Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ken Follett's 'Winter of the World' takes top spot on best-sellers list

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly breakdown of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, there is only one new book at the top of the four major best-sellers lists this week.

"Winter of the World" by Ken Follett replaced "A Wanted Man" by Lee Child as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"No Easy Day" by Mark Owen remained the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list for the third straight week.

"Red Mist" by Patricia Cornwell remained the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list for the third week in a row.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James retained its place atop the trade paperbacks best-sellers list for the 25th week in a row.

There are four books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "Winter of the World" by Ken Follett (1), "Low Pressure" by Sandra Brown (5), "Severe Clear" by Stuart Woods (7) and "Midst Toil and Tribulation" by David Weber (12).

There are four books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak" by Joel Osteen (2), "Joseph Anton: A Memoir" by Salman Rushdie (6), "The Oath: The Obama White House" by Jeffrey Toobin (8) and "Free Market Revolution" by Yaron Brook, Don Watkins (9).

There are two books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "What Doesn't Kill You" by Iris Johansen (2) and "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman (8).

There are three books on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. The include "Guilty Wives" by James Patterson, David Ellis (4), "Unleash!" by Perry Noble (7) and "Seven Years to Sin" by Sylvia Day (11).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "Winter of the World" by Ken Follett
2. "A Wanted Man" by Lee Child
3. "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom
4. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
5. "Low Pressure" by Sandra Brown
6. "Zoo" by Petterson and Ledwidge
7. "Severe Clear" by Stuart Woods
8. "Delusion in Death" by J.D. Robb
9. "The Tombs" by Clive Cussler
10. "Telegraph Avenue" by Michael Chabon
11. "This Is How You Lose Her" by Junoit Diaz
12. "Midst Toil and Tribulation" by David Weber
13. "Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice" by Michael Brandman
14. "Frozen Heat" by Richard Castle
15. "The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen
2. "I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak" by Joel Osteen
3. "The Price of Politics" by Bob Woodward
4. "Guinness World Records 2013" by Guinness World Records
5. "Divine Healing Hands" by Zhi Gang Sha, M.D.
6. "Joseph Anton: A Memoir" by Salman Rushdie
7. "Killing Lincoln" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
8. "The Oath: The Obama White House" by Jeffrey Toobin
9. "Free Market Revolution" by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins
10. "Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream" by Dinesh D'Souza
11. "The Amateur" by Edward Klein
12. "The Power of the Prophetic Blessing" by John Hagee
13. "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed
14. "Darling Greatly" by Brene Brown
15. "How Children Succeed" by Paul Tough

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Red Mist" by Patricia Cornwell
2. "What Doesn't Kill You" by Iris Johansen
3. "Fall of Giants" by Ken Follett
4. "The Race" by Clive Cussler
5. "Zero Day" by David Baldacci
6. "77 Shadow Street" by Dean R. Koontz
7. "I Left My Heart" by Debbie Macomber
8. "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman
9. "Kill Shot" by Vince Flynn
10. "The Litigators" by John Grisham
11. "Stranger in the Moonlight" by Jude Deveraux
12. "Don't Blink" by James Patterson
13. "Where Azaleas Bloom" by Sherryl Woods
14. "Alex Cross" by James Patterson
15. "Angel of the Dark" by Sidney Sheldon and Tilly Bagshawe

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James
2. "Fifty Shades Darker" by E.L. James
3. "Fifty Shades Freed" by E.L. James
4. "Guilty Wives" by James Patterson and David Ellis
5. "Bared to You" by Sylvia Day
6. "The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks
7. "Unleash!" by Perry Noble
8. "Beautiful Disaster: A Novel" by Jamie McGuire
9. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
10. "Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value" by Mark C. Thompson
11. "Seven Years to Sin" by Sylvia Day
12. "The Shoemaker's Wife" by Adriana Trigiani
13. "The Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn
14. "To Heaven And Back" by Mary C. Neal
15. "11/22/63" by Stephen King

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Sun., Sept. 30, 2012

Temp: 68.9 degrees F (20.5 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.1 inches

Humidity: 84 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Overcast; birds audible and visible; dew on the ground; security lights still on; mushrooms visible in the grass.

Winds: 0.1 mph out of the East.

Barometric Pressure: 29.34 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.1 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.7 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.95 inches

Local Weather Alerts: None.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 8.69 feet
Yesterday: 9.20 feet
Change: -0.51 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 273rd day of 2012 and the ninth day of Fall. There are 91 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Do you think 'The Lorax' is unfair to the timber and logging industries?

OK. I admit it. I watched “The Lorax” the other night. It’s a kid’s movie, and I enjoyed it.

Rated PG, this 86-minute animated movie is based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. Released on March 2, 2012 – which was Dr. Seuss’ 108th birthday – “The Lorax” was directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda. It starred the voices of Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Betty White and Zac Efron.

The movie is set in the fictional city of Thneed-Ville, a walled city where there are no real trees. The main character, Ted Wiggins, who was voiced by Efron and named after the real Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), has a crush on a girl named Audrey, who was voiced by Swift. In order to win her heart, he sets out on a quest to find a real tree in hopes of presenting it to her as the ultimate gift. Ted ventures outside the city’s walls to seek an audience with a strange hermit called “The Once-ler.”

The Once-ler, who is voiced by Helms eventually tells Ted about how he was once a thriving young businessman, who was eventually ruined by his greed. The Once-ler not only lost his fortune, but he turned the countryside into a treeless wasteland. A nature guardian called The Lorax, an orange creature with a large mustache, tried to prevent this disaster, but was unsuccessful. Hearing this story, Ted hopes to undo the past and win the heart of Audrey. (And I’ll stop right there to keep from ruining the movie for anyone out there who hasn’t seen it yet.)

As mentioned, “The Lorax” is based on Dr. Seuss’ 1971 book of the same name. Published by Random House, this 45-page book was named one of the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” by the National Education Association in 2007 and one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” by the School Library Journal in 2012. However, not everyone loved the book. It was banned in a California school district in 1988 because it was deemed unfair to the timber industry. As chance would have it, we’ve got tons of Dr. Seuss books at our house, but not “The Lorax,” so far as I know. How the book compares to the movie would only be guesswork on my part.

To say that this movie was a financial success would be an understatement. Shot on a budget of $70 million, it went on to post box office revenues of over $337 million. Despite all of the potential money involved and the long-running popularity of Seuss’ books, “The Lorax” is just the fourth feature film based on his works. The others include “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000), “The Cat in the Hat” (2003) and “Horton Hears a Who!” (2008).

In the end, I enjoyed “The Lorax” movie. How many of you saw “The Lorax”? What did you think about it? Did you like it or not? Let us know in the comments section below.

For more information about “The Lorax,” visit the movie’s official Web site at www.theloraxmovie.com/index.php.

You're no dummy if you enjoy reading books in the 'For Dummies' series

For the past six months or so, I’ve been learning to weld. In doing so, I’ve focused on two areas, the practical, hands-on side of welding and the knowledge, book-learning side. Being a welding novice, I turned to a familiar friend to give me a quick run-down of the welding basics, that is, I went out and bought the “For Dummies” book that deals with the subject.

Before I get into the meat of this thing, just a few words about the “For Dummies” books. As readers of this series will tell you, you’re no dummy if you read them. In fact, I’ve heard of college kids using them to pass subjects like cellular biology and calculus. If you’re looking to learn about a subject quickly, I highly recommend that you check out these books. They are well worth the expense and the time that it takes to read them. To date, over 2,300 “For Dummies” titles have been published, so you can probably find one for whatever you want to read about.

Armed with a few backyard welding lessons from my brother-in-law, a professional, experienced welder, I ordered “Welding for Dummies” a couple of months ago and finished reading it the other day. Written by certified welding inspector and instructor Steven Robert Farnsworth, this 362-page book was published in 2010. Farnsworth learned to welding while serving in the U.S. Navy, and he has taught welding for more than 20 years.

The book contains 23 chapters and covers a wide variety of topics including welding safety, common metals, stick welding basics, TIG welding, MIG welding, plasma and oxyfuel cutting, pipe welding, common tools and how to set up a welding shop.

Simply put, welding is a dangerous activity. You’re using large amounts of electricity to produce heat intense enough to cut through steel like butter and fuse metals together. With this in mind, “Welding for Dummies” was big on safety, in fact, safety is emphasized throughout the book and is probably discussed more than any other topic between its covers.

I also liked the fact that the book encourages you to apply welding principles in your shop at home. It also provides you with plans and instructions on how to make a homemade grill, torch cart and welding table on your own. The book also discusses common mistakes and how to correct them.

I’m currently taking a basic welding night class through my local community college, and it’s my feeling that having read “Welding for Dummies” has helped me. Instead of walking in cold with no basic knowledge at all, I came into the class with at least some background information. I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination, but it was nice to be somewhat ahead of the game.

In the end, how many of you have read “Welding for Dummies”? Have you read any of the other books in the “For Dummies” series? Which is your favorite? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

For more information about the “For Dummies” series of books, visit the publisher’s official Web site at www.dummies.com.

