes on too long can be a form of repressing emotions; something Tara had done all her life.

Sorrow and depression was another phase of grief. This happens usually when the shock wears off and the birthparent begins to understand the extent of their loss. For some birthparents, sorrow over the actual physical separation may be expressed in tangible sensations of loss like when Tara kept hearing a baby cry after going back to the dorm following MacKenzie’s birth.

Depression is often accompanied by physical symptoms as well, as Tara recognized. Some of the emotional aspects of depression can be as debilitating as the physical symptoms (Tara’s manic-depression, depression, suicidal thoughts, isolation, and rebellion).

Anger is another phase and is a natural part of the grieving experience, according to the author of the article. Unexpressed or expressed anger often festers, as Tara’s did.

Acceptance is supposed to be the final stage of grief. While things may never be the same again, Tara could come out the other side.

Acceptance was said to bring renewed energy and strength. Tara hadn’t felt the energy yet but did feel the strength.

Tara knew, as the article stated, that one of the most important factors affecting the way a birthparent grieved the loss of their child through adoption would depend on the support and assistance they get from those around them. Fully experiencing grief is hard work, as Tara could attest.

Sometimes people get stuck in one phase of grieving, which for Tara had always seems to be the “if onlys.” The article’s author went on to say that occasionally it’s a matter of finding the support in a professional that the birthparent’s family and friends are unable or unwilling to give.

Birthfathers often grieve the loss differently than birth moms, although Tara just thought Alex didn’t care.

The article concluded by saying that grieving is often a process of two steps forward, one step back, which was bad news to Tara, who wanted this “hell” year to be over with.

That night Tara bought Chelsea’s birthday presents to be given to her the next week when she visited. She got her Mad Libs, a game that used to play when they were kids and a Winnie the Pooh cookie cutter set since she loved Pooh.

She wanted to buy something for MacKenzie to commemorate tomorrow’s one-year anniversary of Placement Day.

Then she decided to write her and her family a letter instead.

She was reflecting back on a year ago when she and another birth mom had cried together the eve before Placement and how gut wrenching it was.

She was so grateful she wasn’t back there now. She remembered she dreamed she was at Gladney six months before she was ever pregnant and how weird that was that she would wind up there. It wasn’t the first time she’d had dreams that later came true. She often wondered if she had psychic abilities or had lived in another time although she didn’t really believe this.

That night she dreamed about MacKenzie but couldn’t remember what it was about. She woke up again feeling fatigued and stumbled out of bed to get ready early.

August 24, 2001
Placement Day 1st Anniversary

Tara told herself she didn’t feel sad this day. It wasn’t as hard as MacKenzie’s birthday and she didn’t want to use it as an excuse to leave work early again like she had that day.

She had gotten things ready for a garage sale with her friend in hopes she could make enough to pay the rent or at least some bills. She still didn’t have rent money but her old boss who she’d done some freelance writing for before, emailed her and told her he had some part-time temporary work for her so that made her day.

Good, she thought, maybe things were turning around.

Tara talked to the young birth mom from the other night that was still sick and had two more weeks to go before her baby was due.

Tara told her that today was her Placement Day anniversary of one year.

“How are you feeling today?” the young birth mom asked her.

“I’m okay, just tired,” Tara said, although she did feel sad, it wasn’t unbearable.

They didn’t talk long and Tara gave her some hope, she prayed.

Tara figured this young birth mom would be a lot better off than she would, namely because she was going home to her family not long after delivery and they would support her emotionally. Tara knew that made all the difference.

Tara feared today that she wouldn’t hear from Veronica and Frank for a long time. Their agreement only required them to send information every six months now until MacKenzie was 18 but Tara hoped and thought that Veronica would continue sending her info sooner. And Veronica had told her that she’d send her a birthday tape.

When Tara got back to her desk at work that day she heard that a co-worker had had her baby at 11:50 the night before, a girl.

But in MacKenzie she now had hope; saw the light in her own daughter’s eyes reflecting her light back to her.
And Tara was finally at peace.

Tags:1st Birthday

1998 Chicago Bulls: Where Are They Now?

Since the Bulls won their last championship in 1998, Michael Jordan has been in and out of the spotlight, returning for a couple more seasons with the Washington Wizards and most recently seen on the sideline at Charlotte Bobcats games, which he has recently become the majority owner. Jordan has also invested time in his motorcycle team and as always keeps a steady hand in his Jordan Brand label, but what have some of the other Bulls players been up to since their 1998 Championship season?

Scottie Pippen was recently inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and can be seen from time to time expressing his opinions and predictions on the NBA.

According to his website, Dennis Rodman has been seen everywhere since his retirement, up until last year making appearances to play ball in China and Europe, as well as appearing on reality shows, promoting his new comic book line, and frequenting fashion events.

Luc Longley is far from the spotlight, has moved back to his hometown of Fremantle in Australia, and runs a surf and dive charter vessel in and around Australia and Papua New Guinea, according to azcentral. He is still a big basketball fan and now has the time to raise his kids and work on his new business.

If you are a Chicago Bulls radio listener, you have probably gotten used to hearing Bill Wellington voice. He is now the radio color analyst for the Bulls, still living in the Chicago area, and is rumored to have been considered for some notable coaching jobs both in the NBA and at the collegiate level.

Ron Harper went on to win a couple more championships with the Lakers after his career with the Bulls, and most recently has been seen coaching in the NBA as an assistant for the Detroit Pistons. Harper, revealed in a Cleveland Cavaliers News interview, was inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Steve Kerr also experienced success after his career ended with the Bulls, winning a championship with the San Antonio Spurs. Kerr traded a TNT NBA analyst position for the post of General Manager of the Phoenix Suns in 2007, and since then has helped get the Phoenix Suns back to another Western Conference Finals this year.

Toni Kukoc hung around in the NBA as well for a number of years after his years with the Bulls, but had varied success with the 76ers, the Hawks and the Bucks before retiring after the 2006 season. According to The Buzz, Kukoc still lives in the Chicago area, his son attending Highland Park High School recently signed with the University of Pennsylvania. He will be a freshman in the fall 2010.

Jud Buechler, surfshot reports, is enjoying his time in California on the beach, raising his kids and spending time with his family, as well as riding some waves.

Scott Burrell became a coach with the NBA Development League Colorado 14ers before moving on, according to The Quinnipiac Chronicle to an assistant coach at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

Other notable players include Randy Brown and Dickey Simpkins, the former, according to the Bulls, was named Director of Player Development for the Chicago Bulls right before the 2009-2010 season this year. Simpkins spends his time, LZ Hoops reported, inspiring young basketball players, making guest appearances and speaking publicly, and founded Next Level Performance, an exclusive basketball training company where he is also acting Head Trainer.

