You never know what pictures your friends will find


Facebook and the Internet are funny things.  Even without the NSA Spying on you, you never know what information and pictures of you are going to come up.

Over the past few months – I have seen some pretty good ones of me appear online.  In some of them, I never even knew the pictures existed, but in today’s case – I remember exactly where and when, but for the life of me…I am amazed the person had it. 

The picture in question was July 20th 1990, and it is taken of me on top of the Berlin Wall. 

Two friends and I (Hooper and Huck) had traveled all the way from Ansbach Germany to Berlin (via the Helmstead-Marienborn border crossing, aka Checkpoints Alpha and Bravo) to see Roger Waters’ The Wall Concert held on Potsdam Platz.  We had driven almost 24 hours and were out exploring the city.  I had actually bought that hat at the Brandenburg Gate – and somewhere I have a picture of my hammering on the Wall as well (it was tougher than you think).  Sadly, a lot of my pictures are gone now (long story) – so I am super grateful to EAdams for finding and posting this one.  It brought back a lot of memories, enough that I thought I would repay the favor to a few friends…..just in case they forgot some of our adventures:


@JPlace23 should remember us being on ESPN while we were at the ND/BC Game.   I wish I had a picture of you as Elvis.



Even though Russ posted this, I don’t want it to get lost – me in medieval garb (having my shoulder learned on by the gentleman in Blue) Russ has his

back to the camera.


How about @GingerMeatloaf being the baggage man in Amsterdam?


Speaking of Amsterdam – I can honestly say @Rophic did not buy anything here….but the picture was to good to pass up.


One weekend I will never forget – running accross Baggs at Camp Thunderbird.  Well, I wish I could forget it 😉


Here is JDecker in the cheapest costume I have ever seen….a Kato Mask.


Of course, I have many others – some that even “Unshareable” here.  Maybe someday I will just create an album of them and let others add to it.  It definitely would make great barroom conversation.

I hope you enjoy….and watch out what you take pictures of.




Google is entering Education – Will the World be the same?


One of the latest trends in online education are MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses.  MOOCs are online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the internet. In File:MOOC poster mathplourde.jpgaddition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide an interactive user forum that help build a community for students, and instructors.

While still in its infancy, there are already several companies that starting to get their head around this idea from non-profit organizations such The Khan Academy and duoLingo (which I already blogged about HERE), to the “For Profit” groups such as Coursera and Udemy.  In fact, Universities are starting to pick up on this and create content that is deliverable – and usually free.  In some cases, you even receive a Certificate of Completion (usually for a fee – such as the University of Maryland and its ).  I currently am in taking Building an Information Risk Management Toolkit from University of Washington (via Coursera). I personally find it interesting and easy way to keep my continuing education going.


I now think things are going to change, as Google is starting to get involved – and we know what the end result usually is.

First, Google announced their  “Making Sense of Data” MOOC, running from March 18th through April 4th.  The aim of the course is to teach the general public how to understand surveys, research and data – plus teach students how to uses Google Fusion Tables.  Those who complete the do have the option to receive recognition via a Certificate of Completion.

Here is the intro vid to pique your interests, or you can sign up at


The next foray into MOOCs from Google is a little more under the radar – Oppia, and interactive online activities tool that will enable students to learn by doing (remember 70/20/10?).  An open source project with moderate funding from Google, allows teachers to create a learning paths called “Explorations” for students called that recognizes answers and reacts to them.  As a Collaborative and OpenSource project, others can create content and tools that help drive the product forward.



Education continues to change – from content to delivery.  As more and more Universities test the water by contributing content, and organizations such as Google begin backing the process, we really are starting to branch out and provide a great experience at low (or no) cost to students all over the world. 

I can’t imagine what things will be like with @JAM_Bell gets to college – as even his dream school, the University of Notre Dame, is offering free MOOC style resources through the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

@Jam_Bell and NotreDame Guy


Ok – its Theme Thursday, and today’s theme appears to be Calvin and Hobbes.

First we had a possible reappearance of Calvin.

Then we have have Hobbes and Bacon.

Now we have @JAM_Bell and NotreDame Guy. 

NotreDame Guy (and yes, that is his name) actually appeared BEFORE @JAM_Bell as a gift we bought before he was born.  He quite literally was @JAM_Bell’s first toy.

Growing up, @JAM_Bell couldn’t say Leprechaun – so the name just evolved to NotreDame Guy.  They became fast friends, and NDG was around through many many a Notre Dame game – as @JAM_Bell and I would cheer the Irish to victory, or console each other in defeat. 