Daily Weather Observations for Sat., Sept. 29, 2012

Temp: 70.0 degrees F (21.1 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 82 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Cloudy; birds audible and visible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.50 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 9.20 feet
Yesterday: 8.00 feet
Change: +1.20 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 272nd day of 2012 and the eighth day of Fall. There are 92 days left in the year. Today is International Coffee Day.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Daily Weather Observations for Fri., Sept. 28, 2012

Temp: 65.5 degrees F (18.6 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 81 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Partly cloudy; foggy, visiblity about 1/2-mile; birds and bees audible and visible; dew on the ground; small mushrooms visible in the grass.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.61 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today:7.90 feet
Yesterday: 8.00 feet
Change: -0.10 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 271st day of 2012 and the seventh day of Fall. There are 93 days left in the year. Today is World Rabies Day and Ask a Stupid Question Day.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What did Jimmy Carter see in the skies over Leary, Ga. in October 1969?

I heard something unusual on the History Channel the other day that I’d never heard about before. According to them, Tuesday of last week was the 39th anniversary of an incident involving future President Jimmy Carter and UFOs.

On Sept. 18, 1973, Carter, who was then serving as Georgia’s governor, filed a formal report with the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City, saying that he’d seen a UFO almost four years before. According to his report, in October 1969, while Carter was running for governor, he and about a dozen other people were standing outside of a Lion’s Club meeting in Leary, Ga. Between 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., they saw what Carter described as “the darndest thing I’ve ever seen” in the sky.

Carter, an amateur astronomer and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, said the object was about 30 degrees above the horizon, west of where he was standing. The object was bright white and about as bright as the moon, he said. While watching the object, it appeared to change colors, going from white to blue to red and then back to white. Eventually, it disappeared into the distance.

The object appeared to come closer to the group before stopping just beyond a stand of pines. Carter would say later that he felt that the object wasn’t solid in nature. It was visible for about 10 minutes before it disappeared.

After the experience, Carter told a reporter that he’d vowed to himself never to ridicule anyone who claimed to have seen a UFO. Later, during his 1976 presidential campaign, he was very upfront about his belief that he’d seen a UFO. He also promised that, if elected, he would encourage the government to release “every piece of information” about UFOs.

Once elected though, Carter backed away from his promise, saying that the information’s release might have “defense implications” and pose a threat to national security. Carter would serve as U.S. President from 1977 to 1981.

I thought that all of this was interesting because Carter’s report was filed less than a month before one of the strangest incidents ever recorded in Evergreen. Just after midnight on Oct. 16, 1973, two Evergreen police officers and a police dispatcher witnessed a bizarre sight over downtown Evergreen. The two officers had just walked out of Evergreen City Hall when they spotted a big, unusual light in the sky behind city hall in the direction of Cemetery Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

They watched the object for 15 to 20 minutes, and the incident was reported in the following week’s edition of The Courant. The next day reporters descended on Evergreen to interview the three witnesses, including TV reporters from WSFA in Montgomery. The story would go on to be reported nationwide with one reader of The Courant saying that he’d seen it on the news while living in West Texas.

One of the likely reasons that the sighting in Evergreen was reported nationally was the fact that it came just five days after one of the most famous alien abduction news stories of all time. On Oct. 11, 1973, two Mississippi men made headlines around the world when they claimed that they were abducted from the banks of the Pascagoula River by space aliens.

In the end, I’d like to hear from anyone out there in the reading audience with more information about the Oct. 16, 1973 incident in Evergreen. I plan to do a full story on the 39th anniversary of the incident in a few weeks and would like to add any additional information about the incident. You can reach me by phone at 578-1492, by mail at The Evergreen Courant, P.O. Box 440, Evergreen, AL 36401 or by e-mail at courantsports@earthlink.net.

Jacob Ramer takes top spot in local ESPN College Pick 'Em contest

The fourth weekend of the college football season is in the books, and so is the fourth week of our local ESPN College Pick ‘Em Contest.

Jacob Ramer, who was in sixth place last week, moved into first place in the local standings this week. He picked seven out of 10 games correctly last Saturday, and has a three-point lead over the group.

Johnny Davis remained in second place, and Aaron Albritton was in third place. Hunter Norris was in fourth place, and Mark Peacock was in fifth place when the dust settled on Saturday.

Jeff Gunn was in sixth place, and I was in seventh place. David Price finished the weekend in eighth place, and Bill Bolton was in ninth place. Rod Sims remained in tenth place.

For those of you out there not in the Top 10, take heart. We’ve got 10 more weeks to go in the contest, so the contest is far from over. We’ve been playing this contest for over 10 years now, and if anything is true it’s that this contest is a marathon, not a sprint. If you don’t do well one week, don’t worry, because the standings will be sure to change a lot as we move through the rest of the season. Only time will tell as to who will win this year’s local “Mr. Football” crown.

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There are several good SEC football games on tap for this coming week, including Alabama and Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M and Georgia and Tennessee. This week is sort of unusual though in that four of the conference’s 14 teams are off this week, including Auburn, Mississippi State, Florida and Vanderbilt.

Here are my picks in those games as well as the other SEC games that are on tap for this week. I like South Carolina over Kentucky, Texas A&M over Arkansas, Georgia over Tennessee, Alabama over Ole Miss, Central Florida over Missouri and LSU over Towson.

Last week: 9-1. So far this season: 40-6.

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Last week, the NFL released its breakdown of opening week rosters according to what high schools and colleges the players attended. According to that report, 49 former Alabama high school players were on NFL opening week rosters, including a number from Southwest Alabama.

Players from our part of the state in the NFL this year include Kansas City’s Rodney Hudson of Mobile’s B.C. Rain High School, Tampa Bay’s Wallace Gilberry of Baldwin County High School, Atlanta’s Julio Jones of Foley High School, Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn of Mobile’s Murphy High School, Buffalo’s Spencer Johnson of Southern Choctaw High School in Silas, Tampa Bay’s Mark Barron of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, the New York Jets’ Ellis Lankster of Prichard’s Vigor High School, Tennessee’s Sen’Derrick Marks of Vigor High School and Detroit’s Nick Fairley of Williamson High School in Mobile.

There were 71 players from colleges in Alabama on opening day rosters, including 26 former University of Alabama players, 22 Auburn players, 10 Troy players, two former Alabama A&M players, two Alabama State players, two North Alabama players, two Samford players, two from Tuskegee and two from UAB.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Sept. 27, 2012

10 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 25, 2002

“The Sparta Academy Warriors defeated Autauga Academy 19-12 on Fri., Sept. 20, in Prattville.
“Perry Castleberry scored the first touchdown for the Warriors on a 35-yard run. John McGinitie added the PAT. Perry Castleberry scored again on a 32-yard run. The try for the two-point conversion failed. Paul Castleberry recovered an Autauga fumble in the end zone for the Warriors’ final TD of the night. The try for the PAT was no good.
“Perry Castleberry was the leading rusher for the Warriors with 147 yards on 18 carries and two TDs. Wiley Cobb had 88 yards on 14 carries, Brandon Burleson had 10 yards on three carries and Matt Robinson had –7 yards on four carries.
“At the quarterback spot Cobb completed three out of seven passes for 56 yards and had one interception. McGinitie completed two out of 10 passes for 24 yards and had one interception.
“Jeremy Anderson had two receptions for 38 yards, Wiley Cobb had two receptions for 24 yards and Paul Castleberry had one reception for 18 yards.”

“The Sparta Academy Pee Wee Warriors lost to the Escambia Academy Pee Wee Cougars 8-0 on Mon., Sept. 23, at Stuart-McGehee Field.
“Leading the Pee Wee Warriors on defense was Torrey Pugh with four solo tackles and six assists. Steven Stuart had four solo tackles and two assists, Taylor Brown had two solo tackles and four assists.”

25 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 24, 1987

“Sparta Academy’s Warriors are cheered on by these lovely 1987-88 Cheerleaders: Shawn Hammonds and Missi Sanford; and Robin Henley, Mary Ann Hughes, Traci Booker, Christi Bush and Stacey Holmes.”

“The Evergreen Aggies lost their second game in a row last Friday night by the score of 9-6 to the Monroeville Tigers.
“Evergreen got on the scoreboard first when Tim Stallworth picked up a fumble and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown.
“Defensively for the Aggies, Marvin Cunningham was the leading tackler with nine solos and five assists, followed by Russell Meeks with nine solos and four assists and Steve Cunningham with five solos and six assists.”

“Southern Academy blanked Sparta Academy, 28-0, here Friday night at Stuart-McGehee Field.
“Lee Wild had 30 yards on 10 carries, Jeff Carrier 21 on four, Robbie Bolton 19 on five, Jamie Deason 12 on six, Brad Watts lost one on one and Kenny Bledsoe lost 17 on four.
“Bledsoe completed two of three passes for three yards and had an interception. Watts threw one interception and Wild’s only throw was intercepted. Wild had one reception for two yards and Craig Blackburn one for one yard.”

40 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 28, 1972

“Go, Warriors, Go! These Sparta Academy cheerleaders will be doing their thing at the home field for the first time this season Saturday night when the Warriors meet Wesleyan of Citronelle at Stuart-McGehee Field at eight o’clock. Sparta has posted a 2-1 record while playing its first three games on the road. Leading the yells are Susan Jeffries and Barbara Findley, Jane Carleton, Deborah Burt and Linda Jones, Val Nielsen, Angie Taylor and Prather Nielsen.”

