Monthly Archives: June 2020
June 2020: boredom reigns supreme
June is normally a boring month in my life. High school sports are over until Labor Day weekend, so work slows down. The heat ratchets up, so I am loath to leave my basement. I have scheduled my visits with Dr. Jones and Dr. Custer to where they don’t fall in June.
The only thing breaking the June monotony has been an occasional road trip. Last year, that trip didn’t come until the very end of June and spilled into July. I recall it was terrible because most of the employees of Buffalo Wild Wings #0154 (Shoal Creek in northeast Kansas City/Liberty) took vacation, so nobody I knew was working.
This June, however, has been more boring than usual.
No work, thanks to COVID-19. Very few trips outside 1224 North Brooks, which right now isn’t so bad. No chance to spend money, and no dealing with the oppressive heat, which hit 39 Celsius (102 F) in Russell today and only figures to get worse in July and August.
Other than two visits with Crista and a few other trips to Hays for provisions, my only out of town trips were to Hutchinson on the 2nd and Salina on the 12th. I thought about a mid-month excursion, but decided against it.
Not much trivia. I’ve kept the Wednesday and Thursday night dates playing SIX. I’m playing right now since Brainbuster is on at 19:00.
I have not eaten in a restaurant since 17 February, when I met Peggy at the McDonald’s in Russell. I visited Old Chicago in Hays a couple of times in January, plus Minksy’s and Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City at the beginning of the year when my dad had to go to the KU Medical Center in KCK for surgery.
Eating out is not a big thing for right now. I’m not in the mood to go to the Old Chicago in Hays because I’m sure people I can’t stand will be there. Going in Salina will present the problem of having to choose between a very late return or fighting the blinding sunset. Also, I’ve stuffed my freezer to the point where it’s having trouble closing, so I’d better not let that go to waste.
I’ve watched The O.C. on what seems like an endless loop for the last three weeks. I’m sad Peter Gallagher no longer appears on Law & Order: SVU. He is the best reason to watch The O.C., the beauty of Kelly Rowan, Mischa Barton, Autumn Reeser and other ladies notwithstanding.
I’m also watching Monk again. I’m still in season one.
I’ve stopped watching Lifetime Movie Network. Besides, I don’t think there will be many, if any, new releases for the foreseeable future with studios shuttered for COVID-19. Many of the actors and actresses in those movies, as well as the studios, are Canadian, which will complicate matters since travel between Canada and the US is severely restricted, if not banned outright.
June boredom may not be the worst for me. Last Thursday (25 June) was the 16th anniversary of my first date with Renetta Rogers, the statuesque beauty whom I seriously thought was “THE ONE”. I can’t help but feel so helpless every time that anniversary comes and goes. I screwed that up so badly, and I deserve to be lonely. I am too stupid to realize it’s too late to find someone. I am going to die alone.
July will likely be more of the same. And August. And September. Heaven help me.
Father’s Day without baseball: un-American
Ah, Father’s Day. An observance I will never be a part of. I’m not going to be a father, which is not a bad thing. I would not want to pass my defective DNA to anyone. That would be grossly unfair.
This is my dad’s first Father’s Day without his father, who passed away 11 March at 97. He hasn’t said a word about it. I probably thought of it before he did.
For the first time since 1981, there will be no Major League Baseball on Father’s Day. The reason there wasn’t Father’s Day baseball 39 years ago was because the MLB Players Association went on strike 12 June and stayed out through the end of July, although games did not resume until 9 August with the All-Star Game in Cleveland.
Seven hundred twelve games were wiped out by the strike, which foisted upon us the comically bad split season, which cost the Cardinals and Reds, the teams with the best overall records
Ironically, Father’s Day in 1981 was also 21 June. Two other Father’s Days falling on 21 June produced MLB history.
In 1964, the Phillies’ Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game against the Mets at Shea Stadium. Bunning, a father of six, struck out 10 in the first National League perfect game since 1880 and the first regular season perfect game since 1922, when Charles Robertson authored one for the Tigers.
Of course, in between Robertson and Bunning, Don Larsen of the Yankees notched the most famous perfect game of all in the 1956 World Series vs. the Dodgers. It should also be noted Harvey Haddix pitched 12 1/3 perfect innings for the Pirates at Milwaukee in 1959, only to lose to the Braves.
