Category Archives: NTN Buzztime

Lots of trivia and no Wally. Win-win.

I began August playing trivia. Literally.

Apparently, once you log in to a trivia site on the Buzztime app, you stay logged in and can keep playing as long as you don’t exit the app.

I logged in to Minsky’s while I picked up my order from Outback Steakhouse across Barry Road Wednesday. I kept the app open driving south on Interstate 29, figuring I would lose the signal somewhere at the 64th Street exit, three miles (5 km) of Barry Road.

Nope, the app kept feeding me questions. Don’t worry, I wasn’t answering them as I drove. I wouldn’t be that desperate to play.

When I finally got to the hotel at Briarcliff, seven and a half miles (12.5 km) from Minksy’s, I thought for sure I would be done.

Nope.

I kept on playing and playing and playing, all the way until 0125 this morning.

Since I slept only nine and a half hours the previous two nights, I had to go to bed. Besides, I was drifting in and out by 0045.

Thursday, following an futile trip to Olathe, I came back to Prairie Village to get the cheese I desired. I was about two kilometers north of Johnny’s Tavern at 83rd and Mission, the only location in Prairie Village with Buzztime. Driving north into Roeland Park, I still had the signal much to my surprise. I kept it up into Missouri on I-35 before finally exiting to get in touch with my dad back in Russell.

Wash, rinse, repeat Friday.

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Thursday night was interesting at the hotel.

I attempted to wash two of LL Bean canvas bags which had been badly stained. One was by dishwashing liquid where the cap wasn’t screwed on tight and I didn’t notice it in the grocery store, and the other was of an unknown origin.

I used the front-loading machine in the hotel’s laundry room. When I came back a half-hour later, the door was locked and there were suds all over the machine. I had to unplug the machine, and of course, suds came spilling out.

Apparently, the machine was out of order, and some idiot pulled the sign off the machine. The front desk refunded my money.

Do some people enjoying inconveniencing others? Lucky it was only a washing machine. If it happened with something else, it could have had much more serious consequences.

I put one bag in each of the two top-loading machines. Everything turned out great.

All the while I was still playing trivia on my phone. I once again got Outback, logged in to Minsky’s, and the signal was still going strong at Briarcliff.

Thursday morning, I finally gave up at 0125. Friday morning, Buzztime stopped me cold at 0210 by not feeding any more questions. Of course, nobody at Minsky’s knew, because it closed at midnight. Speaking of Minsky’s, I probably should make an appearance tomorrow.

I was hoping to make it to 0300, because Buzztime has introduced a new game which runs from 0300 to 1100 for those locations which are open that late or that early as the case may be.

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One place I have not been on this trip, nor have I been the last 365 days, is Walmart.

That’s right. I have not set foot in a Walmart since I exited the one in Hays 31 July 2018.

The day after my last Walmart visit, I left for Kansas City for the trip where I met up with old middle school chum Jason Malasovich and family. Before I knew he was even in the area, I decided I would not longer patronize Walmart.

I don’t have a political reason for doing so. I could not care less if Walmart or any other retailer sells t-shirts encouraging impeachment of Trump, Obama or any other political figure for that matter. I’m glad I don’t work at Walmart, because from what I have seen and heard, it is backbreaking, the pay is low, and the benefits are skimpy.

When I shopped at Walmart, I never bought its store brands. I hold a strong antipathy for them. I trust store brands from grocery stores and Target, but Walmart for some reason rubs me the wrong way.

I haven’t missed Walmart one bit. I compensate by loading up in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina. Salina has a Target without groceries, but Wichita does. Kansas City’s grocery stores–Hy-Vee and Price Chopper–usually have good selection for what I’m looking for. Schnuck’s in Columbia and Dierberg’s in the St. Louis metro have much more variety, and a lot of things they sell are not available in Kansas City, just like White Castle is nowhere to be found in western Missouri.

I have to be careful with transporting perishable goods in the summer. In the winter I don’t need ice when it’s cold. When it’s frigid (below minus-5 Celsius), I can leave perishables in the car until I get back to Russell. I put ice over them just to be safe, but it works like a charm. No sense in bringing them into the room when you don’t have to.

That’s why I now try to stay in hotels with full-sized refrigerators, especially in the summer. I can freeze the food, and even though it might thaw, it will be much better than if I took it straight from the store to Russell.

