Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Coming up: Beijing television

A woman walks past the still underconstruction China Central Television's (CCTV) headquarters in Beijing July 30, 2008. The CCTV broadcaster is dedicating 3,000 staff to the Beijing Olympic Games, with over 2,500 hours of programming going out on seven of the 17 channels it controls. CCTV will distribute Beijing Olympics broadcasts to all TV stations across China.

Grand Lisboa Casino in Macau: always impressive

People walk past the Grand Lisboa Casino in Macau July 30, 2008. Currently scattered among the thousands of punters that regularly flock to Macau are hundreds of Olympic athletes, who have descended on the former Portuguese colony to fine-tune their preparations for Beijing. Most teams chose Macau because it is close to Beijing, about three hours by air, and offers similar weather conditions to the Chinese capital.
REUTERS/Victor Fraile (CHINA)

Gamble House is resilient

The Gamble House in Pasadena is celebrating its centennial. A 10-month, $3.5-million restoration was completed in 2004.

Edward Bosley, director of the Gamble House, said the Greene brothers had the Great 1906 San Francisco earthquake in mind when they designed the home for David and Mary Gamble, of Procter & Gamble fame.

"The Greenes and other architects were thinking about seismic mitigation, although they didn't call it that," Bosley said.

McLeod said the house performed perfectly in the earthquake. "It moved with the movement, just the way it's supposed to. They used ship-building details in building this house. It's not so rigid that it breaks."

Breisch agreed. "It's solid and well built, obviously," he said. "It's resilient. It bends."

The old-fashioned way.

Windows in the dining room of the Gamble House in Pasadena.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Acres of Books to close

Unable to relocate after nearly 75 years in business, Acres of Books, the giant literature warehouse downtown, will sell its inventory and close to make way for an urban redevelopment project.

"Store Closing" signs have been taped to storefront windows on Long Beach Boulevard, and owners Phil and Jackie Smith have begun discounting merchandise, reducing store hours and canceling music and arts events.

Since notices were sent out, the store has been mobbed by loyal customers.

The Smiths, who agreed in April to sell the property, said they could not find a location large enough in Southern California to hold their inventory, estimated at up to 1 million volumes. Acres of Books, which opened in 1934, has about 12,000 square feet of floor space and 6 1/2 miles of shelving. The store plans to close when the inventory is sold.

Skipping that crowded airport

Want to get away but tired of driving to a crowded airport and cramming into an airliner?

How about hopping into a two-seat propeller plane that can be flown just about anywhere and land at the most remote places, including mountain lakes and desolate airfields. Better yet, a private pilot's license is not required.

A Marina del Rey company, hoping to get more people to fly planes for fun, is building a recreational flying boat that can take off and land both on airstrips and on water. But it's not for the budget-conscious. The plane costs $139,000, or about the price of a new Maserati Quattroporte.

Icon Aircraft, a private firm founded by a former F-16 fighter jet pilot, is hoping to exploit a little-known federal regulation approved in 2004 that opens the way for "light sport aircraft." It is a new category in aviation that is designed to make flying easier for more people.

Icon's plane, dubbed A5, resembles a large canopied Jet Ski with wings. The cockpit interior with side-by-side seats is roomy and feels more like a sports car than a plane.

Designed for recreation rather than transportation, sport planes are not allowed to go faster than 120 miles an hour, hold more than two people, or fly above 15,000 feet.

And pilots only need a sport aircraft license, which is less onerous than obtaining the traditional private pilot's license, requiring just half of the flight training.

"The Zero X takes a leap into the future"

When the Zero X wheeled onto the dirt track at Lake Elsinore, the Colgate-white motocross bike looked positively virginal next to the belching, candy-colored models that leaped from mound to mound around it.

Not surprisingly, the Zero X drew a lot of attention.

Two-stroke? Four-stroke? That wasn't the question riders were asking after watching the electric dirt bike roll around the track a few times and do everything a traditional, gas-powered motocrosser could do, minus the noise and pollution. No. The biggest questions were: "What is it?" and "Where can I get one?"

The Zero X is a big deal for a lot of reasons, the biggest being that it's actually in production. Unlike so many other electric vehicles that are bandied about in the media, it isn't a prototype. It's been on the market since April.

