Spurs Hammer Jazz Advance to NBA Finals

Created Thursday, 31 May 2007 20:12

Spurs Hammer Jazz Advance to NBA Finals

Written by Randy Watson

Game 5 was close for about half of the first quarter.  Then Tony Parker ignited an explosion of scoring that gave the Spurs a 23-point lead in the first half.  Utah\’s young team never recovered, and the game was never again in doubt.

San Antonio had a five point lead when Tony Parker started slashing and driving to the basket, and over the next 2:13, San Antonio\’s dynamic point guard scored 7 points and assisted Tim Duncan on a slam that ignited the fans, and signaled the end of Utah\’s post-season run.  Parker and Duncan both finished the game with 21 points each. Fabrico Oberto had another productive game, scoring 7 points and leading the team with 10 rebounds.  The Spurs\’ bench players saw significant playing time, allowing the veteran starters to start their long rest before beginning the finals.  Jaques Vaughn had 8 points and 6 assists off the bench, and Brent Barry and Francisco Elson both scored 9.

The Jazz never managed to get anything going.  Carlos Boozer, who had been terrific in the playoffs, managed only 9 points and 12 rebounds.  Star point guard, Deron Williams, scored 11 points.

Now the Spurs should have about a week to rest up and plan their strategy against the winner of the Eastern Conference Championship.  That series featuring Cleveland and Detroit is tied at 2-2.  Should Detroit win, the Finals match-up will be between the two most veteran teams in the NBA.  Should the Cavaliers win, San Antonio will have to face the upstarts of the playoffs, and the newest budding superstar, Lebron James.

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Veterans Lead Spurs to Victory

Created Sunday, 29 April 2007 19:24

Veterans Lead Spurs to Victory

Written by Randy Watson

 The Spurs \”Big 3,\” Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker, provided the most points for San Antonio, but it was two of the savvy, older veterans, Robert Horry and Michael Finley, who provided the clutch baskets when they were needed.  The Spurs, trailing late in the third period, needed a spark, and who better to give it to them then the man known as \”Big Shot Bob?\”

Together, Finley and Horry are 70 years old, but on Saturday, they played like they were in their prime. With his team trailing by a point in the third, Finley hit a three to give San Antonio a two point lead.  Minutes later, it was Horry\”s turn, as he made a steal, hit a three, and then buried another a minute later.  Finley wasn\”t done either, hitting another 3 with a minute left in the half to break the game wide open, and dash the hopes of the Nuggets.  Denver would never recover.  For the game, Horry scored 10 points (2-5 on three-pointers), and pulled down 6 rebounds in 28 minutes of action.  Finley scored 16 points (5-7 for three-pointers), and had 5 rebounds in 29 minutes.

Denver’s Iverson and Anthony got their points, combining for 48, but Iverson was hassled throughout the contest, and only shot 7-20, and was 0-3 from behind the arc.  Clearly, San Antonio’s defense had an effect on his game.  For the Spurs, Duncan accounted for 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Parker led the team with 21 points.  Manu Ginobili scored 19, and hit two crucial free throws to ice the game with 7.8 seconds left in the game and the Spurs only up by two.

Most importantly, the Spurs have regained the home court advantage that they lost by dropping the first game in the series.  The Spurs are now in control of this series, but will certainly have to stay focused and keep the intensity against this young, but dangerous Nuggets team.  San Antonio’s veteran leadership clearly paid off in this game, but Denver will be looking to even the series at home Monday night.  Certainly, all the games so far have been close, and this series will be a dog fight until the end.

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One Win From Finals

Created Tuesday, 29 May 2007 19:20

One Win from the Finals

Written by Randy Watson

Spurs Stun Jazz 91-79, One Win From Finals

After getting blown out in Game 3, San Antonio came back focused and physical in Game 4, and managed to get out of Salt Lake City with a 1-1 split with the Jazz, and needing one more victory to advance to the NBA Finals.  The game certainly wasn\’ pretty, with technical fouls being called, trash being thrown on the court and at Spurs\’ players, and the Spurs shooting more free throws than field goals, but at the end, San Antonio managed to hand the Jazz their first loss on their home court in the playoffs.