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Now it’s 1440 Saturday. Back to Russell tomorrow, although with a stop in Salina. The humdrum life of western Kansas returns Monday with another session with Crista and trivia from somewhere in Hays. Back to Salina Tuesday. At least the August heat has abated for the time being. Any break we can get.

No love for the Hawkeyes. Sorry (not) sorry.

I haven’t posted for eight days. Sorry. Last week was pretty bad–well, one night was pretty bad.

It was Thursday. My favorite trivia game comes on at 1930 on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Wednesday was typical for Golden Q, as I was the only person playing trivia.

Thursday came hell for me. Some know it all from the Quad Cities (Davenport to be exact) who loves traveling across the country and playing at different locations happened to be in Hays.

This person had my blood pressure through the roof. I felt like I was going to have a stroke.

I lost the game in the last round after leading most of the way. I lost it. I was so angry at myself. I also asked the person why he had to come into Hays to piss me off.

It was horrible. I don’t know why I was triggered but I was. Severely triggered. I exploded so bad I was asked to leave, and they should have asked me to leave. Cassie came out and tried to calm me down; she asked if I had a ride, then wondered if I were emotionally stable enough to drive back to Russell. Fortunately I was.

I went back there Friday and Sunday. I kept to myself. Cassie wasn’t there.

I don’t like pressure. Had it been Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Friday or Saturday, I would have sped back to Russell as soon as I saw the person. If I could have found another place in Hays to play, I would have. Sadly, there is no other place to play in Hays unless you’re a student or employee at Fort Hays State, where you can play in the student union. Also, the Buzztime trivia app does not support SIX, so you have to physically be somewhere with a tablet or blue box to play.

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The invading trivia force wore an Iowa Hawkeyes hat. He reminded me of how much there is to hate about the school in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes’ football coach since 1999, Kirk Ferentz, is a huge douchebag. Hateful of the media, always scowling, always answering in coach-speak, always changing the subject. Ferentz makes Nick Saban look downright warm and fuzzy. Ironic, since Ferentz and Saban were assistants under Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns.

Saban is known as a world-class screamer and is not afraid to mix it up with the press, but he also knows the publicity is good for the Crimson Tide, his players and the University of Alabama as a whole, so he willingly rolls out the welcome mat to ESPN.

Dabo Swinney? Never met a camera he didn’t like. Clemson is in the spotlight so much some are probably sick of seeing his face. But Dabo knows the media can make Clemson a destination school despite its somewhat remote location.

The next time you see ESPN, the Big Ten Network or another national outlet do in-depth features from Iowa City, it will be the first time since Ferentz succeeded Hayden Fry. Urban Meyer may have been totally clueless about assistant coaches beating their wives and his players doing who knows what, but he too knew the media could be a program’s ally, and Ohio State was the favorite stop of the BTN during his years in Columbus.

Ferentz gives Bill Snyder a run for his money as the least media-friendly coach of the last 30 years. Another irony, since Snyder was Hayden Fry’s offensive coordinator from 1982-88 before undertaking the Herculean rebuilding project in the Little Apple.

Iowa’s administration must think he walks on water. Ferentz’ buyout is ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous, actually. It makes it impossible for him to be fired short of a player or staff member being charged with rape or murder. If he had the track record of Saban, Meyer, Swinney or Steve Spurrier, then fine. But outside of 2015, when Iowa plowed through a weak regular season schedule and came within a couple of minutes of reaching the playoff, the Hawkeyes have been nothing special.

Even worse than the monetary amount of Ferentz’ buyout is the clause in the contract which names his son, Brian, as his designated successor. Bill Snyder, why didn’t you think of that? You hung Sean out to dry by not demanding it in your contract. Now Chris Klieman has your baby.

(I was being VERY sarcastic about the Snyders. K-State made the absolute right decision not giving Sean his father’s old job. Now will Iowa do the same, or will it knuckle under to their douchebag coach?)

The Hawkeyes also deserve scorn for blocking Iowa State from potential Big Ten membership. It would make a lot of sense for the Cyclones to leave the Big 12, now with Nebraska in the Big Ten and Missouri in the SEC, but that won’t happen, because Iowa will never let it happen. The other 13 schools in the Big Ten could say yes, but Iowa would go to court to block it.

