So what did you think of that Super Bowl? It was definitely one of the most eventful Super Bowl games we ever had. I know a lot of Pittsburgh fans were conflicted about the game since the Ravens are their bitter AFC North rivals and the Niners would have equaled their record of 6 Super Bowl titles. But from the Ray Lewis controversies to the HarBowl to the 34 minute power outage, this was a game that had it all! It looked like it would be a Ravens’ blowout before the Forty-Niners were able to rally after the power outage. San Francisco rookie Colin Kaepernick led a furious comeback, but his team fell just short in the last few minutes. The game also featured a halftime show by Beyonce. All of this led to the game being the most watched tv show in history!
Not only was the game eventful, but I thought the commercials were awesome this year. Of course, my favorite was the Oreo commercial with people fighting in a library and whispering the whole time.
But I also liked some of the other ones, including the Taco Bell one with the senior citizen party animals.
What was your favorite part of the game? Were you happy that the Ravens won? Did you have any favorite ads?
On this site you will find the rules for most board games, news about the board game industry, resources such as books about board games and links to the online versions of many games. Check out this new board game:
IPL2 For Teens is an awesome resource for home work help and research papers, but today we are looking for fun things. IPL2 for teens has fun stuff too. Learn more about the history of graphic novels. Find links to thousands of webcomics.
The Olympics are FINALLY over (thank God) and it is almost time for the NFL to start playing real games! The season kicks off on Wednesday, Spetember 5th with a matchup between the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys. Of course the big game locally is the Steelers against the Denver Broncos. That might be the most watched game of the first week since many people will be tuning in to watch Peyton Manning play his first regular season game for the Broncos.
If you live in Western Pennsylvania, chances are you know a fair amount about football. This region is often referred to as the “Cradle of Football” because of all the great players who grew up around here. (And, of course, Pittsburgh is home to the six-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.)
In Pittsburgh, football is everywhere. Even if you aren’t a die-hard Steelers fan, you can probably still recognize Troy Polamalu’s flowing mane, Hines Ward’s smile, and Brett Keisel’s beard. In Western PA, Mondays after a Steelers’ loss are unbearable (everyone is in a bad mood!), and the excitement in the air before a playoff game is palpable. Why? I could speculate, but what it ultimately boils down to is this — football just matters here.
We love the Steelers because they represent something tough and enduring and, despite some necessary strife and struggle, successful (attributes modest Pittsburghers may secretly identify with).
While the 2011 Steelers love to pass the ball (utilizing their impressive corps of talented young receivers) the franchise is traditionally associated with a tough up-the-gut running game and crushing defense. The hard-hitting defense has been a mainstay since the vaunted “Steel Curtain” defense of the 70s, but recent rule changes have begun to shift the way the game is being played and, therefore, the way the Steelers are allowed to play. Hits and tackles once considered textbook are now drawing penalty flags, while the players responsible are fined and sometimes even suspended.
Just today, Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebacker and “repeat offender” James Harrison (the man responsible for THIS PLAY) was suspended for one game without pay after a helmet-to-helmet hit left scrambling Cleveland QB Colt McCoy with a concussion. (See the play at NFL.com HERE.) This is Harrison’s fifth illegal hit on a quarterback in the last three seasons.
To better understand this ruling we have to look at the 2010 NFL season when the league decided to crack down on tackles they considered to be dangerous. Take a look at an excerpt from this Associated Press story from last season:
Not only is the league worried about defenders turning themselves into human missiles, but also with them aiming for the head with the forearm, shoulder or any other body part.
”We’re certainly concerned,” said Anderson, a member of the league’s competition committee and one of its loudest voices on the need for enhanced player safety. ”The fundamentally old way of wrapping up and tackling seems to have faded away. A lot of the increase is from hits to blow guys up. That has become a more popular way of doing it.
”Yes, we are concerned they are getting away from the fundamentals of tackling, and maybe it has been coached that way. We’re going to have to look into talking to our coaches.” (AP, 2010)
The league not only talked to coaches, but also modified its rules (read the NFL – Rulebook here) in an attempt to cut down on these dangerous hits. The NFL Rulebook reads more like a phone book, but here’s the specifics of the roughing the passer penalty that James Harrison was flagged for last Thursday (and a bunch of other Sundays in recent memory):
A.R. 12.47 ROUGHING THE PASSER
Second-and-3 on A35. Quarterback A1 rolls out of the pocket, and while moving, throws a pass to A2
who is downed at the A40. Just after A1 released the ball, B1 tackles the quarterback making helmet-to-helmet
contact in the process.