The day after the game, Bunning was the New York Times‘ “Man in the News”, a rare honor for an athlete. On the same page as that item was a cigar advertisement with Phillies’ manager Gene Mauch, who has been described as the most successful manager to never appear in the World Series.
Philadelphia was a lead-pipe cinch for the World Series until the infamous “Phold”.
The Phillies led the National League (there were no divisions until 1969) by 6 1/2 games with 12 to play, only to lose 10 in a row (four to the Reds, three apiece to the Braves and Cardinals) and see their pennant dreams vanish. Mauch was widely blamed for pitching Bunning and left-hander Chris Short constantly on two days’ rest, simply because he didn’t trust anyone else on his staff. The only pitchers who could have possibly survived that workload are knuckleball specialists (Wilbur Wood, Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield), and even then it would be dicey.
Hours after Bunning’s perfect game, something much more sinister took place in the piney woods of east Mississippi.
Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan, led by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price and trigger man Alton Wayne Roberts, who was dishonorably discharged from the Marines. It wasn’t until 4 August that the bodies were found in an earthen dam.
Six year’s after Bunning’s pitching gem, Cesar Gutierrez had his day in the sun.
The Venezuelan went 7-for-7 in the second game of a doubleheader at Cleveland. Gutierrez was 5-for-5 through nine innings, added an infield single in the 10th, then singled again in the 12th after Mickey Stanley put Detroit ahead 9-8 on a one-out solo home run.
Two players have gone 7-for-7 in nine innings: Brooklyn’s Wilbert Robinson in 1892 and Pittsburgh’s Rennie Stennett in 1975.
Sadly, Gutierrez was out of MLB after the 1971 season, and passed away in 2005 at 62. He only played in 190 games, but on one shining Sunday, he proved why sports are the greatest reality show of all.
I found out today that Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter (Birney), who portrayed parents Steve and Elyse Keaton on “Family Ties”, were born on 21 June 1947. No wonder they had such chemistry on the TV show. They share a birthday with Bernie Kopell (Dr. Adam Bricker on “The Love Boat”, 87), Ron Ely (“Tarzan”, 82) and Chris Pratt (41).
Unfortunately for Gross, Baxter, Kopell, Ely and Pratt, Jussie Smollett was born 21 June 1982. UGH.
Reduced to binging
My life has pretty much been in stasis since leaving St. Louis the morning of 18 May. There have been appointments with Crista, including my first in person since 2 March, the trip to Hutchinson and Wichita, and last Friday, an excursion to Salina just to do something different.
I was hoping for another trip to Missouri this month, but something happened which made it impractical. I’m not in the mood to go into it. The hot weather made the decision to cancel a little easier.
I have been reduced to binging on two of my favorite television series, Monk and The O.C.
I went through the eight seasons of Monk in three weeks. There was a time where I loved Natalie Teeger (Traylor Howard, who turned 54 today) and I disliked Sharona Fleming (Bitty Schram). When I first acquired the entire series on DVD, I started watching from the first Natalie episode, but eventually, I went all the way back get the full story of how Adrian Monk (Tony Shalhoub) lost his job as a San Francisco Police Department detective, then returned to the good graces of Captain Leland Stottlemeyer (Ted Levine) and Lieutenant Randy Disher (Jason Gray-Stanford).
As I watched the Sharona episodes (the pilot through the ninth episode of season 3), I grew to appreciate both Sharona and Bitty, who portrayed Rockford Peaches right fielder Evelyn Gardner in A League of Their Own. Schram’s character was on the receiving end of the infamous line uttered by Tom Hanks’ Jimmy Dugan, “THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!”
I began watching Monk on USA during the fifth season, which was my first summer in Kansas following Hurricane Katrina. I fell off the wagon near the end of the series, largely because new episodes aired on Friday nights when I was on the road covering athletic events. The DVDs got me back on the wagon, and now I can recall lines from many episodes.
In April, Jimmy Kimmel brought together Shalhoub, Howard, Levine and Gray-Stanford for a Zoom videoconference where they were in character from Monk. Adrian tells Randy he was down to his last 12 cases of wipes. Randy says Adrian is hoarding, but Adrian replies it’s not hoarding if he bought them 20 years ago. Natalie mentions she tested positive for COVID-19. It was nice to see them together again, but I wish Schram, Hector Elizondo (Dr. Neven Bell, Monk’s second therapist) and Emmy Clarke (Julie Teeger, Natalie’s incredibly intelligent and talented daughter) would have also appeared.
