Monthly Archives: June 2019

Press Your Luck—the good and bad

Late Thursday night when I was searching for something to watch on Hulu, I discovered a game show which originally aired during my formative years had been revived.

Press Your Luck aired for three years (19 September 1983-26 September 1986) on CBS alongside two highly-rated game shows, The $25,000 Pyramid and The Price Is Right, the latter of which begins its 48th season on CBS in September.

The premise of Press Your Luck was pretty simple. Players took spins on a computerized game board with 18 squares. They could accumulate cash or prizes with each spin, but if they hit a “Whammy”, they would lose all they had accumulated to that point. Four whammies eliminated a contestant.

To earn spins, players had to know the answers to questions asked by the host, Peter Tomarken; if a player buzzed in and gave the correct answer, he/she earned three spins, while a player who guessed the correct answer out of a list of three received one spin.

There was some strategy involved. A player could pass his or her spins at any time. Those spins would go to the player with the highest amount of winnings at that point, unless the other two contestants were tied, then the player passing the spins could choose whom to pass to. The player receiving the passed spins had to take all of the spins passed to him or her, unless he or she hit a whammy. At that point, the passed spins would transfer to the earned column (spins won by answering questions correctly and hitting spaces on the board which included an extra spin).

The winner of the game was the only player to keep his or her earnings. He or she would come back until (a) he or she won three consecutive games, at which point that contestant retired undefeated or (b) the player went over CBS’ earnings limit, which was $25,000 when PYL premiered; it was later raised to $50,000 and then $75,000. There is no cap on winnings now; if there was, Drew Carey couldn’t offer Maseratis and other ridiculously expensive cars on TPIR during Dream Car Week, nor insane amounts of cash during Big Cash Week.

A bum from Ohio named Michael Larson cheated his ass off in 1984 to win $110,237 in cash and prizes. The unemployed jerk spent his days watching tapes of PYL in order to memorize the pattern of the lights on the board. He figured it out and kept avoiding whammies so much (a) the game was aired over two shows; as luck would have it, the first half aired on a Friday, meaning you had to wait out the weekend to see the second half, and (b) Tomarken and the other players were frozen like zombies while Larson performed his robbery of CBS.

Tomarken and CBS executives were dumbfounded. One producer did not want to give Larson his winnings, thinking he cheated; but in the end, Larson got his loot, after Uncle Sam got his cut, of course. Larson went broke and died in 1994. Too freaking bad.

Game Show Network, now shortened to GSN, began airing PYL reruns in the late 1990s. In 2002, it created a semi-revival of the show called Whammy: The All New Press Your Luck.

I did not like that revival. Too many inane prizes that nobody cared about, not to mention the infamous “double whammies”, which not only took the player’s winnings, but dumped something upon him or her (water, golf balls, feathers, etc.).

Early this year, ABC and Fremantle Media announced Press Your Luck would be coming back in its original format. Sadly, Tomarken could not have hosted the revival had ABC wanted him to, because Peter and his wife died in a 2006 plane crash off the coast of California. The Tomarkens were delivering organs for transplant when they went down in the Pacific.

Less than three months after Tomarken’s death, CBS played PYL as part of its Game Show Marathon, a one-off series of classic games which also included TPIR, Match Game, Family Feud and Card Sharks. Rikki Lake hosted, while Leslie Nielsen, Tim Meadows and Kathy Najimy played for charity, with Najimy winning. Nielsen, unfortunately, hit four whammies.

Elizabeth Banks, the fabulously talented and fabulously beautiful actress, was chosen to host ABC’s PYL. Great choice.

The only knock I have on Elizabeth is she needs to stop wearing so much black. In three of the first four episodes, her wardrobe was black. However, in the third, she wore a green dress which exposed her arms, shoulders and lower legs. WOW!

The game play is faithful to the original, with one notable addition.

There is now a bonus game. The lack of a bonus game in the 1980s differentiated PYL from most game shows on the air in the mid-1980s.

The player who wins the most cash and prizes over two rounds in the main game keeps what he or she has accumulated to that point, then goes to the bonus game. The players go to the board and attempt to build their bank.

  • There are anywhere from one to six rounds in the bonus game, with each round having a set number of spins. A player must take all spins in a given round, plus any spins he or she might earn from hitting a space on the board which gives the player an extra spin.
  • Once the round ends, Elizabeth asks the player whether he or she wants to go on or stop and keep what is in the bank. Once a player commits to another round, there is no turning back; he or she must get his or her spin total to zero. Dollar amounts increase in each round, with some spaces worth $100,000 in the sixth round.
  • As an added sweetener, players have three “dream prizes” available to win on the board. Those prizes are selected by the players and range from the practical (a new car) to the strange (a week traveling on Michael Bolton’s tour bus and having VIP seats to all of his concerts) to the out of this world (pizza for life). There are other prizes out there which are not customized, like cars and vacations.
  • The best thing about PYL, both then and now, are the whammy animations. Some animations from the original series have been updated with new graphics, while ABC has added some fresh ones. To show PYL has kept up, in the original show, animations included The Supremes and The Beatles; the new show has the whammies imitating the Backstreet Boys.
  • I would love to see some celebrities play PYL for charity. Like have two shows with The Brady Bunch kids. Or fellow game show hosts.
  • Another revival taking me back to my childhood. And this one is pretty good.
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    Speaking of pressing your luck, I did it yesterday and lost big time

    I got caught in two massive traffic jams caused by construction on the eastern side of Interstate 435 in Kansas City. It took 30 minutes to travel from Missouri Highway 350 to Highway 210 due to construction at the junction of I-435 and I-70 near Arrowhead and Kaufman Stadiums, and on the bridge over the Missouri River just south of Highway 210.