Ruling: A’s ball, first-and 10 on B45. Roughing the passer because of the helmet-to-helmet hit. (12-2-12-3)
We can probably all agree that helmet-to-helmet hits are dangerous, but what if they’re unintentional? In that case, who’s to say whether a helmet-to-helmet hit was intentional or not? It’s a slippery slope, which is probably why the league has begun to penalize all helmet-to-helmet hits regardless of intention.
It’s confusing and frustrating, but you could make a strong argument that these rule changes are a step in the right direction. Believe me, I know it’s frustrating that the Steelers won’t be dressing #92 against the Forty-Niners on Monday Night Football next week, but at least they’re being proactive about preventing injuries (even if they’re spouting off mixed messages to their fan base about big hits).
For years the NFL turned a blind eye to player injuries resulting from repeated head trauma. That is until 2002 when Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist here in Pittsburgh, discovered a new disease — Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). That year, Dr. Omalu found CTE in the brains of Mike Webster, Terry Long, Andre Waters, Justin Strzelczyk and Tom McHale.
What is CTE? It’s a degenerative brain disease found in those who have suffered repeated head trauma. People with CTE may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression. What’s worse is that these symptoms may appear within months of the trauma or not until many years later. (Read more about CTE HERE.)
The first deceased athlete examined by the CSTE researchers was John Grimsley, former Linebacker for the Houston Oilers and Miami Dolphins, who died in February 2008 at the age of 43 from an accidental gun shot wound. Examination of Mr. Grimsley’s brain confirmed extensive CTE. In both sets of photographs, below, the brain tissue has been immunostained for tau protein, which appears as a dark brown color. (2011, CSTE)
And CTE doesn’t just affect football players–the disease is prevalent in hockey and professional wrestling, too. In May of this year, New York Rangers brawler Derek Boogaard died of an accidental overdose. When doctors performed the autopsy they found his brain was riddled with the disease.
How do you solve this problem? In football, some have suggested removing face masks, having lineman begin each play standing (rather than in the 3-point stance that results in repeated blows to the head), or even getting rid of helmets all-together (so players theoretically hold back on the big hits). So far, other than the new rules, nothing has changed.
So, yes, I’m upset that James Harrison won’t dress next week, but knowing what we know about CTE, maybe these rule changes are for the best.
On August 30th, like a lot of people, I walked down to my local video game store over my lunch break and forked over some change for the next iteration of EA Sport’s Madden NFL, which we now have available at the Main library for any of our gaming programs!
I turned it on, ready to whoop some serious Raven tailfeathers, when I was greeted with a very interesting musical collaboration: Korn and Skrillex.
This girl on youtube who does this cup stacking thing. She filmed herself breaking her record and freaking out saying “OMG OMG OMG” a thousand times. One of the best videos on youtube for sure! It was the perfect sample before the drop. Her voice really pumps you up! Here’s the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j54yGxuk0yo
So then I was left wondering what in the world she was doing, which led me to the world of sport stacking and the website http://www.speedstacks.com/. Speed stacking is the process of arranging a set of cups (with holes cut in the bottom to decrease air resistance) as fast as possible; according to Speed Stacks:
Sport stacking originated in the early 1980′s in southern California and received national attention in 1990 on a segment of the “Tonight Show”, with Johnny Carson. That was where it first captured the imagination of Bob Fox, who was then an elementary classroom teacher in Colorado.
When I searched for and tried to download the song, I was greeted with an image that should be familiar to you all:
This gateway to Internet fun is, as you probably know, called reCAPTCHA. But did you know that by filling these out, you’re actually helping in a massive book digitization project? Thousands of books written before the internet are now in the public domain and being digitized by Google through a process called “optical character recognition” (OCR for short) in which after books are scanned, they are analyzed and automatically converted into a word processing document.
However, there are cases in which the machine can’t analyze a word properly. And that’s where you come in:
reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.
But if a computer can’t read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here’s how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.
Little did you know that just by surfing the web and signing onto websites, you are helping to make information more accessible to the world! Little did I know that by firing up Madden to throw TD passes to Mike Wallace I would end up learning all this stuff!
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Main – Teen
Manwhile, the playlist for the Steelers’ road to the Super Bowl has undoubtedly been the banging Wiz Khalifa anthem “Black & Yellow.”
Now, what you might not be aware is that the part at which they’re all waving terrible towels on the roof of the Dairy Mart is ACTUALLY RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO THE CARNEGIE LIBRARY OF PITTSBURGH – HAZELWOOD! Don’t believe me? Check it out.
