Category Archives: History

Today’s musical trifecta

Today is the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. It overshadows two other important musical events which took place well before The King fell asleep and never woke up at Graceland.
Elvis almost died at 15 months, thanks to a massive tornado on 5 April 1936 which flattened much of Tupelo, Mississippi, Presley’s birthplace. At least 216 people died and more than 700 were injured in what remains the deadliest tornado in Mississippi history. One day later, another tornado killed over 200 in Gainesville, Georgia. Surprisingly, Kansas has never had a tornado kill in triple digits; the highest was in Udall in 1955 which took 83 lives. The Greensburg tornado in 2007 killed 12. Twelve deaths are 12 too many, but how only 12 died in a storm which flattened 90 percent of the town is a minor miracle.

This isn’t a weather post. Back to what made 16 August so important in the musical world.

First, Madonna Louise Ciccone was born 16 August 1958 in Bay City, Michigan. In 1983, she hit the music scene as Madonna and hasn’t looked back.
Other than her music, Madonna was great on the big screen in A League of Their Own, portraying Rockford Peaches center fielder Mae Morabito, the quintessential party girl (at least, as much of a party girl as 1943 would allow). Certainly 180 degrees on the party spectrum from Peaches superstar catcher Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and grinder first baseman Helen Haley (Anne Elizabeth Ramsay).
Fittingly, the superstar singer contributed a No. 1 single, “This Used to Be My Playground”, to the soundtrack.
Madonna contributes the funniest line of the movie when Peaches manager Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) stumbles into the clubhouse after another night of heavy drinking and immediately needs to use the facility. That line is something I haven’t been able to forget 30 years later. Much like “no shirt, no shoes, no dice!” from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which I watched twice this past weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release.
Ironic I should mention those two movies in the same paragraph. Between those movies, Madonna and Sean Penn were married for four years.

Four years following Madonna’s birth, and 11 days following the death of one of Madonna’s idols, Marilyn Monroe, The Quarrymen, a band in Liverpool, England, replaced drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr.
Starr joined a lineup which featured John Lennon, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. The Quarrymen soon renamed themselves The Beatles, and the rest is history.

I enjoy listening to Elvis, Madonna and The Beatles. I loved Madonna from the first time I heard her as a seven-year old in late 1983 and early 1984, but I wasn’t as sold on Elvis or The Beatles. Both grew on me.

I’ll give you my lists of top songs from each artist. You might be surprised.

First, my top 10 from Elvis:
1. Burning Love
2. Jailhouse Rock
3. Kentucky Rain
4. Little Sister
5. Return To Sender
6. Don’t Be Cruel
7. Viva Las Vegas
8. Suspicious Minds
9. All Shook Up
10. Hound Dog

Next, my top 15 from The Beatles:
1. Drive My Car
2. Day Tripper
3. Come Together
4. Revolution
5. A Hard Day’s Night
6. Twist and Shout
7. Hey Jude
8. I Saw Her Standing There
9. She Loves You
10. Magical Mystery Tour
11. I Want To Hold Your Hand
12. Get Back
13. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
14. Can’t Buy Me Love
15. Got To Get You Into My Life
BONUS: top 10 by solo Beatles
1. My Sweet Lord (George)
2. Jet (Paul)
3. Whatever Gets You Through the Night (John w/Elton John)
4. It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo)
5. Silly Love Songs (Paul)
6. Got My Mind Set On You (George)
7. No. 9 Dream (John)
8. Let ‘Em In (Paul)
9. Live and Let Die (Paul)
10. Ebony and Ivory (Paul w/Michael Jackson)

Finally, my Madonna top 20:
1. Who’s That Girl
2. La Isla Bonita
3. Material Girl
4. Live To Tell
5. Borderline
6. Causing a Commotion
7. Deeper and Deeper
8. Dress You Up
9. Express Yourself
10. Into The Groove
11. Holiday
12. Keep It Together
13. Lucky Star
14. I’ll Remember
15. Vogue
16. Like A Prayer
17. Crazy For You
18. Angel
19. Take A Bow
20. Open Your Heart
There’s someone I know who loves a lesser-known Madonna hit, “Bad Girl”.

That’s all for now. Rest in Peace, Elvis. Happy birthday, Madonna.

Comeback #874 (give or take)

I profusely apologize for not posting for almost four months. To summarize:

  • Arkansas was wonderful, even though LSU lost all three games that weekend. I was reminded how great northwest Arkansas was and still is. The Razorbacks still have the best stadium in college baseball, and it has only been improved since my previous visit in 2003.
  • The air conditioner in my car died AGAIN in May. It forced me to spend two nights in a Kansas City hotel in a terrible location with loud noise and outrageous prices (I had to use 51,000 Marriott points so I didn’t have to pay those outrageous prices–thank you NASCAR). I went to Des Moines and back to Kansas City after that was done. That was great. Then it all went to hell.
  • June was one of the worst months of my life, at least the first 24 days. I won’t go into detail.
  • July was hotter than fuck. I didn’t leave the 30-mile radius between Russell and Hays. I didn’t want to given the fucking terrible heat. Right now, Duluth is looking better and better. North Dakota will be too hot in 10 years. At least Duluth has the moderating influence of Lake Superior. I’ll trade minus-40 and six-foot snow drifts for Kansas heat. I lived in a sauna for 29 years and have lived in a blast furnace for 17. I have had enough.
  • August has been hotter than fuck, save for a brief reprieve Monday (the 8th). It looks like it will continue to be hotter than fuck until after Labor Day. I hope no high school football players die in this heat. If any do, then coaches had better own up to causing those deaths. Many high school coaches have big dicks and bigger assholes, and they aren’t afraid to show it.

9 August 1963 now turns out to be a dark day in American history for two reasons: the death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, son of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis) and the birth of Whitney Houston.