    Of course, some idiots wait until the last possible second until merging, thinking getting a few cars ahead will save them time.

    IT WON’T. If anything, it’s dangerous, because it’s more likely to cause an accident.

    Yesterday was terrible, at least after my laser hair removal treatment. Let’s see:

    • I was stupid enough to attempt to handle dry ice without gloves at a grocery store in Prairie Village. My left thumb and right ring finger stung for a few minutes. I’m having other problems with my right ring finger, and it may come to an operation.
    • Larry couldn’t show up at Buffalo Wild Wings because a contracter working on a house next door parked a large truck in his yard, damaging his lawn.
    • Tina didn’t show up to work at Buffalo Wild Wings. Between her absence and Larry’s, I was lonely as hell.
    • The Women’s World Cup match. Megan Rapinoe, everyone’s favorite anarchist, scored twice as the not okay USA won 2-1 over France.
    • Bill, the human chimney who plays trivia every Wednesday and Friday without fail at this Buffalo Wild Wings, showed up at 1630, prompting my exit. Maybe it was for the best; I was exhausted from getting up at 0445.
    • I thought I had lost a cable at Buffalo Wild Wings. The search for a Pilot travel center, where I bought the cable last month, took me straight into the massive traffic jams on I-435, because I was in Kansas picking up things I ordered from Amazon.

    Add in the stifling heat, which is as bad as I remember it from Louisiana, and it hasn’t been good. With everyone I know at Buffalo Wild Wings not scheduled to work tomorrow, I might be in search of a new trivia locale tomorrow–should I want to play. The thought of coming into a place with foreign faces is not appealing.

    I want to cry. I don’t know why.

    Frenchy Foots

    Vive France!

    That’s right, I hope the United States of America LOSES today’s Women’s World Cup quarterfinal vs. the host nation in Paris.

    I have had it up to here with Megan Rapinoe, her over-the-top celebrations (which are nothing new) and her using the US women’s national association football team as a platform to push the Black Lives Matter narrative.

    I don’t care one iota she’s a lesbian (married to WNBA star Sue Bird no less). I don’t care that her views are in lock step with Colin Kaepernick, although I cannot stand Kaepernick’s glorification of Che Guevara, who harbored virulent anti-American feelings.

    What I care about is Rapinoe is disrespecting the national anthem of the United States when she is representing said nation in an international sporting event.

    As much as Kaepernick infuriated rednecks and other assorted racists, and as much as I didn’t agree with it, the National Football League is a private organization, not connected to any government.

    The U.S. Association Football Federation (I’m not using the S word) is not a government entity, but it is representing the United States by sending teams into international competition. The FIFA Women’s World Cup happens to be the world’s biggest team sports competition for women. It sends a poor message when the CAPTAIN of the team representing the United States can’t swallow her pride for two minutes while The Star-Spangled Banner is played.

    I’m also fed up with the media’s obsession with two players on the U.S. squad, Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

    From what the media is feeding us, Morgan is the greatest to step on a pitch for the United States.

    Mia Hamm would run circles around Morgan, and she never got near the attention during the 1999 World Cup. She was but one of many who shared the spotlight, with the most notable being Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and Kristine Lilly.

    VIVE FRANCE!

    THINGS I DON’T KNOW JACK SHIT ABOUT

    • Schwarzenegger movies

    • Steve Martin movies

    • Saturday Night Live

    • Harry Potter

    • Lord of the Rings

    • George Clooney

    • Avengers

    • French pastries

    • Comic book characters, especially superheroes

    • English monarchs

    • Indian emperors

    • Explorers

    • Marine life

    • Mythology

    • Shakespeare

    • Literature

    • Video games after 1988

    • ALL Television shows except

    o The Brady Bunch

    o King of the Hill

    o Family Guy

    o American Dad

    o The Simpsons (mostly)

    o The OC

    o One Tree Hill

    o Monk

    o Law & Order: SVU

    o Some Disney Channel shows

    • ALL Movies except

    o A League of Their Own

    o The Help

    o Risky Business

    o Crazy, Stupid, Love

    • Any music after 1989

    • Science fiction

    • Boston Marathon

    • Poetry

    • Golf

    • Tennis

    • Olympic sports

    • Foreign cuisine

    • Nobel prize winners

    The fire some want you to forget

    Every 24 June, the LGBTQ community pauses to remember the horror of a Sunday night in the French Quarter.

    It was 24 June 1973 when an arsonist doused the stairwell of The UpStairs Lounge with lighter fluid, then set it ablaze. By time the inferno was under control, 32 people perished.

    It was New Orleans’ third massive loss of life in seven months.

    The first was a 29 November 1972 fire at the Rault Center, a 16-story high rise in the city’s Central Business District. One man died when he was trapped in an elevator. Five women jumped from the 15th floor; three died instantly, one died in a hospital a month later without ever regaining consciousness, but miraculously, Natalie Smith of Metairie lived to tell her story. She passed away in 2014 at 81.

    Five and a half weeks after the Rault Center came the infamous sniper incident at the Downtown Howard Johnson’s Motor Hotel across Gravier Street from the Rault Center. Two hotel guests (a honeymooning couple from Virginia), the hotel’s General Manager and Assistant General Manager, and three police officers (Phillip Coleman, Paul Persigo and Louis Sirgo, the NOPD’s Deputy Superintendent) were cut down by Emporia native Mark Essex.