“The Sparta Academy Warriors journeyed to Jackson and were handed a 28-20 defeat by an aroused band of Jackson Academy Eagles in a game played without registered officials.
“Coach Richard Brown pointed out to the Warriors in the dressing room at halftime that their first half performance left much to be desired.”

“Rain fell on Evergreen Friday as the Butler Tigers backed the visitors 14-0, leaving the Aggies with an 0-4 mark to their seasonal credit Friday night.”

“Sparta’s junior varsity defeated Montezuma Academy of Andalusia 20 to 0 Tuesday night.
“Walker Scott scored the three touchdowns and Bobby Johnson added two extra points.
“Jerry Peacock rambled for 25 yards and set up Sparta’s first touchdown on the one-yard line where Walker Scott carried it over for the six points.
“Dennis Culbreth, defensive tackle for Sparta, turned in a good performance, stopping Montezuma backs several times. Other defensive standouts were Danny Joiner, Larry Reid, Frederick Stevens, Johnny Cook and Woody Register.”

55 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 26, 1957

“An old rivalry is renewed tomorrow night in Brooks Stadium when the Evergreen Aggies host the Monroeville Tigers.
“Coach Wendell Hart and assistant Jeff Moorer have been working this week to improve an Aggie offense that never did get going in an opening loss to Andalusia Friday.
“Coach Hart will send the following starters out to answer the opening whistle:
“LE, Robert Daniels, 140; LT, James Nelson, 170; LG, Buddy Zukowski, 170; C, Paul Pace, 175; RG, George Bolton, 160; RT, Howard Claybrook, 175; RE, Jerry Mitchell, 150; QB, Billy Grace, 140; LH, Jimmy Moorer, 150; RH, Jimmy Bell, 140, or Robbie Boykin, 145; FB, Robert Ellington, 155.”

“The scheduled game in Evergreen Thursday night between Lyeffion and Beatrice has been postponed due to illness of members of the Beatrice squad, Coach Devlin Lathan of Lyeffion reported late Wednesday morning.
“According to the coach, he was contacted Tuesday by Beatrice officials who said that about 12 men were out with the flu, in addition to the two men injured in the Camden game. Wednesday morning, 16 men were out, and the game had to be postponed.
“Starting line-up for the Jackets would have been: LE, Willard Wall; LT, Cecil Salter; LG, Douglas Burt or James Hicks on offense, and Larry Pate on defense; C, Geral Dean; RG, Haywood Coker; RT, Kenneth Dunn; RE, David Watts; QB, Billy Salter; LH, Danny Covin or Billy Watts; RH, Eugene Powell; FB, Hagood House.
“Pushing the probable starters hard in competition for a starting berth are Frank Brown, Wendell Burt, Gary Ellis, Bobby Jo Hamrick, Tommy Kerr, Wayne Brooks, Billy Dunn, Jimmy Jones and Robert Williams.”

70 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 24, 1942

“Cecil Hagood Jr., Dewey Langham, John Barron, Bobby Bozeman, Ebin Moorer, Cecil Prescott and James Tharp attended the Auburn-Chattanooga football game in Montgomery Friday night.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Talmage Stuart attended the Auburn-Chattanooga football game in Montgomery Friday night and spent several days with his sister, Mrs. Clifford Harper and Mr. Harper.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Haywood Hanna, Mr. and Mrs. W.N. McGehee and R.G. Kendall Jr. were among those who attended the Auburn-Chattanooga football game Friday night in Montgomery.”

Movies showing at Evergreen’s Pix Theatre that week included a Tues., Sept. 29, showing of the baseball movie, “It Happened In Flatbush” – “A Home Run of Laughter! Lloyd Nolan, Carole Landis with Sara Allgood, William Frawley, 20th Century Fox.”

“Hunting seasons for 1942-43, announced by Conservation Director Albert W. Gill and Game Chief Ben C. Morgan and approved by the State Conservation Advisory Board, are essentially the same as those in effect last year. One minor change was made, the closing of Butler County to deer and turkey."

Daily Weather Observations for Thurs., Sept. 27, 2012

Temp: 65.1 degrees F (18.4 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 83 percent (Humid)

Conditions: A few trace clouds visible; foggy, visiblity about 1/2-mile; birds audible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.67 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today:8.00 feet
Yesterday: 7.70 feet
Change: +0.30 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 270th day of 2012 and the sixth day of Fall. There are 94 days left in the year. Today is World Tourism Day.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This week's movie picks are 'Solomon Kane' and 'The Avengers'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

Bringing Up Bobby (Comedy, PG-13): Directed by Famke Janssen and starring Milla Jovovich, Spencer List, Rory Cochrane, Bill Pullman and Marcia Cross.

The Hole (Horror, Suspense, PG-13): Directed by Joe Dante and starring Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Teri Polo, Nathan Gamble and Bruce Dern.

Hotel Transylvania (Comedy, Family, PG): Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky and starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Miley Cyrus, Andy Samberg, Kevin James and Fran Drescher.

Looper (Action, Science Fiction, R): Directed by Rian Johnson and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Piper Perabo and Paul Dano.

The Other Dream Team (Sports, Documentary): Directed by Marius Markevicius and starring Sarunas Marciulionis, Arvydas Sabonis, David Remnick, Jim Lampley, Bill Walton and Mickey Hart.

Pitch Perfect (Comedy, Musical, PG-13): Directed by Jason Moore and starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Elizabeth Banks, Alexis Knapp and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

Solomon Kane (Action, Adventure, R): Directed by Michael J. Bassett and starring James Purefoy, Pete Postlethwaite, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jason Flemyng and Mackenzie Crook.

Trade of Innocents (Drama, PG-13): Directed by Christopher Bessette and starring Dermot Mulroney, Mira Sorvino, John Billingsley, Jirantanin Pitakporntrakul and Vithaya Pansringarm.

The Waiting Room (Documentary): Directed by Peter Nicks.

Won’t Back Down (Drama, Family, PG): Directed by Daniel Barnz and starring Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ving Rhames, Oscar Isaac and Holly Hunter.

New DVD releases for the week of Sept. 25 include:

Asylum Blackout (Horror): Directed by Alexandre Courtes and starring Rupert Evans, Kenny Doughty, Josephy Kennedy, Dave Legeno and Marcus Garvey.

The Avengers (Action, Adventure, PG-13): Directed by Joss Whedon and starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner.

Barricade (Action, PG-13): Directed by Andrew Currie and starring Jody Thompson, Eric McCormack, Conner Dwelly and Ryan Grantham.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (Action, Adventure, PG-13): Directed by Jay Oliva and starring the voices of Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, Wade Williams and Michael McKean.

Big Miracle (Drama, Family, PG): Directed by Ken Kwapis and starring Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson and Dermot Mulroney.

Damsels in Distress (Comedy, PG-13): Directed by Whit Stillman and starring Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke and Carrie MacLemore.

Delicacy (Romance, Comedy, PG-13): Directed by David Foenkinos and Stephane Foenkinos and starring Audrey Tautou, Francois Damiens, Bruno Todeschini, Melanie Bernier and Josephine de Meaux.

The Letter (Suspense, R): Directed by Jay Anania and starring James Franco, Winona Ryder, Josh Hamilton, Katherine Waterston and Marin Ireland.

The Samaritan (Suspense, R): Directed by David Weaver and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Wilkinson, Luke Kirby, Ruth Negga and Gil Bellows.

Wanderlust (Comedy, R): Directed by David Wain and starring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Akerman, Justin Theroux and Lauren Ambrose.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Solomon Kane,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “The Avengers.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Wed., Sept. 26, 2012

Temp: 62.8 degrees F (17.1 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 80 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Partly cloudy; birds audible and visible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance; cows audible.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.66 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 7.70 feet
Yesterday: 7.33 feet
Change: +0.37 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 269th day of 2012 and the fifth day of Fall. There are 95 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Which of William Faulkner's 19 novels is YOUR personal favorite?

Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner was born on this day, Sept. 25, in 1897 near Oxford, Mississippi.

Faulkner, who died of a heart attack at the age of 64 in 1962, published 19 novels, scores of short stories and a number of poems during his career. Faulkner is generally considered to be one of the greatest Southern writers ever, right up there with Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Mark Twain and Tennessee Williams.

What follows is a complete list of his novels in order of publication.

- Soldier’s Pay (1926)

- Mosquitoes (1927)

- Sartoris (1929)

- The Sound and the Fury (1929)

- As I Lay Dying (1930)

- Sanctuary (1931)

- Light in August (1932)

- Pylon (1935)

- Absalom, Absalom! (1936)

- The Unvanquished (1938)

- The Wild Palms (1939)

- The Hamlet (1940)

- Go Down, Moses and Other Stories (1942)

- Intruder in the Dust (1948)

- Requiem for a Nun (1951)

- A Fable (1954)

- The Town (1957)

- The Mansion (1959)

- The Reivers (1962)

Some of Faulkner’s books are ranked among the best books ever published, and, as you might have imagined, his books often find their way onto recommended reading lists and other “best of” lists. What follows is a run-down of just a few of those lists.

Two of his books won Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction – “A Fable” (1955) and “The Reivers” (1963).