Patrick Kennedy died only 39 hours after his premature birth. His lungs were grossly underdeveloped and caused death from hyaline membrane disease, now known as infant respiratory distress.
It was Jacqueline’s THIRD failed pregnancy. She miscarried in 1955 and gave birth to a stillborn girl in 1956. Somehow, she had two successful pregnancies which produced Caroline in 1957 and John Jr. in 1960. JFK Jr. was born 16 days after his father was declared victor over Richard Nixon in the presidential election, a victory which was possibly tainted by electoral fraud committed by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, which tilted the Illinois vote towards the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts.
There is one reason and one reason alone why Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis had THREE failed pregnancies.
She smoked like a fucking chimney. THREE packs a day. THREE.
Anyone who tries to rationalize otherwise is stupid and nothing more than an apologist for the tobacco industry and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, who KILLED three children with the most vile habit one can acquire.
I despise tobacco and all of its iterations. At least people who chew tobacco are only harming themselves, not counting the disgusting spittle they produce.
Smoking tobacco harms EVERYONE around them. It is especially harmful for an unborn baby.
Nicotine addiction is worse than heroin. At least you’re only killing yourself with heroin.
I should know. I will never, EVER forgive my mother for continuing to smoke while she was pregnant with me in 1976.
Jacqueline Bouvier Onassis Kennedy and all those who pregnant women smoked before Surgeon General Luther Terry released his report in January 1964 had a weak excuse, but an excuse nonetheless. It doesn’t absolve them. It only makes it very sad nobody thought to link disgusting tobacco to severe health risks before 1964.
However, JFK’s wife should have known better after her miscarriage, her stillbirth and the difficult pregnancies which produced the two children who lived. She should have done everything she could have to quit for Patrick’s sake. But because she refused and had to have her three packs a day, Patrick was alive for only 39 horrifying hours.
Rosemary Bernadette Liuzza Steinle has NO FUCKING EXCUSE. The report was issued TWELVE YEARS before she got pregnant. She was in her second semester of college when it was released, and nearly seven years before she married my father, who smoked heavily for 30 years before somehow quitting cold turkey in September 1985. Not only was my mother smoking like a clueless bitch, she was breathing in my dumbass father’s second-hand smoke.
I will never, ever forgive my parents for that. It is why I have autism. I will believe that until I die.
I’m amazed Caroline Kennedy has never had serious health issues because of her mother’s nicotine habit. We won’t know about JFK Jr., because he was too stupid to realize he should not have been flying the night of 16 July 1999.

Whitney Houston has been dead for ten years. Yet twice a year, hundreds of millions of Americans worship her performance of The Star-Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XXV in January 1991.
I do not. I do not think it was a good rendition. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
Whitney Houston was an overrated crack whore who stayed with fellow crack whore and abusive asshole Bobby Brown. She had ONE good song, her first big hit, “How Will I Know”. Every other Houston song makes my ears bleed, especially “I Will Always Love You”.
Let me repeat: I DON’T CARE FOR EVERY WHITNEY HOUSTON SONG EXCEPT ONE. I HATE HER RENDITION OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT SUPER BOWL XXV.
The best rendition of the national anthem at the Super Bowl was Herb Alpert’s prior to Super Bowl XXII in 1988. Why? It was only played on the trumpet and not sung. Tommy Loy did a great trumpet rendition of the anthem at Super Bowl V in 1971. It’s on YouTube if you want to see.
The best rendition with words? Neil Diamond, Super Bowl XXI. Short and sweet. Sixty-one seconds. I’m a little biased because I love Neil, and I am so happy I got to see it live as a 10-year old.
I will never watch Super Bowl XXV. I don’t want to see that national anthem performance again as long as I live. Also, I am tired of experts proclaiming it the greatest Super Bowl ever. It was overrated. The Bills turned out to be raging frauds. The Giants were the better team, and the better team won. The Bills played a shit schedule, thanks to getting two games apiece vs. the Patriots, Jets and Colts. The Giants had two games against the Redskins and Eagles, plus two vs. the 49ers. Buffalo lost. They should have lost.

There is a little good news. The three crybabies of LIV golf–Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and some other jerkwad–were denied in their quest to play in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs, which start Thursday.
Gooch, Swafford and the third jerkwad took the Saudi money. They can’t double dip. Why don’t you tour Graceland while you’re in Memphis boys?

That’s it. I feel my blood pressure rising. I can’t take it anymore. The sooner I stop thinking about Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and Whitney Houston, the better.

Happy 40th, Selection Sunday!

It took 10 minutes for me to scrape the icebergs off my car this morning in Kansas City. I arrived from Russell barely in time; it began sleeting at Junction City, and by time I hit Lawrence, the bridge over the Kansas River on the Tunrpike was slushy. A state trooper was on the left shoulder, and two vehicles were involved in an accident on the right.
It got worse after the toll plaza near Bonner Springs. There is a series of curves between the plaza and Kansas Highway 7, and if you take it too fast in bad weather, it will lead to trouble.
Indeed, numerous cars had slid off the Turnpike, and a couple hit the barrier median (the Turnpike has a concrete barrier for its entire length from the Oklahoma state line to KCK; engineers in the mid-1950s saved money by not including the standard 11-meter (~25 foot) grassy median). I was smart enough to slow down.
By time I checked into my hotel at 16:00, the sleet was coming down harder. An hour later, the snow began, and by morning, my white Buick mostly disappeared.
If it would have been -10 C (12 F) when the snow started, it would have been light and fluffy. Instead, with the temperature at -2 to -3 (27-30), it made the snow ice-crusted.
I have always carried a scraper/brush combination when driving in the winter. Today proved why. Combined with starting the engine and cranking up the defoggers to 32 (90), it made the removal easier.
I had an appointment today in KC, one I put off two weeks ago. That’s the only reason I was here. Believe me, if I didn’t have to be here, I would be in my basement in Russell.

Forty years ago this evening, CBS made sports history with a half-hour special announcing the pairings for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, colloquially known as March Madness.
CBS acquired the rights to the NCAA tournament in the summer of 1981 following a 13-season run on NBC.
NCAA head Walter Byers and his closest lieutenants may have had reservations about moving to Black Rock, since the network also had the NBA, but soon Byers and everyone else at NCAA headquarters in Overland Park would be over the moon.
CBS promised the NCAA much more coverage of the early rounds. NBC provided spotty coverage of the rounds prior to the Elite Eight (reginonal finals), and it wasn’t until the late 1970s it showed those four games live to all of the nation. At first, all four regional finals were played on the same day at the same time; then it was two Saturday and two Sunday, regionally televised.