It was a heated contest, and emotions-especially on the Jazz sideline-were high.  Utah\’s coach, Jerry Sloan, was ejected along with Derek Fisher late in the 4th period.  The play of Manu Ginobili was, in large part, the reason for the ejections. After three quarters of relatively anonymous play by the Argentine, he began slashing and driving to the basket in the fourth, and was fouled on a number of those.  Utah\’s fans, believing that the referees were calling the game in San Antonio\’s favor, grew angrier and angrier . . . and so did the Jazz.  Utah was called for four technical fouls in the final period, and each time they went to the line, San Antonio\’s players calmly hit free throw after free throw to seal the game.

None of the Spurs\’ players had particularly great games.  Tim Duncan had a quiet night, scoring 19 points and 9 rebounds to go along with a solid defensive performance which saw him rack up 5 blocks.  Fabricio Oberto had what was probably his best game of the playoffs, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.  Manu Ginobili led the team in scoring with 22 points, 12 of which came from the free throw line.

For Utah, Deron Williams continued his great play, but, with the exception of Carlos Boozer, received almost no help from any of his teammates.  Williams scored 27 points to lead all scorers, and also had 10 assists.  Boozer had 18 points and 9 rebounds.  Mehmet Okur and Derrick Fisher both fouled out, and the Jazz ended up with 27 team fouls to San Antonio\’s 17.

Although the final score indicates a rather one-sided win, most of the game was fairly close.  In fact, at the start of the fourth quarter San Antonio was only ahead by one point.  One ironic point is that with his 87th career playoff victory, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich tied Utah coach Jerry Sloan for fifth on the all-time victory list.

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Museum of Art: Exhibitions and Education

Created Saturday, 28 April 2007 08:49

Museum of Art: Exhibitions and Education

Written by Randy Watson

The San Antonio Museum of Art opened its doors in 1981, and has been serving the city in many ways, ever since.  The museum functions not only as a depository for magnificent artifacts from all corners of the globe, but also as an educational center, helping people to learn about a variety of civilizations, cultures, and traditions from the past and present.

The museum began with a seven acre property, and over the years, has more than doubled its physical space, as well as its collections.  Today, the museum features permanent collections as varied as Western Antiquities, Asian Art, Latin American Art, contemporary American paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

Currently, the museum is featuring three temporary exhibitions.  “Viva San Antonio!” (April 14-November 4, 2007) is a celebration of the city’s patron saint, which has brought together a variety of representations from many countries in Latin America, as well as Spain.  San Antonio de Padua has long been the patron saint for the poor and downtrodden, and also for women looking for husbands and seeking fertility.  The earliest missionaries and voyagers to this part of the country arrived on June 13, 1691—the feast day of San Antonio—and thus, named the city.  This exhibition explores the identity of one of the most popular saints in the Catholic church, and also the relationship between our city and other parts of the world.

“The Genius of Shibata Zeshin” (February 7-May 6, 2007) is an examination of the 19th century’s Japanese master of lacquer and painting.  Zeshin painted and built works for the royal family of Japan for many years, and was a innovator to the highest degree.  His works shown in this display are on loan from San Antonio’s Catherine and Thomas Edson, who own the largest collection of Zeshin’s work in the United States.  The artist was a touchstone and inspiration for artists for generations after.

Finally, “A Noble Pastime: Hunting Pictures from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation” is an exploration of the hunt depicted in 16th-19th century prints, portraits, and books.  The hunt has been a rite of passage for young men (and sometimes women) since ancient times, and was the sign of nobility and exclusivity in old Europe.