Ty Johnson has an amazing business acumen for a 17 year-old. Unfortunately, his business is dealing drugs. But it isn’t long after picking up where his now-incarcerated dad left off that he meets a girl who might just have what it takes to set him straight.
Lakshmi is a 13 year-old who leaves her poor mountain home in Nepal thinking that she was going to get work in the city as a maid. It isn’t long before she learns she has been sold to work the sex trade in India, with no hope for escape.
We also have books in case any of your younger siblings are Jets fans, as suggested by our Children’s Department:
Jennifer Ecch is so tough… She’s at Rotten School on an Arm Wrestling scholarship! Bernie Bridges calls her Nightmare Girl. But she’ll do anything to get him to be her boyfriend. That’s why she joined the all-boys football team. With Jennifer playing, they can’t lose. But wait. If they win, they have to play the National Champion team: the Bone Breakers! Someone’s got to stop the attack of the Ecch–or else Bernie and his teammates will be in the hospital by halftime!
Ethan Winfield and his best friend, Julius Zimmerman, are losers … and proud of it! They read only the shortest books for book reports and always have the worst project for the annual science fair, not to mention that they are pretty hopeless at sports. So Ethan and Julius form Losers, Inc., an exclusive club of two. But when a new student teacher shows up at school, Ethan tries to impress her and suddenly finds himself trying not to be a loser. Will Ethan have to resign as vice president of Losers, Inc.?
I will accept no commission that would tend to create a rivalry with Grant. I want him to hold what he has earned and got. I have all the rank I want. – William Tecumseh Sherman
Wow, that’s a pretty nice quote from Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, eh? He and General (and 18th President of the United States) U.S. Grant were pretty good chums, but, in this blog post, I’m not concerned with well-adjusted friendships – I’m thinking about rivals!
Rivalry is a big topic in Pittsburgh this week, because the Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens. Each and every season the Steelers play the Ravens twice and we’re faced with tons of articles about how much the two teams love to play each other because they hate the other team so much. Let’s face it, they’re onto something – rivalries in sports can be fun! So cheer on your favorite team and boo the bad guys as much as you like, but try to keep it good-natured, alright?
Though sports immediately springs to mind when you’re thinking of famous rivals (Yankees vs. Red Sox, Harvard vs. Yale, Chelsea vs. Manchester United) there are many other famous (and not so famous) rivalries throughout history and the history of fiction. Rivalries are compelling, so we’ve got tons of books about the topic. As semesters wind down and the Holidays invade, hopefully you’ll have some time to check out these books about rivalry:
The Rivalry: mystery at the Army Navy game by John Feinstein – The Black Knights of Army and the Midshipmen of Navy have met on the football field since 1890, and it’s a rivalry like no other, filled with tradition. But this year, the match-up is also filled with intrigue. For weeks, Stevie and Susan Carol have been spending time at Annapolis and West Point, getting to know the players, and coaches. And the secret service agents. Since the president will be attending the game, security will, of course, be tighter than tight. As the game draws nearer Stevie and Susan Carol can tell that the agents are getting tenser. But as usual when Stevie and Susan Carol cover a big event–nothing is quite as it seems, and the coaches aren’t the only ones calling plays…
Bro-jitsu: the martial art of sibling smackdown by Daniel H. Wilson – Practiced by countless siblings, mastered by few: here is the definitive guide to tormenting one’s brother or sister. From the author of “How to Survive a Robot Uprising” comes this hilarious yet highly informative manual featuring “126 techniques to atain total domination!”
East of Eden by John Steinbeck - Looking to take on an amazing classic during the holidays? Then why not read Steinbeck’s masterpiece about two rival families in California’s Salinas Valley who clash over the course of generations (and the twin brothers Cal and Aron, themselves twins and rivals)? You’ll be glad that you did.
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Scott Pilgrim (slacker, hero, wannabe, bass player for the band “Sex Bob-Omb”, and heartbreaker) has fallen in love, but to win the heart of Ramona Flowers Scott has to first defeat her “seven evil ex-boyfriends.” Follow Scott through six digest-sized graphic novels and see if he can save his “precious little life.”
S.A. Special A by Maki Minami – Her whole life, Hikari Hanazono has been consumed with the desire to win against her school rival, Kei Takishima–at anything. He always comes out on top no matter what he does, and Hikari is determined to do whatever it takes to beat this guy…somehow!At age 6 Hikari lost to Kei in an impromptu wrestling match. Now, at 15, Hikari joins “Special A,” a group of the top seven students at a private academy, for the opportunity to trounce the guy who made her suffer her first defeat.
