Author Archives: David

A party of no, no, no, no, no, no…

Today was supposed to be Opening Day for Major League Baseball. Tonight was supposed to be the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

Unless you have totally shut out media the last two weeks, you know by now there will be no NCAA basketball tournaments for either gender at any level until at least 2021, and it’s likely the first pitch of the MLB season will not be thrown before Memorial Day, probably later.

Earlier today, it was announced the Indianapolis 500 will be postponed from 24 May to 23 August, the first time since 1945, the last year of World War II, that “The Brickyard” will not host the iconic race on Memorial Day weekend. Formula One already cancelled several Grand Prix races, including its most prestigious in Monaco, which is usually run the same day as the Indianapolis 500.

Tuesday was quite eventful, definitely not the norm with stay-at-home orders proliferating to try to “flatten the curve” against COVID-19.

I was supposed to see Crista at 13:00. As soon as I pulled into the Walmart parking lot to pick up an order, the phone rang. Since it was The Cars’ “You Might Think”, I knew it was Crista’s office.

She told me that I would not be going to the office to see her. Instead, we would video conference via Zoom. The setup was simple, but now I had to find a quiet place to hold the meeting. Going inside a restaurant was not an option, and besides, I wouldn’t want to attract unwanted attention. It was a nice day to go outside, but again, I didn’t want people to become concerned.

As I drove south on Vine, I got the idea to go to Sonic, pull into a stall, and sit in the Buick while conducting the session. I knew Sonic was operating as usual, and it would be easier to go there than most other places, since there was no inside seating and everything was brought to the car to begin with.

The idea worked like a charm. Got two burgers and a big drink, and I had my session with Crista and Alicia, one of the many students who sit in on sessions at High Plains Mental Health (with client consent, of course).

Crista and Alicia laughed at my Zoom backdrop: the Kentucky state (or is it commonwealth?) capitol. Obviously, the picture was from when I stopped in Frankfort three years ago on my way to Lexington. They did not know you could create your own background. I told them it was like the backgrounds used on CNN, ESPN and other outlets.

The session went well. I see her again April 15, and hopefully I’ll be able to go into the office. Actually, Zoom might work better, since I see Dr. Custer 20 minutes after my session with Crista will end.

I went into Dillon’s on Vine. No toilet paper, no hand sanitizer, no rubbing alcohol, very few paper towels (no Brawny or Bounty, only the cheap stuff), no Dixie Ultra paper plates. However, there was ONE package of Chinet plates. One hundred of them. I decided they would never go to waste. Also found bacon, which was not available last week.

Since I was able to drive this week, I ventured to Salina to pick up orders at Walmart and Dillons on Ohio. I also took time to get my car washed at a new location and pick up Chick-Fil-A, where mobile ordering is a snap. Too bad Popeye’s can’t get its mobile ordering straight.

Tuesday was the first day I drove since 17 February. I believe it is the longest I’ve gone without driving since I received my unrestricted license 28 May 1992. The previous long was 25 days in November and December 2004 when I almost died from pneumonia and a pneumothorax, and I spent two weeks in the hospital, the first in ICU.

The Dillons on Ohio had no rubbing alcohol, toilet paper, wipes or sanitizer, but there were Dixie Ultra plates. However, I bought two packs of the Kroger brand. I figure if I have to use two at a time, it will be okay. I also stocked up on Boar’s Head sopresseta, as I like to munch on it. I was tempted to buy some capicola and/or mortadella, but my refrigerator and freezer were going to be stuffed anyway.

Since CVS pharmacy was only six blocks north of Dillons, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to stop. It would allow me to kill time, since driving to Russell at that time would have a blinding sun in my face. I had trouble in Salina with the glare driving westbound.

There were a few packages of toilet paper at CVS, with a large sign reading “LIMIT ONE PER CUSTOMER”. I milled over buying a pack, but I said no, since I have 19 big rolls of Charmin downstairs in Russell. It was a good stop because I needed a certain item I forgot at Walgreens last week, and I needed to print a picture to mail to Crista.

Old Chicago in Salina was closed, as it should have been. Last Thursday, the company issued an e-mail stating it was closing every location, even for takeout.

Yet when I pulled into the parking lot at the Hays location Tuesday at 12:30, four people walked in. I also noticed last Saturday that two people played one of the Buzztime games which cannot be played through the app.

Last stop in Salina: Target. Plenty of hand soap. Again, I passed. No toilet paper, but there were Bounty paper towels and Dawn Platinum dish soap available, so I bought one of each. I also stocked up on more toilet bowl tablet cleaners, even though I purchased eight at Walmart. Those don’t go to waste, either, and I could afford to keep my toilet cleaner.

I didn’t need to buy any soap to begin with. I ordered three bottles from an online collaborative in northern California. I got it yesterday, along with two more boxes of facial tissues.I’ve got four full cannisters and three partial cannisters of hand wipes, and three bottles of household cleaner with bleach. Now I’m glad I kept buying incrementally during all those trips to Kansas City.

When will I return to Kansas City? See below for why it might be awhile.

I made Larry’s day yesterday.

He was attempting to play Buzztime Tuesday night when I got back to Russell, and he said he got kicked off the server at Minsky’s, and then at 54th Street Bar and Grill in Liberty.

Buzztime updated its app recently. I noticed Tuesday, since I played in Salina (don’t worry, only when I was in a parking lot) that it had been updated, because after each game, the national leaderboard came up like it does in bars.

Yesterday afternoon, a Buzztime e-mail said its app now could connect to establishments up 20 miles (32 kilometers) away instead of only 2 miles (3.6 km) previously.

That change doesn’t affect me. Russell is 27 miles (44 km) from Hays, so the closest I could connect would be the Gorham exit on I-70, or a mile or two east of that.

For Larry, it’s a godsend. Now he doesn’t have to leave his home, drive by Minsky’s to pick up the signal, and then hope the app doesn’t leave him high and dry, like I did until I discovered the Android emulator for my laptop and a GPS spoofer for my phone.

I played until 02:00 Wednesday and 01:00 this morning. I’m back at it now. Might as well try to keep my mind off of COVID-19.

Larry and the rest of the Kansas City metro is under a stay-at-home order until 23 April, as is the St. Louis area. Missouri did not have many cases at first, but it is mushrooming and has surpassed Kansas.

