Friday, December 18, 2009

Bowl Pics

Here are all of my picks, since I have already made picks for all of the games with a group of friends.

New Mexico - Fresno St. over Wyoming
Little Caesers - Ohio over Marshall
Hawaii - Nevada over SMU
Meineke - Pittsburgh over North Carolina
Chick-Fil-A - Virginia Tech over Tennessee
Emerald - USC over Boston College
GMAC - Central Michigan over Troy
Independence - Georgia over Texas A&M
Armed Forces - Houston over Air Force
Sugar - Florida over Cincinnati
Orange - Iowa over Georgia Tech
Fiesta - TCU over Boise State
Insight - Minnesota over Iowa State
Gator - West Virginia over Florida State
BCS NCG - Alabama over Texas
Rose Bowl - Oregon over Ohio State
Alamo - Texas Tech over Michigan State - South Carolina over Connecticut
Liberty - Arkansas over East Carolina
New Orleans - Southern Miss over Middle Tennessee State
Outback - Auburn over Northwestern
International - South Florida over Northern Illinois
Capital One - LSU over Penn State (GEAUX TIGERS!!!)
St. Petersburg - Rutgers over UCF
Texas - Missouri over Navy
Eagle Bank - Temple over UCLA
Sun - Stanford over Oklahoma
Holiday - Nebraska over Arizona
Humanitarian - Bowling Green over Idaho
Champs Sports - Wisconsin over Miami
Music City - Kentucky over Clemson
Cotton - Ole Miss over Oklahoma State
Poinsettia - Utah over California
Las Vegas - Oregon State over BYU

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back Home

For the past couple of weeks, I have been home from school, not having to worry about school work and just being able to relax. That, of course, will change in a couple of days when I leave to go down to San Antonio for spring training and tour for the summer with the Crossmen.

Last weekend was my old high school's musical production weekend. The past two years I participated by playing in the pit for The Wizard of Oz and Into The Woods. This year, I had the opportunity to just sit and the audience and enjoy the performance. When I first saw that they were doing Little Women a couple of months ago, at first I was skeptical (much like I was my sophomore year with Little Shop of Horrors), however after seeing the musical, I greatly enjoyed it and thought that it was a good performance and a very good musical.

For those of you who have read the book or know the story of Little Women, you can probably figure out what is happening in the following clip, one of the songs, probably my favorite, from the musical, "Some Things Are Meant To Be". This, I believe, is from the Broadway production (which only ran for 137 performances, a VERY short time considering how many shows run for over 1,000, and 20 over 2,500 currently).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek on SNL

I just saw this clip of the new Kirk and Spock on Saturday Night Live. Its pretty funny, and, don't worry, it doesn't really ruin any of the movie, either, so you're safe watching it if you haven't yet seen the new movie, yet. Enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mike the Tiger

Here are some pictures of Mike the Tiger in his habitat on campus next to the PMAC, across the street from Tiger Stadium. These are pictures that I took a few months ago, and just now uploaded to my computer. I know, it took me a LONG time to do so. There are also two of the statue right outside his habitat as well. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Is The Value Of An Education?

Today, as I do most days, I went to Yahoo! Sports and check to see if there is anything new and interesting in the sports news world (as well as checking the scores for the Caps and Nats, who both unfortunately lost today). Today as I went on my usual visit, I saw the following article:;_ylt=AsHlg03M7t.7dGbdjUSfV_fevbYF?slug=dw-tyler042209&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

This article really caught my attention. I feel that the decision this student, a JUNIOR in HIGH SCHOOL is very, very wrong and unwise. Sure, he might have loads of talent, and is extremely bored and not developing much anymore in his playing abilities at the current level and competition he is playing at. But is a high school degree at the very least (heck, even a college degree as well, but at least most athletes go on to at least accomplish a partial college education) something that you are willing to give up? I know for me it would not be at all. Nowadays over 70% of the US population completes at least a high school degree. Not to do so puts you in the minority. It becomes much tougher to get a quality job, and as such, most who don't graduate high school end up working at places like McDonald's, Wendy's, WalMart, or Target for the majority of their lives. Is that really something you would want to do? I know I wouldn't. I would much rather be forced to be a physicist (and how I can't stand physics!) than to have to work at a place earning minimum wage for most of my life.

An education is something truly special that cannot be taken away from you. Once you've learned something, you've got it. It is yours to take and use with as you please, and nobody can say or do anything to take it away from you. Ask yourself, if you were in the same position as Jeremy Tyler, what would you do? What if you got into a horrible car accident right before your first game in the NBA and you were unable to play basketball for the rest of your life, what would you do? Your career would be ruined. Your shot at millions of dollars and basketball glory is gone in an instant. And you don't even have a high school degree. Now what do you do?

Another unfortunate thing is that many will start to look at this like they did with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James going into the NBA right from high school, and begin to do it as well. It will begin to become more popular to do. And you will see more and more athletes with less of an education. Thoughts? Feelings?

On a quick side note, as I was searching around for a couple of statistics, I noticed one that Fairfax County, VA has the highest graduation overall rate in the US. I find myself very fortunate to have received such a high quality, good education, and to continue to get a good, high quality musical education here at LSU.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crossmen Shows

Over the past few days, I have been watching numerous various Crossmen (and other) shows as short study breaks and such. My favorite drum corps show, by far, is definitely 1992. It was the first time the corps placed in its highest place, 6th. It is also regarded by many as one of the corps best shows (of which there are a number of opinions on, as the corps has had SOOO many really amazing and great shows). The 1992 show, Songs For Planet Earth, served as the first part of a three show trilogy, 92-94. The 92 show is one that I could probably watch over and over again and not get tired of it, I like it so much. There is so much passion in the performance, as well as a true, classic Crossmen "groove." Here is the show in two parts, enjoy!

I especially LOVE the ending of that show. The 93 show, Songs For Planet Earth, Part 2," picks up right where the show left off, in the "?" formation. Then the 94 show, "Suite Children," picks up right where the 93 show ends. The 94 show includes numerous child references and such, with the opening hornline and guard playing children's games in small groups and the songs included, such as the Brahms Lullaby, and Pop Goes the Weasel (with drum feature included!) All three shows are tied together with some similar music, as well.