The museum is also sponsoring upcoming workshops focused on Asian art and meditation.  On Tuesday, May 1st, from 6-7:30 PM, Dr. Chia-ju Chang, a professor from Trinity College, will lead an introduction to the art of Zen Meditation.  Zen Meditation has been around for 2500 years, and has spread all across the globe.  Loose fitting clothes are advised, and a limited number of mats and cushions will be provided, but attendees are welcome and encouraged to bring their own.

On Saturday, May 5, from 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, Don Olsen will be leading a workshop on Ikebana, the Japanese art of arranging flowers.  Ikebana is very different from the Western ideas of flower arranging.  The Japanese idea consists of a minimalist approach, where few flowers are used, and an emphasis is placed on spacing and lines.  The cost of the class is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

The San Antonio Museum of Art is in the former Lone Star Brewery\’s castle like building at 200 W. Jone Ave, San Antonio, TX 78215. Open daily Monday-Saturday 10:00 am -5:00 pm, Tuesday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

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Wild and Scenic Rio Grande

Created Sunday, 27 May 2007 23:54

Wild and Scenic Rio Grande

Written by Randy Watson

Wild! Scenic! Floating down the Big Bend of the Rio Grande is an experience unlike any other. It is a chance to commune with nature and admire the wild beauty of the surroundings. It is a trip that brings inner peace while contemplating the scenic marvel of the river.

Past Big Bend\’s eastern boundary, the Rio Grande enters a system of desert canyons 83 miles long. This is truly the heart and soul of the Wild and Scenic River, providing outstanding opportunities for solitude and wilderness experience. The Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande, on the other hand, are some of the most challenging rapids in the Rio Grande. A kayaker could be miles away from civilization in dangerous rapids without any assistance anywhere near.

High canyon walls rise on both sides of the river, and a paddler would pass days in a narrow gorge. The lower canyons possess the splendor of the wilderness untouched by humans, away from civilization.   It is the river in all its natural wonder, from the placid Big Bend to the turbulent rapids of the Lower Canyons that bring awe and wonder to those who see it.

The Rio Grande has its source in Sguache County in Colorado, it travels southward into New Mexico, and forms the border of Texas with Mexico until it reaches its end in a sandy delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Shifts in the river\’s channel have led to border disputes between the United States and Mexico. The Rio Grande, one of the longest river systems in the United States, really lives up to its designation of Wild and Scenic River.

A 196-mile section of the Rio Grande, from Mariscal Canyon to the Terrell-Val Verde county line, was designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River. Rivers with this designation are free flowing , their ecosystems actively protected in their natural state. Only 2% of the rivers in the United States are unspoiled enough to meet the standards of the Wild and Scenic River designation. The designation for the Rio Grande came as recognition of the ecological importance of the riparian and canyon habitat within the free-flowing section of river that borders Big Bend National Park.

But all is not perfect in paradise. Historically, the Rio Grande floods its banks seasonally. Now it no longer does because of damming. Water levels that have been lowered by dams are also threatening the wildlife. The river itself carries pollutants downstream, further threatening the fish and native wildlife around the river\’s ecosystem.   Parts of the Rio Grande have dried up for the first time since 1955, and the low levels caused by dams are not helping any. Some campsites have disappeared, and river trips are becoming increasingly difficult when sections of the river dried up.

Conservation efforts have been made to keep the Rio Grande in its pristine condition, and the battle between nature\’s splendor and man\’s impact goes on.  To the Rio Grande, the Wild and Scenic river designation is perfectly apt. It is wild, and scenic. Let us keep it that way.

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Wild and Scenic Rio Grande

Created Sunday, 27 May 2007 23:54

Wild and Scenic Rio Grande

Written by Randy Watson

Wild! Scenic! Floating down the Big Bend of the Rio Grande is an experience unlike any other. It is a chance to commune with nature and admire the wild beauty of the surroundings. It is a trip that brings inner peace while contemplating the scenic marvel of the river.

