Brewers survive; I must drive

Well,, the Brewers tried to give it away last night. Fortunately, they didn’t, and held on to beat the Dodgers 6-5 in game one of the National League Championship Series.

I listened to the second inning driving from Minsky’s to the hotel. Manny Machado hit a leadoff home run off Gio Gonzalez. I screamed to myself I knew it would happen. Therefore, I chose not to put myself through the ringer and watch the game. The Brewers ended up taking a 5-1 lead in the fourth, and I finally watched a few batters in the seventh.

I went to bed right after that. Luckily I wasn’t awake to see the Dodgers rally.

Game two is at 1500 today. I’ll be out and about so I won’t have to torture myself. Houston and Boston play at 1900 to open the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park.

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My day has taken an unexpected turn. Actually, it took the turn last night just before I left Minsky’s.

I looked up the weather and saw the chance of snow in western and central Kansas for Sunday has increased greatly. The timing could not have been worse for a potential late morning return: by 0800 in Hays, 0900 in Russell, and 1100 in Salina. And worse, there is going to be accumulations from 2 to 4 inches in Hays and Russell.

Yikes. And tomorrow is only October 14.

Last October 14, I was running around in shorts with no sweatshirt. I wore a floral print shirt on my birthday, the same one I wore to eat with my dad, Brenda and Dorinda in Baton Rouge exactly six months later.

This October 14, I was going to be wearing a turtleneck and sweatshirt to drive home. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be enough. I was hitting myself (mentally only) for not packing my parka.

Now, I’ll be waking up in my own bed Sunday.

I’m driving home right after Ottawa plays volleyball. It’s not a bad drive–US 59 to Lawrence, then Interstate 70 home. US 59 is four lanes and controlled access between Ottawa and Lawrence, and I won’t have to go through the city of Lawrence (especially the KU campus) since K-10 goes around the west side to I-70. It will be about the same time (four hours) as going from Kansas City to Russell.

I drove home from Kansas City in the late, late hours on my 37th birthday (2013) to beat bad weather. I drove from Emporia to Abilene to Russell on my 30th birthday (2006), not getting home until after 11. Therefore, it’s nothing new.

It isn’t the worst thing to be going home early. Probably a good thing. Lots of work to do.

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LSU plays Georgia in a supposedly huge Southeastern Conference game today. I hate to say it, but Georgia is going to run roughshod over the Bayou Bengals in my opinion. I can’t see LSU staying close for long. I like the Bulldogs 37-17. I won’t be watching that, either.

The final hour of my 42nd year is underway. In 45 minutes, year #43 officially starts.

Brewers in (extremely) rarefied air

Tonight, the Dodgers and Brewers begin the National League championship series in Milwaukee. The roof will certainly be closed.

Good thing Bud Selig demanded it when Miller Park was built. At least the Brewers don’t have to worry about freeze outs in April like the Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Indians and Pirates often have to put up with, and the Royals, Cardinals, Rockies, Phillies, Reds, Yankees, Mets, Orioles and Nationals sometimes do, and the Blue Jays did before Skydome (now Rogers Centre) was built. Even the Rangers and Braves have had a game iced out every so often. The Rangers won’t have to worry about that anymore starting in 2020 when their retractable roof stadium opens next to Jerry World.

The Dodgers, of course, are one of baseball’s iconic franchises. Dem Bums, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider and Don Newcombe, then Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Tommy Lasorda in Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw has done just about everything in his Hall of Fame career except win a World Series. He could cement his plaque in Cooperstown if the Dodgers win it this year, especially when the American League champion, the Red Sox or Astros, will be heavily favored in the World Series.

The Brewers? Put it this way: the Dodgers have won 48 games in the World Series and six championships, and since 1969, have won two World Series and lost in four others. Tonight will be the Brewers 36th postseason game in franchise history. The sweep of the Rockies in the division series brought the franchise’s all-time postseason record to 17-18.

The franchise didn’t even begin in Milwaukee. It started life in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots. The original owner of the Pilots, Dewey Soriano, was grossly undercapitalized, and there was no suitable stadium anywhere near Seattle for Major League Baseball. The bond issue to build the stadium which became the Kingdome was approved in 1968, but even if construction began immediately, it would not be ready before 1971.

The idea in Seattle was to begin in 1971, along with a new team in Kansas City, which lost the Athletics to Oakland after the 1967 season. However, Stuart Symington, a U.S. Senator from Missouri, demanded Major League Baseball grant Kansas City a new franchise in 1969, or he would introduce a bill to revoke MLB’s antitrust exemption.