Sources:

Noah Rosenstein, “Toni Kukoc’s Son Commits to Penn”, The Buzz

Dennis Rodman, Dennis Rodman News, DennisRodman.com

Azcentral, “5 Good Minutes with Luc Longley”, azcentral.com

Rob Johnson, “Dickey Simpkins Speaks to LZ Hoops”, LZ Hoops

Carolyn Hastings, “Ron Harper – The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Michael Jordan”, Cleveland Cavaliers News

John Healey, “Scott Burrell: Bulls to Bobcats”, The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Chicago Bulls, “Bulls Name Brown Director of Player Development”, bulls.com

Chris Tran, “Jud Buechler”, surfshot.com

Tags:1998 Chicago Bulls: Where Are They Now?

1991 World Series: Where Are They Now?

The 1991 World Series is widely regarded as one of the best ever. The Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, both teams that finished in last place in 1990, met in a series that featured five games, including the ten-inning game seven masterpiece, decided by a single run. More than twenty years after this historic, tension-filled series, here is a look at where some of the key members of both teams are today:

Dan Gladden – Outfield, Minnesota: Gladden, who scored the winning run in the Twins’ 1-0 game seven win, retired following the 1994 season. After serving as a scout for Colorado and a roving minor league instructor, he began a career in broadcasting in 2000. He is currently a color analyst on the Twins Radio Network.

Lonnie Smith – Outfield, Atlanta: Smith, who started for the Braves due to Otis Nixon’s drug suspension, hit home runs in games 3, 4, and 5. He is best remembered, however, for a baserunning blunder in game seven when he failed to score on Terry Pendleton’s eighth inning double. Smith also played in the 1992 World Series with the Braves. He retired following the 1994 season. He briefly returned to the public eye in 2006 when he told a Columbia, SC newspaper in that he once considered killing then Kansas City GM John Schuerholz while under the influence of drugs.

Rick Aguilera – Closer, Minnesota: Aguilera, one of the premiere relief pitchers of the 1990’s, saved Minnesota’s game one and two wins. He also factored in two decisions, losing game three and picking up the win in game six. He went on to play nine more seasons with the Twins, Red Sox, and Cubs. After retiring with 318 career saves in 2001, Aguilera returned to his native California. He lives in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe and spends his time on family and real estate ventures.

Mark Lemke – Second base, Atlanta: Lemke, a career .246 hitter, played out of his mind in the ’91 World Series, hitting .417 with 3 triples. He won game three with a walk-off single in the 12th inning, and scored the game winning run in game four on Jerry Willard’s sacrifice fly in the ninth. Lemke played in three more World Series with Atlanta before retiring in 1998. He went on work for the Braves Radio Network as a pre-game and post-game show host and occasional color commentator.

Kirby Puckett – Outfield, Minnesota: Puckett, a ten-time All Star, almost single-handedly won game six for the Twins. He had an RBI triple, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and saved a run with a remarkable, leaping catch. But he saved his best moment for the 11th inning, when he hit a walk-off homerun off of Braves lefthander Charlie Leibrandt to send the series to a deciding seventh game. Puckett retired following the 1995 season due to a bout with glaucoma, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. He struggled with legal troubles in the early 2000’s, but was cleared of all charges. Puckett died of a stroke in 2006 at the age of 45.

Terry Pendleton – Third base, Atlanta: Pendleton, the 1991 National League MVP, hit .367 with two home runs, including a game six long ball that tied the game at 2. He played three more seasons with the Braves, Marlins, Reds, and Royals before retiring following the 1998 season. He has been a member of the Braves coaching staff since 2002, serving as both hitting coach and first base coach during that time.

Jack Morris – Starting pitcher, Minnesota: Morris’s game seven start is the stuff of legend: Ten scoreless innings in Minnesota’s 1-0 victory. For the series, Morris went 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA in three starts and was named World Series MVP. Since retiring following the 1994 season, Morris spent time as a broadcaster for several teams. He currently works as a pre-game and post-game host and sometime color analyst for the Twins radio network. In 2014, Morris once again failed to gain induction into the Hall of Fame despite a career that featured 254 wins and 2,478 strikeouts. He could still be elected by the Veterans Committee.

John Smoltz – Starting pitcher, Atlanta: While not as famous as Morris’s performance, Smoltz also had an excellent outing in game seven, pitching 7.1 shutout innings. Smoltz failed to earn a decision in two starts in the 1991 World Series, despite allowing just two runs in 14.1 innings. He would go on be an integral part of Atlanta’s 14 consecutive division title run, winning 15 postseason games before retiring in 2009 with 213 wins, 154 saves, and 3,084 strikeouts. He currently works as a color analyst for Fox.

Tom Kelly – Manager, Minnesota: The 1991 World Series win was the second (Minnesota also won in 1987) for Kelly, who spent 16 season as manger of the Twins. He retired from managing following the 2001 season, finishing with 1,140 career wins. He currently works in the Minnesota front office as Special Assistant to the General Manager.

Bobby Cox – Manager, Atlanta: The loss to Minnesota was just a temporary setback for Cox, who would go on to lead Atlanta to a win over Cleveland in the 1995 World Series. He managed the Braves until 2010 when he retired with 2,504 wins, good for fourth in MLB history. Cox was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2014.

In many ways, the 1991 World Series was a meeting of teams headed in opposite directions. Following their win over Atlanta, the Twins wouldn’t make another postseason appearance until 2002. The Braves, on the other hand, would go on to win a record 14 consecutive division titles and appear in four World Series in the 1990’s, including a championship in 1995.

While there have been a number of well-played fall classics since, few can compete with 1991’s meeting of two worst-to-first teams in a series so close that to this day it seems that neither deserved to lose. It just doesn’t get much more dramatic than that.

Tags:1991 World Series: Where Are They Now?

1O Tips on How to Keep You Cat Happy and Healthy

Never owned a cat before and don’t know where to begin? Here are 10 tips on how to keep your cat happy and healthy.

1. Provide your cat with plenty of fresh water every day.

By ensuring that your cat has a couple of bowls of fresh water set around the house, you cat will be much more likely to actually drink enough water. Just remember that you only need one food dish. You don’t want your cat to over-eat.

2. Ensure that your cat has all of his shots up to date.

While additional veterinary care may or may not be necessary for your cat (and it is up to you as to whether or not you want to have your cat de-clawed), you should make sure that your cat’s shots are up to date. If may not be fun for you or the cat, but it will ensure that he or she has a long, happy, healthy life.

3. Give your cat lots of love and attention.

If kittens are given a lot of love and attention, they will grow up to be great pets. Just remember that they don’t stop needing love and attention just because they aren’t kittens anymore.