Nor is it an electric retrofit of a gutted, formerly gas-powered machine. Its 300-plus component parts were engineered from the ground up, sourced from manufacturers around the globe and assembled into fully functioning motorcycles in a facility in Northern California.

The $7,450 motorcycle was designed by aeronautical engineer Neal Saiki, whose mountain bikes have won design awards.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Glowing like an illuminated jewel box

This estate set atop a La Jolla bluff was designed by architect Wallace E. Cunningham to capture natural light through floor-to-ceiling glass walls and windows. The view from the central courtyard reflects the sunset afterglow over the Pacific. The house, perched atop a bluff above Torrey Pines State Reserve, "is subservient to the sea and the bluff," says the architect. "When you sit there they're perfectly framed in every view."

Cape Disappointment State Park

A look down at Dead Man's Cove, which can be seen during the 1.2-mile round-trip hike to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Washington state. The cove can be accessed through stairs from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. As the story goes, the body of a shipwreck victim washed up on the shore here — thus the cove's name.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Images that tell the tale of brutality"

Four criminals are hanged in a city, 950 km south of Teheran, Sept. 5, 2007. A total of 21 criminals were hanged that day in Iran.

"I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children"

Randy Pausch, a terminally ill professor whose earnest farewell lecture at Carnegie Mellon University became an Internet phenomenon and bestselling book that turned him into a symbol for living and dying well, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch, a computer science professor and virtual-reality pioneer, died at his home in Chesapeake, Va., of complications from pancreatic cancer, the Pittsburgh university announced.

When Pausch agreed to give the talk, he was participating in a long-standing academic tradition that calls on professors to share their wisdom in a theoretical "last lecture." A month before the speech, the 46-year-old Pausch was told he had only months to live, a prognosis that heightened the poignancy of his address.

Delivered last September to about 400 students and colleagues, his message about how to make the most of life has been viewed by millions on the Internet. Pausch gave an abbreviated version of it on "Oprah" and expanded it into a best-selling book, "The Last Lecture," released in April.

Yet Pausch insisted that both the spoken and written words were designed for an audience of three: his children, then 5, 2 and 1.

"I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children," Pausch wrote in his book.

"The speech made him famous all over the world," Zaslow told The Times. "It was almost a shared secret, a peek into him telling his colleagues and students to go on and do great things. It touched so many people because it was authentic."

Russian Church urges the state to condemn execution of Nicholas II and his family

The last emperor Nicholas II and his family, 1905

"Hold it !!! I can't see what I'm shooting at"

A re-enactment on July 26, 2008 in Santa Cruz de Tenerife of the naval battle and disembarkment in which the infantry of the Canary islands prevented the conquest of the Canary islands in 1797 by English hero Horacio Nelson.

Who says motorcycles have no class ???

"He lost gold but won hearts"

Just a half-loop around the track, and the gold medal for the marathon at the 1908 London Olympics was his.

But for Dorando Pietri, exhausted and dehydrated after running 26 miles under a harsh sun, 385 yards might as well have been one mile. Five times he fell; a hush fell over the crowd, broken only by fervent cries.

"Let him alone!"

"That's not sport!"

Finally to the finish line, aided by two officials, in a time of 2:54:46, whereupon Pietri collapsed. No one knew whether he would survive.

One hundred years ago, on the day that the plucky Pietri concluded his gold-medal dreams in a London hospital, the Olympic movement was in serious trouble.

The dream-child of Baron Pierre de Coubertin had foundered since its modern-day beginnings in 1896. The inaugural Games, in Athens, were sparsely attended, with only 176 athletes from 12 countries represented. The 1900 (Paris) and 1904 (St. Louis) Olympics were mere sideshows for the world's fairs they accompanied.

"The 1900 and 1904 Games had been so terrible," says Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, "because they didn't have the best athletes in the world competing against each other. No one cared."