CBS televised its first college basketball game the Saturday after Thanksgiving 1981, then made its big splash the evening of Sunday, 7 March 1982.
At 6:00 ET/5:00 CT, Brent Musburger sat at his familiar desk at CBS Sports Control in New York with Billy Packer, NBC’s top analyst from 1975-81, discussing what would happen in a few minutes when they linked up with Gary Bender at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Kansas City (yes, THAT Hyatt Regency, the one where 114 were killed eight months earlier when a walkway collapsed on participants in a dance contest).
Joining Bender, who called the 1981 NBA championship series (Celtics-Rockets) for CBS and was tapped as the top play-by-play man for the NCAA was Big East Commissioner Dave Gavitt, chairman of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball committee.
Bender and Gavitt gave a thorough explanation of the principles of constructing the bracket. Gavitt explained the committee always did its best to keep teams in their “natural” geographic regions, but inevitably some teams had to be shifted, such as Georgetown, led by freshman Patrick Ewing, to the West as the No. 1 seed.
The first pairing announced by Bender was Ohio State vs. James Madison at Charlotte in the East regional, with the winner to face top seed and top-ranked North Carolina. (for the record, the Dukes defeated the Buckeyes
FYI, the bracket was 48 teams in 1982. The top four seeds in each regional had byes to the second round. In 1985, byes were eliminated with the expansion to 64.
Another innovation by CBS was live satellite hookups at various schools to gauge their reaction to the brackets.
Pat O’Brien was stationed with Fresno State, where he was joined by the team and hundreds of fans outside Selland Arena. Jim Kelly was in Lexington, where he interviewed Kentucky athletic director and former Wildcat superstar Cliff Hagan. Verne Lundquist, who announced a UNLV-South Carolina game earlier that day in Columbia, got raw emotion from Running Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian after his team was snubbed.
In later years, the chairman of the selection committee answered questions from CBS anchors and analysts, as well as coaches. There have been more than a few heated exchanges.
ESPN began the women’s selection show in the mid-1990s, and it has gained popularity as the women’s game has grown. It will likely draw the highest ratings this year in Louisiana, thanks to Kim Mulkey.

The selection show whetted the appetite of college basketball fans for what CBS would do when the games started four days later.
Black Rock came through big time.
Beginning in 1982, CBS televised a first-round game at 11:30 ET/10:30 CT/8:30 PT on Thursday AND Friday, plus three second-round games each day. CBS showed four live games (two Thursday and two Friday) in the Sweet Sixteen, then made sure every regional final had an uninterrupted three-hour window.
ESPN continued to show first round games through 1990. CBS took over the entire tournament beginning in 1991, and in 2011, coverage expanded to TBS, TNT and TruTV to ensure every game from the First Four to the championship was televised from start to finish in every household in the United States (and many in Canada) who wanted to watch.

YouTube has video of the 1982 selection show. That’s all you need to put in the search box.

One tradition which did not come for a few years was “One Shining Moment”. In 1982, following North Carolina’s 63-62 nail-biter over Georgetown in the Superdome to give Dean Smith his first national championship, CBS showed a montage of highlights, set to Sister Sledge’s “Ain’t No Stopping Us (Jackie’s Theme)”. Nowhere near as popular as “We Are Family” or “He’s the Greatest Dancer” for Sister Sledge, but I’m betting that song gets some play in Raleigh-Durham this time of year to the chagrin of Duke fans (hopefully not too much; besides, the Blue Devils have won five titles since OSM began in 1987).
In 1983, Christopher Cross’ “All Right” was selected for the highlights after North Carolina State’s stunning win over Hakeem Olajuwon’s Houston Cougars (aka Phi Slamma Jamma). I hope Pam Valvano, her children and grandchildren listen to that song and remember Jimmy V. running up and down the court at Albuquerque looking for someone to hug. It was sad Jimmy V. couldn’t be at Cameron Indoor last Saturday for Coach K’s last home game.
Jennifer Hudson, YOU SUCK. Just look up “One Shining Moment 2010” and you will see why.

Coincidentally, CBS’ coverage of the NBA dramatically improved during the 1981-82 season.
The previous season, four of the six games in the championship series were tape-delayed and not televised until 11:35 ET/10:35 CT. Only if you lived in Boston or Houston could you see the games live; even the West Coast markets, where the games in Boston started before prime time, did not show them live.
In 1982, CBS showed all six games of the Lakers-76ers series live. Some earlier round games were still tape-delayed, but there were more live playoff games. Plus, Dick Stockton took over from Bender as play-by-play man, and he showed his mettle as one of the best, and my personal favorite.

I’m not a big college basketball fans, but those who are deserve the best coverage. CBS and its partners have given it to them for 39 seasons.

Ghosts of inauguration days past

Joseph R. Biden assumed the presidency at 11:00 Central Standard Time (12:00 EST) today. He becomes the 45th man to hold the office (Grover Cleveland was elected to two non-consecutive terms, and he is counted both 22nd and 24th; don’t ask me why), and oddly enough, the first from the nation’s first state, Delaware, which joined the union 7 December 1787, a few days before neighboring Pennsylvania.
He is the second Roman Catholic president after John F. Kennedy; coincidentally, Biden and several top-ranking governmental officials attended a prayer service at St. Matthew’s Cathedral this morning, the same cathedral where Kennedy’s requiem mass was conducted by Cardinal Richard Cushing 25 November 1963, approximately 70 hours after he was shot to death (supposedly by Lee Harvey Oswald) on Elm Street in Dallas.
I watched ZERO of Biden’s inauguration. I was somewhere between Hays and Russell when the oath was administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. I had ZERO desire to watch, and I will not be searching the Internet to watch it.
I didn’t vote for Biden. I didn’t vote for his predecessor either. It’s so sad Biden was the best the Democratic Party could offer, but he was more palatable than the Democratic candidate of 2016. Had Biden said something before the Democratic National Convention, he could have saved the country from Hillary AND Trump. Too late.

As I cruised Interstate 70 towards Shawnee and then Leawood, I thought about where I have been for past inaugurations.
Since 1937, presidential inaugurations are held every four years on 20 January. Previously, 4 March was the date, but after a tortuous lame duck period following FDR’s election in 1932 and the end of Herbert Hoover’s presidency, Congress passed and the states ratified the 20th Amendment, moving the inauguration date ahead 42 days, while setting the meeting date of the new Congress to 3 January or thereabouts.
Why 20 January is used, I’ll never know. New Year’s Day sounds like a fine time to do it, but anyone and everyone involved with college football would raise hell. It would not be too hard to move back bowl games to 2 January every four years.
Better yet, why not inaugrate the new president as soon as possible? The 4 March date was designed to give newly elected House members and newly elected or appointed Senators enough time to get from their homes to Washington in the era before air travel.
The electoral votes can be counted by 1 December, and the new president can take office on 15 December. This way, you don’t have to go through the crap that Trump put the country through.