I didn’t watch The O.C. during its four seasons on FOX (the first two seasons aired while I was still in Louisiana; the third season premiered one week after I arrived in Russell). I began to watch The O.C. in the summer of 2009 when it aired daily on the now-defunct Soap Opera Network (SoapNET) along with One Tree Hill.
The only main actor from The O.C. I have watched regularly since the show ended is Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen), who appeared as Arthur Larson on Covert Affairs and William Dodds on Law & Order: SVU. Peter is tremendously talented as both an actor and singer, and it’s a travesty he hasn’t had a leading role in a major motion picture since Sex, Lies and Videotape in 1989.
Since I first watched The O.C., I’ve had a huge crush on Kelly Rowan, who portrayed Kirsten (Nichol) Cohen. Kelly was born in Ottawa (the capital of Canada, not the one where Caitlyn goes to college) and was mostly an unknown, like the rest of the stars of the show excluding Gallagher. Kelly played her part flawlessly and with tremendous emotion and energy, and it’s a shame she hasn’t had another starring role either on TV or movies. If Kelly is a Senators fan, I’ll forgive her.
Three future leads of Pretty Little Liars–Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson and Janel Parrish–had guest appearances on The O.C. Benson and Parrish appeared in the same episode where Kaitlin Cooper (Willa Holland) throws a rager at Neil Roberts’ (Michael Nouri) mansion that is crashed by Ryan (Ben McKenzie) and Seth (Adam Brody), who go looking for their girlfriends, Taylor (Autumn Reeser) and Summer (Rachel Bilson).
I picked up One Tree Hill on the CW and watched the last three seasons as they unfolded. The last three seasons were missing something big without Lucas Scott (Chad Michael Murray) and Peyton Sawyer Scott (Hilarie Burton), but Bethany Joy Lenz (Haley James-Scott) and Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis) kept it going strong. Shantel Van Santen (Quinn James) was a great addition for the last three years, although many didn’t like her.
OTH is now on Hulu, not to mention I have all nine seasons on DVD, so I’m guessing it will be on my binge list soon.
The other two shows where I have seen every episode are The Brady Bunch and Law & Order: SVU.
Time to call it a night.
Another Kansas summer commences
Summer has arrived in Kansas. The broiler was turned up today in Russell, with a high of 36 Celsius (96 Fahrenheit), which is 9 C (13 F) hotter than it should be in the first week of June.
The hotter weather prompted me to wait until after sunset to make a quick drive to the UPS and USPS drop boxes in town. I almost went too late. It started raining in Hays 30 minutes ago, and the lightning was striking quite frequently to the west. Oops, the rain just started at 1224 North Brooks. As Maxwell Smart used to say, missed it by that much.
I have had no desire to leave 1224 North Brooks since getting home from my excursion Tuesday. It was hot enough Tuesday.
It was a good decision to not stay overnight in Hutch, because it was an easy drive there in the morning. I got there way too early, so I killed an hour plus at the large Dillon’s not too far from the clinic. Most people were not wearing masks.
The visit with my new health provider in Hutchinson–I have not ditched Dr. Custer–went well. Made a quick trip to Wichita to pick up a new seat cushion from Bed Bath and Beyond, get my car washed and make an Amazon pickup at a QuikTrip. I avoided the protest areas.
IF you want an opinion on what’s going on right now, don’t ask. Not providing it.
I realized Tuesday morning I normally would be writing summaries of how local schools performed at the high school state track and field championships the previous weekend. This year’s meet, originally scheduled for last Friday and Saturday, was cancelled in March when schools were shut down for the remainder of the year.
I HATED covering that event. Check that. I DESPISED covering that event with every fiber of my being.
It was two of the worst days of every year. If the weather was as hot as it was today, that made it a million times worse.
Fans rave about how much they love that meet, but they don’t have to dash between eight events going on at once, trying to photograph 15-20 athletes. Heaven forbid if you don’t get a picture of an athlete, because the family of that athlete will not let you live it down.