Frankly, Iowa’s academic reputation is dwarfed by every other school in the Big Ten except Nebraska. Iowa’s academics are third in the state behind Iowa State and Drake. Other than wrestling, what does Iowa offer to the Big Ten? At least Northwestern is an elite academic institution. Then again, the Big Ten added Maryland and Rutgers…

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LSU and Iowa have only played twice in football. Each school has one once. Both games were bowls in Florida.

Iowa defeated LSU 30-25 in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day 2005 on a 56-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play from Drew Tate to Brian Holloway. The Bayou Bengals would have easily won had it not been for Saban announcing his departure for the Miami Dolphins one week prior to the game. The players wouldn’t say it was a distraction, but how could it NOT be? The man who led you to a national championship only one year earlier, the man who recruited you to play for LSU, was leaving. Too bad for LSU and the rest of college football outside of Tuscaloosa, Saban didn’t last too long in the NFL.

Nine years later, the Bayou Bengals bested the Hawkeyes 20-13 in a completely forgettable Outback Bowl. I slept through most of it. Of course, Les Miles still had a grudge against Iowa from all those years as a player and assistant coach at Michigan, so that felt good.

There is a much more memorable skirmish between the LSU and Iowa programs. It did not take place on the field, and it was 46 years before they met in Orlando. More on that in a later post.

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Middle of an unforced trivia timeout. Old Chicago’s servers are down. Oh well. I’ll get back to my hotel room in Salina and play deep into the night, thanks to the close proximity of Buffalo Wild Wings.

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Happy birthday Peggy! You look fabulous. Don’t ask me her age. I will not tell.

Trivia and tacos

Today’s trivia adventure comes from the Taco Bell at 1730 Vine Street in Hays, Kansas USA.

That’s right. I am a little under 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) from The Golden Q, where I normally play trivia in Hays. If you read my blog post from last Wednesday, you know The Q is undergoing a massive renovation which has closed its kitchen until next Tuesday, and the air conditioning and televisions are not functioning.

Buzztime updated its app last week. The questions now appear on the screen with the answers. The only drawback is clues are not given for Lunchtime and Countdown, meaning it’s all or nothing, unless lightning strikes and you figure it out in the middle of the question. For Late Shift, the game which runs from 2200 to closing, and others like it, the wrong answers wipe out. The app still cannot handle the hour-long games Tuesday through Saturday meaning if I want to play SIX Wednesday and Thursday at 1930, I have to be somewhere, which means Salina this week.

I had to come to Hays today to get my eyeglasses adjusted. Dr. Jones did it herself. I also had to get the correct case, which wasn’t a big deal.

Nickole Byers in Ellis called me while I was driving to Hays. I called her back and she wanted information on tournaments for the upcoming school year in case we wanted to print programs for them. Therefore, I stopped at Taco Bell to work.

I decided I would see how far away Buzztime could pick up the signal from The Q so I could play.

It worked. I’m about ready to leave to go home because I am dead tired. I didn’t get a lick of sleep last night, and it wasn’t because anything was wrong; for some reason, I couldn’t fall asleep even after taking Seroquel. I think I’ll be in bed very early tonight, because I would like to wake up early tomorrow, go to Wichita to get my car cleaned, then come back to Salina for trivia and a haircut with Amber.

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I understand why Wimbledon instituted a tiebreak in the deciding set of matches when the score reaches 12-12. The All-England Lawn Tennis Club does not want marathon matches such as 2010, when John Isner and Nicholas Mahut needed 138 games to decide the fifth set, with Isner prevailing 70-68.

That’s right. ONE HUNDRED THIRTY EIGHT games. It took 11 plus hours over three days to complete.

Back to yesterday, when Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer battled for the gentelmen’s singles championship.

Federer choked away two match points in the fifth set. Lo and behold, it got to 12-12.

Djokovic won seven of the 10 points in the tiebreak and won his fifth Wimbledon title and 16th Grand Slam.

Djokovic also won the first and third sets by tiebreak after it was tied 6-6.

The 12-point tiebreak was introduced to Wimbledon in 1972. From 1972-78, the tiebreak was played in all sets EXCEPT the decisive set (third for ladies, fifth for gentlemen) when the score reached 8-8. It was pared down to 6-6 in 1979 and remained that way through 2018.

Through 1970, all sets had to be played out until one player had a two-game advantage. In 1971, an ill-conceived tiebreak was used; it was a maximum of nine points, period, meaning if it were 4-4, it was a sudden death set point.

