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When the European Poker Tour began in September 2004, the first season had seven events. The second season remained with seven, and then the third season increased to eight. The fourth and fifth seasons hosted 11 events each, and then the jump was made to 13 events for the sixth, seventh, and eighth seasons of the tour. For the ninth season, the EPT scaled back to just eight events, but expanded the events into “festivals” with more poker at each stop. This was the same for the 10th season as it proved to be a very positive maneuver.

It’s now the 11th season of the tour, but just six stops are on the schedule — Barcelona, London, Prague, Bahamas, Deauville, and Monaco.

On a recent broadcast of EPT Live while at the first event of Season 11 in Barcelona, host Joe Stapleton hinted that there could be a news announcement made soon about something to take place on the tour in the gap between Deauville and Monaco. Deauville is scheduled to take place January 28 through February 7 and Monaco will close out the season April 29 through May 8, leaving for an uncharacteristically large gap in the schedule of nearly three months. Since moving to the festivals format in recent seasons, this gap has often been filled by one or two events.

One of the events that often filled this role was EPT Sanremo, a stop that has been a mainstay on the EPT schedule since it first played host back in the fourth season and attracted 701 players. The Sanremo event saw a rise in entrants for the two following seasons (consecutively 1,178 and 1,240), but dropped to 987 for the seventh season. Since that drop, the field size has declined each year, with an all-time low of 556 entrants last season. Sanremo is currently not on the schedule for Season 11, according to the EPT’s website, which leaves question as to whether or not it will be back on the EPT.

Speaking with some of those in Barcelona, thoughts are that Sanremo will not be returning. That was the feeling of many following its lackluster performance last season and remains as such, with two people stating that the reason for Sanremo being left off the schedule was the decline in numbers over the recent seasons. It was also mentioned that the decline was due large in part to not doing so well. operates within a segregated Italian market and has a six-month trend of under 2,000 daily ring-game players, according to statistics from For comparison, the main PokerStars client boasts a six-month trend of between 20,000 and 25,000 daily ring-game players.

With Stapleton hinting at an announcement about an event to take place between Deauville and Monaco, speculation as to where this event would be held has been spreading. Vienna could see a return for Season 11 after coming back to the EPT schedule in Season 10 following a two-season hiatus, and it would seem the Austrian capital would be the favorite to host a stop between Deauville and Monaco due to the overwhelming success it had in Season 10.

First, the Eureka Poker Tour Vienna Main Event proved overly impressive. The second starting flight attracted 975 players and became the largest single starting flight in the tour’s history, dating back to March of 2011. That number also pushed the total number of entries in the event up to 1,432 and broke the record for largest Eureka Poker Tour Main Event by 117 players. Second, the EPT Main Event attracted a whopping 910 players, which was nearly double the amount from EPT Sanremo in the same season.

One could place Berlin as the second favorite behind Vienna as a host city for the EPT this season. In the seventh, eighth, and ninth season of the tour, Berlin drew field sizes of 773, 745, and 912 entrants, respectively. Many in the industry saw it as a surprise that Vienna replaced Berlin in the first place given its success, but Berlin and Vienna are seemingly interchangeable given their location within Europe.

There is also the possibility of the EPT adding a stop that it has been to previously, which includes Copenhagen, Tallinn, Dublin, Baden, Warsaw, Dortmund, Budapest, Hinterglemm (Snowfest), Vilamoura, Kyiv, Campione, Madrid, and Loutraki. From those, Copenhagen hosted the most EPT stops after being featured in eight seasons, but it was never able to eclipse the 500-player mark — its best performance was 462 players in Season 5. Dortmund attracted the largest field of that bunch, drawing 667 players in Season 5. While all of these stops would be a great re-addition to the schedule in Season 11, my guess is that they aren’t in the cards.

The main reason I don’t feel going back to one of the older stops just mentioned is that some have hinted at talks of a new addition to the tour, which could come as a very welcome surprise. New places are always exciting for a couple of reasons. First, they open up an avenue to a new live market for PokerStars and the EPT to tap into. Second, regular players on the tour get a taste of something new instead of the same old.

Some of the locations that could be great for the EPT to venture into are Cyprus, Amsterdam, Valencia, Zurich, and Cannes. Cyprus is a great location that already has a healthy poker scene for live events, and Cannes is absolutely stunning, plus it’s within the same relative area as Sanremo. Cannes has also previously played host to the World Series of Poker Europe, and there won’t be a WSOP Europe this year.

While it may be sad to see Sanremo go, online poker shared liquidity involving Italy within Europe could see things begin to boom again if it ever does happen. Right now, a segregated market is holding back countries like Italy, Spain, and France just as it is holding back individual states within the US.

To learn more about the European Poker Tour, click here.

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AMSTERDAM, August 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –

Europe’s most important platform for the health and natural ingredients returns to the Netherlands after 10 years 

Supermarket shelves across Europe today provide evidence of the rising demands for food manufacturers to supplement artificial ingredients with natural replacements. There is increasing consumer demand for natural flavours and colours, natural ingredients and health benefit led ingredients, (provided they meet the stringent EU health regulations). Meeting these demands continues to create huge challenges for food manufacturers, yet worldwide sales for the health and natural food ingredient sectors are estimated to reach approximately USD$1 trillion over the next 3 years, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry.

     (Logo: )

Natural ingredients is the defining trend in today’s food industry 

Natasha Berrow, Brand Director, Food ingredients Global comments, “The decision to hold Hi Europe at the RAI Amsterdam on the 2-4 December was always certain, as a very high proportion of the food industry is based in The Netherlands. In the last few decades, many small to medium sized companies have successfully established themselves in the Dutch market, with a focus on health and natural trends, and niche products and concepts. We are very excited to bring our event back to a market that brings extensive opportunities and solutions to the health ingredients industry”.

Natalie Meijers, Communications Manager, FrieslandCampina Ingredients said, “We are proud that the Health ingredients is in The Netherlands this year as we are a Dutch company. We are pleased to do business with the 8000 attendees, from all around the world. Hi Europe is the best place for us to show our dedication to advanced nutrition and health”.

Bursting with natural additives 

Over 500+ leading suppliers will showcase natural, health and nutritional ingredient solutions at Hi Europe on 2-4 December 2014 at the RAI Exhibition Centre, Amsterdam proving that it is the ideal platform for companies that wish to equip themselves for the changing market and consumer demands, and who want to learn about pioneering innovations in the food industry. Hi Europe is expected to attract 8,000+ food and beverage professionals specialising in developing new products for this booming consumer sector.

