A burned out turn signal and a finicky iPad

This trip to Kansas City has been a bust. Huge bust. It isn’t Kansas City’s fault.

I was supposed to get the Buick detailed Saturday. Turns out the place didn’t have enough workers on staff. I rescheduled it for this Thursday, which would be okay, if not for something which happened today.

The left turn signal on the Buick is now burned out. I discovered this coming out of the automatic car wash on Wornall. Now I have to take the car to James Motors Friday and get all of the headlights and tail lights replaced.

I drove from Briarcliff to south Kansas City without my phone. LOVELY. Frank was trying to get a hold of me for an hour, but dumbass me was unreachable because my phone was in the hotel room, and my iPad was in the trunk of the car.

At least the iPad was working. Yesterday at 1500, it shut down all of a sudden for no reason. I had been streaming movies through the iPad to the television in the room, yet all of a sudden, the iPad’s screen went pitch black. This really angered me, especially since I received the iPad only last Wednesday.

I chatted online with Apple support. I was desperate to get an appointment with a technician at one of the two Apple stores in Kansas City. After a long amount of wrangling, I finally received one for 1250 today at the store on the Country Club Plaza. Good I got an appointment. Bad that it was on the Plaza, a place I hate going to due to the crush of people and lack of parking. I have not visited the Plaza in almost a decade, and I have no desire to return any time soon.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go to the Plaza. I searched on Verizon’s site about an iPad where the screen was totally black for no reason. It suggested a quick fix, and sure enough, my device came back to life.

Today, Frank needed something from me ASAP, and while I had my iPad, I did not have the full-sized keyboard I use with it. I left that in my room, too. I tried the best I could with using the on-screen keyboard, but it was painful. I tried dictation, but with people’s names, that’s tough. Somehow, I got through it.

Spent most of yesterday sleeping. Considering I had little sleep the previous week, it was understandable. I have to sleep better.

Ready to go home tomorrow. I thought about going to a basketball game in Norton to see Peggy and Caitlyn, but with the turn signal out, I don’t know. Ugh. My life.

Double dose of Saintly pain

January 3 is a day fans of the New Orleans Saints would rather forget for two major reasons.

The first occurred in 1988, when the Saints lost 44-10 to the Vikings in New Orleans’ first playoff game in franchise history.

The Saints finished the 1987 regular season 12-3, the second best record in the entire NFL, but they had to settle for a wild card berth to the playoffs because the 13-2 49ers were in the same division, the NFC West.

Prior to 1987, the Saints suffered through 18 losing seasons. Their best record was 8-8, achieved in 1979 and 1983. New Orleans was the birthplace of fans wearing bags on their heads, introduced during the abysmal 1-15 season of 1980.

In 1987, fans could rip the bags off–at least over the last nine games. The Saints lost three of their first six games, two of them to mediocre teams (Eagles and Cardinals) and one to the 49ers in the Superdome, a game in which Morten Andersen made five field goals, but missed his seventh attempt on the game’s final play, allowing San Francisco to escape 24-22.

The Saints should have been given kudos for coming close against the mighty 49ers, right?

Nope.

Second-year Saints coach Jim Mora went nuclear. Three words sum it up best.

Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda.

Mora stated he was tired of saying “coulda, woulda, shoulda”, and that the Saints weren’t good enough to beat the 49ers. Another famous line came when he said, “We’re close, and close don’t mean (bleep). And you can put that on TV for me.”

In 1987, there was SportsCenter, but the NFL Network was 16 years off. However, those of us in New Orleans got to see Mora’s tirade more than a few times, and nobody who grew up in New Orleans in the late 1980s will ever forget Mora’s postgame press conference of October 25, 1987.

Mora’s words must have had some effect on the Saints. New Orleans did not lose again in the regular season, ripping off nine consecutive victories, including a 26-24 decision at San Francisco three weeks later, a game which was won on a 52-yard field goal by Andersen, who last year became the second pure placekicker to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining former Kansas City legend Jan Stenerud, whose bust has been in Canton since 1991.

The Saints’ opponents in the NFC wild card game, the Vikings, were in the playoffs for the first time in five years. Jerry Burns, who was in his second year in charge in Minnesota, had one of the NFL’s best receivers, Anthony Carter, but an unsettled quarterback situation between the oft-injured Tommy Kramer and the inconsistent Wade Wilson. The Viking defense, although not up to the standards of the Purple Gang of the 1970s, was still formidable, thanks to Chris Doleman, Keith Millard, rookie Henry Thomas, Scott Studwell and Joey Browner.

Minnesota was put into a hole during the strike called by the NFL Players’ Association during the 1987 season. The owners called up replacement players to substitute for the regulars for three games in weeks 4-6 (week three was canceled), looking to avoid the repeat of the disastrous 1982 strike in which the season was reduced from 16 games to nine.

The Vikings’ replacement team laid a giant goose egg, losing to Green Bay, Chicago and Tampa Bay. New Orleans had better fortune, defeating the Rams and Bears while losing in St. Louis.

Minnesota got back on track when the strike ended, but in December, the Vikings lost to the Bears, Packers and Redskins, finishing 8-7. However, Minnesota snuck into the playoffs when Dallas defeated St. Louis in what turned out to be the Cardinals’ final game representing the Gateway City.

Most of the experts liked New Orleans to easily defeat Minnesota and move into a divisional playoff game in Chicago, where the Bears were hampered by bickering, inconsistency from quarterback Jim McMahon, and an aged Walter Payton, who ended up retiring after the 1987 season.

The Vikings had different ideas.

New Orleans grabbed an early 7-0 lead, but an 84-yard punt return touchdown by Carter turned the momentum permanently in the Vikings’ favor.

