Just saw the news on Drudge. Former President Gerald Ford, the “Accidental President,” has died at age 93.
It's the day after Christmas, and the mall is a little bit crazy. In other news, I'm about to get an iPod. Woohoo!
Just got back from golfing on the Prospector Course here at Superstition Mountain. I teamed up with Ginny in a friendly scramble against Ted and Casey, and we won by four strokes, thanks mostly to my amazing golf skills. :) Okay, okay, the vast majority of the shots we used were Ginny’s (that would be the same Ginny who competed in the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur earlier this year), but I did make a few putts — and gave Ginny a good “read” on several other putts that I almost hit — and I even got in a couple of decent drives, despite being generally pretty awful (and, perhaps more to the point, inexperienced; I’ve only golfed a few times in my life, and not at all in the last couple of years).
For some reason, I was much better with the pitching wedge today than with any other club; it got to the point where I was using it to tee off on par-3s and short part-4s. (The preceding sentence is gibberish to non-golf types, but I think it will be hilarious to avid golfers.) With the driver and other long clubs, I was more liable to either whiff or seriously mis-hit the ball, or else make solid contact but hit it waaaay off to the right. (Apropos of which, I hit a house off the right fairway of one hole, and almost hit another. Hehe. Luckily, no damage was done.)
Anyway, it was fun. Here’s a photo of Casey teeing off, with Ginny watching in the foreground, and the Superstition Mountains in the background:
A brief update on the possibility of a Pacific tsunami …
From the NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center:
AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS
ORIGIN TIME - 1226Z 26 DEC 2006
COORDINATES - 21.8 NORTH 120.6 EAST
LOCATION - TAIWAN REGION
MAGNITUDE - 7.2
NO DESTRUCTIVE PACIFIC-WIDE TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS BASED ON HISTORICAL EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI DATA.
HOWEVER - EARTHQUAKES OF THIS SIZE SOMETIMES GENERATE LOCAL TSUNAMIS THAT CAN BE DESTRUCTIVE ALONG COASTS LOCATED WITHIN A HUNDRED KILOMETERS OF THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. AUTHORITIES IN THE REGION OF THE EPICENTER SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS POSSIBILITY AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION.
THIS WILL BE THE ONLY BULLETIN ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.
THE JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY MAY ALSO ISSUE TSUNAMI MESSAGES FOR THIS EVENT TO COUNTRIES IN THE NORTHWEST PACIFIC AND SOUTH CHINA SEA REGION. IN CASE OF CONFLICTING INFORMATION… THE MORE CONSERVATIVE INFORMATION SHOULD BE USED FOR SAFETY.
The media may be overplaying this, especially because it’s the second anniversary of the great Indian Ocean tsunami. Today’s earthquake was magnitude 7.2, versus 9.1 two years ago, and that’s a big difference. But I’m not familiar with the seafloor in this region, and in any case caution is always a good idea when dealing with tsunami risk. The main areas that should be paying close attention are the Philippines and Taiwan.
UPDATE: CNN says that “An official with the Japanese Meteorological Agency says the danger of a destructive tsunami from today’s earthquake off Taiwan ‘has passed,’ The Associated Press reports.”
Japan's Meteorogical Agency says an earthquake off Taiwan had a prelimary magnitude of 7.2 and that a 3-foot high tsunami is headed for the east coast of Philippines, The Associated Press reports. Visit CNN for the latest.
Thieves trying to steal fuel from a pipeline outside Lagos, Nigeria, triggered an explosion and fire that killed at least 200 people, a Nigerian Red Cross spokesman told CNN. Visit CNN for the latest.
We went hiking again today, this time with the parental units coming along as well, and this time on a much longer and more challenging trail than the previous day’s trek. As opposed to our 50-minute stroll on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day we did the Bluff Spring Loop, which is a 9.1-mile trail with several relatively steep uphill sections. (Here’s a map.)
It took us just over five hours, which is exactly what the book says it should — not bad! (We usually take a good 125% or more of the recommended time.) And we saw a tarantula!
He was pretty small. Here’s a video:
Creepy crawly creatures aside, it’s a damn scenic hike. For example:
P.S. If you’re wondering why we were hiking at 9:00 AM instead of opening presents or going to church… it’s the Zak family tradition to open presents on Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas morning. It’s taken me a while to adjust to this, but I’ve finally gotten used to it. :) As for going to church, Ted and Ginny went to the Christmas Eve vigil mass Sunday night — and, well, Becky and I didn’t go at all, but personally, I think spending some quality time appreciating the awesomeness of nature is at least as good a way of giving glory to God as going to church.
Anyway, speaking of Christmas presents, I got a bunch of cool stuff, but of particular note (in addition to the NCAA Tournament tickets mentioned previously) is the Apple Store gift card from Ted and Ginny, which will allow me to buy an iPod with video — my first non-Shuffle iPod ever. So, stay tuned for some giddy posts about that in the coming days. :)
Becky got an iPod, too — a blue nano, from me (but also sort of partially from Dane, since his wedding gift card helped pay for it; thanks, Dane!) — so we’ll both doubtless have tons of fun buying cool iPod accessories and such. That’s an aspect of the Apple experience that I’ve been missing out on until now, but not anymore! Woohoo!
Oh, and I also got a copy of the Spike Lee movie that I was in. Hehe.
Here are the NFL playoff scenarios heading into the final week of the season.
Carson Palmer’s Bengals are still alive, despite losing Sunday on a botched extra point, but they need some help. They have to beat the Steelers and then hope for either a Jets loss to 2-13 Oakland or else wins by San Francisco over Denver and Kansas City over Jacksonville.
Vince Young’s (and Norm Chow’s) Titans — who have won six straight games after an 0-5 start — are also still alive after eliminating Buffalo on Sunday, but they need even more help, as they’re one spot behind Cincinnati in the pecking order. So, in addition to beating New England, they too must hope for wins by San Francisco and Kansas City, plus a loss by the Bengals.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Battle for Brady (or whoever the #1 pick is going to be) is headed down to the wire between Oakland (2-13) and Detroit (2-13). If both teams lose their final game (or if both teams win), it’ll come down to strength of schedule — whoever had the weaker schedule gets the #1 pick. Detroit currently has the edge in that department; its opponents are 127-113, four games worse than Oakland’s opponents’ 131-109. But if both the Lions and Raiders both lose on Sunday, Oakland actually narrows the strength-of-schedule gap from 4 games to 3 (because the Lions played Oakland’s final opponent, the Jets, earlier in the season, whereas the Raiders did not play Detroit’s final opponent, the Cowboys, so Detroit gets “credit” — which is bad — for a Jets win, whereas Oakland does not get “credit” for a Dallas win).
If both the Lions and Raiders win, rather than both losing, Detroit’s strength-of-schedule “lead” would remain at 4 games, pending the outcome of other games. (Of course, if one wins and the other loses, the loser gets the #1 pick, regardless of schedule strength.)
Detailed scenarios after the jump.