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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tallahassee to Charlotte to Providence

Sitting in Charlotte Airport - between flights - visiting Drew on his birthday. It is a nice clear day to travel. In Charlotte we got off the plane outside. In the picture you can see downtown Charlotte in the background.

Drew and the kids are home alone. Robin had to go away on business. I'll be spending three nights with them - hope I do not get underfoot.

I left 65 and sunny at Tallahassee at 11. Will get in providence around 4.

I am traveling with a carry on bag only. It is nice traveling light.

Both Charlotte and Tallahassee airports have free wifi Internet.

My plane coming up from Tallahassee was a little over half full.

This picture and post sent directly from my iPhone.

Added later Sunday night.

Plane to Providence was packed. I had a middle seat with two large men next to me. I also had my bag tucked in front of my legs. Lucky the flight was only 90 minutes. I made it to Drew's at 5 PM. I Got to play with the kids before and after supper. We gave them their baths - read to them in bed - tucked them in - and look forward to breakfast.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flying Across The USA on New Years Day

Click to enlarge pictures.

Through a little haze you can see the muddy Mississippi River. Notice the clear blue oxbow lake - once a part of the muddy river - now cut off by sediments.

Nothing is quite like flying coast to coast for 5 sunny hours - facing north - with the sun at your back - and watching landscape go by.

Lulu and I were headed to Pasadena for the Rose Parade and then on to a week in Hawaii. Because all the planes seats were not filled - we were upgraded to the first class cabin. What that means is simply more butt room and leg room - free booze - and the first one out of the plane. I would never pay the $2000 to $3000 they charge - but since I was already using frequent flyer miles to fly free for my ticket - if they wanted me to sit up there - I might as well go.

The flight left Atlanta at noon - and arrived in Los Angeles around 5 PM our time - 2 PM their time. It always amazes me that you can fly west 5 hours and land at close to the time you left. To occupy some of my time in the air - I had my camera and my GPS.

Here are some of the highlights -

The GPS shows exactly where we crossed the rive from Mississippi to Arkansas. We crossed right over Bill and Hillary Clinton's old home in Little Rock. We were going 428 MPH - 7 miles high - due west.

The blue looking thing in the middle is Ship Rock - New Mexico. It is an ancient volcanic neck left over after years of erosion. In our living room - I have a picture of my sons in front of this giant monolith.

In Arizona you see the Meteor Crater. About 20,000 years ago - a meteor about as big as the White House hit in the desert creating a giant hole that would hold about 10 Rose Bowls. We visited there in 1977 when we took our camper across the USA. Drew was 6 months old - and my Dad was 61 and he went with us. Along the top of the picture you say the famous Route 66.

Meteor Crate - Arizona - I was looking north - the sun was in the west.

The Colorado River forms the border between California on the left and Arizona on the right. They dammed up the river to bring water to the desert by irrigation. It formed Lake Havasu. On the "island" in the middle is the city of Lake Havasu.

A closer view of Lake Havasu shows London Bridge. To promote the city - the people went to London and bought the old London Bridge. They took it apart piece by piece and re-assembled it here. There are several restaurants and river walks around the bridge. Lulu and I visited there about 5 years ago on one of her convention trips to Sand Diego.

"Coming in to Los Angeles" - it was a clear day - you can see the Hollywood sign - even another plane landing next to us. Downtown Los Angeles is really disappointing except for the "Dragnet" Police Headquarters and the Farmers' Market.

After we landed - we drove to our motel on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Next day we attended the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl. Then we were off to Hawaii.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

MORBIHAN - We Live on the Corner of Seminole Drive and Morbihan Street

Morbihan means "little seas" in Breton/Brittany - France. There is also a water body named Morbihan there.

Really Cool Chevy Volt Ad

Watch Where You Are Watching

Working at FSU in an experiment. The headgear had two cameras - one camera watched where I was looking - the second one tracked my eye to see the exact spot where my pupil was focusing.