4. Mix up your cat’s food.

While it is good to stick with your cat’s favorite dry and canned food, it is also good to give your cat a little variety once in a while. You might want to give your cat a treat of canned food one day a week. Cats will let you know if they don’t like what you have to offer.

5. Don’t leave canned cat food out for longer than a couple of days.

Never leave canned (wet) cat food out for an extended period of time. He or she will get inevitably get sick.

6. Ensure that your cat gets plenty of exercise.

You can help your get enough exercise by taking 15-20 minutes to play. Manx cats love to chase balls (the ones with bells inside them), play with feathers, and catch small cloth mice. Be prepared. Many cats get a 15-20 minute burst of energy during the day. Just let them run their energy off.

7. Use a squirt bottle to teach your cat.

Never hit your cat. You can use a squirt bottle with water in order to train your cat. It is all that you need.

8. Expose your cat to people, especially kids.

If you don’t expose your cat to other people, especially kids, when they are kittens, they might become scared and even bite.

9. Be careful when adding a new pet to your family.

If you plan on adding another cat or a dog to your family – and you already have a cat – you will want to slowly let the two get used to each other. Some cats are better with other pets than others.

10. Allow your cat to perch.

Cats love windows. They like to watch the trees, the street, squirrels, rabbits, and birds. If your windowsills aren’t wide enough to accommodate your cat, you might want to consider purchasing a perch that attaches to the window. It is sure to become his or her new favorite spot.

Tags:1O Tips on How to Keep You Cat Happy and Healthy

1985 Honda Prelude Timing Belt Replacement

Honda recommends that the timing belt on a Prelude be replaced at 60,000-mile intervals. The engine is one that was designed with close tolerances, which causes the engine to be classified as an interference engine. This simply means that it would not fare well in the event of a timing belt failure. The valves would contact the pistons and cause catastrophic damage.

Tools required:
Floor jack
Jack stands
Breaker bar
Ratchet
Set of sockets
Set of wrenches

Step 1: Raise the car with the floor jack and support the car with the jack stands. Remove the left hand or driver’s side wheel, using the lug wrench. Remove the inner fenderwell splash shield, using a 10 mm socket. Place the floor jack under the engine oil pan. Loosen the accessory belt tensioners with a wrench and remove the belts.

Step 2: Remove the timing belt cover, using a 10 mm socket. Remove the top engine mount, using a wrench. Remove the valve cover, using a 10 mm socket to remove all the perimeter bolts. Remove the rubber plug in the top of the transmission bell housing.

Step 3: Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise until the mark on the flexplate is aligned with the mark on the outside top of the hole in the bellhousing. A pin could be seen inside the hole in the bellhousing. The flexplate, which is used on an automatic, or the flywheel, used on a manual transmission has two symbols on them–a “T” and a solid line next to it. The proper timing for an automatic is when the pin on the bellhousing is aligned with the straight mark next to the T on the flexplate. The manual transmission timing marks are correct when the pin is pointing to the “T.”

Step 4: Check the timing marks on the camshaft sprocket. The letters “UP” should be at 12 o’clock and the two lines should be level with the cylinder head. If they do not match up, turn the crankshaft one more turn and they will line up.

Step 5: Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt using a socket and then pull the pulley off. Loosen the tensioner with the wrench, push it away from the belt and loosely tighten the bolt to keep the tensioner in place. Remove the belt.

Step 6: Install the new timing belt starting on the left side away from the tensioner, keeping the belt tight so all the slack is on the tensioner side. Loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt and allow the tensioner to operate and apply tension to the belt.

Step 7: Install the crankshaft bolt temporarily. Turn the crankshaft counterclockwise two full turns and check the timing marks. Tighten the tensioner bolt securely at this time. Install the rest of the components in reverse order of removal.

Tags:1985 Honda Prelude Timing Belt Replacement

1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers - Best College Football Team Ever

Big and slow.

By the end of the 1991 season, these two words had come to define Nebraska football. In truth, one more adjective could be added to really capture the essence of Tom Osborne’s teams of the 80s and early 90s. And that’s “powerful”.

Big, slow and powerful. Two superlatives and a liability. After 19 seasons as Nebraska’s head coach, Tom Osborne had amassed a 186-42-3 record. His teams never fared worse than 9-3 in any season. They were college football’s version of the Monsters of the Midway. They ate lesser teams for breakfast. Smashed them into the dirt. They punched gridiron equals straight in the mouth like a heavy-weight palooka and, more often than not, the Huskers remained the last men standing.

But a beast cannot devour what it can’t catch. And on January 1st, 1992 in Miami, the Big Red monster found itself shutout 22-0 by the fleet-footed hometown Hurricanes. On that night, Miami claimed a share of its fourth national title in nine years — ironically, the first of those was won on the same field against the same team. But that game was a 31-30 classic with one of the most storied finishes in — not just college football — but the whole wide, wide world of sports.

The 1992 Orange Bowl, on the other hand, was simply pathetic. At least from Nebraska’s point of view. Not only were the Huskers skunked, but this was the fifth straight bowl loss for Nebraska — all to speedy teams from the South — and the margins of loss were growing increasingly wider.

The game had evolved. Speed was the key. Nebraska would refocus its recruiting efforts to compete with the Florida schools. But amazingly, not to the detriment of the Cornhuskers’ long-time hallmarks — size and power.

The result was a dominance never seen before in the modern realm of college football. Mirroring the mid-90s Chicago Bulls of the NBA, college football became a veritable one-team league from 1994 to 1995. Penn State can take issue with that charge for 1994. But certainly in 1995 no team could come close to the size, power and speed of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. A team which perpetrated irrefutably the greatest onslaught of domination ever in Division I football.

Let’s have a look a the statistics for the season.

Nebraska’s 1995 schedule and results:

Beat Oklahoma State 64-21
Beat Michigan State 50-10
Beat Arizona State 77-28
Beat Pacific 49-7
Beat Washington State 35-21
Beat Missouri 57-0
Beat Kansas State 49-25
Beat Colorado 44-21
Beat Iowa State 73-14
Beat Kansas 41-3
Beat Oklahoma 37-0
Beat Florida 62-24

The Cornhuskers outscored their opponents 638-174 for an average final of 53-14.

In twelve games, Nebraska trailed only three times. Once against Washington State and twice against Florida. The 1995 Huskers never trailed any of its opponents after the second quarter.

With the exception of Washington State, Nebraska outscored all of its opponents’ final scores by halftime. Six of Nebraska’s opponents were outscored by the end of the first quarter.

In twelve games, Nebraska amassed 6,748 total yards while holding opponents to just 3,586 for an average of 562 yards to 298.

The key games.