    Essex was later identified as the sniper who killed NOPD Cadet Alfred Harrell New Year’s Eve at Orleans Parish Prison, then wounded Edwin Hosli in a neighborhood. Hosli passed away 65 days later without regaining consciousness. He also was fingered by many as the perpetrator of the Rault Center fire.

    The Howard Johnson’s incident received national coverage on all three networks. Imagine if there were CNN, MSNBC and Fox News back then.

    The Rault Center fire led the national newscasts hours after it occurred, although outside of New Orleans, it wasn’t mentioned after 29 November 1972.

    The UpStairs Lounge fire rated less than two minutes on the next night’s CBS Evening News and barely a minute on the NBC Nightly News. Harry Reasoner and Howard K. Smith (a Louisiana native) didn’t mention one word about it on ABC.

    Why?

    The patrons in The UpStairs Lounge were nearly all homosexual males. One woman died, and it’s unclear if she was lesbian or a relative of one of the men.

    In 1973, homosexuality in New Orleans, which was more progressive than the rest of Louisiana and most of the rest of the Deep South, was frowned upon.

    The coward who committed the dastardly deed at The UpStairs Lounge was never caught. He took the sissy way out and committed suicide a little more than a year after the fire.

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    The College World Series championship series started an hour ago. I had Vanderbilt right. Arkansas, however, was a big disappointment, losing to Florida State and Texas Tech.

    Michigan is the first Big Ten (B1G) team to reach a CWS final since 1966, when Ohio State won the championship. One of the Buckeyes’ best players was Bo Rein, who sadly perished in a January 1980 plane crash only 42 days after being named LSU’s football coach.

    Had Rein lived, there’s no way LSU suffers 10 losing seasons between 1980 and 1999. Would he have won a national championship at LSU? Hard to tell. There were so many superpowers in that era. On the other hand, LSU would never have hired such duds as Mike Archer, Curley Hallman and Gerry DiNardo.

    If Rein lived and coached a long time at LSU, do the Bayou Bengals entice Nick Saban, and later Les Miles, to Baton Rogue? Who knows.

    The Big Ten has long complained about college baseball being slanted heavily towards teams in warmer climates, and in particular, the other Power Five conferences (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC).

    I understand the weather is a problem. But Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and other Big Ten schools, save Northwestern, have no room to complain. They are raking in millions upon millions of dollars through the Big Ten’s television contracts and their partnerships with Nike or another apparel company, meaning they have plenty to build indoor baseball facilities, whether it be through capital outlay or donors.

    Michigan has an athletic budget which dwarfs some COUNTRIES. Why can’t it build a dedicated indoor baseball facility in Ann Arbor, one with a full-sized diamond? If the Maize and Blue can afford separate hockey facilities for its men’s and women’s teams, it certainly has the money to build something more in baseball (and softball).

    And why does Wisconsin not play baseball anymore? It’s inexcusable the flagship university of the Badger State does not play the sport when there is a Major League franchise in Milwaukee. It’s the same for Colorado.

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    That’s all from Salina. I need to get home pronto.

    Be nice or shut up, okay?

    I was angered beyond belief last week when I discovered a piece of fecal matter replied to a comment I made on someone’s social media post.

    In the past, I would have replied to this jerk with a bunch of curse words. This time, I simply blocked him.

    Do people have nothing better to do than to reply to your comments with hurtful stuff?

    I did it far too many times to count. Guess what? It may have made me feel good for about 30 seconds. Then I realized that it made me no better than the person who made the first snide comment.

    It didn’t make me less of a man. It made me sub-human. You always hear about be the bigger person? Replying to someone else’s nasty comment doesn’t do that.

    I still have problems with it from time to time with making nasty comments. I’ve got to do better. Until the day comes where I don’t do it, I still have room for big improvements.

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    My last trip to The Golden Q didn’t go so well.

    First, two people were sitting not too far from where I usually sit, and it irked the hell out of me.

    It shouldn’t have irked me, but I felt like they were in my personal space. I had my headphones on, but every so often, I looked their way, wishing they would move.

    Finally, I had enough and I moved into the room where the dartboards are, hoping for some peace. Of course, there were others in the area, and they were making quite a racket. I gave up on trying to find quiet.

    Trivia was giving me a lot of hell Saturday. I started making a list of “stuff I don’t know Jack (expletive about”. Then I posted I am living proof the stupid gene does exist.

    Again, I’m my own harshest critic. Nobody would feel bad about missing the questions I missed except me and a few other hard-core trivia players. Certainly nobody in Hays or Salina would do better than me.

    Maybe it was I woke up at 0445 Saturday, drove to Wichita to pick up deliveries and wash my car, then drove straight back to Hays without stopping, save for a short bathroom break in, ironically, Russell.

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    Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of my most recent date. I met the (older) woman online and texted for three days, then met in person at her apartment in Hays. After an hour with the woman, I left and raced to meet Peggy in WaKeeney, which was the better part of that day.

    By time I got to Hays on the drive east, the woman said she didn’t want to see me anymore.

    It hurt a lot immediately after. A week later, it didn’t hurt.

    A year later, I feel much better things didn’t progress further.

    I certainly would not have been able to go to Kansas City (or Salina) nearly as much. I would have had to sacrifice trivia for spending time with another person and her family, something I don’t enjoy. I didn’t particularly enjoy it with my own family in New Orleans, so why the heck would I enjoy it with another person’s family?

    I haven’t sniffed online dating sites since last June 21. I’m not planning on doing it anytime soon. What I endured in the spring of 2018 between fake profiles scamming me out of money and the wasted time I spent inside my basement instead of doing productive things wasn’t worth a dime, much less all the money I coughed up.