Food manufacturers will be able to source new ideas, innovation and ingredients solutions in dynamic, quick and new ways at Hi Europe 2014. Mintel’s new Ingredients and Innovations Hub will provide an overview of the health industry through seminar sessions provided by key exhibitors and industry leaders. Innovation Tours, led by NutriMarketing, will highlight specific food trends and solutions, providing high-end solutions in topics such as sport nutrition, digestive health immunity and heart health, while Leatherhead’s Discovery Tours allow visitors to explore the show floor and find ingredients suppliers at your own pace. The New Product Zone, sponsored by Innova, will present the latest innovations in food and packaging, while Ingredients in Action provides a space where visitors can taste, touch and smell the latest food innovations.

Registration is now open for the show at and is free when you pre-register online, saving you €110.

About Food ingredients Global – the trusted route to market since 1986 

Food ingredients was launched in Utrecht, The Netherlands, in 1986. Its portfolio of live events, publications, extensive data, digital solutions and high-level conferences, are now established throughout the world and provide regional and global platforms for all stakeholders, in the food ingredients industry. Over 500,000 people have attended our shows over the years with billions of Euros worth of business created, as a result. With over 25 years of excellence, our events, digital solutions and supporting products, deliver a proven route to market, with a truly global audience. For more information about the Food ingredients Portfolio please visit:

About the Organiser 

UBM Live connects people, and creates opportunities for companies across five continents to develop new business, meet customers, launch new products, promote their brands and expand their markets. Through premiere brands such as Fi, NuW, MDM, CPhI, IFSEC, TFMA, Cruise Shipping Miami, the Concrete Show and many others, UBM Live exhibitions, conferences, awards programs, publications, websites, training and certification programs are an integral part of the marketing plans of companies across more than 20 industry sectors. UBM Live is a division of United Business Media (LSE: UBM.L,, a leading global B2B media provider with 6,500 staff in 40 countries. Incorporated in 1918 as United Newspapers Limited, we live by the motto: “We explore, we exceed, you excel.”

For more information about UBM Live, please visit:    


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Did Sean McPherson and Chuck Terhark start Trivia Mafia with the high-minded ideal of building a community of people who enjoy useless info? Or perhaps they did it because, as Terhark says: “Part of me likes watching drunk people try to do math.”

The business has grown from a trivia night at Minneapolis’ 331 Club to 44 contests a month, covering almost every day of the year. It began when McPherson and Terhark, separately, had a similar idea in 2006.

“I had just moved to Northeast (Minneapolis) and noticed there wasn’t any bar trivia I could go to there, so I thought about doing it myself,” says Terhark, 34, who passed along the idea to 331 owner Jarret Oulman. “He mentioned he had just heard the same thing from someone else, and that turned out to be Sean.”

From that first night, Trivia Mafia, which organizes team trivia events at bars and for private events, has grown steadily. By the end of 2009, they were hosting more than 10 locations, a number that had more than doubled by the end of 2011 and has since doubled again.

The appeal, 331′s Oulman says, is not just that Trivia Mafia can bring patrons into bars and nightclubs on nights when they’re not typically busy. It’s that the Trivia Mafiosos are so good at tailoring what they do to the needs of the businesses that hire them.

“They’re really great for the 331 and (St. Paul’s) Amsterdam because we’re bars that have an entertainment focus, and they bring diverse and engaging entertainment,” Oulman says. “Entertaining trivia goes hand-in-hand with what we do, even moreso than I think it might at other bars that are food- or sports- or pizza-focused.”

Amsterdam and 331 fit into what McPherson, 33, describes as the ideal location for Trivia Mafia: Neither a formal place nor a dive, a venue that doesn’t take reservations but that does have a killer burger.

“A place with no dress code but a fancy beer list is the zone where we think, ‘Oh, I could see a softball team coming in here, but it could also be a beer stop, and that’s great for us,’ ” McPherson says. “The sweet spot is a place that cares about food, where some folks get a nice buzz on and where they’re probably college-educated or at least super-nerdy.”

Both men have other gigs — McPherson plays bass with Twin Cities musician Dessa and the band Heiruspecs and teaches at McNally Smith College of Music; Terhark plays with Como Avenue Jug band and co-founded the Zombie Pub Crawl. But the bulk of their incomes come from, “What was the original title of ‘Return of the Jedi?’ ” (It was “Revenge of the Jedi”).

The business has expanded to include a handful of additional hosts, several of whom contribute to the writing of questions. Once in a while, Terhark and McPherson dip into their hard drives to repurpose trivia, but, for the most part, each night of the week features a whole batch of fresh questions — about 300 a week — that cover a broad variety of interests.

Hints and tips are available at their website,, and McPherson says reading Huffington Post or Slate and listening to National Public Radio are a few good ways to make sure you’re getting the same sort of information the Mafia question writers use. Just be careful what you wish for, if what you wish for is sports and television questions.

“They’re areas where people have exhaustive knowledge, but they don’t think about how vast the topics are,” says McPherson. “If the sports questions turn out to be about 1980s NBA, they’ll be, ‘Oh, I wanted football.’ And TV stumps a lot of people because a lot of us don’t remember the character names or actors’ names as well as we think we do.”

Terhark adds that competitors usually can expect current events to figure into a Trivia Mafia night and he takes perverse pleasure in tossing in a random math question or two. Those questions usually go over big with a tiny group of competitors and not so big with everybody else.

“The best questions usually get teams arguing. That’s what I strive for,” says Terhark, who specializes more in the trivia end of things while McPherson focuses on the business end. ”You never want it to be so easy that it doesn’t at least create a little conversation, but you never want it to be so hard that everyone just throws their hands in the air.”

One thing they’ve discovered — in fact, it’s probably what puts the “trivial” in “trivia” — is that fun-but-useless facts have a short shelf life. McPherson jokes that he doesn’t want to imagine a world where mentioning ’80s band INXS doesn’t cause instant recognition, but he admits that many younger Trivia Mafia contestants have no idea what “What You Need,” one of the band’s biggest hits, is.

“We’re always looking for younger writers, for that reason,” McPherson says. “We did a thing for Cargill interns who were finishing their freshman year of college, so they were born in ’96, and I think ‘Seinfeld’ ended in ’98. Obviously, for a lot of their parents, ‘Seinfeld’ would be a thing but not for them. I was born in 1981, so shows that ended two years later are, like, ‘Mork and Mindy’ or ‘Dallas,’ shows I only know because I’m supposed to know about them but I couldn’t answer trivia questions about. For a whole group of our audience, ‘Seinfeld’ is getting to be like that.”