One of the neat things about living next to a large research university is getting a chance to work with people on the cutting edge of technology.

Yesterday I was called by the Psychology Department at FSU to come over to perform as a Guinea pig. They are studying how people react to signs especially those in a traffic situation. To do that I wore a headpiece that had a camera attached. It also had a device - very similar to a teleprompter - that tracked where my eye was looking. They wanted to see where a pedestrian was looking while they were walking. Of course on a campus with so many pretty girls - I had to make a conscious effort to not be checking out the people - their clothing - or anything like that :-)

I also wore a backpack that had a laptop computer in it - the video of what I was looking at was recorded in the computer. A red dot showed exactly where my eye was focused.

Three students wired me up - turned me loose - and told me to walk through a specific area of the parking garage. Little did I know that there were drivers planned to back out of parking spaces. The entire live recorded experiment took about 1 minute. After it was over - they started removing my equipment. I was surprised to find out that they were done with me.

When they called me - they offered me $25 up front. When I got there - I signed a paper saying my pay was $10 an hour. I figured we would be going at this for 3 hours - which was not bad because 3 nice young ladies were fussing over me. They took me back to the office and gave me $25 cash. They thanked me for my time and said they would be calling me again soon. $25 for 15 minutes - that is like $100 an hour cash. From the time I pulled into my specially marked parking spot until the time they escorted me back to my car was 15 minutes! Heck - a parking spot on campus costs more than that :-)

Of course I will have to claim the money on my income tax - but what's to worry about - I will ask for the Mitt Romney deal which is only 14% income tax. I wonder what the video would have looked like if they didn't tell me the red dot follows exactly where you are looking.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Police Cannot Follow You With GPS Tracker Without Warrant Supreme Court Says

This morning the Supreme Court ruled against the police when it comes to following people with a GPS tracker on their car. The police secretly attached a GPS to a bar owner's car and tracked him electronically for 30 days without getting a search warrant from a judge. They used the evidence to prove he was near where crimes were committed. The Court ruled it was a violation Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which protect you from unreasonable search. The court ruled 5-4.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

From The Durham Herald Sun - The Paper in Duke's Hometown

Seminoles take another big win at Cameron
7 hrs ago | 399 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

DURHAM — Every time Duke made a shot Saturday, Florida State junior Michael Snaer made it a point to immediately sprint down the court.

He expected the Blue Devils to make plays, but the key was not to hang his head in disappointment.

So when Austin Rivers tied the game on an acrobatic layup with 4.9 seconds left, Snaer did what he had been doing all game — he ran as fast as he could to the offensive end.

Seminoles guard Luke Loucks dribbled down the court and found Snaer, who hit an open 3-pointer at the buzzer to give FSU a 76-73 upset win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“It really wasn’t me,” Snaer said. “I just hit a wide-open shot. That was a great pass by Luke.”

A year ago, the Seminoles broke then-No. 1 Duke’s 25-game winning streak, but that was in Tallahassee. The only other time FSU won in Durham in 18 attempts was in 2007 — which also was the last time Duke lost to an unranked opponent.

“Here in Cameron, it is different,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “This is one of the top four winningest programs in college basketball history. It takes on a different significance.”

Florida State (13-6, 4-1) may be known for its defense, but it was shots like Snaer’s that led to the win. The Seminoles shot 67 percent in a 50-point second half and overcame a 58-50 deficit with 10 minutes left.

Snaer told his teammates beforehand that Saturday’s game was going to be a grind. The Blue Devils were going to make runs. The crowd was going to get loud.

After all, No. 4 Duke (16-3, 4-1) has won 45 games in a row at home, and 64 in a row against unranked opponents.

“But if we stay together and we keep pounding and trust that we’re the better team, if we just have that confidence, it really helps your team out a lot,” Snaer said.

Snaer also was anxious to make up for his missed chances in overtime losses to Connecticut and Princeton earlier this season.

