Top Ten Ways to Tell Bill Steffen is a Bad Golfer

April 18th, 2014 at 10:44 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

easter bunny running   I’m playing golf Saturday here in Oak Ridge.  I played once last year and twice the year before that.  It’s not a pretty sight.  Here’s the top ten ways to tell that Bill Steffen is a bad golfer:   10)  Bill’s so bad off the tee that the course makes him take along a “designated driver”.  9)  Bill’s favorite club is his ball retriever   8)  Bill’s had to regrip his ball retriever six times.  7)  Bill’s divots are so big that the course makes him take along a fork-lift truck and four carpet layers   6)   Bill gets excited when he gets a hole-in-six   5)  Bill’s handicap is higher than the number of losses the Detroit Pistons have had this year.  5)  The only person on Earth with a better left hook than Bill Steffen is Floyd Mayweather.   4)  Bill uses green golf balls, because they show up better in the sand traps.  3)  When Bill plays, the course hands out hard hats and flak jackets   2)  Bill’s divots are bigger than the potholes on Burton Street…and the #1 way to tell Bill Steffen is a bad golfer…the Easter Bunny flees in total panic when he hears that Bill is playing golf!

UPDATE:  Survived golf – no people or animals were injured.  A had a very honest 109.  I did par one par 3.  I lost 3 balls, but found 4…so I was +1 for the day.  Fish, broccoli, potato salad and homemade oatmeal-raisin cookies for dinner.  Tomorrow, we all go to church, then home for the Easter Sunday ham brunch (which my almost 95-year old mother insists on doing mostly on her own), then out to Frozen Head State Park to enjoy what should be an awesome day.  You should have near perfect weather in Michigan for Easter Sunday as well – enjoy.

Final Four

March 29th, 2014 at 2:58 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

  Michigan and Michigan St. are done, having reached the Elite 8.  Only Wisconsin will represent the Big Ten in the Final Four next Saturday.  With Kentucky and Florida waiting, that’ll be a tough hill to climb.     Here’s the schedule… The Final Four games are next Sat. 4/5 with FL/CT at 6:09p and WI/KY at 8:49p.  The big dance is the evening of 4/7.   We’ve got one #1 seed, one #2 seed, one #7 and one #8.

Also, nice MODIS picture of Lake Superior from Friday.  Here’s Lake Huron.


NCAA Basketball

March 20th, 2014 at 12:50 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

   Michigan, Michigan St. and Wisconsin all advance to the Sweet 16 – a bit of a scare for MSU and quite the comeback for Wisconsin.  We welcome your comments below.

“Subtropical” Sochi

February 16th, 2014 at 12:42 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

sochi snow    Click on the picture to enlarge.   Click here for a wider view (you can see the Caspian Sea on the far right).  This picture was taken on February 3, 2014, just a few days before the opening ceremonies of the XXII Olympic Games.  Sochi is located on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, not far from the southernmost point in all of Russia, Sochi is a resort town with a warm, humid subtropical climate. Palm trees grow there. However, the cold alpine climate of the Caucasus Mountains lies just a short distance inland. In the winter, the mountains offer steep slopes for snow sports and a decent venue for the Olympic games. This image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, provides context for the area around Sochi.

The Caucasus Mountains form the border between Europe and Asia, spanning the gap between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. They also often form the boundary between cold, dry air from Asia and relatively warmer and more humid air coming in from the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Flowing in from the south and west, the humid ocean air hits the Caucasus and gets pushed up. The rising air cools, resulting in heavy snowfall when temperatures are cool enough. Because of this pattern, snowfall tends to be heaviest in the southern and western Caucasus. Rosa Khutor, the new ski resort that is the venue for mountain events at these Olympics, is built in one such region.   The Olympic Village is not right at Sochi, but a short bus ride to the south (at Adler).   The average high temperature for mid-February at Adler is 53.   The month started out cool, with highs in the mid 40s for the first six days of February.  Then it warmed into the 50s and finally into the low 60s for Weds. to Fri. (12th to 14th).  It should turn a little cooler for the early part of this coming week.

Rosa Khutor is about 25 miles from Sochi and its subtropical warmth (afternoon highs in winter in Sochi are around 50F). Leading up to the games, some critics voiced concerns that Rosa Khutor would not have enough snow for competition. In February 2013, it was warm and raining at the resort, forcing several World Cup events to be cancelled. Spurred by these fears, the resort stockpiled 16 million cubic feet of snow and installed hundreds of snow-making machines to make sure the slopes would be snow-covered.   Temperatures cool as you go higher up in elevation.  Some ski runs have had dry, powdery snow higher up at the start, but slushier conditions at the end of the races where it is warmer.   Picture and story information from NASA Earth Observatory.

