Beau English is Mr. Perfect

September 19, 2016
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#17 Beau English was a perfect 15/15 passing and leads the #4 team in the USA.

Beau English is no stranger to the winner’s circle and he has already led DeMatha to the WCAC championship in 2014 and 2015 after taking over as the quarterback for the Stags as a sophomore.  The United States Air Force Academy commit has dazzled fans early in the 2016 season by turning in not just one but two perfect passing performances en route to an unblemished 4-0 start.  This young man has measured up to the highest standards off of the field and on it.

Hot right out of the gate, Beau English has scorched opponents with a variety of passing options that DeMatha isn’t typically known for.  Gun slinging isn’t how most DeMatha football fans identify the program that has relied heavily on the run in the past.  (Even the former DeMatha quaterback with the nickname “gun” was primarily a threat on the ground, see below.)  The idea of running between the tackles isn’t news to any successful program however DeMatha has made it a calling card of sorts even before the days of former head coach Bill McGregor.

 

 

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DeMatha senior Beau English

The current DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks was a student of McGregor and one of his best running backs, but it is apparent that passing talent is in fashion as long as Beau English is on the field.  Beau has the ability to tally up yards even though DeMatha is still stacked at their most dependable position.  The featured running back this year, Anthony McFarland, was lost to pre-season broken leg but the Stags have hardly missed a beat.  The offense has opened up under the steady stewardship of Beau English and it has resulted in a natinoal championship buzz for DeMatha football.

After toppling Oscar Smith (VA), Avalon (MD), Bishop McDevitt (PA), and now McDonogh (MD), DeMatha football is ranked number 4 in the USA according to most polls.  Once again the eyes in Hyattsville shift to complete a perfect season and stay in the hunt for a national title.  While the entire cast of players and coaches deserves the credit for the success of the DeMatha football team there is no denying that Beau English has done his part so far.  The added dimension of the passing game has done wonders for running backs Khory Spruill and Myles Mireeand the DeMatha defense has been solid as well.

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Beau English is now known as Mr. Perfect and he is headed to the Air Force Academy after 2016.

 

But it is worth mentioning that Beau English is the first to be absolutely perfect in the modern quarterback rating system at DeMatha.  That is really something in my estimation.  This kid deserves this nickname regardless of the outcome of the rest of the season but I hope that you know by now that I’m rooting for him to take it to the fullest extent.  I have been writing about the DeMatha Stags for a very long time and there aren’t that many players that have achieved the level of nickname status from me.  If anyone could stand up to the mounting pressure it would be this guy.

If Beau English can keep the party going with his third consecutive WCAC title in football he will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in school history.  A name like “Mr. Perfect” will only draw too much attention to him where he is going and I wouldn’t wish any correlations to any other demerit dodgers on him.  I think of previous nicknames like the one I bestowed on Tommy “gun” Chroniger and I always knew that I could do better.  (Tom Chroniger won three WCAC titles for DeMatha football, but his passing completion percentage left room for improvement.)  Whether or not Beau English is able to accomplish the extraordinary feat of winning DeMatha’s first ever national title in football, he will always be Mr. Perfect to me.

Environmental Sustainabilty Research Proposal Fail

September 9, 2016

Listen folks, I am determined to see my research in Environmental Sustainability through.  Yes I understand that my paper might be a little flawed but this is yet another one of my crazy ideas that just might work.  (I can be a bit of a toad

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The toad that I found in Tokyo proved to me that environmental sustainability was indeed possible in large, thriving cities. [Photo Daniel Cooper]

in that way, but at least I am still evolving.)  The reason why this piece represents failure to me has nothing to do with how it is written, instead it has to do with the racket that is academia.

Check out my failed research proposal to measure net positive impacts on the environment here.

[Quantifying Human Caused Environmental Net Positive Impacts in a Modern World by Daniel Cooper is available for download and commenting for one month on Google Academia.]

The message that I received back after formally submitting this proposal was actually quite embarrassing but I am not ashamed to share it with you.  I believe that this is one of those cases in which stellar academic qualifications shouldn’t necessarily be a prerequisite, anyway.  The University of Edinburgh wasn’t impressed by my college partying ways at all and now I am scrambling around trying to figure out if anyone else is interested in building sustainable models with me.  My paper goes into greater detail as to what I was trying to accomplish this fall, but alas, now I making other plans.  I don’t think that this idea can really wait so I am gaining the necessary tools to begin the process myself.

