Category Archives: Personal

Extra day in KC for a good reason

I returned to Russell yesterday a little after noon, one day later than originally  planned.

Thank you, Jason Malasovich.

I’ve known Jason for over 30 years, longer than almost anyone else who does not share my last name. In fact, only two of my current friends list on Facebook has known me longer, Rosemarie Renz (Huguet) and Lisa Syrdal (Clague), both of whom I attended kindergarten through fourth grade with at St. Robert Bellarmine Elementary school.

Jason and I were teammates as 10-year olds playing basketball for Carolyn Park, the playground adjacent to what was St. Robert Bellarmine, which was flooded by Hurricane Katrina and again by Hurricane Rita and was not rebuilt. The same complex was brand new when it was destroyed by Hurricane Betsy in 1965 but rebuilt in that case.

Carolyn Park did not have a gym, so we practiced at Arabi Park Middle School on the northwestern edge of St. Bernard Parish, less than half a mile from the city limits of New Orleans. The year we played together as 10-year olds, Arabi Park was in its last year as an all-girls school. Jason went to fifth grade at Chalmette Middle, which was all-boys. In the fall of 1987, Arabi Park and Chalmette Middle both admitted the opposite gender, and since Jason lived in Arabi, close to Judge Perez Drive, the main thoroughfare of St. Bernard, he changed schools.

I attended St. Robert’s in the fifth grade, but I had a terrible time, so my parents pulled me out. They sent me to a school which I don’t want to talk about for the first quarter of my sixth grade year, one where stupid stuff (I would like to use another word, but won’t) was allowed and not discouraged. Finally, they decided to send me to Arabi Park.

Jason and Rosemarie were the only people there I knew for the first month and a half. I wasn’t in any classes with them except physical education until mid-December, when I was transferred into all the same classes as them and began to know the people I would be in class with until my departure for Brother Martin at the end of my seventh grade year.

The Arabi Park group split into three groups: one which went to Chalmette High, notably Jason and Shawn O’Neil; one which went to Archbishop Hannan, a co-educational Catholic school further east of Chalmette High, the group Rosemarie was in; and a third which went to Andrew Jackson, at the time a magnet high school which did not play football, basketball, baseball and softball. The notable ones among this group were Stacie Dauterive (now Seube) and her younger sister, Andree, who was two years younger (although their younger brother, Rene, ended up at Holy Cross, largely because he was a very good baseball player). I was the outlier going to Brother Martin, and was one of the very few who was accepted from a public middle school.

Hannan flooded during Katrina and relocated to Madisonville on the west side of St. Tammany Parish, closer to Hammond than Slidell.

Jason and I played basketball again together when we were 12 and in the seventh grade. Jason was pretty good and made the parish all-star team, as did Shawn and Michael Marques, a classmate of mine at Brother Martin who started for two years for the Crusaders’ varsity. I wasn’t too good, but there was one game where I did score 10 points in the first half and 14 total despite battling a bad cold.

When he was at Chalmette High, Jason played for the Owls baseball team and started at second base for two years. One night I went to a Chalmette game but I was cheering for the Owls’ opponent, Shaw, since I knew a few people coaching at Shaw, a couple of whom, including longtime football coach Hank Tierney, were in attendance. I also knew Shaw’s baseball coach, Pat O’Shea, who sadly passed away from prostate cancer last month at 67.

The last time I saw Jason in Louisiana was in September 1995. He was in the Golden Band from Tigerland, and my dad and I went to the LSU-Auburn football game and noticed him as the band was preparing for its pregame show.

I lost touch with everyone from Arabi Park quickly after I went to Brother Martin. I attempted to reconnect with Stacie in the summer of 2005, but Katrina interrupted those plans.

Facebook finally brought me back into their orbit. Go back to almost the beginning of this blog and you can see what happened.

I hoped and prayed that Rosemarie and I would connect when I was in Baton Rouge earlier this year, but it didn’t happen. I was sad about that, but seeing Brenda, Dorinda, Dan, Lisette and the others from LSU more than made up for it. I still miss you, Rosie, and hope we’ll meet very soon.

Jason commented on a picture I posted on Facebook last week. It was me with my very short haircut, thanks to Ashley at Sport Clips, who will be my only stylist for the near future with the lovely Amber Desario out on maternity leave to take care of her new baby boy. He asked me how far I was from Kansas City, assuming I was back in Russell and not knowing I was a lot closer than he thought.

I told him Saturday morning I was in town and would be available Sunday and Monday (I didn’t want to tell him I had blocked out trivia time Saturday at Buffalo Wild Wings AND Minsky’s LOL). So we made plans to meet last Sunday in Lee’s Summit, an area of Kansas City I don’t usually venture to.

These days, I don’t go east of Interstate 435 often, if at all, save for going to Liberty. About the only times I venture east of 435 and south of the river are when I absolutely have to do something in Independence or Blue Springs, or else I’m blowing past those communities to go to Columbia, St. Louis and outside Missouri.

Jason asked me if we wanted to meet halfway, but I told him no, I was one person vs. seven for him, since he had his wife, Melissa, daughter Olivia and son Carson with him, in addition to three members of Melissa’s family with him. I wasn’t about to make them waste that gas. Since I had nothing to do Sunday, I figured I had all the time in the world to drive from Clay County to the southeast corner of the metro.

