Blog Break

I am taking a blog break until the end of June to focus on some work stuff.

Promise me we can talk then and share summer stories about great tans, experienced/planned vacations, best swimming pool cannonballs, or something related?

I expect to be periodically visiting blogs during this time, and available to frown at any email spam messages that you send my way.

Take care everyone.

A Missing Girl and Ball Mosaic Art

You can access any of my previous missing persons posts, by clinking on this link.

Now, for today's installment of my Missing Person Monday series...

On February 5, 1981, fourteen-year old Dean "Deanie" Marie Peters was with her mother waiting for her little brother's wrestling practice at Forest Hills Central Middle School in Grand Rapids, MI to end.

She told her mom she was going to the restroom.

It was around 5 pm.

Instead of going to the restroom, witnesses told authorities that they saw the girl exit the gymnasium.

Deanie has not been seen since.

Police investigated whether Deanie ran away or was abducted.

They searched, but found nothing.

The case went cold.

In 2008, a grant-funded cold case squad reopened the Peters disappearance, and eventually focused on a man named Bruce Bunch.  Bunch lived in Grand Rapids at the time Deanie went missing, and was a high school junior then.

One time, Bunch had allegedly told friends that when he was in Grand Rapids, he had accidentally backed over a girl at school and then dumped her body near the Interstate off of Snow Avenue.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bunch died of a heart attack before he could be interviewed, and authorities were unable to corroborate the Snow Avenue story after searching multiple locations.

Bunch is the only suspect never to be cleared in the Peters' disappearance.

With Bunch's story (if only a part of it is accurate), it is logical to believe that if a body was transported and buried, that the act involved more than one person.

Fast forward to downtown Grand Rapids at the C.O.D.A. Gallery last Thursday (May 3, 2012), where celebrated artist John O'Hearn unveiled a mosaic in honor of Deanie's disappearance.

O'Hearn had been contacted by a group of the missing woman's friends and classmates to assist in the effort to publicize the disappearance--and he had agreed to participate.

The effort's goal is to learn where Ms. Peters' body is buried to provide closure for her family and friends.

The art unveiling event also was to include words of hope from the missing woman's younger brother.

I hope it went well.

My prayers are with those involved in the search for information, and that this sad case can be closed after 30 long years.

Thanks to Sara Huizenga from Peace for the Missing for giving me the idea for this post.

Note: For those interested in learning more about artist John O'Hearn's technique called "Ball Mosaics," the following short video shows his creative process. I found it interesting.

Best Prank

Talented blogger and friend Miss Caitlin from Candyfloss and Persie recently left a comment on my site that included a link to a clever (ok and illegal) prank that Alabama fans played on supporters of LSU.

Last December, the LSU Fan Site's website was hacked, and for a few hours featured the crimson and white merchandise of their rival the University of Alabama.

Her insightful comment reminded me of my favorite college prank of all time.

It is known simply as the "Great Rose Bowl Hoax," and earned a group of fourteen students legendary status as pranksters.

Here is a shortened version of the story.



On January 2, 1961, 100,000 people were attending the annual Rose Bowl football game in Pasadena, CA.  Millions more viewed it on television.  The year's game featured the University of Minnesota versus the University of Washington.

At halftime of the contest, fans settled back to watch the marching bands from both universities perform.

Band members from the University of Washington had coordinated a flip card routine that involved the participation of more than a thousand fans seated in a section of the upper deck.

Fans in certain seats had been left color-coded flip-cards and instruction sheets.  Following these instructions and cues from the Washington performers, fans would then display the appropriate cards, and when the group's effort was viewed from a distance, pictures and words were revealed.

The show began.

Staring at the upper deck, fans roared in response to familiar images and text touting their school.

The routine was flawless.

That is until the twelfth movement.

As per the instructions, the card-holders depicted what appeared to be a beaver (noticeable bucktooth) instead of what was planned--the institution's "husky" mascot.

The next set of cards showed "SEIKSUH"--the backward spelling of "HUSKIES."

Confused and nervous, Washington cheerleaders wondered if they had accidentally mixed-up the complex card numbering system.

Not knowing what to think and likely eager just to finish, the performers continued.

The crowd cheered for the final card display.