Past Big Bend\’s eastern boundary, the Rio Grande enters a system of desert canyons 83 miles long. This is truly the heart and soul of the Wild and Scenic River, providing outstanding opportunities for solitude and wilderness experience. The Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande, on the other hand, are some of the most challenging rapids in the Rio Grande. A kayaker could be miles away from civilization in dangerous rapids without any assistance anywhere near. \"riogrande_275\"

High canyon walls rise on both sides of the river, and a paddler would pass days in a narrow gorge. The lower canyons possess the splendor of the wilderness untouched by humans, away from civilization.   It is the river in all its natural wonder, from the placid Big Bend to the turbulent rapids of the Lower Canyons that bring awe and wonder to those who see it.

 

The Rio Grande has its source in Sguache County in Colorado, it travels southward into New Mexico, and forms the border of Texas with Mexico until it reaches its end in a sandy delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Shifts in the river\’s channel have led to border disputes between the United States and Mexico. The Rio Grande, one of the longest river systems in the United States, really lives up to its designation of Wild and Scenic River.

A 196-mile section of the Rio Grande, from Mariscal Canyon to the Terrell-Val Verde county line, was designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River. Rivers with this designation are free flowing , their ecosystems actively protected in their natural state. Only 2% of the rivers in the United States are unspoiled enough to meet the standards of the Wild and Scenic River designation. The designation for the Rio Grande came as recognition of the ecological importance of the riparian and canyon habitat within the free-flowing section of river that borders Big Bend National Park.

But all is not perfect in paradise. Historically, the Rio Grande floods its banks seasonally. Now it no longer does because of damming. Water levels that have been lowered by dams are also threatening the wildlife. The river itself carries pollutants downstream, further threatening the fish and native wildlife around the river\’s ecosystem.   Parts of the Rio Grande have dried up for the first time since 1955, and the low levels caused by dams are not helping any. Some campsites have disappeared, and river trips are becoming increasingly difficult when sections of the river dried up.

Conservation efforts have been made to keep the Rio Grande in its pristine condition, and the battle between nature\’s splendor and man\’s impact goes on.  To the Rio Grande, the Wild and Scenic river designation is perfectly apt. It is wild, and scenic. Let us keep it that way.

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Western Conference Game 3

Created Sunday, 27 May 2007 16:21

Western Conference Game 3

Written by Randy Watson

The Spurs had more or less had their way with the Utah Jazz, who had seemed more or less lifeless for most of the first two games of this series.  In the first two games, San Antonio had gotten out to such large leads early in the games, that both contests were pretty much decided by halftime.  In games one and two, Utah did manage to crawl back late to make the scores more respectable, but they were never close to winning.  All that changed in Game 3.

San Antonio held a four point lead at halftime, which was a sign that this game was going to be different.  In the previous two, the Spurs leads were 17 and 18 points.  Saturday night, Utah got its spurt going much earlier, and San Antonio was never able to respond.  In fact, the Spurs simply wilted, and Utah was able to run away to a 109-83 blow-out.  Utah played tougher and smarter than before, and was more accurate in their shooting than San Antonio.

 

Tim Duncan, who was riding a streak of 11 games scoring 20+ points and grabbing 10+ rebounds, was broken.  He got into foul trouble early, and although he didn\’t foul out, played without the aggression that had allowed him to be such a force in these playoffs.  He ended up with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 5 fouls, and 8 turnovers.  About the only Spurs\’ player to have a good game was Tony Parker, who scored 25 points, and had 7 assists.  The only other Spur to score in double digits was Manu Ginobili, who scored 14 points, but was only 4-12 shooting.

For Utah, their replacements for John Stockton and Karl Malone, played more like their successors than they young players they actually are.  Deron Williams scored 31 points and had 8 assists, and Carlos Boozer accounted for 27 points and 12 rebounds.  Utah’s reserve players, quiet for most of the series, came alive on Utah’s home court, and added significant contributions in minutes and play.

