Thursday, July 17, 2003

What Ever Happened to "Baby Shaq"?

For some reason, the other day I started thinking about Charles Claxton, who played basketball at Georgia a decade ago. During my first two years at Georgia, I got cheap basketball tickets ($1/game, and they threw in a free t-shirt). Claxton played center and was nicknamed "Baby Shaq". Unfortunately, as far as we in the stands could determine, he only shared two attributes with Shaquille O'Neal. Both are 7'1", and neither could shoot free throws.

The last sighting I could find of him was as in 2000-01 as an All-Star for the Brighton Bears, a British basketball team. Not exactly the Phoenix Suns (who drafted him before his final year at Georgia in a weird arrangment).

Since I couldn't remember Claxton's name off the bat, I had to resort to a Google search. The search was somewhat complicated by:

The list goes on...

Monday, July 14, 2003

Books, books, books

I usually do most of my reading when traveling, but with July free from travel, I've found some time to do some reading around the house.

Harry Potter

I reserved the new Harry Potter book from the library months ago and picked it up the day it was released. I found it to be really enjoyable. I was particularly impressed that Rowling was able to increase the maturity level of the series as the characters (and readers) mature. Christina pointed out that this progression was part of Rowling's original plan from the book, but I was impressed that she was able to pull it off. I look forward to Book Six.

Atlantic Telegraph

In an age when news zips around the world in the blink of an eye, it's interesting to look back to a time when information traveled at a relative snail's pace. I think it was reading about the Battle of New Orleans, fought after a peace treaty had been signed in the War of 1812 that first got me interested in the transition to the Information Age. That transformation happened with the development of the telegraph. The Victorian Internet was a good read (though poorly titled) on that subject, and A Thread Across the Ocean joins it in filling in my knowledge of how the telegraph shrunk the world. The book gives an idea of both the massive technical challenges that faced the transatlantic cable, as well as the social and political effects of the connection.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

My Civil War Ancestor

I got e-mail the other day from Dale Jones, my mother's fourth cousin. He and I corresponded a few years back about our common ancestor, William Cooley. Dale is descended from William's son, Robert, and has information about that family on his web pages. I was happy to link to Dale's pages for that branch of the family, and Dale e-mailed me to give me his new web address.

My mother's great-great-grandfather was Robert's brother Reuben. Despite the fact that all of my ancestors made it to the US by the end of the 19th century, Reuben appears to be the only one who fought in the Civil War. Years back, I ordered Reuben's pension records, and I took this opportunity to add an excerpt from his application to my web pages. I learned from the pages that his disability resulted from the fact that in "Jan'y, 1864, he contracted "Rheumatism," also at Columbus Ky in summer of 1863 he contracted Chronic Diarrhaea and resulting "Piles". Ah, glory.