I’m not a tennis fan. I haven’t followed the sport much since the heyday of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, and later, Steffi Graf and Boris Becker.

If it were up to me, I would say no way to tiebreaks in all Grand Slam tournaments, at least in the decisive set. And for the championship match, it would be no tiebreaks, period.

This is akin to the four major golf tournaments eliminating the 18-hole playoff when two or more players were tied after 72 holes.

  • The U.S. Open was the last to eliminate the fifth round, going to a two-hole playoff starting in 2017; the last 18-hole playoff was at Torrey Pines in 2008, when Eldrick Woods defeated Roccco Mediate in 19 holes.
  • The last 18-hole playoff at The Masters was 1970 when Billy Casper defeated Gene Littler; Augusta National adopted sudden death in 1976, and it was first used in 1979. The Masters uses sudden death for one reason and one reason only: to make sure 60 Minutes is not delayed too long on CBS should the tournament run past 1900 ET (1800 CT). It’s the same reason why NFL games which kick off at 1505 or 1525 CT on CBS have fewer commercials than the 1200 CT kickoffs on CBS or all games on Fox and NBC.
  • The Open Championship last held an 18-hole playoff in 1975, when Tom Watson bested Jack Nicklaus at Carnoustie. The 18-hole playoff remained the tiebreak format for the Royal & Ancient through 1985; in 1986, it changed to a three-hole playoff, and later, four holes.
  • The PGA Championship eliminated the 18-hole playoff in the 1970s, first using sudden death, then changing to a three-hole playoff in the late 1990s.

Winning a major tournament in tennis and golf is supposed to be among the most difficult tasks in sports. Not to to detract from Djokovic’s thrilling victory on Centre Court, but if there weren’t tiebreaks, would the Serb win? Who knows?

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That said, I am on the other side of the fence as far as overtime in gridiron football and hockey.

There should be no overtime, period, in the regular season in those sports. If a team cannot get the job done in 60 minutes, it doesn’t deserve another chance. Better to have ties factor into a record than some convoluted tiebreaker based upon net points in conference games (NFL) or “regulation and overtime wins” (NHL).

Football and hockey are physically draining sports. Bruises, sprains and other injuries are a way of life. Why expose the players to more risk when it’s not necessary?

College and high school football should do away with their stupid version of overtime, which was foisted upon us in 1971 by Brice Durbin, then the Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, and later Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The “Kansas playoff” is ridiculous. Starting from the 10-yard line slants the playing field so heavily in favor of the offense. Any team which can’t make three yards per play for four plays doesn’t deserve to win. Not allowing the defense to score on an interception or fumble is just as asinine. Why should the team which turned the ball over deserve a chance to stop the team forcing the turnover? If the defender runs 95 yards the other way, then that team deserves to win.

The NCAA version of overtime, also adopted by Missouri, Texas and other states, is little better. The 25 is still too close.

In 1972, my future high school, Brother Martin, played Monroe Neville to a scoreless tie in a state semifinal in New Orleans. At that time, the team which advanced was determined by first downs, and if that was tied, penetrations inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

That didn’t work for the Crusaders and Tigers, who each had nine first downs and one penetration. Louisiana High School Athletic Association director Frank Spruiell suggested the Kansas overtime to break the tie.

The coaches, Martin’s Bobby Conlin and Neville’s Charlie Brown, told Spruiell to jump in the Mississippi River. The Crusaders and Tigers got together four days later in Alexandria and played it over again. Neville won 8-0 and went on to defeat Bossier Airline three days later for the title at Monroe.

To be honest, first downs, penetrations and other statistics such as yardage, third down conversions and time of possessions are more appropriate ways to determine a victor than the Kansas playoff. The Kansas playoff is a crapshoot if there ever was one.

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The last time I was in Kansas City, I watched nine innings of a Rays-Twins game in Minneapolis.

I missed the first nine innings driving from Hays to Kansas City.

Eighteen innings? Are you kidding me?

Major League Baseball should do what the Japanese Leagues do and limit games tied after nine to a maximum of three extra innings. If the game is still tied after 12, the statistics count, but the game is thrown out and doesn’t count.

Teams play 162 games a season. What would a few ties hurt? Not a darn thing.