    I’m resigned to not having children or getting married. It just isn’t in the cards for some people. I’m one of them.

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    The dog days of summer return to Kansas this week, with temperatures starting tomorrow rising into the mid-30s (93-98 Fahrenheit). However, with all the rain we’ve had, hot and dry isn’t so bad. There has been too much water around Kansas and Missouri this spring.

    Independence Day (NOT the 4th of July; the 4th of July is just another day on the calendar) is on the horizon. Most of my good stuff will come before.

    AC and OJ, partners in crime

    I did not blog Monday for a good reason. I didn’t yesterday, either, but I didn’t have a good reason.

    If you didn’t know, Monday was the 25th anniversary of Al Cowlings aiding and abetting a fugitive wanted for two homicides.

    The fugitive, of course, was Orenthal James Simpson, charged with first degree murder in the deaths of Nicole Brown (I never use Simpson after her name) and Ronald Goldman.

    I knew Orenthal was absolutely 100 percent GUILTY before the chase. He was evasive with the LAPD upon returning from Chicago.

    I would never encourage anyone to take their own life. However, the world would have been a better place had Orenthal pulled the trigger in Cowlings’ Ford Bronco. It would have saved us from seeing Johnnie Cochran make a mockery of the criminal justice system, Lance Ito bumbling like an idiot, Marcia Clark shooting herself in the foot more than any human should be allowed to, and most of all, allowing 12 less than stellar citizens let Orenthal get away with it.

    I also believe Cowlings played a much larger role in the murders than anyone will ever know. I would not be one bit surprised if he was with his buddy Orenthal when Nicole and Ronald were nearly decapitated in the late hours of 12 June 1994.

    Orenthal can’t be tried again for the crimes. Why doesn’t the MF just admit it?

    That’s it. I don’t want to discuss that vile piece of feces anymore.

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    Third consecutive night of trivia at The Golden Q. Some of the lovely ladies finally know my name. But I have to be careful not to cross a line, something I think about a lot with a certain establishment in Kansas City.

    Seeing so many men in here with either beards, tattoos or hats (some have all three), I bet some think I’ve been plopped down from Luxembourg.

    I’m not growing a beard. I don’t like wearing hats. And I certainly don’t want to ruin my skin with stupid tattoos like my father did when he was in the U.S. Navy in the early 1960s.

    My dad has said the tattoos are among the biggest regrets of his life. That, smoking (thank God he quit in September 1985, or I’m convinced he would not have made it to 2000) and not at least going to junior college. But had he gone to junior college and waited to enroll in the Navy, he might have found himself in Vietnam.

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    I had little sleep this morning. Very little. Still binging on The Brady Bunch–now I’m back to the beginning. It took all of 11 days (I’m not counting the two days I was in Kansas City, because the DVDs stayed behind) to watch 117 episodes, some more than once.

    Amazon Prime and Hulu have many episodes of The Brady Bunch, but a lot are missing. The DVD set was worth it, though, because it includes The Brady Kids cartoons, The Brady Brides, A Very Brady Christmas, The Bradys (the spectacular failure from early 1990 where the Brady kids are all grown up), the two theatrical movies (The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel), a TV movie about the Bradys in the White House, and a movie based upon Barry Williams’ book Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg.

    The only thing missing is The Brady Bunch Hour, the variety show which aired when I was an infant. Paramount doesn’t own the rights to that, and the five living members of the cast who participated (Eve Plumb opted out) probably don’t want it out there anyway.

    In past summers, I watched The OC from start to finish. It got to the point where I would know line for line what Sandy, Kirsten, Ryan, Seth, Marissa, Summer and all the others would say at a particular point of a particular episode.

    Coincidentally, Seth Cohen himself, Adam Brody, plays Greg Brady in the movie on Williams’ book. Marcia is portrayed by none other than Kaley Cuoco. Nobody could have dreamed she would become television’s richest actress one day.

    Kaley is beautiful, but I’m partial to Mayim Bialik, the same way I’m partial to Eve over Maureen and Jan Smithers (Bailey) over Loni Anderson (Jennifer) on WKRP in Cincinnati.

    Don’t know if I’ll re-watch The OC this year. But I would give anything to see Kelly Rowan and Mischa Barton back on TV. At least Autumn Reeser is constantly in Hallmark Channel movies.

    I also need to watch all of One Tree Hill. Sophia Bush may be the biggest name from that show now, but Brooke Davis would be sixth on my list of desirable ladies. For me, it’s Peyton (Hilarie Burton), Haley (Bethany Joy Lenz), Quinn (Shantel Van Santen), Erica Marsh (Katherine Bailess), Shelly (Elisabeth Harnois), then Brooke.

    Sophia was great on Chicago PD, but I’m more keen on Maria Squerciati and Tracy Spiradakos.

    I can watch Monk on the road because Amazon Prime has all eight seasons. There, I’m Team Natalie, although I have warmed to Sharona more than I did when I first watched the show.

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    My iPad is down to 3% battery. This is intentional. Apple suggests draining the battery to zero once a month to improve its life. My rapid charger will have it back to 100% in less than three hours when I get home, so I’m not worried. Besides, I need to sleep, not fooling around on it. I will start draining my phone tonight.

    Until next time…

    A middle of June mashup

    I felt guilty yesterday, and it lightened my wallet a slight bit.

    Two ladies who teach at a middle school in Liberty met for drinks. I felt like I was eavesdropping on their conversation. I buried my face in my hands a couple of times.

    I thought it was happening again. I had it going through my mind I was “hovering” and making women uncomfortable in a Buffalo Wild Wings.