Their choice for a late lunch Sunday was Jack Stack barbecue in Lee’s Summit. I ate at the Overland Park location last month and was througoughly impressed. This time, I did not order nearly as much food as July. Burnt ends and potato salad. Delicious.

When we were eating, Jason told me he was taking his family to the Royals game vs. the Cubs the next night. I was planning on going back to Russell Monday, but I decided to go to the game, my first in four years.

I saw tickets were very expensive, and there wasn’t a ticket to be found in section 232, where they were sitting. At that point, I thought seriously about going home Monday and telling them I couldn’t make it, making up a white lie. Later, though, I was able to find a ticket in the same section as them, only one row lower. After purchasing the ticket–$98 plus fees and tax–I felt better and committed to Monday in Kansas City.

I splurged on reserved parking. Good thing I did. It was a much shorter walk in the heat from the car to the stadium, and it really came in handy after the game as you’ll see. I waited the 45 minutes in line for the gates to open, but met a very nice family of Cubs fans to talk to, so the time passed fast.

I originally bought a general parking pass, but I forwarded it to Jason and they used it. Saved them $15 (it cost $12 online).

Jason bought two giant hot dogs and asked me to split them with him. I resisted at first but then changed my mind. After all, he bought the dogs (I bought Melissa and the kids popcorn), so I said why not. The Chicago dog with tomatoes, sport peppers and relish was delicious. I wish Sonic still had them. The Kansas City dog had barbecue brisket and coleslaw, and it was also good. I didn’t even notice the slaw, and I don’t eat slaw.

It rained twice during the game, which the Cubs won 3-1 on the strength of a home run and RBI double by Javier Baez. The contest was delayed for 22 minutes in the top of the fourth; it rained harder in the ninth. However, since there was no lightning during the latter storm, umpire crew chief Joe West, the senior umpire in MLB, decided to let the game conclude, which it did with a 1-2-3 frame by Cubs closer Pedro Strop.

We had to wait out the rain about 15 minutes before we finally left. They drove home yesterday through Arkansas and north Louisiana, while I ventured west on Interstate 70.

What I wouldn’t give to see more of my old friends from Louisiana. Rosemarie and Stacie are near the very top of the list, as are Tiffany Peperone, Janine Koenig and Wendy Wall. Brenda was above all of them, but that was fulfilled in April. So was Dan.

I’m still a bit heartbroken over not seeing Liz and Lisa anymore in Kansas City, but that heartbreak was eclipsed by losing Dawn, who is loving it back in Florida. I don’t blame her. But life is empty without her and the others.

If Peggy and Caitlyn were to exit…oh boy.

FYI, the Cubs won 5-0 last night behind one-time Royals farmhand Mike Montgomery. The series finale is tonight, then the Cardinals come to Kansas City over the weekend.

I’m less than 90 minutes away from my next session with Crista, whose importance to my life outranks everyone I’ve mentioned, short of my own family and Dr. Custer.

Almost 42 going on 10

Someone left comments on three of my previous posts in the wee hours this morning. They’ve since been deleted. The person who posted them couldn’t even reveal his or her full name–not even first name. They just put “A” as their name. Okay then.

One of them took me to task for using foul language. Yes, I admit to that. Too often. I’ve got to do better.

The second said my life was pathetic. I opened myself up for that one because what I put at the top of one of my posts last week. I deleted it, but the damage was done.

The third, however, upset me.

This person said I write like a 10-year old.

I am painfully–very painfully–self-conscious about my autistic disorder. I feel like a teeanager trapped in the body of someone in his 40s. My verbal skills are lacking. My social skills are even worse.

However, I always thought I could write well.

Apparently, someone didn’t think so.

Yes, I should ignore this person. But I’m so hard on myself I can’t right now. Maybe I write like I’m 10, which would put me back in fifth grade. I don’t want to go back there, because fifth grade was one of my worst school experiences.

On the other hand, would a 10-year old go into exquisite detail about something most would find boring?

Boozer

Last night was the first night since Tuesday I did not consume alcohol.

That was not a typo.

Let me repeat: I, David Steinle, consumed alcohol on four consecutive nights.

Four unopened bottles of alcohol–two of Kahlua, one of Absolut and one of Bailey’s–tempted me to try them instead of letting them just sit there.

If you read my last post, I tried Kahlua for the first time Wednesday in my coffee.

The next night, I tried Kahlua and Diet Pepsi, known by some as a Cola Black Russian. The regular Black Russian is vodka and Kahlua. There wasn’t very much booze–just a 45 ml (2 oz) shot of Kahlua in a 700 ml Tervis glass over ice.

Of course I liked it, and there’s another cocktail I can make when I am in the privacy of my house or a hotel room. I still am very loath to drink in public. I am a staunch believer in those commercials which state “you drink, you drive, you lose”.

Two drinks Friday–first a Kahlua and iced coffee, and the second my lone all-alcohol drink, a mudslide.

I broke the seal on the Absolut and the Irish creme, and then I poured them into the cocktail shaker I bought many years ago but have never used. Poured them into a glass and drank. It was a little strong, but that’s what happens when you don’t drink very much. It helped me relax a little, but I wasn’t feel too buzzed.

I poured Bailey’s and Kahlua into an iced coffee Saturday evening after I went out to eat with my parents. I could have ordered a drink with dinner since my dad was driving, but I chose not to. No drinking in public at least for now.