Super Bowl and another cool week

February 2nd, 2014 at 3:40 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

super bowl 48 logo  Live Sports Thread – who do you think will win and why?  Anyone want to guess when the Lions will be in a Super Bowl?  I’ll be watching the game, but probably not with my computer – a bunch of friends are getting together.  Several new threads, so scroll down and check ‘em out.   Also:  WOW!  Look at this wave in Cornwall, EnglandFireworks rehearsal in Sochi.  Olympics actually starts Thursday, opening ceremonies Friday!

Looks like temperatures about 5 to 8 degrees cooler than average this week.  Not much snow, as the storm track will be south of Michigan.  Western drought…rainfall in January compared to (average):  San Diego 0.01″ ( 1.91″), Los Angeles trace (2.61″), San Francisco 0.01″ (4.05″), Sacramento 0.14″ (3.52) Las Vegas 0.00″ (0.52″), Seattle 3.61″ (5.41″).  Snowfall at Flagstaff AZ in January was 1/10th inch compared to an average of 22.5″.   On the other hand, W. Palm Beach FL had 9.93″ of rain, about 3 times average.   January snowfall (all of these totals are well above average):  Boston 21.8″, New York City 19.7″, Philadephia 25.0″,  Pittsburgh 17.8″, Detroit 39.1″ (snowiest month ever), Dover 15.9″, Atlantic City 18.8″, Norfolk VA 11.4″,  Atlanta 2.6″, St. Louis 15.8″, Minneapolis 22.7″, Cincinnati 20.4″, Alexandria LA 4.5″, Denver 14.2″, Cheyenne WY 14.7″, Great Falls MT 18.8″.  With the colder pattern, many places had snow hang around longer than average.

Model update:  The GRR NWS has a good Sunday PM discussion.  I buy the cold nighttime temperatures the next couple of nights.  Fresh snow cover, light wind (or calm) and clear to partly cloudy skies (late tonight and tomorrow night) mean cold temps.  This weeks significant snow will be confined mainly to Tues. night/earlyWeds.   The GFS plot has 0.15″ of precipitation mainly Tues. evening/night – the European has 0.17″.  We’re probably looking at a 1-4″ snowfall with the least up at Ludington and the most toward Jackson/Hillsdale/Coldwater.  It’ll be another cold week with highs in the low-mid 20s Sunday – Weds. and maybe only upper teens for Thurs. / Fri.  The European also has a couple/three inches of snow Saturday/Sat. night.  Best day for some sun will be Monday.   The GFS – plot has high temps. of only 13, 16 and 17 for Thurs. – Sat. – that’s probably a touch cool, but more Arctic air for the end of the week.  We’ll continue to track the progression of ice cover on Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes.

USGS reports a 6.6 magnitude earthquake 455 miles (732 km) northeast of Whakatane, New Zealand. No tsunami expected.  Ten people rescued after huge wave knocks bus off ocean road in England.   Phillip Hoffman, the actor who died (drug overdose?) was in the movie Twister.   You know, we could make an absolutely great Twister 2 starring commentators from this blog.  I won’t name names, but this show could get awesome ratings.  This could be the new “Storm Chasers”.   Verkoyansk, Siberia is 71 below zero at 3 pm EST (Yikes!).   Snowstorm in Oklahoma – thundersnow in N. Texas this afternoon.


January 1st, 2014 at 9:10 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

facebook rose bowl    We put the game on the HUGE screen (190.4″ x 107.2″) in the studio after the 6 PM news.  Sparty had me worried (that and the Big Ten doesn’t seem to fare well in bowl games), but MSU lands in Comeback City.  Awesome stuff  on 4th down.  We all said (before the play) that Stanford should fake the run and throw a pass.   I think the Spartans overachieved a little  and I think the coaches get some credit for that.   BTW, still looks brutally cold for the Packers/49ers game Sunday late PM…probably a little below zero for most of the game with -15 to -20 wind chills.