What is the American aversion to draws in sports? There does not have to be a winner in everything.

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I’m still at Taco Bell. That’s all for now…at least on the blog.

AC and OJ, partners in crime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time…

The mind of a scatterbrain

SIX, the hour-long Buzztime trivia game on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 1930 CT, made me look really dumb.

Greek mythology, birthmarks, George Clooney, bowling…all stumped the hell out of me. I had my lowest score in that game, below 40,000, in at least five years.

I know everyone has a bad game, but my bad game found me missing question after question. I almost didn’t come out tonight to play, but since I had to drop off my busted keyboard at UPS in Hays so it can be shipped off to Indiana to complete my warranty claim, I decided to go to the Golden Q anyway.

Between finding out I had ruined my keyboard, the frustration with dictation, my poor trivia game and then staying up far too late watching The Brady Bunch, yesterday wasn’t that good. The only good thing was the session with Crista in the morning.

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Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the most important day in the history of the United States military, or at least in the last 150 years. I hope the rain which flooded Baton Rouge this morning didn’t do the same in New Orleans, where there have been commemorations all day.

The Greatest Generation will be completely gone by time the 80th anniversary rolls around. Every president from Truman to Trump has done a fine job honoring the men who prevented the evil of fascism from spreading its tentacles past Germany and Italy.

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The Sixth of June was mentioned in the opening line of C.W. McCall’s 1975 hit “Convoy”. Truckers have taken advantage by declaring June 6 International Convoy Day. I don’t know if it started in ’75, but it has been going on for many years.

McCall’s song was a subtle dig at the numerous regulations hampering the trucking industry, including high tolls, the 55-mile per hour (89 kilometers per hour) speed limit which took effect at the beginning of 1974, and weight restrictions designed to keep truckers off of secondary roads, where the weight of their cargo could cause significant damage.

“Convoy” also included a series of conversations between truckers on Citizens Band (CB) radio, and it drove CB radio sales through the roof in the second half of ’75 and ’76. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early ’76, something unusual for country songs in that era.

“Sixth of June” rhymed with “Dark of Moon”, but I’m also betting McCall chose June 6 because it was D-Day. The fifth of June would have worked just as well, but wouldn’t have had the hook as the sixth.

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The Brewers were outscored TWENTY FOUR to THREE in losing two games to the Marlins Tuesday and Wednesday, including a 16-0 destruction Tuesday, the worst home loss in the club’s history, which goes back to 1969, their year as the Seattle Pilots. I can accept losing by a combined 24-3 to the Dodgers, Phillies, Cubs or Yankees. But the Marlins, who are so crappy nobody wants to watch them play in Miami.

Milwaukee won 5-1 today to avert the sweep, and they are one game back of the Cubs in the loss column. Miami is 23-37, the worst in the National League, but still comfortably ahead of the American’s League’s dynamic duo, Baltimore and Kansas City, who each have yet to win 20.

I feel for Wichita. The good news is the city is getting a Triple-A baseball team next year, the first time since 2007 it will have an affiliated Minor League Baseball team. The bad news is it’s the Marlins Triple-A team, which currently plays in New Orleans. Having the Marlins as an affiliate has depressed attendance in New Orleans, and that’s a reason why my native city won’t have professional baseball in 2020 and for the foreseeable future.

The Marlins shouldn’t be in Miami. The city only supports professional sports if they win big. The Dolphins have struggled mightily to attract fans since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season. The Heat sold out regularly when LeBron colluded with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to form their big three, but empty seats were common before and after Wade. The Panthers? Don’t get me started about the NHL in the south. They are one of Gary Bettman’s charity cases.

Even worse, Jeffrey Loria conned the taxpayers of Miami-Dade into building him that eyesore where the Orange Bowl once stood. I’m not going to argue (a) the Dolphins’ stadium (currently Hard Rock Stadium) was a dreadful baseball venue and (b) a retractable roof (or permanent roof in the Rays’ case) is a must for baseball in subtropical climates. Why did it take the Rangers 48 seasons of playing outdoors to figure that out? And why did the Braves not figure it out when they built SunTrust Park?

How the Marlins won two World Series is beyond me. Actually, I know how.

The first, in 1997, was Wayne Huizenga printing money to buy a team, plus getting help from Eric (Rerun) Gregg’s ridiculously bloated strike zone in the NLCS vs. the Braves.