But mighty Britannia was the birthplace of organized sports, and the 1908 Olympics were well-planned and forward-thinking. For the first time, countries selected the athletes for their teams, ensuring top competition for the Games, with 2,023 participants from 22 countries. The Brits erected White City Stadium in West London -- the first stadium built specifically for the Olympics. The steel-and-concrete oval was so vast that swimming events were held in a 100-meter pool within the infield. A rabid press corps descended to chronicle every controversy at the "Battle of Shepherd's Bush."

On July 24, 1908, an estimated 75,000 spectators filled White City Stadium to await the conclusion of a newfangled competition called the marathon. The race was invented in 1894, when one of De Coubertin's collaborators, linguist Michel Bréal, suggested adding a long-distance test to the 1896 Olympics. The contest began in the town of Marathon and concluded in Athens as a way to commemorate a storied moment in Greek history.

De Coubertin approved the 40-kilometer race (about 25 miles) despite the fact that few athletes alive had ever trained for -- much less competed in -- anything longer than three miles. Thus was born what one writer has called "the most audacious of races."

In 1908, the course began at Windsor Castle and ended 26 miles later at the stadium. Once inside, runners had to complete a partial lap, measured at 385 yards, so as to finish in front of the royal box. (In 1924, the odd and random distance of 26 miles 385 yards became the marathon standard.)

The favorite was Canada's Tom Longboat, an Onondaga Indian who had captured the 1907 Boston Marathon in record time. The U.S. entered seven runners, including a slight Irish American lad named Johnny Hayes. Italy's Dorando Pietri went unheralded; many reporters believed that Pietri was his first name.

Tens of thousands of spectators lined London's roads to cheer on the 55 runners (from 16 nations) sweltering in the afternoon heat. Longboat held the lead at the 17-mile mark, when he suddenly dropped out. Unconfirmed reports indicated that he had ingested strychnine, the performance-enhancer of choice during this era.

Wearing red pantaloons that reached his knees and a white kerchief to shield his dust-covered hair, Pietri took control at the 25-mile mark. But he had reached the edge of human endurance; he collapsed repeatedly, only to be aided to his feet. "He was helped by the officials," says Olympic historian Bill Mallon, "in clear violation of the rules."

The U.S. team lodged a protest. Pietri was disqualified and Hayes awarded the gold medal. Hayes' victory was the last for a U.S. Olympic marathoner until Frank Shorter broke through in 1972.

Hayes was the champ, but Pietri was the hero. The next day, after he was released from the hospital, Queen Alexandra presented him with a silver cup. Photographs of the race's conclusion -- among the first sports-action images ever produced -- appeared in newspapers around the world.

The media uproar turned Pietri into an international star. Afterward, he, Hayes, and Longboat turned pro and crisscrossed the U.S. in a series of big-money races. Their well-publicized duels, including an indoor, mano a mano match in New York's Madison Square Garden, created the first marathon craze in this country. Irving Berlin marked the occasion by writing his first hit song, titled "Dorando."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

From Outer Space

This image provided by NASA shows layers of Earth's atmosphere, brightly colored as the sun rises over central Asia, and Polar Mesospheric Clouds (also known as noctilucent clouds) are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 17 crewmember on the International Space Station Tuesday July 22, 2008.

What Will They Say About The "Watchmen"???

It looks like the Holy Grail of comic/film adaptations is finally moving in the right direction: towards actually being completed. Just because it is heading in the right direction, doesn’t mean that it is heading in a good direction though. Exactly one year to the day of release, Zack Snyder has given us a look at the Watchmen from his official blog.

While Snyder has built quite a reputation during his short span of films, which mostly includes adaptations, The Watchmen looks to be his most difficult project yet. Not only does the marketability of the source material come into question, the attention to detail is also going to be an issue. This is the first real test for Snyder and his Watchmen. Can he appease the comic gods, fans and Alan Moore, while making a film that succeeds both commercially and critically? Maybe this is a situation where Snyder is just giving us a taste, but won’t let us in on the buffet until he knows everything is just right.

"Carmen Mirandarth"

It'S the Cannes of Capes, the World's Fair for Fanboys, the ultimate Bazaar of the Bizarre. Comic-Con International gets underway today at the San Diego Convention Center and 125,000 fans will attend this frothy celebration -- and hard sell -- of pop culture.
One of the features is the the Vader Project: an art exhibit featuring dozens of customized Darth Vader masks, including "Carmen Mirandarth."