“It’s really not the ones you make that you really remember that much,” Snaer said. “It’s the ones you miss that haunt you even more. Those are the ones that keep you working.”

Snaer never had made a game-winner before, but when Loucks got to midcourt with two seconds left, he saw that Andre Dawkins had left Snaer completely in order to guard the paint. He passed it to Snaer, who released the ball from the right wing with just under a second left.

“Nine times out of 10, it probably wouldn’t work like that,” Loucks said. “But it did work at the perfect time.”

In beating North Carolina by 33 points the previous Saturday, the Seminoles were led by a career-best performance by senior Deividas Dulkys, who scored 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting. But the win against Duke was a group effort, as four players scored at least 12 points.

Florida State now has beaten Duke and UNC in the same season for just the second time — it also beat both teams in a 10-day span in 2002.

After starting conference play with a 20-point loss at Clemson, the Seminoles are now atop the conference standings.

“We have been complacent in the past,” FSU senior Bernard James said. “But those days are behind us.”

Read more: The Herald-Sun - Seminoles take another big win at Cameron

This is the headline in this morning's Tallahassee Democrat

Brandon Mellor - My Friend - Wrote This About the Seminoles Victory at Cameron

Giant Killers

Jan. 21, 2012

Box Score Get Acrobat Reader | Season Statistics Get Acrobat Reader

Tennessee logo
(13-6, 4-1 ACC)
Next: Jan. 25 at Wake Forest
Georgia logo
(14-3, 2-1 ACC)
Next: Jan. 25 at Maryland
Cameron Indoor Stadium // Durham, N.C. // Jan. 21, 2011
Florida State
27-50 (.540)
25-63 (.397)
7-14 (.500)
10-23 (.435)
15-20 (.750)
13-17 (.765)
Florida State
Austin Rivers 19
Miles Plumlee 8
Tyler Thornton 4
Bernard James/Luke Loucks 2
Ryan Kelly 3
Mason Plumlee 1
Player of the Game headshot
Junior// Guard // Moreno Valey, Calif.

Snaer caught the well-timed pass from Luke Loucks and buried the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. He finished the night with 14 points.


Xavier Gibson was 1-for-1 from 3-point range against Duke. He now has three made 3-pointers this season.


Duke was ranked No. 4 entering the game against FSU. The Seminoles have now beat two top-five teams in one week.


Duke had not lost a game on its home court in 45 previous tries prior to Saturday.


Florida State shot 54 percent from the field.

By: Brandon Mellor, Senior Writer

DURHAM, N.C. -- All it took was 4.9 seconds for 45 games to go up in smoke Saturday evening on Tobacco Road.

Behind Michael Snaer's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the Florida State men's basketball team upset No. 4 Duke, 76-73, to snap the Blue Devils' 45-game winning steak at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Ending such a stellar run by one of college basketball's premier programs is one thing. The manner in which the Seminoles accomplished that task is another.

After Duke's Austin Rivers hit a lay-up to tie the game at 73-73 with less than five seconds left on the game clock and with no timeouts to use, Luke Loucks took FSU's inbounds pass hastily across mid court where Bernard James' well-placed screen gave him the necessary room to find the game's soon-to-be hero.

It may have happened in a blink of an eye but what the Seminoles (13-6, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) did amongst the Cameron Crazies deserves a long look.

By beating Duke (14-3, 2-1), Florida State capped off what could be considered one of -- if not the -- greatest regular-season weeks in the program's history.

Exactly seven days after giving the Tallahassee crowd a reason to rush the court after upsetting then-No. 3 North Carolina, the 'Noles players had a reason to rush the court in Durham following Snaer's big shot. Not only did FSU defeat two top-five teams in a span of one week while also sandwiching a victory over Maryland in between those two games but the Seminoles also moved into a tie for first place in the competitive ACC.

