An Olio
a miscellany of thoughts

April 08, 2007


Hole in One

Associated Press 4/8/2007

Elsie McLean, 102, Oldest Golfer to Ace Hole

Chico, CA — Elsie McLean thought she might have lost her ball on the par-3, 100-yard fourth hole at Bidwell Park. Instead, the 102-year-old Chico woman became the oldest golfer ever to make a hole-in-one on a regulation course.

Because of the slope of the green, McLean and her partners couldn't see where her ball landed after she teed off.

"Where's my ball?" McLean asked.

Her friends, Elizabeth Rake and Kathy Crowder, found it in the cup.

"I said, 'Oh, my Lord. It can't be true. It can't be true.' I was so excited. And the girls were absolutely overcome," McLean said.

It was McLean's first ace.

"Well everybody wants a hole-in-one, and I said, 'Why can't I have a hole-in-one?' I came within inches once," McLean told television station KNVN.

McLean, who used a driver, broke the age record of 101 set by Harold Stilson in 2001 at Deerfield Country Club in Florida.

McLean, who has been featured in golf magazines before, will appear on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on April 24 to celebrate her accomplishment.

"For an old lady," she said, "I still hit the ball pretty good."

April 01, 2007


Twins Voice Silenced

RIP, Herb Carneal

Herb Carneal dies at 83

By Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune 4/1/2007

Longtime Twins radio broadcaster Herb Carneal died this morning of congestive heart failure at his home in Minnetonka, the team announced.

Carneal, 83, who received the highest honor in baseball broadcasting in 1996 when he was named the recipient of the Ford C. Frick award, had spent six weeks in the hospital this winter battling a variety of ailments.

He had been scheduled to work 36 homes games this season, including the Twins opener on Monday night against Baltimore.

Carneal, though, said late last week he had decided against working that game because of his health but was hopeful of returning to the booth at some point this season.

"This is a sad day for the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of baseball fans across the Upper Midwest," Twins President Dave St. Peter said in a statement. "Herb Carneal's voice was the signature element of Twins baseball for multiple generations of fans. Clearly he was one of the most beloved figures in Minnesota sports history. The Minnesota Twins will proudly dedicate the 2007 season to the memory of Herb Carneal."

Carneal joined the Twins broadcast team in 1962, the team's second season in Minnesota. He had spent the previous five seasons doing play-by-play for the Baltimore Orioles and before that had worked Philadelphia Phillies and A's games.

This would have been his 52nd season of describing major league games. Tired of the travel schedule, Carneal had cut back to just doing home games in 1998.

In addition to the honor he received from the Baseball Hall of Fame, Carneal was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Metrodome's baseball press box was renamed in his honor in 2005.

Carneal's death marks the third year in a row the Twins have lost a beloved personality just before the season. Longtime public address announcer Bob Casey died at the age of 79 in 2005, Hall of Fame center fielder Kirby Puckett passed away last March at the age of 45.

Carneal is survived by his daughter, Terri, and grandson, Matthew.

February 26, 2007


Oscar Thoughts

Yes, it was too long. It's always too long. I loved it anyway and was smiling a lot during the telecast.

I thought Ellen did a great hosting job, funny and classy. I hope she does it again.

Favorite winner: Alan Arkin, 38 years after his first nomination.

Favorite winner: Helen Mirren, classy and elegant in her glorious dress.

Favorite winner: Martin Scorsese — finally! "Could you double check the envelope?" he asked. The idea to have as the Best Director presenters Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola was inspired.

As were the production numbers: the cool Hollywood Film Chorale Sound Effects Choir; the cooler than cool Pilobus modern dance troupe from Connecticut with their shadow show; the gospel choir in the aisles at the beginning of the telecast; and the writers' and classic foreign language films montages.

Good moments: the Al and Leo show, Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio talking about global warming and Gore's fake almost presidential announcement; Abilgail Breslin and Jaden Smith presenting the "shorts" awards; the directors three presenting the award to Scorsese; and Ellen having Spielberg take a photo of her and Clint Eastwood.

Best Dressed: Helen Mirren, Queen Latifah, Abilgail Breslin, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Hudson (without the bolero), Penelope Cruz, J Lo, Cate Blanchett.

Worst dressed: I agree with Cojo: a rare miss for Nicole Kidman in way too much red.

Nominess for worst everything:

→ Jerry Seinfeld
→ too long speeches/too little correctly timed orchestra playoff
→ too long nominated songs
→ too long telecast
→ inane/ignorant red carpet interviewers and

→ the winner, by a landslde, Jack Nicolson. Year after year, tedious, tiresome, an OGNA (oh, god, not again).

I understand why hosts and the cameras like to go to him — he makes good faces. But enough already. Somebody please pay him to sit somewhere where he can't be found. At the Lakers games too.