At the Getty Central Garden with Robert Irwin

Though Irwin was criticized for his plant selection in the water-bound azalea maze, he still defends his choice. “I was looking for a plant that had certain properties, and the azalea kept coming up as a possibility,” the artist said, later adding: “There is a famous azalea grower in Altadena called the Nuccio Brothers. For four generations, that’s all they’ve done is grow azaleas. They told me which azaleas are going to do [what], which peat moss to get, how they should be grown. I did my homework.”

A fountain credited to Mexican architect Luis Barragán is quite spectacular

Made of hand-chiseled cantera stone, the fountain has been re-piped and equipped to run at variable rates of flow. Though the design is described as “Mayan-inspired” and Barragán rarely used such fussy vernacular, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission declared it “a signature project of Barragán, an architect of international fame and an architect of great importance to contemporary Mexican culture.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"art deco modernist glass"

Exceptionnally rare and highly sought after art deco modernist glass and chrome mood lamp manufactured by the famous and short lived Maison Desny Company around 1930.

Maison Desny favorite´s material was glass. Art Deco was not only an era of progressive ideas in terms of decorative arts but was probably THE era where architecture lighting and architecture of light took birth.

Beijing readies for Olympics

A sculpture greets visitors outside Beijing's 100,000-seat Olympic stadium, known as the "Bird's Nest." The architectural additions to the capital, which also include a $3-billion airport terminal, helped drive the cost of the Beijing Games to a record-smashing $43 billion.

Monday, July 21, 2008

On his way to "Lost and Found" I suppose ???

"You can't get there from here"

The fury of the storm

"The Barents sea heaved and churned like a tortured animal in pain, the howling wind tearing packets of icy green water from the shuddering crests of the waves, atomizing it into mist that was again laid flat by the growing fury of the storm as Kevin Tucker switched off the bedside light in his Tuba City, Arizona, single-wide trailer and by the time the phone woke him at 7:38, had pretty much blown itself out with no damage."

This entry was the runner-up in the 2007 Bulwer-Lytton "It was a dark and stormy night" contest and was submitted by Scott Palmer of Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

In 1946, fame was in the future for several new Santa Monica lifeguards

IT WAS a moment of beginnings: 14 fresh-faced young men, still wet from the surf, standing ramrod straight at the end of the Santa Monica Pier. It was the start of the summer of '46 and of careers that would make many of them legendary watermen. Surf culture was in its infancy -- the global exportation of the carefree California lifestyle was a wave decades away from cresting, the Beach Boys were still little boys, and the woodie wagon was still just a car.

The shot captures the men with colorful lives still ahead of them and one thing behind them: a 1,000-meter, 25-minute swim in the Pacific Ocean that officially certified them as the season's Santa Monica Lifeguards.

"The guys were mostly new that year," recalls Dave Heiser, second from left. "And they turned out to be a pretty famous bunch." Heiser points out Buzzy Trent, sixth from the right, who went on to become a legendary big wave surfer; Matt Kivlin, second from right, the influential board shaper; and Dave Rochlen, third from right, who went on to create the bright, floral-festooned trunks called Jams that became a 1980s clothing craze.

It was also a beginning for Heiser, then 22 and fresh out of a three-year hitch in the Navy. "I'd wanted to be a lifeguard since I was 17, but I wasn't old enough at the time," he says. "By the time I got back, I was a little older than the rest of the group." Heiser would juggle lifeguarding with teaching physical education at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica until 1960, when vice principal duties prevented him from continuing.

The red, snap-waisted, top-of-the-thigh shorts ("Standard-issue," Heiser says) reflect the style of the day, and the neatly trimmed hair and squeaky clean demeanor give the group a look that's more Disney than Point Dume, and light-years away from the stringy-haired, checkerboard-wearing, Spicoli-style surf rat that is today's image of the wave-craving set.

The Santa Monica Lifeguards have since become part of the L.A. County force, and many of the men in the photo are gone. But for Heiser, now 84, the old guard is never far away. His Santa Monica apartment is crammed with photos documenting a lifetime on the water, and this one hangs prominently near the door and in direct line of sight from his overstuffed chair.

