Jon Hammond – Olympian and West Virginia University Rifle Coach (Part 2 of 3)

By Admin | May 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm

In the specialty of rifle shooting there are different categories. Which type of rifle did you shoot in the Olympics?

I actually did all three of the rifle events.

Which are what?

The air rifle match and then there are two matches in small bore. One is the prone match and then the other is the three position match.

Is it typical for competitors to shoot in all three?

Somewhat. Some of the very top hands specialize in either just air rifle or just small bore and then there are some that only shoot the prone events. But there were quite a few there that shot all three.

Which is your best?

The prone match is probably my best one and it’s actually the one I qualified in to get to get to the Olympics. I qualified in prone but because I was there I was able to shoot the other two matches as well.

Do you actually shoot bullets?

Yeah, it is a 22 caliber small bore rifle and it is a 60 shot match at 50 meters. International matchs are all at 50 meters. Add up the scores and that’s it.

How big is the bull’s eye you are shooting at?

At 50 meters, the bull’s eye, the “10” ring, is probably about the size of a dime.

How many times do you hit that out of 60 shots?

You are looking at least 55 or 56 times to make the finals. There is always someone who hits it 60 out of 60. Using open sights, no telescopic sights.

When you shoot in the Olympics do you take your own rifle or do they issue equipment?

No, no, you have all your own equipment.

How do they know you are not going to gin up your rifle some way to game the competition?

They check it. We go through a fairly strict equipment control at every competition, so we’ll have our jacket checked, our pants, our boots, our rifles and everything is checked and there are obviously specifications.

Do you have to break in a rifle like you have to break in a baseball mitt?

If you get a new a new barrel, you may have to break it in. It may take three or four thousand rounds until it is really getting some accuracy. It terms of the actual stock, that is something you can use straight away.

So, when you were getting ready to try for the Olympics, how did you practice?

You practice, you just shoot. Same as something like golf. Golfers just hit the driving range and hit ball after ball after ball all day long. It is similar for us. We come into the range and just shoot. Obviously there are a lot of different drills you can do.

Like what?

I may be shooting but working on different exercises. I may do dry firing where I am pulling the trigger but the rifle doesn’t have any bullets in it. I may be doing some stuff with my eyes closed. I may be working on balance.

An former athlete of yours has told me that you do aerobic activity so that you slow your heart rate down.

It’s not so much… yes it is to slow the heart rate down but it’s just for your stamina and health. We do cardio just to be in shape. The best way to describe it is we aren’t weighlifters or football players but if we are going to an international competition and I have been to plenty where it is 80 or 90 degrees and you are shooting a three position match, a three position match will last three, three and a half hours. Prone, standing, and kneeling. In the standing position our rifles weigh up to fourteen, fifteen pounds. In the standing position you are in the free standing position. A normal person will pick up one of our rifles and be pretty tired in five or ten minutes. We are not just only standing there with the rifle. We are standing there trying to hold it exactly still. And then we are doing that for maybe an hour. And you are not only doing that but your brain is working on overtime. Your focus and concentration has to be tops.

Do you run, do you lift weights, do you do yoga?

Pretty much everything. General cardio, you can do anything. There is nothing you have to do. For me personally, I probably do more running than anything

How far would you run in a day?

At the moment, I try to do three days a week, I try to do anywhere from three to five miles. I probably need to start doing longer runs and be running for an hour at a time to build my stamina.

Do you do stretching like yoga?

I actually have never tried yoga but flexibility and balance and core strength is very important. So, I think something like yoga would be an incredibly good thing to do. I have never gotten into it and tried it. We do a lot of core stuff.

Core like sit-ups and squat thrusts?

All the exercises we do combines flexibility and balance, so all your squats. A lot of the exercises we use the balance ball for. Instead of bench press you would do dumbbell press on the balance ball. The team works with the strength and conditioning coaches.

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Joey Green – Author and Comedian

By Admin | February 14, 2009 at 4:28 am

Joey Green is a comedian and funnyman who has published more than 40 books, including a history of the slinky. He is best known for his iconic guides to using common household products in odd and interesting ways. His next book is Joey Green’s Cleaning Magic and is due out later this year. He gives us his thoughts.


Where are you from?

My parents say I’m from another planet. But my birth certificate says I’m from Miami, Florida. So I’ve been basically living in a state of confusion.

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

I’m a graduate of Cornell University, and according to my father, I majored in “Time and Space.”

I was the political cartoonist for the Cornell Daily Sun and the founding editor of the Cornell Lunatic (the campus humor magazine), and according to the Cornell Alumni Magazine, I was “the university’s most persistent prankster.”

What has been your career path from college to the present?

My career path? I followed the Yellow Brick Road, of course. After college, I wrote for the National Lampoon, got kicked off for writing an article in Rolling Stone on why the National Lampoon wasn’t funny anymore, and continued writing for the Lampoon without their knowledge under the pseudonym of a woman.