One game doesn’t make a series, but the young Jazz seemed to finally find the confidence playing at home, that they had been missing in the first two games.  San Antonio, on the other hand, never seemed to get going, and although they still have the lead and home-court advantage in the series, they cannot afford to take the young Jazz for granted anymore.

Game 4 is Monday night in Utah, before heading back to San Antonio.  A Spurs victory on Monday would likely prove to be the dagger that would finish Utah.  However, allowing the Jazz to even the series could change the entire complexion of the series and give a young team the confidence needed to perhaps surprise a veteran one.

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San Antonio Nuclear Power

Created Sunday, 27 May 2007 15:37

San Antonio Nuclear Power

Written by Randy Watson

On December 6, 1971, a feasibility study was created to come up with a nuclear plant that was estimated to cost at around $974 million. The group of people who initiated this move are the Houston Lighting & Power Co.the City of Austin, the City of San Antonio (CPS  Energy), and the Central Power and Light Co. The result of the study seemed to get a positive result because on the year 1973, they have initially chosen Bay City as the location of the project. In the year 1976, construction for this nuclear plant started.

In the year 1981, the construction was behind by four years compared to their schedule and there were problems with the cost. The estimated ($974 million) amount turned out to be quite a small amount because it turned out to cost at around $5 billion. The selected architect and construction company, decided to re-schedule the completion of the project to June 1989. However, the contractor decided to quit their post as the construction company for this project. Because of the contractor\’s decision to quit, they received a lawsuit due to breach of contract on December 26, 1981. The lawsuit was settled when the contractor agreed to paid $750 million on May 30, 1985. It was on February 1982 that Ebasco Constructors was hired as replacement.

On March 18, 1988, the first reactor unit reached initial criticality and was able to operate on August 25 the same year. A little more than a year after, unit two was able to reach initial criticality and became operational on June 19, 1989. However, these two units encountered several defects and were temporarily turned offline. The two units underwent rehabilitation in its steam-driven auxiliary feed water pumps on February 1993. It took more than a year to restore the two units\’ service, as it was able to provide service on March 1994.

 Today, this nuclear plant is known as the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station or South Texas Project (STP). Located at 55 miles of the southwest part of Bay City, Texas, this nuclear plant covers 12, 200 acre of land on the Colorado River. This was the first nuclear plant in Texas. The two Westinghouse pressurized water reactor units were included as the top 20-electricity generating nuclear units worldwide. The first unit took the first position as the highest output capability with 1,251 megawatts. The second unit comes in second place with 1,250 megawatts. CPS Energy owned by the city of San Antonio provides power from these units to San Antonio real estate. CPS Energy owns 40% of the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station.

STP has a unique design wherein it took full consideration of its safety. Instead of having two fully independent emergency core cooling systems and associated support systems in the two units, STP installed three. However, this feature did not fully convince the nuclear safety regulations during the licensing process of the nuclear plant.

There was a proposal to expand the South Texas Project. Last June 19, 2006, the NRG Energy submitted a letter of intent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build two 1358-MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactors to the site.

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Spurs Even Series

Created Thursday, 26 April 2007 18:27

Spurs Even up with Series

Written by Randy Watson

After a dismal Game 1 in which none of the Spurs top three scorers shot over 50% and San Antonio was out-hustled on both ends of the floor, the silver and black attack was hitting on all cylinders and showed much more aggressiveness in Game 2.  The Spurs built large leads in the game, leading by 9 at the half, 14 after three quarters, and 17 early in the fourth, but Denver came back to get within 3 points with 27 seconds left in the game, before late Spurs free throws put the game away.

The Spurs were led by Tim Duncan who gave a vintage performance: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks.  Tony Parker scored 20 and had 6 assists, while Manu Ginobili was again the main man off the bench, pouring in 17, with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.  San Antonio shot 42% from behind the three point arc, and was 21-23 from the free throw line.

