Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fastest Man in Baseball

"Willie Mays Hayes. I play like Mays, and I run like Hayes" - Willie Mays Hayes, Major League 

Now it all makes sense. There had to be something that goads Billy Hamilton into doing everything fast. He talks quicker than John Moschitta Jr.. He eats with breeziness that would make Joey Chestnut blush. And when he runs – well, let's just say Billy Hamilton may run the bases faster than any baseball player in history, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders included.

"It's the Dew," Hamilton said.

That's right. Forget the amphetamines, the 5-Hour Energy, the Monster, the Red Bull and every other dignity-sucking energy drink. Hamilton kicks it '90s old school. He pounds Mountain Dew like he's a Silicon Valley newbie on a coding bender. And with 104 stolen bases already this season for Bakersfield, the Cincinnati Reds' Class-A affiliate, he is riding the Yellow #5 wave to breaking the single-season stolen-base record in organized ball, Vince Coleman's 145 for Class-A Macon in 1983.

"There's something about Mountain Dew that gets me amped up," Hamilton said. "I feel like if I drink Mountain Dew, everything in my body gets ready to go. It helps me steal bases. Even the coaches will bring it to me."

Just for fun, Hamilton and Mattair once raced. Hamilton won. Running backward. In spring training, Hamilton, a switch hitter, gapped a ball for an inside-the-park home run that a trainer clocked at 13.9 seconds. Last year, Peter Bourjos, who may be the fastest player in the major leagues, circled the bases in 14.02 seconds.

The stories are told with such certainty they're almost apocryphal. There may not be a player with a tool commensurate to Hamilton's speed – not Bryce Harper's power, not Rick Ankiel's arm, not Brendan Ryan's glove, not Justin Verlander's fastball, not even Mariano Rivera's cutter.

The scouting scale goes from 20 to 80, and Gose, the Toronto Blue Jays center fielder on the short list of the game's speediest behind Hamilton, grades out as an 80.

"If I'm an 80," Gose said, "that means he's a 100."

Hamilton said he never realized how fast he was until he joined the Reds as a second-round pick out of Taylorsville, Miss., in 2009. Everyone from his hometown was fast, he said. He tried to muscle up and hit home runs, even though at 5-foot-11 and 150 pounds they didn't exactly come easy. The Reds figured he would grow into his strengths, and even after struggling to keep his batting average above .200 well into last season, he still stole 103 bases.

His manager then, Delino DeShields, stole 463 bases in the major leagues and tutored Hamilton on technique. And his manager this year, Ken Griffey Sr., tried to break Hamilton of his go-go-go ethos.

"It's in my head to go every pitch," Hamilton said. "I know I can use my speed and get away with things. I need to be smarter about it."


Monday, July 30, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mr Bean at the Olympic Opening Ceremony

The Sound of Music Reunion

Source


Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music
Photo: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
It was 1965 when America fell in love with The Sound of Music. The film, which starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, captured the real life Von Trapp family's escape from Nazi-occupied Austria and won five Oscars®, including one for Best Picture. Forty-five years later, it remains one of the most popular movie musicals ever.

Julie portrayed Maria von Trapp, the nun-turned-governess who made clothes from curtains and won over her hard-to-please charges with music. "It made my career," Julie says. "It was that big a movie, and we had no idea really at the beginning that it was going to be that huge."

The opening of The Sound of Music is one of the most iconic scenes in film history, and Julie says she can vividly remember filming it. "I walked across the field from one end, and the helicopter came across from the other end down through the trees, and we met, almost," she says. "What I didn't know was that the downdraft from that helicopter was fierce. It was a jet helicopter, so every time we got the shot, I made my turn, and then the helicopter went around me to start again. Every time it went around it me, it just leveled me to the grass ... so I was spitting mud and hay and everything else."



Julie Andrews
Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studio
Julie was 28 and a new mom when she headed to Austria to take on Fraulein Maria, the role that would make her an international star. By then, Julie had been singing for decades. She says she discovered her vocal ability when she was only 7 years old.