It was a reverse move of how the New Orleans Saints were born, when, in 1966, Senator Russell Long and U.S. Representative Hale Boggs agreed to introduce legislation to provide the National Football League an antitrust exemption to merge with the American Football League if New Orleans were granted a franchise.

Baseball commissioner Spike Eckert–who would be fired by owners at the end of the 1968 World Series–and American League president Joe Cronin bowed to Symington’s threat, and American League owners did not want an imbalanced schedule where every team would be force to sit for at least two periods per season, so they awarded Soriano and William R. Daley, who almost moved the Cleveland Indians to Seattle (before the Indians almost moved to New Orleans), the Pilots.

If baseball wanted to do it right AND appease Symington, the best idea would have been to give Kansas City and either Montreal or San Diego a franchise in 1969, and have Seattle and the other city wait until 1972 so the Kingdome would be ready for sure.

The Pilots had to pay the Pacific Coast League $1 million since the minor league club which played in Sick’s Stadium had to relocate to accommodate the Pilots (the minor league team didn’t move far–to Tacoma). Sick’s Stadium wasn’t up to MLB standards, and it was hastily expanded, but still short of the 30,000 minimum capacity. Worse, the plumbing often got clogged by overflow crowds, and visiting teams had no hot water for showers on many a day and night.

Soriano was meeting in secret with Bud Selig, then a Milwaukee automobile magnate, to sell the Pilots. Selig would then move the team to Milwaukee to become the Brewers. Milwaukee had been without MLB since the Braves left for Atlanta after the 1965 season, hosted the White Sox for 10 games in 1968 and 11 more in ’69, and the attendance for those games was triple that what the team averaged in Chicago during those seasons.

The deal between Soriano and Selig was consummated in Baltimore on the opening day of the 1969 World Series, but Washington state called in its political heavyweights, the same way Louisiana and Missouri did.

The Evergreen State had two very powerful Democratic U.S. Senators at the time, Warren Magnuson and Henry “Scoop” Jackson. They, along with Washington attorney general (and future successor to both) Slade Gorton, went to federal court to block the sale and give MLB to find an owner which would keep the team in Seattle.

Two potential deals failed. Soriano and Daley fell into bankruptcy, and came very close to a deadline which, if the players and staff had not been paid, would have made the players free agents and left MLB with 23 teams, not 24, for 1970.

Meanwhile, the Pilots were training in Arizona, not knowing where they would be playing 81 games in 1970. The moving trucks which left Arizona with equipment stopped in Salt Lake City, not knowing whether to drive north or east.

Finally, six days before Opening Day, bankruptcy judge Sidney Volinn awarded the franchise to Allan H. Selig. The Pilots were now the Milwaukee Brewers.

Selig originally envisioned the Brewers wearing the Braves’ colors of scarlet and navy, but it was too late to order new uniforms, so the new Milwaukee team took the field in the Pilots’ colors, royal blue and gold. The colors stuck through 1993, after which the Brewers went to navy blue and old gold, and even added green for three seasons (1994-96).

Milwaukee’s early teams were terrible. The Brewers played in the American League West in 1970 and ’71, building impressive rivalries with the Twins and White Sox. Then, inexplicably, they were moved to the AL East in 1972 when the Washington Senators became the Rangers. MLB would have been just fine keeping the Rangers in the East; after all, the Dallas Cowboys competed in the NFC East. Instead, the AL stunted the Brewers-Twins and Brewers-White Sox rivalries until 1994, when all three were (briefly) in the AL Central together.

The Brewers didn’t enjoy a winning season until 1978. To be fair, though, the Expos were horrid until 1979, and the Padres didn’t succeed until 1984, but since the Royals went the full five games with the Yankees in the 1976 and ’77 ALCS, Milwaukee fans were getting restless.

In 1978, the logo which has been called “the most clever in all American professional sports” was created. The famous ball-in-glove logo shaped in a lower case “m” and “b”. The asshole who changed that logo after 1993 needs to be found and beaten brutally. Why the team won’t wear the logo full-time is beyond me.

In 1981, the Brewers made the playoffs due to Bowie Kuhn’s asinine decision to split the season because of the players’ strike which cancelled games from June 12-August 8. Milwaukee had the best record in the AL East in the second half, earning it the right to play the Yankees in the best-of-five series to determine which team went to the ALCS. The Brewers lost the first two games in Milwaukee, but somehow won the next two in the Bronx before losing game five.