For Oulman, a sign that Trivia Mafia is working the way it should is if teams become regulars, returning week after week to compete, and if everybody — servers included — is engaged in what’s going on.

“Trivia shifts have been good ones for us,” Oulman says. “The people are really well-mannered and, to the best of my knowledge, they tip well. In fact, at 331, the bartender decided she would rather serve during that shift a month or so ago, and that’s unheard of. Usually, it’s harder work to be a server than a bartender because you have to walk more and do more stuff, but the hosts at 331 make it really great for the staff, too.”

Prizes are generally small items or bar tabs — mostly, McPherson says, in an effort to discourage cheating. Although he adds: “If you want to try to make a living by earning 20 gift cards a week and eating that food, then we’re your company.”

In addition to venturing outside the Twin Cities to Duluth and Milwaukee, Trivia Mafia has been expanding in customized trivia nights. They have done events for corporate clients such as General Mills and Cargill and special occasions such as weddings or class reunions — where, for instance, the class of 1977 can probably expect questions about Fleetwood Mac.

“Probably the weirdest one was a couple months ago, there was a ‘Walking Dead’ event at the Target Center, so we did all ‘Walking Dead’ trivia for a bunch of people who were dressed up as zombies,” Terhark says. “That was a fun little intersection of my two worlds.”

Trivia Mafia was not the first trivia company in town — McPherson cites John Cosgrove of Cosgrove Trivia as a pioneer, and companies such as Modern Antics, Sporticle and Geeks Who Drink do trivia, pun or spelling bee events at bars — but McPherson and Terhark see no reason why it can’t continue to bring them success.

“There is certainly still room to grow. We’ve only just started to look outside the Twin Cities,” says Terhark. “We want to keep the product strong and keep its local flavor, but it’s a scalable business model, for sure.”

It’s also somewhat cyclical, with a trivia valley in summer. Business starts to pick up for Trivia Mafia around this time of year, when bars are thinking of closing their patios and generating more indoor business, and the Trivia Mafiosos are ready to make them an offer they can’t refuse.

“What we’re looking at right now is how big the company can get and make us happy,” says McPherson, who is grateful that something they love has made it possible for both he and Terhark to make good livings as freelancers.

Which is to say, it has been a good way to prove that, in the right hands, there is nothing trivial about trivia.

Chris Hewitt can be reached at 651-228-5552. Follow him on

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Inmiddels een ware traditie, al 5 jaar lang: de restaurantweek Maastricht aan Tafel! En dat betekent smullen geblazen, want 2 weken lang serveren 20 Maastrichtse restaurants met diverse keukens weer een 3-gangen menu voor € 25,25 p.p. Maar dat is nog niet alles! Schuif voor de 5e keer bij een zevental typische Maastrichtse cafés ‘aan de bar’ en geniet met z’n tweetjes voor een totaalprijs van € 10,25 van een aperitief met lekkers.

Maastricht aan Tafel bestaat deze zomer 5 jaar! En het zusje Maastricht aan de Bar vindt voor de 5e keer plaats. Reden genoeg dus om te trakteren! Men kan dan ook kans maken op een van de vele smaakvolle prijzen via .

Daarom € 25,25!
Dat komt door de bijdrage van 25 eurocent aan het Maastrichtse goede doel Stichting Stille Armen Maastricht , die sinds 1932 al o.a. stille armen in de regio Maastricht fijne kerstdagen wil bezorgen door ondersteuning in materiële zin in de vorm van bijvoorbeeld een kerstpakket. 25 eurocent lijkt misschien weinig, maar ‘small change, big difference’ en bewustwording bij de consument zijn én blijven het motto van Maastricht aan Tafel. Aan het eind van elk jaar hoopt de organisatie hiermee een mooie bijdrage van ongeveer € 2.000,- aan de stichting te kunnen leveren.

Schuif aan Tafel bij: Au Coin des Bons Enfants, La Bohème, La Chine, Le Courage, Brasserie FLO, Harry’s, Eetcafé Il y a, KapulaGa, Stadscafé Lure, de Mangerie, wijnrestaurant mes amis, restaurant ‘O’, Pakhoes, Petit Bonheur, Rilette, Sofa Brasserie Bar- Restaurant, Vanille, Le Virage en Witloof.

Schuif aan de Bar bij: Basilica, Café Forum, Café Local, In den Ouden Vogelstruys, Grand Café Maastricht Soiron, Sjinkerij de Bóbbel en Winebar Rouge Blanc Kruisherenhotel.

De deelnemende restaurants en cafés zijn tevens te herkennen aan de Maastricht aan Tafel en Maastricht aan de Bar raamsticker. Reserveren is niet verplicht, maar wordt zeer aanbevolen.

Meer dan een restaurantweek
Maastricht zou Maastricht niet zijn als er tijdens de restaurantweek ook nog meer speciale smaakvolle activiteiten zouden plaatsvinden. Ontdek tijdens de Maastricht aan Tafel stadswandelingen (9 16 aug) de vele gastronomische geheimen die Maastricht te bieden heeft. Typische culinaire hoogstandjes worden zowel vanuit het heden als het verleden door de VVV gids op smaakvolle wijze toegelicht. Leer bij de Bisschopsmolen de fijne kneepje van het bakkersvak tijdens de workshops vlaaien bakken (1, 3, 8 15 aug.). Bij Thiessen Wijnkoopers kun je aan de hand van een sfeervolle rondleiding en proeverij in de wijnkelders (2, 3, 9, 10,16 17 aug) kennismaken met de beste wijnen van dit prachtige wijnhuis. Neem daarnaast een kijkje (za 2, 9, 16 aug) bij Bierbrouwerij de Keyzer, de in Nederland laatste nog compleet ingerichte ambachtelijke stadsbrouwerij, waarna je na afloop kan genieten van twee speciaalbieren.

  1. Vijf premières op Maastricht Toneelstad Festival
  2. Maastricht Antiquarian Book Print Fair tijdens TEFAF
  3. Maastricht Events Company lanceert spelprogramma “Flikken Maastricht”
  4. Bij Sofie aan Tafel gestart met 80 tafels
  5. Maastricht wint prijs ‘Viering 50 jaar Europa in gemeenten’

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A first edition sheet music for The Star Spangled Banner (Getty)

The flag featured 15 stars and 15 stripes (representing the 15 states then in
the Union), weighed 75lbs and measured 30ft x 42ft. To give you an idea of
how big that is, the stars-and-stripes window on the side of the modern
museum building alongside Mary’s house is precisely the same size. The irony
– one they delight in pointing out in the museum – is that the new “ensign”
was made from English wool bunting: “enemy fabric”!

Fort McHenry received its new flag on August 19 1813, and a little over one
year later British forces, having burnt and looted Washington DC, turned
their attention to the port city of Baltimore. “A nest of pirates,” they
called it, because privateers from Baltimore had been nobbling British
merchant ships along the Atlantic seaboard. And, when I visited, it seemed
the pirates had never gone away. Fell’s Point, the historic harbourside
quarter of cobbled streets and pleasantly grungy bars, was swarming with
revellers in tricorn hats, carrying cutlasses and wearing plastic parrots on
their shoulders. It turned out this was the weekend of the annual Privateer
Festival, an excuse (as if Fell’s Point ever needs one) for some serious
drinking and loud, live music. This honorary representative of Jack Tar felt
obliged to do his bit. So I had a couple of pints of Cutlass Amber Lager in
Kooper’s Tavern on Thames Street before turning in early for my date with
destiny at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine the
following morning.

There was no rest for the British on the night of September 13 1814. All
through the small hours Royal Navy ships rained down rockets and bombs on
the star-shaped Fort McHenry from their position on the Patapsco River. Also
out on the river that night was a Maryland lawyer, and amateur versifier,
called Francis Scott Key. He was observing the battle from the deck of a
“truce ship” – an unarmed, neutral vessel – and, as dawn broke, he watched
anxiously for signs of which side had prevailed.

The Baltimore harbour (Fotolia/AP)

The bombardment stopped about 6.30am and, at 9am – hardly “dawn’s early
light”, as the anthem has it – there was movement in the fort. Something new
was appearing, but what was it? The answer, my friend, was blowing in the
wind: “What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, /As it
fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?… ’Tis the star-spangled
banner! O long may it wave/ O’er the land of the free and the home of the

“There’s debate whether Francis Scott Key could actually see the flag,”
admitted Ranger Vaise, the “Chief of Interpretation” at Fort McHenry, as he
showed me around the simple barrack blocks and brick-and-earth
fortifications. But word soon got out that the British onslaught had been
unsuccessful, and what’s not in doubt is that Key started to write a
rousingly patriotic poem in honour of the defenders of Fort McHenry.

When he got back to Baltimore, Key found a publisher for the poem, then called
“Defence of Fort M’Henry” (the original manuscript can usually be seen at
the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore but will be on display at Fort
McHenry in September), and it was soon set to music and given the punchier
title we know today. The tune, incidentally, was that of a well-known
English drinking song. The Star-Spangled Banner was quickly adopted by the
US armed forces and in 1931 it became America’s official national anthem.
That large piece of finest English wool bunting, meanwhile, became America’s
most precious historical object and is now on permanent display at the
National Museum of American History (part of the Smithsonian Institution) in
Washington DC. “It’s really the words that make the flag the cultural icon
it is today – the almost religious veneration Americans feel,” said Ranger
Vaise. “It’s a comforting symbol – the guy who flies it over his used-car
lot is not going to rip you off!” And he looked up at the flagpole,

Francis Scott Key circa 1956 (Getty)

The Star Spangled Banner: in full

O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,

’Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,

A home and a country, should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash’d out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust,”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Francis Scott Key, 1814

For the latest on anniversary events and the Star-Spangled Spectacular
of Sept 6-16 visit

Baltimore essentials

When to go

Heat and humidity – and domestic tourism – peak in July and August. September
is pleasantly warm with cool nights.

Flying time and time difference

About 8hrs direct. GMT/DST -5hrs.

Getting there

Baltimore is just 40 miles from Washington DC and is well connected by both
road and rail to DC, New York and other east coast destinations. America As
You Like It (020 8742 8299;
offers four nights’ b??b at the Homewood Suites, Inner
Harbor, and return flight on BA from £855, sharing.

Getting around

The Charm City Circulator (
is a fleet of 30 free shuttle buses that run every 10-15 minutes on four
different routes – including the Banner Route from Inner Harbor to Fort

The Water Taxi service (9410 563 3900;
connects various points around Inner Harbor and the Patapsco River including
Fort McHenry: adult day pass $12 (£7), child pass $6 (£3.50).

Star-spangled sites

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House (410 837 1793;
is at 844 E Pratt Street near Inner Harbor. Open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm; $8 (£5)

Fort McHenry (Alamy/Getty Images)

Fort McHenry (410 962 4290;
is at 2400 E Fort Avenue. Open [from Sept 2] 9am-4.45pm daily; $7 (£4.50)

The Maryland Historical Society (410 685 3750;
is at 201 W Monument Street. Open Wed-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm; $9

The Reginald F Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History Culture
(443 263 1800;
at 830 E Pratt Street features an exhibition on the flag, For Whom It
Stands. Open Wed-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm; $8 (£5).

The American Visionary Art Museum (410 244 1900;
at 800 Key Highway in Federal Hill is celebrating the anniversary with an
outdoor exhibition. Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm; $15.95 (£9.50).

Also worth a visit

The BO Railroad Museum (410 752 2490;
is at 901 W Pratt Street. Open Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm; $16/£9.50
(2-12s $10/£6). The War Came by Train exhibit, marking the 150th anniversary
of the Civil War, runs until April 2015.

The Edgar Allan Poe House (,
where the writer lived in the mid-1830s, reopened this year at 203 N Amity
Street. Open weekends 11am-4pm; $5 (£3). He is buried nearby, in Westminster
Burying Ground, at the corner of Fayette and Greene streets.

Where to eat

Baltimore is famed for its seafood. Two good places are the upmarket Oceanaire
Seafood Room (443 872 0000;
at 801 Aliceanna Street, with great oysters from $3 (£2) and mains such as
tilefish with white crabmeat for $30-40 (£18-24); and the unpretentious John
Steven Tavern (410 327 5561; john at 1800 Thames Street
in Fell’s Point: crab cake starters $12.95 (£8), seared scallops $25.95

More information

Baltimore Visitor Centre at 401 Light Street on Inner Harbor has an exhibition
on Maryland in the War of 1812. Open 9am-6pm daily until the end of
September, then 10am-4pm until May. See also,

Read more

Star Spangled Banners to reunite
Grand Central centenary: 100 fascinating facts
New York’s Grand Central Terminal turns 100
Greyhound Bus centenary: 100 years of mythmaking

Virginia, USA: America’s English side
Long Island beach holidays: The Hamptons
USA: Fifty great American adventures

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The Rijksmuseum, located in the Museum Square in Amsterdam has become a popular attraction for art lovers. PHOTO SOURCE: CREATIVE COMMONS, WIKIPEDIA

Amsterdam is cleaning up its act, The Guardian reported in April last year. The city that was once defined by its tolerant vibe, notorious brothels and cannabis cafes was now striving for an image makeover. And one of the key components of this transformation was the renovation and reopening of its major museums, such as The Van Gogh Museum, the National Maritime Museum and the Rijksmuseum — the Dutch answer to the Louvre.