Yesterday, I made a conscious effort not to drink, since I have an appointment with Crista today at 1400. I have not driven since Wednesday, but I’m not complaining. No use being out in this heat.

The Kahlua coffee I bought from Walmart isn’t doing it for me. For some reason, it pales in comparison to the real thing.

I’m excited that I’ll be receiving a shipment of Community Coffee from Louisiana by the end of this week.

Community is the best-selling brand in Louisiana, and it operates numerous coffeehouses in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas. Many from the Big Easy swear by Community and swear at Starbucks. Die-hard Orleanians sneer at those who drink Starbucks, thinking those who do are disloyal to the city.

Some of Community’s flavors sound downright mouth-watering: sugar beignet, king cake, pecan praline…only in New Orleans. Of course I ordered those, plus some of Community’s coffee and chicory, the stuff my mother guzzles but my father won’t touch.  I snuck a scoop of my mother’s coffee and chicory canister while I was at home alone Friday. I added a couple of Sweet and Low packets, and found it to be pretty good.

Robb suggested decaf coffee. Good idea. I’ve got that on order too, and I might just pick up some in Hays today.

I have some Irish creme and hazelnut syrup I’ve been using in my coffee. I made an order for syrup which should be arriving tomorrow. I learned one thing: do NOT mix Irish creme with pop. ICK. It’s just fine with coffee. The hazelnut syrup and pop? YUMMY. I’ve ordered some pineapple syrup for my pop, something I’m craving since I cannot get pineapple in my drinks at Sonic anymore.

I woke up too early this morning. 0300. It might be an early bedtime, but that’s not a bad thing.

KC in the rearview mirror–for now

I am back in Russell. Actually, I’ve been back a little more than 25 hours. I arrived at 1224 North Brooks at 9:05 yesterday morning. I went straight to bed because I did not sleep the night before. I wanted to get home before it got really hot. I did that and I slept most of yesterday.

I would be sleeping a lot today, but I have to go to Hays to see Crista at 2. I need this. REALLY need this.

The days in Kansas City were a total mixed bag.

THE BAD

The hotel in Liberty

If you read my last blog post, you would know I was upset by not being able to turn the thermostat below 65. I lived with it.

If I ever go back there again, I won’t go in the summer, nor will I ask for a larger room, because the air conditioning has a very hard time cooling a large space like that. It was larger than my room in the basement in Russell, and the air conditioning struggled very badly.

Also, the faucet did not flow very much in the guise of trying to conserve water. I am used to a full flow. However, the water was hot.

Even worse, I discovered I left my mouse and trackball for my laptop in the room when I got back to Russell. Using the touchpad is a pain in the butt! I hate it. I am going to Walmart this afternoon to get a mouse. I cannot take it.

The driving and traffic

I learned once again why staying in Platte County and not Clay is much better for me on my visits.

Missouri Highway 152, which connects I-435 and the Zona Rosa area to Liberty, is always a pain in the butt to drive. There are several red lights in Clay County, and if you get stuck at one, it adds time to the drive.

I hate stop and go driving, so I burned the gas and took the Terpsichorean route of I-35 south to I-29 north then back towards Barry Road. At least there are two good convenience store stops on I-35, the QuikTrip at Pleasant Valley Road and the 7-Eleven on Antioch. It may have been longer time wise, but I kept moving.

The drive to the spa was no better. Had to go through downtown, and with I-70 west of Broadway demolished for reconstruction, traffic is that much worse. If i had stayed in Platte County, I could have gone 635 to Metcalf and then Metcalf to 75th to the spa. Live and learn.

THE GOOD

The back wax

Yes it was painful, but Andrea, the lovely lady who took care of me at the salon in Prairie Village, was very patient and very kind. She made me feel much better about it. When I finally got a look at it the next morning, I felt that much better. I have to go back in late July/early August, but now I know what to expect.

I originally wanted to get my chest waxed, but Andrea suggested I hold off, and if I really wanted to do it when I came back later in the summer, she would. But so far, I am very happy with having a hairless back.

Lunch before the back wax

I ate at Joe’s Kansas City BBQ for the first time. Robb has been drooling about the place to me for quite some time, so I decided to give it a shot, since its location at 47th and Mission in south KCK was on the way to the salon.

If the line was out the door, as it is on many days, I would have passed. However, I found a parking spot, and when I walked in, the line was quite short. Therefore, I ordered half a slab of ribs and potato salad.

Best ribs I’ve ever eaten. The meat was so tender it fell right off the bone when I first took a knife to it. Then I discovered I didn’t need the knife due to the tenderness. The sauce at the table, Joe’s original and a spicy brand from Cowtown, added flavor to an already delicious dish.

The potato salad was great. And that’s coming from a guy who hardly eats potato salad.

Joe’s was so awesome I went to the location on Roe Avenue in Leawood following my back wax to pick up some brisket, as well as beans and potato salad. I ate it for breakfast the next two days. It was just that good.

Next time I’m there, I think I’ll fast for a day or two and then pig out on pork, sausage, ham and turkey to get the full experience. I also need to bring back potato salad for my parents. They love that stuff.

Two of my favorite bartenders

I began the trip by visiting Dana Tenpenney at Brewtop. That did me a lot of good. I don’t get to see her enough. Not to mention the food at Brewtop is pretty good.