The second, in 2003, was because the Marlins hoarded so many prospects from trading all their big names, and the Cubs melting down after the Steve Bartman incident. A blind squirrel can find an acorn every blue moon. A watch is right twice a day. And the Marlins can win a title.

Remember, the Marlins have two World Series titles and zero division titles. They also have zero postseason appearances outside their World Series years.

Another thing that angers me to no end about the Marlins is the hero worship of Jose Fernandez, their stud pitcher who died in a boating accident with two others one week before the end of the 2016 season.

The Marlins continue to keep his locker preserved and won’t issue his number 16, even though it was determined Fernandez was drunk and high on cocaine when he operated the boat in a wreckless manner at night in rough seas. Fernandez KILLED two other people with his stupidity. Yet the tone-deaf Marlins continue to deify him.

The Royals have done the same with Yordano Ventura, who died in a January 2017 accident in the Dominican Republic. The DR sealed the results of his autopsy.

GEE, WHY DO YOU THINK?

Ventura was probably under the influence of something the day he died. Besides, he was a big reason why the 2015 Royals were a cocky group of jerks. Ventura started several bench clearing brawls by throwing high and inside.

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The Blues and Bruins play the critical fifth game of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in Boston. Puck drop in about 25 minutes. St. Louis needs this one more, because it can go back to Missouri and clinch Sunday. Boston still has a mulligan if it wins, because game seven would be in Massachusetts Wednesday.

The Warriors were crushed last night by the Raptors in Oakland despite 47 from Stephen Curry. Uh oh. With Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant struggling with injuries, Golden State may be fighting an uphill battle, similar to the way the Lakers did 30 years ago when they were trying to three-peat vs. the Pistons. That year, Magic Johnson and James Worthy were crippled by injuries, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was 42 and nearing retirement. Detroit swept.

Golden State has to win tomorrow. Well, it could come back from a 3-1 deficit the way the Cavaliers did to them in 2016, but I wouldn’t bet on it. If the Raptors win, it will just show how ridiculous the Maple Leafs’ continuing Stanley Cup drought is.

Lots of questions and answers

For the second time in the last three Fridays, I have executed my “trivia trifecta”, playing at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek (near Liberty), Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa, and Minksy’s on Barry Road. I’m playing my first round at Minsky’s after spending four and a half hours at both Buffalo Wild Wings location. That’s right, save for the drive on Missouri Highway 152 from Shoal Creek to Zona Rosa, I have been playing trivia non-stop since 11 a.m.

At Shoal Creek, there was a question which listed five famous people, and I had to pick the one who was not born in Missouri. One of the choices was Walter Kronkite.

OOPS.

I know Walter CRONKITE was born in St. Joseph. However, it was embarrassing that nobody at Buzztime proofread this. Yes, Cronkite has been dead since July 2009, but he is one of the most famous men to ever report news in any country. How can they not know how the man spells his name? I made sure to let Buzztime know on Twitter.

I am hungry. Really hungry. Larry bought me lunch at Shoal Creek, and I had a large order of cheese curds. I’m trying to avoid meat on Fridays for the next two weeks, since Lent starts on Valentine’s Day and I won’t be able to eat meat on Fridays until the end of March. I did not eat at Zona Rosa, since I did not want to eat B-Dubs twice in the same day. A pizza at Minsky’s sounds good right now.

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of Vince Lombardi’s retirement as coach of the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi led Green Bay to five NFL championships, including victories in Super Bowls I and II, in nine seasons in Wisconsin. Lombardi retired as coach in order to focus on his duties as general manager, but he became quite bored during the 1968 season. He did all he could to not bother his successor, Phil Bengston, the assistant coaches, most of whom worked under Lombardi, and the players. Green Bay went 6-7-1 in 1968, its first losing season since 1958, and it began a long, dark period in “Titletown USA”.

From 1968 through 1991, the Packers made the playoffs just twice, and one of those came in the strike-shortened season of 1982. Many Packer teams lost double digit games, bottoming out by going 4-12 in 1986, 1988 and 1991. Fortunately, Green Bay made massive changes after the ’91 season, hiring Ron Wolf as general manager and Mike Holmgren as coach, then trading with Atlanta to acquire Brett Favre, who was really hated by Falcons coach Jerry Glanville.