Rijksmuseum, built in 1800, first opened its collection to the public as the Nationale Kunstgallerij (National Art Gallery). In 1808, it was established as the Royal Museum by Louis Bonaparte, the king of the Netherlands at the time and Napoleon’s brother. In 1885, the Rijksmuseum moved to its existing building in the Museum Square, which was designed in the then fashionable Dutch neo-Renaissance style by Dutch architect, Petrus JH Cuypers. After 10 long years of renovation, the Rijksmuseum once again opened its doors to visitors on April 13, 2013, and received a record number of 2.2 million visitors that year making it the most visited museum in the Netherlands. And it continues to be a popular destination for art aficionados ever since.

The exceptionally realistic dollhouse of Petronella Oortman, who was married to the Amsterdam merchant Johannes Brandt. PHOTO SOURCE: CREATIVE COMMONS, WIKIPEDIA

Portrait of leading Florentine architect di Cosimo and his musician father, Francesco Giamberti da Sangallo. PHOTO SOURCE: CREATIVE COMMONS, WIKIPEDIA

From its impressive façade to the surrounding natural beauty, the museum immediately sets the right aesthetic tone for its visitors. The spacious lobby and reception area provides informative guidebooks for both adults and children that highlight key collections and famous artworks. Covering the entire expanse of this exhibition, however, is a Herculean task due to its massive scale and capacious collection spanning artwork from 1100 AD to 2000 AD. From Vermeer to Van Gogh and Rembrandt to Mondrian, along with an exceptional collection of Dutch antiques, a vast collection of prints, drawings and classic photography, the museum has everything an art connoisseur could ask for.

I started with The Renaissance section which has delightful, brightly rendered paintings from the life of Christ (many of them, triptychs), ornaments, tapestries, sculptures and weapons on display. There is also an exceptional diptych showing leading Florentine architect di Cosimo and his musician father, the earliest portraits to characterise sitters by their profession. While the subjects are the focal point, as in most other paintings of this era, a sense of depth has been created with a well-rendered sky and cottages in the background. Nearby, an illuminated book of genealogy, dating back to 1590, features portraits from 800 years and 26 generations of the Count of Culemborg’s ancestry. Chalices dating back to 1100 AD in gilded silver, which were an emblem of beauty and wealth, are also on display. A yellow paper with the words, ‘Only idiots like pretty sweet things’, is posted near one of the pieces as part of the museum’s ‘Art is Therapy’ movement that questions the role of art. Similar thought-provoking signs are posted throughout the museum.

In the section with pieces from 1800s onwards, one can see works by masters, such as Van Gogh and Daubigny. Here, religious imagery gives way to a study of landscapes and portraits of ordinary people. Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait as a fashionable Parisian, though rather small, is also on display. The paintings in this section have a sense of calm as compared to the melodrama of the medieval paintings, which is reflected in the colours as well.

Nearby, a room based on Historicism from the mid-19th century accurately depicts historical events in Baroque, Rococo, Classicism and Gothic styles. Many paintings depict court art, a style devised by Napoleon and followed by other European courts. Huge beautifully rendered paintings including the museum’s largest painting, The Battle of Waterloo (1826), portraying the Duke of Wellington and soldiers in a larger-than-life battle scene are also on display. Other paintings depict battles at sea, as well as impressive stone sculptures of renowned personalities.

Going a century back in time (1600-1700), you will find mansions recreated in painstaking detail as large wooden dollhouses. Little figurines in period costumes can be seen cooking, sitting or resting, amid heavily embroidered tapestries and wallpapers and minute art pieces that adorn the walls. Across the halls, bright glass paintings of historical figures, such as Plato, adorn the windows and the painted walls carry their own narratives.

Even though the Rijksmuseum is replete with elaborate and impressive paintings, Rembrandt’s Night Watch (1642), identifiable immediately due to its popularity, holds its ground. The group portrait of the Amsterdam militiamen is renowned for its gigantic size (11.91 ft × 14.34 ft), the effective use of light and shadow (chiaroscuro), and the observation of motion in what would have traditionally been a static military portrait. The painting was completed at the peak of the Dutch Golden Age and shows the men moving out, led by Captain Frans Banning (dressed in black, with a red sash) and his lieutenant, Willem van Ruytenburch (dressed in yellow, with a white sash). Its composition not only allows ample eye movement but also captures emotions effectively.

Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait as a fashionable Parisian. PHOTO SOURCE: CREATIVE COMMONS, WIKIPEDIA

Rembrandt’s NightWatch, his largest and most famous canvas shows one of several halls of Amsterdam’s civic guard, the city’s militia and police. Rembrandt was the first to paint figures in a group portrait actually doing something. PHOTO SOURCE: CREATIVE COMMONS, WIKIPEDIA

After viewing such a thorough expanse of art, the third floor, with work from the 1900s to 2000s is a welcome change. The technological advancements of the time are reflected in the minimalist, innovative pieces, with an abstract, colourful drive for modernism. Apart from a rather small aircraft from the early 1900s, this section features modernist painter Karel Appel’s works as well as a piece from Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 collection, inspired by Dutch minimalist Piet Mondrian.

The museum is highly recommended if you want to see the works of artistic giants and observe how art practices evolved visually over the last millennium. The shift in art’s purpose over the years, and the need to constantly question and revise its aim is also clearly evident. As you exit, an ‘Art is Therapy’ paper on the wall mentions that many pieces on display were ‘pieces of propaganda’ of their times hailing it as a positive thing. It suggests that the current ‘art for art’s sake’ attitude should be replaced by ‘making suggestions on how to become a better person through the help of art’ — a worthwhile thought to leave the building with.

Shanzay Subzwari is a fine arts student at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture.

She tweets @ShanzaySubzwari

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 24th,  2014.

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First-time novelist Jessie BurtonWolf Marloh First-time novelist Jessie Burton

When Nella Oortman, an 18-year-old virgin bride, knocks on the door of her husband’s Amsterdam home in 1686, it opens into one of the buzziest novels of the year.