Nebraska vs. Michigan State. September 9, 1995

This game was the first indication that there was something perhaps unique about the 1995 Cornhuskers. The match was in East Lansing and, while the 1990s hadn’t been particularly good to Michigan State, the 1995 team was regarded as a solid middle Big 10 team and more than capable of giving the defending National Champions a good showing on their home turf.

They did not.

Nebraska blasted the Spartans for 666 total yards (nearly double MSU’s) as they rolled to an easy 50-10 victory. No other team on the Spartan’s slate would come close to the racking up the same kind of numbers as MSU would later beat instate rival Michigan 28-25 and lose a close-fought match 20-24 to Penn State on the same field.

But smashing good teams would eventually become the M.O. for the ’95 Huskers.

Nebraska vs. Kansas State. October 21, 1995.

It was Homecoming for the Big Red. The Huskers and Wildcats each brought in 6-0 records, 2-0 conference records and AP Top 8 rankings. (Nebraska was #2)

Kansas State also had statistically the best defense in the country going into the contest. And Coach Snyder’s men had reason to be confident. The first six Wildcat opponents could only muster six touchdowns and a field goal against the purple jerseys. But by the time the Wildcats left Lincoln, the Huskers would add another seven touchdowns to that tally.

That’s right. In four quarters Nebraska outscored what Wildcat opponents had put up in the previous 24.

To Kansas State’s credit, their vaunted defense did manage to do what no other team did all season. They stopped Nebraska’s fearsome running attack, holding the Huskers to 190 yard on 46 carries. But Nebraska would use a passing game and a blistering defense (KSU had -19 rushing yards themselves) to score 35 points by halftime. With the score 42-6 at the end of the third quarter, the Wildcats never seriously threatened Nebraska’s lead. The final: 49-25.

Nebraska vs. Colorado. October 28, 1995.

Just a week after the Kansas State game, Nebraska headed to Boulder to face what would be the Huskers’ most formidable opponent of the regular season.

Colorado was 6-1 and ranked #7 in the AP poll. The Buffalos had posted convincing wins over Wisconsin, Texas A&M and Oklahoma but a recent loss to Kansas would have CU itching to prove themselves against their designated nemesis. The Buffalo offense was on a roll, nailing its first seven opponents with 38 touchdowns. And, outside the Kansas game, the defense was pretty stingy, too.

But Nebraska was none too impressed. The Huskers smoked the Buffalos with 467 total yards and 44 points. And, yet again, a contest versus a Top 10 conference opponent was over by halftime.

Nebraska vs. Kansas. November 11, 1995.

The Jayhawks were 8-1 and ranked 10th in the AP when the Cornhuskers showed up in Lawrence late in the season.

Let’s see… a one-loss, top-ten conference opponent. Does this sound familiar?

The outcome will, too. Nebraska 41, Kansas 3.

To be fair, the game was not actually as lopsided as the score would indicate. The Jayhawks were one of the few teams to hold Nebraska to under 400 total yards and the Huskers got two defensive touchdowns to pad the point margin. Indeed, Kansas’ defense was the strong suit of the 1995 team. But Nebraska’s own defense was just as good. And the Husker offense was considerably better than Kansas’.

Nebraska vs. Florida. January 2, 1996.

The infamous Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in which college football fans from around the country would simultaneously mouth the words, “My God! Who ARE these guys?”

The Florida Gators entered the game 12-0 and ranked #1 in the country. Held next to the Cornhuskers’ 11 wins, Florida’s own regular season rampage looked — dare we say it — even more dominating than the Huskers. The Tennessee Volunteers, for example, lost just one game that season. And it was 62-37 at the hands of Florida.

Indeed, conventional wisdom had it that Steve Spurrier was fielding a gridiron juggernaut the likes of which had never been seen before. The prognosticators’ predictions came down squarely on Florida’s side by a roughly 5-3 ratio. One Tampa sports writer chided, “The Cornhuskers aren’t playing Kansas anymore” in predicting a Florida blowout.

Well… a rematch with Kansas might have provided a more competitive match-up in Tempe. The Gators got destroyed.

Florida held a 10-6 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. The only time Nebraska trailed past the 1st quarter the entire season. But the party would not last as, moments into the second period, Lawrence Phillips smashed through a bevy of Gator defenders for a 42-yard touchdown run. It was the start of a 29-0 second quarter scoring explosion.

Nebraska ran all night to the tune of 524 yards (while holding Florida to -28 on the ground). Nebraska put another 105 yard through the air — though, they probably didn’t need them as the Florida thrashing would finally end with the Huskers up 62-18. A 93 yard kick-off return after Nebraska’s final touchdown would give the Gators 24 points in all.

It was Nebraska’s second consecutive National Title (having barely missed out on a three-peat with a shanked field goal in the 1994 Orange Bowl) and a fitting Swan Song for not only Tommy Frazier and a bevy of remarkable Nebraska seniors, but also for the Big 8 conference. The final year before morphing into the Big 12 produced arguably the best year ever in conference history. (1971 is another contender for that title.)

So how do the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers rank among the best college football teams ever? I have a formula for answering that question.

How to calculate the greatest college football team ever.

There are four teams that consistently show up in the “best ever” debate. 1971 Nebraska, 1972 USC, 1995 Nebraska and 2001 Miami. There are plausible arguments for each of these great teams. But I happen to find 1995 Nebraska’s case to be the most convincing.

No other National Champion can boast wins over 4 other AP Top 10 finishers. That in and of itself is impressive, but when you consider Nebraska beat those four teams by a combined score of 196-73, one wonders if such a feat can ever be matched. Minus the Nebraska defeats, those four teams had a combined record of 42-3. And the Big 8 schools administered those three losses to each other. Nebraska’s opponents knocked off a bevy of marquis names including Arkansas, Oregon, Georgia, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Boston College, Michigan, BYU, Tennessee, LSU, UCLA, Auburn and Florida State.

Indeed, Nebraska’s 1995 schedule was ranked 24th toughest out of 113 Division I teams. To have a steamrolled its opponents the way it did, to have never been challenged beyond halftime by any team in its path, to destroy 4 Top 10 finishers and to humiliate an otherwise remarkable Florida team (much the same one that would win the National Title the following year) is to cast a shadow of greatness that no other team has ever quite stepped out of.

And I’m betting probably none ever will.