When I was taken off of event coverage in August 2015, I wanted to quit. Now I realize it was a blessing. A HUGE blessing. There are some events I miss covering. The two days of hell at Wichita State are two days I’m glad I’m sitting on my fat ass in Russell or somewhere else (the last three years, that somewhere else was–surprise, surprise–Kansas City).
June 3 and 4 are Desiree Days, since those dates are mentioned in Neil Diamond’s 1977 hit “Desiree”. It woke me up at 05:00 Tuesday. And I heard it again driving back to Russell.
“Desiree” is on the Neil Diamond playlist on my iPod. “Sweet Caroline” is not and never will be.
Saturday is Convoy Day in honor of the 1975 classic “Convoy” by C.W. McCall, which opens “It was dark of moon on the sixth of June in a Kenworth pulling logs…”
That’s all I have for now.
The calendar flipped! Let’s party!
If you know me, you know my headline is completely sarcastic. I hate New Year’s Eve more than any other celebration, and I believe it is so puerile to celebrate just because a calendar flipped and you’re putting a new year on checks.
If flipping a calendar was so huge, let’s do it after EVERY month!
I pray Bill DeBlasio will shut down Times Square in seven months and tell everyone to watch the ball drop from the comfort and safety of their residences while Ryan Seacrest provides play-by-play. Of course, there would be tens of thousands of morons who would flaunt that if DeBlasio issued that order, just like idiots did last weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks.
May wasn’t as bad as I feared. The week in St. Louis, plus two Zoom conferences with Crista and one with Peggy, helped the month go by quicker than I thought it might exactly one month ago.
However, the month ended horribly with what went on in Minneapolis last Monday and the subsequent protests and riots. Kansas City and St. Louis are among the places which have been victimized by looting. I’m leaving it at that.
There was a time where I would get on a soapbox and rant about anything political. Not now. If you’re looking for a hot take, I suggest you find another blog. You aren’t getting it from FOOTS PRINTS.
I have an appointment in Hutchinson tomorrow morning. I thought about going down there tonight to stay, but when I saw the volume of food I still had to clear from my refrigerator and freezer, I decided to save the money I would have spent on the hotel and rough it. That means departing before sunrise tomorrow to make it for 10:15, barring an unforeseen illness.
Why am I going two hours to Hutchinson instead of just going to Hays, or even Salina? It’s personal for me. Sorry.
I ate McDonald’s twice last week, both in Hays. It was the first hamburgers I ate from a restaurant, other than White Castle in St. Louis, since I met Peggy at McDonald’s in Russell in February. McDonald’s is much better able to handle mobile orders than most fast food restaurants, so I patronize them over other locations which can’t get their mobile/online ordering straight, or those which don’t have it at all.
Chick-Fil-A was the first fast food restaurant to roll out mobile/online ordering in 2015. I seemed to be the only person using it at the Kansas City location at I-29 and Barry Road, at least until 2017. The Chick-Fil-A in Salina lost my order more than once in those early years, and it angered me. But I have not had a single problem with Chick-Fil-A in three years.
The McDonald’s in Russell has some very old employees who probably don’t know how to turn on a computer. I have to go into the store to pick up an online order, something which wasn’t possible for over two months.
White Castle’s online ordering system is great, at least through the main website. The app is spotty, and often I cannot pay through Apple Pay because it gives me an error message stating “fraud”. Thank God my tablet can handle desktop websites.
I’m going to end my review of fast food ordering here, at least for this post. There is one restaurant which is so far behind the technology curve it’s downright asinine. I’ll reveal it later this week.
When I went to Dillon’s in Hays last week to pick up what few things I needed, I noticed all the maskless faces, a sharp contrast from St. Louis, where most people were compliant (or ALL were complaint in the case of Whole Foods). One man without a mask had two young daughters in tow, both without masks as well. I cringed.
I doubt the surgical masks I’m wearing could prevent the coronavirus strain which causes COVID-19 from getting into my airways. However, by wearing a mask, my sneezes and coughs go into the mask, not the air where they might infect others. It’s an inconvenience, but it’s one that is necessary. I don’t want to fathom the alternative, a strict lockdown under martial law.
It’s getting hot out there. June in Kansas. Yeesh. I knew it was coming. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.