Weekend Sports Thread Dec. 6-8

December 6th, 2013 at 9:11 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

GVSU logo    We’ve got some big football games this weekend.  Michigan State (#10) and Ohio State (they think they’re #1) play for the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis (on FOX).  That’s an 8:17 pm kickoff and I like State’s chances in this one.  Grand Valley (11-2) hosts West Texas A & M (11-2) in a Div. 2 playoff game.  the temperature will be about 21 at game time.  There are some tickets available, but bundle up.  The game is on Xfinity and on radio on the ESPN (96.1 in G.R.) Grand Valley radio network.  Northern Illinois is playing Bowling Green St. Univ. this evening aiming at a BCS berth.  N. Illinois is a perfect 12-0, but Bowling Green has won their last 4 games by a combined 176-17.  That’s on ESPN2.  WOTV4 has Oklahoma (#17) and Oklahoma St. (#6) at noon and Duke-Florida St. at 8 PM.  The Detroit Lions (7-5) head to Philadelphia to play the Eagles (also 7-5).  The Philly Q.B. has been rockin’ good of late (they’ve won 4 in a row), but Farley and Suh are coming to town.   The Sunday Night Football game is Carolina at New Orleans on WOOD, TV-8 and the Monday night game is Dallas at Chicago (another very cold game with temps. in the teens and wind chills near zero).  In basketball, Houston Baptist is at Michigan at noon Sat. on the Big Ten network.  My Badgers play Marquette at 2 pm.  Delaware at Notre Dame is at 4 PM, WMU at Northwestern at 5 PM and Central at SIU/Edwardsburg is at 8 PM.  Several games have been postponed because of the snow and ice down in N. Texas and Arkansas.  I saw Tiger Woods had 10 birdies and 8 pars for a course and tournament record 62 today in the relatively cool conditions at Thousand Oaks, California.   Happy weekend everybody.  Thanks for reading the blog.


Great Early Season Skiing/Boarding/Tubing

November 29th, 2013 at 12:57 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

pando 3   The pic. is from Pando Park’s facebook page.  Pando is open ’til 10 today (Friday) and 10-10 Saturday for skiing, snowboarding and for tubing.   Resorts have been making snow and have natural snow (even powder conditions!).  Here’s a list of ski resorts open in Michigan (up to 48″ bases already!).  Also open:  Bittersweet in Otsego and  Timber Ridge in Gobles.  Here’s North American snow/ice cover.  +95% of Canada has a snow cover.  Lake Winnipeg pretty much frozen over and ice is forming at a good clip over Hudson Bay.

Thanksgiving Weekend Sports Thread

November 28th, 2013 at 12:36 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

  Heckuva finish to the Alabama-Auburn game.   Michigan hung in until the end against OSU.  GVSU made a gigantic comeback.  Lions stomp the Packers, 40-10.  Right now we you can see Pittsburgh and Baltimore on NBC/WOOD-TV. Since the Lions played today, we may get the Bears/Vikings game if FOX has a game at 1 PM Sunday. The Sunday evening game is Baltimore at Washington (with RG III and Holland’s own Kirk Cousins).

There are 16 college games on Friday. At 2 pm Eastern Mich. is at C.M.U. The weather should be cool and dry. There are 2 games on WOTV4. At Noon, it’s a Big Ten showdown with Iowa at Nebraska followed by Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh. Saturday, the big Michigan/Ohio State game is on WOTV4 at Noon from Ann Arbor. The Minnesota at Michigan State game is also at Noon on the Big Ten Network. My Badgers host Penn St. at 3:30 on WOTV4. Georgia and Georgia Tech is the 3:30 game on WOTV4. Notre Dame has a tough match-up with Stanford at 7 PM out west (FOX). On WOTV4 you can see UCLA and USC at 8 PM. That’s #22 and #23, pretty even match-up.

Grand Valley’s playoff game is on at 2:00 Saturday on Comcast channel 900.  Go Lakers!  In the past, Grand Valley games have been announced by Tom Cleary and Dick Nelson – longtime and very knowledgeable sportscasters here in W. Michigan.

The high school playoff games are all day Friday and Saturday from Ford Field. We have half a dozen W. Michigan teams playing, but since the blog gets comments and readers from all over the state and beyond, I’ll show you the complete schedule. Tickets are $10 and you get to see 4 games and be in Ford Field…pretty good deal. The Friday games are televised on FOX Sports Detroit-Plus; the Saturday games are on FOX Sports Detroit.

The 1950 Blizzard Bowl

November 25th, 2013 at 10:00 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Sports, Weather

On Nov. 25, 1950 Michigan and Ohio State met for what has been called the “Blizzard Bowl” or the “Snow Bowl“. Check out the film of the storm here and here. Michigan won the game 9-3 despite gaining only 27 yards of offense in 46 plays. They had no first downs, didn’t complete a pass and punted 24 times. In fact, there were 45 punts in the game. Both teams mostly tried two runs then punted on 3rd down, so in case the punter slipped, they could try again on fourth down. Only 2 of the 45 punts were returned (for a total of 8 yards). That was mostly because the return man couldn’t find the ball. Most just hit the snow and stopped without bouncing. There were only 10 fumbles in the game. The temperature at the start of the game was +10° and the wind was howling out of the north-northeast. One Ohio St. player remarked that he was supposed to go down and block a linebacker, but when he ran downfield he could find him! All the points were scored after blocked kicks in the first half. Several hundred Boy Scouts were on the sidelines helping to sweep snow off the field so the officials and players could find the yard markers. Most of the state of Ohio got 10″ or more of snow, with reports up to 33″ and drifts up to 25 feet! The temperature in Grand Rapids that morning reached -10°F, the coldest temperature ever recorded here in the month of November. (photo – OSU library)