If you are really interested in knowing how I am going to beat an academic system that has withstood the test of time so far, then you will have to check me out on Google+ and follow my Data Science collection.  Feel free to comment on the academic proposal if you want.   Also feel free to share it with any and all institutions that might be interested in my services.  I understand that we are all in this world together and that it is going to take an inclusive effort to make some real changes in it.  The realm of academia is by definition hierarchical and it smacks of elitism but that shouldn’t prevent the masses from engaging it.

If environmental sustainability research papers aren’t really your thing then I hope you consider commenting in my global public discussion group. Duck Pond Public Discussions is a Google+ community that formally launched two years ago but hasn’t been properly moderated it until now.  We are going to be doing a lot in the near future around here, and I am planning on a very busy September.  Please try and keep up with me!

Always remember that nothing beats a failure but a try.

Sherry Education All Stars In Jerez

September 7, 2016

This is a special bonus post to capitalize on all of the recent information that I have discovered in my personal, Jerez sherry education.  It is worth stating here that sherry has also managed to play a prominent role during the courtship of my beloved wife.

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Vendimia Jerez 2016 Pisa de la Uva

While we were still just dating my wife was on exchange teaching English in the United States and she confided in me that she missed the wines that the Jerez region is famous for.  Her lamentations led to my eventual acceptance of the challenge to find and present her with a case of fino.  The rest, as they say, is history.

I was in love.  I was immediately launched into a new world of understanding about the intricacies of wines and the wine industry.  Seriously, my wife had me at “fortified wine,” but by the time I discovered what a ‘rebujito’ (* see below) was I knew that I was in over my head.  I had to get a better sherry education and also figure out how it was possible that I didn’t find this old liquid gold in my life beforehand.  I immediately set about on a course of research that directed me towards several fabulous people that have a presence in the sherry industry in Jerez de la Frontera, and on the internet.

The first super sherry aficionado that I found was right here on WordPress, completely by accident.  Sherry Sips was a pleasant surprise to find on the internet because the principle author Seana Yee’s adventures are documented excellently.  Seana’s strategy is proven and the native Oregonian employs honest words and great pictures in her Sherry Sips social media.  If you are the type of individual that can see yourself trying to obtain the very best education in sherry, then you would do well to study the method of Sherry Sips.  Her websites outline a clear path towards achieving that goal and she is in the process of completing it.  These are exciting times to check out her work because of her recent travels to Jerez de la Frontera and her bravery in attempting what can only be described as complete sherry cultural immersion.

[Photo courtesy of Sherry Sips Twitter]

People that might be in wine production in Jerez can be a little aloof and foreigners are looked at with both interest and suspicion.  Producers in the wine industry are typically family owned businesses and they have long been wary any foreign interference.  Sherry isn’t exactly an industry that the average international business person can break into.  It can take years to get on a first name basis with established sherry professionals.  Fortunately, Seana Yee introduced me to the awesome Roció Urium who not only blogs extensively but she is also deeply entrenched in the wine industry in Jerez.  If you are ever fortunate enough to come here and engage Roció in conversation you will note that the potential exists to rapidly increase your base of sherry knowledge in a short period of time.  The next best thing might be her extensive internet media because Roció Urium is fluent in English and very easy to follow.

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A photo posted by Rocio Urium (@rociourium) on Sep 6, 2016 at 12:03pm PDT

 

[Photo courtesy of  Rocio Urium (@rociourium) by Mario on Sep 6, 2016 at 12:03pm PDT via Instagram]

Lastly I would like to draw your attention to our fantastic friends across the pond that have been steadily filling the annals of sherry lore as the world’s biggest importers -almost since the beginning of recorded history.  Great Britain and Scotland have had a very long relationship with sherry producers in Spain and the legacy is continuing in a modern way with Criadera.  The sheer volume of the work in the blog there will take even the most avid oenologist quite some time to digest.  There is a terrific diversity in the topics covered by Criadera and so it is very difficult to get bored.  The Criadera team is comprised of my two new friends Helen and Stuart that turned a quick holiday into an obsession that blossomed into Sherry Boutique. It has often been said that ‘way leads on to way’ and that it is the journey that should be cherished and not so much the destination.  I hope my readers take the time to really get lost in the sauce during their free sherry educations.