    Very few people have told me outright I’m hovering and making them uncomfortable, but Lord knows how often I’ve thought it.

    One of the teachers got there a little after two. She was waiting for her colleague, and ended up waiting more than an hour. She was on her phone quite a bit. We made a little small talk, but once her colleague arrived, I felt uneasy sitting there, despite being engrossed in trivia.

    The lovely ladies, Joanne and Heather, told me everything was okay and I wasn’t eavesdropping. Crista has told me more than a few (thousand) times I read too much into situations. I’m sure I’ll tell Crista all about it when I see her on 27 June.

    Joanne was the one who arrived early. She asked me if she could help me with anything. Fortunately, she didn’t have to.

    I told Tina to put their drinks on my bill. She kept the secret until Heather was ready to pay. Heather was going to pay for a couple of Joanne’s drinks due to being late, but then Tina said their bill had been taken care of.

    I shouldn’t be so surprised. There was Kelsey, the young lady in the Army from New Hampshire who stopped in at Zona Rosa on her way to St. Louis in December. I would give anything to hear from her. But I know she’s got much more important things to worry about.

    December 27, 2015 still pops into the mind from time to time. It was the infamous Sunday when two strangers began kissing and groping one another while sitting next to me. Luckily Robb and Dawn showed up to provide me company.

    Speaking of Zona Rosa, their Buzztime system has been down since Mother’s Day. No sense in going there. Also, most of the employees I knew are gone. Tori, Trey and Morgan are there amongst the veterans, but Liz, Lisa and all the rest are gone.

    The atmosphere at Shoal Creek is better. The decor is nice, the lightning isn’t too harsh, and it isn’t as loud as Zona gets. Between all the kids and the hip-hop often blaring from the jukebox, it gets unbearable.

    Between Joanne and Heather, Larry, Jeff Lagrande and trivia, yesterday was pretty darn good. I didn’t leave until 2030. I have to leave Kansas City tomorrow before 0730 to make sure I’m back in Russell by 1200. I might have dawdled around town Sunday and then driven home late, but my mother is cooking eggplant parmigana.

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    The Raptors won the NBA championship. YUCK. There was a jerk wearing a Kawhi Spurs jersey in Buffalo Wild Wings Thursday, cheering every good thing the Raptors did and every bad thing the Warriors did.

    First, I cannot stand Kawhi. Period. I’m not a fan of Gregg Popovich, but Kawhi was totally at fault for the stuff he pulled in San Antonio. Popovich had every right to treat Leonard the way he did, because Kawhi did it to himself. Kawhi wanted out of San Antonio so he could find a coach he could manipulate. Nick Nurse proved to be Kawhi’s stool pigeon.

    Second, Drake’s antics have made me hate the Raptors. He has no business anywhere near the benches. If it were up to me, I would ban courtside seats. Yes, they bring in boatloads of money for NBA teams, but is it worth the trouble?

    Third, men should never, ever wear sleeveless shirts without an undershirt in public, UNLESS they are working out. And if men are to wear sleveeless shirt while working out, they should have to shave their armpit hair, which is disgusting to begin with.

    I’m getting my armpit hair laser removed, along with my chest and back. Body hair grosses me out to no end.

    My father has almost no body hair. I wish I were like him, not my grandfather, who has more hair than an ape. Apparently, my sister-in-law loves body hair, because my brother is a gorilla. The only good news in my genes is my hair is light-colored, whereas my brother’s is darker, coarser and harder to remove.

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    The 25th reunion of my graduating class at Brother Martin High was last Saturday in New Orleans. I didn’t go, of course, but I did donate $70, the cost of attendance, which I did not do previously.

    I am friends with very few high school classmates on social media. On the other hand, I’m not wishing them any ill will, which wasn’t the case for a long time. I held a lot of resentment even after moving to Kansas, which was 12 years after my senior year of high school began. Time has a way of healing wounds. Maybe these have started to heal.

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    Geez. A man has walked into Buffalo Wild Wings wearing a cowboy hat. WEARING the cowboy hat.

    This is not a rodeo, sir. You should remove that hat.

    I am just aggravated by men who cannot remove their hats in a restaurant. I wore hats indoors when I was younger; I stopped after visiting the Louisiana state capitol in 1992 and being politely asked by an usher in the House seating gallery to remove it. I like showing off my short hair anyway.

    I made a horrible mistake many years ago of going outside without a hat in Kansas. My head was fried within two hours. I haven’t made that mistake since.

    Baseball hats are a nuisance. They do not block anyone’s view. But cowoboy hats? Another story.

    The public address announcer at Hill City’s gym wears a giant cowboy hat. Anyone sitting directly behind him who is not more than three rows up will have his or her view blocked.

    I don’t see why people in Texas want to spend tens of thousands on a Stetson cowboy hat. Make a down payment on a car.

    I used to own a ton of hats. Most of them were flooded by Katrina. The only hats I own now are a few MLB throwbacks and the ones I used to wear when I covered outdoor sporting events.

    The last hat I purchased was a White Sox throwback, the one they wore from 1976-81 with the floppy-collared jerseys and navy blue or white pants. I discovered those uniforms watching Johnny Bench’s instructional show, The Baseball Bunch, in the mid-1980s.

    Most people hate them, especially Chris Sale, who cut a replica up in 2016 when he was scheduled to pitch wearing them on a Turn Back The Clock night, one incident which prompted his departure from Chicago. I love them. I bought the hat as a protest of Sale’s hacking. I despise the White Sox’ uniforms, which they have worn since 1991. Black is ugly, especially for a team which hardly ever wore black before then. It also is a reminder of the White Sox’ disgusting past, namely the Black Sox.