Kansas City reminds me I was in town four years ago when Trump was inaugurated. Larry and I were playing trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa, trying to avert our eyes from the big screen. We told Tori, the regular daytime bartender, to mute the sound and let me play the jukebox. She had no objections. Later that day, Robb and Dawn came in (they were still married and everything looked good for them), and they were despondent. Both of them were Bernie Sanders supporters in the primary and they absolutely loathed Trump. Three days after his election, I brought them some beer to help them drown their sorrows.

For both of Obama’s inaugurations (2009 and 2013), I was working at home. I recall being in my bathroom at 11:00 in 2009. I did not watch either ceremony.

I also did not watch either of George W. Bush’s inaugurals. In 2005, I was at work at Delgado Community College, and in 2001, I was at Lee High in Baton Rouge covering the annual Lee High (now Louisiana Classics) wrestling tournament for The Advocate.

I was in LSU’s sports information office the day of Bill Clinton’s second inaugural in 1997. Since it was Martin Luther King Jr. day, not everyone showed up; the only others there were Kent Lowe, Michael Bonnette and Jim Kleinpeter. Lowe and Bonnette were the media relatoins contacts for the men’ s and women’s basketball teams, respectively, at the time, and Kleinpeter was LSU’s beat writer for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. We went to lunch that day at Pizza Hut just south of the LSU campus.
Lowe is still in his position, Bonnette was promoted to the top spot in 2000 and still holds it, and Kleinpeter is now covering LSU’s women’s basketball for The Adovcate.
I was a junior at Brother Martin High the day of Clinton’s first inaugural in 1993. Since it was my lunch period, I did not have to watch, and I didn’t. Lucky for me, my social studies class was my first of the day and ended at 08:55.

I was in seventh grade at Arabi Park Middle when George H.W. Bush was inaugurated in 1989. It was cold and rainy that Friday. There was a “Mardi Gras Ball” that evening and a dance afterwards. A very awkward pre-teen evening for Foots, who was still three years away from receiving the nickname.
The next evening, I had to march with the band in the Krewe of Saturn parade in Kenner, which is on the opposite side of the New Orleans metro area from Arabi.
Super Bowl XXIII was that Sunday; I watched every play of the 49ers’ thrilling victory over the Bengals, which wasn’t cemented until Joe Montana hit John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining to cap a 92-yard drive. Cincinnati has yet to recover.
Four days after the elder Bush took the oath, serial killer Ted Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison just after 06:00 CST, ending his reign of terror for good. Bundy was officially executed for murdering 12-year old Kimberly Leach in Lake City in February 1978, but he also raped and murdered Margaret Bowman and Lisa Levy in the Chi Omega house at Florida State hours before Super Bowl XII, and killed at least 40 women in the western United States from 1974-77.

I woke up in the dark the morning of Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration.
Reagan was officially inaugurated for a second term on 20 January 1985, but since 20 January was a Sunday that year (it was again in 2013), Dutch took the oath privately in the East Room of the White House at 11:00 CST, and the public ceremony was held the next day.
Super Bowl XIX was 20 January 1985. To celebrate Reagan’s second term, the man who played George Gipp on the silver screen was asked to toss the coin prior to the Dolphins meeting the 49ers at Stanford. There was a satellite hookup between the locales, and Reagan tossed the coin in the East Room when prompted by referee Pat Haggerty.
It was bitterly cold in most of the country that Super Sunday. It was chilly and foggy in Stanford, a fitting backdrop for the Dolphin defense, which was shredded for 537 yards by Joe Montana, Roger Craig, Dwight Clark and company. Dan Marino was pounded by a San Francisco defense spearheaded by future Hall of Famers Fred Dean and Ronnie Lott, and the 49ers rolled 38-16. Little did anyone know Marino would never return to gridiron football’s biggest stage.
Temperatures below minus-7 Celsius (20 F) are as rare in New Orleans as sightings of Haley’s Comet and four-leaf clovers, but lo and behold, it dipped to minus-10 C (14 F) in the early hours of 21 January 1985. The power at 224 Jaguar Drive went out, as it did for tens of thousands across south Louisiana.
The cold hit the Air Products and Chemicals plant at the northeast edge of New Orleans hard, and my dad had to go out there to check it out only a couple of hours after the Super Bowl ended.
Fortunately for my brother, mother and I, we had a way to keep warm.
My mother’s close friend, Wanda Pattison, had a gas furnace at her residence in Chalmettte, about 15 minutes from our house. We went there to keep warm, and the electricity came on just in time to see Reagan take the oath from Chief Justice Warren Burger.
It was so cold in Washington–minus-15 C (5 F)–the ceremony was moved from the West Front of the Captiol into the rotunda, the first time in memory the ceremony was held indoors. It should have been held indoors today.
U.S. Representative Gillis Long from Louisiana died the previous day, and Reagan asked for a moment of silence in his memory. Long represented the former Eighth District, which stretched from Alexandria south and east along the Mississippi River to St. John the Baptist Parish, from 1973-84, and previously in 1963 and ’64. Gillis was a cousin of legendary brothers Huey and Earl Long, and secured funding for an important Hansen’s Disesase research center in Iberville Parish about 40 km (25 miles) southeast of Baton Rouge; the center now bears his name.
Gillis ran for Governor of Louisiana in 1963 and again in 1971. He was third in the Democratic primary each time, with John McKeithen winning the former election and Edwin Edwards the latter.

I was not old enough to remember Reagan’s first inauguration in 1981, although I have watched it on YouTube. That day, the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran since 4 November 1979 were freed. Reagan announced it during his inaugural speech, and Jimmy Carter went to Germany to meet the freed men.

Speaking of Carter, of course I can’t remember his inauguration in 1977. It was my 99th day in this life.

If you have read to this point, I thank you. If not, I don’t blame you. I’m going full Porky Pig…THAT’S ALL FOLKS! (at least for now)

Buffalo stampedes ahead

The Buffalo Bills will be among the last eight NFL teams left following their 27-24 victory over the Colts today in western New York to open the NFL playoffs.
It’s the Bills’ first playoff victory since 30 December 1995, when they defeated the Dolphins 37-22 at home.
Chiefs fans were ardently rooting for the Colts, who would have come to Kansas City had they won. Instead, either the Ravens-Titans winner or the Browns (if they defeat the Steelers) are coming to Arrowhead. The Bills will host either the Ravens-Titans winner or the Steelers.