[Photo courtesy of Criadera Twitter]

In just one day during the ‘Pisa de la Uva’ I met people from all over the world that have an interest in one of the world’s oldest and most famous wines.  To embark on this odyssey, you need a very open mind and plenty of stamina but the rewards are also great.  A sherry education is valuable and you might find yourself on a slightly different course in life because of it.

* Rebujito – a mixed sherry drink consisting of relatively equal parts 7-Up and fino typically served over ice on hot days in Spain.

Stomping Grapes In Jerez For Vendimia

September 6, 2016
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The Cathedral in Jerez de la Frontera during the official opening of the Vendimia Festival.

The ‘Pisa de la Uva’ or the stomping of the grapes is the most important Vendimia Festival in all of Spain. Xerez may be the city of horses but the name is literally translated as sherry. The wine is amazing and unique; and the city of Jerez has a history with wine unlike any other city in the world.

Let’s recap: sherry = Jerez = Xerez = famously fortified wine.

I met some friends on the steps of the Cathedral in order to witness the Blessing of the Grapes which is the traditional start of harvest events as sanctioned by the City of Jerez.  In fact, on this particular occasion the government became the central story in 2016.  Apparently there were some disgruntled workers that took it upon themselves to protest the mayor during the proceedings.  Loud horns and blaring sirens were directed at the officials conducting the ceremony.

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These guys really know how to clear out a grape harvest festival.

The desired effect was achieved and most of the attention went to former government workers that had the audacity to hold a politician’s feet to the fire over one of her campaign promises of reinstating them.  Flyers littered the ground as tourists and locals alike traversed the steps of the Cathedral to hear the words from the priest.  Anyone within 500 meters of the protesters would easily hear the tumultuous din that they were causing, but none of the audience could even hear a word of the blessing.  The protesters showed the world that they were adamant by not only drowning out the voice of the church, but they also completely distracted what looked to be school aged children performing in the band.

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Vendimia is normally festive.

Spain is a wonderful place full of character.  There is no way to factor that unique aspect of the culture into an event, such as this.  Of course in the front rows that were carefully partitioned ahead of the rabble the gentlemen in suits or women in fine dresses didn’t even peer in the direction of those protesting for their jobs.  Some people had made it a point not to notice what absolutely could not be ignored.  Others were even more prepared and donned their own earplugs.  Many of the local folks simply gave up and resigned themselves to drink fino, amontillado, and oloroso away from the noise.  The tourists like myself were treated to an extra ambiance of Bronx cheers and chants at an otherwise peaceful, yet abbreviated event.

Protests happen all around the world and the complaints of the aggrieved have never agitated this New Yorker to the point that I lose empathy so I pushed on.  My understanding of the festival wasn’t diminished as much as my hearing but it would have been very nice to see how much my Spanish comprehension has improved.  The only chance to listen to anything at all was the eerie silence of the protesters during one, purposefully elongated, Spanish national anthem during which all stood quietly.  I have to admit that the band was pretty good and that the idea of a national anthem without all the problematic and pesky words might be growing one me.

I had no use for the audio in the video above so rest assured that you will be spared and any offensive sound is replaced with a mellow soundtrack.  The last thing that I will write about this event is that the good people of Jerez did have the decency to pour some wine for the masses.  Maybe I’ll see you next year?

Silence Is Good Sometimes

August 25, 2016

“Number 2: never let ’em know your next move.  Don’t you know bad boys move in silence; in violence?  Take it from your highness…” – Notorious B.I.G

 

I thought that I would let you know how I’ve been failing recently.  Right.  You read that correctly, I did not mean feeling but failing.  I’m a writer and that means that I fail a lot.  Silence is good sometimes, but in this case I actually need a little bit of noise so I am asking for your help.  I wrote this treatment for a company that will not be mentioned and they never even saw it.  As a result of that fact, I never got the feedback that will help me write a better treatment next time.

