PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 1st April, 2010 []

Posted: 31 Mar 2010 05:52 PM PDT

Daily weather update for tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by long term resident Camille Lemmens
The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

The Joy of Fly Fishing in New Brunswick

Fly Fishing Atlantic Salmon on a Tiny Fly

Posted: 31 Mar 2010 04:22 AM PDT

Who says you have to use big salmon flies to piss off Atlantic salmon so they will strike your fly. I have caught many Atlantic salmon on the fly using the same trout flies I use on small streams and they do the trick as often as those bigger salmon flies do. Well most of the time anyways.

We can’t go fly fishing for salmon just yet, a few more weeks to go, so I was watching fly fishing videos on Youtube while having a nice hot coffee and just kinda day dreaming a bit.

I saw the salmon boil a couple of times and almost jumped out of my chair. Man, I gotta go fishing. Well, instead of just telling you about the video I guess I should just let you see it for yourself.

He talks about giving the salmon in a run or a pool the opportunity to settle down after you have let your fly drift through the run a few times. I remember my brother-in-law Joe would fish for a while and then sit on the bank or a rock, have a coffee and just let the pool settle a bit. The action always increased again after 10 or 15 minutes of doing nothing.

This video is of fly fishing salmon in Newfoundland but the principle are the same. Some day I will get a fly fishing trip to Newfoundland or Labrador. I had the opportunity while I was in Bible College but of course all my money was needed to pay for college.

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NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

New Information on the Trade of cornerback Chris Houston

Posted: 27 Mar 2010 10:05 AM PDT

Per, a failed physical was the reason the parameters of the Chris Houston trade changed.  The original trade was announced as the Lions sending their 2010 6th round pick and swapping their 2010 5th round pick with the Falcons for Houston.  The deal was officially announced as a 2010 6th and a conditional 2011 7th earlier this week.  Why did the terms of the trade change?

According to a separate source, the Lions contacted the Falcons and said that Houston could not pass the physical imposed by Lions' doctors.  We're told that the Lions also said that perhaps Houston could pass the physical if the terms of the deal were adjusted.

And so the terms of the deal were adjusted, and Houston passed the physical.

Though the Falcons could have scrapped the trade and kept Chris Houston, they opted to process, and they probably will be reluctant to do a deal with Detroit the next time an opportunity to do so arises.

It seems that the source is implying the Lions created leverage by leaking the trade to the media and then using the "failed" physical to force the Falcons to accept lesser compensation.  Once Houston was aware of the trade, the Falcons would have a potentially disgruntled player if the trade fell through.

If that version of the story is correct, the Lions were playing dirty and it could definitely burn a bridge with the Falcons.  There is a chance that Houston actually did fail the physical and the Lions were willing to do the deal, but since there was more risk they wanted to reduce the compensation.  Houston was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury on December 29th, so it is possible he isn't fully recovered yet.

Mayhew doesn't have a reputation for underhanded dealings, so I am hesitant to believe that the Lions duped the Falcons into taking less for Houston.  If more stories like this leak out, then I'll reconsider, but for now I am giving Mayhew and the Lions the benefit of the doubt.

Looking back at free agency in the AFC East

Posted: 27 Mar 2010 09:21 AM PDT

The 2010 free-agent shopping season didn't resemble the usual hustle and bustle of free agency of years past.  Teams approached free agency with caution, and shockingly that includes the Washington Redskins.  This year, the Chicago Bears did their best Washington impression, signing Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor and Brandon Manumaleuna.  The Ravens made quarterback Joe Flacco a happy man when they acquired receiver Anquan Boldin in a trade with Arizona.  And how about those Detroit Lions getting in on the mix by landing Nate Burleson and Kyle Vanden Bosch.

The AFC East teams weren't left out of the free agent mix.  And while the landscapes in the AFC & NFC North have changed, how much has the pecking order changed in the AFC East?  Are the Jets now the team their other three divisional counterparts are chasing?  Is New England still the bully on the block?  Let's get a handle on who did what and who has work left to do following free agency.

