Friday, June 17, 2011

Nature calls

Freedom Park, where the Nebraska Cricket Club plays is right next to the Missouri River. The cricket ground is nestled within the premises of a Naval museum. Surrounding our field are ships, planes, helicopters, and a submarine. Here's the ground during gentler times (the river flows on the other side of the various machines):

(C.S. Manish 2010)
Today, the Missouri River is raging, hell-bent of reclaiming its old floodplain. Our ground is under many feet of water. (Frame of reference: you can see the top of a chain-link fence that borders the field. The fence is about 5 feet in height!).

(Peter Daliere 2011)
Hopefully, the river will recede and we will get to play on Freedom Park again. Sooner rather than later.

P.S. Here's an aerial view that shows the river (as it flows south towards downtown Omaha) and the location of the ground at Freedom Park. (The photo was taken from this site)

(U.S. Army Photo / Carlos J. Lazo 2011)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Travel: Day 5 - Puerto Rico - Wetlands, salt flats, and a lighthouse

One of the advantages of teaching at a small liberal arts institution is the freedom to design and offer courses that are close to your heart. In January 2011, I was fortunate enough to lead a group of 6 students through the world of Tropical Ecology. Apart from not being in the right ecosystem, Nebraska in the winter is definitely not the place to have field trips about Tropical Ecology. Consequently, one portion of the course involved a 10-day trip to Puerto Rico where we got to see for ourselves all the things we talked about in the classroom.

This is a travelogue of our adventures together, the sights we saw, the things we did, and the lessons we learned. (You can see all the previous posts in this thread here).


After visiting a dry forest on Day 4, we were given the opportunity to visit a wetland on Day 5. Located near the south-wastern tip of Puerto Rico, the exotically named Laguna Cartagena is located in BoquerĂ³n.

Nature's services

Wildlife photography at its best. Worth thousands of words right here.


Stepping back to move forward

I am not the only person who has noticed the shortcomings of LeBron James when the spotlight gets intense. I was fortunate that my time in Chicago coincided with MJ's golden finish after his basketball "sabbatical". I even got to watch him play at the United Center (January 26th, 1997, against the Miami Heat). The Bulls won by 22 points, and went on to win an unparalleled 72 games (out of 82) in the regular season.

For the rest of his career LeBron will be compared to the man I firmly believe is the greatest sportsman in the clutch I have ever seen. Unless LeBron discovers some inner toughness he will lose out on the GOAT stakes.

If LeBron is the reading type, I'd ask him to read this tribute that describes Jordan's last run for the Bulls. Taking command of the tight moments is what defines a leader. Until he does that, Lebron will just be another talented fellow who faded away from the basket during crunch-time.

By the way, late in his career, Jordan taught himself to fadeaway from the basket, too. Except he did it as a scoring option that was virtually unstoppable. Watch and learn, LeBron.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yesterday, once more

A few months back I realized that very few sporting events held my fancy any longer. Since then I have stopped watching TV just for the sake of watching it. To me, whether I watch TV or not has become a litmus test for sporting events. If I care enough about a sporting event I shall turn it on. If I don't then I don't care.

Simple. Right?