Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Lasting Memory

Something a little more tangible to remember this first Spartan football championship in 20 years.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Celebrating With The Champions

Saturday evening after the Michigan State football team defeated Penn State, and claimed the Big Ten Championship, Leslie and I headed to Breslin to welcome the team home, and help celebrate the championship season.

It was a really happy group of players, coaches, and fans. It was a festive atmosphere filled with joy, and the knowledgMichigan State Spartans athletic logoImage via Wikipediae that this year the Spartans got it done.

Coach Dantonio seemed as happy as anyone had ever seen him. The captains spoke, the band played the fight song, and the fans smiled and cheered.

Coach Izzo appeared to be the happiest of all.

Congratulations to the 2010 Michigan State football team. We may not be wearing roses, but it was a magical season that we will always have, and the future looks great for this program.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Remembering Frim

I first became aware of Lyman L. Frimodig (1897-1972) when I was hanging his picture on the wall at the Pretzel Bell restaurant, where I had been hired as a bus boy in 1971. He is the only athlete in the history of Michigan State to receive ten varsity letters, four each in basketball and baseball and two in football.

Frimodig was an all-around athlete at Calumet High School. He grew up a block away from, and was boyhood friends with, George Gipp, who went on to fame playing football for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame.

Frimodig subsequently attended Michigan Agricultural College, now known as Michigan State University, where he played basketball, baseball and football from 1914 to 1917. He held the single-game scoring record in basketball for 35 years.

Here he is, second from the right, back row, next to Coach Macklin. The championship team of 1914.

After graduating from the college in 1917, Frimodig returned to the Upper Peninsula where he coached and was principal at Escanaba High School. His work there was interrupted by the United States' entry into World War I, as Frimodig served in the military.

After being discharged from the military in 1919, Frimodig was hired as the freshman football coach at Michigan Agricultural College. He was the school's head basketball coach for two seasons (1920–1922), compiling a 24–20 record. He remained employed by the school for 41 years as a professor of health and physical education.

"Frim" also served four years in the 1930's as mayor of East Lansing. He can be considered one of the greatest Spartans to ever wear the green and white. His love of Michigan State's campus, athletics, and the city of East Lansing is very similar to mine. Your memory is still alive Mr. Frimodig.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Escape From Ohio

Can You figure out what I have in common with these three individuals pictured here?

They are: Chief Newcomer of the Delaware Indian tribe that when the fur trapping gave out moved to the Ohio Valley, and eventually to a reservation in Oklahoma.

Woody Hayes the legendary Ohio State football coach.

Cy Young the major league all time leader in wins, who has the award to the season's best pitcher named after him.

The answer is Newcomertown, Ohio. They lived there. Leslie and I spent a cold, dark, rainy, night there earlier this week on our way home from North Carolina.

The other notable event of the trip home happened in Virginia, near the West Virginia border where we had dramatic fog, with visibility close to zero. We survived that scary trip through the mountains, but not everybody did, as 77 cars and trucks were involved in several crashes, resulting in two deaths, and the closing the I77 for 10 hours. We were lucky.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

A Sign That It Is Time

Frosty GrassImage via WikipediaA frosty look to the grass on this first morning of November.

I took it as a sign that it is time to head to a warmer climate.

This post marks the beginning of a new blog posting philosphy. I am going to put the emphasis on the observations part of the title, and the posts will be shorter, but much more frequent. They will chronicle what we see on our daily walks and meanderings through life..
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I often wonder why I am interested in so many things, and more importantly how these interests developed. In the case of meteorites, I believe I can trace it to the fascinating meteorite display in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and some summer nights watching some dramatic meteor showers light up the sky.

The earth is regularly struck by debris from space. It has been hit by about 130,000 meteorites large enough to produce a crater 2/3's of a mile wide. Although this kind of impact site is visible on the moon, earth is so geologically active that evidence of many impacts have disappeared. So far, more than 160 impact sites have been identified worldwide, with new craters discovered every year.

Most meteorites are fragments of asteroids, though some are produced when asteroids hit the surface of the moon or mars, flinging debris into space. When they are outside the atmosphere these rocks are meteoroids, while those that enter the atmosphere are meteors. These are usually so small that they burn up as they plunge toward earth, leaving a bright trail in the sky, often called a shooting star. Meteorites are objects large enough to travel through the atmosphere and hit the ground. If they are the size of a house or larger they blast out a crater.

The first major impact structure to be identified was Meteor Crater in Arizona, with its distinctive bowl shape. It is the result of the most recent significant meteorite impact on earth.

When a meteorite strikes the earth, the impact sends shock waves through the ground, squeezing the surrounding rock to two, or three times its normal density. The compressed rock then springs back, shattering into fragments, hurling chunks upward, and outward, along with pieces of the meteorite that have not yet vaporized. The result is a bowl shaped crater that is much larger than the meteorite.

The potential energy of a significant meteorite impact on the earth is more than one hundred million megatons-more than the world's entire nuclear arsenal.