Had the Spurs lost this one, they would have found themselves down 0-2, and heading to the Mile High City, needing to sweep there.  The series stands even now, and the Spurs need to keep the aggressive attitude that made them the hottest team since the All-Star break, if they want to win this series.

After having scored a combined 61 points in the first game, Denver’s dymanic duo of Anthony and Iverson, were ‘held’ by San Antonio to 46 on Wednesday.  The Spurs took the lead for good with less than six minutes left in the first quarter and led the entire game, although Denver mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, led by a 16-5 run.  The Spurs’ defense, which has been the strength of the team all year, was the defining point through much of the game, but San Antonio’s free throw shooting late, was the difference.  The Spurs’ bench also scored 30 points, while Denver’s was only able to put up 7.

This series is quickly becoming the one to watch in the playoffs.  Denver has shown that they can go toe-to-toe with the Spurs, and for San Antonio to win, they must continue to hustle for every loose ball, keep applying the defensive pressure, and rebound well.  So far in the series, Denver has out-rebounded the Spurs, and Duncan, Fabrico Oberto (who had 10 on Wednesday), and San Antonio’s other inside presences must step up and keep cleaning the glass for the Spurs to advance.

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A commemoration to Selena The Queen of Tejano

CreatedFriday, 25 May 2007 09:32

A Commemoration to Selena

Written by Randy Watson

Selena Quintanilla Perez or simply \”Selena\” was a Mexican American singer that was loved by a lot of people. Known as the \”Queen of Tejano\”, she was a recipient of various awards by popular award-giving bodies such as Grammy\’s and Tejano Music Awards. However, the life of this very talented and beloved artist was cut short by a very tragic incident. The president of her fan club and manager of her boutiques, Yolanda Saldivar, shot her after they discovered that the latter was stealing money from her. They decided to fire her and it caused the anger of Saldivar, pushing her to shoot the gun and kill Selena. Because of loss of blood, at age twenty-three, Selena died at the local hospital where she was transported.

This death of a very influential, famous artist saddened all of South Texas and Tejano Music fans everywhere. A lot of commemoration was given to her. In fact, Jennifer Lopez\’s career started thru her portrayal as Selena in the 1997 movie directed by Gregory Nava. Aside from this, a place in Corpus Christi was revealed to the public as a site wherein fans and loved ones could visit to commemorate Selena. This place is now known as a famous tourist spot called Mirador de la Flor.

This site costs over $600,000 and it became a famous tourist spot because of the fans that would visit this place. It was unveiled around the year 1997 and it seemed to be the perfect place to build this because it is only a few miles away from Seaside Memorial park where the remains of the young artist lies.

In this site, you can find a life-size statue of Selena wearing a black leather jacket with a microphone in its hand. It stands 5’8 and made out of bronze. A Corpus Christi artist named H.W. “Buddy” Tatum created this seemingly real statue. When you visit the place, you will find the statue leaning on one of its pillars. This statue could bring back tears to her adoring fans because it seems as if she was still alive.

Aside from that statue, the monument also contains a mosaic. The mosaic tiles contain images of white roses because it was Selena’s favorite flower. The mosaic can be found at the north side by the staircase that leads to the lower level and rear of the monument.

\"mirador8_360\"Lastly, on the same pillar wherein you can see the life-size statue of Selena, you will find a large white rose affixed to the pillar as well as a plaque honoring the artist. The plaque is facing the Shoreline Boulevard. The plaque contains a dedication to Selena stating that she was known as the La Flor (the Flower) and could be identified with the La Rosa Blanca (the White Rose) and that \”even if the stage is no longer filled with her presence, her music lives on\”.

In the year 2000, a four-foot stainless steel barrier was added to this facility. This was installed to protect the statue and pillar from the huge number of fans and supporters that inscribe message of love to the artist and her family.

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