The next year, manager Buck Rodgers was fired with the Brewers below .500. In came Harvey Kuenn, and Milwaukee rocketed to the top of the division, thanks to “Harvey’s Wallbangers”, consisting of sluggers Gorman Thomas, Ben Oglivie and Cecil Cooper, and steady hitters Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. The pitching staff was led by Cy Young winner Pete Vukovich and closer Rollie Fingers, the anchor of the “Swinging A’s” bullpen on Oakland’s championship teams of 1972-74.

However, the Brewers nearly blew it. They went into Baltimore on the final weekend of the regular season with a three-game lead over the Orioles. Earl Weaver, who was retiring at the end of the ’82 season, led his club to three straight victories,  leaving a winner-take-all game 162. The winner of that game would be on a plane to Anaheim for the ALCS vs. the Angels, who barely held off the Royals in the West. The loser would go home.  (There was a potential playoff in the NL West, where the Braves held a tenuous one-game lead over the Dodgers.)

The Brewers somehow pulled it together on October 3, 1982 and won 10-2. However, Milwaukee foundered on the west coast, losing twice to the Angels and standing on the brink of elimination.

The cold and hometown fans warmed up the Brewers, who won three straight and earned the right to face the Cardinals in the World Series.

Mike Caldwell pitched the game of his life in the World Series opener, shutting out the Cards 10-0. St. Louis won the next two games, but Milwaukee rallied to win Games 4 and 5 at County Stadium. As the Brewers loaded the plane at General Mitchell International Airport the evening of October 17, 1982, Milwaukee was one win away from its first World Series championship since 1957, and its first sports title since 1971, when Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) led the Bucks to a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Bullets for the NBA title.

Wisconsin needed the Brewers to win. The Packers hadn’t done a blessed thing since Vince Lombardi left the sideline following Super Bowl II; the Bucks always seemed to come up empty, losing in the 1974 finals to the Celtics and then falling short time and again in the playoffs after that; and Wisconsin football and basketball were second-worst in the Big Ten consistently (Northwestern kept the Badgers from the bottom).

It didn’t happen. The Cardinals bombed the Brewers 13-1 in game six, then claimed game seven 6-3 to celebrate on the Busch Stadium turf.

Milwaukee was done for a long, long time. The Brewers came close to winning a division title only in 1992, falling just short as the Blue Jays were on their way to the first of back-to-back World Series titles. In November 1997, Milwaukee baseball fans got some great news: the Brewers were moving to the National League.

The Royals were the first team asked to move from the AL to the NL, since the leagues did not want to have an odd number of teams and be forced to stage interleague play every day (that would come in 2013 when the Astros moved to the AL). The other idea, to place the expansion teams in one league, was vetoed by the AL., because it did not want to cede Florida to the NL (the Marlins started in 1993). Therefore, one team was asked to switch from the DH league to the No-DH league.

Kansas City made perfect sense. The Royals would have been in the NL Central with the Cubs and Cardinals, meaning St. Louis and Kansas City would play for something much more meaningful than three picayune interleague games in late August.

Instead, David Glass, chairman of the board which ran the Royals following founder Ewing M. Kauffman’s death in July 1993, said no. claiming Kansas City was an “American League” city.

Next up? The Brewers. Bud Selig, chairman of the owners council and acting commissioner (he became full-time commissioner in July 1998) said yes in about one-eighth of a nanosecond.

The new league did nothing for the Brewers. In 2002, Milwaukee went 56-106, eight games worse than the Pilots did. The Brewers reached .500 in 2005, barely missed out on the wild card in 2007, then finally reached the playoffs in 2008, finishing second behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. Milwaukee traded for the Indians’ CC Sabathia at mid-season, knowing he was a rental (he signed with the Yankees in the offseason and promptly helped the Bronx Bombers to their 27th, and most recent, World Series title), then fired Ned Yost (yes, Kansas City, THAT Ned Yost) in September with the Brewers trailing the Mets for the wild card.

Milwaukee ended up losing its division series in four games to the eventual World Series champion Phillies. The Brewers hovered around .500 in 2009 and ’10, then won the NL Central in 2011, thanks to Zack Greinke, who won a Cy Young in 2009 with the Royals.