It was also Duke's first home loss to an unranked opponent since 2007 when Florida State came into Cameron Indoor and did the same thing.

Perhaps nothing is more indicative of the strides that FSU has made since opening league play with a 20-point loss at Clemson than the 54-percent shooting mark the team registered against the Blue Devils.

The 'Noles' improved offensive play over the last several games also included featured a 50-percent clip from 3-point range against the Blue Devils -- with none being bigger than Snaer's crowd-stunning bucket as time expired.

Snaer's buzzer-beater was actually his second of the game as he also hit an improbable bank shot as the final seconds of the first half ticked off the clock. The Moreno Valley, Calif. native finished the game with 14 points as one of four FSU starters that scored in double figures.

Xavier Gibson's 16 points led Florida State while Bernard James added 12 points and five rebounds. Deividas Dulkys finished with 12 points and Loucks posted eight of his own.

The Seminoles held Duke to just 39.7 percent shooting as Rivers scored a game-high 19 points. Andre Dawkins added 14 points and Seth Curry had 12. Ryan Kelly -- one of just three bench players to participate for the Blue Devils -- contributed 10 points.

For the second game in a row, FSU finished with more assists than turnovers (15 and 12, respectively). Duke grabbed more offensive rebounds than the 'Noles and outscored their visitors 20-6 in second-chance points but couldn't stop Florida State from picking up its fourth consecutive conference win.

FSU returns to Tallahassee but will be headed right back to North Carolina in a few days. The seminoles play at Wake Forest on Jan. 25 with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. live on the ACC Network and online at

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FSU Beat Duke At Cameron

Florida State University Basketball - just pulled off the ACC Trifecta. It started out last Saturday by thumping North Carolina by 33 points. The beating was so bad that UNC Coach Ropy Williams took his team off the court with 14 seconds left. Then Tuesday FSU beat Maryland by 20. Finally today - on national TV - the Noles beat Duke at home on the heralded Coach K Court by 3. The last time that Duke lost to an unranked team at home was 5 years ago - by guess who - the Florida State Seminoles. FSU is a football school - right?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Red Tails is A Fantastic Remake of "Top Gun for Grayheads"

Click on "Red" in the title to read Harry's story about when he met the REAL Tuskegee Airmen

Red Tails is an action war movie about black fighter pilots in World War II.

Here you see a Red Tail P-51 shooting down a German Messerschmidt 262 - the first fighter jet.
A real life photo of some of the Tuskegee Airmen in front of an old P-40 Flying Tiger. These guys were Jackie Robinson before Jackie Robinson.

I love movies about flying and World War II. Movies about the little guy or the downtrodden winning out are movies that I cannot turn off. Throw a little bit of history and flavor it with some romance and a pretty girl - you have me in your pocket.

Today is opening day of the movie "Red Tails" - the action packed adventure movie about the real life Tuskegee Airmen. Lulu is at a convention in Dallas all week - and I have been at home nursing a bad cold - flu - step throat - however bad I feel at the moment. I figured Lulu really didn't want to see this - and besides it was opening day - so I went alone and have the rest of my life to brag about seeing the premiere of this fine film.

Simply put - Roosevelt wanted to try an experiment where a group of segregated black college grads would be trained to fly fighters. The service was complete split - black and white - and frankly - it was 1944 - and the US was losing pilots big time. The group fought their way to being some of the finest flyers - having a record of never losing a bomber that they were assigned to protect.

At first they were assigned dumpy old P-40's relics from the early war - lastly they were given our best fighters - the P-51 - to fight against the only jets in the war that were assigned to protect Berlin.

If John Wayne were black - he would have been the leading character in this movie and it would have been made 50 years ago. Since he wasn't - and we didn't have the computer graphic design that we have now - we had to wait until now - and I am glad they did.