Sometimes I need other people’s opinions in order to make a breakthrough, and this is one of those cases.  If you have an interest in the emerging field of cannabis or cannabinoids, I need you to take a look at this treatment and tell me where I went wrong.  Don’t worry if you don’t know what a treatment is.  A treatment is a pitch to a production company for a show and an idea, if you will.  Folks in marketing are always so secretive because they are afraid that people will take their ideas.  As a writer and a scientist, I understand that I am an idea factory so I’m going to risk enlisting your help.

Download the treatment from my production company WMIBAS?

Please comment or write to me and redistribute this idea because we really need to turn this it into reality.  Lives are depending on it.  We need to shout this from the rooftops.

Help me out.

EpiPen Monopoly Attack on Children

August 24, 2016
Epinephreine Structure

The generic epinephrine is less than $1 per dose.

Despite significant profit growth the world’s leading manufacturer of a lifesaving delivery system for anaphylactic shock has continued to raise prices.  EpiPen is a popular epinephrine auto-injectable that can potentially avert fatal allergic reactions in sufferers during emergencies.

According to the Mylan website, the multinational distributor of EpiPen, the driving factor behind a whopping $650 million gain was attributed to the strong sales of their lifesaving allergy drug.  The average retail price has climbed to over $600 per kit for buyers without insurance on TrueMedCost.com while Mylan has recorded a gross profit of over $2 billion during the second and third quarters of 2016 according to a press release.  One kit includes two, 0.3 mg doses of epinephrine and a special injector while the generic compound sells for a meager $10 per mg.  Syringes are sold separately and it can be cumbersome to use generic epinephrine without special training.

The mobility of the EpiPen has made it particularly attractive to allergy patients that might struggle to deliver an immediate and exact dosage, but recent price hikes have revealed agonizingly few alternatives to the product.  CVS is a leading retailer of EpiPen in the United States and divulged that cheaper generic drugs lagged far behind the leading brand in sales through their site.  (The data also shows that the majority of consumers are under the age of twenty.)  Mylan has leveraged this advantageous market position to a devastating effect that has sent shockwaves throughout the pharmaceutical industry and even drawn the ire of politicians around the world.

Talk of yet another pharmaceutical monopoly will likely reverberate within the chambers of the United States Congress.  Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) made a public inquiry to Mylan CEO Heather Branch on August 22, 2016 regarding the uptick in EpiPen costs for Medicare recipients.  Most of the public remember the debacle of former CEO Martin Shkreli smugly and frequently invoking his Fifth Amendment rights when questioned by the House of Representatives in February of this year.

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Mr. Martin Shkreli doesn’t appear to feel remorse at a Congressional Hearing in February.

Mr. Shkreli is still infamous in an internet meme as Pharma Bro for suddenly raising the price of a rarely effective treatment for life threatening diseases like malaria and AIDS.   Senator Grassley could be onto a trend.

If it feels like big drug companies have a knack for putting pressure on the most dependent and vulnerable, you aren’t alone.  Congress enacted laws to amend the Public Health Service Act in 2013 to increase access to epinephrine in schools due to concerns over American children.  Despite that fact one of the easiest delivery methods of the active compound is proprietary, and Mylan still hasn’t given their best customers much relief.  $100 coupons are offered as a manufacturer rebate for people getting pinched but individuals that might use the shots frequently are very worried.  In a world where allergies are increasing in number and severity, price hikes can have consequences that hit all of us suddenly.  The sensation is rooted in the belief that corporations like Mylan might be too focused on their investors at the expense of the little people.

Upcoming Events: Vendimia 2016

August 2, 2016

Click on the Google Calendar link above to add my event to your calendar if you happen to be in the area of Andalusia this coming September.  I have been spending so much time talking about Jerez de la Frontera, Spain that I haven’t had the chance to properly invite you.

IMG_20160629_124236I know that it is a bit of short notice but this is one of the last events of the official 2016 calendar of events for the City of Jerez.  Vendimia is the grape harvest festival and generally folks make a pretty big deal about it here in Spain according to the board of tourism for Andalucia.  The most important Vendimia festival in Spain is right here in Jerez so if you want to meet me directly after the Blessing of the Grapes, then we can can watch the Stomping of the Grapes together.