To get Greinke, the Brewers had to significantly mortgage their future. Traded to Kansas City were a couple of prospects, shortstop Alcides Escobar and outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Escobar and Cain, along with Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, gave the Royals what many termed the deepest farm system in baseball. With hotshot catcher Salvador Perez already in the bigs, the Royals were looking towards 2014 as the year they hit the big time.

How right they were.

The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks in the 2011 division series, but lost to St. Louis in six in the NLCS. The Cardinals went on to defeat the Rangers in seven in the World Series.

Milwaukee regressed in 2012 and ’13, but in 2014, started 20-7 and led the NL Central by as many as 6 1/2 games. Yet a disastrous final six weeks left the Brewers barely above .500, 82-80. The Brewers plummeted to 68-94 in 2015, earning manager Ron Roenicke, who led the team to the 2011 NL Central title, a pink slip. In came former MLB utility man extraordinaire Craig Counsell.

Many suggested the Brewers tear it down and rebuild from scratch, much the way the Astros did in the early 2010s when they lost over 100 games for three straight years, bottoming out at 51-111 in 2013. Milwaukee looked like it was doing that in 2016, when it went 73-89.

Then  came 2017. Most expected the Brewers to occupy the basement of the NL Central, and possibly one of the worst teams in baseball.

Instead, Milwaukee’s youngsters played out of their minds. The Brewers led the NL Central (over the defending World Series champion Cubs) in July, and even though they could not hold that lead, stayed in the wild card race to the bitter end, falling only one game short of the Rockies. An 86-76 record whetted fans’ appetite for 2018.

And here we are. The Brewers fashioned the best record in the NL, trailing only the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros overall. Milwaukee has its best chance to win a World Series championship since the days of Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews and Lew Burdette. The Packers have won plenty since Brett Favre’s arrival, but Green Bay is almost two hours north on Interstate 43, and the team stopped playing games in Milwaukee in 1994, so some Milwaukee fans feel quite detached from the Packers.

I’ve followed the Brewers since 1984, the first year I was old enough to follow MLB. That year, the Brewers made history by playing a 25-inning game against the White Sox. That, and 1987, when the Brewers started 13-0 and Molitor fashioned a 39-game hitting streak, was about it for me until 2008. Then 2011 was it until now.

I had given up on the Brewers when they were swept in a five-game series at Pittsburgh near the All-Star break. Yet they’ve won 11 straight as they head into the NLCS.

I hope the Brewers can pull it off. But I’m always a doubter. I don’t know if the starting pitching can hold up against Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger. I don’t know if Christian Yelich can continue to hit out of this galaxy against Kershaw. I don’t know if Moustakas and Cain can regain the magic of 2014 and ’15 when they helped the Royals win two AL pennants and a World Series. I don’t know if Knabel, Hader and Jeffress can get the key outs.

Prove me wrong, Milwaukee. Prove me wrong. Change my doubt into faith.  Hopefully that  the Brewers are playing in Boston or Houston the night of October 23.

 

 

Celebrate Christopher Columbus!

Happy Columbus Day! Yes, Monday was the OBSERVATION of Columbus Day. Today is the ACTUAL Columbus Day. The New World is 526 years old. Next year it can apply for tax-exempt political group status. Bad joke I know.

Why the hell did LBJ sign the bill in 1968 to move the holiday observations to Monday? What’s wrong with a Wednesday holiday? The celebration of Independence Day didn’t move to July 2 this year when the 4th was on Wednesday. Memorial Day not being on May 30 as it was through 1970 (except when Monday falls on the 30th, which it did in 1977, ’83, ’88, ’94, 2005, ’10 and ’16) and instead being on the last Monday of May does a great dishonor, in my humble opinion, to the men and ladies who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Heck, Veterans Day is always on November 11, and it also honors the millions of living veterans. They deserve their day,  yes, but those who have departed this earth need to have a special designated day, too, not just a Monday to make it convenient for a three-day weekend.

This doesn’t apply to Labor Day, which always has been the first Monday of September.

The app I have been using to track sleep quality said I snored for a total of 10 minutes last night. Hopefully it was just noise from the CPAP. But I feel just fine. I woke up at 0730, the perfect time for today.

It is nasty. Very nasty. Rain everywhere. Chilly. But that’s better than it being 80 and raining. The Chiefs are in Foxborough Sunday night  (if you live in the eastern two-thirds of Kansas or western Missouri and don’t know it yet, you are living under a rock), then are on Sunday night the NEXT week to host the Bengals. That means sports fans in Kansas City can make both the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race in the afternoon and the football game in the evening. YIPPPIEEE!!!