Buffalo Bills.  New GM Buddy Nix came into free agency with a plan that was designed on improving  through the draft rather than free agency.  Nix was a man of his word.  The Bills didn't generate much noise early on in free agency, barely making a whisper.  Buffalo was largely inactive for the longest time, with their lone free agent signee being offensive tackle Cornell Green.  Green could be penciled in as the starting right tackle, but he'll have competition for the job from Demetrius Bell, Jamon Meredith and Kirk Chambers.  The Bills had two free agents, OT Wade Smith and DT Jimmy Kennedy, visit but both signed elsewhere.  Last week, the Bills added a physical prescence at linebacker signing ILB Andra Davis, and defensive end Dwan Edwards, who has experience playing end in a 3-4 defense.

Work left to do: QB, LT, NT, WR, OLB.  The Bills had far too many problems to correct in one offseason.  The nose tackle free agent pool doesn't exist; the Bills brought in Jimmy Kennedy but he re-signed with Minnesota and they didn't show interest in 34 year old Jamal Williams, who landed in Denver.  Now the Bills must look to next month's draft to find a dominant nose tackle as they transition to the 3-4 defense.  They are also in need of a bookend, dominant left tackle.  And we can't forget their never ending quest to find a franchise quarterback.

Miami Dolphins.   Miami landed a big fish (no pun intended), signing free agent inside linebacker Karlos Dansby from Arizona.  Dansby, however, didn't come at a discount.  The Dolphins gave Dansby a five-year deal worth $43 million with $22 million guranteed.  His signing fills a huge need for the Dolphins on defense, and at 28, Dansby is arguably the best inside linebacker not named Patrick Willis.  Bill Parcells loves his linebackers and with Dansby, he's found the leader of the defense in South Beach for years to come. Miami also re-signed quarterback Chad Pennington to serve as both mentor and backup to Chad Henne.  Pennington's 2009 campaign was short lived as a result of a shoulder injury, but if he's fully recovered in 2010, he gives Miami a reliable insurance policy behind Henne.  Offensive lineman Richie Incognito was added to the mix to provide depth.

Work left to do: NT, WR, S, OLB. NT Jason Ferguson was slapped with an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL's performing enhancing drug policy.  Despite not having his services for half a season, Miami decided a half season was better than nothing and re-signed the key run stuffer in Miami's 3-4 defense.  Ferguson, however, will turn 36 in November and is coming off a torn right quadriceps injury that required surgery and forced Ferguson to miss most of 2009.  In the meantime, Miami will need to find a replacement for Ferguson, along with safety help also.  Outside linebacker is an area of concern following the release of Joey Porter and the age of Jason Taylor, who turns 36 in September.  Miami has a gluttony of No.2 and slot receivers with the likes of Ted Ginn, Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo.  The Dolphins would make Henne a happy human if they were to land a dominant, No.1 wide receiver.

New England Patriots. New England spent free agency taking care of their own, as the majority of their work was done to lock up their  free agents.  Perhaps no other move was bigger than keeping NT Vince Wilfork.  Wisely, the Patriots first franchised Wilfork then signed him to five-year contract for $40 million with $25 million guranteed.  New England also re-signed OLB Tully Banta-Cain, who is their best pass rusher on their roster. Last season, Banta-Cain recorded 9.5 sacks.  The Patriots also kept cornerback Leigh Bodden with a five-year deal worth $28.5 million.  Bodden is considered one of the best press corners in the NFL.  In his first seasonn with the Patriots in 2009, Bodden had five interceptions, one short of his career high.  Looking to add more juice to their pass rush, New England signed DE/OLB Derrick Burgess after failing to keep defensive end Jarvis Green, who signed with Denver.

Work left to do: DE, OLB, WR, RB, G. New England's top objective this offseason was finding weapons who can get to the quarterback and create havoc.  So far, the Patriots have failed to achieve their goal.  In 2009, the Patriots had just 31 sacks and Tully Banta-Cain was the only player to have recorded five or more sacks.  Trading Richard Seymour to Oakland last season could prove to be a great move in the long run when they get Oakland's first-round pick in 2011, but in the short term New England is still searching for his replacement.  They were in on the Julius Peppers sweepstakes but ultimately lost out to Chicago.  Another area of concern is at wide receiver.  Randy Moss is still a dynamic threat, but with Wes Welker coming off a knee injury in the season finale in 2009, it's unknown if he'll be ready when the 2010 season begins.  Aside from Moss and Welker it's not pretty: Julian Edelman, David Patten returns for his second tour of duty, Isaac Stanback, and Sam Aiken.  Aiken is the No.2 receiver opposite Moss.  That can't happen.  Look for the Patriots to  add receiver help in the early rounds of the  draft, as well as depth at right guard behind Stephen Neal.  Neal is a strong offensive lineman for New England but his durability is a question mark having missed 17 games over the past three seasons.