I ended by visiting Minsky’s. I spent a few hours there, and it was pretty good. Had a great pizza and played lots of trivia to make up for the two months I didn’t.

Lindsay Harris wasn’t there when I first got there. She was running in some sort of extreme 10-kilometer race in Lexington (not the one John Calipari calls home), but she came in at 5. She was glad to see me and told me I had better not go four months without seeing her again.

THE REALLY, REALLY GOOD

No more NBA–at least until October

Had Cleveland won once at home, Game 5 of the NBA Finals would be tonight. Thankfully, the Warriors swept, and now I don’t have to hear about the NBA for a while, at least about games.

The Capitals won!

The Stanley Cup now resides in the capital of the United States of America and not Sin City. That’s a big win in my book. I vomited enough to fill the Missouri River after the Lightning, Hurricanes and Ducks won the Cup in recent years. I was prepared to the same if the Predators won last year and if Vega$ did this year.

Where I wasn’t

It could have been much, much, much worse than Kansas City. I could have been sweating my brains out in Beloit covering the 8-man football all-star doubleheader. I hated those games. Really hated them. And I still do, even though I don’t have to be there. You don’t want to know some of the things I have to say about the coaches who put this on. The kids who are out there are braver than I could ever hope to be.

Hays, I’m on my way. I need you, Crista!

Return to the eastern fronta

After 104 days away, I am back in Kansas City.

I made a huge mistake by booking a room at the new TownePlace Suites in Liberty. The traffic on Missouri Highway 152 is bad enough, but I knew about that going in.

The hotel will not let guests set the air conditioner lower than 65 degrees.

I thought seriously about going down to the front desk and blowing my top, but I haven’t. I did tell them I did not like the fact I couldn’t set my thermostat lower than 65. I understand the idea about conserving energy, but a hotel should be about the comfort of the guests, not saving a few dollars here and there by not allowing guests to set their thermostat to 60 if they want.

I’m going to see if the room is any cooler when I get back this evening. If it isn’t, you can bet that hotel will be on my blacklist.

I don’t like that there is a bathtub and not a stand-up shower, but I can live. I can also live with no fold-out rack for my suitcase.

I’m thinking seriously about going to Target and getting a fan just like the one I bought for my room in Russell last month. It won’t go to waste because I’d use it in the basement.

The good thing about that location is more choices for dining. Zaxby’s isn’t too far and Chick-Fil-A is right across Highway 152. Plus there are grocery stores galore in the area.

Right now I’m at Brewtop in the Shops at Ambassador. I wanted to see Dana Tenpenney, whom I first met five years ago when she was working at Buffalo Wild Wings. Her husband, Ronald Groves, was finishing up lunch when I walked in. Dana is one of the many Buffalo Wild Wings alums I don’t get to see enough of. I had a black and bleu burger which was excellent.

I’m meeting Robb at 4:30 at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m wondering what kind of reception I’ll get there. I have been to Buffalo Wild Wings twice, both in Salina, since my last visit in Kansas City February 18, which was also the last time I saw Dawn.

It has been exactly two months since I’ve played Buzztime trivia. That has to be a record since I became a religious player in May 2013.

The Royals don’t play until 9:05 tonight since they’re in Anaheim. Means Buffalo Wild Wings won’t be so bad. And the NBA Finals are off too. God I hope the Warriors just end this stupid thing in Cleveland. I’ve had enough of LeBron James this, LeBron that, LeBron blah blah blah LeBron blah blah blah blah blah

Bye Baton Rouge…but I’ll be back soon

My stay in Baton Rouge is down to its final two hours, maybe less. My dad and I will depart the Courtyard on Acadian a little before 8:00 and make one last stop in the city to buy crawfish at Tony’s Seafood on Plank Road.

We should be out of Louisiana no later than 1:30. Tonight’s stop is McAlester, Oklahoma. By Tuesday evening, I’ll be back in Russell.

The last few times I have been in Kansas City,  I couldn’t get out fast enough. I knew it was time to head west and didn’t waste any time doing so.

This time, I wish I could stay another week. Maybe another month. I got to see so many people I had not in nearly 13 years, but there are still many I didn’t see and I still want to. Some are no longer living in Baton Rouge (Herb Vincent), and some were too busy to make it out to Alex Box.

I last was in Baton Rouge in 2010, but I saw hardly anyone I knew. This time was much different. It reminded me of the different lives I led before and after Katrina. Not that the life in Kansas is terrible, but I lived longer in Louisiana and knew people for a lot longer. Other than Peggy, there aren’t any in Kansas I knew nearly as long as I knew in Louisiana.

There was a slight misadventure last night. We wanted to eat at Ivar’s, the sports bar where I hung out many a day and night when I went to LSU and lived in Baton Rouge afterwards. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get service and left after a few minutes. We weren’t upset, just a little disappointed.

However, 18 more chargrilled oysters at Acme Oyster House more than made up for it. WAY MORE. I ate 30 chargrilled oysters in the space of 32 hours Saturday and Sunday. I could eat 30 DOZEN if I had the time. They are that good.

LSU won all three games from Tennessee. The first two were not close, 9-3 and 14-5. Yesterday, however, was a different story.

The Volutneers led 4-0 and 7-3, the latter lead holding up until the bottom of the ninth.