February 05, 2007


Dungy Triumphs

"It couldn't happen to a nicer guy" is a cliche, but in the case of Tony Dungy, it really is true. The Colts coach overcame personal tragedy and professional stumbles by his team this season to win the Super Bowl.

How great it was to see him hoisting the Lombardi trophy after the game yesterday, one of those sports moments you'll always remember. He epitomizes in his conduct on and off the field the values and class we wish all coaches had, as does the Bears' Lovie Smith, a protege of Dungy's.

Dungy and Smith made history yesterday, not only as the first African-American coaches to lead teams to the Super Bowl, but also in showing that sometimes nice guys do finish first.


Minnesota Nice

I was waiting for the bus home today in our Artic air and a woman in a car stopped and asked if she could give me a ride home. I didn't know her, but I got in. She said she was worried about me standing there in the cold. We chatted pleasantly on the way home. When we got to my building she wanted to be sure she got me as close to the door as possible so I wouldn't get cold. She said, "thank you for trusting me." Thank you, Tookie, for demonstrating again that Minnesota Nice is real.


Prince Rules!

" of the best Super Bowl halftime shows — ever."

I couldn't agree more; it was the best show I've seen in many years.

0 Malfunction as Prince Rocks Halftime

By Douglas J. Rowe, AP Entertainment Writer 2/4/2007

Phew! CBS got through the halftime show without a "wardrobe malfunction." The Artist Formerly Known as a Munchkin of Wardrobe Dysfunction began by singing Let's Go Crazy, but he didn't.

Prince, who became a Jehovah's Witness in the mid-1990s, no longer wears yellow, butt-baring pants as he did at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards (prompting Howard Stern's send-up at the '92 VMAs). The closest thing to a fashion statement Sunday night was an odd kerchief on his head. So the NFL had no repeat of the 2004 Janet Jackson/ Justin Timberlake show, which happened the last time CBS broadcast the game.

The 48-year-old Prince, who rose to stardom in the '80s with his distinctive fusion of R&B, funk, soul and rock, once looked androgynous and produced songs that (lest we forget) drove Tipper Gore nuts (and made her a fat target for anti-censorship types like Frank Zappa).

Musically, the diminutive, erstwhile prodigy from Minneapolis kept it old-school, rockin' the house with Purple Rain and other golden hits.

He delivered one of the best Super Bowl halftime shows — ever. Consequently, he didn't come across as a painfully safe choice — or a has-been, the rap against the previous couple of Super Bowl halftime acts, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones.

Press reviews of Prince's Super Bowl performance

"I once asked Carlos Santana who he thought was the most underestimated guitarist he'd ever played with, and was surprised when he said it was Prince."

"But the Purple One's halftime show was one of the best I've seen in the history of the game. It didn't pander; it wasn't pretentious; it was solid rock, played exquisitely. You could even hear it well, which is unusual for TV, although, for all the money they spent covering it, it was surprising to see the cameras blurred by raindrops."

"Prince really showed how he is much different from the likes of Michael and Janet Jackson, Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler, let alone lesser lights such as Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake."

"Prince showed himself to be a great rock guitarist on a set with two mid-tempo ballads, including the appropriate Purple Rain."

"This wasn't a dancing extravaganza. It was the most musical halftime since U2, and without their sentimental message about 9-11, it was just pure joyful rock and fireworks."

February 02, 2007


Favre Returning

Packers QB Favre Returning for 17th Season

By Morry Gash, AP 2/2/2007

Green Bay, WI — Brett Favre will return for his 17th NFL season, undeterred by his injuries and hoping to lead the Green Bay Packers back to the playoffs.

"I am so excited about coming back," the 37-year-old quarterback said Friday on the Web site of the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. "We have a good nucleus of young players. We were 8-8 last year, and that's encouraging."

Packers general manager Ted Thompson confirmed Favre had told the team he plans to return.

"The Packers are excited by his decision and look forward to a successful 2007 campaign," Thompson said in a statement.

"My offensive line looks good, the defense played good down the stretch," Favre told the Biloxi newspaper. "I'm excited about playing for a talented young football team."

The news came as a surprise to Packers CEO Bob Harlan.

"I hadn't heard it, and I hadn't seen the Biloxi paper — not that I read the Biloxi paper every day," Harlan told The Associated Press on Friday.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the news was great for the league.

"He's obviously been an incredible performer for the NFL," said Goodell, in Miami for Sunday's Super Bowl.

Favre last left the field in an emotional scene in Chicago after leading the Packers to a victory to finish the season 8-8.

He has started 257 consecutive games including the playoffs, an NFL record for quarterbacks. Favre broke Dan Marino's record for career completions (4,967) in 2006 and is closing in on Marino's marks for career touchdown passes (420) and yards passing (61,361).