"I was a real child prodigy. I had like four octaves, and I could sing cadenzas like crazy. When I went up really high, the dogs from miles around would howl," she says. "I was very quickly taken to a specialist to be sure I wasn't doing any harm to my chords, and he said, 'You do have an adult larynx, so you're going to be okay, but go to a good teacher.'"

By the time she was 13, Julie realized her voice was really something special, she says.
Prior to The Sound of Music, Julie performed on Broadway and even won a Best Actress Oscar® for her performance as the practically perfect nanny, Mary Poppins.

After filming Mary Poppins, Julie says she hesitated when she was first offered the role of Maria von Trapp. "I questioned having played one nanny [Mary Poppins] whether another nanny would be a good idea," she says. "But it was such a delicious role, and the music is so beautiful."

Julie Andrews and Oprah
Over the next three decades, Julie lit up the stage and screen in shows like Thoroughly Modern MillieVictor/Victoria10 and S.O.B.. She even hosted her own television variety series, The Julie Andrews Hour.
By the mid-1990s, a lifetime of singing had taken a toll on Julie's voice. She had throat surgery in 1997, an operation that left her legendary voice permanently damaged. "It was not a successful operation, and tissue was removed. I didn't have cancer, I didn't have nodules, I didn't have anything," she says. "When you work on Broadway eight shows a week for a very long time ... a certain kind of muscular striation happens on the vocal chords. A lot of Broadway singers get it. So, sadly, I had to work to deal with the loss of a voice because it just didn't come back."

The specific problem with her vocal chords is that they don't meet, Julie says. "Wind just whistled through the vocal chords that would not come together because tissue was missing," she says. "I have a about six good low, low notes, and I can sing the hell out of 'Old Man River.'"

Julie Andrews
Julie says she was in denial that her voice was gone for about a year. "I just thought I was taking a long time to heal, but the voice sounds like it's chalk on a blackboard when I sing certain notes," she says.

Though the loss of her singing voice was a tough blow, Julie's career persevered. She voiced the queen of Far, Far Away in the Shrek movies, portrayed the Queen of Genovia in The Princess Diaries and is a best-selling author and publisher of 30 children's books. Her latest, Little Bo in Italy, was co-written with her daughter Emma.

"As Maria says in the movie, 'When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window,'" Julie says. "I began to write with my daughter and we began a small publishing collection, called the Julie Andrews Collection. And one day I said to my Emma, 'You know, I am missing so much,' and she said the most wonderful thing. She said, 'Mom, you've just found a different way of using your voice.'"

Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews
Julie's co-star Christopher Plummer was a teenager when he first fell in love with acting in his hometown of Montreal. After years of stage and screen work, he signed on to do The Sound of Music, and Julie says she was nervous about meeting him at first. "I was in awe of this gentlemen," she says. "[He was] a very, very famous dramatic actor, and here I was just a musical songstress."

Christopher says he didn't exactly see it that way. "I'd fallen in love with her in My Fair Lady on Broadway, so I had a crush on her forever," he says.

Still, Christopher wasn't thrilled with the role of Captain von Trapp at first. "I wanted to do a musical, and that was what attracted it to me," he says. "But the part as written was not exactly Hamlet. ... There was not enough humor in it."

So Christopher got together with screenwriter Ernie Lehman to get "some meat off the bones." "And it turned out to be quite all right," he says.

One of the main concerns Christopher says he had with The Sound of Music was that it had the potential to be too sappy. "It was pretty delicate stuff because it could have run overboard and become very mawkish and sentimental," he says. "So one day I called it, well, 'The Sound of Mucus.'"
Christopher Plummer
 


Captain von Trapp didn't tolerate much mischief on screen, but when the cameras weren't rolling, Christopher says he wasn't exactly on his best behavior.

"I wasn't working a lot in Austria, so I had time to make friends and go through all the bars," he says. "At one point, I came back to work about three weeks later having gone on sort of long binges with my friends, and [director] Robert Wise said 'You know we're going to have to redo your costume because you're fatter than Orson Wells."