Another one of my all-time favorite Crossmen shows (of which there are many, as I said earlier, there are SO many great Crossmen shows that are all entertaining to watch and listen to) is 2002. The 2002 show is entitled "The Signature Series" and features a very unique and special field entrance, one that can never be repeated, as Camp Randall Stadium in Wisconsin has been renovated making this special entrance impossible. I absolutely love this entrance, as well as the whole show! The drillwriter for this show, Darryl Pemberton, also wrote for 03 and 04, and wrote last years drill for the 2008 show, Planet X. He returns this year, writing the drill for our 2009 show. I am very excited for this summer and am ready for the semester to be over, finish with my finals, and to move in with the corps and begin on our trek towards Indianapolis and finals in the new Lucas Oil Stadium. Here is the 2002 show in two parts as well. Enjoy!

Oh, and another reason why I'm ready for the summer to get here, is also because as soon as the summer is done, its football season again, and I am ready for the LSU 2009 football season to begin already! The spring game yesterday helped me to realize how much I'm ready for football season to begin again. I look forward to next season, and am hoping for much improvement over last season's disappointing 8-5 record.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Harry Potter Trailer

The sixth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, was originally supposed to be in theaters this past November. However, the release date was pushed back to this July. Joy! While I'm on tour! Again. Just like with the last movie, I'm going to have to try to find a movie theater on a free day on tour to watch the movie. If I can't, it will be one of the first things I am going to do when I get home from tour. You can count on that. Why bring this up? Because I just saw a link to this trailer, which I believe is a relatively new one. And It got me excited for the movie. I can't wait until it (and the new Star Trek movie in a couple of weeks) comes out. It looks like it will be really good. And a note, the bridge towards the end of the trailer, I believe, is one that I walked across several times when I was in London. Coincidentally, which is right next to IHQ, as well.

This is me on that bridge:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Here's a video that someone in the studio here sent me. So cool! Enjoy!

I want an iPhone!!! (somewhat, I'd be too afraid I'd break it too easily...)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Star Wars...

Here is a video I came across a little while ago. I thought it was kinda funny, so I thought I'd share it. She's also pretty accurate with the story and all, isn't she? I don't know if I would've remembered all that much of the movie when I was 3...I especially like the "poke' ball" reference.

The second video is one that was on the videos after it thing when you're done watching the video. I thought it was funny and wanted to share it too. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Elite Eight

So I went 6-2 in the last round. Both teams I had in my championship game (Memphis and Syracuse) were the two that lost. Yeah. Not so great. I can only go 2-2 now from my original bracket.

I still think that Pitt will beat Villanova, but it will be a close and well played game.
Louisville should handle Michigan State relatively easily, as they have been dominating teams all tournament. They're on fire right now.
I think that Connecticut will show Missouri that the Big East really is the best conference in basketball right now, and UNC will show Oklahoma (in a closer game) that they are clearly the dominant team in an over-hyped ACC.

Having just thought about it, I realized that I had all 4 #1 seeds winning and making it to the Final Four. Last year was the first year that this happened. So on second thought, I'm thinking that Pitt will be the most likely of the #1 seeds to lose in the next two days.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gillispie Out at Kentucky

This afternoon it was announced that Kentucky's head basketball coach, Billy Gillispie, was fired. He was only there for two years. Both years, the basketball team failed to make the SEC Tournament semifinals, and this year was the first year the team failed to make the NCAA tournament in 18 years, instead having to settle for the NIT.

Kentucky has a huge tradition when it comes to basketball, having won 43 regular season SEC titles, for most in the conference. Second? LSU with only 10 in comparison. With such a long tradition of excellence comes a very high pressure coaching job with other-worldly expectations of winning everything, or at least coming very close to it, every year. Other basketball coaching jobs with similar expectations are at Duke, UNC, Indiana, and UCLA, other schools with long traditions of basketball excellence. For football schools like Michigan, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Professional sports have those kinds of jobs too, like in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, or the MLB with the New York Yankees.

Would you ever want a job like that? I wouldn't. I'd rather be at a lower-profile school that has less frequent, but still plenty of success. A school like LSU for basketball, or Virginia Tech for football (although, schools like these do have their own fair share of harsh and critical fans that can be very vocal, especially in the first couple of years after a coaching change, or when things hit a downward slump for a number of years in a row).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sweet 16 Time

So in the 2nd round, I only lost one more of my Sweet 16 teams. I went 12-4 in the second round. Since I have not lost any of my Elite Eight teams, all my original predicted winners still stand. Will I go 8-0 in the next two days? We'll see...

Unfortunately, LSU did lose to UNC...but they put up a great game, and played UNC really close, and kept the game very competitive up until a scoring drought in the latter part of the 2nd half. That's what ultimately ended up losing the game. As with the game against Xavier during the regular season. Oh well. It was a great season, way up from the 13-18 season last year (the team won 13 games in the conference alone this year!). As for our women's team, they lost last night against Louisville, in a very tough, competitive game, as well. It was a very good game. Unfortunately for them, the game was lost at the free throw line. LSU just wasn't making the free throws, and Louisville was. But for a team that early in the season looked like it wouldn't even be in the tournament, a team with only one senior and two juniors, the season ended remarkably well, with huge victories over Florida and Tennessee late in the season. The team was made up of mostly freshmen. It'll be very interesting to watch and see where the team goes from here into next year.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

1st Round Down

So in the first round, I went 22-10. Not too good, huh? In the process I also lost 3 of my Sweet 16 teams, Utah, West Virginia, and Florida State. So I'm already at 0-3 for the next round the next two days in my original predictions. Now for the updated 2nd round predictions of games that were affected by the results of the 1st round.