    Right now, I’m the only man not wearing a hat at the bar. One black cap, one Royals batting practice cap, the annoying cowboy hat, and a Diamondbacks batting practice hat. I swear there needs to be a hat rack in every restaurant.

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    Gary Woodland, a Topeka native who played at Washburn and KU, is leading the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by two strokes. He and Justin Rose make up today’s last pairing, teeing off at 1645 CT (1445 PT). Woodland has never won a major, while Rose won the U.S. Open in 2013 at Lower Merion near Philadelphia.

    It looks like Brooks Koepka’s bid to win his third consecutive U.S. Open has ended. That doesn’t make it any less compelling.

    Singing the Blues no more

    Let the record show St. Louis’ Stanley Cup drought ended at 2241 Eastern Daylight Time, 12 June 2019.

    That’s when the final siren went off in Boston’s TD Garden, ending the Blues’ 4-1 victory over the Bruins in game seven of this year’s Stanley Cup Final.

    The Blues, the team which lost 12 consecutive Stanley Cup Finals games without a win in their first three seasons of existence, then waited 49 years to get back to the finals, took the Cup back to Missouri, where it arrived very early this morning at Lambert Airport.

    This puts three NHL teams on the clock.

    The Canucks and Sabres, two teams which came into the NHL three years after the Blues, Penguins, Flyers, Kings, North Stars (now the Dallas Stars) and Seals (ceased to exist after merging with the North Stars in 1978), now have gone the longest without winning a Stanley Cup.

    Vancouver and Buffalo have been to the finals a combined five times. The Sabres lost in 1975 to the Flyers and ’99 to Dallas, while the Canucks fell in 1982 to the Islanders, ’94 to the Rangers and 2011 to the Bruins. Only the 2011 Canucks were within one win of the Cup, but they lost twice to the Bruins, game six in Boston and game seven in Vancouver, the latter sparking disgusting riots throughout British Columbia.

    The other team on the clock is the Maple Leafs.

    Toronto has won 13 Cups, second to Montreal’s 24, but the Leafs haven’t hoisted the 16-kilogram (35-pound) silver trophy since 1967, the last year of the “Original Six”. The Maple Leafs haven’t even reached the finals since 1967, losing in the semifinals on numerous occasions.

    The Leafs’ futility is a running joke in the NHL, especially in Montreal, Boston, Ottawa and Buffalo, four cities which would root for a team captained by Donald Trump over the Leafs. Toronto hasn’t won a Cup since Lester Pearson was Canada’s Prime Minister, yet the Leafs are the NHL’s most valuable franchise, have some of the highest, if not the highest, ticket prices in North American professional sports, and have a season ticket waiting list rivaled by only the Packers and Redskins.

    Toronto isn’t going to win a Cup until it gets rid of Mitch Marner and/or William Nylander for help on the blue line and a competent backup goaltender.

    The Leafs’ defense is putrid. It stinks. Yet the Leafs went out and threw a crapload of money at John Tavares last year. Tavares is great, but how many scorers does a team need? This isn’t 1984 when the Oilers were winning games 10-3 and 12-5 on many nights. It isn’t 1998 when 1-0 games were as common as a cold, but the days of teams scoring 400 goals a year are long gone.

    Fredrik Andersen isn’t that good to begin with, and he certainly can’t carry a team on his shoulders the way Patrick Roy, Martin Broedeur and Grant Fuht could in their heyday. The Leafs haven’t had one since Terry Sawchuk.

    I can’t see Toronto doing a damn thing until the two things I mentioned above happened. Until then, it will be one and done in the playoffs for the next couple of years.

    Vancouver and Buffalo? Please. They’re even more hopeless than the Leafs. If either makes the playoffs before 2022, I will be truly surprised.

    Boston’s window may have slammed shut. Tukka Rask, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara are near the end of the line.

    As long as Tampa Bay, Nashville, Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Vegas, Dallas and Anaheim don’t get their grubby paws on the Cup, it won’t be too bad.

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    The NHL needs to seriously realign when Seattle comes on board. The NFL model of eight divisions of four might work. This would be my setup:

    –Seattle, Vancouver, San Jose, Colorado

    –Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Vegas

    —Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minnesota

    –Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Detroit

    –Nashville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida

    –Washington, Philadelphia, Rangers, Islanders

    –Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Columbus, New Jersey

    –Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto

    Dividing the three New York City teams seems like blasphemy, but the Devils haven’t been in New York as long as the other two. And the Devils make more sense in a division with three other American teams. Toronto makes sense with Boston and Montreal, since the three have been rivals since the beginning of the NHL.

    Detroit and Chicago should be in the same division. It’s silly they aren’t. I understand the Red Wings’ fear of playing more west coast games, but why they aren’t playing their oldest rival more often is silly.

    The Flames and Oilers have been begging for more games vs. the Jets. The two Alberta teams would love Vancouver in their division, but the Canucks and the new team in Seattle not together doesn’t make sense. The only other way to slice it would be to put Seattle in with the Canucks, Flames and Oilers, then move a few other pieces around on the board.

    The four southernmost teams deserve one another. Washington needs to be in a division with northeastern teams, not ones far south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

    If the NHL wants four divisions of eight, here’s what I’d like to see:

    –Vancouver, Seattle, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Colorado, Minnesota, St. Louis

    –San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Arizona, Vegas, Dallas, Nashville, Columbus

    –Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Washington

    –Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Islanders, Rangers

    That’s enough hockey for now.

