It’s that time of year again. Our weather is changing, grass is greening, spring sports, and activities are in full swing, and for a few lucky boys and girls, their days of 12 years of schooling are drawling to a conclusion. Long gone are the days of recess. With it went the half day of school in kindergarten, checkmarks on the chalkboard, spelling test, the number 2 pencils, and the daily debate of eating the “hot lunch.”

These are the last few days to walk the halls where most of you grew up, learned how to count, spell, add, and subtract. Some of you learned the pain of rejection, the joy of a great academic, or athletic accomplishment, the taste of a “cold one” and who knows what else. These will be the last few days of your pre-adult years. Once you walk across that stage, all bets are off, and you begin your new life as an adult, complete with responsibilities, and consequences.

This is a great time to think back, and take a look at where you were just 12 years ago, releasing the hand of a parent dropping you off at school for the first time.  As you struggle, trying to see through the tears, you make your way to the big double doors to enter the school for the first time.  Still struggling, you try to understand why your were dropped off here, you look around at all the strange faces… Fast forward to now, and some of those same faces are still around. Some have moved away over summer breaks, others moved in, and now you’re all ready to be set free into the word with nothing but 12 solid years of schooling to rely on.

This is a time to celebrate, and remember all the good times with your friends. After this graduation event there will be people you will never see again. Some will move away, some will join the military, some will stick around. One thing is for sure, this is the last time you will all be together in one place.

Now some of you will be focused on entrance exams, while others focus on insurance premiums, finding a job, and balancing the family budget, it’s all a joy of being a part of the real world. You will also encounter a new group of friends, as you drift apart from old friends. Your new inner circle, will at some point, probably include your future significant other, future best friends, best men, brides maids, golfing/fishing, and/or shopping buddies.

This is the point in your life where you also need to evaluate your priorities. What’s important to you? College, a job, a family? As a young man, I was only interested in how much money I could make.  However priorities change when you find someone you want to spend time with.  Once you start a family it’s no longer “how much money can I make” but the balance between job, and family time. We could all make a lot of money, but at what expense? Time away from home, and the family?

Since you are a member of the real word now, you will face some setbacks, tough decisions, and exciting new events! Hold your head high, and remember good things happen to good people. As long as you keep doing your best good things will happen.

So as you walk the halls on your last few days of school, take a few extra minutes at the end of your day, and visit some of your old teachers. We all have people that have influenced our life, and it’s important they know we appreciate them.

As the sun sets on this phase in your life, be sure to enjoy your last summer with friends, and family, especially if you’re going away for college. Take time to sit back and soak it all in, and make it a summer to remember.

I’ve been out of school now for 10 years but a lot of the memories from 1st grade to senior, year seem like they still happened yesterday. I’ve finished college, had a few different jobs, and started a family. I still think back to my childhood experiences and enjoy a smile from time to time. However now with a child of my own, I will be reliving all of those events beside her as she grows up.

Congratulations, and good luck!

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Can Royals Prospects Live Up to the Hype?

As Kansas City Royals fans enjoy early season success, we are constantly reminded of our “unseen” talent in the farm system. Each broadcast of a Royals games normally includes the names of Montgomery, Moustakas, and Hosmer, and they are not even playing for our Royals yet! With that being said, fans may expect to much once these players hit the diamon at Kauffman Stadium. Can these prospects really live up to their hype?

Each season of Royals baseball normally comes, and goes as fast as our talent reaching their prime, and jetting off to another organization.  Dye, Damon, Beltron, Dejesus , and Greinke (just to name a few) all left the Royals, as soon as they became stars.  But can you blame them?  Who wouldn’t leave an organization for better pay, and a chance to play for a contender elsewhere? So even if these prospects do live up to their hype, how long can we possibly keep them?

Ultimately this frustrates “small market” fans. Yeah you may have a good year, but what’s that say for your future? Perhaps you have a star or two, but your out of it (the playoff race) by the all-star break, then what? It’s become customary to sell off your players for prospects, or future picks in the draft if your long season is theoretically over halfway through.  So in essence, you trade away an established player now, in hopes that what you receive in return will be good for your team in 3-5 years? Why don’t we just demand a handful of “magic beans” for each star we sell off?

Royals fans now know we finally have prospects in our farm system that may help our team in the next year or two, but this may be adding to increased expectations.  Perhaps unrealistic expectations.