As I lift the picture from the wall, Heiser has only one request: "Guard it with your life."

Adam Tschorn

Sky Jump, Sky Deck, Sky Tower

One of New Zealand’s most exhilarating and spectacular tourist attractions: The Auckland City Sky Tower is the tallest tower in the southern hemisphere at 328 metres. Located in the heart of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. With picturesque views from the tower.

The Sky Tower, built in 1997, is an Auckland landmark icon. Upper levels accommodate communications equipment, three circular public observation levels - Sky Deck, Main Observation level, and the Sky Lounge, a revolving restaurant, from each of which you can get a 360-degree view of Auckland. This 170 ton tower attracts over 600,000 visitors each year and is owned and operated by SKY CITY Entertainment Group. Tourists come for numerous reasons but the main one being Sky tower contains New Zealand’s largest casino and offers table and slot machine gaming. The tower also features the Sky Jump, a 192 metre controlled fall from the observation deck of the tower similar to bungee jumping.

Is it still the last frontier ???

The Alaska Railroad takes riders into the far reaches of the 49th state, connecting Seward, Anchorage, Denali National Park and Fairbanks, with other stops in between.

The Denali Star Train crosses the Chulitna River, north of Anchorage. Parts of Alaska are accessible only by railroad.
(Alaska Railroad Corp.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Eloquence, and Intelligence"

Called for a civil trial before the General Court of Massachusetts in November 1637, Anne Hutchinson ably defended herself against charges that she had defamed the colony's ministers and as a woman had dared to teach men. Her extensive knowledge of Scripture, her eloquence, and her intelligence allowed Hutchinson to debate with more skill than her accusers. Yet because Hutchinson claimed direct revelation from God and argued that "laws, commands, rules, and edicts are for those who have not the light which makes plain the pathway," she was convicted and banished from the colony, a sentence confirmed along with formal excommunication in the ecclesiastical trial that followed. Eventually, she was hanged for challenging Puritan orthodoxy.

Shown above is a Woodcut depicting Anne Hutchinson's sentencing to be banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (North Wind Picture Archives)

"Two Immortals"

In 1973 Willie Mays (above) was named to National League all star team for the 24th time, which tied him with the great Stan Musial (below).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Spectacular Photography by Tom Post

Yosemite's Half Dome in a Clearing Storm from Tunnel View. Click on the link below for more of Tom Post's outstanding photography:

"Facing the Music"

Diagnosed with a fatal disease at age 20, Steve Goodman managed to survive and thrive and to write an anthem of his generation and become what many considered the most galvanizing entertainer of his time. What lessons did he learn and share with others while privately, then publicly, fending off leukemia for more than 15 years? The answers lie in Clay Eals' biography, "Steve Goodman: Facing the Music."

This biography, now in its second printing, is the comprehensive, untold story of a young man whose hilarious, touching and provocative music — "City of New Orleans," "You Never Even Call Me by My Name," "Banana Republics," "A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request" and many more stellar songs — uplifted millions from the late 1960s to the early 1980s and continues to do so today.

Click on the link below for more information:

Andy Roddick is . . .

Flawless Intonation -- Jo Stafford 1917-2008

Jo Stafford, a singer who was a favorite of GIs during World War II and whose recordings made the pop music charts dozens of times in the 1950s had a long career but enjoyed most of her success from the late 1930s to the early '60s. Her skills were apparent from the beginning, when she sang as a teenager in a vocal trio with her two older sisters, Pauline and Christine. Her performances were superb displays of crystal-clear musicality combined with an insightful understanding of lyrics.

Stafford and her second husband, pianist/composer Paul Weston, were viewed by most of their contemporaries as musical class acts who brought clarity, focus and sophistication to the most lighthearted pop music. Which made their transformation into Jonathan and Darlene Edwards -- a duo that was the surprising last highlight of Stafford's career -- such a remarkable accomplishment.