    Blue Sunday night (and Monday)

    I’ve been singing the blues since 2200 last night, at least as far as sports goes.

    The Blues choked in their attempt to win their first Stanley Cup last night, losing 5-1 at home to the Bruins. The series goes back to Boston for the winner-take-all game seven Wednesday.

    St. Louis has performed very well away from the Enterprise Center in the playoffs, winning 9 of 12. However, no team in the Stanley Cup Finals has lost game six at home, then recovered to win game seven on the road since the Maple Leafs in 1945, who lost to the Red Wings in Toronto, but somehow got back up and took the Cup at Detroit’s venerable Olympia.

    The Blues became the third team this millennium to lose game six of the finals on home ice. The Devils blew it in 2001 and the Flames did it three years later. New Jersey bowed to the Avalanche in Denver, and Calgary choked against the Lightning, subjecting us to the ridiculous spectacle of the Cup being skated in Tampa by the home team.

    Three other times since 1995 have the finals have reached game seven:

    2003–the Devils and (Mighty) Ducks each fail to break through on the road. New Jersey has the good fortune of home ice advantage.

    2006–the Hurricanes lose twice to the Oilers after taking a 3-1 series lead, but recover to win the Cup in Raleigh

    2011–the Canucks and Bruins split the first six games, with neither team able to win away from home. In the seventh game, that changes, with Boston rolling 4-0 in Vancouver, prompting lawlessness in the streets of British Columbia.

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    Meanwhile, about 800 miles down the Mississippi River, LSU’s 2019 baseball season came to a sorrowful conclusion.

    The Bayou Bengals were swept in their super regional by Florida State. LSU blew a 4-0 lead in the first game and lost 6-4, and in the second, it erased a 4-0 deficit, only to lose 5-4 in 12 innings.

    LSU’s season ended 40-25. There were some highs, like winning a series in Starkville, but some real lows, like being swept in Austin by a mediocre Texas team which finished last in the Big 12 and losing a series for the first time to Missouri.

    The Seminoles are going to the College World Series in coach Mike Martin’s 40th and final season. Martin has won the most career games of any baseball coach in NCAA Division I, surpassing 2,000 earlier this year.

    The Seminoles will be in Omaha for the 17th time under Martin, who succeeded the late, great Dick Howser when the latter left Tallahassee in late 1979 to become manager of the. Yankees and later the Royals. FSU also played in Omaha six times prior to Martin’s ascension. The Seminoles’ baseball stadium is fittingly named Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.

    For all their success in the regular season and early rounds of the postseason, the Seminoles have yet to claim the brass ring. Their 22 previous CWS appearances without a title are the most. By comparison, LSU didn’t make its first CWS until 1986 and has six titles in 18 appearances.

    Martin’s plight resembles that of longtime FSU football coach Bobby Bowden, who came close season after season in the 1980s and early 1990s before winning two titles in 1993 and ’99. Bowden and Martin are good friends, and I bet Bobby will be in Omaha rooting on his former school.

    I’ll never forget the 1998 CWS. I went to Omaha for the first time. In the first game of that year’s series. FSU lost 11-10 to Arizona State in a game marked by numerous errors and wild plays.

    A reporter came back to the Rosenblatt Stadium press box with audio from Martin’s postgame press conference. The first words out of Martin’s mouth: “We stunk the dadgum cotton picking ballyard up!”

    The Seminoles were eliminated two days later by Long Beach State. Martin was much more subdued and conciliatory after losing to the 49ers (aka Dirtbags).

    In 1999, FSU reached the championship game, but lost to archrival Miami (from 1988-2002, there was a single CWS championship game). In 2000, the Seminoles were ousted by LSU, which went on to win its fifth title under Skip Bertman.

    Another school which has been to Omaha plenty with nothing to show for it, Mississippi State, is going back. Also in the field are Louisville, Texas Tech, Michigan (first time since 1984), Auburn (first time since 1997) and Vanderbilt. Arkansas looks like it will round out the field, as the Razorbacks lead Ole Miss 7-1 in the fourth at Fayetteville in the decisive game of that super regional.

    I’ll take Vanderbilt and Arkansas in an all-SEC championship series. And I’ll take the Razorbacks to overcome their heartbreak from last year’s championship series loss to Oregon State, which would bring Arkansas its first baseball national championship and first major sports title since basketball in 1994.

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    Once the Blues fell behind 3-0 last night, I turned off live television and switched back to The Brady Bunch DVD collection. I’m halfway through season four. I’m going to rewatch them once I get through the entire series.

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    I need to get my car washed. The bugs are bugging me big time. It looks horrible.

    For those who live in a big city, you would be well advised to get an unlimited car wash plan. It will do wonders against the bugs in the summer and the snow, ice and grime in winter.

    One good news for my car: my custom sunshade arrived today. It works great. The generic ones in Target (and Walmart, even though I no longer shop there) don’t fit my car. They are awful. No wonder they are #########################################################################

    The United States plays its first match in the FIFA Women’s World Cup tomorrow in France. At least Hope Solo, Lauren Holliday and Sydney LeRoux are no longer on team. However, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd are, and those are three big reasons I’m rooting against the Americans.

    Morgan is nowhere near the caliber of player former teammate Abby Wambach was, and certainly not in the same league as past greats Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly and Cindy Parlow.

    The only reason Morgan is getting attention? She’s a sexpot. She posed in a bikini for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. So what?

    Rapinoe is association football’s version of Collin Kaepernick, taking a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner to protest pay inequality in association football and the poor treatment of LQBT athletes like Rapinoe (and Wambach). If she wants to protest on her own time, that’s her business. I don’t give a darn if she’s a lesbian. That’s her privilege. However, she should not protest her country’s national anthem representing that country on an international stage. Rapinoe needs to pipe down during the competition. Save it for later.