Tags:1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers - Best College Football Team Ever

1rst Edition: B2B Home Business Network News - Email Marketing

Done properly, email marketing is extremely effective: we can harvest any list of current emails addresses from the internet for free, and mail to them as often as we like. Done wrong, email marketing wil get you on every spam list and banned form everywhere. Here is the right way:

You, or someone you know, has subscribed you as a premier subscriber to the double-opt-in B2b Home Business Network News ‘” an at least quarterly informational newsletter for the new work-at-home-tech-savvy-professional. it is the official E-Zine of UpLog.org ‘” the roar of all of us!
100 Faces in Common | New work-at-home-professional Lifestyle

Driving an hour or more in rush hour traffic to work in a cramped cubicle is outdated and expensive: the new model involves working from home:

According to this article, from The Wall Street Journal:

There are almost as many professional bloggers in America today as there are Lawyers:

Lawyers: 555,770

Bloggers 452,000

Computer Programmers 394,710

CEO’s 299,160 Firefighters 289,710
(Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics)

This article, from The Wall Street Journal continues:

Demographically, bloggers are extremely well educated: 3 out of 4 are college graduates. — 2% do it for a living successfully — it takes about 100,000 unique visitors per month to generate an income of $75,000 per year — ..bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post — .

That is not new information; but this is:

Bloggers: 452,000; Computer Programmers: 394,000; Real Estate Professionals: About 1,000,000:

From the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics
Projections Data About this section

Projections data from the National Employment Matrix

Occupational Title
SOC Code
Employment, 2008
Projected
Employment, 2018
Change,
2008-18
Detailed Statistics

Number
Percent

Real estate brokers and sales agents
41-9020
517,800
592,100
74,300
14
[PDF]
[XLS]

Real estate brokers
41-9021
123,400
134,000
10,600
9
[PDF]
[XLS]

Real estate sales agents
41-9022
394,400
458,200
63,700
16
[PDF]
[XLS]

NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Information Included in the Handbook.

>>>read more about the new workforce demographics and the changing landscape of B2B here>>>
Computers are changing the world. Are you keeping up?

Courtesy of Patrick Ciriello ; business consulting at Author Uplog.org

Computers are changing the world. Are you keeping up??
Computers.

Over the last 30 years, they have changed the way we do just about everything here in the U.S., and as the technology reaches to the farthest ends of the planet, they impact the entire world.

We have the awesome examples of the peaceful overthrow of a government in Egypt, and the sad example of drones killing innocent people in distant lands. As time marches forward, information technology will become even more important, as our culture, laws, and even belief systems will have to change, adapt, and evolve to incorporate this new capability.

I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. I use it to get news, and to communicate with clients, family, and friends on the Internet. I use it to call people around the world. I use it for research. Sometimes I use it for music and hobby pursuits. Recently I’ve begun to use it more and more for blogging and writing.

So, my computer is a very important tool. As such, it needs to be maintained, and proper care must be taken in order to keep it running smoothly. Also important is protecting the data that is on my machine. I have a degree in computer science, and a Master’s Degree in Information Management. I have build and fixed and tuned computers for the last 25 years. However, as the systems have gotten more complex, and the threats to them have become more serious, I have delegated many of the tasks to software and utilities designed and sold by people who do that *all* the time.

And so, as a means of trying to help my fellow earth citizens, I am going to share everything I have running that is designed to keep me so doing. I will also share information regarding applications, as I have incorporated the use of many free (or very inexpensive) apps and tools into my system.

The base operating system that is running on my desktop system is Windows XP Media Center Edition.

>>> learn more from our business consulting author Patrick here at upLog.org>>>
Publicity and Social Media are the Catalyst to New Reputation Management Bundle
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We’ve assembled a fantastic package for small businesses everywhere to get the EDGE over your competitors. Our combined Web knowledge at Uplog.org and 10daypublicity.com combines marketing’s most potent online tools into a multi faceted marketing attack.” said Israel Rothman, founder of Uplog.org. “We want to share our “strategic marketing hybrid” of social media, publicity, syndication, and reputation management with small businesses. This laser focused approach gains rapid awareness, new customers and most important, Cash!” States Bohlke of 10 Day Publicity.

Learn more at the 10 Day Publicity-Reputation Management page. http://ift.tt/29Dwk6K

The new “Reputation Management ‘” PR Blast” package from Uplog.org and 10daypublicity will bring to businesses the most comprehensive social and online reputation management and PR service offered. Smart businesses will get:

1. Amazing online exposure using our tested Hybrid blend of social media, online press releases, social media publicity, and reputation management

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779 K Video |Open source pitch video for social media, websites, marketing, it —

I am hereby open-sourcing this series of clips and modern pitches for SEO companies and website Design and marketing firms to edit, change, brand, white label, use at will: we generated $779,000 in nine months when we started social media systems. Happy editing!

Tags:1rst Edition: B2B Home Business Network News - Email Marketing

1990 New England Patriots

If the 2007 edition of the New England Patriots is the best one, as many have declared, and they have already had the best start in franchise history, then the worst team the franchise has fielded was the 1990 team.

In fact, the 1990 New England Patriots may be one of the worst teams in NFL History, behind only the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers who went 0-14 – a winless season.

After 9 games of the 2007 season, the Patriots scored 355 points. Throughout the entire 1990 season, the Pats scored 181 in their march toward a 1-15 season. Their only win: a 16-14 squeaker past the 7-9 Indianapolis Colts in the second game of the season.

That years performance was doom for head coach Rod Rust’s head coaching career – it was his one and only opportunity in the NFL and he was dismissed at the end of the season. He had been the defensive coordinator for the 1985 Patriots – the first Patriots team to advance to the Super Bowl – but left after the 1987 season. He rose to the position of head coach one more time – in 2001 when he joined the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes; the defending Grey Cup Champions fired him six games into the season.

John McKay, the head coach of that abominable Buccaneers team, went on to be head coach of the Bucs through 1984 amassing a 44-88 records and exactly 2 winning seasons – one of which was the strike shortened 1982 season when he went 5-4.

The practice following that squeaker win, the season came derailed.

The story of the 1990 Patriots was not just one of on field ineptitude. Lisa Olsen, a reporter for the Boston Herald, while conducting interviews after practice on September 17, was harassed by players; Pat Sullivan – the General Manager and son of the previous owner – attempted to cover the incident up, and Victor Kiam – the short tenured owner of the team – was reported to have called her a “classic bitch.” The incident claimed whatever credibility the team may have had; the team was fined $50,000 by the league, the main protagonist in the harassing – Tight End Zeke Mowatt – was fined $12,500 and two others were fined $5000. The incident created a distraction for the entire season. Mowatt played in 10 games for the Pats in his only year with the team.

After that distraction, the team never gained focus on the field.

The week after their single win, they were pummeled by the Cincinnati Bengals 41-7. Two other times they managed a single touchdown: A 37-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and, in the penultimate game of the season, the New York Jets beat them down 42-7. They managed a field goal in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-3 and were shut out by the Buffalo Bills 14-0.

A quick glance at the team’s statistics show an offense that was an apparently competent passing team – 11th in completions and 10th in attempts – but an utterly inept rushing team with team statistics at the bottom of the league. The inability to run the ball led the team to attempt short passes and thereby inflating the completion and attempts statistics. Overall, they finished dead last in offensive numbers.