In 1998, the Modern Library included “The Sound and the Fury,” “As I Lay Dying” and “Light in August” on its list of “100 Best English Language Novels of the 20th Century.”

“Sanctuary,” “The Unvanquished,” “Go Down, Moses,” “Intruder in the Dust,” “The Sound and the Fury,” “Absalom, Absalom!” and “As I Lay Dying” were named to the James Agee Film Project’s “A Southern List: 125 Great Southern Books.”

“As I Lay Dying,” “The Bear,” “Light in August,” “The Sound and the Fury” and “Absalom, Absalom!” were named to the AP Literature Recommended Reading List.

“As I Lay Dying,” “Light in August” and “The Sound and the Fury” were named to Oprah Winfrey’s famous Oprah’s Book Club.

“As I Lay Dying” and “The Sound and the Fury” were also named to The College Board’s list of “101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers.”

The editors at the Book-of-the-Month-Club picked “The Sound and the Fury” and “Light in August” for a best-of list they called “The Well-Stocked Bookcase.”

“Absalom, Absalom!” and “The Sound and the Fury” were also named to the Norwegian Book Club’s 2002 list of “The Top 100 Books of All Time.”

Easton Press also included “The Sound and the Fury” in its famous series of books called the “100 Greatest Books Ever Written.”

Earlier this year, the Library of Congress also included “The Sound and the Fury” in its list of “88 Books That Shaped America.”

In March of 2011, Esquire magazine included “As I Lay Dying” on its list of “75 Books Every Man Should Read.”

In the end, how many of Faulkner’s books have you read? Which is your personal favorite? Why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Tues., Sept. 25, 2012

Temp: 55.4 degrees F (13.0 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 77 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly clear with a few scattered clouds; birds audible and visible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance; jet contrails visible.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.64 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 7.33 feet
Yesterday: 6.67 feet
Change: +0.66 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 268th day of 2012 and the fourth day of Fall. There are 96 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Monday, September 24, 2012

BUCKET LIST UPDATE – No. 527: Achieve my ideal weight

I scratched another item off my bucket list during the past week when I finally got down to my ideal body weight.

This was no easy task, and it literally took months of self-discipline. During the first week of January, I tipped the scales at 215.6 pounds, and on Sunday I weighed 174.8 pounds. That’s a net weight loss of just over 40 pounds in eight months, an average of just five pounds a month.

While researching this bucket list item it quickly became apparent to me that the term “ideal weight” is hard to define. Its definition varies depending on who you ask and what source you consult. I’m 6-foot-3 inches tall and the general consensus (while there was some variation depending on the source) was that my ideal weight was somewhere between 175 and 180 pounds. I kind of liked the 180-pound idea because I read somewhere that Bear Grylls weighs 180 pounds. I figured that if I weighed as much as Grylls, that’d be pretty good.

Losing 40 pounds wasn’t easy, but my methods were simple. I cut back to no more than two beers a day and eliminated sweets, soft drinks and hard candy. I also cut back on portion sizes and ate only twice a day, that is, I’d eat only lunch and dinner, no breakfast. I also tried to avoid hamburgers, cheese, pork and fried foods when possible.

One important aspect of my diet was that I only followed these rules six days a week. Sunday was my free day, and I ate and drank what ever I wanted. If I wanted to eat a tub of Blue Bell ice cream for breakfast, a Super-sized Big Mac combo for lunch and the Surf-n-Turf buffet down at Wind Creek for dinner, it was all fair game.

To ensure that I wasn’t depriving myself of any necessary nutritional needs during the week, I also took a few supplements every morning. I took a One a Day multivitamin as well as doses of B12, Vitamin D and fish oil. It’s my feeling that the multivitamin and B12 had the most impact on my diet. I started taking Vitamin D and fish oil after reading a couple of articles about their benefits in recent issues of Outside magazine.

Exercise was also an important factor in my weight loss. I typically jogged three miles every other day, which is something I’ve been doing since high school. Go figure, but the lighter I got, the easier my runs got. I’m sure that these calorie-burning runs did help some of the weight come off.

The down side to all of this has been people’s reaction to my weight loss. The impact on people that I see on a regular basis wasn’t that great, but folks that I see every once in a while had the strongest reaction. “Man, you’re gonna dry up and blow away if you don’t start eating” is something that I heard almost daily. It’s no telling how many of them have wondered if I were either smoking crystal meth or dying from some sort of wasting disease. I assure everyone out there that I’m not “on the trail mix” or freebasing cocaine. I’ve just been following a simple, low calorie diet.

In the end, I enjoyed scratching another item off my bucket list. Now the trick will be to maintain my diet and to keep the weight off.

Yesterday's News from The Evergreen Courant for Sept. 24, 2012

10 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 26, 2002

“Several downtown businesses were without power for several hours Tuesday morning when the power lines were accidentally pulled down by a passing motorist while City of Evergreen power crews were doing work on the lines. No one was injured and power was restored by 11 a.m.”

“Harold Lamar Worrell, 72, of Goodwater died Tues., Sept. 24, 2002. He was born on March 15, 1930 in Castleberry to Lumus and Velma Robinson Worrell. He worked as a mechanic for many years and was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean Conflict.”

“Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Angela M. Meeks has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.”

“Mike Williams of Teddy was one of approximately 70 volunteers who participated in the annual coastal cleanup this past Saturday. Williams is pictured near Bull Slough in Conecuh County. Approximately 137 bags of debris were collected during the cleanup.”

“Tenax Manufacturing Alabama, LLC (formerly Evergreen Technologies, Inc.) announces that Roberto Volonte has relocated from Milan, Italy to Evergreen and will be involved in improvements to the production equipment at the Evergreen plant, including project management of these activities, as well as establishing standards and methodology to measure industrial costs.”

25 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 24, 1987

“Mrs. Patricia Powell Cassady, a teacher at Marshall Middle School in Evergreen, has been named by The White House as Alabama’s recipient of the coveted Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. The 108 teachers/winners (54 in math and 54 in science) from across the country will come to Washington, D.C. from November 16-20 to receive their Presidential Awards and to be recognized and congratulated by official Washington during a reception at the National Academy of Sciences and a dinner at the Department of State.”

“Tax Collector J. Marvin Johnston formally announced this week that he would retire October 1 after 20 years of service in that office.
“Governor Guy Hunt’s office notified The Courant on Tuesday that the governor has appointed Mrs. Carolyn Pate Castleberry to fill Johnston’s unexpired term of office which ends Sept. 30, 1991.
“Johnston, a lifetime resident of Owassa, was first elected Tax Collector in 1966, succeeding the late Henry Wiggins. A popular official, he was re-elected without opposition in 1972, 1978 and 1984.
“After meritorious service in the U.S. Army including a tour of duty in the U.S. Army including a tour of duty in Europe in World War II.

“Earl Windham reports three showers: .18 of an inch Sept. 17; .25 on Sept. 18; and .17 on Sept. 19.”

40 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 28, 1972

“District Attorney Ben Reeves of Eufaula, Democratic candidate for Congress from the 2nd District, ‘politics’ Evergreen Mayor Henry Sessions in front of The Courant. The mayor had just purchased a Sept. 21st issue from The Courant’s famous chair Wednesday night of last week. Reeves said he had learned during the primary elections that the best place to ‘politic’ in Conecuh County late Wednesdays was in front of The Courant as literally hundreds of residents come by to pick up a copy of their favorite newspaper. (Editor’s note: Thanks, Ben. By the way, that chair has been ‘selling papers for nearly 25 years.)”

“Gene Darby and Wayne Caylor both breathed sighs of relief after what could have been a tragic accident ended with only minor damage to Darby’s pickup and Caylor’s car. Caylor had stopped in the left turn lane at the traffic light at the ‘foot of the bridge’ by the Bank of Evergreen last Thursday morning and Darby was coming up to the light in the right lane. Caylor had picked up an elderly man while on his way from Radio WBLO to Evergreen High School and brought him to town. The man, without looking back, threw open the right door in front of Darby. No injuries were reported.”

“William D. (Billy) Melton, Evergreen, and Robert G. Kendall III, Mobile and native of Evergreen, were appointed to the advisory board (of ‘The Alabama Lawyer’) by L. Drew Redden, president of the Alabama State Bar.”

55 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 26, 1957

“Announcement was made this week by R.G. Bozeman Sr., owner of The Evergreen Courant, that he had sold the property to his eldest son, R.G. Bozeman Jr., the transaction to become effective Tues., Oct. 1, 1957.
“The new owner is well known to most of the readers of The Courant, having been virtually reared in the office. For seven years prior to Aug. 1, 1954, he was the editor. He and his wife and little daughter, Leah, are residing on Oak Street.
“The former owner became associated with The Courant on May 26, 1926 and shortly thereafter purchased the property from the corporation which owned it, composed of the following stockholders, D.H. McCreary, Dr. W.G. Hairston, Lamar Matkin, Judge S.P. Dunn, C.A. Jones, W.G. Moore, A. Cunningham, R.F. Croom and L.T. Rutland.”

“The heavy rains caused only minor damage to Conecuh County roads. County Engineer Marion I. Wilkins said that no bridges were washed out and there was only minor damage to the roads.”