Just how long ago was the 1995 NFL season?
Buffalo’s coach was Marv Levy, who led the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990-93 (all losses), but was on the downside of his coaching career, which ended after the 1997 season. Still, getting any team to four consecutive Super Bowls, especially one as downtrodden as the Bills were prior to his arrival during the 1986 season, is worthy of his bust in Canton.
How bad were the Bills before Levy?
Between 1966, the year after Buffalo won its second conseuctive AFL championship, and 1985, the Bills played in five playoff games, winning one, the 1981 AFC wild card vs. the Jets.
The Bills went 1-13 in 1968 and again in 1971, 2-12 in 1977, and 2-14 in 1984 and ‘85.
I’ll never forget the 1984 Bills started 0-11, then somehow beat the Cowboys 14-3 at home. I watched the game with my brother at my maternal grandmother’s shotgun home in the Algiers section of New Orleans, and couldn’t believe it when Greg Bell ran 85 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. By time we got home, the Bills sealed what likely was the Cowboys’ most embarrassing loss in franchise history at that time.

Miami’s coach the penultimate day of 1995? Donald Francis Shula.
Shula, who passed away last May at 90, coached his final game that day, ending a 33-year career which began with seven seasons in Baltimore and continued with 26 more in Miami. Shula coached Johnny Unitas at the beginning of his career and Dan Marino in the end, with Earl Morrall, Bob Griese, Don Strock and David Woodley in between.
The Dolphins needed to defeat the Rams in St. Louis on the final day of the regular season to qualify. It was Shula’s 347th and final win. Hopefully, his record for coaching is not broken by the jerk in New England.

Some of the rookies who debuted in 1995: Hall of Famers Curtis Martin, Terrell Davis, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks; Tony Boselli, who would have been in the Hall of Fame if not for injuries; servicable quarterback Kerry Collins; workout warrior Mike Mamula; and lesser lights Blake Brockermeier, Dave Wohlabaugh, Brendan Stai and Tyrone Poole.
Levy and Shula were not the only long-tenured coaches. Jim E. Mora was in his 10th season with the Saints. Marty Schottenheimer was in his seventh with the Chiefs. Ted Marchibroda was in the fourth season of his second tenure with the Colts. Bill Cowher (Steelers) and Mike Holmgren (Packers) were each in the fourth season. BIll Parcells was in his third with the Patriots, and Dan Reeves his third with the Giants.
Buddy Ryan was coaching his second, and last, season in Arizona. He was fired 12 hours after the Cardinals lost the last regular season to the Cowboys on Christmas night. The mastermind of the 1985 Bears’ 46 Defense never returned to football. Ryan passed away in 2018, but his legacy is far from dead, thanks to sons Rex and Rob.
The biggest news of the 1995 NFL season was the debut of the Panthers and Jaguars, the NFL’s first expansion teams since the Buccaneers and Seahawks of 1976.
The Rams played their first season in St. Louis under new coach Rich Brooks, fresh off leading Oregon to the Rose Bowl. Contiuining the tradition of losing football in the Gateway City established by the Cardinals from 1960-87, the Rams went 7-9, their sixth of nine consecutive losing seasons.
The Raiders played in Oakland for the first time since 1981 and collapsed down the stretch, losing their last six to finish 8-8.
The Browns were playing their 50th—and final—season at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (aka The Mistake by the Lake (Erie)). that November, Art Modell shocked the sports world by annoucning the Browns were moving to Baltimore for 1996. Eventually, Modell had to leave the Browns’ name, colors and history behind, and the franchise was renamed the Baltimore Ravens. The new Browns debuted in 1999 in what is now First Energy Stadium.

The Bills’ quest for their fifth Super Bowl berth died in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers prevailed 40-21 in the first AFC divisional playoff. The next day, the Steelers were gifted home field for the AFC championship when the Colts, led by Jim Harbaugh, downed the Chiefs 10-7 at frigid Arrowhead.
Pittsburgh survived Indianapolis 20-16, but only after Aaron Bailey lost possession of Harbaugh’s Hail Mary when he hit the ground in the back right corner of the end zone on the game’s final play.
The Steelers fought the Cowboys tooth-and-nail in Super Bowl XXX, but two pathetic throws by Neil O’Donnell resulted in two interceptions by Larry Brown, and Dallas won 27-17. No wonder Pittsburgh didn’t return to the Super Bowl until Cowher and the Rooneys drafted Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.

Buffalo needed something good to happen. The Sabres have been wretched for more than a decade. The Braves left when I was 18 months old, and the NBA will NEVER come back. The city has struggled economically for as long as I’ve lived. New York’s governors have favored the Big Apple for far, far, FAR too long at the expense of the rest of the state. And of course, there’s always the snow.
Maybe this will help the push for a downtown stadium, something Terry and Kim Pegula stress is vital for the Bills to survive. I can’t blame them, because the stadium in Orchard Park is older than me, opening with the double murderer’s 2,003-yard season of 1973.

I wouldn’t mind living in Buffalo. I’d trade the snowy winters for cooler summers, although the humidity would be more than Kansas.
I’d better enjoy these zero-degree days (Celsius, of course) while I can. The mercury will shoot above 20 soon enough and have me in shorts for seven months.

Peaceful protests? They don’t exist in the USA

Let me make one thing clear about my last post.

I do not, in any way, support violent protest, no matter what it is about, no matter who is protesting.
I am not a fan of protests, period. I believe most are pointless and a waste of time. There are far better things for me to do than to march for a cause. I think it would just drive my blood pressure even higher than it is now, which is way too high, and I don’t like crowds unless it’s at a sporting event.
However, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution—the document every lying politician, no matter what end of the spectrum, hides behind—guarnatees the right of assembly.
PEACEFUL assembly.
The First Amendment protected the rights of the 250,000 who descended upon the Washington Monument on 28 August 1963 to hear Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
That was a lawful, PEACEFUL, protest.
Same with Woodstock, where over 400,000 descended upon White Lake, New York in August 1969. The residents feared the worst from the hippies. Instead, the hippies only wanted to listen to Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and many other big-name musicians, and share peace and love.
The Million Man March, organized by noted racist anti-semite Louis Farrakhan in October 1995, had the potential for violence, but stayed peaceful.
Too bad most protests which receive publicity over the last 56 years have been far too violent and far too deadly. This is not an all-inclusive list, but some of the more infamous ones.