Minnesota rubbed salt in the wound on the final play of the first half when Wade Wilson connected with Hassan Jones on a 55-yard Hail Mary, a play which the Vikings received when the Saints were called for having 12 players on the field on what should have been the last play in the first half. A half cannot end on a defensive penalty, and the Vikings made the Saints pay the ultimate price.

It didn’t matter. The Vikings were up 24-10 before the Wilson-to-Jones heroics, and they added to the lead in the second half, ending up a 44-10 winner.

The next week, Carter torched the 49ers with 11 catches for 227 yards, a playoff record, in a 36-24 Viking victory at San Francisco. Minnesota came within an eyelash of its first Super Bowl since 1976, but Darrin Nelson dropped a potential game-tying touchdown at the goal line in the NFC championship game in Washington. The Redskins won 17-10, then obliterated John Elway’s Broncos in Super Bowl XXII with the famous 35-point second quarter.

Exactly five years later after the debacle vs. the Vikings, the Saints were again hosting an NFC wild card playoff game. The Saints went 12-4 in 1992, but had to settle for second in the NFC West behind the 14-2 49ers, who swept the season series from New Orleans, negating San Francisco’s loss to the 4-12 Cardinals.

New Orleans was still in search of its first playoff victory when the Eagles invaded the Crescent City on January 3, 1993. The Saints made the playoffs as an 8-8 wild card in 1990 before losing to the Bears in Chicago, then lost to the Falcons at home after capturing the NFC West in 1991, the Saints’ first division title.

Philadelphia entered the 1992 playoffs riding a five-game postseason losing streak, a skid which started in New Orleans when the Eagles lost 27-10 to the Raiders in Super Bowl XV.

One factor working in the Eagles’ favor was Buddy Ryan was no longer coaching them. Ryan lost playoff games in three consecutive seasons between 1988-90, and combined with Ryan’s hatred of his offense despite the heroics of quarterback Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia owner Norman Braman had seen enough and showed Ryan the door.

Rich Kotite had the Eagles in the playoffs after missing out in 1991 despite a 10-6 record. Philadelphia defeated New Orleans 15-13 at Veterans Stadium in the season opener, and that led to the pundits splitting right down the middle as to whether the Eagles or Saints would advance to face the Cowboys in Dallas.

Through three quarters, the Saints led 20-7. It looked like the Saints would finally win a playoff game, and the Eagles would once again choke in the clutch.

Unfortunately for the Saints, football games are four periods.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles stunned not only the 70,000 in the Superdome, but millions of football fans watching on television by ripping off 29 unanswered points to win 36-20.

Fortunately for the Saints, few outside Louisiana noticed their collapse.

Mora and his players had the Houston Oilers to thank.

Earlier that day, the Oilers built a 35-3 lead early in the third quarter in Buffalo, only to completely collapse and allow the Bills to rally and win 41-38 in overtime.

The Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997 and changed their name to the Titans in 1999. The franchise is still searching for its first Super Bowl title. So are the Bills, who lost Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII to the Cowboys after losing XXV to the Giants and XXVI to the Redskins.

Minnesota has lost three more NFC championship games since 1987 (1998, 2000 and 2017).

New Orleans finally shook the playoff monkey in 2000, and won Super Bowl XLIV nine years later. Philadelphia is the reigning Super Bowl champion, the first title for the Eagles since 1960.

Here’s hoping the Saints can live up to the pressure of the NFL’s best team during the regular season and bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy from Atlanta one month from tonight.

Two days late. What’s new, pussycat? (Other than the year)

So much for posting every day in 2019. I was extremely lazy the past two days. Actually, the past three. Too little sleep. Too much junk food. I’m still not feeling up to speed.

The last two weeks of 2018 had enough trouble for two months. Let’s hope that doesn’t repeat in 2019.

Of course, there was the fiasco with the person who didn’t appreciate my wishes for a Merry Christmas. I’ve tried to forget about it, or at least not bring it up until I see Crista again, which happens to be at 0900 tomorrow.

After 7 1/2 years and 236,000 miles, my Chevrolet gave out. It didn’t leave me stranded, but it gave me enough difficult to convince my father to transfer the title on my grandfather’s Buick LeSabre to me.

It had been planned for years. My grandfather’s vision has continuously deteriorated over the past 25 years, and now it is to the point where he cannot see well enough to drive. The Kansas Department of Revenue, which is in charge of processing driver’s licenses, told him his vision was not good enough to keep him on the road. He had been banned from night driving since 2010 and restricted to the city limits of Russell since 2012, but now, he can’t drive, period.

My grandfather’s female companion, Betty, had been driving the Buick, but sadly, she passed away from cancer in October. As soon as that occurred, my father began keeping the Buick at my grandfather’s old shop on East 12th Street.

I was driving to Salina last Friday in the Chevrolet, but when I got to the Wilson exit on Interstate 70, the engine all of a sudden began to power down. There was a message that my traction control system had failed, and that the car needed to reduce power to the engine.

I turned the car off and back on at the Sylvan Grove exit, but still the engine power was down. I drove for 10 miles westbound at 45 to 50 miles per hour (70-80 km/h) and it was scary. I was unhappy I was slowing the flow of traffic, but what else could I do? Finally, I pulled off again at Dorrance, let the car sit for a couple of minutes, and while the service engine light was still on, the engine was back to full power and I drove back to Russell.

That afternoon, my father and I got the paperwork done to transfer the Buick to me. It’s a 2004 LeSabre Limited, with leather interior, heated seats, satellite radio and most of the same accoutrements the Chevrolet has. This is the first car I’ve had since the Oldsmobile without a spoiler on the trunk, and the first since the Oldsmobile where the shifter is on the column and not the floor. Oh well.