After seeing the final product and Julie's performance, Christopher says he changed his mind about the film. "I think [it was] almost the most natural performance she's given in her career," he says. "Her whole face was just radiant with reality and sureness and unself-consciousness, and she gave such an extraordinary, immortal performance. I couldn't help but turn around and start respecting the movie, which was beautifully made, of course."

In the years since filming The Sound of Music, Christopher has appeared in more than 100 films, including The InsiderThe Inside ManUp and, most recently, The Last Station, which earned him an Oscar® nomination for his portrayal of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. A few years ago, he also published his memoir, In Spite of Myself.

At 80 years old, Christopher's acting career is still going strong. "[I'm getting] more work now than I've had all my life," he says. He's currently balancing work on both the stage and screen, though he says his heart belongs to theater.

"There's no excitement that can top the sound of laughter and the real-life reaction of an audience," he says. "There's nothing like it."

The cast of The Sound of Music
Five months before shooting began in Salzburg, The Sound of Music director Robert Wise set out to find seven perfect children to play the Von Trapp children. He interviewed more than 200 hopefuls, including a young Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell and Mia Farrow.

In the hours before shooting, Robert cast the final members of the most popular family in cinematic history: Charmian Carr as Liesl; Nicholas Hammond as Friedrich; Heather Menzies-Urich as Louisa; Duane Chase as Kurt; Angela Cartwright as Brigitta; Debbie Turner as Marta; and Kym Karath as youngest daughter, Gretl.

Forty-five years later, some of the actors have families of their own and say they love watching the film with their children. "I think this movie is the world's best babysitter," Nicholas says. "Everybody I know has parked the kids in front of it. Three hours of dead silence."

Charmian Carr
The actors all say they knew then how lucky they were to be working with stars like Julie and Christopher. "There was a time when Chris and I had a chance to sit down together for maybe 10 or 15 minutes and we shared a joke, and it was an absolutely wonderful time," Duane says.

Charmian, who was 21 when she played a 16-going-on-17-year-old, says she had a bit of a crush on Christopher. "He was so perfect, and he spoke with this perfect British accent," she says.

During filming, Charmian stayed in the same hotel as Christopher. There, she says, the famed actor taught her a thing or two. "I learned how to drink," she says. "And I learned what a great pianist he was, and [what a] great voice that he had. He sang and played the piano every night."
The cast of The Sound of Music with Oprah
The actors spent about nine months together while shooting, so they say they really forged a family. "We keep in touch at Christmas and the holidays," Julie says.

When Heather lost her husband, actor Robert Urich, to cancer, her Sound of Music siblings were there for her. "They all showed up," she says. "There's no DNA here, but they're a special kind of family. I'm okay, and part of the reason I'm okay is because of these guys right here."

When the cast got to Chicago for their Oprah Show taping, they all went out beforehand for a Thanksgiving dinner of sorts. "Everybody tried to catch up so fast because we knew we didn't have that long, and questions were coming from all over the place," Julie says.

"Suddenly you just revert the 45 years," Nicholas says. "We always seem to pick up the conversation where we left off, no matter what the time has been."

The "kids" are so close, they're currently working on a new project together. "We realized that we've got this treasure trove of memorabilia that we've kept—our home movies and photos and all of the stuff—and we're doing a book, the seven kids, and answering all the questions that everybody has asked," Nicholas says. "We thought now was our chance to kind of give that back to all the wonderful fans around the world."







Friday, July 27, 2012

Wait - The useful art of procrastination



Frank Partnoy ex-Wall Street derivative trader and self-confessed procrastinator, reveals the science behind our decision-making disasters and successes, and argues that decisions of all kinds, whether 'snap' or long-term, benefit from being made at the last possible moment.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary

Sarah Brightman with 5 Phantoms Wish Michael Crawford sang too Nicole Scherzinger singing with 4 Phantoms

Monday, July 16, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Real Life Charles Bronson


Real Gunfighter Lance Thomas on Justic Files

Friday, July 13, 2012

Heartbreaking - 13 Year internal organs have all been squeezed together by the air pumped into his body

Source

Air Pump Stuck Into Chinese Child’s Anus as Prank
by Fauna on Thursday, July 12, 2012




Yesterday…

On Sina Weibo:


@小溪办事_王羲: Just went to the hospital to visit Du Chuanwang. This 13-year-old mother-less child had gone to work in an auto repair shop to help take care of his family ended up having a high pressure pneumatic air pump gun stuck into his anus by two workers who then pumped air into him! The child’s intestines have essentially exploded, his scrotum now as large as a watermelon! His internal organs have all been squeezed together by the air pumped into his body, so horrific! The thoughtful child only has one wish, to bring his beloved younger brother there so he can see him. Please help this child. He is in the Xiajin People’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit.