Summer 1964–Philadelphia race riots. Fortunately, nobody died, but hundreds of black-owned business were burned to the ground in North Philadelphia, never to return.
August 1965–Watts. The infamous Los Angeles riot began when a black woman was beaten by police, setting off four days and nights of
Jully 1967–Detroit race riots. Forty-three die and hundreds of millions of damages to black neighborhoods of the Motor City, and come perilously close to Tiger Stadium. Tigers left fielder Willie Horton, in full uniform, helps calm the situation.
April 1968–Riots in the wake of MLK assassination, notably in Baltimore, Washington, Louisville, Detroit (again) and Kansas City
August 1968–Anti-war protesters at Democratic National Convention in Chicago, led by the Chicago 7 and the Black Panthers under the direction of Bobby Seale
May 1970–Kent State, where four were killed by National Guard troops. Two (Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller) were participating in a violent protest, but two others (Sandy Schurer and William Schroeder) were not. Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel, future college football coaching legends, witnessed the riots.
January 7, 1973–Mark James Robert Essex, a dishonorably discharged Navy seaman, kills three police officers and four civilians in a racially-motivated spree at a New Orleans hotel. Essex, a black Kansas native, killed a black police cadet at the New Orleans jail seven days prior, and carjacked a black man outside his residence to get to the hotel. Essex tells black maids “We’re only shooting whites today”. As Essex shoots anything that moves while perched on the roof, black youths gather across Loyola Avenue and scream ‘RIGHT ON’ whenever a shot rings out. Essex is cut down when a Marine helicopter carrying policemen shoot during a nighttime sortie.
November 1979—Ku Klux Klan rally in Greensboro turns violent when five black counter-protesters are murdered by the racists. Less than 36 hours later, the Iran Hostage Crisis began (not that it was a riot, just mentioning it in passing.).
May 1980–The first of several riots in Miami occurs after four white police officers are acquitted in the December 1979 shooting death of black insurance salesman Arthur McDuffie. Over $!00 million in property damage occurs in Liberty City and Overtown. Eighteen die.
December 1982–Violence returns to Overtown after policeman Luis Alvarez shot and killed 20-year old Nevel Johnson Jr. outside an arcade. The violence forces the LSU and Nebraska football teams, in town for the Orange Bowl, to shelter in place at their hotels following morning practice. There are 24,000 empty seats at the game, won by Nebraska 21-20.
January 1989–In the days leading up to Super Bowl XXIII, Overtown decends into chaos yet again after Officer William Lozano shoots and kills Clement Lloyd, who was attempting to flee on a motorcyle. Lloyd’s passenger also dies when the two-wheeler crashes. The riots give the city a black eye as it prepares to host its first Super Bowl in 10 years. Fortunately, the Dolphins’ 1987 move to the Dade-Broward County line in what is now Miami Gardens keeps the rioters far away from more trouble for the NFL. Had the game been scheduled for the Orange Bowl, there would have been HUGE problems.
August 1991–Blacks attack Orthodox Jews in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York after two immigrants from Guyana are struck by a motorcade led by a prominent rabbi.
April 1992—Los Angeles riots protesting acquittal of four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King in 1991. Trucker Reginald Denny beaten nearly to death. The area near the Los Angeles Coliseum and the University of Southern California is mostly burned to the ground, resulting in over $1 billion in damages.

The last 10 years has seen a proliferation of violent riots, from the Occupy Movement to those after police-related deaths (Eric Garner in NYC, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Freddie Gray in Baltimore), the Charlottesville riot involving white supremacists, Antifa, this summer’s riots following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (among others), and now this.
I shudder to think what will happen on Inauguration Day. Joe Biden should demand the ceremony take place inside the Capitol, either in the rotunda, or better yet, in the House chamber. The only people who should be present are the families of Biden and Kamala Harris, the House, the Senate and former presidents Carter, Bush and Obama (Trump should be banned). The rest of us can watch on TV.
Or maybe he should go to a secure location, take the oath, then go straight to the White House and deliver his inaugural address from the Oval Office.
The public must be banned from this ceremony. Sadly, a few psychotic assholes have ruined it for the rest of us.
Besides, this is a good year to ban the public. Something called COVID-19 still rampaging.

The United States of America is SICK. Both sides of the spectrum have a serious problem.
Compromise is the new “C” curse word, replacing the four-letter one which I will not repeat. There is no middle ground; it’s 100 percent good or 100 percent evil.
Biden was long considered a moderate when he represented Delaware in the Senate. Many left-wing groups hated him, never more so than when women’s groups felt he did not do enough to support Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991. They were outraged Biden basically twiddled his thumbs while Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican, tore into Hill.
Speaking of Specter, he was the last of the Rockefeller Republicans who often had the guts to vote against his party when it didn’t suit the interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was also a tough-on-crime prosecutor in Philadelphia who teamed with Mayor Frank Rizzo to make the city safe during the 1970s.
Specter, who grew up in my current town of Russell, is sorely missed in the Senate.

I left my 2020 presidential ballot blank. I voted for nobody. I also did not vote for Trump in 2016. Before that, I voted for Republican candidates in every major election in Louisiana and Kansas.
I regret many of those votes. Woody Jenkins (US Senate from Louisiana, 1996) is one of those Bible thumpers I can’t stand. Bobby Jindal (Louisiana Governor, 2003–although he lost) proved to be an incompetent boob who cut government services to the bone and decimated the state’s tax base. Jim Barnett (Kansas Governor, 2006) was grossly incompetent and had no business running for the state’s highest office. Kris Kobach (Kansas Secretary of State, 2010 and 2014) is a xenophobic piece of shit whose narcissism rivals Trump’s. Tim Huelskamp (US House from KS-01, 2010-16) was so far right John Boehner and Paul Ryan could not work with him. Roger Marshall (US House from KS-01, 2018; US Senate from Kansas, 2020) proved what a fraud he is by refusing to certify Biden’s election.
Jindal was such a fucking embarrassment that I was glad not to be living in my native state when he was governor. His three immediate predecessors—Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Mike Foster and Edwin Edwards—all won support from all ends of the spectrum by being pragmatic. Sure, Edwards went to federal prison for racketeering, but he didn’t screw the state the way Jindal did.
Marshall ensured I won’t be voting for him in 2026. Fucking turd.

I’ve had it with talking about this shit. Excuse me while I run to the toilet to vomit.

July was not good. Should have saw it coming.

July 2020 has a little more than five hours to run, at least for those who observe UTC -5. I won’t miss it.

I’ve been in quarantine since the evening of the 22nd, when my father revealed he tested positive for COVID-19. I haven’t seen his face since then, and I’ve seen my mother’s face for 10 seconds. I don’t want them in the basement, and I only go upstairs when they are asleep.