As he has done in the past several offseasons, Favre returned to his home in Mississippi after the season to deliberate about his future. Last year, Favre waited until late April to tell the team he was returning.

Favre complained about nagging injuries and the drudgery of practice toward the end of last season, then choked back tears as he talked about missing the game and missing his teammates in a television interview immediately after the regular-season finale in Chicago — leading many to believe he intended to retire.

Apparently, he couldn't resist one more chance to try to lead the Packers back to the playoffs after the Packers won their final four games and were in playoff contention until the final weekend of the regular season.

Favre has led the Packers to 10 postseason appearances, six division titles, three NFC Championship games, two Super Bowls and one championship following the 1996 season.

Favre was acquired in a trade by former Packers general manager Ron Wolf after one season as a backup in Atlanta in 1991. He completed his first NFL pass — to himself — on Sept. 13, 1992, catching a deflection and losing seven yards.

The following week, he replaced injured starter Don Majkowski in the third quarter and led the Packers to a come-from-behind 24-23 victory over Cincinnati.

Favre started in place of Majkowski on Sept. 27, 1992, beginning the streak he often has called his biggest personal accomplishment. The 237-game regular-season streak is nearly six seasons ahead of the Colts' Peyton Manning at 144.

Favre's accomplishments include winning three league MVP awards — he shared 1997 honors with Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders — and throwing two touchdown passes in a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in the 1997 Super Bowl to give the Packers their first championship in 29 years. Earlier in that championship season, Favre spent time in the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kan., battling an addiction to painkillers.

Favre led the Packers back to the Super Bowl the following season, but they lost to John Elway's Denver Broncos 31-24.

January 21, 2007


Tomlin To Steelers

Mike Tomlin Accepts Offer From Steelers

Pittsburgh — Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin accepted the Pittsburgh Steelers' coaching job Sunday night and was working out a four-year contract he hoped to complete Monday, people close to the search told The Associated Press.


Bears vs. Colts

These are the two teams I hoped would make it to the Super Bowl, so I'll really enjoy watching this year. It's historic, too — the first time that black coaches have taken their teams to the big game. Quite a milestone for Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy.

The Bears won the NFC champinship handily, 39-14 over the Saints. It's their first SB appearance in 21 years, in the glory years of Mike Ditka. The Colts - Pats game was a thriller all the way. The Colts made a record too in winning the AFC championship — the largest comeback in playoff history, winning from 18 down 38-34.

On to Miami!

December 12, 2006


Packers 5 - 8

Once again Brett Favre came through to bring the struggling Packers another win.

Game Review: A Much-Needed Win In San Francisco

By Mike Spofford, Packers 12/10/2006

San Francisco — When you've struggled all year to stay within striking distance of .500, the need for a victory never diminishes.

But the Packers may have needed this win more than they've needed one all season.

Coming off three straight losses, including two humbling blowouts at home, the Packers stopped the bleeding and got first-year Head Coach Mike McCarthy's program back on track with a convincing 30-19 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Monster Park Sunday.

"It's been a long month for us as far as the way Sundays have gone," said McCarthy, whose team improved to 5-8 overall and 4-3 on the road. "But they prepare, they work, they stick together, and that exemplifies the character we have on the football team. I'm just really proud of the way they've stayed the course."

That the performance came against McCarthy's former team was perhaps not just a coincidence. McCarthy, San Francisco's offensive coordinator in 2005, understatedly admitted afterwards the game had special meaning to him. But perhaps he also felt some vindication in ending the losing streak and proving to his former bosses what his new team is capable of.

"Nobody talked about it, but everybody felt it," defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins said. "It was something we didn't have to say.

"You could hear Coach in his speech (Saturday) night. That's probably the most fired up I've ever seen him at a speech the night before a game. You could tell that this was just one that would mean a lot to him."

It also meant everything to the Packer offense to free up receiver Donald Driver to be a playmaker for quarterback Brett Favre, who used his go-to guy to post a 111.5 passer rating (22 of 34, 293 yards, 2 TD, no INT). Having faced bracket coverages and double teams that limited him to just eight catches over the past three weeks, Driver made the 49ers pay for trying more single coverage than most teams dared.

He caught nine passes for 160 yards, including a 68-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that put the Packers ahead 24-13 late in the third quarter. The TD was the Favre-Driver duo at its best, as Driver improvised from a slant to a corner route while Favre bought time in the pocket and then led his receiver into a vacated area. Driver turned to catch the high lofting pass over his outside shoulder, shook a shoestring tackle attempt by Mark Roman and outran three other 49er defenders to the end zone.

"They went man to man. I was happy about that," Driver said with a smile. "Coming into this game, I was really expecting them to double me and kind of try to take me out of the game.

"But they played the game the way they wanted to play it. They trust their corners that they could stop us, and our coaches trust out receives to go out and make plays, and we did."