13 Cleveland State over 12 Arizona (originally 5 Utah over 4 Wake Forest)- should be a good game
11 Dayton over 3 Kansas (originally 6 West Virginia over 3 Kansas)

1 Connecticut over 9 Texas A&M (originally 1 Connecticut over 8 BYU)
3 Missouri over 6 Marquette (originally 3 Missouri over 11 Utah State - they were so close!)

4 Xavier over 12 Wisconsin (originally 5 Florida state over 4 Xavier)
3 Villanova over 6 UCLA (originally 3 Villanova over 11 VCU - so close too!)
2 Duke over 7 Texas (originally 2 Duke over 10 Minnesota) - should be a good game

2 Oklahoma over 10 Michigan (originally 2 Oklahoma over 7 Clemson)

Now, how will I fare in this round? We'll have to wait and see.

One thing to note, I wouldn't mind being wrong about the UNC-LSU game!! I know we have a shot at winning! I believe! I wouldn't mind my bracket being ruined with an LSU victory!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Madness Is Here!...or has it already been here?

Did March Madness begin when the brackets were revealed Sunday night? Or did it begin when the first conference tournament tipped off two weeks earlier? I think it began two weeks ago, just now the most talked about part, the NCAA tournament, has just begun. Tonight was the play-in game between Morehead State and Alabama State, with Morehead State cruising to a victory. On Thursday and Friday, 32 games will be played across the nation, all day long, causing many people to call in sick and skip class (don't worry, Mom and Dad, my afternoon class has an attendance policy when it comes to grading).

This past weekend I traveled to Tampa, FL for the Mens SEC tournament. LSU won the first game against Kentucky (in the second round, we had a 1st round bye), but then lost the next day to tourney-champion Mississippi State. Due to the teams 1-3 finish in the last four games (still 9-3 in the last 12, though!), the LSU Tigers got an unfortunate 8 seed. If the team defeats Butler in the first round on Thursday (game at 12:20 ET), then we will have to face UNC in the 2nd round.

Our Womens team on the other hand got a 6 seed in their tournament. While it is the lowest seed since 2002 for them (being to the Final Four for the past 5 seasons), it is exciting, as the team started the season 12-9 and looked as if they probably would be out of the postseason altogether. Fortunately they turned things around and started performing better.

Alright, here are my predictions for the men's tournament. Feel free to make your own. I'm going to do a full tournament prediction, and then update as to how I did after each round, and make updated predictions after each round.

For the Midwest Region:
1st Round
1 Louisville beats 16 Morehead State
9 Siena beats 8 Ohio State

5 Utah beats 12 Arizona
4 Wake Forest beats 13 Cleveland State

6 West Virginia beats 11 Dayton
3 Kansas beats 14 North Dakota State

7 Boston College loses to 10 Southern California (as much as I'd rather see them lose)
2 Michigan State beats 1 Robert Morris

2nd Round
1 Louisville beats 9 Siena
5 Utah beats 4 Wake Forest

6 West Virginia beats 3 Kansas
2 Michigan State beats 10 Southern California

Sweet 16
1 Louisville beats 5 Utah
2 Michigan State beats 6 West Virginia

Elite 8
1 Louisville beats 2 Michigan State

West Region
1st Round
1 Connecticut beats 16 Chatanooga
8 BYU beats 9 Texas A&M

5 Purdue beats 12 UNI
4 Washington beats 13 Mississippi St

6 Marquette loses to 11 Utah St (I'm feeling really good about this upset somehow...)
3 Missouri beats 14 Cornell

7 California loses to 10 Maryland
2 Memphis loses to 15 Cal St Northridge

2nd Round
1 Connecticut beats 8 BYU
4 Washington beats 5 Purdue

3 Missouri beats 11 Utah State
2 Memphis beats 10 Maryland

Sweet 16
1 Connecticut beats 4 Washington
2 Memphis beats 3 Missouri

Elite 8
2 Memphis beats 1 Connecticut

East Region
1st Round
1 Pittsburgh beats 16 East Tennessee State
9 Tennessee beats 8 Oklahoma State

5 Florida State beast 12 Wisconsin
4 Xavier beats 13 Portland State

6 UCLA loses to 11 VCU (not so sure about this one, but still think it is quite possible)
3 Villanova beats 14 American (would LOVE to see the upset here, but don't think it'll happen)

7 Texas loses to 10 Minnesota
2 Duke beats 15 Binghamton

2nd Round
1 Pittsburgh beats 9 Tennessee
5 Florida State beats 4 Xavier

3 Villanova beats 11 VCU
2 Duke beats 10 Minnesota

Sweet 16
1 Pittsburgh beats 5 Florida State
3 Villanova beats 2 Duke

Elite 8
1 Pittsburgh beats 3 Villanova

South Region
1st Round
1 UNC beasts 16 Radford (Radford has the best chance to pull the 16 seed upset this season, but still...not gonna happen. Never has.)
8 LSU beats 9 Butler (but if we play like we have recently, we WILL lose guaranteed)

12 Western Kentucky beats 5 Illinois
4 Gonzaga beats 13 Akron

6 Arizona State beats 11 Temple
3 Syracuse beats 14 SFA

7 Clemson beats 10 Michigan
2 Oklahoma beats 15 Morgan St

2nd Round
1 UNC beats 8 LSU (darn...)
4 Gonzaga beats 12 Western Kentucky

3 Syracuse beats 6 Arizona State
2 Oklahoma beats 7 Clemson

Sweet 16
1 UNC beats 4 Gonzaga
3 Syracuse beats 2 Oklahoma

Elite 8
3 Syracuse beats 1 UNC

Final Four
2 West Memphis beats 1 Midwest Louisville
3 South Syracuse beats 1 East Pittsburgh

Championship Game
Memphis beats Syracuse

Well there ya have it. There are my predictions. What are yours?

Monday, March 9, 2009


DCI Annually has a "Countdown" of top shows in theaters. Originally it was a "Classic Countdown" featuring shows from all decades of DCI (70's-present), but recently it has changed format to be just recent shows. Last year was only 2004-2007. This year, the format is the top 6 shows from 2003-2008. They narrowed the voting down from all the shows from those years (top 12 shows that is), to the most voted top 12, "final" round. Selected from those 12 are the 6 shows that will be shown in the "Countdown" in May. The Crossmen 2003 show, "Color" is in the final 12. I strongly urge everyone to go vote here: for the Crossmen 2003 show, "Color."