A quick glance at the season’s defensive statistics shows the defense was first in pass attempts (meaning, the fewest) and second in completions (second fewest). While this might lead the uninitiated to the conclusion that this was an adequate defense and that the offense must have been the sole reason this was such a bad team, but that would be far too simplistic.

The reason the defense defended fewer pass attempts than anyone else, and successfully defended more passes than all but one team was that opposing teams simply didn’t need to throw the ball and when they did they were overwhelmingly successful at it – the opponents’ yards per attempt was 8.68, the worst average in the league.

Their rush defense was terrible on all counts – the only statistic they did not finish as worst in the league was yards per attempt and in that they finished 27th of 28, but their performance on this count was enough to keep them out of the basement in the league overall – they finished 27 of 28. Overall, they gave up 5921 yards on defense and gained just over 4600 on offense.

Their 16-year quarterback, Steve Grogan, was at the end of his career, having played in only 4 games, and had one of the worst yards per attempt percentage of his career at 6.7, yet this was the best “YPA” of the three QB’s that took the field for the Pats that year.

Nothing went well for the 1990 Patriots or Coach Rust. The next year they went 6-10 under Dick McPherson lead by an improved defense, but finished 25th in points scored.

Tags:1990 New England Patriots

1997 Toyota Tercel--The Best Pizza Delivery Car in My Opionion

Ah, the 1997 Toyota Tercel 2 door model with of course a 5 speed stick shift. This was my first new car when I turned 19 years old. I was in the pizza delivery business, and broke as could be! I bought this car new on payments because I knew that I needed reliable transportation, and could not afford to have a car that would be breaking down with a bag full of pizzas in the back. I delivered all around downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to offices and homes throughout the late 1990’s.

I ran this poor car hard! It was my first stick shift, so you know I ground the gears quite often during the first 20,000 miles I put on it. Slamming on the gas and running the RPM’s high to take off at green lights was an hourly occurrence. Slamming on the brakes to avoid running red lights was also a daily part of my driving habits. The stick shift really came in handy when passing slow pokes when I was late on a delivery, and for slowing the car down much quicker than with the brakes alone. The upholstery was remarkably durable for such low cost car. I was in and out of my seat many times a day, and the seat fabric never frayed, or showed any significant signs of wear. The air conditioner always blew ice cold air even in the heat of summer. The paint on the car was great, I never washed the car, and even in the humid South Florida heat the paint never faded or blistered like other cars I had seen.

The braking system was excellent. I avoided several accidents in the rain, during stop and go downtown traffic due to the good quality brake system that was on that car. I drove a total of 48,000 pizza delivery miles! 65,000 miles total before trading it in for a newer model, and I only changed the oil every 5000 miles, and replaced the tires once. The engine never gave me any trouble at all. The belts and hoses were still in good shape as well when I got rid of it.

Toyota did an excellent job when they designed this car, they should do commercials with people driving these cars under brutal conditions like delivery workers do. Bottom line, I would trust a Toyota with a stick shift anytime.

Tags:1997 Toyota Tercel–The Best Pizza Delivery Car in My Opionion

1991 North Carolina Teen Murder Solved

On December 19th, 1991 in a small town in North Carolina, a teenager goes missing from a local mall. At the mall holiday shopping with some friends around 9 in the evening, her friends had decided they had finished their shopping and were leaving the mall and returning home. Jennifer, however, decided that she would stay awhile and finish her holiday shopping. Leaving Jennifer at the mall, the friends left and returned home to their families. Jennifer did not return home that night or many nights following Dec. 19th, 1991. Five weeks later, her remains were discovered by some local boys off a beaten path used by many teenagers to access the mall from a local neighborhood.

Her parents reported her missing on Dec. 19th, 1991 when she did not return home from the mall with her friends. The first 48 hours of a missing persons case is crucial in law enforcements investigative work. After the first 48 hours with no clues to the missing girl, it is doubtful that Jennifer would still be alive.
But her parents and local law enforcement never gave up hope that they would find her-one way or another.

The investigation started by interviewing the friends that she accompanied to the mall that night and anyone at the mall that night was urged to come forward if they had any information about Jennifer that would help the investigation. Several people came forward with information. They had seen Jennifer in the company of 2 men around the time that Jennifer’s friends had left the mall. One witness said that, when leaving the mall, they had seen Jennifer get into a red pickup with these same 2 men.

The parents were ruled out as suspects immediately as both of them had solid alibi’s as to their where abouts that night. The new Un-Sub’s (unknown subjects) and persons of interest were the two men Jennifer had been seen with leaving the mall that night.

Assuming that she was still alive, officials treated the case as a routine runaway teenager who would eventually turn up somewhere, call and come home.
Her parents had stated that Jennifer was looking forward to Christmas Day and would not leave her presents under the tree. Jennifer was like a little kid when it came to Christmas Day and opening of presents was her favorite family tradition.

Days went by and now weeks had passed, Christmas holiday had come and gone and still noone had heard from Jennifer and no body had turned up. Investigators feared that they had a cold case on their hands.

One cold January day in 1992 a group of teenagers were traveling a well worn path behind the mall. This path was used by the neighborhood locals for quick access to the very same mall where Jennifer had disappeared. They saw “something” just off the path they were traveling in a bushy area that stood out. Knowing that a teenager was missing, the decided to have a look. They found human remains apparently dumped beside the path and off into some bushes.

Local law enforcement officials were called in, forensic photos were taken and the immediate area surrounding the remains were canvassed for any clues or evidence that might leas them to a suspect in the case. An autopsy was performed and it was determined that the remains were indeed Jennifer’s and cause of death was estangunation.

Forensic evidence found on the remains and around the area Jennifer’s remains were discovered, led investigators to the neighborhood behind the mall.
During the five weeks of her disappearance this wooded area behind the mall had been searched by cadaver dogs and search and rescue volunteers. They did not discover any remains. The remains had been left there sometime after the search party had finished with the area and had remained their until it was
discovered by the teenagers traveling the path to the mall.

Police officials focused their investigation into the homicide in and around the area of the mall and the nearby neighborhood which was accessed by this beaten path. The neighborhood was a local trailer park, During this part of their investigation, they focused on finding the red truck and the 2 men who were considered to be suspects in the case. Eventually police investigative work lead them to the red truck and to the 2 men living nearby in the trailer park.
Both men were questioned, they both admitted to the murder of Jennifer and that they placed the body off the path after a search had been done in the area. They assumed that no one would be searching that area again as it had already been done.