The premise was simple enough: They would do imitations of a minimally skilled duet of singer and piano player -- the sort who can frequently be heard in no-cover-charge cocktail lounges everywhere. But as interpreted by Stafford's pliable voice, the songs came out just a little sharp in one spot, a bit flat in another, with the rhythm slipping from beat to beat. Did Stafford find it difficult to sing in such ear-jarring fashion? "Well, Jo Stafford might have found it difficult," she told the Chicago Tribune in 1988, "but Darlene had no problem at all."

It worked so well, in fact, that the duo's recording of "Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris" won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album of 1960. It was the only Grammy that Stafford would win.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I think this "global warming" is really heating up

Big and small

The four-masted Russian tall ship Kruzenshtern enters the Bay of Douarnenez as part of an armada taking part in the Douarnenez 2008 maritime festival July 17, 2008.

Looking for a "growl"

Back by popular demand, "Go, Diego, Go Live! The Great Jaguar Rescue" returns to the Southland (Nokia Theatre)for a live-action theatrical presentation based on Nickelodeon's hit children's show. You can follow Diego, Alicia and Dora on a special mission to get Baby Jaguar's growl back from the Bobo brothers. The pint-sized trio rescues animals, navigates the Latin American rain forest and passes giant waterfalls along the way.

Billy Joel will be the last

The razing of Shea Stadium later this year marks the end of an era for baseball fans, but it's also closing the door on a chapter of pop music history that began in 1965 when the Beatles became the first pop group to play a concert at a U.S. sports stadium.

Billy Joel will play the final notes at Shea on Friday in a performance to be documented for a film and DVD titled "Last Play at Shea," slated for release next year. Several guest artists are expected at the concert, which is one of only a handful that have been held at Shea in the 43 years since the Beatles played.

Other rock acts that performed at the stadium include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

"The Dark Knight" and a different kind of evil

GIVEN THE success of "Batman Begins" three years ago, adventurous, eclectic director Christopher Nolan could have gone anywhere and done anything with his next film. So why did he elect to return to the mythical city of Gotham, to the confines of a superhero movie and the narrow world of a caped crusader imprisoned by the secret of who he really is?

That sequel, “The Dark Knight,” answers all those questions with a vengeance. To see it is to understand that Nolan and his co-writer brother Jonathan saw a chance to go deeper into familiar characters and mythology, a chance to meditate on darker-than-usual themes that have implications for the way we live now. A chance to disturb us in the ways these kinds of movies rarely do.

With Christian Bale returning in the title role and Heath Ledger giving a shocking, indelible performance as his arch-nemesis the Joker, "The Dark Knight" may be the most hopeless, despairing comic-book movie in memory. It creates a world where being a superhero is at best a double-edged sword and no triumph is likely to be anything but short-lived.

Because these kinds of movies are only as strong as their villains, a good part of the credit for the potency of "The Dark Knight" has to go to the unusual and unusually creepy and sadistic way the Joker was conceptualized by the Nolans and David S. Goyer (who has a story credit) and played by Ledger in what turned out to be his last completed screen role. The Joker's is a different kind of evil than we're used to, one that is harder for both Batman and the audience to dismiss than what Jack Nicholson did with the part nearly two decades ago.

"The Dark Knight," an allusion to the hugely influential Frank Miller graphic novel "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns," begins in what should be good times for our hero. While Gotham still struggles with lawlessness, his crime-fighting brand is established, he is secure in his secret identity as playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne and he has a loyal support group in butler Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), tech wizard Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) and police Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman). Plus he is hopeful that his example will get the citizens of Gotham to do the right thing.
By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Movie Critic
July 17, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The "House That Ruth Built,"

Babe Ruth receives a final accolade at Yankee Stadium in June, 1948, just two months before his death. The "Sultan of Swat" had set the new single-season home-run record of 60, breaking his old record at the site in 1927.

After acquiring Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox before the 1920 season, the New York Yankees set out to build a stadium. They bought 10 acres of land in the Bronx in 1921 from the estate of William Waldorf Astor for $675,000.

Two years and $2.5 million later, Yankee Stadium opened. Next season, the Yankees will open a $1.2-billion stadium and tear down the old one.

Tonight, baseball's elite return for the final All-Star game in the original "House That Ruth Built," and return to a place that has housed some of the most memorable moments in sports history.