During the early success of this season, many fans will now anxiously await the arrival of our new talent. To the casual Royals fan, this is a new excitement, never before have we known so much about our farm system without some research of our own. This may be a bad situation. If these guys are called up and do not have immediate success, how patient can Royals fans expect to be? After all it’s been 25 years since we have had any major success in baseball.

What will be acceptable performance? At this point Royals fans might may be happy to avoid a hole in the day to day lineup (example 1, Kila, how did he make it this far without anyone noticing he might as well be a blind person swinging at a curve ball).

Lack of success in recent years, and our first real “big time” prospects could mean unmatchable expectations, no matter how they perform.

If they turn out to be good players, how long can Royals fans realistically expect to keep them? Or will they turn out to be another Royals great traded for “magic beans?”

Attendance has been down, which means Royals fans are not 100% on board with this season.  So whats the problem?  Are they all confident the wheels will fall off, or do they know the likelihood of us being competitive long term matches the odds of Kila hitting a curve ball, which is not good.

Maybe we should all jump on the Royals wagon now before it does fall apart.  How often have we been able to enjoy the Royals this late in the season?  Strong start, promising prospects on the way, a competitive team, whats not to like?  Who knows how long it will last before its back to the dark days of Royals baseball.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Sports


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ipad 2 v. Motorola Xoom

Today is the day many of us have been waiting on. At 5:00 p.m. the Apple iPad 2 will be launched at retail stores. Some consumers have already purchased their iPads through the online launch at 3:00 a.m. central time. At last check 7:00 a.m. central time, Apple still had some available.

Unless you have been hiding under a rock with the Geico Cavemen, you have seen this launch coming a few months back. Apple makes a huge secret about their release dates, but it’s always around the same time each year. If you have recently purchased an old iPad, some retailers are offering a cash rebate, or a trade in program.

The iPad 2 is available in white or black, wifi/3G, and wifi only. There are several different memory options, and those come at different price points. Apple’s iPad 2 will start at $499, for a 16gb, wifi only model. Apple’s only competition starts at $539 (Motorola Xoom).

Many experts have said the Motorola Xoom, lacks the brightness, and crispness of the iPad 2’s display. The Xoom is also running off software that is still in the development stages (meaning crashes on your Xoom will be a likely event), while Apple has tweaked their software over the years since their introduction to the first iPhone. Reliability goes to Apple.

If you opt for a data plan, AT&T has the cheapest plan for average users (under 2gb per month). Verizon has bigger data packages for data hungry consumers, or corporate accounts (over 3gb per month).

Despite the lack of flash (for playing media on webpages), Apple’s iPad 2 is the clear winner in popularity, price, performance, size, and not to mention apps.

Apples app store has over 400,000 apps to choose from, while the Motorola app store has only a fraction of those apps. Another victory for Apple.

If you are paranoid about space on your iPad, the Xoom does accept memory cards for additional memory. There are several different options out there that work well with Apple to provide free online storage of documents, if you should end up with an overflow of documents on your iPad 2.

Bottom line, the clear winner, and your tablet of choice should be the iPad 2. Now go get in line for the retail launch, or online now!

Tweet @ me: baseballcurt35

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 11, 2011 in Electronics/Tech


Tags: , , ,


Crashing into the fence!For the casual fan, NASCAR has become popular over the years for their impressive crashes. Take Carl Edwards getting air, and slamming into the fence at Talledega, or Ryan Newman sitting upside down in turn 3 at Daytona, as he waits for help to turn his car over to get him out. Or take the normal every Sunday crash that leaves cars crushed like a pop cans, and debris scattered all over the track.

Over the years NASCAR has taken pride in making this a safe sport (considering the obvious dangers). With speeds of 200 miles per hour, 43 drivers on the track at one time, and 3500lbs cars, it takes amazing technology to keep these drivers safe each weekend. But that same technology that helps keep these drivers safe, is also being used to figure out how to make the cars go faster.

One thing that a lot of NASCAR fans, or casual fans may not realize, is how venerable the spectators are at these events. As cars reach speeds of 200 mph, they easily become air-borne if turned around backwards in an accident. These cars, and debris can easily make their way into innocent spectator’s seats with little warning.

To make sure this is an unlikely event, NASCAR has tethered all parts of the car that can come lose to make sure hoods, deck lids, and other parts alike will not go slicing through their air, into the stands. In 2003 in Daytona in July NASCAR had an eye opening event. The hood from Robby Gordon’s car was impacted in such a way, the hood flew from the car, went 40-50 feet in the air, and then landed in the stands, injuring one spectator. Due to new rules requiring such items to be tethered to the cars, this may have been the last event like this we will see.