The two men offered this explanation of the events that took place that night:

They both had approached Jennifer at the mall. Since she seemingly was alone, they offered her a ride home and she agreed. Jennifer lived about a 15 minute walk from the mall and it was a cold night in Dec. that 1991. Jennifer’s 1st mistake, she accepted a ride from strangers, assuming that they would take her home. After leaving the mall in the red truck that witness’s had seen, the 2 men decided to make a side trip to their trailer in the park behind the mall. They convinced Jennifer ( a 17 year old) that they wanted to pick up a couple things they left at the house to take to a buddies. So Jennifer agreed. Jennifer’s 2nd mistake-to go with them to their house. They invited Jennifer into the trailer for a cold soda while they gathered up the items they needed to take to their Buddy’s house. While in the trailer the two men decided to snort some cocaine and invited Jennifer to do the same. Jennifer was not into drugs and she threatened to tell the police on these guys who were offering area kids drugs. When Jennifer threatened to tell the police they decided to kill her so she would not talk.
They hid the body for several weeks until the odor overcame them, and then place the remains in the nearby woods next to the well traveled path.

Both men received life without the possibility of parole for the murder of 17 year old Jennifer.

A word to teenagers and parents of teenagers. There are so many predators out on the streets and on the Internet that prey on young girls like Jennifer. Parents, set ground rules for your teenagers, stick by them. Arm them with a cell phone and instruct them to call you at certain intervals so you know where they are and whom they are with. Teens, travel in packs of two or three-and never go places alone or without someone you know. Never strike up a conversation with a stranger-that stranger may be the predator of young teens. Know who you are with and where you’re going at all times.

Incidentally, Jennifer was my 17 year old niece who died December 19, 1991.

Tags:1991 North Carolina Teen Murder Solved

1st Person: Favorite IPad Apps that Keep My Family Going

As most people are these days I am a very busy person. Although I do not work outside the home I do keep up with the normal day to day activities of running a household as well as maintaining our yacht and homeschooling 3 children in 3 seperate grades. To keep my family going I utilize the following apps on a constant basis.

5. Flixter – Flixter was a free download that I originally questioned if I needed or not even though our family loves to go to the movies. The convenience of the app has definitely proved to be worth the download. Flixter uses your GPS to locate theaters near you. Once you have chosen your favorite theater the app displays all the movies and showtimes available. All movies are reviewed with rotten tomatoes, you can play the trailer and with a linked Netflix account you can add it to your Netflix queue for when it is avaiable on DVD if you choose not to go see the movie in the theater. Through other options in Flixter you can browse upcoming movies, new and upcoming DVD releases, search for actors and plan your date night with the help of the built in Yelp search to find a restaurant near your chosen theater.

4. Geocaching by Groundspeak Inc. – Our family enjoys going geocaching. For anyone who may not know what geocaching is you can visit the main geocaching website for more information. Basically people hide little hidden treasures around the world and leave the latitude and longitude coordinates on the website for others to find. Before finding this app I actually had to plan a trip to go geocaching by getting online and printing off the information for the caches to take with us. Now we can decide on a whim to go geocaching and just open the app. We have the free version so only 3 caches are displayed at a time. The full version of the app is $9.99 and I see us upgrading in the near future. The app has a built in compass and uses your GPS to help you find the cache you are looking for. The app is not 100% accurate, as it does use the GPS in your phone, so it is only as reliable as the cell towers, but it definitely gets you in the right area to find the cache during those impromptu trips.

3. DocumentsToGo – Office Suite – This wonderful app is fabulous! Through this app you can open, create, edit and save Microsoft Word & Excel documents. This app comes with a wireless syncing option to your PC. You can create documents on either your PC or your device and wirelessly transfer them to the other for further editing. This app makes it possible to open, edit and email a document straight from your device. In addition to viewing Word and Excel documents you can also view pdf and powerpoint documents although you cannot edit or create them. With this app my kids have been able to complete assignments on the iPad or on their iPods without having to lug their laptops with us. This app at $9.99 is sufficient for our families use however if you were using it for a specific business use they do have a $16.99 version. The more expensive version of the app includes everything included in the $9.99 app as well as Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net, iDish and Sugarsync.

2. All Recipes – I had the free version of the All Recipes app and liked it so much I had to upgrade to the paid version. I have a terrible time deciding what to have for dinner. With this app there is an “Inspire Me” section where you can put in your search criteria such as chicken or main dish and it will start showing you pictures of different meals that meet your criteria. Recipes in the app come complete with reviews and suggestion for improvements. While making a recipe you click the start cooking button and the app walks you step by step through a recipe complete with cooking timers that actually go off when you should do the next step in the recipe or take the meal out of the oven. With the paid version you can browse the recipes, choose the ones you like and add them to your virtual recipe box. When you decide to make the recipe with a click of a button the ingredients are added to your shopping list.

1. Cozi – This is my families all time favorite app. Cozi is a free online program that includes a calendar, to do list, shopping list and journal. Living 1300 miles away from our closest family members can be hard on everybody; especially grandparents. Cozi makes keeping everyone up to date with what is going on in our lives simple! With the paid version of the Cozi app you can snap a picture, instantly upload it to the app, add a short description and Cozi sends out a monthly newsletter to everyone in your address book on the 1st making even the furthest away grandparents feel like they are still part of our lives. We have this app installed and logged in on every one of our devices. Cozi includes a calendar, to do & shopping list as well as the journal. By having this app at our fingertips it allows the children to go put their favorite meal on the calendar, add the ingredients to the shopping list and add their appointments to the family calendar. As a Mom I find it much easier to add something to each childs to do list rather than nagging them to get it done. Cozi also sends out a weekly email to everyone in the family to let you know what is going on in the upcoming week. You can also set up a reminder with an individual appointment and you will get a reminder on either your cell phone or via email so you are sure to know what is going on. This app keeps my family up to date as well as keeping the rest of our family feeling connected.

Tags:1st Person: Favorite IPad Apps that Keep My Family Going

2-A-Day High School Football Practices: Helpful or Harmful

Well its highschool football time again and schools across the nation are starting their 2-a-days. But when is it time to draw the line between practice and punishment. In 90 degree weather 2-a-days are a grueling and vigorous part of highschool football and many schools across the nation are against this because of the health for their players.

2-a-days usually consist of a 2-3 hour practice in the morning and another 2-3 hour practice later in the day. This is a time where players are getting back into that football shape and are starting to get a feel for the pads again. Coaches can get plenty of time to coach there players during the week or 2 of this and get a bearing on things going into the season. Players are ran thru drill after drill to get the basics down and learn the plays. But this will take a toll on the players, and could result in serious injury.

First coaches have to make sure their players are getting enough water in them because its common to lose up to 10 pounds of fluids alone during one practice. If players don’t eat and get fluids they could be severly dehydrated resulting in severe headaches, loss of performance, muscle cramps, dizziness or fainting, and even in extreme cases death.