I had my first book published at age 24, worked at J. Walter Thompson writing TV commercials for Burger King, backpacked around the world on my honeymoon for two years, and wrote TV commercials for Walt Disney World in Florida.

In 1994, after a few more lousy jobs in advertising, I decided to write books full-time.

How did you get into the business of writing books about off-beat uses of brand-name products? Is the Nestea Ice tea story really true?

Yep, the Nestea story is true. While working at J. Walter Thompson in New York, I was asked into a conference room for a meeting on Nestea and told to generate alternative uses for the ice tea mix. One of the account people in the meeting told us that he was an avid sailor, and that one weekend while on his sailboat, he got badly sunburned.

So he went home, poured an entire jar of Nestea powdered mix into his bathtub, filled the bath with water, and soaked in it. I told him, “That’s not what they meant by ‘Take the Nestea Plunge.'” He said, “No, really, it’s the tannic acid in the tea that relieves sunburn pain. If you’re ever badly sunburned, think of me and do it. You’ll thank me.”

I thought to myself, “This belongs in a book.” So many years later, I went to the grocery store and bought thirty to forty products that we all know and love, contacted the companies, and asked for their secret files. People write in to the companies all the time with their alternative uses for the products, and the companies never publish that information.

I also sequestered myself in the public library and did a lot of research.

What is your favorite book that you have written?

That would be a four-way tie between Selling Out: If Famous Authors Wrote Advertising, The Zen of Oz: Ten Spiritual Lessons from Over the Rainbow, The Jolly President: Letters George W. Bush Never Read, and Marx & Lennon: The Parallel Sayings.

Which book has been your most successful commercially?

Joey Green’s Magic Brands.

What one non-fiction book written by somebody else do you wish you had written?

The Bible. It’s sold more copies than any other book in history. The author must be very rich.

How many of the thousands of suggestions in your books have you actually tried?


Why did you decide to start the Cornell Lunatic? Is it still being published?

To make the students, faculty, and employees of Cornell University laugh and stop taking themselves so seriously. The Cornell Lunatic publishes to this very day. It’s now more than 30 years old.

Why did you write the slinky book? Where did the idea come from?

I thought it would be fun. Everyone loves a Slinky. I had come up with a few alternative uses for the Slinky while writing books on offbeat uses for brand-name products, and I thought an entire book focusing on real and ridiculous uses for the Slinky might be fun.

Did you have a slinky when you were growing up?

Yes. As one of four children, we had several. Somehow they all ended up as a big tangled knot of steel coil.

Why does Heinz Apple Cidar Vinegar work to attract and kill bugs?

I’m not a chemist, but my guess is that the sweetness of the apple cider attracts the insects, and then the acetic acid in the vinegar kills them.

Why do you think so many manufacturers are resistant to having their products in your books?

The lawyers in the legal departments of the companies get scared that they’ll be sued and lose their jobs. For instance, Kraft advertises Jell-O gelatin as a dessert, not a hair mousse product. The lawyers are afraid that if someone uses Jell-O as mousse and doesn’t like the result, they’ll sue Kraft.

Ever since that lady spilled McDonald’s coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s, many corporate lawyers are easily freaked out. So now there’s a warning on every cup of McDonald’s coffee that says “Warning: Hot.” It should really say: “Please allow this coffee to cool down before pouring it on your crotch.”

Are you legally required to get manufacturer’s permission before you name alternate uses for their products?



Which manufacturer has been most open/friendly/helpful in having their products in your books?

The people who make Kleenex Tissues. They were originally invented solely to remove makeup from the faces of Hollywood stars. But people started writing into the company, raving that the tissues were great as a substitute for a handkerchief.

At first, Kleenex didn’t want people blowing their noses in their product, but then they realizes that there are more people who blow their noses than there are Hollywood stars who need to remove makeup.

So, the company is indebted to the American public for coming up with this alternative use for the tissue. And they gave me a list of alternatives uses for Kleenex Tissues that they had been compiling since 1922.

What advice would you give to someone starting out writing non-fiction?

Use spell-check.

What has been your biggest career mistake?

This interview.

What has been your biggest product alternate use catastrophe?

Surprisingly, I haven’t had one.

What is your best memory working for National Lampoon?

I was there for the premiere of Animal House in the summer of 1978, followed by a party at the Village Gate. The entire cast of the movie was there. It was a blast.

What are your three all-time best/favorite alternate product uses?

My favorites are polishing furniture with Spam, deodorizing smelly feet with Jell-O, and shaving with Jif Peanut Butter.

How do you deal with people who complain that your uses don’t really work and Spam ruined the dining room table?

I ask if they followed the directions properly.

Have you really used M and M’s for fishing bait?

No, I don’t fish. But if I did fish, I would definitely use M&M’s as bait. You can snack on the bait while you’re fishing. That’s not something you can do with worms. Well, you can, but I don’t recommend it.

Copyright 2009

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Jon Hammond – Olympian and West Virginia University Rifle Coach (Part 1 of 3)

By Admin | January 1, 2009 at 2:52 am

Jon Hammond competed in the 2008 Bejing Summer Olympics as a member of the British Olympic team. He is also in his third year of coaching the West Virginia University Mountaineer Rifle team. We recently met with him to discuss his experiences.

Where are you from?

Aberdeen, Scotland.

Where did you go to college and what was your academic major?

I went to University of Leeds in England and I did a bachelors in earth sciences and geography and then I came over here and did a master’s at WVU in sports management.

How long did it take you to do that?

Essentially I was in school here for two years, but it is a one or two year program. Actually the very first year I was here competing on the rifle team I did athletic coaching and then it was the second year that I moved onto sport management. Some of the classes I did the first year transferred to the second year. So, basically two years.

Were you recruited to come shoot at WVU?

Pretty much. I started the process back home. I started sending emails to different coaches and started the recruiting process. Essentially I came here for the rifle team., but obviously I didn’t want to waste two years and not come away with something.

I found the Sport management program and it was something that interested me as well. So it was nice to get that out of it as well.

Tell me how you got started in rifle in Scotland. Isn’t the UK supposed to be a non gun country?

Guns are not the most popular but the only thing that are actually banned are handguns of 22 caliber and above. So, shotguns are all legal, rifles are legal, and pistols which are air pistols are legal.

So, in terms of the shooting sports and all the Olympic sports they are all perfectly legal. You do have to hold licenses and be members of gun clubs, so there is strict control over it. But, there are still gun clubs everywhere.

How old were you when you start shooting?

I started when I was nine years old. I started at a small school I went to, a small boarding school in Scotland. The teacher was really keen (on it) and everybody in the school tried it at one point or another and I just got into it from there.

Does anybody in your family shoot?

Not really. After a couple of years and when I joined a local club in Aberdeen my dad picked it up and he has been shooting at the club ever since.

But you shot before your dad?

Yes, we lived in the country but there was no shooting back then.

Did you hunt when you were growing up?

No, not really.

Have you ever hunted?

A couple of times. I have been in West Virginia for six years now. I have gone out with people a couple of times that have gone hunting.

But for me, shooting is very much a sport. I see it as a sport that I do, as a hobby, but I am not gun crazy. I am not desperate to go shoot all different types of guns and go hunting.

How many guns do you have in your house?


Do you own a handgun?


Have you ever owned a handgun?


In the specialty of rifle shooting there are different categories. Which type of rifle did you shoot in the Olympics?

I actually did all three of the rifle events.

Which are what?

The air rifle match and then there are two matches in small bore. One is the prone match and then the other is the three position match.

Is it typical for competitors to shoot in all three?


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Tammy Hoier, PhD – Psychologist and Actress (Part 3 of 3)

By Admin | December 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Who do you pattern yourself after as an actor?

I really like Judy Dench. I really like the British actresses because they have such good technique. And they crossover so well. They do all this dialogue work which is really incredible.

They are native British speakers and they get coached and do the research so they can play say a Southern dialect. If you get it wrong it is really noticeable. Heath Ledger did a lot of dialect work in Brokeback Mountain.

Did you think Heath Ledger was believable as a Wyoming cowboy?

Absolutely. I have not seen Dark Knight yet where he used some kind of weird language that was not his dialect. But, Judy Dench, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslett. Some of the Canadian actresses up in Stratford I am just awed by.

Do you go to the theatre much?

I do. There is a lot connected with the theatre department. I go to school with a lot of kids and I want to go see them perform.

What degree are you working on? Are you still in set design?

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. I got training in the actors’ studio in the department. I am a forever student in the Acting department.

When you go see a movie or play, do you get thrown off by critiquing the performance technically?

No, I am simply aware of it. I can tell bad acting or not so great acting as well as the next person. I know why. If I saw someone playing a psychologist or mental health professional, I would know if that would fly.

What did you think of the HBO series In Treatment that was based on a therapist and his clients?

I have only seen one episode… and I really liked it. It happened to be an interesting episode where a pilot was goingto go back to Iraq and try to find the town he blew away and assuage his unacknowledged guilt. I thought it was a really engaging and pretty truthful session.

So, as a therapist you were watching a therapy session and you thought it was realistic?


Did you think the acting was good?

Yeah, I thought it was pretty good on that occasion.

What’s your dream role?

When you get in middle age and older, you get to do things like being a crazy mother or an evil mother, a queen, Eleanor Roosevelt. One is cast as a certain type.

I have a sort of queenly demeanor. I am not Estelle Parsons orsomebody like that who was a Golden Girl. I would like to do something that is out of the square for me. We are going to do Hamlet at the University and I have thought about auditioning but I would like to be the gravedigger.

They are going to do Urinetown at the university and it is going to be directed by a guy who has worked on musicals in New York before he came back (to Morgantown) to teach. I would love to do a musical because that would complete my childhood dream. There is dancing and I love dancing and there would be a sense of completion.

Copyright 2008

Topics: Actors | Comments Off on Tammy Hoier, PhD – Psychologist and Actress (Part 3 of 3)

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