Lombardi eventually left the Packers in 1969 to become coach and general manager of the Redskins. He led Washington to a 7-5-2 record that year, the first winning record for the Redskins since 1955. Sadly, he would be dead of colon cancer by September 1970.

Washington abruptly changed course under George Allen, who was hired in 1971. Save for Larry Brown and a few others, Allen gutted the Redskin roster in 1971 and ’72, trading for as many veterans he could find. The Redskins made Super Bowl VII, where they lost to the Dolphins.

The Packers have pretty much been consistent winners for the last quarter century, adding two more Super Bowl championships in 1996 and 2010.

I’m hungry. I had better eat or I might collapse.

Mother Nature conspires with Ernie Banks

LEXINGTON — I’m 821 miles from Russell. I’m 593 miles from my hangouts on Barry Road in Kansas City, Buffalo Wild Wings Zona Rosa and Minsky’s Pizza. I’m in a state I’ve never been to, and one of the only two cities in the Southeastern Conferernce I had yet to visit until now. 

Yet here I am, sitting at the bar at a Buffalo Wild Wings, playing Buzztime trivia. 

It can mean (a) I’m a creature of habit; (b) a very boring person; (c) very dedicated to Buzztime; (d) somoene who doesn’t like adventure; or (c) all of the above.

My schedule for the weekend has been altered. I think it’s a good alteration. 

When I got off Interstate 64 in search of the Kentucky capitol (not a state capitol; Kentucky is a commonwealth) in Frankfort, I found I had a message from Bill Franques, LSU’s longtime baseball publicist and the man I am really here to see this weekend (along with Lexington and UK campus, because as I said before, I’ve never been). 

Instead of playing single games Friday, Saturday and Sunday, LSU and Kentucky will play.a doubleheader beginning tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT. Tomorrow’s game was originally scheduled for 6:30 ET. 

The National Weather Service has forecast a rainy weekend across all of Kentucky for a week. Now, the meterologists are saying it will be a gullywasher Saturday, with up to an inch of rain Saturday.

For some reason, Kentucky scheduled Saturday’s game for 6:30 instead of the daytime, which would have been much better to wait out a rain delay. Maybe with all the rain that is expected, it wouldn’t have mattered. 

Instead of playing a makeup doubleheader Sunday, the coaches decided to move the second game up a day. 

Southeastern Conference rules forced the hands of LSU coach Paul Maineri and his Kentucky counterpart, Nick Mignone. 

If the doubleheader were scheduled for Sunday, both games would have to be seven innings, not nine. The rule is in place ostensibly to allow the visitng team to catch its flight after the Sunday game. 

I understand the idea behind the rule. Airline tickets are non-refundable that close to the flight, and no team wants to be stranded at the airport or face an extrmely long bus ride home.

In the case of this weekend’s series in Lexington, the travel rule is totally unnecessray. LSU flew charter to Lexington and can leave whenever it needs to. 

I don’t see why the SEC cannot waive the seven inning game rule on Sundays if the visitor is traveling by charter flight or bus and both coaches agree to play two nine inning games. The NCAA Division I baseball committee has demanded teams play as many nine ining games as possible, yet the SEC won’t allow flexibility when it is available. 

Also, I don’t see why a team cannot stay over and play Monday if they receive permission from its school administration. Or in the case of Mississippi State vs. either Ole Miss or Alabama, travel back to Oxford or Tuscaloosa and vice versa? 

I would be in favor of all series staritng on Thursday so teams would have Sunday as the built-in rain day. But I understand not wanting to miss two days of class. 

Tomorrow will be a long day at Cliff Hagan Stadium. First game at 2, clear the stadium after the game, then start the second game at approximately 6. 

Saturday is now an off day, with the Sunday game still scheduled for 1 ET. It doesn’t affect me, because I’m not leaving until Monday anyway. 

I’m on Eastern time for the first time in almost 12 years. There was no sign on Interstate 64 in Indiana marking the change from Central to Eastern, but I set my watch ahead when I crossed the Wabash River, and then my iPhone and iPad adjusted when the GPS inside detected the line had been crossed. 

The drive from St. Louis to Lexington took seven hours, including stops at the Indiana state line, the Pilot travel center I blogged from, and then the Kentucky capitol. The hotel I’m staying at is full for the weekend, as is every other hotel in Lexington because of the horse racing season at Keeneland, the second largest horse track in Kentucky. Unless you’ve been living under rock, you can guess #1. 