The rain will definitely affect the big high school football game in Overland Park tonight between Bishop Miege and St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’ stadium at least has some bleachers on the visiting side, unlike Miege, where fans from Rockhurst had to stand shoulder-to-shoulder two weeks ago. A game of this magnitude should be at a larger facility. Children’s Mercy Park, looking in your direction…or what about Kansas’ stadium in Lawrence?

What do I do with this weather? At least until I go to Minsky’s this afternoon. Maybe I’ll see Tori Smith (nee Weber) at Buffalo Wild Wings. She got married last month to her longtime beau Micah. I sent her a (inexpensive) gift from their registry even though I wasn’t invited. I would have (politely) said no anyway. It has nothing to do with the last two wedding receptions I’ve been to. Just wasn’t in the mood.

Last full day of my 42nd year began at 0916.

in honor of Rose Royce…

Rude and disgusting people

**DISCLAIMER**
I am sorry about all the cursing. I wish I didn’t have to. But it’s been that bad. 

Today has been hell. As bad as it was discovering the hotel in Lenexa was an island in the middle of a sea of construction, it would get worse. Much worse.

First, I should never, ever have assumed Peggy Cox told me not to come to Ottawa Saturday to watch Caitlyn play. I am very sorry I said that. I should not have.

When I left the hotel around 3:00 to go back to Johnson County, I backed out and happened to bump another car. I was scared shitless. I looked at the lady like I didn’t know what to do and I was so scared I almost took a dump in my pants. I screamed out loud and she got scared, but her husband told her I was screaming at myself, not her. He said everything was okay. I am very grateful. If they think I’m a total fool, then that’s fine. I don’t blame them.

The only good thing about today was getting my car cleaned.

Then came two incidents at two places along State Line Road that boiled my blood.

The first was at the QuikTrip just off I-435. I stop there quite often for gas and a drink, and sometimes to use the restroom. That QuikTrip is one of only a few which has no-ethanol gasoline.

I HATE ETHANOL. I HATE IT. It is dirty, it causes farmers to farm too much corn and not enough other crops, and it significantly reduces gas mileage. I was royally pissed later this evening when I found out Trump wants to allow the use of E-15 gas year-round. Asshole. Fuck you Trump. .It has been proven E-15 is 6 to 8 percent less fuel efficient than non-ethanol gas.

At the QuikTrip at State Line and 435, there are four pumps with non-ethanol fuel. Yet when I arrived at 4:15, all four pumps were occupied by customers buying non-ethanol fuel.

There are 16 pumps at this QuikTrip which do not have non-ethanol or diesel fuel at the pump. Diesel customers are not common in a big city, although I’m sure that QuikTrip gets some. Why the HELL do customers who want to buy the cheap shit have to block those who want to buy non-ethanol fuel? I complained to the ladies working the registers, but nobody seemed to care.

When I exited the store seven minutes later, three of the same vehicles which were blocking the non-ethanol pumps were still there!!!!! I saw one woman who was driving one of the blocking vehicles in the store.

That is pure rudeness right there. When you are finished pumping gas and you want to go into the store, please pull up to the front of the store and let someone else pump gas, especially when it’s blocking a non-ethanol pump and there are only four on site. At least she returned to a car after two minutes waiting and I was able to get my ethanol fuel.

What really pissed me off to no end was the other two vehicles sitting there in front of the non-ethanol pumps. A guy in a van with a Kansas plate (Franklin County; lordy, lordy he’s from Ottawa) was eating. EATING! Give me a break.

There was a woman in a black Toyota sitting there talking on her phone. She had the phone in her ear when I arrived at the store, and when I finally finished fueling, 12 minutes after arriving, SHE WAS STILL ON HER FUCKING CELL PHONE.

Okay, talking and driving is dangerous. But sitting in front of a gas pump at QuikTrip is not a place to conduct business or gab. If the woman’s conversation was THAT IMPORTANT, she should have parked somewhere else at the station. In her case, it would have been just as rude to take up a parking space for someone who wanted to go into the store, but there was plenty of parking at the back of the site (closest to 435).

Even worse, the woman was blocking a non-ethanol pump. What a rude bitch.

I was so pissed off about this I sent an angry message to QuikTrip through its Facebook page explaining this. I believe the stations which have non-ethanol fuel should post signs for customers who are not purchasing non-ethanol to avoid using those pumps if at all possible, and if not possible, to move immediately following fueling.

