Louisiana comes to Kansas City

If you’re in Kansas City today, I have two words for you: AIR CONDITIONING. And lots of it.

There is an excessive heat warning in effect for the Kansas City area, which extends south on Interstate 49 to the Arkansas state line, and then into Kansas and Oklahoma. There is a heat advisory as far west as Salina and far east as Columbia. Summer is here in case you didn’t know it. Yes, summer does not officially start until Wednesday, but it was here on Memorial Day, and it is now unleashing its fully fury. 

The heat indicies they’re talking about in Kansas City today are common in Louisiana this time of year. Yes, I realize Kansas City gets hot and the humidity is worse than it is in Russell and points west, but this is oppressive. I hate to think how bad it gets in St. Louis. 

It stormed again last night. I went to bed a few minutes after midnight, just when it was getting cranked up. It didn’t prevent me from falling asleep. I finally got up at 9–there was no reason to really get up early–and made my way to Buffalo Wild Wings for a Saturday of trivia. I’ll eventually cross Barry Road and go to Minsky’s, where I went for an hour and a half yesterday. I was looking to go back in the evening, but when I went at 7, the parking lot was completely full. So I went back to Buffalo Wild Wings and played more trivia with Robb and Dawn, leaving at 8:30. 

I ate lunch with Peggy and Caitlyn yesterday at Yard House in the Legends shopping plaza, where the Kansas Speedway and Children’s Mercy Park, home of Sporting KC of Major League Soccer, are located. I really wanted to go for a steak or a big piece of fish, but I opted to just get the sashimi. Peggy paid, and I didn’t want to take advantage of her generosity. I hadn’t seen either of them since early May, and this was the first extended time I spent with them since the end of the basketball season in late February. 

The U.S. Open gollf tournmaent is in the thrid round in Wisconsin. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day all missed the cut. Jordan Spieth is well off the lead. Phil Mickelson didn’t even play, choosing to attend his daughter’s high school graduation in San Diego. Eldrick Woods? WHO CARES? Rickie Fowler is the biggest name in contention, trailing by one stroke at 8-under. He shot 71 yesterday after a 65 Thursday, which tied for the best opening round in U.S. Open history. 

Johnson will not be able to repeat as U.S. Open champion. It hasn’t been done since Curtis Strange did it in 1988 and ’89. This is the second consecutive major in which the defending champion has missed the cut; it happened to Danny Willett at The Masters. Willett has basically fallen off the face of the earth since winning at Augusta National 14 months ago. Sergio Garcia made the cut, but he’s probably too far back to make a run. 

People have complained about Erin Hills, the course hosting the tournament for the first time. Many do not like new courses thrown into the mix of the traditional sites, which include Oakmont, Winged Foot, Shinnecock Hills, Baltusrol, Pebble Beach, Congressional, Lower Merion and Bethpage Black. Those players may have a point.
The College World Series starts in one hour. Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State, which has won 21 consecutive games and is the top ranked team in every poll, as well as the #1 national seed, open the festivities in Omaha. Then it’s LSU and Florida State at 7.  LSU is aiming for its seventh national championship and its second under Paul Mainieri, who led the Bayou Bengals to the title in 2009 at Rosenblatt Stadium, the penultimate year the CWS was played there. It moved to TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha in 2011. LSU has not fared well there, going 1-4 in two appearances, including an 0-2 trip (coloquially referred to as “Two and Barbecue” in college baseball lingo) in 2013 when LSU entered 57-9 and the #1 national seed. 

I went to Omaha in 1998 and 2003. Great experiences, but I am not big on the crowds. I certainly do not want to be in the heat, and not in the general admission seats in the outfield, where if you leave your seat, you might as well leave the park, because someone will swipe it. General admission seating is a terrible idea for college and professional sports. TERRIBLE. The NCAA should outlaw that for the CWS and other Division I events. 

LSU has won 15 consecutive games, and is 21-2 since I saw the series at Kentucky. Bill Franques, who is attending his 16th CWS as LSU’s baseball publicity director, told me as we departed April 23 he didn’t see LSU making it to Omaha, and he was worried LSU would have to travel for a REGIONAL. LSU has played in a regional away from Baton Rouge only once since 1990, in 2010 at UCLA, when it lost twice to UC Irvine. LSU did not make the NCAA tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2011. 

LSU’s prospects in a road super regional would have been very iffy, considering it is 1-6 all-time in super regionals away from Alex Box Stadium (old and new): 0-2 at Alabama in 1999, 1-2 at Tulane in 2001, and 0-2 at Rice in 2002. The 2002 super regional saw LSU get shut out in both games, the only time that’s happened. 

The other bracket tomorrow has Louisville playing Texas A&M and Florida battling TCU. TCU beat LSU twice in the 2015 CWS. The Horned Frogs are in Omaha for the fourth consecutive year under former Tulane assistant Jim Schlossnagle, doing something LSU has never done. LSU made it three straight years from 1989-91 and again from 1996-98, but never four. 

UGH. Some employee at Buffalo Wild Wings is playing nothing but horrendous hip-hop. I’m already getting nauseous. 

Scalise still critical

In the early minutes of Thursday morning, at least in the Central Time Zone, U.S. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Majority Whip, is still in critical condition. The bullet entered his left hip and damaged internal organs.

Yikes.

If the bullet hit the bowels, Scalise is as good as gone. If the bowels are perforated, fecal matter will enter the body cavity and poison the vital organs–heart, liver, colon, what have you–and cause septic shock.

Even if he pulls through, Scalise faces a very difficult road back. I would think his left hip would have to be totally replaced, and doctors will probably do the right one as a precaution. Although he wasn’t hit in the head like Gabby Giffords was in the 2011 Tucson shooting, Scalise’s future in Congress is very, very uncertain.

The deceased shooter, James Hodgkinson, spewed plenty of anti-Trump, anti-Republican and anti-conservative rhetoric, at one point calling president Trump an “a-hole”.

It’s one thing to swear about the president’s policies. It’s another to get personal, and that’s crossing the line. I admit I have been guilty of it far, far, far, far too often. I can’t count the number of times I’ve crossed the line when I shouldn’t have. I regret each and every time I did.

Major League Baseball umpires have said repeatedly through the years that managers and players can say they made a bad call (using the expletive for horse manure), and they do not risk ejection. However, if the player or manager calls the umpire (horse manure), he’s ejecting himself.

The same goes here. You can say Trump’s policies are horrible. You can say Obama’s policies were horrible. However, to say Trump is an a-hole or to call Obama the n-word? Totally unacceptable.

I’ve had it with all the rancor. I don’t want to listen to the political channels on SiriusXM when I’m driving. I’ll play my iPod, the music channels or SiriusXM, or find sports talk. In Kansas City, that’s easy, since two stations (KCSP 610 AM and WHB 810 AM) are all sports, all the time. Here in Russell, it’s harder. ESPN Radio has to do in that regard.

I was hoping WWL AM in New Orleans would have coverage of the shooting and updates on Scalise’s condition. Instead, the 9 p.m. hour was all about LSU baseball and their first game in the College World Series Saturday vs. Florida State. I’m looking very much forward to that. I’ll be watching at Minsky’s Pizza. I’m sure Lindsay will make me swear to behave myself.

Okay enough gloom and doom. Time for me to hit the sack. Crista and I visit in less than nine hours.

Pray for Steve Scalise, his family and the citizens of Louisiana, all of them, not just those who live in Scalise’s district. My native state needs him on Capitol Hill.

Baseball practice becomes target practice 

For those who don’t know yet, United States Representative Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) was shot and wounded this morning in northern Virigina while he was working out with Congressional colleagues in preparation for Thursday’s annual Congressional baseball game in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Nationals’ park. The game is an annual tradition which raises money for charity, and also allows members of Congress on both sides of the aisle get together and enjoy camraderie. 

Scalise represents Louisiana’s first district, which includes much of Jefferson Parish, the most populous parish in Louisiana, located to the west of New Orleans. Scalise represents a large swath of southeastern Louisiana outside of the city limits of New Orleans, including St. Bernard Parish, where I grew up and was living at the time Hurricane Katrina struck. Scalise did not represent St. Bernard at the time of Katrina, but it was drawn back into the district when Louisiana lost one House seat (going from 7 to 6) after the 2010 census. 

The shooting occurred just before 7 a.m. CT (8 a.m. ET). I first saw it on Twitter, then the news spread like wildfire across the Internet and all the television networks. Such is the 24-hour news cycle. It was reported around noon CT that Scalise was out of surgery and in stable condition, but as I pulled into Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina just after 3, Sean Hannity said Scalise had taken  a turn for the worse. He is listed in critical condition. 

Scalise was shot in the hip, which I’m guessing will mean hip replacement at the very least. I’m worried he won’t make it. For him to take a turn for the worse after surgery is a very distressing sign. I should know, becuase I was near death myself in late 2004 battling pneumonia and a collapsed lung following a buildup of fluid. 

Jefferson Parish has produced some very powerful politicians over my lifetime. To wit: 

  • Dave Treen, who represented most of Jefferson in the House beginning in 1973, was elected Governor in late 1979, becoming the first Republican to be elected as Louisiana’s chief executive, and the first GOP governor, period, since federal Reconstruction following the Civil War.
  • Bob Livingston, who was first elected to the House in 1977. More on him below.
  • David Vitter, who was elected to succeed Livingston in 1999 and later served two terms in the U.S. Senate.
  • Piyush (Bobby) Jindal, who succeeded Vitter in the House and was elected Governor in 2007.
  • John Alario, who is currently president of the Louisiana Senate. He was Speaker of the Louisiana House for two terms in the 1980s and 1990s. 

It could have been a lot worse if it weren’t for two Capitol police officers who were assigned to Scalise as a security detail. Scalise qualified for a security detail since is the House Majority Whip, which is a leadership position. Of the 435 members of the House, only five automatcially qualify for such protection: the Speaker (Paul Ryan of Wisconsin), Majority Leader (Kevin McCarthy of California), Majority Whip (Scalise), Minority Leader (Nancy Pelosi of California) and Minority Whip (Steny Hoyer of Maryland). In the Senate, the Vice President (President of the Senate) has Secret Service protection, while the leaders and whips have security all the time. Any member 

The Capitol police officers gamely took out the deranged shooter, 66-year old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois Hodgkinson later died of his wounds. 

Hodgkinson was a known progressive due to his rants on Facebook, where he was a member of several groups devoted to bashing president Trump and all Republicans. He was a volunteer last year for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. The Vermont senator denounced the attack. 

If Scalise does not make it, it would continue a long line of heartbreak for member of Congress from Louisiana who rise into leadership positions. 

In 1972, the Bayou State was hit with a double whammy. 

First, Senator Allen Ellender, who was the Senate’s President Pro Tempore, the second-ranking position in the body behind the Vice President and third in line of succession to the presidency behind the Vice President and Speaker of the House, died of a heart attack in Washington. He had served in the Senate since 1936, when he assumed the seat once held by Huey Long, and was chairman of the Appropriations Committee, probably the most powerful in the Senate since it controls all government spending, although bills have to originate in the House under the Constitution. 

Ellender was running for a sixth term, although he was facing a strong challenge from then-State Senator J. Bennett Johnston, who had barely lost the Democratic primary for governor in late 1971 to then-U.S. Rep. Edwin Edwards, who was elected to the first of his four terms in February 1972. 

Johnston won the seat and served for 24 years, but never rose to Ellender’s lofty status. His bid to earn a leadership post was defeated in 1988 when he lost the race for Majority Whip to George Mitchell of Maine. Mitchell later became Majority Leader, then chaired the infamous Mitchell Commission, which produced the report which named hundreds of Major League Baseball players as steroid users. 

Less than three months after Ellender died, Rep. Hale Boggs, then the Majority Leader, flew with Alaska Rep. Nick Begich on a private plane from Anchorage to Juneau to attend a fundraiser.

The plane never made it. It was lost in the Alaska wilderness forever and ever. Boggs, Begich, pilot Don Jonz and a Begich aide basically vanished from the face of the earth. Boggs was declared dead in absentia when the new Congress convened in January. Hale’s widow, Lindy, was elected to the seat and served through 1990. Lindy Boggs, the mother of journalist Cokie Roberts, later served as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and lived a fulfilling life before passing away at 97. 

Ellender and Boggs aren’t the only members of Congress from Louisiana in positions of power to see their careers end prematurely.

In 1998, Rep. Bob Livingston, who represents the same district Scalise does now, was poised to become Speaker after the resignation of Newt Gingrich. That all came unraveled the week before Christmas when Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, that upstanding citizen, revealed Livingston had an extramarital affair. Livingston, who was Appropriations Committee chairman during the 104th and 105th Congresses, resigned his seat. 

If Scalise does not pull through, it would be a devastating blow to Louisiana on Capitol Hill. 

Two representatives, Clay Higgins of Port Barre (3rd) and Mike Johnson of Benton (4th), are in their first term. Two more, Ralph Abraham of Alto (5th) and Garret Graves of Baton Rouge (6th), are in their second terms. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans (2nd) is in his fourth term, but he is a Democrat, and the minority party has very little pull in the House, much lesss so than the Senate. 

On the other side of Capitol Hill, both Louisiana Senators are in their first terms. Bill Cassidy was elected in 2014, unseating three-term Democrat Mary Landrieu, sister of New Olreans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and daughter of former Crescent City Mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Maurice “Moon” Landrieu. John Neely Kennedy was elected last year, replacing David Vitter, who served two terms and was struck down by the a sex scandal where it was revealed he was a client of a notorious madam. Vitter ran for Governor in 2015 but was crushed by Democratic State Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite City. 

Louisiana’s delegation would be very, very weak without Scalise. Possibly the weakest it has been since the start of the 20th century. 

Even after Ellender and Boggs died, Louisiana still had plenty of clout, due to Rep. F. Edward Hebert, who was chairman of the Armed Service Committee, and Sen. Russell Long, Huey’s son, who was chairman of the Finance Committee. 

James Hodgkinson’s political leanings are irrelevant here. He CHOSE to drive from western Illinois (Belleville is on the opposite bank of the Misssissippi River from St. Louis) to northern Virginia and open fire at a Congressional baseball practice. What kind of person does that? Someone with an evil heart. Hodgkinson is just as much of a piece of shit as Jared Loughner, the asshole who shot Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head (how did she survive?) in Tucson in 2011. Loughner did kill people, though, including a federal judge and Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year old granddaughter of former MLB manager Dallas Green, who led the Phillies to the 1980 World Series championship. 

I’m not sad Hodgkinson died, but I would have loved to see him have to face a jury of his peers and be sentenced to the federal supermax prison in Colorado, which houses the Unabomber, shoe bomber Richard Reid, and other high profile criminals. 

Yes, it is your right as an American citizen to vent, to write whatever you feel like on an Internet site, no matter how poor in taste it might be. However, nobody has the right to take a gun and shoot someone in cold blood. 

If Scalise doesn’t make it, he would be the first member of Cognress to be shot to death since Rep. Leo Ryan (D-California), who was shot by Jim Jones’ minions in Guyana in Novmeber 1978, only hours before the members of the People’s Temple drank the poisoned Flavor-Aid, killing 907. The last member of Congress to be murdered was Rep. Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), who was aboard Korean Air Lines Flight 007 when it was shot down by Soviet fighter jets in September 1983. 

Prayers are needed for Steve Scalise, his family, and each and every person living in Louisiana’s First Congressional District. 

Let’s also hope we don’t have to put up with this nonsense any longer. Sadly, I fear it will continue. 

NBA, you will be missed…NOT!

The NBA season ended last night. 

THANK GOD! 

I have had it up to here with LeBron, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and anything and everything associated with the National Basketball Association, which I think should stand for something else. I will not reveal it.

I am beyond fed up with the comparisons between this year’s Warriors and the 1995-96 Bulls, who went 72-10 in a season which featured two expansion teams (Raptors and Grizzlies, who were then in Vancouver) and several established teams who were beyond pitiful (Mavericks, Nuggets, Bucks, et al). I don’t think either team is the best of all time. I honestly don’t think Jordan’s Bulls or Curry’s Warriors would beat the Lakers of Magic and Kareem, or the Celtics with Bird, Parish and McHale. I watched the NBA’s golden age of the 1980s, and nothing will ever compare. That’s why I gave up on the NBA for the most part after 1990. 

LeBron flat out lied last night and said he does not believe in “super teams”. Bullshit. Who the hell do you think started the super team idea? LeBron James. He, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade committed gross collusion by talking for FOUR YEARS about joining the same team, which happened to be the Heat. David Stern, the chickenshit bastard that he is, let LeBron, Bosh and Wade commit collusion in the open by forming that super team. 

Yes, LeBron went back to Cleveland, but he stabbed the city in the back and proved he is all about the Benjamins by going to Miami to form the super team. The Warriors only mimicked LeBron by signing 

I cannot stand Michael Jordan, but I agree with him about not wanting other superstars on his team. He wanted to beat the tar out of Magic, Bird, Isaiah Thomas, Patrick Ewing, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Kobe (albeit in his very early years). The NBA was greater when the wealth was spread around, which it was in the 1980s. The Lakers had Magic, Kareem and later Worthy. The Celtics had Bird, Parish and McHale. The 76ers had Dr. J, Maurice Cheeks and later Moses Malone. The Bucks had Sidney Moncrief. The Pistons had Isaiah, Laimbeer and Dumars. The Trail Blazers had Clyde Drexler. The Jazz had Malone and Stockton, plus in the 1980s, they had Adrian Dantley, one of the forgotten scoring greats. The Rockets had the Twin Towers, Hakeem and Ralph Sampson. The Knicks had Ewing. The Bulls had Jordan and later Pippen. In 1982-83, the Spurs had George Gervin and Artis Gilmore. 

Can you name players on teams other than the Warriors and Cavaliers right now? I know Anthony Davis in New Orleans, the Greek Freak in Milwaukee, John Wall in Washington, James Harden in Houston and Russell Westbrook in OKC. Other than that, don’t ask. I can’t tell you one player on the Kings, Suns, Magic, Nets or Nuggets. 

I am not a big basketball fan. I would much rather watch football, baseball, hockey and real football (soccer). Heck, give me golf, skiing and cricket. But if I’m going to watch basketball, I will watch MEN’s college basketball, and that’s it. I don’t bother with women’s college basketball, because for the most part, we know who’s going to win. Yes, UConn lost to Mississippi State in the Final Four. But that’s not going to happen very often. 

I saw an article on ESPN today about who will win the NBA championship in 2018. According to ESPN’s formula, Golden State is a LOCK to win the Western conference. That’s right, the Warriors have a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT chance of winning the West next season. In the East, Cleveland’s chances are 62.2 percent, compared to 28.9 percent for Boston. The third favorite? Milwaukee at 4.4 percent. Wahsington and Detroit (??!!) are at 2.2 percent.

As for the overall NBA champion, Golden State has a 97.8 percent chance to win the title. Cleveland is the only other team listed at 2.2 percent.

To put that in perspective, in 1,000 simulations of the 2017-18 NBA regular season and playoffs, Golden State wins the championship 978 times. Cleveland wins 22. 

The 2017-18 NBA season begins October 31. Halloween. What a frightening thought to think I only have 4 1/2 months away from the NBA, the most overrated spectacle in entertainment, sports or not. 

As long as I don’t watch ESPN, especially at 5 pm when Jemele Hill and Michael A. Smith spew their garbage, I may be okay. 

Just say no to the NBA

The NBA Finals are almost over. Praise Jesus. 

I was worried last night when the Cavaliers led by seven in the fourth quarter. If Cleveland had won, the series would have been guarantted to return to Oakland for game 5 Monday night, which would have meant more and more and more hype Saturday, Sunday and Monday. 

I have had it with the NBA. Enough. Actually, I’ve had it with the NBA since June 1990, when the Pistons won their second consecutive championship by defeating the Trail Blazers in the finals. I stayed up late to watch the four night games in the finals–I missed game three, which was played on a Sunday afternoon, because I went with my dad and brother to an American Legion baseball game–and I was up long enough to see CBS Sports bid adieu to the NBA, since it was their last telecast after having the national television package since the 1973-74 season.

By time the 1990-91 season rolled around, I decided I would severely cut back my NBA watching. If there was nothing else on, maybe I would watch. But if there were other things to watch–and even in the early 1990s, there were–I would skip the NBA. 

God I hated the Bulls. Hated them. I was no big fan of the Pistsons, and Lord I didn’t like Isaiah Thomas, but I was sick and tired of all the ass kissing going on around Michael Jeffrey Jordan, ass kissing which would only get worse and worse as his career continued and the Bulls continuued to win championships. 

The NBA became as predicatable as the weather on a summer day in New Orleans. You knew the Bulls would win the championship as long as Jordan was there. Sure, he didn’t win a championship until he got help from Scottie Pippen and Hoarce Grant, but give me a break. Jordan was going to win championships with whomever he played with, as long as one of them was an above-average NBA player. 

Thankfully Jordan did take some time off from the NBA following his father’s tragic death in July 1993, allowing Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets to briefly take center stage in 1994 and ’95. Sadly, the Rockets will be forever linked to Orenthal James Simpson, who told Al Cowlings to lead the Los Angeles Police Department on a slow-speed chase on the city’s freeways while Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Finals were taking place on the other side of the continent at Madison Square Garden.

That week of June 1994 was a great one for American sports. The Rangers won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1940. The World Cup kicked off in the United States. The Rockets and Knicks were providing some much-needed relief to the montony which had become the NBA of Michael Jeffrey Jordan (David Stern was commissioner in name only; whatever Jordan wanted, he got). And here comes Orenthal James Simpson, brutally killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, simply because Orenthal Jamse Simpson never learned how to properly treat a lady and got jealous when Nicole broke free and found comfort with another man. 

When Michael Jordan returend to the NBA March 19, 1995, I said to myself “JESUS F***ING CHRIST”. 

Sure enough, the Bulls won NBA titles in 1996, ’97 and ’98, the last coming when Jordan used his right arm to shove off Utah’s Bryon Russell in order to have a clear view for the winning shot in game six. Of course, Dick Bavetta, that cuckold pussy piece of shit referee, wasn’t about to whistle Black Jesus, aka Michael Jeffrey Jordan, for a foul. Ever. How the fuck is Dick Bavetta in the Hall of Fame? 

Dick Bavetta, fuck you. Fuck you and almost every other official during the Jordan years. You let the asshole get away with everything, yet something like that done by a lesser player would be an automatic foul. Bavetta and other spineless NBA referees all had balls the size of BBs. As in none. 

it was too bad Earl Strom retired the year before Jordan won his first title. It’s too bad Jake O’Donnell was forced out of the NBA just after Jordan ended his first retirement. It’s too bad Mendy Rudolph retired in 1975 and died in 1979. It’s too bad Richie Powers was blackballed out of the league in the late 1970s after he crossed the picket line during a strike and allowed coaches to play illegal defense all game without calling it. 

Strom, O’Donnell, Rudolph and Powers had the balls to give equal treatment to superstars and average players. They would not have put up with Jordan’s bullshit. They would not have allowed Dennis Rodman to make a farce of basketball and abuse officials the way he did. Rodman would not have dared head butt Strom the way he did Ted Bernhardt in 1996. Jordan would not have dared scream the whole game at O’Donnell the way he did to just about every referee, Steve Javie excepted, in the mid-1990s. 

You wonder why Kobe, LeBron and other superstars get preferential treatment? They learned from the master, Dick Bavetta, who somehow is in the Hall of Fame. 

That angered me. Really pissed me off.

To me, Dick Bavetta was just like the late Eric Gregg, the National League umpire who was grossly incompetent, not to mention grossly obese, yet still kept his job for years and years. Bavetta was a showboat who wanted to bask in the reflected glory of the NBA’s superstars. And that meant giving Michael Jeffrey Jordan whatever the fuck he wanted. 

I apologize for the profanity. I really do. I’m sorry, Peggy Cox. 

Enough about the NBA. I’m praying Golden State ends this charade tomorrow night so First Take, Colin Cowherd, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption and every other show can talk about Major League Baseball and the NFL. 

I doubt many people in the United Kingdom are waking up at 4 a.m. to watch this. If they are, then God help them. I know the Premier League season is done, but there’s got to be better sports to watch in the UK than the NBA. What about cricket? 

Lazy bones awakens

Geez! Eleven days since my last post. Lazy. Very lazy on my part. There hasn’t been that much exciting going on in my life, save for the trips to Kansas City and watching too much sports. On the other hand, it isn’t an excuse not to post something, anything. Sorry if you’ve been looking for the juicy details. 

I did leave Kansas City a week ago Wednesday after the extended Memorial Day trip. I didn’t leave town until after 7 that night, because I wanted to wait around and see Robb and Dawn. Also, I had planned to stay even longer that night, but if I had, I would have been back after midnight. 

I made a quickie trip there last weekend. Arrived Saturday morning, left Sunday night. Enough time to get in 17 hours of trivia and get out of town. I did not see Robb and Dawn Sunday as I had hoped, but I got to see enough people I wanted to, both at Buffalo Wild Wings and Minsky’s. 

The college baseball postseason is down to the super regionals, with eight best-of-three matchups beginning Friday. LSU plays Mississippi State in Baton Rouge starting Saturday night, the very last super regional to get underway. The first to start is the Bluegrass, Kentucky at Louisville, Friday at 11 a.m. Central. Six Southeastern Conference schools are in the super regionals. The other matchups are Vanderbilt-Oregon State, Cal State Fullerton-Long Beach State, Sam Houston State-Florida State, Davidson-Texas A&M, Missouri State-TCU and Wake Forest-Florida. The winners of these series head to Omaha for the College World Series beginning June 17. 

It’s 2-2 in the Stanley Cup Finals. I was praying the Penguins would have skated the Cup Monday night. Instead, they are in a fight  for their lives with the Underwoods, er, Predators. Lord, please do not let the Stanley Cup reside in Tennessee. Hockey does not belong in Tennessee, period. Or Florida. Or North Carolina. Or Georgia…oh right, that one is taken care of. 

The NBA Finals resume tonight. Golden State, please win the next two games so we don’t have to hear about the NBA! I have had enough of the NBA. ENOUGH. I haven’t cared about it since the late 1980s. 

Bob Stoops retired today as Oklahoma’s football coach. More on that in another post. 

Exhausted–the good kind

When I left Russell at 6 am. yesterday morning, I had no idea it would be a day like it turned out to be.

The plan was after my time at Buffalo Wild Wings in Liberty, I would go over to Zona Rosa. I had no idea whether or not I would go to Buffalo Wild Wings there, or go immediately to Minsky’s.

I didn’t make it to Minsky’s.

Not because I didn’t want to go. I was feeling bad for not going over there to see Lindsay and Tara.

There were people who grabbed my attention–three of whom I had no earthly idea I would see yesterday.

I arrived at Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa at 3:30. I asked Robb what his plans were, and he said he and Dawn would try to be there by 5:30. I told him I didn’t know how long I could hold on there before getting the itch to cross Barry Road.

I ate at Liberty, so I wasn’t eating at Zona Rosa. No Buffalo Wild Wings twice in a day. That’s a new rule for me. There were times where I’d eat twice at B-Dubs Zona Rosa the same day. Not anymore. The food isn’t that great. With Minsky’s and Outback right there, why bother with B-Dubs again?

Just before 5, I got a tap on my shoulder. It was Molly.

I knew she would be working tomorrow from 11 to 5, but her arrival was a pleasant surprise. I told Robb I would stay for awhile. I could see Lindsay and Tara later.

Robb and Dawn got there at 5:30. I thought we’d be there for an hour and half to two hours, then I’d cross Barry Road.

When Robb posted his high score in Countdown, he got a Facebook comment from an ex-Buffalo Wild Wings employee stating she and another ex-employee would be arriving around 8:30.

The ex-employee: Shannon Swanson. Her accomplice: Lisa Toebben.

Whoa.

Shannon was in town from Chicago. Lisa is trying to balance her 18-month old son, Liam, and prepare for her October wedding in St. Louis.

Robb and Dawn could not stay that long. They left at 8:30. I was still there, and I also ran into another trivia pal, Bob (ARROWHEAD), who has been going through a tough time as of late, following the death of his mother last month. His mother was 99 and lived a full life, something I can only hope for.

Shannon and Lisa didn’t arrive at 8:30. They weren’t there at 9. Morgan asked me why I was still there at that late hour, and I revealed it. She was quite surprised as well.

It wouldn’t be the first time I would see a former Buffalo Wild Wings sweetheart this month.

Elizabeth Psenski was in town last week. I saw her twice. Of course she had to hug me more than a few times. Now I have to go to Colorado Springs to see her.

Shannon and Lisa arrived at 9:30. They sat next to me at the bar and visited with Molly, Trey and all the employees they knew, plus a few guests they recognized. We talked about Liam, about a guy Shannon is seeing, and other things going on. I didn’t divulge much about myself, but I promised I would send a message about what’s been going on in my sessions with Crista.

Shannon and Lisa were the ones who pushed me to get help in late 2014. They kept on me about it. They were not going to put up with me the way I was going, which was straight down the toilet. And to be honest, they should not have put up with me in that state. Fortunately they prevailed upon me, and Dr. Custer got me referred, which led to me seeing Crista.

I hated leaving at 10:50, but I finally did. I used the excuse I was an “old man”, although I wasn’t fooling Lisa, since I’m sure Jeff has had many sleepless nights. Eleven and a half hours at two Buffalo Wild Wings. That was plenty. At least it was good.

After picking up a steak at Outback–I hadn’t eaten since 2:15–I stopped in at Minsky’s to say hello to Lindsay and Tara. I promised I’d be back later today.

The best thing other than seeing Larry, Robb, Dawn, Molly, Shannon and Lisa? My contacts did not irritate me, even though I wore them 19 hours.

It’s now a little after 1 a.m. I’m not yawning, but I am weary. A happy weary.

Today looks stormy. As long as I can get to Barry Road without much trouble. I’m sure it will be soaked when I drive from B-Dubs to Minsky’s, which makes me worry a bit about some maniac causing an accident.

I’ve seen more rain this year than I have since moving to Kansas. People can stop complaining about a drought. Then again, they’d better not waste water, because if the drought returns, there will be hell to pay.

I AIN’T MISSING YOU, state track and field

As I have mentioned in my previous two posts, today is the first of two days of the Kansas State High School Activities Association track and field state championship meet. 

The KSHSAA bills the meet as the largest track and field meet in the nation. As far as size goes, it probably is, with between 3,300 and 3,400 athletes competing on any given weekend. 

The KSHSAA home page calls it “The greatest track meet in the nation. Period.”

I call bullshit on the KSHSAA. 

It is a confusing clusterfuck. There is way too much going on at the same time, and trying to figure out who is competing where and at what time requires a degree in advanced calculus. 

The KSHSAA has too many classes. There should not be six. However, the administrators who run KSHSAA schools are gutless cowards who want to maximize the championship opportunities for their school. 

There are 355 schools. Five classes is PLENTY. I’m sorry if the schools in Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley and Wichita don’t win championships nearly as often. Six classes makes winning a champiosnhip in Kansas not as special as in a state which has its schools spread equally among the classes. 

Five classes would relieve some of the confusion that accompanies the state meet, but not that much. 

I do not understand for the life of me why the KSHSAA INSISTS that all six classifications compete at the same time on Saturday? Friday’s session is split between the small schools (1A, 2A, 3A) and large schools (4A, 5A, 6A), with one going in the morning and one in the afternoon. That is bad enough. The field events are an unholy mess with one class. With three? Horrendous. With SIX? INSANITY–that’s putting it mildly. 

I HATE THE FORMAT. I hate it! 

Why can’t one class at a time compete? It would not be that hard to complete in two days. 

Instead, the KSHSAA put all six classes on display at once, driving those in the media who have to cover the meet absolutely batty.

I had so many complaints when I covered the meet about how I didn’t get so-and-so. I wanted to scream at them “YOU TRY COVERING THIS MEET YOURSELF!” I cannot be in more than one place at one time. I cannot cover four different people if all of them are in different events at once. I would like to see some of the complainers try it. 

It’s bad enough the meet is mass chaos. 

It’s even worse that the media there to cover the event are treated so poorly. 

The officials at Wichita State get a power trip by telling photographers and reporters to move out of the way. I understand there needs to be room for the athletes, but what, we can’t do our job just because some person wants to flex his or her muscle and make our lives miserable? 

No reserved parking. That means arriving at Cessna Stadium before sunrise unless you want to park in Derby (okay, not that far, but at least one mile from the stadium) and walk in very hot weather. Try doing it with camera equipment and a computer. Try doing it with camera equipment and a computer after running around for five, six, up to 11 hours chasing everything and anything just so some grandmother doesn’t use every four-letter word in the book to describe your effort–or lack thereof, at least as they see it. 

As bad as I felt about no reserved parking, I felt even worse for Tad Felts, who covered the meet for over 50 years for various radio stations before retiring a few years ago, and for Dick Boyd, the Norton Telegram wrier who has been with that paper since 1970, and before that, worked for other papers along the US 36 corridor. By not having reserved parking, KSHSAA made these two senior citizens trudge with equipment quite a long way. That stinks. 

When I covered high school championship events, there was almost always resrved parking. I didn’t always have it at the Superdome for the football championships, but I could park right next to the press entrance and be in my seat in a much shorter time than it takes to walk from the parking lot at Koch Arena to the front gate of Cessna Stadium.

The parking issue has angered me so much through the years I feel like speaking my mind to the KSHSAA Executive Board. I’m contemplating it. 

The Wichita State folks aren’t the friendliest. They aren’t fond of the media, whom they think are conspiring with Kansas and Kansas State to deny their basketball team coverage in the first place.

Cessna Stadium itself is a joke. The track was replaced 15 years ago, but the stadium itself is a dump. Not a damn thing has been done to the stadium itself since the Shockers dropped football in early 1987. The stadium was built in 1969, and not much has changed. Why the hell does Kapaun Mount Carmel continue to play homes games there? The grass field is dangerous. 

I don’t miss that place. Not one bit. I’m sorry. 

Friday on another track, part 2

I’ve been at Buffalo Wild Wings too long. I just forgot to change a trivia answer and got zero points. Oh well. It happens. It would have angered me so much when I was playing trivia in past years, but now, it’s a reminder I have to stay on my toes. It is easy to get distracted with all the electronic gadgets. 

I’m leaving the restaurant in Liberty just before 3. Time to drive west on Missouri Highway 152 to the Zona Rosa area. Whether I go to Buffalo Wild Wings there or to Minsky’s is up in the air. 

I don’t care where I am today. I’m glad I am not at Wichita State University covering the Kansas State High School Activities Association state track and field championships. I have nothing against the athletes. Nothing against the coaches. Nothing against the spectators. 

I’m especially glad I’m not covering this year. It is hot and humid, much more so than it has been in recent years on this date. It isn’t as hot as it was the first time I covered the meet in 2006, but it’s bad enough. 

My beef lies with the KSHSAA itself, Wichita State’s athletic department, and the officials who run the meet. I’ll get into that in another post. 

The only sad thing is I’m missing Caitlyn’s final high school event. She and her teamamtes on Norton’s 4×100-meter relay qualified for the final, but the 4×400 relay was eliminated in the prelims. Caitlyn’s final race is tomorrow afternoon, and I’ll be in Kansas City. I feel bad for her. I’ve abandoned her this track seaosn, and I wouldn’t blame her, or anyone else in her family, if they told me to get bent. 

It’s about time to leave. I’m ready to go because some asshole at the bar keeps going out to smoke his cancer sticks and he smells worse than my feces. I HATE CIGARETTES. PERIOD. HATE THEM. HATE THEM MORE THAN ANYTHING ON EARTH. 

Friday on another track

I was up at 4:45 this morning. By 6 am., I was in my car and driving.

Unlike past years, I was not driving from the Wichita Marriott on North Webb Road to Wichita State University’s Cessna Stadium. I was simply driving from Russell to Kansas City for a long weekend. I need to see those I know in town, play some trivia and eat some good food. And I need to do it before it gets unbearably hot and humid.

I don’t have much desire to come to Kansas City this summer, especially when it gets to be as miserable as I remember Louisiana. Nothing can be as oppressive as a Louisiana summer (okay, it can be), but I don’t want to feel like that again. Hot and less humid in western Kansas is terrible enough.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association track and field championships are today and tomorrow at WSU. I covered the meet 10 consecutive years from 2006-15, but I have not set foot on campus since. I am so glad I am  not covering that meet anymore, but that’s another blog post.

I checked in to the Fairfield Inn Liberty just before 10 a.m. I couldn’t believe I got the message that my room was ready before I left Russell. Usually, it isn’t until the afternoon when the room is ready, which means I go to Buffalo Wild Wings to kill time, then check in. This time, the check in is first, meaning all my crap is out of the car, and I can relax.

I’m staying in Clay County this time instead of the Fairfield near the airport in Platte County. Figured a change of scenery would be good, at least for a  few days. The good news is Price Chopper and Zaxby’s are very close just off Interstate 35. Outback is a still a ways, but the way they’ve been burning my steaks as of late, maybe I’ll skip.

I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings Liberty in a little bit. Hopefully Larry is there so we can play trivia and go over the news and sports of the world. I have to make my way the Zona Rosa area sooner or later. Minsky’s with Lindsay and Tara?  Definitely. Buffalo Wild Wings? Don’t know. Tori is still on vacation (in New Orleans, no less). I know I’ll be there tomorrow with Molly.

I stayed up a little later last night than I would have liked, because I wanted to see the end of the Ottawa-Pittsburgh NHL game. The Penguins won 3-2 in the second overtime to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where they play the Nashville Predators starting Monday. Guess who I will be rooting for? HINT: Not the team Carrie Underwood likes.

The Cavaliers won last night to advance to the NBA Finals vs. the Warriors. I still won’t watch.