And this is what millions of people watching Minnesota vs. Washington play saw that day:



What did the California Institute of Technology or Caltech, a local private university there in Pasadena, have to do with the Rose Bowl game?

Well, combine fourteen smart students (known as the "Fiendish Fourteen") with a little too much free time, months of planning and plotting, and you get a prank for the ages.

How did the Caltech students pull this one off?

To what extent did the University of Washington cheerleaders get duped?

How many thousands of instruction sheets had to be altered?


For the answer to these questions and background on what I agree is the "Greatest Sports Prank of All Time," you can click here at this link and read the complete story--the specifics are interesting, but too long for my blog.

It is also humorous to know that the prank's details were revealed by group member and student Lance Taylor in a 1962 magazine article.

Ironically, the article was from Caltech's own periodical called Engineering and Science.


What a wonderful example of practically applying educational concepts--definitely taking the classroom to the real world.


Note: The color card prank has been replicated to some extent a few other times at sporting events since the 1960s (like what Yale supporters did to Harvard fans several years ago), but the accomplishment of the Fiendish Fourteen remains unmatched. 


Thanks again to Miss Caitlin for the LSU prank link, and to all readers for their comments and visits.

I hope everyone has a good weekend.

On Devaluing Work

Bob over at The PA-IN Erudition, beat me to the punch a few days ago in mentioning Brendon Grimshaw's story.

I still wanted to add my two cents.

Last week, this story was deservingly featured here in the States:

Thanks to one man's dedication and love, the beauty and wonder of an island in the Seychelles will be around for years to come...

According to the Daily Mail, Brendon Grimshaw bought Moyenne Island, off the north coast of Mahe, Seychelles, in the early 1960s...

At the time, he was a successful newspaper editor in Africa who was itching to start a new life. It took nine years for him to take the jump but finally, in 1973, the journalist from Dewsbury, England, moved to his new island with nothing but a dream.

Grimshaw has lived there ever since. When he first arrived at Moyenne, the island -- abandoned for over 50 years -- was overgrown with shrubbery so dense that coconuts could not fall to the ground.

Together with a Seychellois named Rene Lafortune, Grimshaw tirelessly worked to transform the island. Over the last 39 years, Grimshaw, now 86, and Lafortune planted 16,000 trees by hand -- including 700 mahogany trees that have grown to reach 60-70 feet in height -- and have built 4.8 kilometers of nature paths...

Lafortune died in 2007, leaving Grimshaw to care for the island alone.

According to Joseph Johnson Cami, director of a documentary about Grimshaw called 'A Grain of Sand,' while Lafortune occasionally lived on the island when the two were working on it, Grimshaw has been the only permanent inhabitant of Moyenne and has virtually been living alone for four decades.

...the nature lover has also attracted about 2,000 new birds to the island which he helps care for. He is also the loving caretaker of 120 giant tortoises.

Almost hunted to total extinction in the early 1900s, the giant tortoise -- though indigenous to the Seychelles -- continues to be at risk on most of the other islands, the Daily Mail reports. Grimshaw's island now also holds more than two thirds of all endemic plants to the Seychelles...

In the comments section of the linked article, I saw several readers discussing how they were envious of Grimshaw and that they would do what he did in a heartbeat.


Could they?

I think these folks are devaluing the extraordinary effort and dedication that is Grimshaw's life.

He left everything that was familiar to him and focused on one goal: creating beauty that was for anyone to experience.

For over 14,000 days he awoke and spent hours dirtying his hands--clearing and planting one small area of island at a time.

He worked and worked and worked.

No immediate access to NFL, NBA, or professional sports.

Bugs, bugs, and lots more bugs.

Limited face-to-face contact with loved ones and friends.

No Starbucks, Panera, or Poppa Johns.

Just sweat and dedication.

And I assume, regular doubts about what he was doing and whether it was worth the sacrifice.

Though news readers envisioning Grimshaw sunning himself on the white sand with a breath-taking view of the ocean is appealing, the reality is much different.

It is easy to miss his sacrifice and hard-work--exemplified in what is now this island.

Not everyone could do what Grimshaw has done.

No need to devalue the effort.

A journey of a thousand miles does begin with a single step.

Or a single tree planted in this instance.