“Public subscriptions to the Conecuh Recreation Board are coming in at a steady rate. Henry J. Kinzer, secretary-treasurer, said Wednesday that $1,355 had already been turned in and deposited.
“The recreation board was formed to develop and administer public lakes in the county. Funds for the lakes are to be raised by public subscription. The county is not putting any of the taxpayers’ money into the projects.”

70 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 24, 1942

“A steel lookout tower has recently been completed near Belleville in this county, and a telephone line is being constructed to connect this tower with other towers in this forest fire protection unit.
“This tower is No. 11 in the system of towers constructed by the Division of Forestry cooperating with local land owners. A towerman will be located in this tower at an early date for the purpose of detecting and reporting forest fires to the suppression crews. From this tower fires can be detected for a distance of from 12 to 20 miles, and before fires have reached any considerable size immediate action by the suppression crews brings such fires under control before they can do a great deal of damage.”

“IN SOLOMON ISLANDS: Sgt. Alton T. McIntyre, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. J.M. McIntyre, Herbert, Ala., enlisted in the Marines Aug. 18, 1940. He spent several months in Cuba, Virginia and North Carolina. Last May he sailed from Norfolk, Va. for overseas and his family didn’t know until the last few days where he was. They received a letter a few days ago saying he was on the Solomon Islands, was safe and fine and could tell plenty if he were allowed to.”

“Knud Nielsen, chairman of Conecuh County Salvage Committee, announced this week that arrangements had been worked out with the city to collect scrap metals at regular intervals when the garbage truck makes its rounds. Housewives and others are requested to collect and place all scrap metals near the can, box or other receptacle used for garbage and the city force will pick such scrap metals up and turn over to the committee. Proceeds from the sale of such metals will be used for the Crippled Children’s Fund.”

Daily Weather Observations for Mon., Sept. 24, 2012

Temp: 61.0 degrees F (16.1 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 81 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly clear with a few scattered clouds on the horizon; birds audible and visible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance.

Winds: 0.1 mph out of the North.

Barometric Pressure: 29.69 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 6.67 feet
Yesterday: 9.36 feet
Change: -2.69 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 267th day of 2012 and the third day of Fall. There are 97 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Guinness Book of World Records appears on best-sellers list

It’s Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly breakdown of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, there is only one new book at the top of the four major best-sellers lists this week.

"A Wanted Man" by Lee Child replaced "Zoo" by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge as the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list.

"No Easy Day" by Mark Owen remained the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list for the second straight week.

"Red Mist" by Patricia Cornwell remained the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list for the second week in a row.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James retained its place atop the trade paperbacks best-sellers list for the 24th week in a row.

There are seven books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They (along with their place on the list) include "A Wanted Man" by Lee Child (1), "Delusion in Death" by J.D. Robb (3), "Telegraph Avenue" by Michael Chabon (7), "Frozen Heat" by Richard Castle (8), "This Is How You Lose Her" by Junoit Diaz (9), "Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice" by Michael Brandman (10) and "The Blinding Knife" by Brent Weeks (12).

There are seven books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "The Price of Politics" by Bob Woodward (2), "Divine Healing Hands" by Zhi Gang Sha, M.D. (3), "Guinness World Records 2013" by Guinness World Records (4), "Darling Greatly" by Brene Brown (6), "Change Your Words, Change Your Life" by Joyce Meyer (12), "Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites" by Sara Wells (13) and "A Father First" by Dwyane Wade (15).

There are two books on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They include "Angel of the Dark" by Sidney Sheldon and Tilly Bagshawe (14) and "The Litigators" by John Grisham (15).

There are three books on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. The include "Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value" by Mark C. Thompson (6), "The Bridesmaid" by Beverly Lewis (8) and "The Barbinger" by Jonathan Cahn (14).

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "A Wanted Man" by Lee Child
2. "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom
3. "Delusion in Death" by J.D. Robb
4. "Zoo" by Petterson and Ledwidge
5. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
6. "The Tombs" by Clive Cussler
7. "Telegraph Avenue" by Michael Chabon
8. "Frozen Heat" by Richard Castle
9. "This Is How You Lose Her" by Junoit Diaz
10. "Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice" by Michael Brandman
11. "The Inn at Rose Harbor: A Novel" by Debbie Macomber
12. "The Blinding Knife" by Brent Weeks
13. "Last to Die" by Tess Gerritsen
14. "The Light Between Oceans" by M.L. Stedman
15. "NW" by Zadie Smith

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen
2. "The Price of Politics" by Bob Woodward
3. "Divine Healing Hands" by Zhi Gang Sha, M.D.
4. "Guinness World Records 2013" by Guinness World Records
5. "Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream" by Dinesh D'Souza
6. "Darling Greatly" by Brene Brown
7. "Killing Lincoln" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
8. "The Amateur" by Edward Klein
9. "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed
10. "Mortality" by Christopher Hitchens
11. "The Power of the Prophetic Blessing" by John Hagee
12. "Change Your Words, Change Your Life" by Joyce Meyer
13. "Savoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites" by Sara Wells
14. "How Children Succeed" by Paul Tough
15. "A Father First" by Dwyane Wade

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Red Mist" by Patricia Cornwell
2. "Zero Day" by David Baldacci
3. "The Race" by Clive Cussler
4. "Kill Shot" by Vince Flynn
5. "I Left My Heart" by Debbie Macomber
6. "77 Shadow Street" by Dean R. Koontz
7. "Fall of Giants" by Ken Follett
8. "Where Azaleas Bloom" by Sherryl Woods
9. "Stranger in the Moonlight" by Jude Deveraux
10. "Blue Skies" by Robyn Carr
11. "Don't Blink" by James Patterson
12. "Mysterious" by Nora Roberts
13. "Alex Cross" by James Patterson
14. "Angel of the Dark" by Sidney Sheldon and Tilly Bagshawe
15. "The Litigators" by John Grisham

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James
2. "Fifty Shades Darker" by E.L. James
3. "Fifty Shades Freed" by E.L. James
4. "Bared to You" by Sylvia Day
5. "The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks
6. "Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value" by Mark C. Thompson
7. "Beautiful Disaster: A Novel" by Jamie McGuire
8. "The Bridesmaid" by Beverly Lewis
9. "The Shoemaker's Wife" by Adriana Trigiani
10. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
11. "To Heaven And Back" by Mary C. Neal
12. "11/22/63" by Stephen King
13. "The Marriage Plot" by Jeffrey Eugenides
14. "The Barbinger" by Jonathan Cahn
15. "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Sun., Sept. 23, 2012

Temp: 64.9 degrees F (18.3 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 76 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Clear; birds audible and visible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.65 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 9.36 feet
Yesterday: 11.92 feet
Change: -2.56 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 266th day of 2012 and the second day of Fall. There are 98 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

'Piranha 3DD' should be taken for what it's worth

I watched a really silly “horror” movie the other day called “Piranha 3DD.” If you’re willing to take it for what it’s worth, you’ll probably like it. Personally, I felt dumber after having watched it, and I was thankful that it was less than half an hour long.

Released in the U.S. on June 1, “Piranha 3DD” is the sequel to 2010’s “Piranha 3D.” The events in “Piranha 3DD” take place a year after the events in the first movie, which was a remake of the 1978 movie, “Piranha.” In “Piranha 3D” prehistoric piranhas attack swimmers and boaters at Lake Victoria, Arizona. In “Piranha 3DD” the piranhas have moved to nearby waters where they make trouble in a new water park called “Big Wet.”

Rated R with a run time of 83 minutes, “Piranha 3DD” was directed by John Gulager. Its cast featured some well-known names, including Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd, David Hasselhoff, Ving Rhames and David Koechner. I got somewhat of a kick out of Hasselhoff and Koechner in this movie. Their presences in this otherwise waste of time was somewhat amusing.

Despite all of the star power in its cast, “Piranha 3DD” was a box office flop. Shot in just 25 days on a budget of around $5 million, the movie posted gross revenues of only $7.3 million. The movie did so poorly at the box office that when it was released in the U.K., “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” which opened the same weekend, did better at the box office.

After having watched this movie, I feel like I should say that it’s probably not for everybody. It’s Rated R for “sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.” In other words, if you’re not old enough to join the army, you definitely shouldn’t be watching this movie. I realize that by even mentioning the above I run the risk of making some of you want to watch it even more, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

On the upshot, “Piranha 3DD” did make me want to watch the original 1978 movie, “Piranha,” which I’ve never seen. This “B movie,” which has been called a rip-off of “Jaws,” was directed by Joe Dante and starred Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn and Dick Miller.

The original “Piranha” spawned another sequel called “Piranha II: The Spawning” and another remake in 1995, which was also called “Piranha.” 1981’s “Piranha II” was directed by a young James Cameron and starred Tricia O’Neil, Lance Henriksen, Leslie Graves, Carole Davis and Steve Marachuk. The piranhas in this movie could swim and fly, which made them twice as deadly.

1995’s “Piranha” was directed by Scott Levy and actually debuted on Showtime. This movie starred William Katt, Alexandra Paul, Soleil Moon Frye, Mila Kunis and Leland Orser. One notable thing about this movie was that it actually contained stock footage from the 1978 originals.