    Lloyd is nowhere near Hamm. Give it up already.

    Solo is a crybaby. And she’s stupid for marrying a man, former Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens, who beat the piss out of her days before their wedding. This weekend, Solo opened her mouth and inserted her foot by saying US manager Jill Ellis chokes in pressure situations.

    Last I checked, Ellis was the team’s manager in 2015 when Solo and the US won the World Cup. Therefore, Hope(less) Solo should shut up.

    Of the current players, Julie (Johnston) Ertz would crack the starting XI in any era. But that’s it.

    Personally, I’d like to see France, Germany or England win the Women’s World Cup. The jingoism of American broadcasters is sickening. That’s why I loved the 2018 Men’s World Cup–the Americans were nowhere to be found, and Fox had to actually cover the matches as neutral journalists, not as surreptitious cheerleaders for Uncle Sam.

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    Have I bored you? If I have, I’m sorry. That’s it. For now.

    More Arabi Park memories

    My post earlier this week about Arabi Park Middle School was well received by my former classmates.

    However, names continue to come back to me, and I would be remiss if I did not mention them.

    One I feel terrible about omitting was that of a beautiful young lady who joined our classes for the seventh grade.

    Michelle Woodland came to Arabi Park from Houston. She immediately showed she was bright and kind, and she took a real liking to me. Of course, I brushed her off because I stupidly continued to crush on Stacie Dauterive (Seube).

    Looking back, Michelle obviously did not mean any harm. I felt bad when I left for Brother Martin that I wouldn’t see her anymore. I should have been nicer to her. I’d give anything to find out where she is today.

    One young lady who was on the receiving end of my volatile temper was Lori King. I spilled red drink on a white shirt she was wearing the afternoon of May 13, 1988, and I was suspended for one day.

    I wanted to crawl into a hole. I cried all weekend and the day of my suspension. My homeroom teacher, Mrs. Robichaux, saw me with my parents and brother in the parking lot of the old K-Mart in Chalmette the day after the incident and tried to make sense of it. She thought being suspended was too harsh.

    Lori never mentioned it again. We danced together at one of the school dances the next year.

    Another young lady I omitted was Jennifer Cancienne, who played saxophone in the band with Jack Bastoe and Allison Richardson (White). Rest in Peace, Allison.

    Jenny lived a couple of blocks south of Judge Perez Drive, the main thoroughfare of St. Bernard Parish. The busy highway separated her house from Carolyn Park and the Dauterive house, which was two houses down from St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic school and church, where I attended school from kindergarten through fifth grade.

    I recall Jenny undergoing a horrific ordeal. It was either kidnapping or assault; I’m not sure. I hope she has recovered and is living a happy life.

    During seventh grade, Aimee Roniger, who was in my fifth grade class at St. Robert’s, transferred to Arabi Park. She and her neighbor, Nicole Lowery, who was also in our classes at APM, once came to my house and played football with Jason Malasovich and I. It was Jason’s birthday, the day after mine.

    There are a couple of things from my seventh grade year at Arabi Park which are hilarious looking back upon them 30 years ago.

    The first was after our trip to the Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on February 16, 1989. We got back to school in time for seventh period, but instead of forcing us to go to class, Shelly Schumacher, our science teacher who led the field trip, let us stay in the school’s planetarium, where we had science class during sixth period.

    She turned the radio on, and invited anyone who wanted to sing along to do so.

    George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” came on WEZB (B-97), the top-rated FM station in the New Orleans area.

    Yours truly took the mike and proceeded to sing along terribly with Mr. Michael. Mrs. Schumacher and many of my classmates were amused. Some weren’t.

    Two more notes on WEZB.

    Mrs. Schumacher let us do karaoke one day in December. Eddie Money’s “Walk on Water” came on. I asked Nicole would you believe in me if I walked on water. She said no.

    In 1989, WEZB’s Walton & Johnson, who were on the air from 0530 to 1000 each weekday, had a birthday contest. If your birthday was called and you were the first to call the station, you won cash, usually $20.

    On May 18, 1989, the prize was $10,000.

    The birthday Walton & Johnson announced was November 6.

    The birthday of Roy Steinle, aka my father.

    I called Air Products trying to get dad on the phone so he could call. Unfortunately I was too late.

    Jason (my brother) or I should have called and told them I was Roy. If he would have been disqualified because one of his sons called on his behalf, so what? It wouldn’t have cost us anything, and I’m sure WEZB would not have pressed criminal charges.

    Back to Arabi Park.

    I was obsessed with sex during my seventh grade year. I was only 12, and I was way, way, WAY too young to even be considering it. That unnerved the girls in my classes, except for Rosemarie, who knew me too well, and Michelle, who thought I was endearing.

    This leads to my next escapade from APM.

    In the fourth quarter of my seventh grade year, the boys and girls were separated for sex education. Mrs. Schumacher taught the girls and Susan Buras taught the boys.

    Shoulder pads were a big fad among women in the 1980s, and at the time, I had a very misguided idea as to why women were wearing shoulder pads.

    To satisfy my curiosity, I asked Mrs. Buras if women carried their sanitary napkins (maxi-pads) in their bra straps around their shoulders.

    That cracked everyone up. I was teased the rest of the year for it.

    Turns out the pads were nothing more than a fashion statement.

    I’m laughing so hard thinking about it as I type.

    It’s been 30 years, but I’ll never forget all of you. Nor the good times we had.