Perhaps one of the most dangerous threats the fans would face, would be a wild tire flying off a car during an accident. Now very rarely does a tire come off a car, but in the case where the pit crew does not get the tire on tight (snugly bolting down the 5 lug-nuts), its certainly a risk. At speeds of 150-200 MPH, a 60lb tire could bounce up over a fence and pose a threat to any fan. However if the lug-nuts are still bolted to the studs of the axle, the tethers will also hold the tire within the racing walls, keeping the fans safe.

Those are about the only two threats the fans face on race day. If you have survived the race, the last thing you have to do is survive the parking lot, and the drive home (sometimes equally as impressive as watching cars running inches apart at 180 miles per hour).

For many of us, we remember one tragic event in NASCAR 10 years ago, that has been the source of much needed research, and attention. The major event was the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Since the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr, NASCAR, and other forms of racing have taken a much needed deeper look at safety. During the 2001 Daytona 500, Dale Earnhardt hit the wall at around 180 MPH. The crash looked as casual as any we had seen before. However it was a perfect storm, of speed, angle, and lack of mandating safety equipment for all drivers, resulting in his death.

NASCAR, and other forms of racing, have now instituted “safer barrier” wall systems. This is a floating wall inside the original wall, with foam and steal separating the two walls. The concept? When a car impacts this wall, it will give way making the impact much softer than hitting a concrete wall at the same speed.

Who knows if the safer barrier wall has saved any lives, but it certainly has the drivers impressed. Just last week at Las Vegas, Jeff Gordon blew a right front tire entering turn 3. At this point in the car you are at the point of no return, and at the mercy of your equipment. If something gives way (tires, breaks, steering) you are just along for the ride. His tire blew at the bottom of the track, some 90-100 feet away from the wall at speeds around 180 MPH. After his impact with the wall, that ended his day, and destroyed his car, he commented to his crew “that was not the impact I was expecting.”

Jeff’s comments was a direct reflection to the efforts put up by NASCAR, and all the money spent by track owners in installing these new walls. Sunday, after Sunday, we see drivers pound these walls with outstanding force, and each Sunday they get out of their cars, and walk away.

This technology of the saffer barrier, combined with the hans device has greatly reduced the risk of driver injury in the sport. After Dale Earnhardt’s tragic crash in Daytona, the hans device was popularized. The hans device is basically a seatbelt for the head, and it meant to keep the head, and neck, inline with the body during a crash.

While the drivers are fastened into their car seats with a 5 point harness system, the head, and neck are had been left with only a helmet for protection. Take the size and weight of the helmet sitting on the drivers shoulders, and you have a recipe for disaster.

As a car makes impact, and suddenly is slowed or stopped, the body wants to move in the direction the car was going. The 5 point harness system does it’s job to stop the body’s momentum, however the head has nothing to prevent it’s movement forward. The end result is Basilar skull fracture, and this almost always results in immediate death. In fact this is the number one cause of death in racing.

Many thought this device was invented after the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr in 2001. In fact it was invented in the 1980s by a professor of biomechanical engineering at Michigan State. The device had been around for years before Dale Earnhardt’s tragic crash, however some racers felt that it was a device that would create more harm than good. Dale Earnhardt even called it “that damn noose.”

Looking back now it seems silly to push a safety device aside, but thats easily said 10 years later. Many of the drivers thought this device would hinder their vision inside the car, resulting in more accidents. Few drivers ever tried the device in the early stages of development, but quickly discounted its purpose, calling it uncomfortable, and dangerous.

Racing has always been dangerous, but with the hans device, coupled with the new safer barrier, racing has become much safer. As NASCAR continues to spend money of safety, I am sure there are things we will look at 10 years from now, shake our head and say “how dangerous was that!”

It’s a two way street in NASCAR. Teams will spend money on research and development to make their cars go faster, while NASCAR will spend their money on research and development to find out how to make these cars, and drivers safer.

The following is a list of NASCAR drivers who died in crashes because of Basilar skull fracture.

Adam Petty

Tony Roper

Kenny Irwin Jr.

Terry Schnoover

Grant Adcox

Neil Bonnett

John Nemechek

Dale Earnhardt

J. D. McDuffie

Clifford Allison.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , ,