Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lipton 2013 Bowling's U.S. Open - Notes on the Finalists

image source:
From left to right - Jason Belmonte, Pete Weber, Marshall Kent, Wes Malott, Kelly Kulick, Liz Johnson, Diandra Asbaty, Danielle McEwen.

Yesterday, this year's Bowling U.S. Open in Columbus, Ohio was the first of its kind to be open in 3 centers - Columbus Western Bowl, Wayne Webb Columbus Bowl, and Holiday Lanes.

What wasn't mentioned but very visible on the jerseys the finalists wore: 7 of the 8 bowlers are sponsored by Storm Bowling. The only non-Storm bowler, Wes Malott, is sponsored by Roto Grip and a member of Storm Nation. Storm Bowling purchased the Roto Grip brand name in 1997.

As I wrote in my August 26, 2012 blog entry "Bowlers in the Family", the bowling community is very closely connected. Some facts about the finalists in this year's tournament confirm their closeness:
  • Liz Johnson (Women's Division) and Wes Malott (Men's Division), today's champions, each earned $50,000. The Battle of Sexes match that followed after their championship matches was a PBA semi-final rematch from the 2005 Banquet Open. Liz defeated Wes, but lost in the final match to Tommy Jones. Liz earned an additional $10,000 for defeating Wes a second time.
  • Pete Weber, son of Dick Weber. 
  • Jason Belmonte and Diandra Asbaty are 2 of the 3 founders of the bowling experience group - International Art of Bowling.
  • Marshall Kent and Danielle McEwan are Team U.S.A. members and entered the U.S. Open as amateurs. Marshall is a student at Robert Morris University and Danielle attends Fairleigh Dickinson University. The romantic in me thinks it's very sweet that they are also boyfriend and girlfriend. Both of their Twitter profiles show pictures of them together.
To me, it's beyond awesome that Danielle and Marshall made the U.S. Open finals at the same time. I've become a fan. Danielle is 21, Marshall is 20 and excited to know they will be a big part of professional bowling's future.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lipton 2013 Bowling's U.S. Open - Columbus, Ohio

image source: Xtra Frame

Tomorrow is my sister Cindy's birthday. It's also the start of one of the world's biggest professional bowling tournaments, the Lipton 2013 U.S. Open in Columbus, Ohio, where she lives.

That's not all. The tournament will be held in 3 bowling centers: Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl (host facility), Columbus Western Bowl, and, drum roll please, Holiday Lanes in Whitehall (as shown on the PBA schedule). Whitehall is where I grew up.

Holiday Lanes holds a very special place in my heart for many reasons. As a kid, I bowled there in the 1960's until the early 1980's. It was open 24 hours a day and had 56 lanes in 3 sections. Dad rented a locker there to store his 16-pound Ebonite Gyro. When we were on summer vacation from school, Cindy, Sherman and I bowled there Sunday nights. After Dad and a few of his restaurant staff got off work, they would meet up with us. With sore thumbs and limbs from bowling countless games, we'd then go to breakfast at Western Pancake House (near Eastland Mall).

From one of the Sunday nights bowling, a female night manager taught me how to use my thumb for aim and a 4-step delivery (which I still use today). From their pro shop, I got my first bowling ball. It was a 12-pound, hot pink, plastic Columbia 300. I bought it to bowl in my first formal league from work at The Limited (now Limited Brands) while I was a student at Ohio State. On my last visit to Columbus, I drove there to see it and parked for a few minutes to reminisce. Had I packed my ball and shoes, I definitely would have gotten out to bowl a few practice games.

I'd love to be there in person to watch. But as I can't, the next best way would be to check out the free trial subscription at Xtra Frame and watch from the luxury of my cushy recliner. If so inclined while reclined, you can get started with the promotional video here:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Freakin' Fantastic Outing - Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

image source:

Tonight, Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants pitched his first no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Final score: Giants 9, Padres 0.

Timmy's no-hitter is the 7th in San Francisco Giants history (15th in franchise history) and the first no-hitter in San Diego's Petco Park. The previous no-hitter was Matt Cain's perfect game on June 13, 2012. Buster Posey caught both games and makes him the first catcher in Giants history to catch 2 no-hitters.

Backed by some terrific defensive plays from right fielder Hunter Pence and 3rd baseman Pablo Sandoval, it took Tim 148 pitches to complete his game. He walked 4 and struck out 13 batters.

Here's video of all 27 outs and the on field celebration.

Two Cy Young Awards, 2 World Series Championships and now, a no-hitter. Pretty impressive for someone who just turned 29 last month. Way to go, Timmy. I'm sure your dad Chris couldn't be any prouder.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Asiana Airlines Flight 214

image source: ABC News

Yesterday, the world got news from the city I call home when a Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed at San Francisco International Airport. While any airplane crash is serious, this one could have been a lot worse. Confirmed on Flight 214: 291 passengers and 16 crew members. As I write this blog entry, 2 confirmed deaths (2 Chinese teenage girls), and 49 injured. The flight originated in Shanghai, made a stop in Seoul and final destination to San Francisco.

Despite SFO being one of the busiest airports in the world with delays and closures due to fog and/or rain, plane crashes at SFO don't happen often. The last plane crash was in June 2008, where an ABX cargo plane caught on fire. The pilots escaped uninjured. The last crash with fatalities (all 3 on board were killed) was in December, 1964. The highest number of fatalities, 19, was in October, 1953.*

For those who have never flown on a plane or have a fear of flying, the above statistics reinforce airplane crashes are rare. Especially when you take into account how many flights around the world take off and land without incident on a daily basis.

My biggest worry when it comes to flying - the gate to where I need to catch a connection is on the other end of the terminal. Or worse, if the connection is at a completely different terminal. The comfy slip-ons you thought would ensure a speedy and uneventful trip through security are about to get a real test "run".

*news source: Bill Van Niekerken, San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Simon's Cat in Gromit Unleashed

image source: Simon's Cat

Several years ago, I came across a YouTube animated video that reminded me so much of Jawa, a Snowshoe cat that I once co-parented with an ex-boyfriend.

After finding a series of other charming videos with the same cat, I found out the animator is Simon Tofield and became a Google+ follower of Simon's Cat.

So this morning, when I see on my Google+ page Simon's Cat and my favorite claymation pooch Gromit together, it was a match made in animated heaven.

The latest video (see below) features Mr. Tolfield sketching his perpetually hungry kitty on a giant sculpture of Gromit to help raise funds for Aardman's (the animation studio for Wallace and Gromit) children's charity.

And in case you're curious (as cats notoriously are), here's the video, "Cat Man Do" that started it all for Simon's Cat: