I am a sportswriter for Main Street Media in Russell, Kansas. MSM is a group of weekly papers in several small towns in northern Kansas, plus four in southern Nebraska. I have been at my job since I was forced to leave New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
I grew up in New Orleans–well, not the city proper, but close enough. I had a very rough time in my youth, because my development was delayed by a mysterious disorder. I was teased mercilessly at the three schools I attended from kindergarten through 12th grade, and there was hardly anyone who I want to remember from those years. I did fine in school, but I could have done better had (a) I spent more time studying and less time watching sports and (b) had my development been normal. I had no clue about geometry, and I struggled comprehending literature. I can do both of those much better now, because I finally got to where I should have been as a teen far, far too late.
I attended my first year of college, got fired from a job most would kill for after one semester, got in trouble, and had to go home to find myself. At least I could further my education at the University of New Orleans for three semesters, and then I was back at LSU to start 2007. This time, I got my degree in accounting, and of course, I put it to great use by going into journalism.
During my second stint at LSU, my disorder was diagnosed: Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s shaped me, both bad and good. The bad: I’m still single. The good: I know too much for my own good sometimes.
Birthdate: 10/13/1976, 9:16 a.m. Central Daylight Time
Birthplace: Baptist Hospital, New Orleans. Some kid named Peyton was born to Archie and Olivia Manning on March 24 of that year in the same hospital.
Parents: father was a chemical plant superintendent for Air Products and Chemicals, worked for company from June 1965 through January 2007; mother was a teacher, but most stayed home after my brother was born in February 1978
Siblings: one brother, Jason, a lawyer for the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office in Nashville. He’s married with a 12-year old daughter, Allison (Jason is not her biological father).
Kids: Not possible in my case, and it’s not because of a medical condition, either.
High school: Brother Martin, New Orleans, Class of 1994
College: LSU, Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, July 1999
Past work experience: freelance writer for The Advocate, Baton Rouge daily newspaper, covering high school sports from 1997 through 2005; Delgado Community College sports information director from March 2004 through August 2005
Where I live: Russell, Kansas. Located on Interstate 70 about 240 miles west of Kansas City and 360 miles east of Denver. Population 4,200. Father’s hometown, and grandfather has lived here all his life (he’s now 91)
Where I lived: New Orleans (actually, community of Arabi in St. Bernard Parish (county), about 15 minutes east of downtown), Baton Rouge, Hammond (all in Louisiana)
Food: buffalo wings (of course), rare steak, oysters, soft pretzels with lots of salt, bratwurst, Italian sausage, Reuben sandwiches, turkey and Swiss on sourdough, salads with spinach or romaine lettuce, Kahlua cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory
Restaurants: Buffalo Wild Wings, Outback Steakhouse (believe me, my mother’s cooking is far, far better than almost any restaurant)
TV: Monk, The O.C., One Tree Hill, Law and Order: SVU, King of the Hill
TV I wish I was old enough to watch when it aired: Charlie’s Angels, Hill Street Blues
Movies: A League of Their Own, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Help, Easy A, Confessions of a Shopaholic
Clothes: Under Armour, Polo Ralph Lauren, Levi’s
NFL team: Arizona Cardinals
MLB team; Milwaukee Brewers
NBA team: Milwaukee Bucks
NHL team: Quebec Nordiques (before they moved and became the Colorado Avalanche)
Food: beef which is overcooked, iceberg lettuce, giant tomato slices, coleslaw
Restaurants: Spangles (hamburger chain which is big in Kansas, but I can’t stand it)
Athletes: LeBron James, Serena Williams, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire
NFL teams: Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
MLB teams: Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds
NBA teams: Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets
NHL teams: Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes
THINGS I CANNOT STAND
- Barack Hussein Obama’s performance as President of the United States. Two words: EMPTY SUIT.
- Cigarette smoking. It kills. It is disgusting. I do not want to breathe foul air. Parents who smoke in front of their young kids make me really, really angry.
- Poor tippers. I would venture to guess that out of every 100 times something goes wrong at a restaurant, at least 95 times it is NOT the server’s fault. What if the kitchen is short-staffed? What if it’s really busy? What if you have something that takes a long time to prepare? You had better tip the customary 20 percent. Or more. If you think YOU can do the job better, then give it a try. I know I can’t.
- People who don’t flush the toilet. I have been grossed out too many times looking at someone else’s fecal matter or urine siting in the toilet bowl. EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
- Cartridge razors. I used them for too many years. It is a total ripoff. I switched to an old-fashioned single blade razor, and I am never going back.
- People who leave their cars in front of a gas pump when they go inside the convenience store. If you’re done, be courteous and let someone else fill up. Gas lines in 1973 and 1979 because of the oil embargoes by OPEC were one thing. Lines because people are too lazy to move are unacceptable.