As it turned out, I accidentally threw my iPod in the trash when I cleaned out the Chevrolet. I frantically looked for it through all the stuff I took out, but no luck. I have a new one on reserve at the Apple store in Leawood I’ll pick up tomorrow. At least all of my music is secure on my iCloud and computer.

The Buick is so ancient it has a cassette deck. However, it has no plug-in for the cable to go from the iPod to the radio like the Chevrolet did. Fortunately, there is a cassette adapter which will allow sound to come through the iPod to the car speakers. If that weren’t available, I would have had to get a new radio.

My new iPad arrived 24 hours ago. It’s fancy. Huge screen, great video and sound. I was able to give my old one to my parents so they can stream Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

I left the house at 0830 because there was a plumber working on the sink in our kitchen. Stopped at SportClips to see Amber, drove to Wichita to go to the bank, then rocketed back up I-135 to stop at Buffalo Wild Wings for trivia, which I haven’t done since August. Leaving at 2030 because I have the appointment with Crista.

Alabama and Clemson are playing for college football’s national championship Monday. Again. Third time in the last four seasons. It will be that way until either Nick Saban retires, which will leave another school to fill the vacuum. Clemson, meanwhile, should be there for at least another 20 years, because Dabo Swinney is much younger and is having too much fun.

I’m happy LSU beat Central Florida. I am beyond fed up about UCF bragging about its long winning streak, the American Athletic Conference whining about how it should be treated as a power conference when it clearly is not, Danny White (UCF’s athletic director, not the former Cowboys quarterback) bitching about how power schools won’t play him in Orlando….blah blah blah. ENOUGH.

Why should Florida give up a home game in its 92,000-seat stadium to play UCF in its 44,000-seat facility in Orlando? The Gators were offering a 2-for-1 with the Knights, which I think is quite generous. South Florida accepted the offer. Yet UCF thinks one undefeated season gives it the right to make demands when writing contracts. Okay then.

In his early years at Florida State, Bobby Bowden played six or seven road games consistently until the mid-1980s, exposing the Seminoles to numerous hostile environments, using the large paychecks FSU received for playing at LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Michigan. The only schools the Seminoles played home and home in those days were Florida and Miami.

UCF, meanwhile, has its feelings hurt because Florida doesn’t feel like giving up millions in revenue in the name of fairness. Schools are not in the business of losing money. Florida has every right to tell UCF to take its offer or leave it.

I did not follow through on my vow to not watch college football. However, I’m not sad the season ends Monday. I can do without hearing about Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide for a few months.

Nobody in Kansas has been paying attention to college football anyway. It’s all about basketball. Yippee.

I scored a perfect 15,000 in my first trivia game of 2019. It’s not an omen. But imagine if it were.

Exploits of a 12-year old

I swear I need to discipline myself to post every day during 2019, no matter how short or how silly it might be. Actually, short posts might be better considering I have the tendency for posts which fall just short of the length of War and Peace.

I didn’t get to Kansas City until 1915 last night. I had to stay behind in Hays due to an eye exam with Dr. Stacey Jones at 1415. It was the last time I’ll visit her at the corner of Canterbury and 22nd in Hays, because in January, she and her husband will open their own ophthalmology/dentistry private practice in downtown Hays across the corner from the Hays public library, Fox Theater and James Motors. I’ve been seeing Dr. Jones since moving to Kansas in 2005, and she has picked up right where my ophthalmologist in Louisiana, Dr. Martin Schoenberger, left off. Both have been great caring for my vision.

I ended up sending out 73 Christmas cards. So, far one has been labeled returned to sender. One person was not happy that I looked up their address and sent a card. Peggy, Caitlyn, Brenda, Dorinda and a few others, some of whom were middle school classmates of mine in 1988 and ’89, were much happier. They’ll stay on the list for 2019. The complainer won’t.

Tuesday was the 30th anniversary of my only memorable athletic achievement.

I played youth basketball for the local playground, Carolyn Park, for three years in the 1980s. My last year was in the 1988-89 season, when I played on Carolyn Park’s 11-year old team (I was 12 by time the season started, but since I had an October birthday, I played with the 11-year olds, as did my Arabi Park Middle classmate, Jason Malasovich). The goals were only 8 1/2 feet high, and the free throw lanes were trapezoidal shaped like they were in international basketball at the time, albeit narrower than what was used both internationally and the NBA.

On the afternoon of Dec. 18, 1988, Carolyn Park played Versailles, which was located at the junction of Paris Road and St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette, not too far from the ferry landing where the boats which ran between Chalmette and the Algiers section of New Orleans would take on cars.

There were six playgrounds in St. Bernard Parish. Carolyn Park was the farthest west, taking in the community of Arabi, which stretched from the city limits of New Orleans about two miles to the east. Three–Vista, Versailles and Rebel–were in Chalmette, the largest community in St. Bernard. Bournemouth (spelled the same as the city on the south coast of England) was in Meraux and Violet, and then Kenilworth took in the eastern third of the parish.

Carolyn Park didn’t have its own gym, so the game was played at Bournemouth. Four nights earlier, my team played Kenilworth at Bournemouth’s gym, and I had a decent game, scoring six points and blocking a shot from behind. I blocked the shot from 12 feet at its apex and it flew out of bounds. I could hear my mother and brother cheering that one.

Jason was one of three very good players that Carolyn Park team had. The others wer the guards, Chad Nuccio, son of our coach, A.J. Nuccio, and Trey Guillot, who later enjoyed a stellar baseball career at Holy Cross before pitching for Tulane. I wasn’t athletic enough to be a starter, but I came of the bench and did what needed to be done, mostly rebounding, good defense and points here and there.

In the game vs. Versailles, I scored on a pair of jump shots from the foul line in the second period, and it helped Carolyn Park lead 30-15 at halftime.

In the second half, Versailles came back. It had a couple of future high school varsity starters, Brett Tessitore (Archbishop Hannah) and Michael Marques (Brother Martin); Michael was in my graduating class at Brother Martin, and his dad and my dad worked together at Air Products and Chemicals.

Foul trouble nearly crippled Carolyn Park. Five players fouled out, including Chad and Jason. I would have been on the bench the entire second half, but the starter who played my position, Alex Dupre, fouled out with three minutes left. I knew it was his fifth foul, and coach Nuccio sent me into the game.

As the fouls began to pile up, I got so angry I slammed the ball with 90 seconds left. It was right in front of an official. I should have been given a technical foul. He let it go. He must have known I was frustrated.

With 30 seconds left, Carolyn Park was down to four players. Basketball rules allow a team to play with fewer than five if players foul out or are ejected, but you cannot start a game with fewer than five.

I thought I would be gone with another foul, but it turned out I had three. With 12 seconds left, Versailles missed the front end of a one-and-one (the double bonus was not adopted in high school basketball until 1995-96), leaving it ahead 45-44.

Trey pulled down the rebound and sped down the left sideline with a beautiful left-handed dribble. His layup was off the mark.

The rebound came down to the right side of the lane to #14. ME.

From seven feet away, I put an awkward-looking jumper.

It skimmed the backboard and fell through with two seconds left.

Versailles called timeout. I was mobbed by my teammates and coaches. All we had to do was defend and my shot would be the winner.

Versailles threw a long pass which was tipped and bounced harmlessly away. Carolyn Park won 46-45.

Of course, I got a hugely inflated head over the shot. I bragged about it the next two days at Arabi Park. Thankfully for Jason, Shawn O’Neil (who was a damn good player for Vista) and my other classmates, school let out that Tuesday for the holidays.

The shot went to my head. I played like crap the next two games, and my dad suggested after the second, a 19-point loss to Rebel, that I quit because I wasn’t committed.

The Thursday after Christmas, I wasn’t feeling well. I was battling a cold, and I had to wear long sleeves under my jersey. Carolyn Park played Bournemouth all the way at Kenilworth at the other end of the parish.

I was on the bench in the first quarter. In the second quarter, I went off.

Ten points in six minutes. I went to the foul line for the first time that season and swished both shots. I played the entire second half and finished with 14 points in Carolyn Park’s 53-34 victory.

The night before my big game, Shawn O’Neil held his 12th birthday party at Showbiz Pizza in Algiers, across the Mississippi River from St. Bernard Parish. Showbiz was Chuck E. Cheese’s competitor in the 1980s, and both places advertised heavily on the four main New Orleans television stations. Chuck E. Cheese was on the Metairie-Kenner line on Veterans Highway in Jefferson Parish.

Shawn’s dad insisted on taking the ferry to Algiers. I begged him not to. I HATED HTE FERRY. I hated it. I knew all about the infamous incident in 1976 (exactly one week after I was born) when a drunken ferry pilot did not see a huge tanker crossing the river in St. Charles Parish. The boats collided, and all of the cars went into the river. Of the 94 people on board the ferry, 78 perished.

My mother took the ferry often to visit her mother, who lived in Algiers from 1970 until her death in 1992. It made some sense before October 1988, when the second span of the Greater New Orleans Bridge (now the Crescent City Connection) opened. When it was one bridge and there were only two lanes of traffic in each direction, an accident could cause delays of up to six hours in some cases.

I tried to get girls in our class at Arabi Park, especially Stacie Dauterive (now Seube) invitations, but the O’Neils said no way.

Jason and I had to play in a Christmas concert in New Orlean’s’ Jackson Square with the Arabi Park Middle band the day before I hit my game-winning shot. It was chilly and windy. Good preparation for my future life as it turned out.

Shawn, Jason, Stacie and a few others from Arabi Park were on my Christmas card list. I would give anything to see all of them. I’m very happy that rift has been repaired. It was pretty ugly when I left Arabi Park after seventh grade for Brother Martin. I lorded Brother Martin over them much worse than that game-winning shot, and it was little wonder why they were glad to see me continue my education at 4401 Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.

Apparently, forgiveness is a four-letter word to some I’ve known through the years. Sad.

Smokers and broken air conditioners. UGH!

The Chiefs choked it away last night. The Chargers scored 15 points in the final five minutes to stun Kansas City (aka Mahomesland) 29-28, scoring a touchdown and the game-winning 2-point conversion with four seconds remaining. I think Chargers coach Anthony Lynn was reckless by going for 2, but hey, it worked, so he’s a hero.

Last night started very well but then took a deep dive.

I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to deliver Tori her Christmas card, then stayed to play trivia. At 1900, 20 minutes prior to kickoff at Arrowhead, I went outside despite a temperature of 3 Celsius (37 F) to avoid the crowd and concentrate better on trivia. I brought two layers to wear between my base shirt and parka, so I was fine there. Head covered. Fingers a little cold, but once I started using my stylus, I could keep my gloves on.

The bad thing is Missouri’s smoking laws are far less stringent than Kansas’, so people can go out to the patio and smoke. For the first hour I was outside, the smokers were courteous enough to stay far away from me and not blow the smoke towards me.

How bad is Missouri? Many municipalities, including Cape Girardeau and several suburbs in the St. Louis area, have smoking sections in restaurants and bars. The city of St. Louis has a smoking ban, but many cities in St. Louis County don’t. St. Charles County, home to St. Charles and St. Peters, didn’t have one either until very recently, and articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted angry smokers pissed about it.


In case you don’t know, I DESPISE SMOKING. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe how much I hate it. I would rather a person do heroin than smoke cigarettes.I will never smoke marijuana, but it is far less addictive than nicotine, so why are cigarettes legal and marijuana isn’t in most states? Even cocaine is less addictive than nicotine. And the worst thing about tobacco smoke is it makes me choke and of course ruins one’s lungs.

I have plenty of anger towards my mother because she smoked while she was pregnant with me, and I firmly believe it caused my Autistic Spectrum Disorder. My father smoked much more than my mother until he finally quit cold turkey three days after Labor Day 1985. He has stayed off of it for 33 years. I’m convinced if he continued to smoke, he would not have made it to Y2K.

Just after 2000 (8 p.m., not the year) an employee decided to smoke right across from me. I asked the asshole to move, but he claimed since he was an employee, he could go anywhere to smoke, even if it was as annoying as hell to a patron.

If I were that person’s supervisor and a customer complained to me about this employee being discourteous by smoking right in front of the patron, I would have fired him on the spot. Yet this piece of fecal matter still is employed by Buffalo Wild Wings.

It got worse when patrons stood right next to the door or close enough to where I was sitting and blew the smoke right towards me.  I had to walk around the patio holding the tablet to play trivia to avoid them.

I got fed up and went inside despite the mass of humanity. Now I know to sit at the end of the patio closest to Interstate 29 (north end) to avoid the smoke as best as possible.

It got worse when I got back to the hotel.

The air conditioning in my room at the KCI Hilton is not working as of now. SHIT.

At least it’s December 13. If it were March 13 through October 13, I’d be pissed beyond belief. It was still too warm; I barely got any sleep, and the sleep I got was on top of the covers. I was ready to check out this morning and find a new hotel, but I will give these people a chance to fix it. If it isn’t fixed, I will demand compensation and probably never stay here again.

Oh boy. Let me get out of this hotel room Epton!

Friday Night (bright) Lights?

The NFL’s insistence on playing Thursday night games has drawn criticism from every corner: players, coaches, owners, media, fans and just about anyone else who has an opinion about the sport.

Three days is a very short turnaround in a sport as brutal as football. However, these men are being paid very good money to play a game, so I don’t feel very sorry for them. If they don’t like it, they ought to try spending day after day after day in the shoes of a coal miner, a construction worker or a farmer.

The NFL should seriously consider playing on Friday if it feels it must have a national game on a weeknight. Yes, I am well aware high school football is the big thing on Friday nights, but there would be a way to make both the NFL and the high schools happy.

To alleviate the problems a Friday night game would cause for the high schools, the NFL could release the Friday night schedule well before the rest of the schedule. That way, high schools in the two cities which are involved in the NFL game in a given week could have plenty of time to rearrange the high school schedule.

For instance, if the Chiefs played the Broncos on a Friday night, high schools in the Kansas City and Denver areas would simply move games to Thursday night or Saturday afternoon. This would NOT be required, but it would be suggested if a school fears it would lose gate revenue. Teams could still play on Friday if they wished.

This might cause problems in cities where there are a large number of teams sharing a municipal stadium. This comes to mind in New Orleans, where five Catholic schools and several public ones play home games in one of two stadiums in City Park. There are usually six windows for games in Tad Gormley and Pan American: Thursday afternoon, Thursday night, Friday afternoon, Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Saturday night. Sometimes Saturday games are played in the morning.

Until Pan American opened in 1973, Tad Gormley was the only municipal stadium for high school football in New Orleans. Games were often played on Sunday afternoon and Sunday night. This continued even after the Saints came into the NFL in 1967. The high schools did not usually schedule games at the stadium when the Saints were playing at home, but often did when the Saints were on the road. The last regularly scheduled Sunday game was in November 1987 when Shaw defeated Jesuit 21-0.

In Kansas City, this would be a problem at Olathe, Shawnee Mission and Blue Valley, where five schools share two stadiums in each district. St. Thomas Aquinas, Bishop Miege and Rockhurst all have their own stadiums, as do schools in Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit. Liberty and Park Hill each have one stadium shared by two schools, and one is usually on the road when the other is home.

Fridays would allow more rest from a Sunday game. On the back end, it would be only one less day off.

I’m a firm believer the NFL should give each team two byes. Start the season the weekend of Labor Day like it used to be. I don’t get why the NFL is so against playing before Labor Day. Sure, they say it’s because of the colleges, but I don’t buy it. The NFL tried this in 1993, but teams complained. I think it would be good.

If teams had two byes, no team would be allowed to have a bye before week five, meaning each team would play at least four games before their first bye. Then no team would have a bye AFTER week 14, meaning all teams would play the final four weeks consecutively. There, problem solved.

The NFL could have its usual Thursday night kickoff game. No Thursday night games weeks two, three and four; instead, there would be a Monday night game, with one game kicking off at 1800 Eastern, and the other kicking at 2145 Eastern (1845 Pacific); ostensibly, you would attempt to have two western teams in the late slot, but not force any east coast teams to play in the west.

I could live without Thursday night football. I lived without it for the first 37 years of my life. I don’t watch the games much on Thursdays. Why the heck does the NFL need the money? It’s not like they’re filing for bankruptcy tomorrow.

Faster than Santa’s sleigh

I spent most of the second half of yesterday preparing more than two dozen Christmas cards. I had to get them done before the end of this week so they arrive in their destinations before Christmas.

I sent Peggy and Caitlyn’s cards in a FedEx envelope to Norton. I was shocked to learn the envelope arrived yesterday. I dropped the envelope in the FedEx box on 7th Street in Hays across from Crista’s office Tuesday afternoon. I selected two-day delivery, so that meant Thursday.

Yet by 1700 yesterday, I discovered via e-mail the envelope had been delivered. Peggy told me that they came. She was waiting to open her card until Caitlyn got home from Ottawa Saturday.

The FedEx I sent to St. Joseph’s Academy with cards for Brenda and Dorinda also arrived a day early. However, that wasn’t so shocking, since Baton Rouge is much easier to access than Norton.

Both envelopes went from Hays to the sorting facility in Salina, which is off of Interstate 135 between the exits at Schilling and Water Well Roads. From Salina, they got on the plane to Memphis.

From there, the St. Joseph’s envelope flew straight to New Orleans, then was driven to Baton Rouge. Easy enough.

The one to the Cox residence took a more serpentine route. From Memphis, the envelope flew to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield, which is on the Missouri River on the Nebraska/Iowa state line, about 3 km east of TD Ameritrade Ballpark, home of the College World Series.

From Omaha, the envelope made its way to North Platte, 283 miles (456 km) to the west on Interstate 80. It wasn’t driven there, because it would have been easier to peel off I-80 at Elm Creek, drive south on US 183 into Kansas, then take K-383 to US 36 to Norton. It was flown there, but North Platte’s airport is nowhere near big enough to handle the large planes FedEx uses flying from Memphis. I’d like to know what kind of plane ferried the envelope west.

The final journey from North Platte to Norton was on the ground, meaning the driver got to go on some very narrow highways though quaint towns like Elwood and Arapahoe.

When FedEx delivers to Russell, it goes through Salina then goes on the truck there for delivery. UPS has a sort facility in Hays about 2 km west of Hays High and not too far from the Hays airport, so it goes through there.

Peggy and I were both amazed at the speed with which FedEx got the delivery done. For the record, it was 28 hours from drop off to delivery at the Cox residence.

I’m guessing the cards I mailed will take a little bit longer. The cards heading to Dan Borne’s residence in Baton Rouge will arrive for certain by Saturday because I used Priority Mail, but the others? Some in Louisiana may take a week. That, combined with rapidly rising costs, is why many Americans hate the U.S. Postal Service. I don’t hate them for certain, but I do have my beefs occasionally.

I had to mail four cards to the Borne residence–one for Dan and Lisette, one for Elizabeth, one for Rebecca, plus a birthday card for Rebecca, since her birthday is next Friday. Coincidentally, the Bornes’ youngest child, David, was born 21 December 1983, so Rebecca’s seventh birthday party never happened. Or it happened at Our Lady of the Lake hospital.

I went back and forth on sending cards to quite a few people, but I didn’t say no to anyone I listed originally. And then I thought about those I missed while driving today. That happens.

If you happen to receive a card from me in the coming days, please complain in the comments. Or text me with your complaints at 785-324-2453. Have a great day.

If it’s not the Chiefs, it doesn’t mean squat in KC

Kansas City (Mahomesland) is oblivious to the outside world today. The only thing which matters to most in the city of 460,000, and the metropolitan area of 2.5 million, is what will happen at Arrowhead Stadium starting at 1915 this evening.

For the uninitiated, the Kansas City Chiefs are having one of their best seasons of the 56 the team has played in the City of Fountains. The Chiefs are 11-2 heading into tonight’s game with the Los Angeles Chargers, and barring a collapse, will win the AFC West and have a first round bye in the playoffs.

Should the Chiefs win all three of their remaining games–Chargers tonight, at Seattle Dec. 23 and at home vs. Oakland Dec. 30–they will finish with their best regular season record in franchise history. Only once before have the Chiefs lost only two games in a regular season. That was 1968, when Kansas City and Oakland finished tied atop the American Football League’s West division at 12-2.

Tiebreakers were not in effect in the AFL in 1968. It wouldn’t have mattered, since the Raiders and Chiefs each beat the other in their home stadium during the regular season. Therefore, the Chiefs and Raiders had to play a third time for the West division championship, with the winner heading to New York to face Joe Namath’s Jets for the AFL berth in Super Bowl III.

As fate had it, the Chiefs lost the coin toss to determine the home team, so they had to jet to Oakland. Sure enough, the Raiders were lying in wait, and won 41-6. The Raiders lost 27-23 to the Jets in the AFL championship game, and…most football fans and those who aren’t football fans probably know the rest.

Due to the Chiefs not making the playoffs despite going 12-2 in 1968, the AFL allowed the second place teams in each division qualify for the playoffs in 1969, the last year before the merger with the NFL. Kansas City went 11-3 compared to Oakland’s 12-1-1 that season, and the Raiders won both meetings. However, with new life due to the expanded playoffs, the Chiefs took full advantage, winning in New York AND Oakland before rolling over Minnesota in Super Bowl IV.

Back to the present. The Chiefs are on the verge of having the best record in the AFC for just the fourth time since the merger. Each time the Chiefs had that distinction, they lost in their first playoff game: 1971 to the Dolphins in the famous double overtime Christmas marathon, 1995 to the Colts, who had to win their last regular season game just to squeeze into the playoffs, and 1997 to the Broncos, who finally ended their Super Bowl hex when they defeated the Packers three weeks after.

Back to the present. The Chiefs NEED home field advantage in the playoffs (not counting the Super Bowl, which is in Atlanta), since Thomas Edward Brady and his New England Patriots are nearly invincible at Foxborough during the postseason. The Patriots won two AFC championship games in Pittsburgh in 2001 and ’04, but since then, they have failed to reach the Super Bowl when they have to travel in the postseason. Baltimore has won twice in Foxborough (2009 wild card, 2012 AFC Championship), but it is not worth pressing your luck if you’re Andy Reid.

If Kansas City wins tonight, it will need to only defeat Seattle or Oakland to clinch home field. The Seattle game is almost a throwaway, since it’s against an NFC team and has no bearing on tiebreakers. However, the Patriots have the won that counts the most, winning 43-40 over the Chiefs at Foxborough the night after my birthday.

Red is the color of the day. But instead of green, it’s complimented by gold.

I’m in my usual area of Kansas City near KCI. I want nothing to do with Interstate 70 today. Fans are being encouraged to arrive at Arrowhead by 1600 if at all possible, because after that, I-70 will be jammed with cars driving from downtown towards Interstate 435, and further east of the stadiums towards Independence and Blue Springs. Many downtown stadiums, such as the Superdome, don’t have as many traffic worries for weeknight games, since people are coming into downtown, but in Kansas City, it’s different, since the stadiums are 8 to 10 miles (14 to 22 km) east of downtown. Add in the fans who will be coming from Kansas, and it will add up to hell on the highways.

I’m tired. I might not make it to the end of the game. I don’t care who wins. I’m not a Chiefs fan. My loyalties lie with the team in my native city, and to a couple of others. The Chargers are due to win since losing nine straight to Kansas City, including a 38-28 setback on opening day at Carson, when Chiefs fans outnumbered Chargers fans 3 to 2. However, if Melvin Gordon, the Chargers’ top running back and one of the best in the game, doesn’t play, I just can’t see Phillip Rivers carrying the team by himself.

The Chiefs should win. But anything can happen in the NFL, especially in a division game between two teams which are a combined 21-5.

November ends with a flurry

I spent SIX HOURS at Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa yesterday, more time I’ve spent there in a single day in a long, long time. Finally, the restaurant has new tablets to play trivia after saying for over a year it was getting new ones. The first one I used locked up on me after 20 minutes, and I was logged off the second one a couple of times, but after 1415, I was good.

Robb and Theresa showed up for a couple of hours. I hadn’t seen Robb since the day before my birthday, which is a long time, although I’ve gone longer without seeing him.

Three big pieces of news happened yesterday. Well, two big pieces happened and one didn’t.

The one that didn’t involved Kansas State and its fossilized football coach.

Bill Snyder is still the football coach of the Wildcats, despite calls from most respected members of the media in Kansas and Kansas City and most Wildcat fans for Snyder to call it a career.

Snyder was expected to meet with K-State athletic director Gene Taylor Wednesday. No meeting. Then Thursday. No meeting. Then Friday. No meeting. Today, Snyder is acting like he will be the coach in 2019, hosting recruits at the Vanier Football Complex, the impressive facility at the north end of Bill Snyder Family Stadium which was considered nothing more than a pipe dream when he was hired 30 years ago Friday.

Kevin Kietzman, who hosts the 1400-1800 show on WHB 810 AM in Kansas City weekdays, has advocated for Jim Leavitt, the former South Florida coach who was once an assistant under Snyder, to be the new Wildcat leader. Leavitt, currently the defensive coordinator under Mario Cristobal at Oregon, had a brutality charge leveled against him in 2009 which led to his ouster at USF. The details are murky, and while he would not be my first choice, he is far more palatable than the option Bill Snyder wants.

Of course, Bill Snyder wants his pride and joy, son Sean, to be his successor. Sean Snyder was an All-American punter under his father during Bill’s first four seasons in Manhattan, and has been at K-State ever since. He has NEVER been an offensive or defensive coordinator. He has NEVER even been a regular position coach, instead coordinating the Wildcat special teams for the last 26 seasons (Sean was kept on by Ron Prince during his three seasons).

If Bill really wanted Sean to succeed him, he should have given him full responsibility over one side of the ball when he returned in 2009. Better yet, Bill should have encouraged Sean to branch out and become a head coach somewhere else. He could have done it at one of the four Division II schools in Kansas (Fort Hays State, Emporia State, Pittsburg State, Washburn), or a Division I school (FBS or FCS) outside the Power 5.

Instead, Sean has stayed inside the cocoon working for daddy, refusing to even INTERVIEW for another position. It smacks of pure nepotism. It’s as if Sean believes the head coaching position at K-State is his birthright. It isn’t.

This reminds me of the situation at Texas after Darrell Royal retired in 1976. I wasn’t born until the middle of the 1976 college football season, so it doesn’t remind me per se, but I read about this in the early 1990s.

Royal lobbied the Texas Board of Regents hard to name his defensive coordinator, Mike Campbell, as his successor, but the board rejected Royal’s suggestion and instead hired Fred Akers, who coached defensive backs on the Longhorns’ 1969 and 1970 championship teams. The reason: Akers left Austin to be the head coach at Wyoming in 1975 and ’76, leading the Cowboys to the Western Athletic Conference championship in the latter season. Campbell had no head coaching experience. Akers went 86-34-2 in 10 seasons at Texas, but was fired after going 5-6 in 1986.

I believe Snyder will coach the Wildcats through spring practice and fall camp. He’ll lead the team in the season opener against Nicholls State (the team which beat Kansas in this year’s season opener). He will announce his retirement to the team at halftime. When the game is over, Snyder will be carried off on his player’s shoulders. When the team reaches the locker room, Bill will find his wife, Sharon, and the two will walk straight out of the Vanier Complex into a waiting limousine. Sean will go to the press conference and announce he’s in charge.

It might be a little far-fetched this could happen without Taylor and K-State President General Richard Myers knowing, but stranger things have happened.

If you’ve read my blogs, you’re aware I don’t worship Snyder like many in Kansas do. In fact, I find him to be grossly overrated. But I won’t go into detail again.

The thing which DID happen to affect the sports scene in these parts involved Kareem Hunt, who went from NFL rushing champion to unemployed in the space of 11 months.