If there is a good time to be in quarantine, summer is it. I hate hot weather to begin with.

This July has been the rainiest month I’ve experienced in Russell. We need a drought. The rain has caused the humidity to soar to levels similar to what I see in Kansas City during the summer, and that makes a bad situation worse.

On the other hand, I should not have expected the seventh month of 2020 to be good.

When July has started on a Wednesday, at least as long as I have lived, has usually been bad.

Prior to this year, the last year July started on Wednesday was 2015. That was a disaster to say the least, between the infamous incident with a then-employee of Buffalo Wild Wings location #0296, the continued deterioration of the relationship with my former supervisor, and my finances going straight to hell.

The Buffalo Wild Wings employee, who no longer works for the company, still thinks I’m the biggest jerk on earth. My former boss died in October 2017, two years after our final conversation ended with us cursing each other out, and my finances still suck.

In 2009, I was passing blood in my urine throughout Independence Day weekend in Kansas City. The day after Independence Day, I drove myself to the emergency room at St. Luke’s Northland in extreme pain after passing kidney stones. Fortunately for me, I was back at my hotel in four hours, although in pain until the next morning when I had a prescription for painkillers filled. It’s the last time I was in the hospital for something other than routine care or tests.

1998? The alternator in my car died the evening of the 13th at a Baton Rouge hotel on Airline Highway, a long way from my apartment at the time, which was south of the LSU campus. Bill had to drive me home, then was reduced to driving me around the next day, which happened to be his 35th birthday.

1992? The Steinle family trip to St. Louis started terribly, with a blinding thunderstorm as we drove north. Got lost on I-270 and nearly went into Illinois before taking the loop west and finding our destination. The next day, our Oldsmobile 88 broke down and we were stuck for several hours waiting for it to get fixed. My dad, brother and I went to two Cardinals-Braves games at Busch Stadium, but the seats were awful. The highlight of the trip was seeing Bill Clinton and Al Gore returning to a downtown hotel after jogging one morning.

1987? My father left the United States for the Netherlands on the 9th on company business, not to return until 29 August. I was also counting down the days for my time in hell locked in a child psychiatric hospital.

1981? Don’t remember much, but there were no Major League Baseball games due to players’ strike which began 12 July and didn’t end until the final hours of the 31st. Games didn’t resume until 9 August with the All-Star Game, while the regular season began again the next evening. Also, Prince Charles and Princess Diana wed 29 July, Peggy’s 17th birthday. I was also a month away from kindergarten.

Thank God 1976 was a leap year. Had it not, July would have started on Wednesday, and I would have been born three months prematurely, knowing my luck and my mother’s terrible habits.

Thank God it will be August shortly. As boring and bad as June and July have been, it can’t get more boring or worse, can it?

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.

One day, two tales in the Big Apple

Fifty years ago yesterday, two notable events occurred in New York City within hours of each other. (Yes, it’s still 8 May for a few more minutes in Kansas, but it’s 9 May in NYC, so yesterday is appropriate).

One, the Hard Had Riot, was one of many regrettable episodes in the more than 400 years of the city once known as New Amsterdam (“Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam”, a famous line from the famous They Might Be Giants song, “Istanbul not Constantinople). Occurring four days after Sandy Scheuer, William Schroeder, Jeffrey Miller and Allison Krause lost their lives at Kent State, 200 construction workers mobilized by the New York State AFL-CIO attacked more than 1,000 students protesting the war and mourning the Kent State four.

Apologies to Ms. Scheuer’s family and friends for misspelling her name with an extra “R” in previous posts.

It began at 07:30 with a memorial for Scheuer, Schroeder, Miller and Krause at Federal Hall. Four hours later, construction workers broke past a pathetic police line and started beating the protesters, especially those men with long hair, with their hard hats, steel-toed shoes, and anything else they could find.

Four policemen and 70 others were injured. Fortunately, nobody was killed.

This was not the case in January 1976 when union members murdered a non-union worker at a chemical plant in Lake Charles in the midst of Louisiana’s push to become the last southern state to pass right-to-work legislation.

Six months later, after right-to-work cleared both chambers of the Louisiana legislature, the leader of the right-to-work campaign, Shreveport advertising executive Jim Leslie, was murdered in Baton Rouge by a sniper acting on orders of Shreveport police commissioner George D’Artois, who attempted to use city funds to pay for his election campaign. Leslie flatly refused D’Artois’ bribe, and paid for it with his life. Rat bastard D’Artois dropped dead in June 1977 before he could be brought to justice. It would have been lovely to see the S.O.B. rot in Angola.

Back to 8 May 1970 in the Big Apple.

Nine hours after the construction workers attacked innocent protesters who had the nerve to exercise their First Amendment rights, the Knickerbockers met the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden for the championship of the National Basketball Association.

Hours after the Kent State shootings, the Knicks won Game 5 107-100 at MSG to take a 3-2 series lead despite losing the NBA’s 1969-70 Most Valuable Player, Louisiana native and Grambling alum Willis Reed, to a serious leg injury in the first quarter. Los Angeles led 51-35 at halftime, but committed 19 turnovers in the final 24 minutes, leading Lakers fans to believe their franchise was cursed, if they didn’t already.

Two nights later, with Reed back in New York, the Lakers destroyed the short-handed Knicks at The Forum 135-113 behind 45 points and 27 rebounds from Wilt Chamberlain.

The teams flew commercial from LAX to JFK the next morning, leaving them approximately 30 hours to rest for the winner-take-all game.

Charter flights were not the norm in the NBA or NHL until the late 1980s, which means the likes of Chamberlain, Reed, Jerry West, Bill Bradley, Walt (Clyde) Frazier, John Havlicek, Bill Russell, Dave Cowens and Oscar Robertson flew charters very rarely, and Kareem didn’t fly them for the majority of his career. Same for Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Rod Gilbert, Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Jean Beliveau, although Les Habitants (the Canadiens) may have been flying charter before the American teams.

The Lakers were planning a glorious return to LAX Saturday morning, then a parade similar to the ones enjoyed by the Dodgers following World Series wins in 1959, ’63, and ’65.

The Knicks wanted to be honored with New York’s third ticker tape parade for a championship sports team in 17 months, following the Jets in Super Bowl III and the Mets after the ’69 World Series. In between the Jets and Mets, Neill Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were honored with their own parade for Apollo 11.

Sadly for most of the 19,500 who passed through MSG’s turnstiles that Friday evening, the Knicks’ chances appeared dim without Reed.