I told Larry that hopefully we’ll be playing trivia again at Minsky’s on the first Friday of August. I can hope for July, but maybe August is too optimistic. I also want to get to Kansas City and St. Louis to be able to shop at their wonderful grocery stores, as well as eat White Castle in either St. Louis or Columbia.

The Advocate’s banner shows the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and people hospitalized in the Bayou State.

The numbers are alarming, disturbing , depressing and a bunch of other adjectives, none of them bright and sunny.

As I look at The Advocate’s home page, the numbers are 2,305 positive cases, 83 deaths, and 676 hospitalized.

Louisiana’s rate per capita is the highest in the nation. Yes, there are more cases in New York, California, Washington, Illinois and Florida, but Louisiana’s population is less than 5 million. That’s only two-thirds the size of New York City’s population (that’s just the five boroughs, not the entire metro), one-sixth of Florida’s population and one-eighth of California’s.

The number of cases in the city of New Orleans (Orleans Parish) is 997, with 46 deaths. Neighboring Jefferson Parish has 458 cases and 12 deaths, while St. Bernard Parish, where I lived and was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, has 28 cases and one fatality. Fifty-one of the state’s 64 parishes have at least one positive case, and every metropolitan area has been hit.

NBC reported last night that “patient zero” may have come from a foreign country during Carnival, which ended with Mardi Gras on 25 February, and then it spread like wildfire.

There certainly isn’t social distancing during Carnival; if you get six CENTIMETERS between yourself and another person in the French Quarter, you’re fortunate. I never went to the Vieux Carre during Carnival, but the big parades (Endymion, Thoth, Bacchus, Rex) also had crowds bunched like sardines.

It’s not hard to figure out how quickly COVID-19 can spread in that environment, just like it has in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago.

Two of the city’s most famous residents, Saints coach Sean Payton and Archbishop Gregory Aymond, tested positive. Payton is recovering, and hopefully Aymond will.

Weekend number three without sports looms, but first another visit to Hays to get my wound treated. It’s looking a lot better than it did two months ago, when Dr. Custer first got a look at what was a grotesque chasm.

Grocery shopping becomes a game of chance

I got up at 05:15 to use the bathroom. I thought about going back to bed, but as I washed my hands, I realized I had better take care of a particular task, or I may not get that chance.

That task: reserving times at Walmart in Salina and Hays to pick up groceries and household goods, notably toilet cleaners and paper plates.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated panic buying of anything and everything. The panic buying began shortly after the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, but throughout February, it was limited to cleaning wipes, cleaning sprays, paper towels and tissues.

With nine days left in March, nothing is immune to hoarders. Store shelves are picked clean, and trying to reserve items to be picked up is challenging not only because of the empty shelves, but because stores–Walmart and Dillons in my case–are severely restricting the times which items can be picked up.

Walmart is not allowing any reservations past the next day; i.e., I could not reserve a Tuesday pickup time last night, prompting me to do my shopping before 06:00. I got reservations at 12:00 in Hays and 17;00 in Salina.

Dillons is worse. I sneaked into a Tuesday evening slot at the store on Ohio Street in Salina last Friday, but when I tried to find another slot, there was nothing available for three days anywhere. A precious few slots for Wednesday and Thursday in Hays have opened this morning.

I’m going to be making three stops tomorrow, with a session with Crista at 13:00 wedged in. Walmart in Hays is before Crista, and Salina is after. The times in Salina are late enough so I can do whatever else I need to do in Hays, including a long wait in a drive-thru, before heading east on Interstate 70. At least I’ve mastered the art of ordering with an app at Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Sonic.

I’m driving this week, so I’d better get to Salina when I can. The diabetic ulcer on the big toe on my right foot has left me in a cast for the better part of the last seven weeks. It has healed very well, and with COVID-19 shutting down everything, there’s no downside to staying home all the time. Buzztime trivia, chess, Lifetime movies and naps pass the time.

While I have reserved items at three stores, whether or not I actually get those items is a crap shoot.

Last Friday, the Dillons in Hays could not get me any bacon. Nothing. My dad, who drove me to my appointment at Hays Medical Center for continued care on the toe, and I didn’t dare go inside to see if there was any on the shelf. The parking lot was filled, and I’m sure social distancing rules were being violated left and right inside the store.

There were no napkins in my Walmart order last Thursday. Fortunately I got them at Dillons.

Dillons is being stubborn by not allowing orders from their deli for pickup, meaning you have to go into the store if you want sliced ham, turkey, salami or other cold cuts and cheese. I like the Salina Dillons because it sells Boar’s Head, but I don’t know if I’m willing to fight the mob tomorrow night.

One thing I have not attempted to order: toilet paper. I have 19 mega rolls of Charmin Ultra Soft in my bathroom, so I’m probably good until at least August. And I will not consider the stupid “flushable” wipes, because toilets have become clogged numerous times using them, whether it be at home or at a hotel.

I also have not tried to order bottled water. As long as Russell’s municipal supply does not get contaminated, we’re in good shape with that as well.

If you want toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, wipes, hand sanitizer, hand soap or most other cleaning supplies, Walmart is kind enough to say they are out of stock. Dillons gets your hopes up thinking it might be in stock by allowing you to add it to your order, only for you to get a message the morning of your scheduled pickup telling you “we’re sorry, but these items are out of stock”.

Target is not allowing paper products and cleaning supplies to be reserved online for pickup orders. Again, you have to go into the store and fight the mob. I still have two full bottles of hand soap I bought at Target in January.

I seriously considered a Sam’s Club membership–there’s a store in Salina–but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I might change my mind later.

In 1999, King of the Hill aired an episode on the Y2K fear, “Hillennium”, which predicted a possible toilet paper shortage one day.

Dale Gribble, the most paranoid character in the history of television animation, hoarded toilet paper, Mountain Dew, cookies and dozens of other items. Hank Hill bought Peggy a computer for Christmas, and fearing the machine would not be Y2K compliant, Bobby, Peggy and Luanne Platter (Rest in Peace, Brittany Murphy) began to hoard toilet paper like Dale.

Bobby is elated when he receives toilet paper as his Christmas present. Come New Year’s Eve, he is deathly afraid to come outside and join Hank, Boomhauer, Bill, Kahn and the rest of Rainey Street for fireworks. Finally, Bobby comes to his senses, and Hank uses the hoarded toilet paper to start a bonfire.

My dad was fortunate to find toilet paper in Russell’s grocery store last week. He also found three boxes of tissues at Dollar General. They aren’t the Puffs scented with Vicks I prefer, but I’ll take anything in an emergency.

I can order some food online. I have a delivery from Wolferman’s Bakery with English muffins (corn meal and sourdough) and bread (all sourdough) arriving today, and Wednesday, six cases of TaB cola and 12 bottles of Louisiana Fish Fry tartar sauce (for the fish I’m eating each Friday) is coming from Amazon.

I can’t find TaB anywhere anymore, and I like its taste due to it being sweetened with saccharin and not aspartame or sucralose. I used to smuggle TaB back from Kansas City, but it’s disappeared. I was going to check other markets on my LSU baseball trip, but that’s not happening, either.

Bread is scarce,and it’s doubtful I’ll get to Kansas City before June in order to buy the sourdough I like so much. What’s worse is Farm to Market, the company which makes the great sourdough, won’t sell it online. They’re missing out. The Wolferman’s sourdough will do well in a pinch.

I also ordered cleaning supplies from the Grove Collaborative, including the same hand soap I buy at Target. If it comes by the end of next week (April 3), I’ll be happy. I have plenty to get by until then.

A sports-free universe

Today was supposed to be the day the Kansas Jayhawks began their march to their fourth NCAA Division I men’s basketball national championship, at least if you believe Bill Self, his players, and at least a third of Kansas’ college basketball fans (I’m probably being generous saying there’s an even three-way split between KU, Kansas State and Wichita State, but I’ll keep it simple).

Kansas was a lock to be the number one overall seed for the tournament and would have been playing its first round game today in Omaha’s CenuryLink Center. The Jayhawks would gone against a No. 16 seed and probably would have won by 25 to 30, though nothing is certain after Maryland-Baltimore County waxed overall #1 seed Virginia 74-54 in the first round two years ago.

Unless you’ve been living like the Unabomber prior to his capture, then you know there is no March Madness for the men or ladies in any of the NCAA’s three divisions. The big dances in Division I were cancelled eight days ago, and the rest of the sports world has come to a grinding halt.

This is the biggest disruption in the history of organized team sports, much more so than the previous benchmark, World War II.

The NFL conducted its 1941 championship game only hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed, and the next few seasons went on, although the Steelers merged one season with the Eagles and another with the Chicago Cardinals.

Major League Baseball played full seasons from 1942-45. Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis was all but resigned to not having a 1942 season, but FDR encouraged Landis to soldier on. The quality of play was sharply reduced with superstars like Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and numerous others fighting Nazis and samurai, but there was a World Series every year.

Many college football programs had to shut down for at least a year, sometimes longer, but LSU kept on chugging. The Bayou Bengals have fielded a team every year since 1893 except in 1918 due to World War II.

College and professional sports stopped for a few days following the September 11, 2001 attacks, but everyone knew they would come back once the appropriate security measures were taken.

Now? Nobody knows.

I doubt the NBA and NHL seasons can resume. There are no good reasons to continue the regular seasons if either league is able to play again. The seasons are more than 75% complete. That’s plenty to determine playoff brackets. Besides, if either league can’t start before Father’s Day, it would seriously impair the 2020-21 campaigns.

Major League Baseball may be reduced to 100 games if it’s fortunate. That would be the minimum for a legitimate season. Anything less would cheapen the World Series champion.

The NFL will probably not be able to start after Labor Day since teams can’t hold any organized or unorganized activities at their facilities. Football is too complex a sport to properly play without a large amount of practice. The same applies to college football.

The Kentucky Derby has already been postponed four months. I’m sure the Preakness and Belmont will also be pushed back, which might force cancellation of the Breeder’s Cup.

Golf cancelled the last three rounds of The Players Championship last weekend, plus every other tournament through Mother’s Day except The Masters, which was postponed. The PGA Championship scheduled for 14-17 May is postponed as well.

Tennis moved the French Open to after the U.S. Open, meaning Wimbledon is the next major event. There may not be any events, period, until The Championships at the All-England Club.

European football is in dire shape. I can’t see how Serie A (Italy), La Liga (Spain), Ligue 1 (France), Bundesliga (Germany) and Premier League (England) start again before July. I understand those leagues want to play a full season due to promotion and relegation, but it can’t be done without seriously disrupting the 2020-21 schedule.

As for me, I have nothing to cover. The Kansas State High School Activities Association cancelled all sports until August, coinciding with the order by Kansas’ governor to close all school buildings through the end of the academic year.

Not working is on my mind, but I’m not as worried about it as the pieces of fecal matter hoarding sanitizing wipes, bleach, hand soap, tissues and any other cleaning supply. I smell a soapbox post coming on…but I’ll hold off for now.

A different type of March Madness

The first NCAA men’s basketball tournament was held in 1939.

In 1939, much of the world still struggling to claw its way out of the Great Depression. A couple of madmen in Europe, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, were plotting the attacks which would ignite World War II. There was no television, at least in the United States and Canada. Radios were luxuries many couldn’t afford. Franklin Roosevelt was giving thought to running for a third term as President of the United States, breeking the two-term limit tradition began by Washington, adhered to by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson and Cleveland (non-consecutively), and imposed upon Grant (due to party rejection following two corrupt terms) and Wilson (due to debilitating illness).

Since 1939, there has been a world war and numerous lesser wars (Korea, Vietnam, two in Iraq, Afghanistan). Tornadoes have decimated two communities in Kansas 42 years apart (Udall and Greensburg) and caused billions of dollars in damages to larger cities (Topeka, Tuscaloosa and Joplin). Hurricanes wiped out the Mississippi Gulf Coast twice and flooded New Orleans twice. There have been numerous scares from diseases (Ebola, H1N1, avian flu, Zika, SARS), and the war on cancer may never be won.

None of it affected what came to be known as March Madness.

Until now.

This afternoon, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced the NCAA was cancelling all championship events sponsored by the organization through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

The biggest loss, of course, is the Division I men’s basketball tournament, which is the NCAA’s biggest money maker by far.

Revenue from March Madness finances just about every other NCAA championship. The Division I women’s basketball championships and Division I baseball championships, which include the College World Series, have turned small profits from time to time, but usually are in the red, although far less than the deficits run by lower-level events and Division I championships in lesser sports.

Yesterday, the NCAA planned to go on with March Madness in mostly empty arenas. Attendance would have been limited to the immediately families of players and coaches, support personnel from the competing universities, arena staff and media members.

Social media exploded. Fan after fan threw hissy fits complaining about conducting March Madness without fans.

My response? TOO FREAKING BAD.

The NCAA tournament is for the PLAYERS. The players are the ones competing for championships. They are the ones who put in the work day after day in practice and perform at games. They are the most important figures in any sports tournament.

After the players, the coaches are next in importance, followed by game officials and support staff.

Fans buy tickets. They cheer their teams. Otherwise, they have no effect whatsoever on what goes on during a basketball game or any other sporting event.

Nobody would have forced those crybaby fans to watch games in empty arenas. Most true basketball fans would have watched. They may not have liked the idea of being kept out of arenas, but they would have understood.

To those fans who threw fits yesterday about possible games in empty arenas: I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.

The last time a major sport shut down competition due to illness was in 1919, when the NHL cancelled the Stanley Cup “challenge series” due to the Spanish Flu epidemic which spread worldwide following the end of World War I.

The NCAA’s cancellation of the College World Series three months before it’s scheduled to start is puzzling. I understand the desire to protect everyone, but who’s to say the coronavirus threat won’t be greatly reduced come June?

College baseball is now shut down until at least the end of March, probably longer. Without a championship to shoot for, is there any reason to resume the season?

The coronavirus is serious. It has killed thousands. More than 1,500 Americans have been infected. I hope it passes soon. But I’m not worried. I haven’t had any reason to go out in public much, and with things being cancelled left and right, there may not be any reason to do so.

The rare astronomy post

Last Saturday was the 50th anniversary of a total solar eclipse visible across the eastern United States. My parents, who were seven months away from getting married yet still did not know one another at this point, don’t remember it.

Virginia Beach and Nantucket Island were the most notable locations in the United States to experience totality; a New York Times story the next morning reported more than 60,000 visitors flooded Virginia Beach and Norfolk to experience the eclipse.

One location in the path of totality was not as fortunate.

Over 20,000 converged on Perry, Florida, a speck on the Gulf of Mexico 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Tallahassee. The only other time Perry–and Taylor County–is in the news is if a hurricane approaches Florida’s Big Bend.

If a major hurricane came ashore at Apalachicola, Perry would be in the right-front quadrant, the most dangerous part of the storm. Perry might resemble Pass Christian after Camille and Katrina.

For those who made it to Perry, the view of the eclipse was ruined by heavy cloud cover which blanketed areas from Oklahoma to Georgia and all the way down to Key West.

The morning after the eclipse, The New York Times had another interesting article related to space.

The headline: “Nixon Asks for Start of Grand Tour of Planets in ’77”

President Nixon, who spent the weekend of the eclipse at his Key Biscayne compound with Bebe Rebozo, among others, told the NYT he hoped to explore Mars and other outer planets, as well as launch a nuclear-powered rocket by the end of what he hoped would be his second term in January 1977, or at least by the end of the decade.

The idea for touring the outer planets–Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (it didn’t get downgraded to dwarf planet until 2006)–came to birth because in 1979, Pluto’s orbit would move inside Neptune’s, the best opportunity to explore the nether regions of our solar system.

In March 1970, anything seemed to be possible in regards to space exploration.

Less than eight months had passed since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, and only four months after that, Apollo 12 sent Alan Bean, Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon–the same Dick Gordon who became General Manager of the Saints in 1972–to the moon.

Little did anyone know what was to come with Apollo 13, which launched five weeks after the eclipse. It was a stark reminder space exploration was mighty risky; one only had to mention Gus Grissom, Ed White (not the former Chief Justice of the United States) and Roger Chaffee to realize just how risky.

Nixon also wished to continue flights to moon with Apollo through 1974. The last Apollo flight was Apollo 17 in December 1972; less than two years after that, Richard Nixon was a private citizen, having resigned in disgrace due to Watergate in August 1974.

Before handing the reigns to Gerald Ford, Nixon laid the groundwork for the Space Shuttle.

The 7 March 1970 eclipse is part of a mystery involving Carly Simon’s signature song, “You’re So Vain”.

The last verse begins: “I hear you went up to Saratoga, and your horse naturally won. Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun…”

“Saratoga” refers to the Saratoga Springs Race Course, a world famous thoroughbred track, in upstate New York.

There was another total solar eclipse on 10 July 1972 which was not visible in the continental United States. It traveled over the Northwest Territories of Canada, then ventured over Quebec City and then out to the Atlantic over Nova Scotia.

The date of the 7 March 1970 eclipse fits because Simon penned “You’re So Vain” in 1971. However, the season does not; Saratoga’s horse racing season doesn’t begin until after Independence Day.

Therefore, the 10 July 1972 eclipse fits in that regard, even if it occured after the song was written. However, “You’re So Vain” was not released until 8 November 1972. Bingo.

If off-track betting was legal in 1970, maybe someone could have placed a bet on a race at Santa Anita or the New Orleans Fair Grounds from Saratoga.

It’s a mystery which may be best left to the imagination, or the clouds in your coffee.

The most recent total solar eclipse was 21 August 2017. Kansas City was in the path of totality, and hotel rooms in the metro area and places as far away as St. Joseph, Topeka and Columbia were totally booked.

I went to Kansas City the Friday and Saturday before the eclipse. Robb was asking me to look for eclipse glasses on Amazon. I had to break it to him they would not arrive in time; that was moot anyway, since all of Amazon’s supply of eclipse glasses were either sold out or defective.

It was the biggest event to hit Kansas City since the Royals won the 2015 World Series, and would be the biggest until Patrick Mahomes took the NFL by storm.

Like Perry in 1970, clouds ruined Kansas City’s view of the 2017 eclipse.

There’s supposed to be another total eclipse visible in the United States 8 April 2024. Locations in the path of totality include Waco; Cape Girardeau; Bloomington, Ind.; Youngstown, Ohio; Buffalo; Rochester, N.Y.

While many were going gaga over a solar eclipse 7 March 1970, the high school which I would attend made history.

Brother Martin of New Orleans defeated Captain Shreve 72-56 in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class AAA boys basketball state championship game at Alexandria.

The Crusaders outscored the Gators 16-0 in the three-minute overtime. Why overtime periods were only three minutes and not four in those days is a mystery.

Brother Martin, which was in its first year of operation following the merger of St. Aloysius and Cor Jesu high schools, finished 36-0 and was named national champion by one of the many polls which predated the USA Today and MaxPreps rankings.

The Crusaders won state championships in 1971 and ’74. In 1971, Brother Martin defeated Shreveport Woodlawn, led by future Hall of Famer Robert Parish, in the championship. The 1974 Martin team was led by Rick Robey, who helped Kentucky win the 1978 NCAA tournament and was a reserve on the Celtics’ 1980-81 NBA champions.

By time I arrived at Brother Martin, the basketball program was a mess. The Crusaders did not have a winning season in my five years of attendance, bottoming out at 9-23 in 1990-91. Martin has bounced back, winning state championships 2004, ’05 and ’10.

Brother Martin is a heavy underdog in their “Division I select” semifinal Wednesday at Baton Rouge Scotlandville. If the Hornets prevail, they will play the winner of Baton Rouge Catholic at St. Augustine in their home gymnasium Saturday for the “Division I select” state championship.

The LHSAA is seriously messed up. I’ll explore on the blog this week. I promise.

Russell High’s basketball program was still in pretty good shape in 1970, four years after Amos Morris coached his last game. Morris went 301-99 in 17 seasons at RHS, leading the Broncos to four state championships (1952, ’53, ’55, ’63). His name is now on RHS’ gymnasium, and he was inducted into the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame in 1983.

The 1969-70 Broncos, coached by future KU athletic director Bob Frederick, reached the Class 3A final, where they lost 52-50 to Colby. Russell won its sixth state championship in 1979, but has not reached a sub-state final since.

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I didn’t vomit yesterday, although I wanted to.

Daylight savings time returned at 01:00 Sunday. Yippee!

DST is a crock of crap. It does not save energy. It WASTES energy because it forces the use of air conditioning later in the evening in the summer.

Arizona has it right. Save for the areas controlled by the Navajo, the Grand Canyon State does not adjust its clocks when most of the nation does.

Kansas used to get along just fine without DST. The Sunflower State did not change its clocks until it was forced to in 1967 after jerkwad LBJ signed the “Uniform Time Act” into law. Staying on standard time year-round was better for Kansas farmers, who were able to get into the field an hour earlier and wrap up an hour earlier compared to states with DST, not having to stay in the fields when most farmers would rather be in bed.

Actually, half of Kansas should be on Mountain time anyway.

Russell, for instance, is at 98.9 degrees longitude. The mean meridian for Central time is 90 degrees, and the mean for Mountain is 105. Last I checked, 98.9 is closer to 105 than 90. Therefore, nothing would be upset too much if the Central/Mountain divide were extended to the US 281 corridor and put Hays, Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal, Great Bend, Colby, Russell and other places on Mountain time.

Prior to 1967, Missouri was split on DST. St. Louis and eastern Missouri observed it, while the Kansas City metro and all areas bordering Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska did not.

Some idiots have proposed year-round DST, which would mean ridiculously late sunrise in the winter, even if the sun were out an hour later. In states where it snows–like Kansas–that would be dangerous, since school children would be forced to go to school in the dark for three months.

Fortunately, there cannot be year-round DST. That is illegal under federal law. A state can exempt itself from DST and remain on standard time year-round, but it cannot go on DST year-round. Thank God.

To those of you getting your jollies because daylight savings time has returned, I feel sorry for you. There’s many more things to be jolly about than a clock changing.

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If you’re bored, I’ve got good news. That’s all for this post.

Upset: an upsetting word in sports

I told myself at the beginning of 2020 I would not go into Howard Hughes mode and not post for weeks at a time.

Here I am with my first post in 17 days. On the other hand, it may be better in my case to calm down and not say anything else instead of posting for posting sake.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice”, when the United States defeated the Soviet Union 3-2 in Olympic ice hockey (men’s, because there was no women’s ice hockey until 1998) at Lake Placid.

It has been considered one of the greatest upsets in sports, if not the greatest upset.

I hate the word “upset” when it is used in sports. It is tossed around far too liberally at all levels.

First, there is no such thing as an upset in professional sports.

People have called the Jets’ victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III a major upset since the game ended the evening of 12 January 1969. Yes, the Colts came into Super Bowl III with a better record and more acclaim, simply because the National Football League was more respected by those who called themselves “experts” about professional football than the American Football League, mostly because the Packers routed the Chiefs and Raiders in the first two Super Bowls.

Last I checked, the Jets were also a professional football team, one which cut players to reach the 1968 limit of 40. There were, at most, 1,400 men on a professional football roster in 1968 (26 teams; 40 players per team would be 1,040; I’ll assume most teams had to sign other players to fill in for those who were injured). That makes those 1,400 men in 1968 an extremely talented group. The Jets dressed out 40 of them for Super Bowl III, the same as the Colts.

Super Bowl XLII saw upset used in every other paragraph after the Giants ended the Patriots’ hopes for an undefeated season. That’s an insult to Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants.

Nine months after the Jets’ victory in Miami, the Mets defeated the Orioles in five games in the World Series. It has been called the greatest upset in World Series history.

Biggest surprise in World Series history? Perhaps. Upset? No way.

The Mets had the best pitcher in baseball, Tom Seaver, on their roster in 1969. Jerry Koosman, the Mets’ #2 starter, was better than most teams’ #2 starter, and better than many teams’ #1. Nolan Ryan was not yet the “Ryan Express”, but he was getting there. The Mets had the best defensive outfield in baseball in Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee and Ron Swoboda. While their lineup was not as star-studded as Baltimore’s of Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Boog Powell, it was still good enough to win the National League East, coming back from a double-digit deficit in July, then sweep Hank Aaron’s Braves in the first National League Championship Series.

Upsets in college sports? I don’t like using that word, either. Villanova beating Georgetown in the 1985 men’s basketball championship game? Surprising, absolutely. Upset? Not quite. Same with Jim Valvano and North Carolina State beating Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma two years before that.

Texas ending USC’s 34-game winning streak in the 2006 Rose Bowl to win the 2005 BCS championship? Texas was 12-0, played in a tougher conference, beat Ohio State in Columbus, had a better quarterback in Vince Young, and a better defense than the Trojans. Not an upset.

However, the word “upset” can absolutely be used for the Olympic ice hockey game of 22 February 1980.

The Soviet team had been playing together for years while serving in the Red Army. The Soviet goalie, Vladislav Treitak, was considered the best on earth, better than Tony Esposito, Billy Smith, Pete Peeters and anyone else in the NHL, including the recently retired Ken Dryden, who provided color commentary for ABC’s broadcasts of Olympic hockey in 1980. Dryden helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup six times from 1971-79, and later was elected to Parliament.

Several Soviets would emigrate to the United States and Canada by the end of the decade to play in the NHL, and one, Slava Fetisov, helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997 and ’98.

The Americans were strictly amateur. NHL president John Ziegler took the same stance as NBA commissioner Larry O’Brien in saying “absolutely not” to the professionals playing in the Olympics. At this time, Ziegler’s refusal was a hindrance to only two nations, Canada and the United States.

The Canadians did not medal in 1972 at Saporro or 1976 at Innsbruck. When the professionals did get to play internationally, it made a huge difference, as Team Canada defeated the Soviets in eight games (there was one tie) in the famous 1972 Summit Series.

The United States did earn bronze in 1972 with a bunch of unknowns (the biggest name from that squad, Robbie Ftorek, was better known as an NHL coach), but failed to medal in 1976.

How good were the Soviets? Most of the team won two out of three from a team of NHL All-Stars in February 1979 at Madison Sqaure Garden, with Treitak leading the Red Army to a 6-0 shutout in the third game.

The Soviets defeated the Americans 10-3 in a January 1980 exhibition. The race seemed to be for second place, with Sweden, Finland, Czechoslovakia and Canada joining the United States in that battle.

The U.S. went 4-0-1 in round-robin play at Lake Placid, defeating the Czechs, Romania, West Germany and Norway, and tying Sweden 2-2. The USSR outscored Finland, Canada, Poland, the Netherlands and Japan 51-11 in round-robin in the other division.

Finland earned the second spot from the Soviet division over Canada thanks to a 4-3 victory. The US and Sweden also advanced to the medal round, which matched the US vs. the USSR and Finland vs. Sweden on 22 February.

Vladimir Krutov and Sergei Makarov, both of whom made their way to the NHL in 1989, scored in the first period for the USSR. Rob Schneider and Mark Johnson countered for the Stars and Stripes.

Johnson’s goal came only a few tenths of a second before the red light came on to end the period. Had the red light come on before the puck crossed the goal line, it would not have counted. Hockey is different from basketball and football in that regard; in basketball, a shot taken before the buzzer (red light in college and professional) counts, as does a football play which takes place before the clock hits 00:00.

Enraged by the second goal, USSR coach Viktor Tikhonov pulled Treitak and put in backup Vladimir Myshkin. Myshkin held the Americans scoreless in the second period, and a power play goal by Alexander Maltsev 2:18 into the frame gave the Soviets a one-goal lead.

In the third period, it was the American’s turn to score on a power play, with Johnson scoring for the second time at the 8:39 mark.

Exactly 81 seconds later, captain Mike Eruzione scored on a slapshot when Myshkin was screened by teammate Vasili Pervukhin.

There were exactly 10 minutes remaining. The US led 4-3.

The Soviets threw everything into the attack. Instead of going into a neutral-zone trap, which many teams in the 1990s and 2000s might have done, US coach Herb Brooks kept his boys on the attack.

In the final minute, Tikhonov refused to pull Myshkin for the extra attacker, but the Soviets got two good shots on American goalie Jim Craig, one by Vladimir Petrov and another by Valeri Kharlamov.

Following Craig’s save against Kharlamov, Johnson won possession of the puck for the Americans. He passed to Ken Morrow, who cleared the puck past the American blue line and red line, bleeding time from the clock.

Then Al Michaels screamed “Do you believe in miracles?”, and history was made.

The game was not aired live in the United States or Canada. The game started at 17:00 EST and was shown on a three-hour tape delay. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea, since it put the game head-to-head with the most popular show on television, Dallas.

Tape delay sporting events were not uncommon in 1980, Three months after the Miracle on Ice, the Lakers clinched the NBA championship by winning game six of the finals in Philadelphia. Magic Johnson scored 42 points playing center in place of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who stayed back in Los Angeles, hoping to play in game seven if the 76ers won.

Only six cities saw the game live: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas and Atlanta. CBS did not want to preempt Dallas, even though JR had been shot 21 March and the new season was still at least four months away (actually six due to a strike by the Screen Actors Guild). Everyone else, including New York and Chicago, had to wait until 23:30 ET (22:30 CT/20:30 PT) to watch the game on tape delay.

If the Miracle on Ice had occurred in 2020, or even 2010, there would have been no way to keep the result from viewers before the game aired, thanks to ESPN (which was only five months old in February 1980) and social media. In 1980, the game was still going on as Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor and Frank Reynolds anchored the nightly newscasts for the Eastern and Central Time Zones, and the networks agreed not to announce a score on newscasts for the Pacific Time Zone.

The good news about the Miracle on Ice: the US shocked the Soviets.

The bad news: the US had not yet secured a medal.

The Americans had to play Finland less than 48 hours after the Miracle on Ice. A loss meant the US could finish without medals.

Indeed, the Finns led 2-1 after two periods. According to Eruzione, Herb Brooks told the Americans they would “take this loss to their f***ing graves” if they did not come back. As Brooks exited the locker room, he repeated “your f***ing graves”.

The Americans scored three goals in the third period to win 4-2 for their first gold medal in Olympic hockey since 1960, and to date, their last. Despite having NHL players from 1998 through 2014, the Americans finished no better than second, losing the final to Canada in 2002 and 2010.

In 2018, the NHL and the league’s players could not agree to stop the season during the Olympics. Canada finished third and the US ended up seventh.

Since the Miracle on Ice, I’ve heard that “U” word used way too many times, including the two above instances from college basketball. I’m sick of it.

There may be other instances where “upset” may be appropriate for sports, but never more so than 22 February 1980 in Lake Placid.

Show Me champions and trouble

Missouri celebrated its second professional sports championship in eight months today in Kansas City, where an estimated crowd of more than 700,000 turned out to cheer on the Chiefs three days after its Super Bowl LIV victory.

In June, the celebration was at the other end of the Show-Me State, as the Blues brought the Stanley Cup to St. Louis for the first time.

Many in St. Louis have jumped on the Chiefs bandwagon since the Rams left in January 2016 to return to Los Angeles. That number has probably grown exponentially since Patrick Mahomes took over as starting quarterback in 2018.

There may be some Bears fans in and around St. Louis, but considering the hatred eastern Missouri, if not all of Missouri, has for the Cubs (and the White Sox among Royals fans), many probably hate the Monsters of the Midway just as well. The Bears played in the Cubs’ park from 1921-70, so there’s a natural tie for that hatred.

Indianapolis is not a long drive east on Interstate 70, but the Cardinals were in St. Louis for 24 seasons before Robert Irsay told the Mayflower vans to drive the Colts’ gear from Baltimore to Indiana. And I doubt any St. Louis football fans would root for another team which relocated.

The Chiefs probably had a sizable St. Louis base from 1988-94 between the Cardinals’ departure for Arizona and the Rams’ arrival. The Chiefs were 4-12 in 1988, the year before Marty Schottenheimer was hired by Kansas City. By 1993, the Chiefs had Joe Montana under center and reached the AFC Championship, where they lost to the Bills.

The Rams were putrid their first four seasons in St. Louis (1995-98). Then projected starting quarterback Trent Green blew out his knee in the Rams’ second exhibition game of 1999, forcing Dick Vermeil to plug in some nobody named Kurt Warner. The Greatest Show on Turf was born, and a little less than six months later, St. Louis had its first sports championship since the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series.

Baseball is currently the only sport where Missouri’s largest cities have a rivalry. The NHL had it for two years with the woebegone Scouts, aka the artists now known as the New Jersey Devils (and the Colorado Rockies in between). Each city had an NBA team, but not at the same time; the Hawks left St. Louis for Atlanta in 1968, four years before the Cincinnati Royals moved to Kansas City. Of course, slimeball Joe Axelson moved the Kings to Sacramento in flagrant violation of the Warriors’ territorial rights in 1985. Had the Warriors had strong ownership in the mid-1980s like they have with Joe Lacob, the Kings never make it to Sacramento. Does that mean the Kings would have stayed in Kansas City? Probably not, because David Stern didn’t mind teams hopscotching the way it was abhorred by Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue, Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth.

Since 2011, the four professional franchises currently residing in Missouri have won a championship. The Cardinals’ most recent World Series win was in 2011 vs. the Rangers; the Royals got theirs four years later vs. teh Mets.

Missouri may have great sports teams and two wonderful metropolises at opposite ends of I-70, but I don’t know if I would want to live in the Show-Me State. I doubt it.

The biggest problem Missouri has is its nonchalant attitude towards regulating nicotine.

The sales tax on a pack of cancer sticks in Missouri is 17 cents. Repeating: SEVENTEEN CENTS.

That’s one dollar and seventy cents per carton. In Illinois, the tax on one pack of cancer sticks is $2.98. I think Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is a tool and the political cronies in Chicago have ruined the rest of the state, but at least it has one thing right (well, Chicago-style hot dogs are awesome).

Kansas’ tobacco tax is a joke as well, although $1.19 per pack is a lot better than 17 fucking cents. I’m sorry I used that word, but I believe smoking cigarettes is the most vile habit a person can acquire, short of violent crime.

Missouri’s smoking laws are a joke, too.

The state does not have a law which bans smoking in all enclosed settings. Bars in many corners of the state allow smoking wherever, whenever.

Kansas City has an indoor smoking ban, but customers can go out to a patio and suck on their cancer sticks, fouling the air for the rest of us who value our lungs.

The Buffalo Wild Wings at Zona Rosa has a large patio, and upwards of 20 smokers have been known to populate it on a given spring day. If Liz and Lisa weren’t working there, I would have quit going many moons ago.

The patio at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek is smaller, but there are plenty of smokers there on nice days. For a while, a man named Bill, who was a dead ringer for Michael McDonald, played trivia and sucked down on cancer sticks between questions.

St. Louis and the two major counties which make up the metropolitan area on the Missouri side, St. Louis and St. Charles, have adopted some pretty weak smoking bans. The ban is stronger in the city of St. Louis.

The lack of a tough smoking ban in the St. Louis area is why I stuck to getting White Castle to go when I went to St. Louis last year.

Illinois doesn’t have that problem. Smoking is banned in all enclosed areas in the Land of Lincoln, same as Kansas. As much as I dislike many things about my father’s home state, at least it has a smoking ban.

Missouri’s alcohol laws are also troubling.

There is no open container law. Passengers in a car can drink freely except in the cities with a ban, the largest of which are Independence, Columbia and St. Charles.

Every time the Missouri Legislature debates an open container law, it is shot down by the lobbyists from Anheuser-Busch (InBev). By failing to pass an open container law, Missouri has lost out on hundreds of millions of federal highway funds. No wonder I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis is a death trap–the state doesn’t have the funding because it is too stupid to pass a common-sense law.

That’s all I have the energy for tonight. I am beat.

World Champions of NOTHING

Kansas City is celebrating the “World Champion” Chiefs today with a parade and rally.

For the record, the Chiefs are not “World Champions” of anything, even if every vehicle in the parade is displaying the words “World Champions”.

The Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, which gives them the right to forever be called “Super Bowl LIV champions” and “2019 National Football League champions”, the same way the franchise can refer to itself as “Super Bowl IV champions” and “1969 Professional Football champions” (1969 was the last year before the AFL-NFL merger).

The Chiefs may refer to themselves as “NFL champions” without a qualifying year until they are eliminated from the 2020 playoffs (or fail to qualify). If Kansas City wins Super Bowl LV next February in Tampa, the Chiefs may continue to use NFL champions without the year.

The Patriots lost the right to call themselves NFL champions without a qualifying year when they lost to the Titans in the wild card round. New England can refer to itself as NFL champions of 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018, but must use the qualifying years. And it cannot call itself a “world champion”, period.

No NFL (or AFL) champion has the right to call itself a “world champion”.

The NFL has never had a franchise in a country other than the United States of America. Save for a few exhibitions in the early 1960s, no NFL team has played a team from the only other major league on earth which sponsors gridiron football, the Canadian Football League.

Two of the other major North American sports leagues use “World Champions” when they should not.

The NBA has referred to the winner of its playoff tournament as “World Champions”. At least the league no longer refers to the final round of the playoffs as the “World Championship Series” as it did through 1985.