Three days earlier…

On NetEase:
Youth suffers prank, body perforated by air pump



As a joke, two auto repair shop workers in Xiajin county [of Dezhou city in Shandong province] stuck a high-pressure air pump into the anus of young apprentice Du Chuanwang, who was just 13 years old. The immense air pressure immediately perforated the child’s tender young body, and Little Chuanwang was immediately sent to the hospital for surgery.

After being diagnosed, there were over 20 tears and holes in Du Chuanwang’s small and large intestines, injuries to multiple internal organs, stomach bleeding, impaired liver functions, and other symptoms. Even now he is still in the intensive care unit and still in life-threatening condition. Du Chuanwang’s great uncle Dong Yuliang told this reporter that the doctors say there are some indicators that are still deteriorating and continued observation is needed. For Du Zhonghou, his son accidentally suffering such serious injury is simply “thunder from clear skies” [completely unexpected]. The only thing this 38-year-old peasant farmer can do is stand watch outside the intensive care ward and helplessly bury his head in bitter tears.

Du Chuanwang’s great aunt Zhang Meijun says the child lost his mother when he was 7 years old, his mother having died of illness, having been hospitalized in the county for a time and then hospitalized in Linqing county for nearly half a month before dying, leaving behind a trail of debts and his father to farm and take care of housework. This past spring, to obtain a skill/trade in order to help his father take care of the family, 13-year-old Little Chuanwang quit school to become an apprentice at an auto repair shop. Who would’ve known that just after a few months, the child would suffer such a sudden and unexpected calamity.

After just 4-5 days, Little Chuanwang’s medical bills have already cost over 100,000yuan. At present those responsible have already been detained, but after paying a portion of the expenses, those responsible say they are unable to continue bearing the high medical costs, while the nearly 20,000 yuan expenses each day has left this impoverished family with no shred of hope. The Xiajin County Beicheng Street Dongcang Village Branch Party Secretary told this reporter that he [Du Chuanwang's father] currently has 3 people on 5-6 mu of land. He is growing cotton, and each mucan bring in 1000 kuai [yuan RMB] which is 5,000-6,000 kuai, not even enough to eat with and there’s still a little child’s school fees, so he hopes everyone can help him.

Back on Sina Weibo…


@小溪办事_王羲: So angry! The doctor told me that when the child first got to the hospital, his arms and legs were both bulging/swollen, purple with internal bleeding, the child’s body having been pumped with 8 units of Atmospheric Pressure, comparable to a car tire. When the doctor urgently released the air, the child’s body made a hissing sound. If those two animals had just pumped a bit more air, the child wouldn’t simply exploded!


@小溪办事_王羲: I found the “murder weapon” at the auto repair shop where Little Chuanwang’s worked, which is the thing in the left photo! Here it is used to remove screws, but if you remove the head, attach a 40cm needle/tube, then it becomes an pneumatic air pump. The two workers had inserted the air gun into the child’s anus, and began pumping in air. A witness says he definitely wasn’t pumped with just a momentary burst, otherwise he couldn’t have reached 8 units of atmospheric pressure!




@小溪办事_王羲: Finally Little Chuanwang’s younger brother has been brought over, the two brothers met in the Intensive Care Unit. The younger brother was so scared he couldn’t speak, until a long time later when he cried out: “Big brother, you have to get better soon, so you can make me a steamed bun!” After their mother passed away, 7-year-old Chuanwang learned how to make steamed buns for meals, and it was he who brought up his little brother. Now that Chuanwan’s windpipe has been cut open, it took a lot of effort before he was able to say “Little brother”. The doctor quietly told me that Chuanwang’s internal organs have all been damaged, that his intestines are hanging out of his body, and his situation is very dangerous.