In the end, how many of you have seen “Piranha 3DD”? What did you think about it? Did you like it or not? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Sat., Sept. 22, 2012

Temp: 63.7 degrees F (17.6 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 82 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Clear; birds audible and visible; rabbit visible; cows audible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance; mushrooms visible in the grass.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.59 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 11.92 feet
Yesterday: 8.88 feet
Change: +3.04 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 265th day of 2012 and the first day of Fall. There are 99 days left in the year. Today is frequently the day of the Autumnal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the day of the Vernal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Is 'The Journals of Lewis and Clark' the greatest adventure book ever?

I finished reading a book the other day that I’ve wanted to read for a really long time, “The Journals of Lewis and Clark.”

Generally considered to be one of the greatest adventure tales and science books of all time, it lived up to its advanced billing. I’ll never look at Lewis and Clark the same again after having read this book.

For those of you unfamiliar with this book, it contains the daily journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who led the famous Corps of Discovery Expedition from St. Louis, Mo. to the Pacific Ocean and back between 1803 and 1806. Ordered by President Thomas Jefferson, it was the first American transcontinental expedition to the Pacific. In all, the expedition included 33 people and covered 8,000 miles of uncharted territory.

Jefferson assigned Lewis and Clark with the task of exploring the newly acquired Louisiana Territory and recording the flora, fauna, geography and the people they encountered. They meticulously recorded their adventures in their journals, and it’s argued that Lewis and Clark would more than likely have been forgotten by history if not for the detailed journals they left behind. What they accomplished was special and unique, and the journals they left behind should be considered a national treasure.

The full text of their journals is almost 5,000 pages long. Most people have never even seen a full edition of these journals, which fill multiple volumes. Most folks who have read these journals have read an edited, single-volume edition that hits the high points. The edition that I read was the 2003 Penguin Classics edition that was edited by Frank Bergon. This 505-page edition included maps and sketches from the original journals as well as an introduction by Bergon.

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, and I’ve seen it on a number of “best of” recommended reading lists. Several years ago, Outside Magazine listed it as the No. 2 book on its list of Best Adventure Books, and National Geographic also listed it in the No. 2 spot on its list of 100 Best Adventure Books. My favorite Web site, The Art of Manliness, also ranked it No. 6 on a list they called “The Essential Adventure Library: 50 Non-fiction Adventure Books.”

The book is also considered a landmark scientific work as evidenced by the fact that Discover Magazine ranked it No. 19 on its list of 25 Greatest Science Books of All Time in December 2006. The book was also one of nine books reprinted as part of the National Geographic Adventure Classics series and was one of 12 books reprinted as part of Easton Press’ Greatest Adventure Books of All Time series.

In the end, I thought that this was one of the best books that I’ve ever read. It was extremely interesting and also very funny in parts. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times. Anyone with an interest in true adventure and American history will love it.

How many of you have ever read “The Journals of Lewis and Clark”? What did you think about it? Did you like it or not? Why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Fri., Sept. 21, 2012

Temp: 61.7 degrees F (16.5 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 80 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Clear; birds audible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance; mushrooms visible in the grass.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.58 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 8.88 feet
Yesterday: 9.76 feet
Change: -0.99 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 264th day of 2012 and the 94th (and last) day of Summer. There are 100 days left in the year. Today is World Peace Day.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Local Army sniper graduates from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga.

Last Friday, my son and I rode with my friend Gilbert Harden to Fort Benning, Ga., where we watched Gilbert’s 22-year-old nephew Jamie Mason graduate from the U.S. Army’s Airborne School.

Many of you will know Jamie. His family’s from Conecuh County, and he was once a student at Sparta Academy. Sports fans in the audience will remember Jamie from his exploits on the football and baseball fields at Sparta.

Jamie, an infantryman, joined the Army after high school and has steadily risen through the ranks. He’s served multiple tours in Afghanistan, and during his last tour he served as a sniper in the 10th Mountain Division. The fact that Jamie’s a qualified Army sniper should tell you a lot about what type of soldier and marksman he is. As evidenced by the Combat Infantry Badge he wears, Jamie’s already seen more than his fair share of fighting, and the fact that he’s advancing in the Army comes as no surprise.

Jamie’s going places in the Army. He was recently selected for Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, N.C. and in order to attend that training, he first had to complete the U.S. Army Airborne Course at the Airborne School. There he learned how to jump out of airplanes, navigate using his parachute, land safely and move on.

A soldier has to complete five jumps, including one at night, in order to finish “Jump School,” and Jamie was the first soldier in line when his class got ready to make their first real jump. Jamie successfully completed all of his jumps and graduated Friday morning at 0900 hours at the south end of Eubanks Field on the Airborne Walk at Fort Benning.

The graduation ceremony is open to civilians, and family and friends are encouraged to pin on the graduate’s “Jump Wings,” that is, his Parachutist Badge. Jamie was honored to have retired Army sergeant major Lester Cogollo on hand to pin on his wings. Some of you out there may know Lester. A close friend of Gilbert’s, Lester currently serves as the postmaster at the Atmore Post Office. Before his career with the postal service, he served as an Army Special Forces soldier, serving in Airborne units and fighting in engagements around the world.

After Jamie’s graduation, we visited the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, which is located just outside of Fort Benning. Fort Benning is the “Home of the Infantry,” and this 190,000-square-foot museum honors the history of the Army’s infantry forces. I’ve been to a lot of museums and this is one of the most impressive that I’ve ever visited. If you ever get the chance to go, don’t pass it up.

In the end, everyone here at The Evergreen Courant is wishing Jamie all the best and would like to give him a big “thank you” for his service. We owe a lot to soldiers like Jamie, who’ve sworn to defend our nation and to uphold the Constitution. Here’s hoping that we never see the day when we take soldiers like him and the freedoms that he protects for granted.

Hunter Norris takes first place in our local ESPN College Pick 'Em Contest

The third full week of college football has come and gone, and so has the third week of our local ESPN College Pick ‘Em Contest.

Hunter Norris, who was in second place last week moved into first place in the local standings this week. He picked eight out of 10 games correctly last Saturday, and has a two-point lead over the group.

Johnny Davis is in second place. Jeff Gunn and I are tied for third place. LaBarin Banks, who was in first place last week, was in fifth place when the dust settled on Saturday.

Bill Bolton and Jacob Ramer were tied for sixth place. Mark Peacock and Jonathan Turberville, who won the overall contest last year, were tied for eighth place overall. Rod Sims finished Saturday in tenth place.

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For those of you out there still playing, take heart. We’ve got 11 more weeks to go in the contest, so the thing is far from over. We’ve been playing this contest for over a decade now, and if anything is true it’s that this contest is a marathon, not a sprint. If you don’t do well one week, don’t worry, because the standings will be sure to change a lot as we move through the rest of the season. Only time will tell as to who will win this year’s local “Mr. Football” crown.

The varsity football teams at Hillcrest High School and Sparta Academy have gotten off to slow starts this season, but they could begin to turn things around starting tomorrow (Friday) night if they play their cards right.

Sparta travels to LaFayette to play winless Chambers Academy, and Hillcrest travels to Grove Hill to face Clarke County High School. Chambers is averaging less than three points a game this season, and they’re coming off a 60-point loss at Meadowview Christian. A win at LaFayette would springboard the Warriors into their Sept. 28 meeting with 1-4 Eastwood Christian of Montgomery. Eastwood is in their first year of football and should prove no match for a more experienced Sparta squad.

Clarke County is a different animal altogether, but I think Hillcrest will fair well against the Bulldogs. While they are 2-0 in region play, their record may be a little deceiving. They opened the season against a quality opponent, cross-county rival, Jackson, and were shutout, 30-0. They followed that game with a 19-0 win over Escambia County and a 33-14 win over Monroe County. Escambia and Monroe are both 1-2 overall, so it’s not like Clarke County’s wins came against the Denver Broncos. If the Jags can put together four quarters of good, no-mistake football, I feel confident in saying that they’re leave Grove Hill a winner tomorrow night.

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SEC football is in full swing, and this week’s slate of games will only raise the stakes. Here are my picks for this week’s round of SEC games.

I like Alabama over Florida Atlantic, Arkansas over Rutgers, LSU over Auburn, Ole Miss over Tulane, Mississippi State over South Alabama, Texas A&M over South Carolina State, Florida over Kentucky, Georgia over Vanderbilt, South Carolina over Missouri and Tennessee over Akron. Last week: 10-2. So far this season: 31-5.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Sept. 20, 2012

ONE YEAR AGO
SEPT. 15, 2011

“Sparta Academy senior Dalton Baggett racked up 180 yards of total offense and a pair of touchdowns in a 48-28 loss to Sumter Academy Friday night in York.
“Baggett picked up 153 yards on 15 carries and scored on runs of 36 and four yards. He also caught three passes for 27 yards.
“Quarterback Michael Brown completed 12 passes for 118 yards and ran the ball 11 times for 39 yards and a score. His touchdown came on a seven-yard run.
Other standout Sparta players in that game included Tom Andrews, Brooks Carpenter, Tristian Crutchfield, Hunter Hanks, Jacob Hendrix, Dylan Middleton, Zach Moon, Michael Raines, Ethan Roberts, Allen Stuart, Eli Tyree and Ethan Tyree.