If SIX weren’t the Buzztime game tonight, I probably would have skipped. But I love that game and didn’t want to go two weeks wihtout playing it, so here I am. I won’t stay after SIX. My body is still on Central time, but I have to deal with the reality of Eastern time, so I’ll get to bed and be ready for tomorrow. 

In the Garden (City)

I spent much of yesterday feeling very guilty.

The first thing Crista told me when we started our session was that she saw Norton play Smith Center in the third place match of the Mid-Continent League volleyball tournament last Saturday. If you recall, I did not go to the MCL tournament the second day, although I did go the first, which coincided with my birthday.

I wish I had been there Saturday. I would have loved to introduce Crista to Peggy and Caitlyn. Now I feel terrible about not going.

I was pretty certain I was going to Norton’s sub-state in Lakin tomorrow, but when Crista told me that, it cemented it.

To that end, I’m now in Garden City, 30 miles east of Lakin on US 50. It was a three-hour drive from Russell, I-70 to Oakley and US 83 down. The TownePlace Suites, where I’ve stayed before, is on K-156, the road which heads towards Jetmore, Larned and Great Bend. I could have saved a few miles if I had taken US 281 from Russell to Great Bend, then K-156 all the way down, but I figured the way I went saved some time.

I passed a tanker about a mile south of Oakley on 83. He was throwing rocks. IDIOT. Every time I then dropped to 65, he would tailgate me. I was ready to call the Kansas Highway Patrol and report him, but after crossing into Scott County, he disappeared from my rear view mirror.

Lucky I passed through Scott City. I had something I forgot to mail in Russell. Better I drop it off than keep carrying it in my car, although it wasn’t super important.

Norton plays Hoisington tomorrow following the completion of the match between Lakin and Syracuse, which begins at 2 p.m. on the east court.

TMP, which is 34-2 and the top seed, plays on the West court at 2 vs. Southwestern Heights. The second match on the West court is Hugoton vs. Cimarron.

The TMP-Southwestern Heights and Hugoton-Cimarron winners play on the West court in one semifinal, while the Norton-Hoisington and Lakin-Syracuse winners play on the East court in the semis. The championship is on the West court.

The winner advances to the Class 3A state tournament next Friday and Saturday at Emporia.

Norton hasn’t been to a state tournament since 2007, when Caitlyn’s sister, Courtney (Otto), was a senior. The Bluejays were 10-20 heading into sub-state, but beat Lakin, Cimarron and Phillipsburg to advance. The state tournament wasn’t so good, with Norton going 0-3, but it was remarkable to make it.

The 22-13 record Norton carries into sub-state is the best for the school since 2005, when Caitlyn’s OTHER sister, Chelsea (Funk), was a senior. Norton has generally had great success in all other sports, winning state championships in both boys and girls track in the years I’ve been here, in addition to seven wrestling championships in 11 seasons, but volleyball somehow has been left behind.

It could be much worse. Some schools have very little athletic success. Like one I’m very familiar with.

The next time Norton has an event in Hays isn’t until Feb. 3, when the Bluejays play basketball at TMP. I will remind Crista many times. .

I’m going to find a place to play Buzztime this evening. Either I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings, which recently opened, or Old Chicago. Those are the only locales in Garden City, but hey, it’s better than Hays, where the only place you can play now is the Fort Hays Student Union, and I’m sure they hate non-students going in there. Therefore, the closest place to Russell to play is Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina.

Maybe it’s a good thing there isn’t a Buzztime location in Hays. I might spend too much time there and stay too late, which would disrupt my sleep patterns. It’s just too bad the best games are at night, which force me to drive I-70 between Salina and Russell at night. It’s a boring stretch any time, but it’s dangerous at night.

I’ve learned to cut myself off in Kansas City. Never later than 10, usually earlier. And staying very close to Zona Rosa helps.

I have a stop to make at Dillon’s to buy Caitlyn’s teammates some Gatorade for tomorrow. High is supposed to be around 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit), which is absolutely absurd for October 22. They’ll need hydration, even though Lakin’s gym is air conditioned. I already bought Caitlyn’s grape Gatorade in Oakley when I stopped for gas and to use the restroom.

I’m hoping I’m not back in Garden City too early tomorrow evening. Bad news if I am.