New York Jets.  The lights on Broadway are getting brighter and brighter as we speak.  Last year, the Jets made two bold decisions: trading up in the draft to get quarterback Mark Sanchez and hiring Rex Ryan as the head coach.  Perhaps the Jets are now ahead of schedule, having reached the AFC Championship game preceded by winning two road playoff games in Cincinnati and San Diego with a rookie signal caller.  Now the Jets are thinking big in 2010.  The Jets entered the offseason looking for a solid compliment across from Darrelle Revis and it seems they've found their perfect fit.  New York traded for Antonio Cromartie and didn't have to break the bank to acquire the corner.  The Jets sent a third-round pick in 2011 to San Diego that could eventually become a second-round pick.  Since taking the league by storm in 2007 when he had 10 interceptions, Cromartie's numbers have declined; he has just five interceptions over the past two seasons.  A physically gifted, ball-hawking corner, Cromartie comes with question marks.  His lazy play and inconsistencies helped him wear out his welcome in San Diego.  He's also been hit with five paternity suits in the past three years.  But the Jets have shown before they're not afraid to risks on risky players (see last year's trade for receiver Braylon Edwards).  It could pay dividens for Cromartie who might be rejuvenated playing under the passionate Ryan while in a contract year.  The Jets also made some cost cutting moves, trading safety Kerry Rhodes to Arizona and releasing running back Thomas Jones saving over $10 million combined in both moves.  As the Jets turn the reigns over to second year back Shonn Greene, they signed LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year deal for $5.2 million.

Work left to do: OLB, DE, FS, LB & WR depth. Like most teams around the league, the Jets' biggest area of need is upgrading the pass rush.  It's all about getting to the quarterback, but for the Jets it must be about getting to the quarterback without relying on a flurry of blitzes.  Both defensive ends, Shaun Ellis and Marques Douglas are  33 years old, with Ellis entering a contract year.  With Rhodes traded, the Jets added Brodney Poole at free safety but New York will look to further address their safety needs in the draft.  The Jets have Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery at wide out, but they could use a threat at the slot receiver spot.  Look for the Jets to add linebacker depth as well.  Behind David Harris and Bart Scott, New York doesn't have much.

Eagles 33rd overall pick has value to Reid

Posted: 27 Mar 2010 09:10 AM PDT

Andy Reid

After all the hype yesterday about the Eagles being offered the Rams second round pick (33rd overall), it turns out that head coach Andy Reid finds that pick to be very valuable. Big Red said:

I'd love to have that first pick of the second day. Where you can sleep on it, regather your thoughts, which you normally don't get to do. I don't think (the new format) is a bad thing.

Now this quote was came from Reid being asked about the new draft format, but he might have used his answer as bait for the Rams to make an offer since they are the ones who own that pick. There is a lot of power in that pick. With the new format, this will actually be the first pick on Friday when the draft resumes. Teams could definitely look to trade up if someone they had a close eye on failed to get taken in the first round. Also, if the Eagles have this pick and choose to use it, they have A LOT of time to decide who they want to take with the pick. There's also the possibility that they could package it with their first round pick (24th overall) to move up somewhere into the middle of the first round. That seems less likely but it's a possibility.

Of course, we don't know who to believe after all the hype yesterday. However, we do know that the first pick of the second round seems to hold more value than it did in previous years.

Pacman Jones still on the minds of the Bengals

Posted: 27 Mar 2010 09:09 AM PDT


Joe Reedy of reports that the Bengals are one of three teams still looking at DB Pacman Jones:

Ray Savage told The Associated Press on Friday that the Lions, Bengals and 49ers have "great interest". Jones began his comeback tour in Cincinnati on Feb. 11 but the general reviews were that he wasn't prepared.