However, the Bayou Bengals came all the way back, scoring six times in their last at-bat, the last three coming on a home run by Daniel Cabrera, giving LSU its first three-game series sweep of 2018 and keeping it alive in the SEC title race.

If LSU manages to become a regional host, this game may be the one which put the Tigers over the top. The next two weekends find LSU at South Carolina and Ole Miss before it plays Arkansas May 4-6.

All good things have to end. It’s over this time. However, next time will come far sooner than 2031. Or 2026. Or 2020.

Billy Graham, crazy driving, unstately wrestling

The Reverend Dr. Billy Graham passed away Wednesday at age 99. Graham had been a spiritual adviser to every U.S. president from Harry Truman through Barack Obama, and he was particularly close to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Graham was called “America’s Pastor” by many, and he reportedly preached to live audiences of close to 215 million in 185 countries.

The biggest crusade Graham held in my native Louisiana was in October 1970, when he held court for five nights at LSU’s Tiger Stadium. Close to 200,000 came out to see Graham, many of them from north Louisiana and Mississippi, where he was far more popular than southern Louisiana, which is majority Catholic.

Gee, LSU could let Billy Graham preach in Tiger Stadium for five nights, but it has not allowed Louisiana high schools to play in the stadium since 1966? Come on.

I never watched Graham’s crusades. I’m not a religious zealot to begin with, and I was baptized Catholic, so I naturally was far more interested in what came from John Paul II than anything Graham said. However, it was apparent Graham had a profound impact on tens of millions of Americans, and he has to be considered one of the most influential religious figures in the history of the United States, if not the world.

I was very disgusted to see so many people cheering Graham’s passing. An editor at Teen Vogue posted on Twitter that she hoped Graham “enjoyed his life in hell”. Someone I know said “good riddance” on Facebook.

Sad. Very sad. Nobody is denying these people’s right to disagree with Graham’s teachings. However, keep your vitriol to yourself. Please.

There was quite a bit of nastiness on social media when Benedict XVI unexpectedly resigned in February 2013. I can only imagine, too, what would have been said about John XXIII had social media been around at the time of his papacy. For my non-Catholic friends, John XXIII initiated the Second Vatican Council which led to sweeping changes in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in regards to the liturgy, where Latin was replaced with the local language and the priest faced the congregation instead of facing the sanctuary.

If you want to see just how different the Catholic mass was before the Second Vatican Council, click the link below to watch John F. Kennedy’s requiem mass. It is very fascinating.

JFK funeral mass

Gee, this might be the longest I have ever written on religion.

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I pulled off a daring double dip yesterday, driving to Salina to get my hair cut by Amber at SportClips, then racing back to Hays to make my 2 p.m. appointment with Crista. Not recommended.

I only did that because the weather Tuesday was terrible and the roads were iced over, and I knew they would be that way again today. Therefore, I only had a very small window to accomplish this. Somehow I did it, but I would rather not try it again.

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I am so glad I will not be attending a state wrestling tournament this weekend.

First, it’s dumb Kansas needs three sites to host four tournaments. If Missouri and Nebraska can host four separate state tournaments in one building, why can’t Kansas?

It’s not like Kansas doesn’t have a building in which to do it. Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita would be great. So would the ones in Topeka and Salina. Heck, if the Missouri State High School Activities Association can work with the University of Missouri and the SEC to host its tournament at Mizzou Arena, and the Nebraska School Activities Association can do the same with Creighton and the Big East to use the Century Link Center, why can’t Kansas work something out with the Big 12 and Kansas and/or Kansas State? It would probably have to be K-State, because I doubt KU would want Allen Fieldhouse in use for anything other than the Jayhawks. It’s probably the reason why the Kansas State High School Activities Association hasn’t hosted a state basketball tournament in Lawrence since 1987.

Is it because the tournaments in Missouri and Nebraska are over three days instead of two? So what? It’s better for the athletes that the tournaments are held over three days. Asking these kids to win three bouts in one day, which you have to do on day one in Kansas if you want to make the championship round, is too much. In Missouri and Nebraska, wrestlers have to win one bout on each of the first three days to reach the final, which is in the evening on day three.

If Kansas is that scared of losing instruction time, then hold the third day of the tournament on a Sunday. Or if Sunday is too sacrosanct, then bite the bullet and start the tournament on Thursday like most states do with a three-day format.

Louisiana won’t hold a three-day tournament for some reason. And the wrestlers in the largest division have to win five bouts, not four, to win the championship. This needs to be pointed out, too.

I shouldn’t complain. I’m  not covering this cluster you know what anymore. But I will write letters to the editor in Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka and Salina to voice my opinion like I did with football.

I know nothing will get done. Kansas still insists on determining state golf champions with a one-round tournament instead of two which most states do (some even do three).

I know one place I will not be this weekend: Fort Hays State. And another: the arena in Salina. And another: the arena in Park City.

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Dawn’s last day in Kansas City is tomorrow. Too bad I’m stuck on the prairie. At least I got to see her twice last weekend.

A bit of everything on a February Saturday

I realized something yesterday when I was in Buffalo Wild Wings, something I had forgotten in my post on the opening of the college baseball season.

February 16 is a date which lives in LSU baseball infamy.

It was February 16, 2003 when LSU was swept in a doubleheader at home by….Kansas.

Yes, the same Kansas which is in Lawrence. The same Kansas which is considered a basketball blue-blood. The same Kansas which has a horrible football team right now.

The Jayhawks came to Baton Rouge for a three-game weekend series on the second weekend of the 2003 season. LSU was 4-0 and feeling pretty good about itself, but that good feeling was dampened by a 10-inning loss to Kansas in the series opener.

The second game of the series was rained out, so a doubleheader was scheduled for Sunday.

It was one of the most miserable days I have ever experienced at a sporting event.

It was cold, damp and windy. The old Alex Box Stadium did not have an enclosed press box, and the wind whistled through the “press area” like nobody’s business.

The twinbill started at 9:30 a.m., because the Jayhawks had to make their connecting flight from Baton Rouge to Dallas, and then to Kansas City. No new inning could start after 4 p.m. Yet for some reason, both games were scheduled as nine-inning contests, contrary to the policies of the Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences, which require seven-inning games during conference season when doubleheaders are necessary on Sunday.

That provision is why LSU and Kentucky asked the SEC to play a doubleheader Friday last year in Lexington when rain was forecast for Saturday. Paul Maineri and his Kentucky counterpart, Nick Migione, did not want to play two seven-inning games Sunday. The SEC said okay, and it all worked out.

Kansas ended up winning both games. The second game ended after seven innings due to the curfew. The Jayhawks became the first team to sweep a three-game series in Baton Rouge in three years, the first to sweep a doubleheader from LSU since 1991, and the first to sweep LSU in a doubleheader in Baton Rouge since 1988.

In 2010, Kansas returned to Baton Rouge and won two of three. However, the Bayou Bengals exacted revenge with a sweep in 2016.

Last night, LSU trailed Notre Dame 6-0 going into the bottom of the fifth. However, two home runs, a grand slam by Bryce Jordan and a three-run shot by Josh Smith, lifted the Bayou Bengals to a 7-6 victory.

I texted Bill that I hope every game is not like this. If not, cardiologists might have their hands full in Baton Rouge this baseball season.

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Dawn’s going away soiree at Buffalo Wild Wings last night was fantastic. Had a great turnout, with Jeremy Smith, a former manager at two Buffalo Wild Wings in the area, Zona Rosa and Overland Park north, was there, as were Robb, Victoria, Mike Decker (LOWPOP) and Schylar Reed (SLYCKS). Kevin couldn’t make it because his mother underwent surgery in St. Joseph Thursday. Luckily she pulled through.

Dawn leaves next Saturday. Hopefully we do not lose contact like so many I’ve lost contact with over the years. The five I mentioned in the blog post of December 20 still hurt. So do a lot of my old chums from Arabi Park Middle, even though we communicate on Facebook. The only one I have seen since I left in 1989 is Toni LaRocca, and that was in 2000, when she was working at a Hooter’s in Metairie. She rocked the orange shorts.

Brenda LeBlanc is the one I’m really distressed over, at least among those I knew in Louisiana. She always got back to me in the past whenever I e-mailed her. Now, I haven’t heard from her in almost two years. If I go to Baton Rouge next month, I hope and pray I see her. Maybe I need to light a candle in a church or say the rosary.

I worry about Liz drifting away. She has trouble getting back to me. I don’t want to blame her, but it would be nice to hear from her more often.

Lisa is busy with a new home now and with Liam growing up. Hopefully she and Jeff will be adding to the family soon. Losing her would be tough, too.

I would be devastated if Peggy or Caitlyn exited my life for good. Those are the two I really couldn’t afford to lose.

Actually, it would be worse if I didn’t have Dr. Custer taking care of my health for the most part, Dr. Jones taking care of my vision, and Crista trying to keep me on the right path. All three could choose to be full-time mothers, and while it would hurt, I wouldn’t blame them. I think it’s easier for Dr. Custer since she has boys; the other two have girls, and the mother-daughter bond is usually very strong, as I’ve seen with Peggy and Caitlyn, Chelsea and Courtney.

Yes, I have male friends. Robb, Bill and Dan Borne would be the ones I would cry over losing. I’m not as close to Michael and Herb, but I would be upset if they cut me off, too.

Maybe I hold on to things too long. Then again, my memory can be a good thing.

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I have never understood why restaurant customers in Kansas City order barbecue flavored wings.

Kansas City is home to some of the best barbecue in the world, according to many. I am not a big barbecue fan, but I have had some good stuff from Arthur Bryant’s, Gates and Jack Stack.

If there are so many good and authentic barbecue joints in Kansas City, then why the heck are people going to Buffalo Wild Wings and ordering honey barbecue? I’m dumbfounded. But it’s their decision.

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Many states are holding their high school wrestling state championship tournaments this weekend. Missouri’s is at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Nebraska’s is at the Century Link Center in Omaha (across the street from TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series), and Louisiana’s is at the Century Link Center in Bossier City, across the Red River from Shreveport in the northwest corner of the state.

Don’t get me started on the debate on where to hold Louisiana’s state tournament. When I lived there, it was at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, at the northwest edge of Jefferson Parish. Most schools in Louisiana which wrestle are south of US Highway 190, but apparently Shreveport and Bossier City offered inducements to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to move the tournament north.

Brother Martin, my alma mater, is on its way to the state championship of Division I. There are three divisions for wrestling in Louisiana, one fewer than Kansas and Missouri.

My problem with Louisiana’s tournament is it is compressed into two days. Worse, in Division I, many wrestlers will have to win five bouts to claim a state championship. To ask them to do so in about 36 hours is too much.

Missouri and Nebraska hold three-day tournaments. Why can’t Louisiana?

Kansas’ state tournaments are at three sites next Friday and Saturday. Three sites is two too many.

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So far, so good on my Lenten promise of not swearing. I just have to keep it up until the end of March, then hopefully continue after that.

Humanity run amok

More details continue to emerge from the tragic school shooting in Broward County, Florida. And so does the rhetoric on both sides from people who want to blame the “gun culture” of the United States and others who want to blame the mental health industry and say the shooter was mentally unstable.

I’m not wading into that pool. I know many people on both sides of the debate. Robb has posted plenty on Facebook in the last 24 hours from the left-wing point of view. I’m not responding. I’ll let him rant.

The same goes for a lot of people on the right. It’s not worth it. I thought about listening to the talking heads as I drove to Kansas City today, but I instead opted for sports talk.

The main topic on WHB was Kansas State basketball, since the Wildcats won 82-72 at Oklahoma State last night. The host, Soren Petro, made the case that if K-State can finish 11-7 or 12-6 in the Big 12, some fans who have called for Bruce Weber’s firing will begin to embrace him.

Mikaela Shiffrin, the American skier, won gold in the giant slalom last night (Thursday in South Korea), and when the news shows are not discussing the school shooting, they’re discussing Shiffrin and whatever else is going on in Pyeongchang. The Olympics are on one of the big screens at Buffalo Wild Wings, but I’m not really watching. I’ll look up from time to time, but I’m in my own zone with trivia and blogging.

Back to the school shooting. It is hard to fathom people are that deranged they want to end the lives of others. These people may be human beings, but the elephants I saw at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans have more common sense and humanity than people like the school shooter in Florida, the one at Virginia Tech, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold from Columbine, and Ted Bundy.

As bad as the killer in south Florida is, he pales in comparison to Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the September 11 hijackings; their supreme leader, Osama bin Laden; and of course, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and the three leaders of North Korea.

I’m glad I don’t have children. I would not want them growing up in such a dangerous world, one where people who don’t get their way will take it out on others, simply because they are miserable sacks of fecal matter who can’t stand someone else’s success.

I worry about my nephew, Lucas, who turns two in March, nor for Peggy’s grandchildren, Finley and Seth. I don’t have much hope for humanity. I hope it gets better. The old saying goes you want the younger generation to have it better than you? Well, that’s not going to be the case if things don’t change.

Mardi Gras: why did I bother?

It’s just another Tuesday in most of the United States. Most high school basketball teams in Kansas are in action tonight, although Russell High is not one of them. Norton is back on the court tonight vs. Hoxie, and I’m making the 120-mile trek to see Peggy. It means a late night, but I don’t have much work to get done tomorrow morning, so it won’t really put me behind.

In south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast all the way to the Florida panhandle, it is Mardi Gras, the day where people dress in silly costumes and celebrate the last day before Lent, the 40-day period where Christians are supposed to repent for their sins and make sacrifices. It also means no meat tomorrow, nor for the next eight Fridays. It used to be Catholics had to abastain from meat EVERY Friday, but starting in 1967, meat was supposedly okay on most Fridays, especially in the United States and Canada. Some more traditionalist countries still require abstience from meat every Friday, including Ireland and Great Britain.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is two big attractions in the same city.

One is the French Quarter, where hundreds of thousands of strangers from across the world rub elbows–and many more body parts–getting drunk and having a good time. Pretty much anything goes in the Quater during Carnvial, except complete nudity, sexual acts, and violent crime. The police know they’re not going to get anywhere by arresting every woman who flashes her bare breasts, becuase they would make enough arrests to fill every jail in Louisiana, not just New Orleans. I have never understood why women would show their breasts for plastic beads which cost four cents per pair at the Mardi Gras supply store.

The other main attraction are the parades, where the laws apply and are strictly enforce. Don’t try flashing on St. Charles Avenue; if you do, you’ll have free accomodations in the New Orleans lockup. Parades are supposed to be family friendly, with ornate floats decorated around a central theme, marching bands and other groups which are common sights to those who have been to the pagents more than a few times.

I went to many parades during my formative years. Now that I’ve been gone from Louisiana for 12 1/2 years, I look back and wonder what the fuss was all about.

There used to be several parades in St. Bernard Parish (county), the suburban area east of New Orleans where I grew up. I marched in a few of those parades when I was with the Arabi Park Middle School band in the sixth and seventh grades. The worst was marching in one on a Tuesday night, not getting home until after midnight, then having to go to school in the morning. There were also a couple of parades where the temperatures were below freezing, and that was pure misery. In warmer weather, the band uniforms were tortuously hot. I’m glad I got out of marching band in high school, because I would have hated to have to sit in the bleachers at football games in those hot things.

My parents, brother and I used to go to all of the parades in St. Bernard. There was a parade on Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Arabi, named after the westernmost community in the parish, the one where I grew up. Every Fat Tuesday, the four of us would park in an open lot at the corner of Judge Perez Drive and Rowley Boulevard, and we could wait in the car until the parade passed by. When the parade was ready to come by, we walked to the median (called the neutral ground in New Orleans0 and watched the floats and bands passed. We always ate Popeye’s fried chicken, fitting since the first Popeye’s opened in 1972 at the corner of Judge Perez and Rowley.

The last Krewe of Arabi parade was in 1987. In 1988, we started going to the Krewe of Argus parade in Metairie, the largest community in Jefferson Parish, west of the city. Finally, in 1991, we went to the big kahuna, the Krewe of Rex, who is known in the city as the King of Carnival.

My parents were not keen on us going to parades in New Orleans proper. There was much crime on the parade routes, especially at night, and they had seen it first hand in their early days of marriage. We went to Mid-City from 1986 through ’91, but that was a daytime parade in an area of the city which was nowhere near as dangerous as some areas of St. Charles.

We went to the Krewe of Ednymion, one of the so-called “Super Krewes”, for three years in the early 1990s. The first two years, we stood on Canal Street in the same place we held for Mid-City, then shifted to Orleans Avenue near the start of the parade in 1992. In 1993, my dad and I alone went to Poydras and St. Charles to see Endymion, but we left before the first float arrived.

In 1994, Endymion was the first parade I went to alone. I saw a few of my adult friends at a tavern near the start of the parade route, and that is where I had my first taste of alchol, not counting communion wine.

Ray Maher had the bartender at the Parkway Tavern slip bourbon into my Coca-Cola. I tasted something funny right away, and I immediately washed it out. Ray and the older guys hooted and hollered about that one and reminded me of it for the next 11 years. I am grinning about it right now, but 24 years ago, it had me a little concerned.

Ray and several of my adult friends in New Orleans are members of the Krewe of Thoth, which has the longest route of any Mardi Gras parade.

Thoth starts much farther west than most parades that roll along St. Charles Avenue. It starts at the corner of Tchoupitoulas (CHOP-i-TOO-las) and State Streets by the Missisippi River and goes north on Henry Clay to Magazine, and then to Napoleon, where it follows the route taken by Bacchus and most other Uptown parades (not Rex, which starts at the corner of South Claiborne and Napoleon to head south towards St. Charles). The Thoth route takes in numerous hostpitals for people with special needs, and Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s elite pediatric faciltiies.

I atteneded Thoth in ’92 and ’93 with my dad, then ’94 alone. The good thing about Thoth’s starting potnt was there was plenty of parking at the Audubon Zoo, which was not that far of a walk to Henry Clay Avenue. In those days, the parade started at the corner of Henry Clay and Magazine and headed south towards Tchoupitoulas, so I would go down Henry Clay and see eveyrone I knew before the parade started.

Every time I was at Thoth, I was bombarded with beads, doubloons and cups. There was a scramble among other parade goers for the trinkets. Looking back, I should have let them have most of it.

The 1994 Thoth parade is the last one I ever attended. Two days later, Mardi Gras came and went with me sitting at home. By Mardi Gras 1995, my life was in total turmoil, and I was seriously considering the end. I had a terrible go of it at LSU that year, and I wondered if life was worth living. However, most of it was self-inflicted.

If I ever returned to New Orleans, Thoth would be the ONLY parade I would consider attending. And even then, it would be only 50/50.

Bacchus and Endymion, the parades which feature celebrity guests, are too big for my taste. I can only remmeber John Goodman and Chicago appearing in Endymion one year. I can’t tell you who was there in the other years. This year, Rod Stewart rode in Endymion with former Saints player Steve Gleason and current player Alvin Kamara. J.K. Simmons was King of Bacchus.

Sorry, I don’t need to see celebrities in person to feel my life has meaning. I got my fill in July 1992 when I happened to see Bill Clinton and Al Gore jogging in downtown St. Louis during their campaign.

During the rest of my years in Louisiana, I often had sporting events to keep my mind away from Mardi Gras, whether it be LSU baseball games or high school events. When Mardi Gras fell late in the calendar (late February or early March), it happened to be on a day when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association scheduled basketball playoff games. The LHSAA would grant south Louisiana schools the option to play the game Monday or Wednesday of that week, but in north Louisiana, the games went on as scheduled, and many south Louisiana schools had to give up Mardi Gras to drive four to five hours for a game, then make the long return trip. Fortunately, the players and coaches could sleep in because there was no school on Ash Wednesday.

Sadly, the Mistick Krewe of Comus, traditionally the last parade of Mardi Gras, has not held a parade since 1991, due to a boneheaded ordinance by the late Dorothy Mae Taylor, who insisted all krewes must prove to the city that they do not discriminate based upon race or religious orientation.

Comus and two-other old-line krewes, Momus and Proteus, quit parading, although Proteus returned in 2000 after a seven-year hiatus.

Most of Comus’ members–all male, all white, all Protestant–are also members of the Pickwick Club, one of the world’s most exclusive private clubs. How exclusive? Drew Brees can’t get in after winning a Super Bowl, simply because he’s a native of Texas. Warren Buffett? Nope. Bill Gates? Nope. Donald Trump? Nada.

Rex’s members are members of the secretive Boston Club. Until the ordinance, Rex was also all WASP, but now the krewe admits blacks, Catholics and Jewish men. The original ordinance would have forced krewes who wanted to parade to be coed, but that was removed to allow the all-male and all-female krewes, which are most, to parade as long as their racial barriers came down.

Not that I care. I wouldn’t want to waste my time and money with it anyway.

Zulu has been rolling for over two hours now, and Rex for over an hour. Yippee. It’s just another day for me.