I only park my car in front of a pump when I am paying inside the store, and I only do it if there are more than half the pumps open. If it isn’t, I will fuel first, pull up to the front, then go in, or vice versa. Two credit card transactions is not the end of the world.

Then came the second incident I am pissed about.

I went shopping at the beautiful Super Target at 135th and State Line. Nice, big store, wide aisles, good selection. I will shop at Target any day of the week. NEVER WALMART. Lousy motherfuckers.

The shopping part was good. I went to the restroom, since I didn’t go at QuikTrip.

There was a man in the higher urinal, so I had to use the kiddie-sized one. Not a big deal.

But once the man in the other urinal finished, he just walked out WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS.  I’m lucky I didn’t pee all over myself. I was that angry.

I have a hard and fast rule: any time I use a public restroom, I must wash my  hands. I NEVER go without washing my hands in a public restroom. NEVER. That is absolutely disgusting to walk out without washing your hands. I’m wondering if he went home and touched his wife and kids with those nasty hands. Hopefully he isn’t married and doesn’t have kids.

I refuse to use a rest stop restroom on I-70 because they often lack soap to wash hands. I’ve encountered that many times at the one near Ellsworth, and also at the one near Solomon. I don’t use Solomon anymore, because Salina (westbound) and Abilene (eastbound) are close enough. The Ellsworth one is only westbound, and that’s why I try to stop before.

I wish there were a way the restroom door would lock if someone didn’t wash their hands. I would be willing to wait that disgusting piece of shit out until he washed his hands.

After what happened in Target, I was actually happy to sit in traffic on Missouri Highway 150 for a few minutes. I went all the way out to Independence to pick up Outback tonight. Then I had a 40-minute drive back west and north.

I’m going to try to forget about the rude people sitting in front of gas pumps and the disgusting man at Target. But I’m sure I will encounter many more of both types…probably before I leave Kansas City.

 

Persona non grata in Baton Rouge and Ottawa

My 42nd birthday is shaping up to be the worst since I was half that age.

My 21st birthday in 1997 was a horror show. The day before, a Sunday, I got a flat tire driving back from my parents’ home in New Orleans to Baton Rouge to be back at LSU in time for class Monday. My mother had to come rescue me, because my father could not, since he was on company business in Brazil. It happened to be the day after LSU’s football team beat then-number one Florida, a game I didn’t attend because I was suspended from working with LSU’s sports information office because of a resignation letter I wrote the previous Sunday. Herb Vincent reinstated me the day after my birthday, and he should not have. Now that I look back on it, I’m glad I wasn’t at the game. It was a complete drunken madhouse.

The day of my 21st, it poured and it was chilly. My mother and I went to an appointment with the therapist I was seeing at the time (he was no Crista).

My 30th was hell. I covered a state tennis tournament, drove to Abilene for a football game, then back to Russell so I could be in Stockton the next morning for a volleyball tournament. At least I don’t have that to worry about.

My 39th was pretty bad, too. I was still devastated by all that went on in the summer of 2015 (starting July 17, at least) and my financial woes were wearing me way down.

My first hope was to be in Baton Rouge for the LSU-Georgia football game. Michael Bonnette, LSU’s longtime sports publicity director, suggested it to me when I was there in April for baseball. I made reservations for a hotel and a rental car.

That plan went awry in late August. Dan Borne, the public address announcer, said no way to me helping him spot in his booth. Then Michael refused to help me get a credential or even a ticket. Then tickets cost at least $150–and they’re now going for at least $350.

The next idea was to go to Ottawa to watch Caitlyn play volleyball. Peggy seemed open to it last week. Then last night she gave the hint that she did not want me there because an old friend of hers would be there.

Now I was stuck with a hotel room in Lenexa I couldn’t cancel. I booked there because it was much easier to drive from there to Ottawa down Interstate 35 than it was from the area around KCI, which is where I normally stay. I decided to make the trip anyway. Better to wallow alone than in the basement of my house.

When I got to the hotel, my jaw dropped. The area around the hotel looks like Panama City after Hurricane Michael. Construction EVERYWHERE. And the hotel lobby fronts the street, and there is only room for two cars to pull up and unload. Of course, the unloading area was clogged by ride share cars.

The parking area was a garage on the back side of the hotel…with three flights of stairs to descend to get to the back entrance. Holy fucking shit.

