Why Didn’t Volvo Trucks Save Epic Split Commercial for Super Bowl?

Every now and then, I see a commercial that just completely wows me. This time, it’s by Volvo Trucks showing off the stability of their dynamic steering with Jean-Claude Van Damme in the slowly jaw dropping commercial below.

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Over 250 Cartoon Pictures for Facebook Profile Pics Campaign Against Child Abuse

Until December 6th, there is a global campaign on Facebook where people replace their profile pictures with their favourite cartoon character/s, then encourage their friends to do the same. Now this campaign I like! Too bad it’s way too short but it’s gone viral globally after just a day’s notice!

I’ve got over 250 cartoon pictures made for Facebook profile pics at the bottom, arranged in alphabetical order with names, which include some modern and some old cartoons.

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Obama’s Barackets Beating 96.5% of over 4.5 Million Brackets on ESPN 2010 March Madness Challenge After Round 1

President Barack Obama

Please click here to see President Obama’s 2010 Barackets, and get analysis after Round 2

After Round 1 of the 2010 NCAA March Madness Tournament, President Barack Obama’s ESPN Barackets is beating 96.5% of over 4.5 million entries!

See Obama’s 2010 March Madness Brackets here.

See Obama’s rationale in his picks via the ESPN video here.

Obama got 25 of 32 games correct for 250 points since each game in this round was worth 10 points. Three top entries were tied at a remarkable 310 points or 31 of 32 correct! There is no rewards for upsets in the ESPN system so these brackets encouraged going with the favourites rather than picking upsets. That left the President at a rank of 160,151 or sitting in the 96.6th percentile. That means he is ahead of 96.5% of the entries of over 4.5 million entries!

An analogy for that statistic would be the Prez is beating 29 out of every 30 entrants, sitting in 2nd place in such a sample. With over 4.5 million entries, that’s far more than a big enough sample to safely declare the President ahead of 96.5% of all bracket entries out there. He knew his basketball in Round 1, unlike last year when he admitted he got killed in the early rounds.

However, Obama could be in a lot of trouble for the next rounds, each of which is also worth 320 points.

That’s because Obama has already lost one of his Elite Eight teams in Georgetown. That’s 40 points he won’t be getting in that round for sure. I wonder if that were a political pick because Georgetown is, of course, in Washington DC. There weren’t too many Chicago or Illinois teams that stood much of a chance this year to go far.

Obama has also already lost two of his Sweet Sixteen teams with Georgetown and Marquette. That’s another 40 points he won’t be getting in that round.

ESPN lists Obama’s potential points remaining (PPR) at 1,520 after Round 1.

Of course, other people will have likely lost some of those teams already as well. The fact most of them lost more teams this first round only suggest they have a greater chance of losing more teams in the later rounds already than Obama. However, that’s not necessarily true.

My ESPN brackets are sitting at 210 points, or 2,978,307 or ahead of a very lousy 37.6 percent of the entries. Basically, I’m in 6th place out of every 8 people! OUCH! Yet, because I haven’t lost any Elite Eight teams, and the same Georgetown pick as Obama for the Sweet Sixteen, my potential points remaining is 1,580. That could make up the 40 points different the President has on me after Round 1. So despite being over 2.8 million spots back of da Prez right now, I could still end up putting the slamma jamma on Obama!

All that said, the President is doing relatively well among ESPN’s featured brackets.

Obama is first among them after Round 1. In fact, he’s cleaning house… including dunking on LeBron James!

I guess in America, it’s da Prez that rules, not the King. They got rid of him a long time ago! 🙂

You can look at each featured bracket’s potential points remaining if you’d like by clicking on the links above.

How are you doing after the first round if you played? How many games did you get right?

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Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 5.8

Musical Performance Philosophy from the James Conlon “Encore” Series

James Conlon

James Conlon

There are few things that will shut me up as quickly as a classical pianist or conductor talking about the music or humanity of it. In the six episodes of the Encore! with James Conlon series created in 2005 from the Twelfth International Van Cliburn Piano Competition, Maestro James Conlon explores the relationship between the concert pianist’s internal world and the composer’s score with the finalists as his examples. The series premiered on PBS in October 2005 and also featured chamber performances with the Grammy Award-winning Takács Quartet. Eminent pianist and competition juror Menahem Pressler also had a prominent role. He had a beautiful clip talking about playing Beethoven piano sonatas to one of the younger competitors in the 2005 documentary of the competition, In the Heart of Music.

Below are clips from each of the six episodes of the Encore! series, which I will have to see in full one day! Encore! with James Conlon was directed by Andy Sommer and co-produced by Bel Air Media, the Van Cliburn Foundation, and KERA.

But that’s enough of me! I’m going to shut up and listen now! 🙂

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Episode 1: Apollo or Dionyssus (with Davide Cabassi)

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Episode 2: Plato or Aristotle (with Alexander Kobrin)

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Episode 3: Being It or Playing It (with Joyce Yang)

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Episode 4: Truth or Beauty (with Chu-Fang Huang)

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Episode 5: Technique or Spirit (with Roberto Plano, pianist)

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Episode 6: Tradition or Innovation (with Sa Chen)

The Van Cliburn Piano Competition Over the Years

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Van Cliburn

Van Cliburn

Every 4 years, Fort Worth, Texas, becomes the centre of the classical music world with its Van Cliburn Piano Competition. Documentaries have also been made of a lot of them. I found the Van Cliburn Foundation had posted a lot of preview clips of these videos so here are a bunch. It might be a bit more time than you have right now, but perhaps bookmark the post and come back to gradually digest it all?

I have only seen one of these videos fully (2005), but I absolutely LOVED it, and I know I would love all the others because I love watching this sort of stuff. There are few things that stirs my heart more than to watch more than classical pianists playing their hearts and souls out, with some insight they give about their thoughts, feelings, lives, loves for the music and so on. These videos are full of this stuff!

I MUST put it on my long-term plans to attend Van Cliburn 2013 before I missed it again like I did just this year! I couldn’t have made it anyway, as it turned out, but still. I dread the thought of having to wait 4 more years!

On with the clips, though. Before all these preview clips is a short video of 23 year old Van Cliburn winning the first Tchaikovsky Competition in Russia during April 1958, which made him the ambassadorial legend between the two countries through the Cold War and to this day.

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Then a clip of what the competition is about in 3 minutes…

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And here are the clips from various years…

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Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.0