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Drew and Will's pack disbanded and they joined a new one that's a bit larger as can be seen by the increased number of cars (34) in this year's Pinewood Derby race.
First up, Will in lane number 3.
Will won 4 of 6 heats with the green car coming in first or second with him each time.
Will had the fastest average time over all 6 heats for the Bears. He beat the green car, number 27, by just 2/100ths of a second.
Next up was Drew in lane number 3. This is Drew's last year participating in the Pinewood Derby so he's hoping to end on a high note.
Drew won every one of his heats against the other Webelos. The gold and silver cars were always behind him, in that order.
Drew had the fastest average time for the evening by a pretty comfortable margin. The gold car, number 26, took second overall. But, the real story was third place. Look back at Will's time: 3.7984. Now, look at the time for the third place car above, number 2: 3.7994. Will beat him out by just 1/1000th (one/one-thousandth) of a second! (There were a lot of other heats, but all the fastest cars were in Drew and Will's groups.)
Drew and Will with their 1st and 3rd place trophies. The boys really dialed in their designs this year. They decided what shape to make their cars, where to put the wheels, where to put the weights and, of course, the paint and decorations, as well as doing all the sanding and most of the painting. Most importantly, they moved the weights forward more evenly over the rear axle than behind it to avoid the problems they had last year.
Drew's red car and Will's silver and blue number 8 car (he chose it since he's 8 years old). Drew didn't want to put any decals, decorations, numbers, or anything on his car...just plain red. I guess it worked!
Our two oldest sons, Drew and Will, are going to be featured in a new CBS prime-time sitcom, The McCarthys, premiering this Thursday, October 30, at 8:30 central time. More accurately, a photo of the boys I took will be predominately featured and on display in the background during the series.
This is a screen grab from the first episode. Two of the characters are twins but one of them is bigger than the other and the picture of our boys is supposed to be of them when they were young.
Look for the photo starting at 1:33 in the YouTube video (you can also see it occasionally in the background).
I got tickets when they first went on sale. The seats were straight on just a few rows off the floor but still quite a distance from the stage.
Earlier today an opportunity presented itself to pick up some floor seats, dead center, just a handful of rows from the stage, for a bargain price.
I gave my original tickets to a co-worker and waited to surprise Mary with her new Bublé-sweat-catching seats.
Mary got suspicious as we walked past the entryway to the section of our original seats.
Once we got passed the floor ushers, Mary knew something was up.
Her surprise turned to joy as we walked up closer and closer to the stage.
During the concert Bublé sang a couple of songs from a second stage at the opposite end of the arena. He walked right by us, just arms distance away. I had to quickly decide whether to try and high-five him or take some crappy pics. I went with the latter.
Mary is the big Bublé fan so I went in with no particular expectations, which is always a good thing.
I must say, the man can sing. The concert was awesome.
Bublé sang his last song a cappella to a mostly silent area.
According to Wikipedia, Bublé's setlist for the night was:
2. Haven't Met You Yet
3. Try a Little Tenderness
4. You Make Me Feel So Young
6. Come Dance with Me
7. Feeling Good
8. Instrumental (Team Buble)
9. I've Got the World on a String
11. That's All
12. Close Your Eyes
13. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
15. Get Lucky
16. Who's Lovin' You (performed with Naturally 7)
17. I Want You Back" (performed with Naturally 7)
18. To Love Somebody" (performed with Naturally 7)
19. All You Need is Love
20. Burning Love
21. It's a Beautiful Day
22. Cry Me a River
23. Save the Last Dance for Me
24. A Song for You
With Aunt Donelda in town for Will's birthday, we took advantage of the great weather and all went to Muskogee's River Country water park.
We spent most of our time on the Willow Creek lazy river.
But, we also ventured out to the Whoop'n Holler Hollow water slides...
...the Crawdad Corner water playground...
...and even the Gator Walk obstacle course.
But, we only got the camera out for the lazy river ride.
We all had a great time in the sun and water.
We broke for a little lunch at Bait Shop and then got right back to it.
The boys really enjoyed spending the day with Aunt Donelda.
This evening we all headed out to see the Tulsa River Parks fireworks display and, thanks to our matching patriotic t-shirts and adorable children, channel 8 news stopped to interview us for a montage about people's thoughts on the meaning of the 4th of July.
Landon couldn't get through the inflatable obstacle course fast enough and would dart off at the end to go get into line again.
Will was Landon's obstacle course partner. They had a great time racing each other.
Drew braved the challenge of the Vertical Extreme.