@小溪办事_王羲: A lot of people have asked how they can donate to Little Chuanwang. Today, I went to open a bank account for his father and will post the information on my microblog tomorrow. The two suspects are 20 and 27 years old respectively, and have already been arrested. Little Chuanwang told me that when he was working at the auto repair shop, he had been hit and yelled at before. A witness says this isn’t the first time he has had air pumped into his anus, its just that the past instances weren’t so serious.


@小溪办事_王羲: Tomorrow I will verify the bank account number and then make it public to everyone. At present, Little Chuanwang has received 49,000 yuan in donations, but its still far from enough. What is more pressing is that his organs have failed, necrosis has appeared on his face, his bones are exposed, and he needs to transfer hospitals immediately! However, the hospitals I have contacted today are all unwilling to take him 1) afraid he has no money and 2) afraid they can’t help him. Can everyone help?


@小溪办事_王羲: Last night I basically didn’t sleep at all, stayed up dealing with private messages and various messages left concerning helping Little Chuanwang. Thank you everyone! I have already made contact with Angel Mom Foundation, and I will post updates on the child’s condition on my microblog when I can today!


@小溪办事_王羲: Many people have asked for ways to donate to Little Chuanwang: The child’s father’s bank account number is 6222021612007747547 at the Xiajin county sub-branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China – [account name] 杜舍厚 [Du Shehou] (the child’s father). Additionally, the donation method for the Angel Mom Foundation is: Bank of China Beijing branch Xicui Road sub-branch, account name: 中华少年儿童慈善救助基金会 [China Charities Aid Foundation for Children], account number: 320 756 027 856, please clearly specify: “Angel Mom Foundation, to be used for Du Chuanwang”.


@小溪办事_王羲: Latest information: We’ve taken Little Chuanwang into an ambulance and are rushing to Beijing Hospital. The child’s situation I will ask doctors in a bit and then tell everyone.


@小溪办事_王羲: Latest situation: The situation for Little Chuanwang who had been injured by an air pump gun has worsened. Right now, the most life-threatening issue isn’t the 28 injuries on his internal organs but an unknown bacterial infection causing tissue necrosis, which is rapidly spreading. The necrosis on his face had been the size of a soy bean two days ago became the size of a fist yesterday, and today has caused the bridge of his nose to sink. He needs to be transferred immediately. The hospital says tissue necrosis is related to the injuries from the air pump gun, a pathological change brought about by systemic organ failure.

On Sina Weibo




@小溪办事_王羲: Little Chuanwang asleep, I can’t bear to wake him up. He knows how serious his condition is, but when I told him this morning that he will be transferred to Beijing Bayi Children’s Hospital, he was particularly excited, feeling that he has a chance to be saved, constantly moving his head trying to speak! When he was awake, his eyes were particularly lively, filled with the desire to keep living.




@小溪办事_王羲: Beijing’s 120 [emergency services number] emergency center ambulance has arrived, Little Chuanwang has been carried onto the ambulance, and is being rushed towards Beijing! Thanks to the netizen who this morning at 3am helped the child find an ambulance! We will arrive in Beijing in about 4 hours.




@小溪办事_王羲: The child is on the ambulance, is currently away, and in good spirits. The doctor says the will to survive is very important for the child. We’re currently rushing towards Beijing at no less than 140 km/hr, none of the medical personnel are eating, and we’re also trying to avoid stopping to use the toilets, in order to get to Beijing Bayi Children’s Hospital as soon as possible. They’re already prepared over there, and the moment Little Chuanwang arrives, he’ll enter their Intensive Care Unit.




@小溪办事_王羲: #13-year-old youth punctured by air pump# The child has been awake the entire ride, and even though he’s lying down on the ambulance and can’t move, his eyes keep glancing at the windows around him, in his heart clearly aware of everything that is happening. When I took this photo of him, the little guy even struggled to lift up his hand to wave, to say hello to all the netizens!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sashimi.... yummay

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