Then, the NBA’s version of Moses parting the Red Sea occurred.

ABC announcers Chris Schenkel and Jack Twyman lamented the Knicks’ fate without their MVP, but as they went on, Twyman excitedly noticed Reed coming out from the tunnel.

Reed took the court with Bradley, Frazier, Dave DeBuesschere and Dick Barnett for the opening tip.

Eighteen seconds later, Reed, who could barely walk, took a jump shot from 20 feet.

Swish.

A minute later, Reed scored again to make it 5-2.

Willis Reed did not score another point.

He didn’t need to.

His defense against Chamberlain spooked The Big Dipper, who was limited to 21 points, although he led all players with 24 rebounds.

Frazier picked up the offensive slack with 36 points and 19 assists, and New York rolled to a 113-99 victory in a game which wasn’t that close.

The Knicks were NBA champions for the first time. New York had its third championship team in 17 months. Prior to that, the Big Apple went six-plus years without a title after the Yankees won the 1962 World Series. The Giants were in the midst of 29 seasons without a title, with Super Bowl XXI a little less than 17 years off. The Rangers’ Stanley Cup drought stood at 30 years in 1970 and would last 24 more. The Islanders and Devils (Kansas City Scouts/Colorado Rockies) didn’t exist, and the Nets were an afterthought until they signed Julius Erving.

The Knicks won the title again three years later by defeating the Lakers in five games, one year after Los Angeles got the monkey off of its back by ousting New York in five.

Since 1973, the Knicks have been to the championship series twice, losing to the Rockets in 1994 and the Spurs in 1999. The Lakers have had slightly more success, winning five championships in the 1980s and five more in the 21st century.

Today’s Knicks are an outright disgrace to Red Holzman’s championship teams. Thankfully, the surviving members of the 1969-70 Knicks didn’t have to put up with having to watch the 2019-20 Knicks at a 50th anniversary reunion; it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Owner James Dolan is a douchebag who continues to anger fans with his outright stupidity and callousness. Isaiah Thomas is a sexual harasser who should be in prison, but Dolan loves him, so he still has a high-paying job with the Knicks.

That’s more NBA than I care to discuss, so I’m signing off.

COVID-19 and Kent State: two sad stories of American history

Kansas’ stay-at-home order has expired. Some businesses have reopened, but many have not.

This was evident today when I went to Hays.

The Wendy’s at the corner of Vine and 43rd north of Interstate 70 was doing quite a business. Ten vehicles in the drive-thru, elderly couples sitting at the tables outside, and people inside the restaurant for the first time in seven weeks.

The nearby Applebee’s and Old Chicago were not seating customers, although they were accepting takeout orders.

I haven’t missed sitting in a restaurant. I’ve been able to procure takeout from Chick-Fil-A without difficulty. Unfortunately, Arby’s and Popeye’s don’t have mobile ordering, which stinks, because I could really go for Popeye’s right now. Then again, the chicken would get cold on the 70-minute drive from Salina to Russell.

The three large cities in southwest Kansas–Dodge City, Garden City and Liberal–are all overrun with COVID-19. Each county has more cases than Sedgwick County, where Wichita is located.

Coincidentally, the same thing has happened in Nebraska. The three large cities of south central Nebraska–Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney–have more cases between them than either of the state’s large metropolitan areas, Lincoln and Omaha.

Missouri also lifted its stay-at-home order, although Kansas City and St. Louis are still locked until at least May 15. St. Louis couldn’t care less about lockdown right now; all the Gateway City wants is for the Blues and Cardinals to return.

Today marked the 50th anniversary of the infamous shootings at Kent State University in northeast Ohio. Sandy Scheurer, William Schroeder, Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller were killed, and nine others injured when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire during an anti-Vietnam War protest. Krause and Miller were participating in the protest, but Scheurer and Schroeder were innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Due to COVID-19 and the closure of every college campus in the United Staes, the celebration at Kent State was quite subdued, a far cry from what organizers of the school’s May 4 Committee hoped for. Had campus been open, it’s likely Kent State’s most famous alumnus would have appeared (see below), not to mention Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, and possibly three of the school’s greatest athletes, Jack Lambert, Antonio Gates and Julian Edelman.

One of Krause’s classmates was a freshman from Monagaha, West Virginia named Nicholas Saban, who, of course, would become the most successful college football coach of the last 50 years, leading LSU to a national championship in 2003 and Alabama to titles in 2009, ’11, ’12, ’15 and ’17.

Saban and a classmate were walking to a dining hall and saw the shooting unfold. He rushed back to West Virginia after campus closed to spend time with his longtime girlfriend, Terry Constable, now better known as Miss Terry, Nick’s wife of almost 49 years.

There was another future Southeastern Conference football coach on Kent State’s campus that day.

Gary Pinkel was a tight end for the Golden Flashes who went on to earn All-Mid-America Conference honors. He eventually followed in Saban’s footsteps as head coach at Toledo before going to Missouri in 2001.

When Pinkel arrived in CoMo (to differentiate from the other Columbia in the SEC), Mizzou was in sorry shape. The Tigers were a powerhouse under Dan Devine throughout the 1960s, and even though they fell on hard times after Devine left for the Green Bay Packers in 1971, Mizzou bounced back to respectability under Al Onofrio and Warren Powers.

When Powers was fired after the 1984 season, the Tigers tanked. Woody Widenhofer, Bob Stull and Larry Smith all failed miserably in pulling Mizzou out of its funk. Sadly, the thing Mizzou is best known for during the tenure of those three coaches was the infamous Fifth Down Game vs. Colorado in 1990.

It took Pinkel a few years to get it going, but when he did, Mizzou zoomed to heights it had not seen since Devine’s glory years. The Tigers reached #1 in the polls in 2007 following their victory over Kansas, although their hopes of a date with Ohio State in the BCS championship game ended with a loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship. LSU was the beneficiary, ending up as national championship following their victory over the Buckeyes in New Orleans.

Mizzou ended up #5 in the polls following the 2007 season, and repeated it in 2013, the Tigers’ second season in the SEC. The Tigers have struggled since winning the SEC East (why is Mizzou in the SEC East when it is farther west than five of the seven SEC West schools?) in 2013 and ’14, but it hasn’t relapsed into the pitiful form it showed from 1985-2000, when it became roadkill for Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska, and later, Kansas State.

Here is an excellent New York Times retrospective of Kent State.

Given the late hour, I’ll end it here.