The Chiefs star was released at 1900, six hours after TMZ released video of a February incident in the lobby of a Cleveland hotel which saw Hunt push away, then strike, a 19-year old woman. Hunt lied to the Chiefs and told Clark Hunt, Brett Veach and Andy Reid the incident was nothing to worry about and it wasn’t serious.

Hunt obviously did not listen when his high school history teacher lectured on Watergate. Yes, what Hunt did was terrible and he should have been punished. But covering it up and openly lying about it got him in much more trouble than he could have dreamed of.

Had Hunt told the truth, he would have likely been suspended. That would have been the bad news. The good news would have been he probably would still be employed by the Chiefs, who undoubtedly would have paid to get Hunt the help he needed to prevent this from happening again. He might not have been able to use the team facilities to keep in shape, but I’m sure the Chiefs would have reimbursed the expenses of a private trainer and gym membership.

Hunt is a PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE. In the United States, professional athletes are under the microscope constantly, which says this country is screwed up, but they know once they put on an NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL uniform, they are immediately subject the same scrutiny as an amoeba under an electron microscope.

Kareem Hunt has nobody to blame but Kareem Hunt for his unemployment. He won’t be unemployed long, because undoubtedly some team will claim him on waivers. If the Browns have the chance to claim him, he’ll be playing behind Baker Mayfield beginning next season, since (a) Cleveland GM John Dorsey drafted Hunt in Kansas City, and (b) Hunt grew up in Willoughby, an eastern suburb of Cleveland.

The much more important news of Friday came at 2230, when it was announced George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st President of the United States, passed away at 94.

Death is always sad, but in this case, nobody will be sad for too long. President Bush lived a wonderful life, and now he is joining his soulmate, Barbara, who passed away earlier this year.

What did President Bush not do? Fighter pilot in World War II. Oil tycoon. U.S. Representative. Chairman of the Republican National Committee. US Ambassador to the United Nations. CIA Director. Vice President. President. Father of a President, Grandfather. Great grandfather.

Of course, there will be a state funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, the same way one was held for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford (Richard Nixon declined the state funeral, instead holding a simple service at his presidential library in. Yorba Linda, California). Then Bush will be buried next to Barbara at his library at Texas A&M, meaning the Bushes will be about the 13th and 14th most prominent figures buried on the A&M campus, trailing all the Revile mascots through the years. Just kidding.

I’m guessing George W. Bush will speak at the funeral. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama might. I don’t know about the current Commander in Chief. Given the elder Bush’s love of sports, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a few sports figures speak in College Station. Among my guesses would be Nolan Ryan (George W owned the Texas Rangers before he was elected Governor of Texas, Ryan played for the Astros, and now he’s an executive in Houston), Justin Verlander (George HW and Barbara were often spotted in the very front row behind home plate at Minute Maid Park during Astros games) and Jimbo Fisher.

RIP, President Bush. You’ve earned that right and then some.

Midway through the second quarter of the Big 12 football championship game, Texas leads Oklahoma 14-6. SIX POINTS in 23 minutes? Did the Sooners leave their offense in Norman?

Oops, check that. Sooners just scored a touchdown. Now 14-13 Longhorns with five minutes left before halftime.

Revisiting November 1978 (again)

I stand by my post of 19 November 2018. Harvey Milk had very close ties to Jim Jones and The People’s Temple, and Milk had a lot of help from Jones and Temple members in getting elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

I received a comment on the 19 November 2018 post, calling me a homophobe. The person did not have the guts to give his or her name.

Fine. That’s your right, sir or madam. It is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The First Amendment also protects my rights to say Harvey Milk is not someone deserving of a state holiday. Harvey Milk Day is every May 22 in California. If Harvey Milk has a holiday, then why doesn’t Ronald Reagan, who served two terms as Governor of California AND President of the United States?

I do not care that Mr. Milk was homosexual. That was Mr. Milk’s business and his business alone. People can be homosexual all they want. I don’t care. It isn’t affecting me. I’d rather children be raised by two loving homosexual parents than by a heterosexual couple which sees the man abusing the woman or vice versa.

What I do care about is Mr. Milk, along with San Francisco mayor George Moscone and many other power brokers in California and other places (read: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC) let Jim Jones dig his tentacles deep into them, blinding them to a man who brainwashed so many then killed them.

The 40th anniversary of the murders of Milk and Moscone by Dan White was this past Tuesday. What Mr. White did was exceedingly evil. Cowardly. Dastardly. Yes, Mr. White had every right to be angry with Mr. Moscone for double-crossing him by not re-appointing him to the board upon advice from Mr. Milk. It did not give him any right to illegally enter San Francisco City Hall with a gun and shoot two men in the head at point blank range. Mr. White escaped the gas chamber only because he came up with this ridiculous “Twinkie Defense,” claiming junk food altered his mental state and his brain told him to go murder Moscone and Milk.

I have eaten tonnes and tonnes of junk food in my lifetime. Not once have I felt the urge to harm someone, let alone murder them, after eating Twinkies, Fritos, Doritos, Oreos, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Zapp’s potato chips, or any other form of junk food. It was too bad Dan White was able to walk out of prison after serving just five years.

White committed suicide in October 1985. Too bad it occurred in the garage of his house in San Francisco, not in the gas chamber at San Quentin.

I didn’t learn about Mosocne and Milk’s ties to Jim Jones until the early 1990s, long after both were senselessly murdered by White. If I had been old enough in November 1978 to know about Moscone and Milk’s ties to Jones, I certainly would have written a letter to the editor of my local newspaper calling White an evil bastard for committing the murders, but also urged people not to be so quick to martyr Moscone and Milk, because they had dark secrets they took with them to their graves.

That’s it. End of discussion. Readers, you are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine. But let’s be civil about it.