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Good Article

A few things before I head off to San Antonio for the March Crossmen camp. This weekend is the women's basketball SEC tournament up in Arkansas. Tonight LSU plays in the second round (after having a first round bye last night) tonight in the late game against Mississippi State. We are the #3 seed in the tournament. If we win tonight, tomorrow we will play the winner of the #2 Vanderbilt vs #7 Georgia. This year was the first time in a long time (18 years or something like that, I think? Maybe longer...) that Tennessee had to play in the first round. Hopefully they're eliminated before we have to play them. Next weekend is the men's SEC tournament, where we are the West #1 seed, with a first round bye. That tournament is in Tampa, FL, and I will be there with the Bengal Brass basketball pep band.

Today, I came across this article, which does a pretty good job of describing what Drum Corps is and what it is like. I thought I'd share it:

Drum corps gives students rewarding experience - Features

The Colts, mentioned as having placed 14th in the article, placed one spot below the Crossmen. The Crossmen placed 13th this past season, after being in the 12th place spot for the whole latter half of the season. I can't wait for this summer to get here!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Mom Song

Here is a video that my trombone professor sent out to the studio a day or two ago. I think that everyone (especially those who are moms) will get a kick out of this. Recognize the tune?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It Is Now Official

It was finally announced on the LSU Sports website today that in the 2010 and 2011 football seasons, LSU will be playing West Virginia. The 2010 game will be in Baton Rouge, and the 2011 game (my senior year) will be in Morgantown, WV, just about a 3 or so hour drive from home. West Virginia was also one of the other schools that I was considering going to, and had auditioned for. One of my friends from high school, Kinsey, also goes there, among numerous others that I know there from Oakton.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Crossmen-Spirit Bond

One of the things that I really love about the Crossmen is the history and tradition of the corps. It is something that the CAA (Crossmen Alumni Association) as well as vets among the current corps work to teach the rookies (and the CAA helping continue to teach vets, I learn new things all the time). One of the very special things throughout Crossmen history is our special bond with another drum corps, Spirit, as I mentioned a while back. I don't believe that any other corps has the same connection as the Crossmen and Spirit do.

Here is some information about how the bond was formed:

Spirit of Atlanta and Crossmen played for each other after their first show of the 1979 tour in South Dakota, forming a bond immediately. Then they headed further west together. Spirit's buses got far ahead of the convoy. Their equipment truck was blown off the road and the truck/trailer rolled twice and crashed the cab. Luckily, the drivers only suffered a broken rib and some injured fingers. A wrecker was just about to pull the wreckage to the road, which would have destroyed nearly all of the equipment. Just then, the Crossmen buses pulled up and Robby Robinson (the first Crossmen corps director) instructed his corps to "pick it clean." They did just that, taking the equipment into the aisles of their own buses for safe keeping. Out of more than $80,000 of equipment, damages came to only $1,900.

Later on down the road, Spirit was reuinted with their equipment, and a rental truck was acquired to haul it (which later had to be replaced as well).

As tour progressed, Crossmen started losing their buses one by one. One bus died in Utah, forcing Crossmen to cram members onto the 3 remaining buses, and Spirit took the overload. The second bus went in California and those members rode with Spirit all the way to Denver. Then, one of the two remaining buses died, the corps missed a show in Pueblo and slowly drove into Denver for Drums Along the Rockies.

Since then, there has been a large amount of good will between the two corps. They often play combined music following their home drum corps shows. At the end of every tour, each corps gives to one of its members an award honoring the other corps.

Tommy Lee Maddox, a 1979 Spirit member, said of the incident:

"I was on that ride way back in '79. We were beginning to get our 'contest teeth' that year as opposed to being the naive bunch that we were in '77 and '78. We began to look at other corps as opponents that we had to drop, along with the notion that we were to have fun along the way (which we did).

Then we were heading down from Hot Springs, SD, to Stockton, CA, when the equipment truck got blown off the road. X-Men picked up the pieces and helped us move on down the road. Then, when their buses died, we'd pile them on with us. It was a strange growth process for all of us.

Then, in 1980, a couple of days after Jim Ott died on the road, we had our last show of first tour in Centerville, Ohio. In the top spots were us and Crossmen. We, as a group, were pretty worthless and just plain wore out. We did the show that night and even got to play the other corps onto the field for retreat. The drum section played Jimmy Buffet's "Volcano" as the entry music. We were all so slap happy that we just sang along as the other corps paraded onto the field.

So the scores were announced...then he got to second place...paused...and announced that there was a tie between us and Crossmen. We all hollered and cried and rejoiced that our friends had not beat us and that we were going home.

It turned out, so I understand, that Crossmen had won the show by a tenth or so, but Robbie Robinson told them to make it a tie. Us, and our busmates, were a happy clan either way.

Drum corps is a good thing. I am so happy and proud to be part of a good thing."

Here is the article which was printed in "Youth On the March" show in Alton, IL (July 10, 1980).

"Crossmen" Found a "Spirit"....of Friendship

A strong bond of friendship grew last summer between two championship drum & bugle corps who helped each other survive a long trip to California.

The Crossmen from Delaware County, PA and the Spirit of Atlanta from Atlanta, GA literally became one corps off the competition field. They battled hardships, not unlike those faced by early pioneers who settled in the West.

Before heading westward on their own, the two corps had competed in drum corps shows with a half-dozen other corps in eastern and mid-western states.

By the time they returned to their home states, the Crossmen had lost three of four buses and Spirit went through three equipment trucks.

Both corps worked together to over come one setback after another during the three-week tour. Freddy Martin, director of the Atlanta corps, said, "For me, the comradeship that grew between the kids in the two corps was the most meaningful part of the entire summer."

Looking back on the experience, Harold "Robbie" Robinson, director of the Crossmen said, "For the first time in my 27 years in drum corps, I finally felt something in drum corps that I always wanted. I knew we helped them in their hour of need, and they saved the day for us many times in return."

Martin said, "We had to be of help to each other to survive. It was a long trip." the close relationship began late one night in Hot Springs, S.D. the site of the first show on the tour westward.

Crossmen and Spirit were the only members of DCI (the world's top 25 ranked corps) in the show.

"The two corps were out in the middle of nowhere," Robinson said. "We felt then it was going to be a "survival thing" so we might as well have a good relationship."

The corps competed to a crowd of approx. 4,000 people in Hot Springs. After the show, the sponsors left the lights on in the stadium so the corps could perform to each other.

Rarely do corps members get the opportunity to see another corps' show from the concert side of the stands.

"Spirit put on their show and the Crossmen went wild," Robinson remembered "We clapped, joked back and forth and, in general showed our appreciation for their talents.

Then the Crossmen went on the field and did a show for the Spirit kids. After that it was a jam session - the two drum lines got together and played and the two horn lines played. We lingered for about an hour and had a great time.

The next day, both corps headed for California with a planned intermediate stop in Salt Lake City, Utah.

But nothing went as planned.

The two corps traveled together in a massive 14-vehicle convoy of buses, equipment trucks, souvenir vans, trailers and a cooking coach.

Before leaving South Dakota, of the Spirit's bus drivers, "Disco Duck," radioed to Robinson: "Hey Crossmen control, this here is the Disco Duck. We're going to boogie on down the road here."

Robinson answered: "Well you go on. I'm not going to put the pedal to the metal as we might blow our engines. We've got a long way to go on these old babies."

He said the Crossmen buses weren't as new and fast as Sprit's buses, but generally they managed to keep within 20 or 30 miles of each other.

The Spirit buses carrying all of their corps members went ahead of the corps' equipment truck, booster van and the Crossmen caravan.

It was about 10:30 a.m. on June 30. Winds were gusting 40-45 miles an hour across the two lane road, flanked by 15-foot embankments.

Martin said he was riding in the van behind the equipment truck, when suddenly the 13 ½ foot truck literally got blown off of the road. It turned over twice and landed upside down, completely smashing the cab.

"You couldn't even tell it was a truck," Martin said, "Five of us got out of the van. I remembered most vividly telling them to see the two drivers were okay. The top of the cab was completely flattened.

When we got there, the driver was crawling out of the cab. I figured the other driver was dead. He had been sleeping behind the cab.

Fortunately, however, the driver, Paul Clayborn, suffered only a broken rib. The second driver, Jim Clark who was sleeping when the accident occurred, was not seriously injured but almost lost a few fingers.

Martin took the injured drivers to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Robinson had dozed off to sleep for the first time in nearly two days. His wife Charlotte was driving and woke Robinson when they approached the accident.

"I saw a truck up ahead but couldn't make it out right away," he said. "All of a sudden, I saw drum corps equipment over the place."

"We pulled up and I hopped out. I didn't know it but the accident had happened about 15 minutes earlier and a wrecker was there.

The wrecker was about to pull the truck up onto the road. Had he done this, everything would have been destroyed. He would have had to drag the truck over drums and horns. There were three or four Spirit woman trying to pull uniforms out of the wreck."

The Crossmen buses filled with 128 corps members stopped.

"The kids were hanging out the windows with tears running down their faces," Robinson said. "They had started to generate such feelings toward each other the night before in Hot Springs. The kids were thinking, what if that would have been their equipment? What is Spirit going to do??

The driver of the wrecker told Robinson he had to remove the wreck and was going to pull the equipment truck back onto the roadway.

"Give me 10 minutes," Robinson told the driver. He turned to the buses and shouted, "Everybody off the buses and pick this wreck clean!"

The corps members climbed out of the buses. The Crossmen drivers and the entire traveling crew helped gather the equipment.

"They are unbelievable," Robinson said. "The kids ripped open the rest of the truck. It was an instinctive thing. The drummers went for the drums. The color guard went for the flags and uniforms and the horn lone went looking for horns.

The kids took the drums, like they were handling a baby. They took them very gingerly and set them in the aisles of their buses. They put towels, pillows and sleeping bags around them so they wouldn't get scratched. There was gas leaking all over the place I warned everyone not to light a match."

Before long, the Crossmen had picked the wreck clean. When Martin returned, he was handed a box of nuts and bolts the Crossmen members had gathered from the grass. Not one bolt turned up missing!

Out of more than $80,000 in equipment, the total damage came to $1,900, Martin said.

"We had a couple horns ruined, a cracked bass drum and a couple of uniforms damaged, but nothing major," he said. "We went on the rest of the tour and borrowed a bass drum and a pair of cymbals." About 20 miles from the accident, the Spirit buses had pulled to a rest stop where they were met later by Crossmen members.

"Together the corps members took equipment off the Crossmen buses and wiped everything down. We changed a couple of drum head, evaluated the damage, put a lot of the equipment back on our truck and carried it into Salt Lake City where Freddie (Martin) rented a truck," Robinson remarked.

The hazards of the trip, as it turned out had just begun.

The next day, July 1, the corps left for California.

It was in Wendover, Utah, where one of the Crossmen's buses broke down. "The bus is still sitting there in Wendover," said Robinson. "Oddly enough, a Spirit bus got a flat tire not 50 yards in front of us when our bus broke down hopelessly. They put all of their kids on their two other buses and sent them to McDonald's about 50 miles down the road.

The driver of the bus with the flat tire, it just so happened, was the Disco Duck. He changed the tire, took the rest of the Crossmen members and we all rendezvoused at McDonald's. We split up our kids on our three remaining buses and on the California we went."

The Crossmen lost their second bus in California when the clutch went out.

The director of a California corps, the DCI Champion Blue Devils from Concord, sent one of his buses to pick up the stranded Crossmen members.

Robinson said for the long trip home, "Freddie (Martin) brought three of his buses to the school where we were staying and we put about nine or ten of our kids on each one. He hauled 33 of our kids all the way back to Denver."

Down to two buses, the Crossmen's string of bad luck still wasn't over. Just outside of Needles, California, Robinson got a call from the driver of the second bus:

"Hey Robbo!"

Robinson knew something was wrong.

"What's the matter?"....Robinson

"I've got no air pressure."....driver

Luckily, however, Robinson had packed a generator in the Crossmen equipment truck and was able to repair the problem himself. The caravan, minus tow buses continued.

"We blew a hose in Apache Wells, N.M. but got that fixed. That was simple" he said. "But, then all of a sudden, we started getting flat tires. We started with new tires. That's one thing I won't take a chance with.

About 100 miles north of Apache Wells, we had a double blowout and by this time we had gone through every spare tire. The kids were frustrated, but they knew I was just as frustrated. They tried to cheer me up, and Charlotte was always telling me to calm down, and that we'd get everything straightened out.

In fact, at one point, an Amtrak train went by and the kids tried to thumb it down to make the Pueblo show that night. The train just blew its horn" said Robinson.

The most horrifying experience was yet to happen. When the bus was jacked-up to change the last tires, the jack slipped and the bus nearly landed on top of Robinson!

"That's the closest I'd ever come to being killed in all my life. I shot out from underneath that bus like a rocket when I heard it starting to go," he said.

Once the tire was replaced, the two buses hobbled for the next 100 miles at about 20 miles an hour.

The corps never made it to the Pueblo show.

"When we got into Denver, everyone just took a deep breath and went to sleep," Robinson said. "I had been up about 80 hours straight.

When I got to the Denver show that night, I must have looked like death warmed over. Don Pesceonoe [Executive Director of DCI] walked up and looked at me and took my hand like a baby. There must have been six inches of grease on my hand and my fingernails had disappeared."

"My God, what are we doing to each other? Are you all right?" Pesceone asked.

Robinson smiled and said, "Yeah, sure! This is great."

The rest of the Crossmen's trip home was relatively quiet.

"Too many people think of DCI as on the competitiveness, which it is, but this experience is what I want out of drum corps. Sure I want a good drum corps and the kids do too, but they've learned to help their fellow man and in turn, were repaid that favor many times over. The kids will never forget that experience," said Robbie.

The Spirit of Atlanta staff members will never forget the trip west either.

"Our corps is a relatively new corps, being only three years old," Martin said. "The trip was a growing experience for the kids. They learned to cope with problems and share with others."

At the Spirit of Atlanta annual banquet last fall, one member was presented an awarded for being the most dependable and helpful corps member.

The award - to be given annually - was named "The Crossmen Award."

The bond still continues to this day. In 2004, the Crossmen and Spirit hornlines combined and played each others corps songs (Russian Christmas Music for the Crossmen, and Georgia On My Mind for Spirit) with each other, both hornlines playing together. Also in 2004, Spirit just missed making finals, ending up in 13th place. During finals retreat (when every corps that marched in finals, the top 12, is on the field and has 10 yards to stand and do what they want within the 10 yards design wise), the Crossmen created a delta, which is Spirit's insignia, on the field with the contras. In 2005 when the reverse happened, and Crossmen missed finals and were in 14th place, and Spirit was in finals, Spirit returned the favor by creating a Maltese Cross (Crossmen's insignia) with the all of the horns from the hornline. In 2007 they did the same thing with the low brass instruments and they had the new Crossmen in Texas flag along with an aussie (what we wear on our head as part of the uniform. It is NOT a hat...haha) that they borrowed from us.

In 2008, after both corps semifinals performances (and both knew that they weren't going to be performing the next day in finals, Spirit placing 15th, Crossmen 13th), both corps gathered back in the warm up area and the hornlines of both corps played their corps song. That was a very memorable moment of the past summer. The next night at finals, Crossmen members wore a blue teardrop and Spirit members a red teardrop by their right eyes in support for each other. 2008 was the first time that neither corps was in finals since both corps were founded and the bond was formed (Spirit was formed in 1977, Crossmen in 1975).

Here is a picture that I took during finals retreat in 07, as well as a couple videos of the corps playing for each other this past August on semi's night. The first is Crossmen playing Russian Christmas Music, the second is Spirit playing Georgia On My Mind.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mike the Tiger

One of the unique things about LSU is our pride in our mascot, Mike the Tiger. Yes, the tiger is a very common mascot (also being that of Auburn, Missouri, and Clemson, to name a few), but here, we also have a real live tiger, Mike VI, on campus. He lives in a habitat built for him in between the PMAC and Tiger Stadium. There are a lot of traditions and lots of history surrounding Mike the Tiger, here is some taken off of the LSU Sports website.

LSU's Live Tiger Mascot, Mike VI


Mike the Tiger, the famed live Bengal Tiger serves as the graphic image of all LSU athletic teams, resides between Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

In 2005, a new environment (gallery) was created for Mike that is 15,000 square feet in size with lush planting, a large live oak tree, a beautiful waterfall and a stream evolving from a rocky backdrop overflowing with plants and trees. The habitat has, as a backdrop, an Italianate tower - a campanile - that creates a visual bridge to the Italianate architectural vernacular that is the underpinning of the image of the entire beautiful LSU campus. This spectacular new habitat features state-of-the-art technologies, research, conservation and husbandry programs, as well as educational, interpretive and recreational activities. It is, in essence, one of the largest and finest Tiger habitats in the United States.

Mike's ride through Tiger Stadium before home games in a cage topped by the LSU cheerleaders is a school tradition. Before entering the stadium, his cage on wheels is parked next to the opponent's lockerroom in the southeast end of the stadium. Opposing players must make their way past Mike's cage to reach their locker room.

Tradition dictates that for every growl elicited by Mike before a football game, the Tigers will score a touchdown that night. For many years, Mike was prompted to roar by pounding on the cage. Objections of cruel punishment brought about the use of recorded growls to play to the crowd before the games. That practice was discontinued shortly afterward and, today, Mike participates in the pregame tradition without provocation.