“Hillcrest High School’s varsity football team dropped to 1-2 on the season Friday night after a 27-0 loss to region opponent Ashford High School at Brooks Memorial Stadium in Evergreen.
“Senior quarterback Terrell White led Hillcrest’s offense with three pass completions for 36 yards and no interceptions. He also ran the ball three times for one yard.
“Freshman quarterback Keyshawn Roache followed with two pass completions for 25 yards and no interceptions. He also ran the ball twice for 10 yards.
Other standout Hillcrest players in that game included LaBarron Dees, Daven Dixon, Timothy Jones, Kyantrae Lewis, Kyante Maxwell, Keith Richardson, Tevin Rudolph and Marquis Watkins.

16 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 19, 1996

“The Sparta Academy Warriors improved their record to 2 and 1 last Friday night as they defeated the Coosa Valley Academy Rebels 51 to 0 at Stuart-McGehee Field.
“Michael Pate opened the scoring for the Warriors on a 12-yard run. He also added the extra two to make the score 8-0.
“Pate added his second touchdown of the night a short time later on a 53-yard run. The extra two was run in by Roderick McIntyre.”
Other standout Sparta players in that game included Justin Brown, Lee Goodwin, Cliff Herbest, Chris Kervin, Seth McIntyre, Seth Mitchell, Stephen Salter, Drew Skipper and Charlie Ward. Keith York was Sparta’s head coach.

“Hillcrest Jaguars head coach Dennis Anderson was all smiles Monday morning as he looked back on his team’s resounding 44-16 win over Escambia County High School last Friday night in Atmore.”

“Coach Earnest Boykin was honored recently for his achievement in the South Central Alabama Football League. As coach of the Evergreen Pee Wee Jaguars, it only took him six years to become the most winning coach in league history. Coach Boykin holds the following record: 1990, 5-2; 1991, 6-1; 1992, 7-0, league champs; 1993, 6-1; 1994, 7-0, league champs; and 1995, 7-0, league champs. In 1992 and 1994, his team did not allow an opponent to score on them.”

31 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 17, 1981

“The Sparta Academy Warriors won their first game of the season here Friday night, and won it big rolling over a young, out-manned Stokes Memorial School of Pine Hill team 52-0. Sparta will host Fort Deposit Academy here Friday night at Stuart-McGehee Field.
“Joey Johnson picked up 140 yards and two touchdowns in just eight carries to pace the Sparta runners. Mike Mixon netted 67 yards and a TD on nine carries; Ed Carrier, 45 and a TD on seven tries; Joe McInvale, 37 on seven; Al Etheridge, 22 on three; Scott Lawrence, 13 on three; Dewan Salter, 11 and a TD on seven; Chris Vonderau, 10 on two; and Wes Brown was sacked for –6 on his only attempt.”
Other standout Sparta players in that game included Russ Brown, Tim Bybee, Robert Crosby, Thad Ellis, Charles Floyd, Scotty Grace, Britt McNeill, Russ Raines, Connery Salter, Lewis Shipp, Richard Starr and Chris Vonderau.

“The Lyeffion Tiny Mites played a tough game Saturday night against the Castleberry Blue Devils before losing 12 to 8.
“The first quarter Castleberry went in for a touchdown making the score 6 to 0. Then Jamie Deason rushed for a 60-yard touchdown and Brad Watts threw a pass to Deason for the extra two points. Late in the fourth quarter, Castleberry scored and the game ended, Castleberry 12, Lyeffion 8.
“Jamie Deason led the offense with a total of 123 yards followed by Mark Gill, 34 yards; Lynn Salter, four yards; Gerald Grace, three yards; and Brad Watts, one yard.”

46 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 15, 1966

“The Evergreen High Aggies dropped their opening game to Atmore, 9-0, here last Thursday night before one of the larger crowds of recent years.
“Evergreen almost got away for a score when Homer Faulkner intercepted a pass… and returned it to the Atmore 36, but lost the ball on downs.
“Coach Cliff Little thought the play of linebacker George Stinson was outstanding on defense. He cited center Rusty Price for his blocking, end Jack White for fine pass receiving, Faulkner and Glenn Bolton for their offensive play. Elliott Quarles and Don Montgomery also graded well on defense.
“Faulkner was outstanding for the Aggies, netting 44 yards on 12 carries and completing seven of 10 passes for a net of 39 yards. Buck Quarles picked up 18 yards on four carries; Bolton, 16 on eight attempts; Jimmy Bell, three on one. Bolton also connected on one pass for 15 yards.”

“Coach Cliff Little takes his Evergreen High Aggies to Monroeville tomorrow night to tangle with the tough Tigers of Monroe County High School.
“Little expects to go with the same starters that opened last week: left end, Ed Smith, 150; left tackle, Forrest Simpson, 155; left guard, Bubba Mininger, 141; center, Rusty Price, 187; right guard, Harold Hamiter, 151; right tackle, Larry Windham, 161; right end, Jack White, 147; quarterback, Homer Faulkner, 187; left halfback, Glenn Bolton, 164; right halfback, Jimmy Bell, 143; fullback, Elliott “Buck” Quarles, 157; Defensive specialists are linebacker George Stinson, 153; middleguard, Roger Waller, 161; and halfback Don Montgomery, 143.”

61 YEARS AGO
SEPT. 20, 1951

“The Evergreen High Aggies beat the mud and the Wildcats as they successfully opened the 1951 season here Friday night with an 18-0 victory over Millry.
“The Aggies flashed a brilliant running attack that netted them 299 yards from scrimmage. Downfield blocking paved the way for a number of lengthy scampers. Shirley Frazier took the honors with some nifty runs on the end around. Gwyn Daniels handled the punt and kickoff returns neatly in spite of treacherous footing and a slippery ball.
“The entire line played well and were sparked by Capt. Donahue Edson, a hustling linebacker and sharp blocker. Capt. Edson, Frazier, Chambers, Sam Cope, Wayne Douglas, Bill Robinson, Joe Stowers, James ‘Sonny Boy’ Andrews, Paul Hanks and Bill Lewis all turned in good line performances.
“Alt. Capt. (Gillis) Morgan had the Aggie offense clicking mighty well all things considered. Unsure footing and a slippery ball made things rough, but the ball was handled well.”

“Coach Mack English will pit his Lyeffion Yellow Jackets tonight (Thursday) against a seasoned aggregation from Excel. Due to the fact that neither team has a lighted field, the game will be played at Monroeville.
“Coach English lists as his probable starting lineup Wayne Thames, quarterback; Van Hawsey, LH; Ben Hawsey, RH; David Eddins or Sam Smith at fullback; Mabry Covin and Charles Brock will probably be called on for action in the backfield.
“On the line will be Frank Shaver at center; Frank Burt, RG; Bobby Jack Booker or Clay Kelley at LG; Coleman Armstead, LT; Jack Parrish, RT; Carlton Norwood, LE; and Jack Jones, RE. Reserves Chester Morrison, Charles Morrison and John Parrish, all tackles, and Bill Raines, guard, will be expected to bolster the forward wall.”

Daily Weather Observations for Thurs., Sept. 20, 2012

Temp: 57.6 degrees F (14.2 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 79 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Clear; birds audible and visible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance; mushrooms visible in the grass.

Winds: 0.0 mph (No wind)

Barometric Pressure: 29.61 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 9.76 feet
Yesterday: 11.70 feet
Change: -1.94 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 263rd day of 2012 and the 93rd day of Summer. There are 101 days left in the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, meteorological Autumn starts on 20 September.


Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This week's movie picks are 'Dredd' and 'The Cabin in the Woods'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

17 Girls (Drama, Comedy): Directed by Delphine Coulin and Muriel Coulin and starring Louise Grinberg, Juliette Darche, Roxane Duran, Esther Garrel and Yara Pilartz.

About Cherry (Drama): Directed by Stephen Elliot and starring Ashley Hinshaw, James Franco, Dev Patel, Lili Taylor and Jonny Weston.

Backwards (PG, Drama, Romance): Directed by Ben Hickernell and starring Sarah Megan Thomas, James Van Der Beek, Glenn Morshower, Margaret Colin and Wynn Everett.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (PG-13, Documentary): Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland.

Dredd (R, Action, Science Fiction): Directed by Pete Travis and starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris and Rakie Ayola.

End of Watch (R, Crime, Drama): Directed by David Ayer and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera and Frank Grillo.

Head Games (PG-13, Documentary, Sports): Directed by Steve James and starring Chris Nowinski.

House at the End of the Street (PG-13, Horror, Suspense): Directed by Mark Tonderai and starring Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellos and Krista Bridges.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13, Drama, Romance): Directed by Stephen Chbosky and starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd and Nina Dobrey.

Trouble with the Curve (PG-13, Drama): Directed by Robert Lorenz and starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard and John Goodman.

New DVD releases for the week of Sept. 18 include:

Bait (R, Horror, Suspense): Directed by Kimble Rendall and starring Xavier Samuel, Sharni Vinson, Phoebe Tonkin, Adrian Pang and Qi Yuwu.

Battlefield America (PG-13, Drama, Musical): Directed by Chris Stokes and starring Marques Houston, Mekia Cox, Christopher Jones and Lynn Whitfield.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (PG-13, Comedy, Drama): Directed by John Madden and starring Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson and Dev Patel.

