Don’t Blink!

January 28, 2009

I was checking out the History Channel’s “This Day in History” again, and discovered one of those things that most of us never think about.

No sooner had the horseless carriage been invented than men started seeing who’s vehicle would go the fastest. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. Man had already been having horse races; why not race against their replacements.

I would surmise that the very first machines were challenged by men on horseback, and it probably took a while before the horses began to lose.

According to the History Channel, on January 27, 1899, a Frenchman named Camille Jenatzy managed to drive his battery powered auto at the break-neck speed of 49.932 miles per hour.

(I just noticed I looked at the wrong date again. So be it! This is my post for January 28, 2009. Live with it!)

The first thing I find most interesting about his feat is that the car was battery powered. I wonder if the Energizer bunny had anything to do with it.

The second thing that fascinates me is the timing device used to determine a speed to three decimal positions. That seems extremely precise for 1899.

Whether it was intentional or not, on January 27, 1904, William K. Vanderbilt set a record in an automobile designed by Mors. It was the first major speed record set by an internal-combustion car. His speed of 76.086 miles per hour was achieved in Ablis, France.

All previous records had been set by steam or battery powered cars.

Those speeds seem so slow by today’s standards, but were probably more dangerous. Those early machines weren’t equipped with air bags and seat belts.

I doubt if ‘Fast Willie’ Parker of the Pittsburgh Steelers could outrun Vanderbilt, but he might have given Jenatzy a run for his money.

I had to work the Super Steelers in to my posts somehow. And I won’t promise it won’t happen again.


Giddy it is!

January 19, 2009
Creativity - Pittsburgh Style

Creativity - Pittsburgh Style

Believe it or not, a friend sent me the above photo last Wednesday. I wasn’t as confident as the person who created that computer enhanced image. In fact, my confidence didn’t surface until Roethlisberger took a knee to end the game.

I vaguely remember the first time the Steelers earned a berth in the Super Bowl. I know I had to have been far more excited. I think it’s human nature to get really excited the first time we experience anything good. After that, it’s still enjoyable, just not quite the same.

The only thing that makes this year’s success more meaningful is the fact that all the football experts agreed at the beginning of the season that Pittsburgh had the toughest schedule in the league. When you look at the teams in the playoffs, there were only a few that Pittsburgh did not face during the regular season.

The Arizona Cardinals are one of those teams. However, during the next two weeks the sports channels will be filled with stories outlining the connections between the two teams.

I’ve been pulling for the Cardinals ever since they drafted Larry Fitzgerald out of the University of Pittsburgh. I’ve also wanted to see Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm do well.  Whisenhunt played his college ball at Georgia Tech and Grimm was another Pitt player.

While I have lots of reasons to want to see the Cardinals do well, they are out-weighed by my loyalty to the city of my birth… the City of Bridges… Old Smokey… Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

On February 1st, I’ll be pulling for Mike Tomlin, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Willie Parker, Troy Polamalu, and the rest of the crew.

You can take the boy out of Western Pennsylvania, but you can’t take Western Pennsylvania out of the boy… even if he is a senior citizen.