In “The Miniaturist,” Jessie Burton nimbly transports contemporary social issues to the 17th century where a costume drama rich in historical detail is embellished with supernatural intrigue. What’s not to like?

Nella, the daughter of an impoverished country woman, was married in a bare-bones ceremony to a man she had never met before. Fortunately, Johannes Brandt is handsome and a wealthy merchant. Unfortunately, he is not home to meet her when she first crosses his threshold a month after the wedding.

Instead, his sister Marin, stern and forbidding, directs her to her room and even denies Nella’s request for a marzipan treat. Even mild indulgences aren’t permitted in this household, sumptuous as it is. Nella is at a loss.

Johannes, in fact, remains hidden to her. When at home, he closets himself in his office. Only two gestures speak to the possibility that he has a kindly nature. One is his brown-skinned servant, Otto, who he rescued from a Portuguese slaver.

The other is an enormous cabinet he gives to Nella, which opens to reveal marvelously detailed replicas of each room of their mansion. In her empty hours, Nella reaches out by mail to a skilled miniaturist to furnish it.

“The Miniaturist” is a domestic drama with a touch of the supernatural, set in 1600s Holland.

“The Miniaturist” is a domestic drama with a touch of the supernatural, set in 1600s Holland.


If you liked Mystic River, try Dennis Lehane's latest novel.

If you liked “Mystic River,” try Dennis Lehane’s latest novel.


The packages start arriving, containing exquisitely rendered copies of pieces already in the house and then, unsolicited, dolls that uncannily resemble its inhabitants. There are little oddities, too, such as a cradle. Nella, who has yet to share her husband’s bed, wonders if this is a prediction.

Sadly, no. Though many of the miniaturist’s pieces in fact foretell events, the day Nell discovers Johannes bedding a young man at his warehouse, the door closes on her childbearing future.

Otto is a social liability in rabidly homogenous Amsterdam, but Johannes’ sexual proclivities put the family at a huge risk of criminal prosecution. The city is in the throes of Calvinist reform, its burgomasters salivating at the prospect of sinners to weigh down with rocks and toss into the sea.

Burton’s first novel is so etched in historical detail it’s like stepping into an Old Master, traveling through to the other rooms and out onto the streets and waterways as an intriguing drama plays out before our eyes. “The Miniaturist” is a late-harvest summer delight.

“The Drop” by Dennis Lehane

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar offers a less-than-flattering look at the state of American medicine.

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar offers a less-than-flattering look at the state of American medicine.


An account based on Victor Maymudes' memories of his years as an associate of Dylan

An account based on Victor Maymudes’ memories of his years as an associate of Dylan


A stark, small novel drawn from a short story, “Animal Rescue,” that is the basis for the upcoming movie starring Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini (his last film appearance). A Boston bartender searching for a taste of humanity rescues a puppy. A woman, sad and damaged, comes into his life. A crazed man claims the dog is his. Meanwhile, the Chechen underworld is using the bar as a money drop. It’s the cruel world Lehane first introduced in “Mystic River.”

“Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician” by Sandeep Jauhar

The director of the Heart Failure Program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and author of “Intern: A Doctor’s Initiation” delivers a frightening portrait of medical reality today. It’s his own story, as he observes patients routinely subjected to lucrative but unnecessary tests, sound medicine sacrificed to cronyism among physicians and the shady workings of big pharma. A compelling call for reform from a doctor who confesses to his own complicit relationship with bad medicine.

“Another Side of Bob Dylan” by Victor Maymudes and Jacob Maymudes

A posthumous memoir drawn from tapes of one-time Dylan insider Victor Maymudes and written by his son. Intermittently, Maymudes played many roles — bodyguard, chauffeur, tour manager — in Dylan’s circle from the early 1960s to the mid-’90s. The most interesting recollections are from early times, as Dylan emerged from folk hero to international star. Even with such intimate exposure, Dylan remains unknowable but interesting.

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From 2000 to 2005, I was asked to teach an annual module in environmental conflict resolution at a program for mid-career professionals from developing countries held at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (funded by the Henry R. Luce Foundation). In one of the earlier cohorts of this program, we invited Dr. Dieudonne Musibono (Ph.D. in ecotoxicology from University of Cape Town), a professor of environmental science from the University of Kinshasa  to participate and subsequently he also invited me to Kinshasa to give a presentation to his students in 2002. After more than a decade Dr. Musibono and I have met again this month as he is a visiting distinguished professor at our centre in Australia, thanks to the International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC) and here I reminisce on my experiences in Kinshasa and also invite Dr. Musibono to share some of his  images of field work and thoughts on why things have not changed much in the DRC since my visit there 12 years ago.

This article was co-authored with Dr. Dieudonne Musibono with research support from Fitsum Weldegiorgis

Traveling around the DRC, one finds reminders of the country’s latent wealth in strange ways. Kinshasa has its share of tall buildings, most of which are now abandoned or in varying stages of disrepair. The city’s Stade des Martyers stadium, which hosted the famed “rumble in the jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974, boasts a capacity of a 100,000, but rarely sees many crowds these days for international events. The University of Kinshasa, supported during the Cold War with American financial assistance as the largest center of higher learning in Africa was looted of most of its library books. The university still has over 26,000 students, but meager resources to support young Congolese who aspire for the same hopes and dreams as us all. Amazingly enough, the university  has a small experimental nuclear reactor that was built during the cold war as a compensatory gesture from the United States for Congo’s supply of uranium for U.S. weapons. This is supposed to be the most secure site in country but during my visit there in 2002, it seemed deserted of much security, and the thought of enriched uranium in this troubled land eerily reminded me of Joseph Conrad’s portrayal of the Congo in Heart of Darkness.