Brawler (R, Drama): Directed by Chris Sivertson and starring Nathan Grubbs, Marc Senter, Bryan Batt, Michael Bowen and Pell James.

The Cabin in the Woods (R, Horror, Science Fiction): Directed by Drew Goodard and starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.

Dawn of the Dragonslayer (PG-13, Action, Adventure): Directed by Anne K. Black and starring Richard McWilliams, Nicola Posener and Philip Brodie.

Hysteria (R, Comedy, Romance): Directed by Tanya Wexler and starring Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones and Rupert Everett.

Katy Perry: Part of Me: The Movie (PG, Music, Documentary): Directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz and starring Katy Perry.

The Magic of Belle Isle (PG, Comedy, Drama): Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Morgan Freeman, Madeline Carroll, Virginia Madsen, Kenan Thompson and Fred Willard.

The Woman in the Fifth (R, Suspense): Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski and starring Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas, Joanna King and Samir Guesmi.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Dredd,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “The Cabin in the Woods.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Wed., Sept. 19, 2012

Temp: 59.7 degrees F (15.4 degrees C)

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.1 inches

Humidity: 84 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Clear; birds audible and visible; cows audible; dew on the ground; security lights still on in the distance; standing water in the yard from yesterday's rains; mushrooms visible in the grass.

Winds: 5.9 mph hour out of the Northwest.

Barometric Pressure: 29.56 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 5.6 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 58.85 inches

Local Weather Alerts: Local pollen alert in effect.

Alabama River Stage at Claiborne Lock and Dam (gage height in feet):
Today: 11.70 feet
Yesterday: 7.36 feet
Change: +4.34 feet
Flood Stage: 42.0 feet

NOTES: Today is the 262nd day of 2012 and the 92nd day of Summer. There are 102 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Check out these books to celebrate the U.S. Air Force's 65th birthday

Today, Sept. 18, is the United State’s Air Force’s 65th birthday.

Originally part of the U.S. Army, the Air Force was formed as a separate branch of the U.S. military on Sept. 18,1947. Today, it remains the world’s most technologically sophisticated air force.

To salute my friends and family who are (or have been) a part of the Air Force, I present to you today the 2012 USAF Chief of Staff Air Force Reading List.

The list was compiled to “inform, analyze, inspire and educate,” according to the U.S. Air Force web site. Titles were selected “to inform readers about the history of the Air Force, analyze on-going conflicts and their relevancy to the future, inspire readers with success stories and provide lessons learned from conflicts.”

Without further ado, here’s this year’s list:

"Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure" by Tim Harford

"Airpower for Strategic Effect" by Colin Gray

"Catch-22" by Joseph Heller

"A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent" by Robert Merry

"The Forever War" by Dexter Filkins

"Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II" by J. Todd Moye

"The Hunters" by James Salter

"Paradise Beneath Her Feet" by Isobel Coleman

"The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers" by Richard McGregor

"Physics of the Future" by Michio Kaku

"Start with Why" by Simon Sinek

"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption" by Laura Hillenbrand

"The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution" by Linda Monk

The Air Force Professional Reading Program was created a number of years ago “to develop a common frame of reference among Air Force members – officers, enlisted and civilians – to help each of us become better, more effective advocates of air and space power.”

In addition to the books mentioned above, a number of other titles have been recommended over the years including the following books:

- 10 Propositions Regarding Air Power by Phillip S. Meilinger

- 1776 by David McCullough

- The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One by David Kilcullen

- Afghanistan: A Short History of its People and Politics by Martin Ewans

- Air Force Roles and Missions: a History by Warren A. Trest

- Airpower Against Terror: America's Conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom by Benjamin Lambeth

- Air Power: The Men, Machines, and Ideas that Revolutionized War, From Kitty Hawk to Gulf War II by Stephen Budiansky

- The Air War: 1939-1945 by Richard J. Overy

- The All Americans by Lars Anderson (2005)

- American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day by Robert Coram

- America: The Last Best Hope Vol I, From an Age of Discovery to a World at War by William J. Bennett

- America: The Last Best Hope Vol II, From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom by William J. Bennett

- At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon Prange

- Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson

- Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win by Jeffrey Record

- Beyond Horizons: A Half Century of Air Force Space Leadership by David N. Spires

- Billy Mitchell: Crusader for Air Power by Alfred F. Hurley

- Bury Us Upside Down by Rich Newman and Don Shepperd

- Cataclysm: General Hap Arnold and the Defeat of Japan by Herman S Wolk (2010)

- Chennault: Giving Wings to the Tiger by Martha Byrd

- Contemporary Nuclear Debates: Missile Defense, Arms Control, and Arms Races in the Twenty-First Century by Alexander Lennon

- Could Never Be So Lucky Again: An Autobiography of General James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle Gen. Doolittle with Carrol V. Glines

- Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice by David Galula

- Courage and Air Warfare: The Allied Aircrew Experience in the Second World War by Mark K. Wells

- The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis

- Cyberdeterrence and Cyberwar by Martin C. Libicki

- Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It by Richard Clarke and Robert Knake (2010)

- Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of The Berlin Airlift June 1948 - May 1949 by Richard Reeves

- Descent Into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid (2008)

- The Dream Palace of the Arabs by Fouad Ajami

- Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the Twentieth Century by W. David Lewis

- Empire by Default: The Spanish-American War and the Dawn of the American Century by Ivan Musicant

- Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers: Innovation in the U.S. Army, 1917-1945 by David E. Johnson

- Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds by Robin Olds, Christina Olds and Ed Rasimus (2010)

- A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon by Neil Sheehan

- The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid, America's First World War II Victory by Craig Nelson

- First Light by Geoffrey Wellum

- The Foreigner's Gift by Fouad Ajami

- Forgotten Continent: The Battle for Latin America's Soul by Michael Reid

- From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East by Bernard Lewis

- General George Washington: A Military Life by Edward G. Lengel

- Gods of Tin by James Salter

- Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs by Ray Takeyh

- A History of Air Warfare by John A. Olsen

- A History of the American People by Paul Johnson

- A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani

- The Influence of Air Power upon History by Walter J. Boyne

- In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth Jones

- Jimmy Stewart: Bomber Pilot by Starr Smith

- John Warden and the Renaissance of American Air Power by John A. Olsen

- Last Chance for Victory: Robert E. Lee and the Gettysburg Campaign by Scott Bowden and Bill Ward

- The Last Days of Innocence: America At War 1917-1918 by Meirion and Susie Harries

- Leading Change by John P. Kotter

- Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation by James P. Womack and David T. Jones

- Learning Large Lessons: The Evolving Roles of Ground Power and Air Power in the Post-Cold War Era by David E. Johnson

- Lemay: The Life and Wars of General Curtis Lemay by Warren Kozak

- Locating Air Force Base Sites: History's Legacy, edited by Frederick J. Shaw

- The Lost Peace: Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953 by Robert Dallek (2010)

- Louis Johnson and the Arming of America: The Roosevelt and Truman Years by Keith D. McFarland and David L. Roll

- MacArthurs's Airman: General George C. Kenney and the War in the Southwest Pacific by Thomas E. Griffith

- Making Twenty-First-Century Strategy: An Introduction to the Modern National Security Processes and Problems by Dennis M. Drew and Donald M. Snow

- Master of Airpower: General Carl A. Spaatz by David R. Mets

- Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War against Nazi Germany by Donald L. Miller

- Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2000 Years by Bernard Lewis

- Modern Strategy by Colin S. Gray

- Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power by Robert Kaplan (2010)

- Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda by Sean Naylor

- One Day Too Long: Top Secret Site 85 and the Bombing of North Vietnam by Timothy Castle

- On Nuclear Terrorism by Michael Levi

- On the Edge of Earth: The Future of American Space Power by Steven Lambakis

- Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace by Mark Perry (2007)

- The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America by Ken Pollack

- The Philippine War, 1899-1902 by Brian McAllister Linn

- A Question of Loyalty: Gen. Billy Mitchell and the Court-Martial that Gripped the Nation by Douglas Waller

- Red Eagles: America’s Secret MIGs by Steve Davies (2008)

- The Return of History and the End of Dreams by Robert Kagan (2008)

- Rivals: How the Power Struggle between China, India and Japan will Shape our Next Decade by by Bill Emmott

- The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power by Max Boot

- Secrets of Special Ops Leadership: Dare the Impossible; Achieve the Extraordinary by William Allen Cohen (2008)

- Seven Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century by Andrew Krepinevich

- Sir John Fisher's Naval Revolution by Nicholas A. Lambert

- Technology Horizons: A Vision for the Air Force Science and Technology by Dr. Werner Dahm (2006)

- Thinking about America's Defense: An Analytical Memoir by Glenn A. Kent

- Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (2007)

- Victory at Yorktown: The Campaign that Won the Revolution by Richard M. Ketchum

- Victory on the Potomac: The Goldwater-Nichols Act Unifies the Pentagon by James R. Locher III

- Why Air Forces Fail: The Anatomy of Defeat by Robin Higham and Stephen J. Harris

- Winged Defense: The Development and Possibilities of Modern Air Power Economic and Military by William Mitchell

- Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P.W. Singer

In the end, how many of these books have you read? What did you think about them? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.