Also in severe heat in the summer players need to have breaks of about 15 minutes to just sit, relax and take in alot of water. The down time is good for their bodies so they dont become extremely fatigued and have heat stroke or sickness.

Players also need to make sure they are stretched out do to the extreme conditions and drills in which players participate in. If your not loose you could run the risk of injuries to ur muscles and joints which will ruin a young athletes season in highschool.

The rewards of 2-a-days are great. If you can make it through the couple of weeks you will be in pretty good football shape and will hopefully know what you need to do before the first game rolls around so you can perform the best you can without being held back by lack of knowlege or injury problems.

If your a parent of a kid that is in the middle of two-a-days make sure they are eating plenty of healthy foods and drinking plenty of water or gatorade. NO POP. Pop will dehydrate your kid fast and won’t help in the conditions they are practicing in.

Tags:2-A-Day High School Football Practices: Helpful or Harmful

1st Thursdays DUMBO Gallery Walk Ushers in the New Art of 2011

Arts initiative Dumbo Culture 411 will be ushering in a new year of inspirational and eclectic art exhibits beneath the shadows of the Brooklyn Bridge. 1st Thursdays Dumbo Gallery Walk is a monthly festive gathering for art lovers who want to explore the galleries of the area.

This month’s crawl will include Amos Eno Gallery, exhibiting eye popping technology inspired paintings by Jon Barwick, the Klomching Gallery showing a group exhibition called Splash II and the Kuntsthalle Galapagos gallery featuring installation work by Swiss-Danish duo Ronnie Yarisal and Katja Kublitz, incorporating lit candles and black helium filled balloons in a cathedral ceilinged exhibition space.

The three hour walk starts at 5:30pm, the event is free and open to the public with no RSVP required. For further information call 718-222-2500 or sign up on the Brooklyn Art Project website.

Tags:1st Thursdays DUMBO Gallery Walk Ushers in the New Art of 2011

2 Easy Green Gifts You Can Make Yourself

No matter what the occasion, these green gifts are ideal for giving friends, co-workers and family members. Each of these homemade crafts give you a chance to show off your creativity and take just a few hours of your time and can be made using recycled materials you likely already have at home.

Green Gifts – Bookmark and Card Set

This green gift is ideal for an avid reader or for your child’s teacher. To make this green gift, you’ll need thin cardboard from a cereal box or recycled cardstock, newspaper advertisements or old magazines, ruler, scissors, glue stick, paper punch and a scrap piece of ribbon or thread.

To make the card, cut an 8-½-inch by 11-inch section from the cereal box. The printed side of the cardboard will serve as the front and back of the card. Use a sharp object like the end of the scissors or a pizza cutter to score the inside middle of the cardboard. Fold the cardboard in half. Cut out designs from magazines or old scrapbooking materials to create a collage design on the front and back of the card. Use a glue stick to glue items onto the card. Then cut a square from a magazine or scrap piece of card stock. The square will serve as a pocket to hold the bookmark. Place glue on the bottom and two sides of the square and secure to the front of the card.

To make the bookmark, cut a cardboard piece that is 1-½-inch wide by 6-inches high. Create a collage design on the bookmark by gluing elements found in magazines, flyers or books. Place the design onto the cardboard and glue in place. Use a paper punch to make a hole at the top center of the bookmark and thread ribbon through the hole. Tie the ribbon to give the bookmark a nice finished look.

Fun Money Jar Made From Recycled Materials

Another green gift idea is to turn a recycled glass jar with lid into a fun money jar. This homemade craft is ideal for new parents or newlyweds who often forget to set aside money to get out and have some fun once in awhile. To make this green gift you’ll need a glass jar and lid, permanent marker, Mod Podge, crafting glue, glass paint or markers, paint brush, scrap pieces of cardstock and ribbon.

To decorate the lid, you can write a saying on card stock or use a computer and printer to create one. An example of a saying for this green gift idea is “Forget rainy days. This money is set aside to get out and play.” Feel free to use this saying or create one of your own. Take the printed saying and trim to fit on the jar lid and glue into place. Allow the saying to air dry and then coat with Mod Podge to seal. Finish the lid off by lining the outside edge with ribbon and gluing into place.

You can use glass paint or makers to write “Fun Money” on the jar. If desired, add other design elements such as polka dots or interesting shapes. Add some change or dollar bills to the fun money jar that the gift recipient can use to go see a movie or use on vacation.

With a little imagination, you can turn recycled materials into green gifts that are unique and cater to the gift recipient’s personality. These homemade crafts are also something kids can do with a little help from you to create gifts for family members and teachers.

Tags:2 Easy Green Gifts You Can Make Yourself

2 Absolute No-Nos If You Have Acne

Acne has been plaguing many of us since our teen years. In fact, in my case, I seem to have more acne now as an adult than I ever did as a teen. Yikes! Since those teen years, I have been trying to find a cure to my acne problem. Whether I follow natural cures or recommendations from my doctors the fact is that there are a few things that are just a given when taking care of your acne skin. It is important that you follow these basic tenants if you want to keep a handle on your acne.

The first acne no-no: stop constantly touching your face. Many people find this to be the hardest thing to conquer though it sounds rather simple doesn’t it. Old habits are very hard to break. In fact, they say that it takes 14 days to break a habit and only 2 days to start one. The most difficult part of breaking this habit is that we do it sub-consciously, without even realizing that we are touching our faces. I think that the best way to break a habit is to think about it directly. Try to figure out why you developed the habit in the first place. When it comes to the face touching habit, I think for many people it stems from being self-conscious about their skin conditions. Even though we hate having people see our acne, we are definitely hurting the condition by constantly touching it. It is believed that acne is spread by touching your face and spreading around the bacteria that form acne ulcers. If you DO touch your face make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. So, be more thoughtful about not touching your face.

The second big acne no-no: stop popping your zits (sorry, I had to say it). It is a very tough decision, to pop or not to pop! If you want to help your skin and prevent further spread of acne, don’t pop when your acne comes to a head. It is very tempting because whiteheads are very unsightly and embarrassing. You think by squeezing them you are getting rid of the problem, but that is not the case at all. In fact, many medical professionals believe that this truly helps worsen the condition. When squeezing, it may in fact push the pus further down in to the ulcer, helping spread the bacteria. One of the biggest reasons to avoid squeezing your blemishes is because if you do, it may leave a permanent scar on your face and that’s the last thing you want, a permanent reminder of your acne problems.

While there are hundreds of acne treatments, your best bet to help the treatments work is to follow these two simple rules and keep your hand off your face and don’t squeeze your acne blemishes!

Tags:2 Absolute No-Nos If You Have Acne

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