Child Miners in DRC (Photo by Dieudonne Musibono)
Child Miners in DRC (Photo by Dieudonne Musibono)

In the northern jungles of Congo bordering the Central African Republic are the ruins of a city called Gbadolite, which are another sinister reminder of how the country’s wealth was wasted within generational memory. While much of the country languished in abject poverty, President Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled the country for almost four decades (1961- 1997), focused on developing this remote corner of the country from where he originally came to power. An airport was built with a runway to accommodate a Concorde and a terminal building embellished with choicest European frescoes. The town had clean water and reliable electricity during its heyday in the nineteen seventies. One of the finest high schools in Africa was built to educate the population of the Equateur province that had supported the regime. The hospital facilities and roads were comparable to those in a developed country. Grand palaces were built to accommodate the ruling elite, and the city is still remembered by many who saw its glory days as “Versailles of the Jungle.” Yet the prominence of Gbadolite was short-lived as such asymmetries of wealth were clearly unsustainable. The Mobutu regime finally fell to rebels in 1997, and the despot who had looted over $5 billion in wealth from his land was forced into exile to Morocco. More than a decade later, peace has still not returned to Congo, and country remains trapped in one of the most excruciating civil wars in history that has taken more than 3.9 million lives since Mobutu’s exile.[ii]

What went wrong with the erstwhile Zaire and subsequently the DRC’s development trajectory?  Was Mobutu to blame for all of the DRC’s woes? Even if he was the proximate cause, we are still confronted with the question of how he was able to assume power and retain it for 37 years. How did a country with so much potential languish and atrophy into what  Paul Collier has called “the bottom billion.” Economists, political scientists and sociologists have all puzzled over this phenomenon of how a country that is rich in resources can be so abysmally underdeveloped and stricken by conflict? Some have termed this observation a “resource curse,” which should make mineral extraction for new states taboo.  Is a scramble for resources to blame for conflict, or are incipient inequalities and economic injustice the primary cause; or perhaps the two are related in some way? Poetic alliterations such as “greed versus grievance” or “the paradox of plenty” have animated the literature and caught the public’s imagination.

Michela Wrong describes the situation aptly  In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo (Harper Perennial, 2002, p.215) as follows:

“Deprived of the chance to learn the lessons of its own history, Zaire’s population was kept in a state of infantilism by a more insidious form of colonialism. Instead of the roller-coaster of war, destruction and eventual rebirth, the intervention of the U.S., France and Belgium, of the World Bank and the IMF, locked the society into one slow motion economic collapse. Balked of expression, unable to advance, mindsets froze over somewhere in the 1960s, leaving the country’s leadership at the turn of the century stuck in an ideological time warp.”

Major multinationals in the country such as Banro, MMG, TFM, have invested millions of USD in these interventions without visible life improvement within beneficiaries.  The main reason for the lack of impact is because all of these interventions are largely under a “humanitarian” rather than a lasting development framework. They usually end when the investor leaves. Staff committed to these activities are not able, most of time, to distinguish development and humanitarian interventions. But also, the weakness of the Government without the national development plan to be implemented countrywide. They are asking beneficiary communities to propose the areas of interventions. Of course, they will talk about their daily needs because they do not know development issues.

In 2007, working for Banro at Namoya ( Maniema, DRC), as an environmental Consultant (CEMIC/Banro), I was surprised to hear that when Banro Foundation released money for local development projects, communities selected the rehabilitation of the school principal office roof that was damaged after a tornado, the purchase of 43 beds for the hospital and the building and protection of a spring  5 km away from the town of 15,000 inhabitants. I asked the manager of the Foundation who was proud to tell me how they have invested in local development projects as stated above. I told him that they were promoting paternalism and humanitarian. Because there was no development project amongst the three projects they have selected. He asked me an example of development project and said to him: You are producing rice and you do not have access to sustainable market. Why can’t you create a cooperative of rice producers; ask Banro Foundation to buy 2 or 3 trucks that will allow you to reach the market places either in Bukavu or in Kindu. Then you will be autonomous  and  keep 15% from each product sold and locate this money into a bank account. This local ‘sovereign wealth fund’ will empower you and sustain your profession. You will therefore move toward community development.”

 Some references and further reading

  1. Afrique Espoir, 2014. Le Monde dans ma poche. Ed. Afrique Espoir, Kinshasa, 126pp.
  2. ASADHO, 2006. L’État contre le peuple : La gouvernance, l’exploitation minière et le régime transitoire en République Démocratique du Congo. Ed ; NIZA, Amsterdam.
  3. Bakandeja et  Commission parlementaire, 2006. Sortir du piège du conflit: promouvoir la bonne gouvernance au Congo, Rapport Afrique 114- Juillet 2006. Kinshasa
  4. Banque Mondiale, 2008. République Démocratique du CongovLa bonne gouvernance dans le secteur minier comme facteur de croissance Washington, DC.
  5. Berwouts K., 2010. Un semblant d’Etat en état de ruine- Rapport de mission EurAc
  6.  Bread for all, 2012. Glencore in the D R Congo : Profit before human rights and the Environment. Ed. Bread for all- Catholic Lenten Fund. Lausane.
  7. Brown T.J., N.E. Idoine, E. R. Raycraft, R.A. Shaw, E.A. Deady, J. Reppingale, T. Bide, C.E. Wrighton, J. Rodley, 2013. World Mineral production 2008-2012. Ed. British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham, p.100
  8. Centre Carter, 2012. Les investissements miniers en R D Congo : Développement ou appauvrissement des communautés locales ? Ed. The Carter Center., Kinshasa.
  9. Dietrich P., 2002. Une économie du sang en R D Congo. Ed. Partenariat Afrique-Canada. Ottawa.
  10. Global Witness, 2012.Le secret qui entoure les transactions de Glencore en RD Congo risque d’exposer les actionnaires à des pratiques de corruption. Ed. Global Witness, Kinshasa.
  11. International Crisis Group, 2006. Sortir du piège du Conflit : Promouvoir la bonne gouvernance au Congo. International Crisis Group, Rapport Afrique N°114 (20 Juillet 2006).
  12. Lutundula et Commission parlementaire, 2006. Examen de la validité des conventions à caractère économique et financier conclues pendant les guerres de 1996-1997 et de 1998. ASSEMBLEE NATIONALE COMMISSION SPECIALE. Kinshasa.
  13. Mayobo, G. 2008. Les prédateurs des finances de la République. In La Prospérité 6/8/2008. Kinshasa.
  14. Musibono, 2013. Savoir et savoir-faire traditionnels mbun dans la conservation durable des écosystèmes au Congo-Kinshasa. Ed. ERGS-Kinshasa, 165pp.
  15. Musibono, 2006. Du marasme d’un Etat squelette aux défis du développement durable- Gestion de l’environnement au Congo-Kinshasa : Cueillette chronique et pauvreté durable. Ed. Chaire UNESCO- SADC-UNIKIN, Kinshasa, 265pp.
  16. SARW, NDS, CERN/CENCO, ACIDH, ECC, CDF, RRN-RDC, RJRN, LICOCO, RELCOF, OSI, 2009. Rapport du plaidoyer des Organisations de la Société Civile Congolaise oeuvrant dans le secteur des ressources naturelles pour la finalisation de la rénégociation des Contrats Miniers en RDC « Cas Freeport|Tenke Fungurume et First Quantum|KMT ». Kinshasa
  17. UN., 2001. Rapport final du Groupe d’Experts sur l’exploitation illégale des ressources naturelles et autres formes de richesse de la R D Congo. S/2002/1146
  18. Un, 2007. Mining Industry in the D R of the Congo. In UN Security Council S/2007/68- Report of the Secretary-General.
  19. UN., 2010. Rapport du Projet Mapping concernant  les violations les plus graves des droits de l’homme et du droit international humanitaire commises entre mars 1993 et juin 2003 sur le Territoire de la R D Congo. New York.
  20. UNDP, 2011. Rapport  mondial sur le développement humain, New York, Programme des Nations Unies pour le Développement.