Major League Baseball has sponsored the World Series since 1903, with two exceptions (1904 and 1994). Every World Series winner I know has referred to itself as a “World Champion”, even though MLB has never had teams in countries other than the USA and Canada. North American champions is also inappropriate since no World Series winner has played a champion from Mexico, Cuba or another country.

The Associated Press expressly forbids its publications from using “World Champions” to refer to teams. It is SUPER BOWL champions, WORLD SERIES champions and NBA champions.

Baseball and basketball can easily determine a world champion the way FIFA does with the Champions League.

The National Hockey League has it right. Gary Bettman and his predecessor, John Ziegler, never refers to the winner of the Stanley Cup Finals as the “World Champions” of hockey. That team is the STANLEY CUP champion or the NHL champion.

Here’s something to keep in mind about the NHL. A team can win the Stanley Cup X number of times. However, a team cannot win Y Stanley Cups. There is only one Stanley Cup, and unlike the Vince Lombardi, Larry O’Brien and Commissioner’s trophies, a new one is not made each year.

Therefore, the Blues are attempting to win the Stanley Cup for the second time, not their second Stanley Cup. Got it?

Back to football.

There are two world champions of football. They are the French Men’s National Team and the United States Women’s National Team. France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the USA won the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Every Super Bowl ring is a FRAUD, since every one says “World Champions”.

What’s going on in the Super Bowl? I can’t tell you!

I turned my television off shortly before 17:00 and I haven’t looked back. I am blacking out my phone and iPad from receiving new messages, and I’m not going to any websites which have anything to do with news, sports, Kansas City and San Francisco.

The NFL is ecstatic when 120 million people watch the Super Bowl. For the first time since I was old enough to know about football, Super Bowl XVIII (Raiders 38, REDSKINS 9), I am not one of those 120 million. I’m not going upstairs, because I know my parents are watching. I’m going to go to bed shortly.

Chiefs fans have been in denial since the AFC championship game ended. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, who calls themselves a Chiefs fan, thinks the 49ers can win. Chiefs fans feel victory tonight is inevitable, the same way it was for the Royals vs. the Mets in the 2015 World Series. Yes, the Royals did end up winning that World Series, but Daniel Murphy’s horrendous defense and Terry Collins’ idiocy allowing Matt Harvey to pitch the ninth inning of the fifth game contributed greatly.

LSU fans were not this overconfident prior to facing Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship game three weeks ago. I didn’t watch for fear LSU’s magical run would end in New Orleans. It didn’t, but I think LSU fans would have handled losing better than Chiefs fans will if the 49ers prevail.

I hope the University of Kansas has its football stadium protected better than it did during the 2015 World Series. Shortly after the Royals clinched the series in New York, some idiots broke into the stadium, ripped down the goal post at the south end and it to Clinton Lake, where it was thrown in, much like has been done with past Jayhawk football victories. There were also a few incidents in downtown Lawrence following the Royals’ victory, although none as bad as what happened when Kansas lost the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament championship game to Kentucky, or when the Jayhawks beat Memphis to win the 2008 title.

If the Chiefs win, will everyone be asked to wear red and not green on St. Patrick’s Day in honor of St. Patrick of Mahomes? Will the Chiefs parade the Vince Lombardi Trophy around Kauffman Stadium at the Royals’ home opener? And who will play at Arrowhead Sept. 10 for the NFL season opener? The candidates are the Chargers, Broncos, Raiders, Patriots, Jets, Texans, Falcons and Panthers. Gee, I wonder who NBC would want for that?

If the 49ers win, the potential opening night opponents in Santa Clara are the Rams, Seahawks, Cardinals, Eagles, Redskins, Saints, Bills and Dolphins. Unless NBC wants Kyler Murray that badly, figure it to be the Seahawks or Saints.

The State of the Union Address is Tuesday evening. UGH. I know what I will not be watching at 20:00 CST.

No Patriots, still not watching

The best thing about Super Bowl LIV Is Thomas Edward Brady is not one of the starting quarterbacks.

If Thomas Edward Brady were not a gigantic douchebag like his coach, not as many people would mind he has played in nine Super Bowls and one six. Instead, Brady adopted the surly manner of William Steven Belichick, answering questions with cliche after cliche after cliche.

Douchebag Brady is a cheater, and I don’t mean fooling with the pressure of footballs. Douchebag Brady ran around on a pregnant Bridget Moynihan with Gisele. I don’t see what’s so great about Gisele. I don’t find her attractive, and she is just as much a douchebag as her husband. If I had to lock 10 people in a room to shut them up forever, Gisele and Tom would be on in the room, as would J-Lo, A-Rod, LeBron, Kim Kardashian and Kayne West. Actually, I wish I could slam at least 10,000 people in a room of complete silence.

People who compare Belichick to Nick Saban are off base. Sure, Saban has too many explosions, but at least he’ll give an honest answer most of the time. Saban is nowhere near as antisocial as Belichick. Many people rave about how great Belichick is away from football. If he’d show it once in a blue moon, a lot of people wouldn’t despise him as much, and the Patriots would not be as hated as they are.

As much as Brady and Belcihick have forged the image of the team America loves to hate, it all starts with the man at the top, Robert Kraft. Kraft was a braggadocio long before Spygate and Deflategate, and being a widower (his wife, Myrna, passed away in 2011) has seemingly emboldened him, thanks to his young new girlfriend, the same as Belichick’s squeeze, Linda Holliday, has done for him.

I’m not saying Brady would do as well on the MasterCard and Nationwide commercials as Peyton Manning. However, he would have done well to show us another side other than the robotic quarterback programmed by his coach. Then again, Brady doesn’t open his mouth and insert his foot like LeBron, and he isn’t outright mean and spiteful towards the media like Barry Bonds.

I didn’t watch the first half of last year’s Super Bowl. I was still angry at how the Rams got away with two penalties late in the NFC championship game vs. the Saints, and I had no desire to watch the Patriots again. The Rams were still the lesser two evils. Too bad they didn’t bother to show up for the game. They would have been better off getting out of Atlanta before kickoff, because their “effort” was beyond pathetic. Sean McVay wet his pants at the thought of facing Asshole Belichick in the Super Bowl, and it showed.

Will I watch tomorrow night? I didn’t watch LSU in the national championship game three weeks ago, and since i don’t have a horse in the Super Bowl, why bother?