The Tiger mascot stopped traveling with the LSU team in 1970 when his cage overturned on Airline Highway in an accident en route to a game. Mike IV traveled four times in recent years, though, as he appeared at a Mardi Gras parade in 1984, the 1985 Sugar Bowl and LSU's basketball games in the Superdome. Mike V made his first road trip in December 1991 to the Louisiana Superdome to witness the LSU men's basketball team with Shaquille O'Neal defeat Texas, 84-83.

In the mid-1980's, pranksters cut the locks on Mike IV's cage and freed him in the early-morning hours just days before the annual LSU-Tulane clash. Mike roamed free, playfully knocking down several small pine trees in the area, before being trapped in the Bernie Moore Track Stadium where police used tranquilizer guns to capture and return the Bengal Tiger to his home.

The incident was reminiscent of a kidnapping of Mike I many years ago by Tulane students before a Tiger-Green Wave battle.

Birthdate: July 23, 2005 (named “Roscoe”)
Donated by: Great Cats of Idaville, Ind.
Heritage: Bengal/Siberian mix
Weight: approx. 300 lbs.; may reach 700 lbs. as an adult
Arrived in Baton Rouge: August 25, 2007
First Public Appearance: September 1, 2007
Designated as Mike VI: September 8, 2007

Thoughts of the state of Indiana may produce images of Bobby Knight, Peyton Manning, John Mellencamp or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the minds of LSU supporters, the Hoosier State will now also be remembered as the source of the university’s new live tiger mascot, Mike VI.

The two-year-old Bengal/Siberian mix, formerly known as “Roscoe,” was donated to LSU last month by Great Cats of Idaville, Ind., a nonprofit sanctuary and rescue facility for big cats and other large carnivores. LSU veterinarian Dr. David Baker began the search for the young tiger after his predecessor, Mike V, died in May of renal failure at the age of 17.

“We were looking for a tiger that was suitable both in appearance and in temperament,” Baker explained. “We wanted a tiger that was confident and not fearful. When this tiger first entered his enclosure on campus, there was no sign of fear or apprehension. This tiger is full of vigor and enthusiasm and affection. I expect that he will grow into an excellent mascot.”

Mike VI arrived in Baton Rouge on August 25, and he was originally scheduled to be quarantined for two weeks in the “night house” of his habitat across the street from Tiger Stadium. However, the quarantine period was reduced to just one week after it became apparent to Baker that Mike had adjusted quickly to his new surroundings.

Mike VI was released into the outside portion of his habitat on September 1, making his first public appearance before a throng of adoring LSU fans. He was officially designated as the successor to Mike V on September 8, when LSU played host to Virginia Tech. Six days later, on Sept. 14, 2007, a ceremony was held to honor Mike V and dedicate the habitat to Mike VI (photos).

“Think of a 10-year-old boy who has been moved from away from his family into completely new surroundings, and it gives you an idea of what this tiger has experienced,” Baker said. “It can be extremely stressful; however, he remained completely healthy during his quarantine period and has adjusted very well to life at LSU.”

The university does anticipate that Mike VI will attend some home games this season as he becomes more comfortable with his new environment. For the moment, fans can admire the great cat’s power and grace as he playfully roams about his habitat.

“I would describe him as awesome,” Baker said of Mike VI, “and that’s a word I don’t use very often.”


Mike V was donated by Dr. Thomas and Caroline Atchison of the Animal House Zoological Park in Moulton, Ala. Avid LSU supporter Charles Becker, a member of the LSU booster group the Tammany Tigers, put Dr. Sheldon Bivin of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine in touch with the Atchisons. Bivin traveled to Alabama and brought the baby tiger back to Baton Rouge. Born Oct. 18, 1989, the new tiger was introduced to LSU fans at a basketball game against Alabama in February of 1990. He officially began his reign on April 30, 1990, when he was moved into the tiger habitat across from Tiger Stadium. Mike V died on May 18, 2007, at the age of 17.


Mike IV reigned over Tiger athletics for 14 years after being donated to the school by August A. Busch III from the Dark Continent Amusement Park in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 29, 1976. Born on May 15, 1974, Mike's age and health were determining factors in his retirement to the Baton Rouge Zoo in 1990. The centerpiece of the Zoo's cat exhibit, Mike weighed in at 500 pounds. His only hiatus from the LSU campus before 1990 was the summer of 1981 which he spent at the Little Rock Zoo while his cage was being refurbished. Ironically, the Little Rock Zoo was the birthplace of Mike I. Mike IV died of natural causes in March of 1995 at the age of 21.


Just in time for the 1958 national championship season, Mike III was purchased from the Seattle Zoo following a "national search" by then-athletics director Jim Corbett. The student body contributed $1,500 for the purchase of the tiger. Mike III served as mascot for 18 seasons, dying after the only losing season of his reign as LSU posted a 5-6 record in 1975.


Served a brief reign, lasting only the 1957 season, before dying of pneumonia in the spring of 1958. He was born at the Audubon Park Zoo near the Tulane campus in New Orleans.


In 1936, the original Mike was purchased from the Little Rock Zoo for $750, with money contributed by the student body. Originally known as "Sheik" at the time of his purchase, his name was changed to Mike for Mike Chambers who served as LSU's athletic trainer when the first mascot was purchased.

Chambers had played football at Illinois where he blocked for the legendary Red Grange.

The first Mike was housed in the Baton Rouge Zoo for one year before a permanent home was constructed near Tiger Stadium. Mike I reigned for 20 years before dying of pneumonia in the midst of a six-game LSU losing streak in 1957.

Fearing the LSU faithful would give up hope upon the death of the mascot, Mike's death was not made public until the Tigers finally ended the losing streak.

LSU's Mascot

The live Bengal Tiger whose habitat lies across the street from Tiger Stadium has been a part of the LSU tradition since the early days of athletics in Baton Rouge (Nov. 21, 1936). Meanwhile, his two-legged furry costumed counterpart that stalks the sidelines of LSU athletics events has been on campus since the 1950s.