[i] For a riveting and nuanced account of bad leadership during the Mobutu era and the impact of the Cold War on Congo, see Michela Wrong, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu’s Congo (Harper Perennial, 2002). Mobutu died in exile in 1998 in Morocco but astonishingly, his flagrant  kleptocracy is still remembered by some in Congo as a time of stability. His son, Nzanga Mobutu was elected to parliament in 2007 and made the minister of agriculture .

[ii] Estimates from the International Committee of the Red Cross quoted in Simon Robinson and Vivienne Walt, “The Deadliest War in the World.” Time, May 28, 2008.

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Kurt Warner’s unlikely path to the NFL will continue to be told to generations of football fans in St. Louis for years to come. This year marks the 15 year anniversary of when the Rams brought the Lombardi trophy to St. Louis for the first time. As time passes, players, coaches and fans alike can reflect more clearly on how special that time was for the team and the city.

“What happens in football and in life is often times you get pulled apart and you go to different arenas and different places but the one connection you always have is that time you spent together,” said Warner. “It’s great to, really, have excuses to comeback together and relive those moments, to renew those friendships and so I’m very much looking forward to the celebrations that are going to happen this year and the different opportunities we’ll have to catch up because of that season and because of this anniversary.”

The Rams will be hosting a Super Bowl XXXIV anniversary celebration at the Monday night game against the San Francisco 49ers on October 13, at the Edward Jones Dome. In addition, Warner’s First Things First Foundation will be hosting ‘A Night with Champions’ on Friday, December 12, at the Pageant. This event will bring back a number of players and coaches from the 1999 team to chronicle that season.

“(Guests will) be able to get into the minds of some of the players and the coaches and some intimate stories and things that happened that year, so it’s really going to be a special event and all of it is to benefit our foundation,” said Warner.

The First Things First Foundation is dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, sharing experiences and providing opportunities to encourage everyone that all things are possible when people seek to put ‘first things first.’ Through this foundation, the Warners continue to support the Homes for the Holidays program as well as Warners’ Warm-up in St. Louis.

“I think there’s such a great connection between me and my family and the community here,” said Warner. “We love coming back, we love doing things in the community here and I can’t say enough about the people here and about how special their place is in our hearts and to our family.”

Warner’s philanthropic efforts were vibrant throughout his 12-year playing career and his charitable emphasis has continued, if not amplified post career. Kurt and his wife Brenda are starting a second foundation called Treasure House, which is a supportive living community for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The first location will open in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2016, and will feature programming that supports social interaction, well-being, health care, life skills and spiritual life.

Not surprisingly, Warner confirmed that the Super Bowl XXXIV win is his greatest memory as a Ram because it meant so much to him given his journey. But it was the smaller victories along the way that made that particular moment so fulfilling.

For reminiscing purposes and to fully appreciate Warner’s unprecedented trail from stocking grocery shelves to Super Bowl MVP, you have to start in college. Warner graduated from Northern Iowa in 1994 after earning the starting quarterback position for that lone season. After going undrafted, he spent training camp with the Green Bay Packers and was released before the season. Warner returned to his home state to play for the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League from 1995-97, until he was signed by the Rams in December of ‘97 to play in NFL Europe with the Amsterdam Admirals in ‘98.

Warner’s success with the Admirals, earned him the third quarterback position for the Rams behind Tony Banks and Steve Bono during the 1998 NFL season. That season he was inactive for 14 games, and saw his first NFL action in the fourth quarter of the Rams’ final game against the San Francisco 49ers.
For the start of the 1999 preseason, Warner moved up to second on the team’s unofficial depth chart behind free agent pick up Trent Green and in front of rookies Joe Germaine and Gus Ornstein. In the third preseason match-up against the San Diego Chargers in the then Trans World Dome, Green suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second quarter and Warner was the next man up.

During Head Coach Dick Vermeil’s post-game press conference, he asserted his allegiance to the back-up quarterback. “Kurt Warner has a lot of attributes and has paid his dues,” said Vermeil. “He has never been given a good enough opportunity…We will rally around Kurt Warner.” The next week, the team traveled to Detroit for their final preseason game, and Warner directed three scoring drives in the first half, solidifying his role as the starter for the regular season opener, which became his first NFL start. 

“To get my first start after all the years to get here and that opportunity, and to get on the field for the first time,” said Warner. “The battles, the friendships – there’s so many, I could go on and on about stories, but I think that has to be the culmination of so much because it meant so much to me personally but then it also coincided with this community coming together, a team coming together and so many guys that never thought that would happen, being able to share that moment.”

Warner’s stat line during that Championship season included completing 402-of-620 passes for 5,416 yards, 49 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 107.4. He compiled 10 games with at least 300 yards passing, plus one 400-plus yard game (414 yards in Super Bowl XXXIV), which earned him the NFL’s Most Valuable Player honor and his first Pro Bowl berth.

Warner’s career with the Rams lasted four more years and garnered two additional Pro Bowl berths in 2001 and 2002, highlighted by a second Super Bowl appearance against the Patriots in 2001.

After St. Louis, Warner spent one year with the New York Giants before signing with the Arizona Cardinals in 2005. He led the Cardinals to their first ever Super Bowl berth in 2008, setting new franchise records for the club and earning another Pro Bowl honor, before retiring in January 2010.

Warner and Brenda continue to live in Arizona with their children Zachary, Jesse Jo, Kade, Jada Jo, Elijah, and twins Sienna and Sierra. Warner has worked as an analyst on NFL Network since 2010, and can be found on NFL GameDay Morning, and as a regular contributor on NFL Total Access.

In 2015, Warner will be eligible for the first time to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, alongside former Greatest Show on Turf teammates tackle Orlando Pace and wide receiver Isaac Bruce.

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