Buried deep beneath the limestone of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Chixulub is one of the largest meteorite cHeadshot of the Daspletosaurus mount at the Fi...Image via Wikipediaraters found on earth. The impact was catalclysmic: fires raged over the surface, giant tsunamis radiated across the oceans, and the planet was rocked by massive earthquakes. Many scientists believe that the devastating global effects of the Chixulub impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. They believe that debris from the impact was suspended in the atmosphere. This would have blocked out the Sun's rays, turning the world ice cold, and spelling doom for the dinosaurs.

Much of the information for this post comes from the Smithsonian Institution's book called Earth.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Morrill Hall

Morrill Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the Michigan State campus, is set to be demolished in 2013, and its classrooms, and offices moved to a new addition of Wells Hall. Ground was broken for that new addition earlier this week. To commemorate Morrill, plans are to restore the area to a park, with a plaque and part of the stone or brick of Morrill Hall.
My first thought was we should save this building as it is a major part of Michigan State's history. But, some investigation finds that the place is deteriorating with the floors and ceilings tilted and the place infested with cockroaches and bats, so maybe the history, English, and religious studies departments will be better off in their new home in Wells Hall.
Morrill Hall in 1912, known at the time as the...Image via Wikipedia
A little history: It was dedicated in October 1900, and known as the Women's Building, and as its name implies was built to house women. At the time of the dedication it housed 120 women students, and had cooking laboratories, and a large gymnasium, as well as the dorm rooms. In 1937, the name was changed to Morrill Hall and it became a liberal arts division center. The new name honored the Morrill Act of 1862, which laid the groundwork for the land grant colleges providing university funding by the government, and built on federal land.

My main memory of Morrill Hall is from spring term of freshman year, when for some reason now forgotten I decided to drop an economic course a couple of weeks into the term. The course was taught by one of the most popular professors on campus, but one who had a reputation for being foul tempered and mean. I announced at dinner that I was headed to Morrill Hall for a face to face with the professor. The reaction I received was pretty much, 'You are really going to get blasted." This girl I had been dating (Leslie) came with me for support, or maybe out of curiosity. I remember the long slow walk up the four flights of stairs, and knocking on the door. I survived. He basically told me I would be stupider for not taking his class, and would live to regret it, but he signed the paper, and I shot out of there

.Some early Women's Building Residents.

The Library.

The gymnasium.
Earlier this week Leslie and I went into Morrill and shot some pictures:

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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Vine That Ate The South

On one of our walks this spring in Cary, North Carolina we noticed a vine coming out of the woods, and snaking across the greenway. Later, when we were in the mountains near Asheville, we found the same vine completely covering hillsides, and enveloping trees. We identified it as Kudzu. or due to its out of control growth by one of its many nicknames, like "mile a minute vine," or " a foot a night vine."
So, what is with this Kudzu anyway? Kudzu was introduced from Japan into the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where it was promoted as a forage crop and an ornamental plant. From 1935 to the early 1950s, the Soil Conservation Service encouraged farmers in the southeastern United States to plant kudzu to reduce soil erosion as explained above. The Civilian Conservation Corps planted it widely for many years.

It was subsequently discovered that the southeastern US has near-perfect conditions for kudzu to grow out of control — hot, humid summers, frequent rainfall, temperate winters with few hard freezes (kudzu cannot tolerate low freezing temperatures that bring the frost line down through its entire root system, a rare occurrence in this region), and no natural predators.It has been found in Michigan, in the South Haven area, but the cold winter temperatures keep it from being the problem that it is in the South. According to ScienceDaily, kudzu has been spreading in the southern U.S. at the rate of 150,000 acres annually with devastating environmental consequences.

Take a look at this really well done video by the National Invasive Species Information Center:

Here is a picture of Kudzu in Beal Gardens on the MSU campus.
Notice the vines stretching out ready to grab anything nearby.

For some really amazing pictures here is a great website:

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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Sycamores of Michigan State

It was the first tree I got to know on the Michigan State campus. It was June, 1966, the summer before my senior year of high school. Even then, this sycamore tree stood in all its majestic glory on what is today called Adams Marching Field across from Landon Hall. I was on campus for a radio and communications workshop, leading to my initial major one year later.

Today, we visit the tree on many campus walks, and especially when it is in the middle of the festive Marching Band pregame shows, before the Spartan football games.

The Sycamore, as it is known in North America, has always been a special species of tree to us. It's distinctive bark, large leaves, and bristle covered seed balls all combine to make it unique. It is of the genus platanus, and is known as the Plane tree in Scotland, and most of Europe.

There are many distinctive sycamore trees around campus.
Here are a few of them: (again, a reminder that you can click on the pictures to make them bigger)

This triple trunk beauty is between Beal Garden and the Circle IM. The sign identifies it as a "Plane Tree."

This one stands guard over the McLane Baseball Stadium.
They are easy to find in the Kellogg Center area.Another favorite near the Union by the Human Ecology building.This row we found in Spartan Village, where we used to live in married housing. The trees are a lot bigger now, and our apartment has been torn down.

And finally, this one with Ag. Hall in the background.

Special thanks to Leslie for the pictures, and Janice Brooks for being a part of the tree walks.

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