Worse, there was only one way to get out of the stupid garage, and you had to turn right and drive away from Interstate 435 before you could U-turn and go in the proper direction.

I was very upset. VERY UPSET. I would never have touched this hotel with a ten-meter pole if I had known. Besides, there is absolutely NOTHING around the hotel, and it would take 20 minutes to drive into Overland Park or Olathe to find something.

I was very, very, very fortunate I was able to cancel the reservation without penalty and book back across the river.

I’m now praying I have leukemia. I want to have leukemia. It would be far better than the shitty life I’m living.

 

I slept until 1020 this morning. Best thing I could have done. I made sure I was nowhere near an establishment which shows college football on television today. And I’m darn sure I won’t be near one tomorrow. No desire to see the NFL, either.

In fact, I am so ready to give up Buffalo Wild Wings, at least in Kansas City. I haven’t been since August 17, and I don’t think that will change any time soon. I’m not too keen on going in Salina, either.

I’m so glad another Saturday is almost over. College football is too much to take. European universities do just fine without athletics. American universities are spending too much money on sports.

ENOUGH!

The Brewers are now tied with the Cubs for the National League Central lead, and tomorrow is the last day of the regular season. Milwaukee could have ended this had it not been swept in a five-game series in Pittsburgh in July. Had the Brewers won twice, the division would be theirs. Had they one just once, at least the worst they could do would be a one-game playoff, albeit in Chicago. Now Milwaukee has to win and hope the Cardinals, who were eliminated from playoff contention today, beat the Cubs to avoid the trip down Interstate 94. And the Brewers could still be forced into the wild card game, where they would likely face Clayton Kershaw.

That’s all. I need to sleep and get the heck out of Kansas City tomorrow.

The meaning of Epton…before it’s too late

Wondering why I use Epton instead of “before it’s too late”? Here is the explanation.

Bernard Epton was a Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives for seven terms, first elected in 1968 and staying on through the 1982 session. He chose not to run for re-election to the Illinois House in 1983, instead entering the Chicago mayoral race.

As a Republican in a city which had been dominated by Democratic machine politics since the Great Depression, Epton faced a steep uphill climb. Few paid much attention to his campaign during the primaries, instead focusing on a heavyweight battle on the Democratic side.

Chicago mayoral elections are now non-partisan, but they were not in 1983. Therefore, the three most visible candidates would have to battle one another, with only one advancing to the general election.

The incumbent mayor, Jane Margaret Byrne, was the first woman to be elected mayor of one of America’s 10 largest cities. In 1979, she upset Michael Bilandic, who became mayor upon the death of Richard J. Daley, the Boss of Chicago, in December 1976. Bliandic’s inaction during a January 1979 blizzard and Byrne’s subsequent hammering of Bilandic over the issue of snow removal helped her win.

Richard J. Daley’s son, Richard M. Daley, then the District Attorney of Cook County, where Chicago is located, threw his hat into the ring with the support of many of his father’s old supporters and ward bosses.

The third major Democratic candidate was U.S. Representative Harold Washington, vying to become the city’s first black mayor. Washington obviously was much farther to the left than either Byrne or Daley, and he began running for mayor during the first year of his first House term. He was re-elected in 1982 to Congress because his House district was, and still is, overwhelmingly black, but he was drawing the Congressional salary without doing very much on Capitol Hill, instead campaigning for the one job he coveted.

The black vote carried Washington to a narrow victory in the Democratic primary. It figured in the overwhelmingly Democratic City, Washington was home free, right?

Not quite.

Many of the old-line Daley loyalists threw their support to Epton, not wanting a black man to occupy the mayor’s office. Some of Epton’s most conservative backers produced a commercial which ended with the line “Epton…Before It’s Too Late”.

Epton himself was very uncomfortable with the racial overtones of the campaign. He was a liberal and was active in the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. However, the racially charged campaign continued all the way to the end, where Washington won by a very narrow margin.

Washington won by a more comfortable margin in 1987, but he collapsed and died of a heart attack in his office the day before Thanksgiving 1987. Epton died only three weeks later.

I didn’t follow the election as it happened in 1983, since I was too young to understand. However, I read about it two years later as Washington was in the midst of his first term.

That election came up in a course on Louisiana politics during my first semester at LSU in the fall of 1994. The professor, Louisiana legend T. Wayne Parent, one of the country’s foremost political scientists, tried to explain how the closed primary system worked, since many in Louisiana, especially those who didn’t start voting until 1975 or later, had only know the open primary, where all candidates run on a single ballot, and if nobody gets an outright majority in the first election, then a second primary (or general election or runoff) is held.