I'm sure the climbing wall looked even higher from Drew's vantage point.
It wasn't easy, but Drew never gave up, and made it up to the top!
And, then the fireworks began. A nice symmetrical double bloom.
A pretty cool spherical explosion.
A nice shot showing the ground works on the 23rd street bridge.
A single with a tail.
There's a lot going on in this one.
I like the semi-random squiggly nature of this one.
This one is my favorite. It looks the most floral to me.
I like how this one looks like a sea anemone and the color is really unique too.
This one is really unique, not sure if I've shot one like this before.
This one is rather psychedelic.
Rather ordinary, but I thought the dispersal of the blue and white was interesting in how it differs between the two.
Starting to get close to the finale.
A few seconds of the grand finale. Happy 4th of July!
Today is the 75th anniversary of the greatest sports related speech ever made and one of the greatest speeches of all time by a truly great man. After one of the indisputably greatest baseball players of all time had his career cut short by ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) he stood before his fans and declared himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth" who had merely "been given a bad break."
There is not a professional sports player, Hollywood celebrity or everyday man or woman who could not learn something from the humble grace displayed by Lou Gehrig.
"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans."
"Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky."
"When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift--that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies--that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter--that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body--it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed--that's the finest I know."
"So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you."
--Lou Gehrig at Yankee Stadium, July 4, 1939
Read more about Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium at ESPN. Click on the MLB logo above for the league's video tribute. Or, consider making a donation to the ALS Association.
Our neighborhood had its annual 4th of July parade this morning. Everyone decorated their bike, scooters, and other means of transportation and followed a fire truck from our local fire station around our neighborhood to our park.
The boys got to go inside and on top of the fire truck.
For the grand finale, the firemen hosed everyone down. Happy 4th of July!
We signed the boys up for swim lessons with a new instructor and, as luck would have it, there were no other students that signed up for the session so the boys each got individualized one-on-one lessons. They are becoming quite the little swimmers.
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Dad Central Consulting for The Calling Wines. I received a product sample and promotional item as a thank you for participating.
I was asked to review The Calling Pinot Noir from the Dutton Ranch vineyard in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma, California. The Calling is a joint venture between Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits CEO Peter Deutsch and legendary sports commentator Jim Nantz. Both men credit being inspired by their fathers which makes a selection from The Calling particularly appropriate for Father's Day.
My Pinot Noir arrived this afternoon and I couldn't wait to open it when I got home from work. I threw a pair of rib-eyes on the gill and took some photos of the wine in our backyard. The Calling describes the Pinot Noir as follows:
This Pinot Noir's classic flavors of fresh cherries, mushrooms, and spice are framed by rich acidity, delicate texture and powdery tannins. A classic cool-climate Pinot Noir from select Dutton Ranch vineyards in the prestigious Russian River Valley appellation.
I am by no means a wine connoisseur but I do have an appreciation for fine wines and, at least, a passing interest in viticulture and oenology. The whole process of grape to wine is fascinating to me. As for my Pinot Noir, it was wonderful with just the right amount of dry, an excellent aroma and a subtle fruity spice taste that perfectly met my expectations. The wine held its own without being overpowering or distracting in any way. It was the perfect complement to our meal. I would highly recommend it and would not hesitate to select it myself in the future.
*** FREE GIVEAWAY***
The fine people of The Calling are providing a signed copy of Jim Nantz's book Always By My Side with foreword by George H. W. Bush to one lucky commenter to this blog post. The book is an anecdote rich story of Jim's love and respect for his father whose health declined due to Alzheimer's while Jim's career rose as a sports caster. All you have to do to get a signed copy of the book is to: (1) leave a comment wishing your father happy Father's Day (2) use an email address that I can contact you with if you are the winner, (3) one entry per email address, (4) enter by midnight central time Saturday, June 14, 2014, (5) be the randomly chosen winner which I will pick and announce here on Father's Day. Your email address is not shown in the comment and I do absolutely nothing with the email addresses, so its safe, or at least as safe as anything on the internet. If you want to know your odds of winning, just check out the number of comments to this post. Entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstakes as part of a campaign sponsored by Dad Central Consulting.
[UPDATE:] Thanks to Random.org, with an input request of an integer between 1 to 17 inclusive, the winner of the signed Jim Nantz book is commenter number 9, Lori Walker!
Drew and Will's Scout Pack had their Pinewood Derby race tonight.