Mike travels throughout the country with many of the Tiger teams, while also making public appearances to promote LSU athletics in Baton Rouge and surrounding communities.

Mike was named "Most Collegiate Mascot" at the UCA Collegiate Camp held on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa both in 2002 and 2003.

Mike appears in television commercials annually, including an ESPN College Football Game Day commercial, and ESPN Sports Center commercial featuring Mike being rescued from a tree by former LSU great Shaquille O'Neal, and an advertisement for Tippen Motor Homes.

The Nickname: "Fighting Tigers"

Way back in the fall of 1896, coach A.W. Jeardeau's LSU football team posted a perfect 6-0 record, and it was in that pigskin campaign that LSU first adopted its nickname, Tigers.

"Tigers" seemed a logical choice since most collegiate teams in that year bore the names of ferocious animals, but the underlying reason why LSU chose Tigers dates back to the Civil War.

According to Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr., PhD. and the "Guide to Louisiana Confederate Military Units, 1861-1865" (LSU Press, 1989), the name Louisiana Tigers evolved from a volunteer company nicknamed the Tiger Rifles, which was organized in New Orleans. This company became a part of a battalion commanded by Major Chatham Roberdeau Wheat and was the only company of that battalion to wear the colorful Zouave uniform. In time, Wheat's entire battalion was called the Tigers.

That nickname in time was applied to all of the Louisiana troops of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The tiger symbol came from the famous Washington Artillery of New Orleans. A militia unit that traces its history back to the 1830s, the Washington Artillery had a logo that featured a snarling tiger's head. These two units first gained fame at the Battle of First Manassas on July 21, 1861. Major David French Boyd, first president of LSU after the war, had fought with the Louisiana troops in Virginia and knew the reputation of both the Tiger Rifles and Washington Artillery.

Thus when LSU football teams entered the gridiron battlefields in their fourth year of intercollegiate competition, they tagged themselves as the "Tigers."

It was the 1955 LSU "Fourth-Quarter Ball Club" that helped the moniker "Tigers" grow into the nickname, "Fighting Tigers."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pachelbel Rant

I just came across this video. It cracked me up the whole time. I do understand where he is coming from, though, as the trombones sometimes get the same treatment. And for sure the french horns do when it comes to marches. This is a great video, hope you enjoy! I know I did! I couldn't stop laughing!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Secretary of the Arts?

Here is an interesting article I came across earlier today. I find it an interesting idea, and there are many valid points made throughout the article. I think that many of you would like to read it as well.

A Secretary of the Arts ... it's music to his ears

Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 19, 2009 at 9:50 a.m.

We all get asked to sign petitions from time to time, for everything from politicians trying to get their names on a ballot to proposals to fix roads, support baseball, go green or some crazier, half-baked ideas.

In our newsroom, employees are discouraged from signing petitions because we don't want to seem biased for or against a candidate or an issue that we may end up having to cover at some point in the future.

Today's seemingly simple petition drive can turn into tomorrow's controversy.

Then I got an e-mail petition forwarded to me last week designed to encourage Barack Obama to create a new Secretary of the Arts soon after he takes the oath of office on Tuesday. The petition drive was supposedly triggered by a comment that musician and producer Quincy Jones made in an interview after the election. Jones is quoted as saying that the "next conversation I have with President Obama is to beg for a Secretary of Arts."

In a time of financial upheaval, I don't see this happening in the near future. The pessimist in me doesn't see it happening in my lifetime.

But forget reality for a moment, like the cost of creating a new agency for which the government has no money.

It is a wonderful idea on a number of levels.

Don't dwell on the thought of more bureaucracy, but consider the possibilities of having someone with some real authority to speak up in support of the arts that enrich all our lives.

Yes, we have a National Endowment for the Arts and a National Endowment for the Humanities, but these woefully underfunded agencies have been slashed to shells of their once glorious selves in the last decade.

The two agencies have been a lifeblood to artists and arts organizations bringing culture to communities large and small outside the urban centers.

This nation needs more.

Yes, we have some major problems that need fixing, from unemployment to health care to deteriorating roadways and concerns about schools.

But creating such a new position could be a start to building our appreciation and awareness of what the arts do for our souls and intelligence, and how we look at the world around us.

We also can't forget the financial contribution arts organizations make to their communities by getting people out of their homes and into restaurants and other businesses. Arts organizations create jobs for artists, designers, actors, musicians, dancers and others, and they spend money for supplies that help support other businesses before each opening of a show or event.

More importantly, at least in my mind, a Secretary of the Arts could be some sort of national cheerleader for the arts, to make sure that communities and school districts around the country realize how important arts are to our lives and our education system. I shudder to think of the number of children who haven't been exposed to any kind of music because their schools can't afford the teachers or the instruments, and what they lose out on in the future. Studies have frequently shown that students learn better if their studies include the arts.

President-elect Obama actually had a strongly worded platform about the arts, which said, in part: "To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children's creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education."

That's music to my ears.

But it requires a change in attitude among millions who have never had that kind of exposure or realized the value the arts can have their lives and therefore have not supported the use of tax monies to help strengthen our education system and our communities.

Will this ever happen? Well, where would the arts be without the dreamers who see things that could happen?

I don't know if the petition drive will lead to anything, but you can find it at

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back To School

After a month off from anything academic, I am now back at LSU and classes have started again. It was nice relaxing while it lasted, though I did miss being here with all my friends down here and everything (oh, and the warmer weather...highs have been in the mid-upper 50's and we're forecast to be in the low 60's next week).

Over the break, I had to travel back down here and then over to Atlanta for the Chick Fil'A bowl. It was a great game, a great win for our football team 38-3 over Georgia Tech after a very disappointing 7-5 regular season. In the final polls we did not end up being ranked, but we did receive a fair number of votes.

Here are two pictures from the game. The second one is the Georgia Tech band in the stands and what fans remained towards the end of the 3rd quarter across the stadium from the LSU section (which ended up being only like maybe 15-20% AT MOST) and the first is the LSU section on the bottom level.