Dr. Parent explained how Washington advanced to the general election even though he did not get a majority over Byrne and Daley. He couldn’t quite remember the Republican candidate, so I shouted EPTON! He and my classmates were amazed.

Louisiana politics was one of my three favorite classes at LSU. The others were involving constitutional law during my last full year there. If I could do it all over again, I think I would have done much better in a lot of my classes. I’m not blaming my autistic spectrum disorder, but I think it didn’t help.

Beefed up a little too much

I grilled a second steak last night on the outdoor grill at the hotel. I overdid it a little bit, but it still tasted great, and now I know don’t grill it so long. I thought about going out again after returning to the hotel at 1615 following my long day in Johnson County, but I saved my money and gas.

About 0400 I was feeling the effects of two steaks (and three QuikTrip pretzels, a whole sourdough bread bowl and the coconut shrimp from Outback I got Wednesday). I felt I might have to throw up, but fortunately that didn’t happen. I did need anti-nausea tablets and Alka Seltzer when I woke up, which wasn’t until almost 0900.

It is so cool outside today I’m wearing jeans for the first time since April 16, the day my dad and I left Baton Rouge and stopped in McAlester, Okla., on our way back to Russell. The mercury is not expected to climb above 17 Celsius (62 F) today or tomorrow.

I’m sick of the negative commercials being aired in Kansas City. Sharice Davids, the lesbian Native American left-wing radical running for Kansas’ 3rd District House seat vs. incumbent Kevin Yoder, has aired two negative ads in the last 35 minutes.

We don’t have that in Russell, since the incumbent House member, Roger Marshall, will easily beat perennial candidate and serial flip-flopper Alan LaPolice, who ran as Republican in the 2014 primary, as an Independent in the 2016 general election, and now as a Democrat. The idiot LaPolice is at least smart enough to not waste his money or breath on an election he’ll lose by 30 points.

I’ve got really nothing going on right now. I’m not in the mood  for Buffalo Wild Wings, where all of the tablets which allow patrons to play Buzztime trivia are out of commission. Hopefully Robb and I can meet up.

There’s a gigantic high school football game tonight. Rockhurst, the powerhouse Catholic school on the Missouri side of State Line Road, takes on Bishop Miege, a school better known for its dominance of volleyball and girls basketball until recently, when its football program became Kansas’ most dominant. The game is at Miege’s tiny stadium, where they are expecting every seat to be filled by 1630 for a 1900 kickoff. Hopefully, the game can be played in the future at Children’s Mercy Park, home of Sporting Kansas City, or even Arrowhead.

Leaving in a minute. Epton.

Supreme sideshow

I will be so glad when this circus surrounding the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings are done. Enough already. I have an opinion. I am not sharing it.

I pigged on steak for dinner last night and again for breakfast this morning. Say what?

Yes, that’s right, I decided to buy a steak and cook it on the stove in my room in a cast iron grill pan. Turned out good, especially for breakfast and on a stove. I decided to eat all that beef because someone whom I don’t particularly care for (and doesn’t care for me) has a birthday today.

Someone I do particularly care for, someone I miss greatly, has a birthday tomorrow.

Wendy Durr Wall was born the same day (28 September 1970) Gamal Abdel Nasser died in Egypt. It also was 10 days after the passing of Jimi Hendrix, six prior to the heroin-induced death of Janis Joplin, and 12 days before my parents tied the knot after only two and a half months of knowing one another. I told Lisa that story so much because she and Jeff waited until over seven years after their first date and 21 1/2 months after Liam’s birth to marry. The good thing was Liam was so cute dressed up at their wedding.

I miss Wendy more than just about anyone on this earth. I have not seen her in 16 years. I ended my long drought without seeing Brenda and a few others in April. I don’t know if I’ll be so fortunate with Wendy. I can hope.

I have to get to the south (Johnson County) Epton. I need my car washed. I need to check in to getting the inside of my car completely cleaned. And I have an appointment with Andrea Hensley to get my back waxed in Prairie Village. Again. At least this time it’s cooler so I don’t have to worry about sweating and possible complications with the wax, because Andrea tells me to keep it dry overnight.

Epton? There’s a long story behind that. I now substitute that word for the phrase “before it’s too late”. Why, you ask? I don’t have time to explain right now. I have to leave the hotel Epton.