It should go without saying that we are going to be sipping on something and only those legally allowed to drink can imbibe.  Anyway it will be a really good time.

https://plus.google.com/events/cpj0v1nmkk62jrq8brutppo2p44

 

Epiphany 2016

January 6, 2016

Get out there and share the good news in 2016 that Spain has decided to include actual Africans in some of their parades for Three Wise Kings Day, also known as Los Reyes Magos.  I wrote about my general disgust for the practice of donning blackface last year, but my opinion about this particular Spanish tradition is evolving now.

Largely, I look at the event as celebratory and the incidences of changing one’s appearance to resemble the most striking African features is crude flattery.  My argument to have someone black play Balthazar is still firmly rooted in tact, but the levels of inclusion for the large numbers of Africans that find themselves in Spain is encouraging.   Participation in the parade festivities is a very big deal in Spain, and I was pleased to see cultural sharing and exchange rather than the usual cultural appropriation.

I hate to start out in a new year on a sour note, so Happy New Year to all of you out there.

Spread love!

DeMatha Football Dedicated in 2015

September 20, 2015

DeMatha Football is already off to their best start ever in 2015 and we are only four weeks into the season.  The Stags beat two nationally ranked opponents from Florida and a tough LaSalle team from Philadelphia after a bye-week to hang on to their own coveted #4 national ranking.

I’m going to let that sink in.

The DeMatha Stags need a clean sheet in the upcoming WCAC schedule and they are automatically in the national championship discussion but with a little luck they could theoretically be a clear choice, too.  And why not?  I have had the pleasure of seeing all three games because the DeMatha Stags football team hasn’t exactly been shy about their chances. The Stags opened the season on ESPN against power house Miami Central in a dominating performance.  This team has a lot of ability –even by DeMatha standards, and good enough to overcome the long odds for a high school in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#1 Darryl Turner, Jr. DeMatha Catholic HS Class of 2016

DeMatha football players are dedicating the 2015 season to Darryl Turner, Jr. after a season-ending injury.

DeMatha Football Head Coach Elijah Brooks has been building up to this for a while.  There are three All American selections on this year’s team to add to a wealth of experience.  Despite losing #1 Darryl Turner Jr. to a fractured ankle in the opener against Miami Central the Stags are still laden with senior leadership.  Those guys went to the University of Maryland commit’s home after the season-ending injury and have dedicated the season to the student-athlete described as the heart and soul of the 2015 DeMatha football team.

DeMatha has one more guaranteed game on ESPN against Gonzaga but local television might want to pick up the rest of their season if they manage to go undefeated.  I can’t think of another Washington DC area metropolitan school that has ever been in the hunt for a national title in football.  This is history in the making and uncharted territory for the Stags.  I hope that they can pull this off because wouldn’t that be something?

No. 2 Miami Central, No. 5 DeMatha find common ground for this weekend’s Super 25 matchup

August 27, 2015

Well what are you watching this Saturday (August 29, 2015) if not watching the DeMatha Stags attempt to break into the top five high school football national rankings?  DeMatha has a very strong team this year and they are attempting to come right through the front door.  Here is an article in the USA Today regarding this unlikely match-up of high school football juggernauts so early in the season and why this game, in particular, has the attention of so many.  You see, it isn’t just me.

USA Today High School Sports

Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football) Elijah Brooks has led the Stags to back-to-back WCAC titles. (Photo: DeMatha Football)

At first glance, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) and Miami (Fla.) Central wouldn’t seem to have a lot in common. DeMatha is a private, relatively pricey (tuition is $16,400 a year) school that doesn’t play for a state title in football but has won the past two Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles. Miami Central is a public school where 65% of the students qualify for free or reduced-price student lunches and the Rockets have won three consecutive 6A state titles in football.

But DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks and Miami Central’s Roland Smith found common ground on one point. Outside of their conference and regions, they had a hard time finding opponents. That’s the biggest reason why Miami Central, the No. 2 team in the Super 25 football rankings, will travel 1,058 miles to play No. 5 DeMatha on…

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