The boys have been tweaking their designs, moving the weight back, improving aerodynamics, all in an effort to squeeze out a little more speed. The design tweaks worked well, at least initially, as can be seen here, Drew (lane 2) and Will (lane 5), were the fastest down the ramp.
But, in the straightaways, the new tweaks revealed a slight design flaw.
Drew and Will's cars simply couldn't stay in their lanes.
The problem was made worse by the Hot Wheels like plastic track with easy-hopping side rails unlike the old-school wood track with the center hump we had the last two years.
The problem was so bad that, by the end of the track, the boys' cars were literally flying off the track.
When their cars were able to stay in their lanes, they were FAST! Drew's car had the fastest single run of the night. And, while there wasn't an award given out, we're pretty certain Will's car had the second fastest run.
Will's car won 2nd Place among the Wolves and also Most Stylish.
Drew's car won Fastest Time, 2nd Place among the Webelos and, amazingly because it also happened last year, he was awarded Fastest Looking car before the race took place.
Two proud Scouts with their Pinewood Derby cars. The boys didn't have the race they hoped for this year, but they learned a lot and we were really proud of how well they handled defeat and congratulated the winners.
Will had his first communion today. This is father Joe and the first communicants along with their religious education teachers including Mama who co-taught the class.
All the family including Uncle David and Aunt Catherin with Father Joe.
The Danz family.
Will's proud family with Father Joe.
Will and the Blessed Mother in front of Saint Benedict.
The banner Will and Mama made together.
Finally, we celebrated Will's first communion at home with a cookie Mama decorated and some gifts for the special young man.
For a change of pace for us, we actually had Landon's family birthday party on his actual birthday. Aunt Donelda came to town just for the occasions and Ma, Pa, and Aunt Catherine rounded out the guest list.
With all the goings on, Mary somehow still found time to make another awesome number cake. Landon chose a vanilla cake with his favorite color orange icing. He rounded out his birthday dessert with some chocolate ice cream.
Landon proudly showing off his number 5 birthday cake under his number 5 balloon.
Blowing out his birthday candles.
Landon is extremely excited about his awesome birthday cake and ice cream.
Reading one of his birthday cards.
Landon loved all of his gifts. Thanks to everyone for helping make Landon's birthday extra special.
Landon had his fifth birthday party with his friends at Home Depo today. Everyone got to build and paint a birdhouse. Aunt Catherine and Ma and Pa joined us as well as Aunt Donelda who came all the way from Chicago for Landon's birthday.
Landon hammering together his birdhouse.
Aunt Catherine and Will taking a break from building their birdhouse.
Drew hammering and smiling at the same time.
Ma and Pa even built their own birdhouse.
Landon painted his birdhouse his favorite color orange.
The absolutely awesome Lego Minifig Captain America cake Mary made.
Landon blowing out his birthday cake candles.
Captain America sustained a serious injury, unfortunately for him, its only going to get worse.
The cake and ice cream were a hit.
One of Landon's birthday cards must have been pretty funny.
Aunt Donelda and her builder nephews.
All the family celebrating Landon's birthday.
Landon's friends who helped make his birthday celebration extra special.
Drew played his fourth soccer game of the season today. The game was special because Aunt Donelda got to see it as she was in town for Landon's birthday.
Drew had a great header back at the goal after a defender tried to clear the ball. It all happened so quick my camera didn't have a chance to focus.
My knees hurt watching Drew plant his foot and twist for a kick.
Drew controls the ball for another quick change of directions.
Looking down field, the sprint is on!
This looks like it's going to be a powerful kick.
I was just commenting earlier this week, about how rare it was to catch one of the boys making a play, with the ball in frame, while looking exactly in the direction of the camera and, what happens, I get a picture of Drew doing just that!
Landon and Aunt Donelda with their favorite soccer star. Mama and Will had to miss the game because Will had baseball practice at the same time. The other team today was packed with huge 13 year-olds in this 10-13 league (I thought they were the 14 and up team when I first saw them) and, as a result, we wound up losing 0-4 despite our kids playing their hearts out.
Mary made another amazing Lego minifig cake for Landon's birthday. This time it was Captain America! It, of course, takes red, white and blue icing, along with some peach, a touch of grey and some black outline (not shown).
The generic Lego minifig cake ready for the icing to make it magical.
The peach face and red hands are done.
The blue icing applied along with a few black lines on the head and toothpick marks elsewhere mapping out the rest of the icing to come.
The completed Lego Minifig Captain America Cake.
Mary's awesome Lego Minifig Captain America cake as it appeared at Landon's fifth birthday.