George Lucas was working on this project for almost 20 years. He claimed that he was waiting for the computer generated graphics to come of age - but really I think he was waiting for someone to help fund it. Since none of the studios wanted to touch it - either because of cash or racism - Lucas opened his own pocket and risked $57,000,000 of his own money to produce this film.

The Friday night show at 6 PM in Tallahassee was pretty full - and the crowd was about 2/3 black. The crowd support of the heroes was very spontaneous. Some of the monologue might appear a little corny to kids used to more F bombs being tossed than dropped bombs - but this is the way war movies were when I was a kid in the 1950s. There was one or two "S words" dropped - just enough to earn a PG rating - and absolutely no lewd sex scenes. There was one very pretty Italian girl who had the attention of one of the flyers - but she did not have any lines of English in the film - maybe a single word or 3.

The Germans played their part perfectly with blue eyes - blonde hair - and broken English. Most of the flight scenes were computer generated - most of the location shots were done in Croatia - the rest was done in front of a green screen.

The film was 2 hours and it moved smartly. The emotions were roller coastered - with good scene - bad scene - good scene - bad scene - fast - slow - fast - slow.

There are certain films that whenever they come on TV - I stop surfing - and watch the end. Groundhog Day - Private Parts - Billy Elliot - Field of Dreams - Rudy - Tora Tora Tora - Buddy Holly - and Jim Thorpe All-American. This movie can be added to that list and maybe I will not even tell Lulu I went to see it without her and allow her to take me again. I think next time I will go in the morning for senior citizen discount of half price. It had been a long time since I spent $10 on a movie ticket - even for two of us.

In the future I can see this film filling up many hours in American school's history classes. Maybe that is why they let out all the dirty language and sex. I understand they had those two things in the real World War II.

FSU Introduces Sand Volleyball Today

The Associated Press

The Florida State sand volleyball team will kick off its inaugural season with a ribbon-cutting cer­emony today from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the new sand courts.

The courts are locat­ed north of the soccer and softball complex and between the track and field complex and the parking garage on Spirit Way.

Parking will be available in the lot across from the courts and in the Spirit Way parking garage.

FSU athletic direc­tor Randy Spetman will begin the ceremony with remarks. Sand volleyball
coach Danalee Corso and associate athletic direc­tor of communications Rob Wilson will also speak at the ceremony.

Following the ribbon-cut­ting, there will be a meet­and- greet session and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The sand volleyball team’s first competition will be an inter-squad scrimmage Feb. 26 at noon. FSU’s first regular season matchup will be at UAB on March 3, and the first official home competition will be March 13 versus Tulane.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Roy Williams is a Coward - Right Before Martin Luther King Day

I was at the game Saturday when Florida State beat North Carolina by 33 points. It was the worst loss ever for this Coach Roy Williams. But the big news out of the game was Williams behavior in the last minute of the game. Williams future NBA star filled team had quit. They were embarrassed by a mediocre Seminole team.

With 14 seconds left during a time out - Williams decided to leave the court - concerned for his own vanity. The FSU fans were prepared to run on the floor and celebrate. Williams started walking off the court alone - when FSU's coach Leonard Hamilton said to him, "Coach.....your team." Williams did a complete 180 and went back and attempted to lead his players off the court ---- a full 14 second before the game was over. He left 5 subs alone on the court to finish the game. I guess Maverick's, "I won't leave my wingman" quote does not apply to Carolina basketball. Williams and his stars saw the end of the game from the locker room.

FSU fans stormed the court. Dick Vitale posed with FSU's 32 point scoring star - David Dulkys. The fans dispersed.

I went on the court with those fans - and I have the video to prove it. I also "stormed the court" with my son 5 years ago when FSU Beat Number 1 Duke. You see - I have sons that graduated from both Duke and FSU. At that time - the fans got on the court 1.7 seconds early when someone stupidly called a timeout with the fans posed for action. After the fans stormed the court once - early - Duke Coach K took most of his players to the locker room. The subs stayed out and finished the game.

Clearly - this time Coach Williams was running from embarrassment - not for the safety of his players. He was completely humbled on nation TV by a very average FSU team. He lost by 33 points - the worst loss of his career. His players had quit on him - and now he quit on them.

I always wondered what that odd color of baby blue that Carolina wears stood for. Now I know.

On Martin Luther King Day - here are a few quotes for Roy Williams to read -

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

A man who won't die for something is not fit to live.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

A lie cannot live.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Supreme Court Rules Blue Mountain Schools Cannot Punish a Kid for What He Does on His Home Computer

From the Republican - Blue Mountains Schools butt up against my hometown - Tamaqua.

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday passed up on hearing cases for the online age - whether schools may censor students who are at home when they create online attacks against school officials and other students.

The justices rejected an appeal from Blue Mountain School District - along with appeals from a school district in western Pennsylvania and a student in West Virginia - involving questions about the limits on criticism from students and where the authority of school officials ends.

The high court decision left standing lower court rulings that the two students from Pennsylvania cannot be disciplined at school for parodies of their principals that they created on home computers and posted online.

In the West Virginia case, an appeals court upheld the suspension of a student who created a web page that suggested another student had a sexually transmitted disease, and invited classmates to comment.

With the case settled, the former Blue Mountain student identified in the lawsuit only as "J.S." can return to court to pursue damages and legal costs.

Blue Mountain School District Superintendent Robert Urzillo said Tuesday that the Supreme Court's decision not the hear the case was "disappointing, unfortunate and wrong," and he shared concern about what the action could signal to others.

"I think it could have a domino affect as far as other schools are concerned," he said. "I think there are clearly limits to free speech," especially when a person isn't telling the truth.

School board President Mary Jo Moss also commented on the news Tuesday.

"At this point, I look forward to the Blue Mountain school board moving past this issue," she said.

In October, Blue Mountain filed its appeal of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal's June 13, 2011, decision that the parodies J.S. and a friend posted were protected by the First Amendment because they were created off school grounds, and that they were unlikely to cause significant disruptions in the school.

That decision overruled a decision by a three-judge circuit court panel that had affirmed the initial ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge James M. Munley that had upheld the 10-day suspension imposed in 2007 by Middle School Principal James McGonigle.

J.S. had posted the profile of McGonigle, which included his picture, at her home on a computer belonging to her parents. Included in the profile were allegations of sexual misconduct.

"Though disturbing, the record indicates that the profile was so outrageous that no one took its content seriously," a 3rd U.S. Circuit majority wrote of the Blue Mountain parody in June. But the court was divided 8-6.

Such disparities are common around the country as school districts wrestle with how to address online pranks, threats or, as in the West Virginia case, cyberbullying.

Lawyers on both sides were disappointed the high court chose not to step into the fray over student speech posted online, as federal court judges have issued a broad range of opinions on the subject.

"We've missed an opportunity to really clarify for school districts what their responsibility and authority is at a time when kids are using electronic media instantaneously, and especially when those messages are so impactful and immediate on the school setting," said Francisco Negron, general counsel of the National School Boards Association. "This is one of those cases where the law is simply lagging behind the times."

The American Civil Liberties Union expects the Supreme Court to examine the question "sooner rather than later," according to Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. Still, he was relieved that the Pennsylvania students represented by the ACLU have been exonerated after their long legal fights.

"When kids go to school, the parents give up control. But once the kids leave the school, the parents again are the primary custodians and have decision-making authority over those kids," Walczak said.

In the other Pennsylvania case, Justin Layshock created a parody in 2005 that said his principal smoked marijuana and kept beer behind his desk. The Hermitage School District said it substantially disrupted school operations. Layshock was suspended but the suspension was overturned by a district judge, a three-judge appeals panel and then the full 3rd Circuit Court.

With his case settled Tuesday, Layshock will now receive $10,000 in damages plus legal fees.