Said Jones' other agent, Tom Hunter: "The workout in Cincinnati went well and it shows they have an interest. The teams know he is an extremely talented athlete in condition and ready to play. He can get on the field and start immediately."

Pacman tried out with the team back in February the same day the team looked at WR Matt Jones.  Though insiders reported neither player looked particularly good, the team signed Matt and apparently may still get Pacman too.

gabIs it just me or does it seem odd that while many traditionally  "big spending" teams are sitting out this free agency period, the notoriously frugal Bengals continue shopping?  I take this as a sign that Mike Brown is ceding control to Marvin Lewis. The Bengals of 2002 would have NEVER done this much.

With respect to Pacman the player, the official Bengals Gab position on the matter is "Make it Rain!" At this point, the roster is fairly deep in most areas, and the locker room is peopled with strong, professional personalities that won't let bad apples spoil a season. Mike Brown loves his reclamation projects, and after years of being dogged for it the team is starting to get deserved props for resurrecting the careers of troubled guys like Cedric Benson, Tank Johnson, and  Pacman's college teammate, the late Chris Henry.

On the field, Jones could be a solid, shut-down quality corner and a dynamic return man.

Now that I've said this, I'll expect him to sign with the Lions.

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PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC)

Koh Samui, Thailand daily weather update; 28th March, 2010 []

Posted: 27 Mar 2010 06:13 PM PDT

Daily weather update for tropical island destination Koh Samui in Thailand by long term resident Camille Lemmens
NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

NFL GridIron Gab Daily Digest

Link to NFL Gridiron Gab

Vikings need to stay away from the McNabb saga

Posted: 26 Mar 2010 12:17 PM PDT

Strangely, a report has emerged that Donovan McNabb has the Vikings as his top choice of teams he'd like to be traded to.

This comes one day after rumors swirled about McNabb possibly being traded to Buffalo, Oakland, or St. Louis.  The Eagles are reportedly entertaining offers for all three of their quarterbacks, and have demanded a "top 42" draft pick for McNabb… of which the Vikings have one.

The casual NFL observer may wonder why McNabb's top choice has any bearing on the situation of a trade.  Can't the Eagles trade him wherever they want?

Technically, yes.  However, McNabb holds a fair number of cards in this one as he is entering the last season of his current contract.  In order for a trade to be completed, his new team would likely require him to sign a new, long-term contract prior to the trade being finalized.

So, in theory, McNabb could try to drag his feet on agreeing to a new contract in hopes of Brett Favre retiring sooner-than-later (or ever) which could then prompt the Vikings to jump into the race.

Also, in theory, the Vikings could simply trade for McNabb right now and carry both him and Favre on the roster heading into to 2010 and possibly beyond.  This type of move would be somewhat unprecedented, but with the uncapped year in full swing, unprecedented in a word that will pop up a lot.

Or, even more theoretically, the Vikings could trade for McNabb and cut Brett Favre loose, not giving him the chance toy around with retirement on their watch.

The question remains, however, even if Favre was not a factor would the Vikings benefit from acquiring McNabb, especially if they gave up a first rounder in exchange?

On the surface, it makes sense.  McNabb knows Childress and his offense, he'd be a veteran leader on a very talented team, and he'd be living closer to his original home of Chicago.

The 33 year old could hardly be considered a long-term solution for the Vikings, however.   With a list of medical issues of his own, an aging body which makes him less effective when running, a tendency to run his mouth, and a whole new set of overtime rules to confuse him one can't help but wonder if trading for McNabb isn't such a surefire way to improve a roster.

My vote is for the Rams or Raiders to take that risk, and that the Vikings should just focus on the upcoming draft.

Ex Giants Linebacker Cliff Livingston passes away

Posted: 26 Mar 2010 12:14 PM PDT

Cliff Livingston, 79, an NFL linebacker who played the first eight seasons of his 12-year pro football career for the New York Giants before ending it with the Los Angeles Rams, died recently at his home in Las Vegas from complications of Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease and congestive heart failure.

Livingston, who played defensive end at UCLA under Coach Red Sanders in 1950 and '51, became a linebacker and special teams player in New York from 1954 through the 1961 season.

