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Monday, July 19, 2010

James Gammon, played Lou Brown in 'Major League,' dies at 70


The funniest, crankiest and perhaps most-beloved manager in the history of the Cleveland Indians has died.

James Gammon, who played skipper Lou Brown in the film "Major League" and its first sequel, died in Costa Mesa, Calif., on Friday, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Also a resident of Ocala, Fla., Gammon was 70.

Via the Sentinel:

"He had cancer two and a half years ago," his wife, Nancy, said Saturday. "It came back aggressively about a month ago in his adrenal glands and liver, and he was very weak. They couldn't do surgery or chemotherapy. He decided he wanted to come home, and we did hospice."

So sad. Hopefully, with Gammon's suffering over, his spirit is in a better place.

The Sentinel hits the nail on the head by describing Gammon as a "superb character actor." He had a face and a voice that were perfect for westerns, cranky grandfather types and, of course, as manager of the most hopeless team in baseball.

Amid considerable hijinks, those fictional Indians (in case you missed it) won the old AL East despite their owner attempting to tank on purpose so she could move the team to Miami. (The movie, which premiered in 1989, predates the real Marlins.)

For fans, the movie's characters have stayed with us ever since. If you're like me, scenes pop into your head and quotes come out of your mouth. It's long become part of baseball's popular culture.

And we don't reference only Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn or Pedro Cerrano's voodoo god, Jo-Buu. Lou Brown was just as quotable:

"I think you can go get him now."

"Give 'em the heater, Ricky."

"You may run like Mays, but you hit like [bleep]."

"Don't give me this ole' bull[oney]."

"Lemme think it over, will ya, Charlie? I got a guy on the other line about some whitewalls. I'll talk to ya' later."

Even some of his other lines — such as "Tire World" and "Oh, I dunno" — still crack me up. It's a wonderfully nuanced performance. It wouldn't be the same movie without him.

The same goes for real life, too.

* * *

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Why 'Back to the Future' Is Secretly Horrifying

First Baby Sea Turtles Rescued From Gulf Are Released

First Baby Sea Turtles Rescued From Gulf Are Released

After 88 stressful days, the Gulf oil spill seems to be contained and there is good news to report about one group of animals that was threatened. With help from NASA, the first group of baby sea turtles that were part of the massive effort to save endangered wildlife from the dangerous oil-filled water was released into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Associated Press revealed that fifty-six young sea turtles were released on a beach at Canaveral National Seashore in Florida, on July 11. They were part of a group of sixty-seven eggs that were collected June 26 from a nest along the Florida Panhandle and delivered to a temperature-controlled warehouse at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for incubation.

NASA reported that twenty-two of the hatchlings were endangered Kemp’s ridley turtles while the others were loggerheads. The remaining eleven eggs from the group did not hatch.

NASA is currently caring for 1,100 eggs at the space center incubation site. This is part of an overall plan to rescue 70,000 eggs from sea turtle nests buried in the sand on beaches along Alabama and Florida before they can hatch and swim into the hazardous water.

Scientists were torn between the consequences of intervening to save the eggs or to leave them alone. They knew the stress of moving the eggs could kill some of the turtles, but if they didn’t help they realized many of hatchlings would die from the oil.

They chose to remove the eggs or run the risk of - “killing off an entire generation of an already imperiled species.”

A rescue mission of this size has never been done before so NASA scientists and the rescue teams of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA were very happy to see the first group of hatchlings doing so well.

David Godfrey, executive director of the Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy told the AP, “The first successful release of hatchlings brings hope that more will survive. It definitely shows that we’re on the right track.”

The turtle eggs were originally sent to NASA in their nests and gently placed in Styrofoam boxes. They were then transported in specially equipped trucks. Once at NASA the eggs were monitored around the clock until their incubation was complete. They were transferred back to the beach in the Styrofoam boxes for an evening release.

I hope you will watch this interesting video filmed by NASAtelevision about the incubation process and historic release.

Badass US Army Pilot


After delivering U.S. Soldiers and Iraq dignitaries to their final destinations, Crew Chief Sgt. Fred Oser, A. Company 2-25, Combat Aviation Brigade, attached to 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, dismounts the 240 Bravo Machine Guns from the UH-60 Black Hawk used during the morning’s mission to several Combined Security Checkpoints in the Ninewa province, Iraq, July 2.
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs
Photo by Spc. Gregory Gieske
Date: 07.02.2010
Location: MOSUL, IQ

Related Photos:

Artificial blood developed for the battlefield

by Lin Edwards

from: blood

Bags of blood collected during donation. Image: Wikipedia.

( -- US scientists working for the experimental arm of the Pentagon have developed artificial blood for use in transfusions for wounded soldiers in battlefields. The blood cells are said to be functionally indistinguishable from normal blood cells and could end forever the problem of blood donor shortages in war zones and difficulties in transporting blood to remote and inaccessible areas.

The blood is made from from discarded human umbilical cords, which are turned into large quantities of by a method called "blood pharming" that mimics the functions of bone marrow. Pharming is a method of using genetically engineered plants or animals to create medically useful substances in large quantities. Using this process the cells from one umbilical cord can produce about 20 units of blood, which is enough for over three transfusions for injured soldiers in the field.

The blood is being manufactured for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) by Ohio company Arteriocyte, which has already submitted samples of O-negative blood to the US (FDA) for evaluation and safety testing. The company received funding of $1.95 million in 2008 to find a way of making large quantities of .

Don Brown of Arteriocyte said the method works but the production needs to be scaled up to produce enough blood. Scaling up would also bring the costs per unit (around a pint) down from the current $5,000 to $1,000 or less. The scaling up could involve improving the technology to produce more units from each umbilical cord, or finding a way to make the culture chambers that mimic bone marrow more efficient and therefore cheaper.

Mr Brown said that in war zones it can take three weeks for donated blood (which mostly comes from donations made in the US) to reach patients. It must be used within a week or two to avoid the risk of or infection that can occur if the blood is stale. There are mobile blood banks in the field, but if there are many injured soldiers, there is often not enough fresh blood available.

Human trials of the "pharmed" blood are expected to start in 2013, but the blood could be available for military use within five years. It could also eventually be used in hospitals to make up for shortages of blood. The is O-negative, which can be used on all patients, regardless of their blood type.

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