Late Night With the Noles - Last Night they Beat Maryland - 84-70 - in a Game that Tipped Off at 9 PM

Sergeant Bernard James of the Air Force has become a major force under the basket at FSU. Here he is shown having one of his major highlight reel flying dunks. At one time James stole the ball - dribbled right down the lane jamming as he leaped from the foul line. Will the NBA draft a 26 year old rookie? He never dodged the draft before.

Jimmy Valvano once said you have't made it until you are playing the 9PM game at Madison Square Garden.

Last night Lulu and I attended Late Night with the "ready for prime time" Seminoles. The Noles exploded after only having a 2 point lead at halftime. The Terps even had a 7 second lead after the second half tip. Next came a 21-5 run - featuring two quick 3 pointers by Saturday's hero David Dulkys - and the Noles went up by 20.

We seldom leave a game early - but at the 4 minutes to go time out - me with a strep throat and Lulu with a plane to catch at 5:45 AM - left. The Noles had a 20 point lead - Bernard James had several monster jams - and the scrubs played the final 4 minutes.

A very poor crowd showed up with the end zones being stuff by students and the good sideline season ticket holder seats empty. The regular "fans" sat at home and watched the game on TV - their court side seats guarded by the ticket nazis preventing anyone else from sitting in the good seats.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gaddafi Had an Electric Fiat 500 Convertible

This is a Fiat 500C.

This is an electric Fiat 500C they found in Gaddafi's palace. It is Libya green. Gaddafi was said to like electric vehicles.

Lulu wants to buy a Fiat 500 convertible. I found this story. It is funny because Libyan dictator Quaddafi had an electric one specially made for him.

It’s a story that seems stranger than fiction. Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, the on-the-run disputed ruler of Libya and undisputed despot, as it turns out, has an interest in cars, and in particular electric cars.

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reports that Gaddafi’s vehicle fleet, discovered by rebels after they captured his deserted Bab al-Azizia compound in the suburbs of Tripoli, comprised many electric vehicles and included a unique, custom-built pure electric Fiat 500, similar to the one pictured.

The one-off electric €100,000 (£88,000) 500 was created by Castagna Milano, an Italian coachbuilder. It seems they were unaware of the identity of the customer when the initial order came through via an intermediary in 2009, but there were a few clues when the required specification came in (as translated by Google):

“…on the left upright, a back-lit image of the Lion of the Desert…on the A-pillar on the right, a circle with the symbolic representation of the Libyan society. On the nose, instead of the Fiat brand, a logo with the black silhouette of Africa, Libya highlighted in green (the particular is made of malachite) and three-color books above all.”

In fact, the car was ordered by a member of the Gaddafi family as a gift for the leader.

Amusingly, the “Lion of the Desert” is not an actual lion but in fact the nickname given to Omar Mukhtar, a man who led the native resistance against the Italian colonisation of Libya from 1912. The Italians captured and hanged Mukhtar in 1931.

So a member of the Gadaffi clan ordered an Italian coachbuilder to create a custom electric version of an Italian car and commissioned them to include a picture of a man who fought against the Italians for nearly 20 years before being executed at their hands. They may be bloody tyrants but you’ve got to admit that shows a wry sense of humour.

As for the performance of the car, it reportedly has two massive electric batteries giving it a range of 260km (160 miles) and the 34kW (46bhp) motor gives it a healthy top speed of 160kph (99 mph).

After delivery to Libya via France, the client paid up in full, with Castagna Milano receiving a few calls from Gaddafi’s German garage mechanic for advice on servicing and maintenance over the last two years. According to Corriere Della Sera, the Italian company asked for a photo of the owner at the wheel of the car, but nothing was sent through.

After being seized in Tripoli, the car was photographed being pushed out of Bab al-Azizia by rebels and paraded through the streets of Tripoli. The fate of the car is unclear now it’s in the hands of the rebels, but we hope it is preserved in its current state – it’s quite a piece of history.