During his time with the Giants, the team won the NFL championship game in 1956 over the Chicago Bears and appeared in three more title games, losing to the Baltimore Colts in 1958 (often called "the greatest game ever played") and 1959 and to the Green Bay Packers in 1961.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Livingston was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in 1962 and he retired after one year there. He came back to play for the Rams the next season, when his former Giants teammate Harlan Svare became the Rams' coach. After three seasons, Livingston retired for good.

Born July 2, 1930, in Compton, Livingston served in the Army between his time at UCLA and with the Giants. His older brother Howie also played in the NFL.

When Livingston's football career ended, he capitalized on his rugged good looks by landing minor acting roles in TV shows and commercials.

The Browns need to stay the course

Posted: 26 Mar 2010 12:11 PM PDT

From a fans perspective, the April draft comes with a great deal of excitement and numerous expectations. Many are looking at the stock pile of picks the team possesses and hope that in one fell swoop the organization can turn this thing around. Especially considering the depth of this year’s pool of players.

With an average of two picks per round, the Browns can upgrade numerous areas on offense, defense and special teams as long as everyone within the organization from Holmgren down to the scouting staff understand what the goals are with each pick and where this team wants to be at drafts end.

It is no big secret though that Cleveland needs a safety and a right tackle that can quickly start playing and be productive members of this organization for the next ten years. A linebacker with the same potential would be nice too. From how this draft is shaping up, finding players to fit those molds shouldn’t be a stretch. The question is with the late round picks. Can we find value when the 5th and 6th rounds come calling?

What really intrigues me though, is the question surrounding the quarterback position. Holmgren seems to like Bradford, although I hope he wouldn’t mortgage our chance at quality depth for a chance to pick him by moving up in the draft. What I would be more excited about is the prospect of taking Tim Tebow with a 2nd round pick. I think he has too much upside to leave him on the board if he was available. Especially with Jack now in Cleveland as a mentor and legitimate starter going into 2010.

The impressive thing about Tebow is his drive to win. He wants to be the best he can be and he wants to be part of a team. There is no doubt he is an emotional and inspirational leader. There is no doubt that he has an incredible work ethic. His recent work with a new throwing motion is a testament to that. Overall, he may never live up to the legend he created in Florida, but the pick would never be a waste.

The important thing though is to stay the course. Running down rabbit trails hoping to find the next big thing is not the way to go. Eric Mangini had it right last year. Pick intelligent, hard working football players who are equipped to develop into consistent playmakers. It is imperative with this draft that we find players like that. Another botched draft would put this team so far back in terms of competing, that by the time they could right the ship, there might not be any fans left to care.

Bears looking to trade DE Alex Brown

Posted: 26 Mar 2010 12:06 PM PDT

Brad Briggs at the Tribune reported this morning that the Bears are shopping defensive end Alex Brown. If the Bears can’t find a sucker to take on his contract – he’s due $5 million this year and next – they will release him, leaving him free to sign with any team he chooses.

In addition to his large salary, the justification is that with Julius Peppers, Mark Anderson and Israel Idonije there aren’t enough snaps to be had for four DEs.

While I’ve stood by Jerry Angelo for some of his moves (okay, maybe ‘a very select few’ is more appropriate) this one seems down right idiotic.  If any of the current DEs should be traded or flat out released, it should be Anderson.  But the Bears slapped a 2nd round tender on him and it’s doubtful any team would give up a #2 pick for a dude who’s 3-year sack total is in the single digits (9.5).  You’d think the Bears have learned their lesson in trying to get by without Brown — remember the glorious 2007 season when he was ‘benched’ in favor of Anderson? (Neither do I.)

First the Bears showed money didn’t matter by acquiring Peppers.  Now they’re going to cry “it’s a numbers game” because they don’t want to shell out a few million for a proven performer, locker room leader and by all accounts classy guy? I was excited about the prospects for Brown after the Peppers signing.  With JP attracting a lot of attention on one side and Tommie Harris (hopefully) regaining his old form in the middle, Brown was poised for a big year.  But it looks like we’ll never get the chance to see opposing QBs as the meat in a Brown-Peppers sandwich.

This one just doesn’t make sense to me.  But if it goes down, I’m sure a lot of Bears fans will continue to follow Brown closely.  If I were him, I’d look at signing with the Lions or Vikings so I could get 2 shots at harassing Jay Cutler…and Bears management.

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