Bluford High: A Matter of Trust by Anne Schraff – In grade school, Darcy Wills and Brisana Meeks were friends. But all that changed at Bluford High when Darcy started hanging with “the zeros”–a group of students Brisana despises. Now the former friends are bitter rivals, and the tension between them is getting worse. For a while, Darcy tries to stay calm, ignoring her old friend’s daily taunts. But when she learns that Brisana is after her boyfriend, Hakeem Randall, Darcy knows she must do something. But what?
There are so many choices this month; high school games, college games and Pro football games. The high school playoffs began this weekend. For more information, see the WPIAL football backets or check WPXI’s Skylights coverage.
The Pittsburgh Panthers have 3 games in November, including the backyard brawl, their annual game against the West Virginia University Mountaineers. The big game is on Friday November 26, 2010 at Heinz Field.
Pitt Quarterback Tino Sunseri Photo by Matt Freed Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In November, the Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots, the Oakland Raiders, and the Buffalo Bills.
Rashard Mendenhall Photo by Peter Diana Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Watch a movie
The 29th Annual Three Rivers Film Festival opens on November 5th and runs through November 20th. Enjoy films, documentaries and shorts from all over the world. Check out the web site for a whole list of movies and events: 3RFF.com.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Main–Film and Audio department hosts 3 Free Film programs: International Cinema Sunday, Saturday Matinee, and Real to Reel Documentary Film Series.
Borrow a movie from the library. Search the catalog for movies by the title or search for your favorite actor or director. Search for the name of an actor or director as an author. Searching for Daniel Radcliffe as an author brings up all the movies that he has starred in, including all of the Harry Potter films available at the library on DVD. The new film, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows~Part 1opens on November 19, 2010.
Play a board game
National Gaming Day is sponsored by the American Library Association. Libraries all across the country will be inviting kids and teens to spend some time at the library playing all kinds of games.
The most talked about sports topic this week revolved around the amount and the severity of violent head-to-head hits that occurred during last Sunday’s NFL games. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ own James Harrison was fined $75,000 for his hit on wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi.
The NFL sent out a video to all of the teams about the rules regarding the controversal and maybe illegal hits this past week. The Steelers and most of the Steeler Fans are all backing James Harrison regarding his style of play. Some critics name him as a “dirty player”. What do you think?
1. When Santonio Holmes was traded to the New Yorks Jets, that left the #10 available for Dennis Dixon, which he wore in college. What number did Dennis wear last year?
The number 2.
2. Which Super Bowl did the Steelers not win and who was their opponent?
Super Bowl XXX was the only loss. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-17.
3. What’s the highest number of Steelers who have received Pro Bowl honors in the same year? What’s the lowest number? This question comes from Matt Fulks’ book The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
In 1976, 11 Steelers went to the Pro Bowl. 1979 and 1980 each had 10 players named. In 2000, no Steeler players were selected to the Pro Bowl.
4. The AFC has four divisions and the Steelers are in the AFC North. Prior to 2002, there were only 3 divisions–East–West and Central. What teams were in the Central Division in 2001? Bonus question: Which four teams were the original members of the Central Division?
Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Jaguars, Steelers and Titans were all in the Central Division. The original members were the Oilers, Bengals, Browns and Steelers.
5. In what year did the hated by all Pittsburghers Baltimore Ravens play their first season?
The Browns became the Baltimore Ravens in 1996.
6. Few rivalries are as fierce as the one the Steelers had with the Houston Oilers during the 1970′s. What AFC team used to be the Houston Oilers?
The Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Titans. They still wear the “baby” blue uniforms which they call “Titans” blue.
7. In 1992, what team did the Steelers beat in Bill Cowher’s first game as the head coach?
On September 6, 1992, the Steelers beat the Oilers 29-24 in Houston.
8. In 2007, what team did the Steelers beat in Mike Tomlin’s first game as the head coach?
On September 9, 2007, the Steelers beat the Browns 34-7 in Cleveland.
9. What year did Heinz Field become the Steelers home stadium? What team did the Steelers beat in the home opener?
Heinz Field opened in 2001. The home opener was on October 7, 2001 and the Steelers beat the Bengals 16-7. The opener was so late that year because the second week’s game was cancelled due to the September 11th Attacks, and the 3rd week was a bye week.
10. In what year was the Steeler mascot Steely McBeam introduced?
Steely McBeam was introduced in 2007 as part of the team’s 75th Anniversary celebration.