Over the years, NDG has become an integral part of our family…with him being one the first things always packed when we go on trips, and one spotted whenever you see @JAM_Bell sleeping.  I fondly remember many a panicked evening – when NDG would be off on his own adventures and had to be found before bedtime.  Ahh – the life of a Leprechaun. 

I will admit, I have looked for a replacement a few times from NDG.  Not because of lack of love – but due to the wear and tear of 12 hard years of living.  I cannot begin to count the numbers of stitches and repairs he has endured.  If you apply the old adage that a well worn book is a cherished on, then NDG is the most loved toy in the world. 

When I was packing up the house before we moved to RVa, I came across that #7 jersey in the picture.  It was fun to place it next to @JAM_Bells jersey at the time.  It brought a tear to my eye to see how much (and how quickly) my little boy had grown up.  Its now framed in his room – and will undoubtedly be one of those cherished possessions he passes down to his own child.  But I like to think that the Hobbes and Bacon comic strip hits home a little closer – where he pulls out NDG for a few more adventures, ones to be had with my Grandchildren.  I hope I am around to see it – but regardless…I will be smiling.


Guess who is older than Sliced Bread?


This morning @SassyShae posted and article called 8 Surprising Historical Facts That Will Change Your Concept Of Time Forever and I found it very interesting, so much so – that I wanted to focus on one of the facts.

Now, you might have missed back in July 2013, that “Sliced Bread” turned 85 years old.  Pretty amazing right?  Also, a pretty neat use of technology.  Added bonus, it was invented in Missouri – so a lot of my friends will find the history useful during Trivia Nights.

But did you know – Betty White is OLDER than sliced bread?  That is right, Betty was born in 1922 – thereby spending at least 6 years eating manually cut bread.  And now we know how she got her eternal good looks.

Now – enjoy, the rest of the story.

E –


Happy Birthday, Sliced Bread! The ‘Greatest Thing’ Turns 85 This Week

Good thinking, Otto Frederick Rohwedder.

Derek Thompson Jul 9 2013, 4:51 PM ET



Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 4.03.13 PM.png

On July 7, 1928, Missouri’s Chillicothe Baking Company made history by selling the first wrapped package of sliced bread in history.

What took so long?

It starts with the whole wrapping-the-loaf thing. Sliced bread goes stale remarkably quickly, as anybody who’s forgotten to tie that little wire thing around a plastic bread bag has learned a million times already. So the trick is inventing a machine that cuts the bread finely while efficiently and securely wrapping the entire loaf.

In 1912, Otto Frederick Rohwedder, a jeweler from Missouri, solved the problem. He invented prototype of a machine that could both slice and wrap a loaf of bread … only to see his invention destroyed in a fire. Fifteen years and a few tweaks later, he filed this patent, the first ever for a “MACHINE FOR SLICING AN ENTIRE LOAF OF BREAD AT A SINGLE LOCATION.”


At first bakers were not impressed, Don Voorhees explained in Why Do Donuts Have Holes?: Fascinating Facts About What We Eat And Drink. The machine failed in aesthetics where it succeeded in convenience, “[producing] loaves that did not sell because they were sloppy looking.” Sliced bread needed a makeover before families realized how great it was …

Enter one Gustav Papendick. The St. Louis baker brought Rohwedder’s second machine in 1928 and perfected it. His improved design packaged the sliced loaves in cardboard trays, keeping the bread neat and orderly, and wrapped it in wax paper.

The first commercial bakery to try a bread-slicing machine was the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri. Sales weren’t fast and furious, though. Bakeries were skeptical about the public’s acceptance of presliced bread. They thought that the drawbacks of having to buy new equipment and having to wrap the bread right away to keep the slices together might not be worth the trouble. After all, what if this pre sliced bread thing was just a passing fad? Would people really buy bread that would get stale faster just so they wouldn’t have to slice it themselves?

Apparently the bakers weren’t very farsighted. Presliced bread went national when Wonder introduced it to the country in 1930.

You know the rest. Except for a brief ban on presliced bread at the end of the Second World War (to preserve both food and metal for soldiers), the invention stimulated America’s love affair with loaves. And as Americans ate more breads, Voorhees noted, they also ate more spreads: butter, jams, jellies, and so on.

So, two business lessons from sliced bread for the road. First, all innovation is tweaking. Rohwedder’s prototype couldn’t sell until Papendick perfected it, and presliced bread didn’t go mainstream until Wonder Bread took it national two years later. Second, never make a financial bet against American laziness. Bakers who thought American families wouldn’t want a service that saved them seconds at the kitchen counter clearly didn’t understand the time demands of American families.