Category Archives: Personal

Severely tarnished silver anniversary

I was hoping to be headed east on Interstate 70 back to Russell by now.

Instead, I’m marooned at the Golden Q. Cassidy and Jocelyn are lovely to look at and there are a couple of pretty ladies at a table to my right, so it’s not bad.

Three inches of rain drenched Hays between 1830 and 2030. Ash Street, which runs in front of the Golden Q, is under ankle-deep water. The water is above the bottom of my Buick’s tires. I could use a pirogue. I would say New Orleans’ pumps would come in handy right now, but given the problems my native city has had with its pumping stations, I doubt it would help.

I was hoping to leave early tomorrow for Wichita. I have to pick up an Amazon order at the locker in front of QuikTrip at Central and Oliver, buy some more bleu cheese from Dillon’s on Central at Rock, and get my car cleaned of the bugs on the windshield. Since this isn’t time sensitive, I can sleep in and leave later. I’ll probably stay overnight now, either in Wichita or Hutchinson.

I have not watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High today. It was released 13 August 1982 and launched the careers of three of Hollywood’s most recognizable names: Sean Penn (Jeff Spicoli), Judge Reinhold (Brad Hamilton) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Stacy Hamilton). Phoebe Cates, who played the promiscuous Linda Barrett, has largely withdrawn from the public eye since marrying Kevin Kline in 1989 to raise her children.

Bravo Phoebe. As much as I’d love to see you on the screen, you’re doing much better without the limelight.

As for Ms. Lehigh (born Jennifer Leigh Morrow), she’ll be returning for season 3 of Atypcial on Netflix next month, the comedy-drama about the struggles of raising a son on the autistic spectrum. Leigh (Elsa Gardner), Keir Gilchrist (Sam Gardner, the “Atypical” young man), Michael Rapaport (Doug Gardner), Brigette Lundy-Payne (Casey Gardner), Amy Okuda (Dr. Jennifer Sasaki) and Jenna Boyd (Paige Haradway, Sam’s first girlfriend) are all first-rate. The one character I cannot stand is Sam’s best friend, the lecherous Zahid, portrayed by Nik Dodani. Along with Last Chance U, it’s my favorite show on Netflix.

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Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of one of sports’ blackest days, as well as the day my life was altered for better or worse.

The black day was the beginning of the Major League Baseball players’ strike. The players walked out due to constant threats by owners to implement a salary cap. The NBA adopted a salary cap for the 1983-84 season, the NFL adopted one starting in 1994, and the NHL would follow suit a decade later after it cancelled the entire 2004-05 season with a lockout.

Thirty-three days after the strike began, Brewers owner Bud Selig, the chairman of the owner’s council and acting commissioner (Fay Vincent was fired by the owners in September 1992 for appearing to be too friendly towards the players), announced the entire 1994 postseason would be cancelled. It was the first time since 1904 there would be no Fall Classic.

The strike finally ended on 2 April 1995 when U.S. District Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor–the same Sonia Sotomayor who now sits on the Supreme Court of the United States–ordered the players back to work under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement which expired 31 December 1993.

Baseball after the strike was disastrous.

Hundreds of players became addicted to steroids. Home run totals went through the roof, with Mark McGwire hitting 70 in 1998, four more than Sammy Sosa. Both later admitted to taking steroids. Barry Bonds, who hit 73 home runs in 2001, also cheated, but he lied about it and would not be man enough to admit it. To me, Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961 is still the legitimate record.

It took the new CBA in August 2002 to finally bring the juicers under control. Sadly, it looks like steroids are back, given another round of ridiculous home run numbers.

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A few hours after the last out of the 1994 MLB season was recorded in Oakland, my life changed, thanks to the introduction of three new people into my sphere.

12 August 1994 was LSU football media day. The media covering the Bayou Bengals at the time were looking forward to it as much as they would an IRS audit or a trip to the dentist to fill a cavity.

Hudson “Curley” Hallman was entering his fourth season as the leader of the woebegone LSU football program. In his three previous seasons, Hallman compiled a dreadful 12-21 record, including a 2-9 mark in 1992, the worst ever by an LSU team.

It appeared to get worse in 1993, when LSU started 2-5, including a 58-3 embarrassment by Florida in Tiger Stadium, a game also witnessed by millions on ESPN in an era when having a game televised at 1830 was an honor, not a routine occurrence.

Had a sane man been in charge of the LSU athletic department, Hallman would have been fired within 48 hours of the Bayou Bengals’ 35-17 loss at Kentucky one week after the Florida debacle.

Sadly, Robert Joseph (Joe) Dean was LSU’s athletic director.

Joe Dean was a great basketball player for LSU, where he teamed with Bob Pettit to help the Bayou Bengals reach the Final Four in 1953, LSU’s last trip to the NCAA tournament until 1979. In case you don’t know, Pete Maravich had only one winning season in three years on the LSU varsity, and since the NCAA took only one school per conference to the big dance prior to 1975, the Bayou Bengals had to content themselves with a trip to the 1970 NIT.

Dean was also a tremendous color analyst on basketball broadcasts for over two decades. His trademark phrase “strrrrinnnng music” was repeated by tens of thousands of teenaged boys who one day dreamed of playing for Kentucky, LSU or any other SEC school.

In 1987, Dean was hired to clean up the mess in LSU’s athletic department. LSU hemorrhaged red ink in the early 1980s under the mismanagement of Paul Dietzel, the man who coached LSU to the football national championship in 1958 and groomed his successor, Charles McClendon (Cholly Mac), who led the Bayou Bengals to a 137-59-7 record from 1962-79.

Dietzel was fired by the LSU Board of Supervisors in February 1982 and succeeded by Bob Brodhead, the one-time general manager of the Houston Oilers, and later the business manager of the Miami Dolphins. Brodhead got LSU back on sound financial footing and made several tremendous coaching hires, including Skip Bertman, Sue Gunter and Bill Arnsparger.

Brodhead, however, ran afoul of the NCAA and men’s basketball coach Dale Brown, who led LSU to the Final Four in 1981 and ’86. Brodhead was convicted in April 1986 of wiretapping and sent to federal prison.

Dean inherited new football coach Mike Archer, who went 10-1-1 in 1987 and 8-4 in ’88 , largely with players he inherited from Arnsparger, who was 26-8-2 from 1984-86. When Archer had to play with his own recruits, LSU went down the toilet, going 4-7 in 1989 and 5-6 in ’90.

Dean fired Archer with two games remaining in the 1990 season. His coaching search began and ended in Hattiesburg, where Hallman led Southern Mississippi to a 23-11 record over three seasons and several huge upsets (Florida State, Alabama, Auburn), all away from Hattiesburg.

Actually, Hallman would never haver sniffed 23-11 had not been left a present by his predecessor, Jim Carmody.

That present was an unknown kid from Kiln, 70 miles south of Hattiesburg.

His name: Brett Favre. If you don’t know Favre’s story, stop living like a hermit crab.

Hallman was clearly out of his league in the SEC in 1991, ’92 and ’93. Not only did he come up woefully short against Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee and Texas A&M, his LSU teams lost twice each to mediocre teams from Kentucky and Arkansas, was shut out 32-0 by middling Ole Miss, and was humiliated 17-14 at home by a Colorado State team which went 3-9, leading to the firing of Earle Bruce and the hiring of Sonny Lubick.

Nobody should have felt sorry for Hallman, because many of his problems were self-inflicted.

First, he completely closed practice to all media. However, people who provided players with summer jobs were provided unfettered access to practice. Watching football practice bores me to tears sometimes, but the good men who were covering LSU regularly in 1994–Scott Rabalais, Dave Moormann and Sam King (The Advocate), John Reid (Times-Picayune) and Scooter Hobbs (Lake Charles American-Press), not to mention television and radio stations–deserved to have more access than a locked gate. If he had opened practice, maybe those covering the team would have been in his corner and been able to report credibly the team was improving despite the record. With no practice access, the reporters could only go off of what they saw on Saturdays.

Second, his brutally physical practices left the team drained. He basically took the model he was subject to when he played for Bear Bryant disciple Gene Stallings at Texas A&M in the late 1960s and copied it to the letter. Hallman held two-a-days from the start of camp until the start of classes. Actually, he didn’t; sometimes Hallman used THREE-A-DAYS. Yikes. And many of those two-a-days were in full pads. It took LSU firing Hallman and Gerry DiNardo to find a coach who knew having all of those practices in full gear was silly. I wonder how that Nick Saban fellow is doing.

Third, Hallman hired the worst assistants. Period. Of all of his assistants, I would rate only Phil Bennett, George Haffner and Larry Zierlein worthy of being part of a Power Five staff. Maybe Lynn Amedee had been at one time or another, but his two years under Hallman were a complete waste.

Bennett was the only reason Hallman wasn’t totally screwed. The Texas A&M alum was articulate. He could relate to players. He wasn’t afraid to try new things. He always said the right thing to the media. Today, most head coaches don’t allow assistants to talk to the media. Hallman would have been better off shutting up and letting Bennett do all the talking.

Bennett was the defensive coordinator in 1994 when LSU led the SEC in total defense. It’s too bad his only head coaching gig at SMU didn’t turn out well. He certainly deserved much better.

Haffner was Georgia’s offensive coordinator when Herschel Walker ran roughshod over the SEC, but he had zero talent at LSU. Hallman made Haffner the scapegoat for the 1992 season by firing him and hiring Amedee.

Zierlein was a solid offensive line coach and had professional experience in the World League of American Football. His arrival in 1993 helped Kevin Mawae immeasurably before he embarked on a Hall of Fame NFL Career.

As for Hallman’s other assistants.:

  • Thielen Smith was a standout for McClendon in the mid-1970s. Too bad Hallman scapegoated him, too, after 1992.
  • Mike Bugar was not cut out to be a defensive coordinator in the SEC. He may have done a fine job in Hattiesburg, but matching wits with Steve Spurrier and Phillip Fulmer was a recipe for disaster in Baton Rouge. Bugar mercifully left for Baylor after the 1993 season.
  • Pete Fredenburg, who was basically traded for Bugar for 1994 and coached the defensive tackles, was the victim of timing. He came one year too early, because Anthony “Booger” McFarland came along in 1995.
  • Lee Fobbs, who coached the defensive ends in 1994, was hired by Hallman to help with recruiting New Orleans, specifically the Catholic League, where his son, Jamaal, was a standout running back for St. Augustine. One year wasn’t enough to evaluate.
  • Buddy King, who was Zierlein’s predecessor, had Mawae and little else on the offensive line. He jumped at the chance to join Danny Ford in Arkansas in early 1993.
  • Then we have the three stooges. In what universe did Larry Edmonson, Rick Villareal and Steve Buckley qualify to coach in the SEC, other than being with Hallman in Hattiesburg? Buckley never even played college football. He was a cheerleader at USM! At least Edmonson played at Texas A&M.
  • The strength and conditioning program was a flat-out joke under Chris Seroka. I wish Seroka could come back to LSU so Tommy Moffitt could kick him in the nuts and show him what real strength and conditioning is.
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  • Back to 12 August 1994.
  • I was asked by Herb Vincent, LSU’s associate athletic director for media relations, to come to Baton Rouge that day to help with football media day. I had yet to attend classes, and I could not move into the dorm until 21 August (more on that next Wednesday).
  • I met Herb in July 1993 on a visit to campus. I hoped he would have a position available as a student worker in his office, and in June 1994, he gave me the good news.
  • My dad and I drove to Baton Rouge on a Friday morning. I drove up in casual clothes, but I brought dress clothes just in case. I needed them.

    Shortly after arriving in the office, I met the other student assistants: Corey Walsh, Adam Young and Shelby Holmes. Walsh, a Texan, and Young, an Alexandria native, had worked in the sports information office as students for three years, while Holms, who went to McKinley High, less than two miles north of the campus, was entering his second year working with Herb.

    Next up, I met Kent Lowe, whom I knew as LSU’s men’s basketball publicity director, having seen his name in Bruce Hunter’s book about the 1988-89 team, Don’t Count Me Out. I also recognized his face, since he was the statistician for LSU football radio broadcasts in 1992 and ’93; his picture was in the game programs with Jim Hawthorne, Doug Moreau, spotter Patrick Wright (also the voice of LSU women’s basketball) and Tom Stevens, the network engineer who tragically passed away in the Tiger Stadium press box prior to LSU’s 2000 game vs. Kentucky.

    About 20 minutes after meeting Kent, Bill Franques came into the office. I heard Bill’s voice plenty from LSU baseball broadcasts, both as the public address announcer for home games and Hawthorne’s color analyst for road games.

    Little did I know William Paul Franques would hold such a position of importance in my life. There are days I wish I could go back to that morning and call Herb to tell him I would be turning down his offer to work in the athletic department. Lord knows what I’ve done to Bill over the years. I wake up some nights in a very cold sweat thinking about it.

    After Hallman, Amedee and Bennett met the media in LSU’s athletic administration building, the media moved to the Carl Maddox Fieldhouse for player interviews.

    It was there I met another man who became entangled in my weird world.

    It took three-tenths of a second after shaking hands with Dan Borne to realize I had heard his voice plenty as the public address announcer for LSU football and men’s basketball games.

    Standing next to Dan was one of my new colleagues in Herb’s office.

    Rebecca Borne was three months removed from graduating as the valedictorian of the St. Joseph’s Academy Class of 1994. She scored 34 out of a possible 36 on the ACT test. The only reason she was at LSU and not Yale or Harvard was because of her dad.

    I don’t know why the hell Dan still wants to call me a friend. Lord knows I hurt Rebecca, his wife Lisette, his other daughter Elizabeth, and (to a lesser extent), sons Jason and David, more than one human should be allowed to hurt another human.

    Rebecca hasn’t talked to me since 2002. She hates me. And I hate myself even more for the hurt I caused her. She made it to New Haven, graduating from Yale Law School in 2006 and starting a family in Connecticut.

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    LSU was 2-7 when Dean fired Hallman on 15 November 1994. Hallman had the class to finish the season, and the Bayou Bengals defeated Tulane and Arkansas.

    I’m sorry, but I’m about to cry. This is painful.

    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.

    Goodbye July (until next time)

    I’ve slept only 9 1/2 hours the previous two nights, yet I feel nowhere near as groggy as I have the previous few nights in Russell. Is it the CPAP mask? Or has it been a better bed in the hotels in Salina and Kansas City? I hope it keeps up the rest of the trip and when I get back to Russell Sunday.

    Last night in front of the Hy-Vee on 64th Street near Interstate 29, I saw a woman holding a sign saying she is sleeping in her car. I often wonder if they’re telling the truth or not. If they are telling the truth, I wish I had more money to help them. If they are lying, then I have nothing but scorn.

    It rained hard this morning. I had to get out due to an 0900 appointment. The sun is back out now, but more rain is heading to Kansas City. Not that I mind. As long as it’s dry Sunday for the ride west.

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    Peggy is in New York City with family (not her children). Her birthday was Monday, and last night, she posted pictures of herself all over social media attending a performance of Hamilton. That’s out of character for her, but I’m glad she’s enjoying herself. She deserves it.

    I have no desire to visit New York City. I’m not into Broadway plays, and I am certainly not into places where people are packed in like sardines. The farthest east I’ve been is the Baltimore-Washington airport, and I’m not keen on visiting either city. There is so much history in Washington, but between the crowds and security, I don’t see where it’s worth it. I would love to live in Maine, but southern New England, NYC and New Jersey? Heck no. Philadelphia? Maybe to see Independence Hall, but that’s it.

    I have been to Pittsburgh. PNC Park, where the Pirates have played since 2001, is gorgeous. I didn’t go inside Heinz Field, but it’s nice from the outside. I would like to see the Pocono Raceway in northeast Pennsylvania. I’m not a big NASCAR fan, but the track’s triangular shape makes it one of the three most fascinating in stock car racing. The others are the road courses, Sonoma in California and Watkins Glen in upstate New York. Most of the others, not counting the restrictor plate tracks (Daytona and Talladega), don’t have much to differentiate themselves.

    Dallas and Houston were more than big enough for me, thank you. At least in the Texas cities, Los Angeles and Chicago, you can drive places. New York doesn’t allow for it, at least in all of Manhattan and The Bronx, and most of Brooklyn and Queens. Staten Island would be the only borough I could stomach. I don’t think I’d make it on the Subway. Besides, it’s dangerous.

    I used to get very jealous of Peggy and her family going on vacations, and others posting pictures from their vacations. But I finally asked myself why, because many of the activities are not things I enjoy.

    Going to the beach is very, very, very low on my bucket list, if it even makes the bucket list. I can think of thousands of places I would rather be than a beach in the hot sun. I burn easily in the sun, I don’t swim, and I can’t build a sand castle or anything else to save my life. My family took a trip in 1984 to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but I hardly remember anything about it because there was nothing to remember.

    When people post pictures of trips to Walt Disney World, especially in the spring, summer and early fall, I scratch my head. Way too hot and humid. I lived in a sauna for 29 years. I now live in an oven, which is slightly more tolerable. If I HAD to go to a Disney park, it would be the one in Anaheim. I would take the risk of dying in an earthquake.

    The day I want to stand in line for two to three hours for a ride or exhibit is the day I need to exit this planet. To do so with screaming children? Those who do so are either brave or foolish. I won’t say which. My brother and sister-in-law took their honeymoon to Orlando at Thanksgiving 2013 without my then 13-year old niece. They were smart. I hope they do not go back with her and my now 3 1/2-year old nephew.

    Besides, I hated my trip to Orlando in 1985. Hated it. Bad hotels, a terrible meal in a truck stop in the Florida panhandle, a blown tire on Interstate 75 in Gainesville, plus all the lines, not to mention we’d be back in school the day after getting home. I advise STRONGLY against vacations during the school year unless it’s during the Christmas/New Year’s period.

    Going to the lake? I live close to Wilson Lake, and I’ve been once because I was forced to cover a fishing tournament. I loathed it. Again, not interested in lying out in the sun. Also, if I never went to a lake in Louisiana, why would that change?

    Peggy’s family goes skiing a lot. I wish I grew up in a colder climate, but it wasn’t to be. I’m too clumsy to ski.

    Besides, those things are not meant for a single person with absolutely zero prospects of changing that. I would not want to go on a tour with a bunch of strangers. It would be very hard in many ways; having to follow the group would be worse to me than not knowing anyone.

    Like Neil Diamond crooned, I’m a Solitary Man.

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    Nick Buoniconti, the great middle linebacker on the Dolphins’ Super Bowl championship teams in 1972 and ’73, passed away this morning at 78. He played for seven seasons with the Boston Patriots, who released him after the 1969 season. Don Shula, hired by Miami in February 1970, immediately signed him. Buoniconti became the heart of the “No-Name Defense” which also included standouts like Manny Fernandez, Bill Stanfill, Jake Scott and Dick Anderson.

    Buniconti retired after the 1976 season, the year before the Dolphins drafted Bob Baumhower and A.J. Duhe, who became the leaders of the “Killer B’s” who led the Dolphins to Super Bowl XVII, where they lost to John Riggins and the Redskins.

    Buoniconti has a connection to Kansas City, both on and off the field.

    On the field, Buoniconti had one of his greatest games in the famous double overtime playoff game on Christmas Day 1971, making 20 tackles.

    Three weeks later, Buoniconti had a game to forget in Super Bowl VI. The Cowboys confused Buoniconti to no end with misdirection, rushing for 252 yards, a Super Bowl record which still stands. Buoniconti was popped time after time by Dallas guards John Niland and Blaine Nye, and center Dave Manders. The Miami star suffered a concussion and was in a fog in the locker room, one of the many disappointments for the Dolphins that day. The good news was they didn’t lose a game which counted for 20 months thereafter.

    Duane Thomas, who rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 24-3 rout, was originally voted the game’s Most Valuable Player. However, the NFL caught wind of this and demanded the writers vote again. This time, Roger Staubach won. The league did not want the award going to the surly Thomas, who ignored reporters the entire season and clashed incessantly with Tom Landry and Tex Schramm.

    Buoniconti redeemed himself the next two Super Bowls.

    In Super Bowl VII, his interception on an underthrown Billy Kilmer pass led to the Dolphins’ second touchdown, and it was enough to defeat the Redskins 14-7 and complete Miami’s 17-0 season. Scott was the game’s MVP and Fernandez made 17 tackles.

    Buoniconti’s jarring hit on Viking runner Oscar Reed in Super Bowl VIII on fourth and one from the Miami 6-yard line forced a fumble which Scott recovered. Minnesota, trailing 17-0 late in the first half when the play occurred, had very little hope of winning at that point. After Reed’s fumble, all hope evaporated. Miami won 24-7 in maybe the most lopsided Super Bowl, at least as matchups go, since the game began in January 1967.

    Buoniconti was not elected to the Hall of Fame by the Professional Football Writers Association, earning enshrinement in 2001 thanks to the seniors committee. He waited 19 years (he was first eligible in 1982) after his playing career ended to get in. Too long, but nowhere near as bad as the 44 endured by legendary Packers guard Jerry Kramer. That Kramer wasn’t inducted in the 1970s is a travesty. Only two of Lombardi’s Packers were elected on the first ballot: Forrest Gregg and Bart Starr, both in 1977,

    Following his retirement, Buoniconti and ex-Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson were selected by the five-year old Home Box Office network to host a new weekly NFL highlights show.

    Inside the NFL became appointment television for football fans for the next 25 seasons largely due to the banter between Len and Nick, and later Cris Collinsworth. My parents recorded the show when we couldn’t watch it live; from 1982-86, that was a Betamax machine which cost $800 at Christmas 1986. I wish we still had it.

    HBO inexplicably fired Len and Nick in early 2002. We watched for a little while longer with Cris and Dan Marino leading thee way, but quit soon thereafter. My parents and I ignore it now. I can’t stand Warren Sapp in particular.

    In addition to his playing and broadcasting careers, Buoniconti was an advocate developing a cure for paralysis, a cause which he unfortunately had too much experience with.

    Nick’s son, Marc, played football for The Citadel until he was rendered a quadriplegic while making a tackle vs. East Tennessee State in October 1985. For the past 33 years, Nick raised tens of millions dollars for the Mark Buoniconti Project, which funds research for a cure for paralysis.

    Nick struggled with dementia in the last years of his life, and it’s likely he had CTE, which has afflicted thousands of football players at all levels. Buoniconti is donating his brain to the CTE project for research.

    Sadly, the Dolphins have lost two of their greats from the championship teams in 2019. Guard Bob Kuechenberg, who also started in Super Bowl XVII, passed away in January.

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    I’m playing Michael McDonald and the Doobie Brothers at Buffalo Wild Wings. The infamous Michael McDonald look-alike, Bill, who smokes like a chimney and chugs beer like a frat boy, is here. Ugh.

    Another novella completed.

    Kansas City (low) lights

    The Kansas City morass is over for now. I got the hell out of dodge yesterday at 1040. It was past time.

    Monday was nothing but boredom. Eight hours at Buffalo Wild Wings with not talking to anyone and nobody else playing trivia. Everyone I knew who works there wanted Monday off because two employees had their wedding reception Sunday night–40 days after the ceremony and 1,100 miles from where it took place. . One bartender was bitching he was up until 0400 Monday then had to come into work at 0730.

    Well, dumbass, there’s no reason to be up until 0400 unless you have to be. I don’t feel the least bit sorry for you.

    I am done with weddings, unless Caitlyn invites me to hers, which I doubt. I’m not getting married, and I don’t want to go to anyone else’s.

    Between not seeing anyone I knew, whether it be employees at B-Dubs or fellow trivia players, and the heat, it was a waste. I didn’t make it to Columbia. Then the trunk of my car was splattered by a bird Monday night. I sat in way too much traffic.

    Tuesday morning, I woke up and found a message in my Twitter DM box from Peggy. She wondered if I was still in Kansas City, because she wanted to meet me in Russell on her way to Miami County, where she was going to spend the holiday weekend with Courtney and Andy, their kids, and the rest of the Cox and Otto clans.

    Thank you Peggy! You saved me a lot of pain.

    The room move paid off yesterday. The room I moved to Sunday evening was directly below my other one, and I had easy up and down the east stairwell to my car. Within 45 minutes, I was packed, the car was loaded, and I could get back to Russell.

    At 1430, I was back at 1224 North Brooks. Thankfully.

    Peggy and I met over Subway at 1730. I wouldn’t go for Subway, but she wanted to try one of the new sandwiches on ciabatta bread. I tried one and it was great. Maybe I’ll go back for more.

    I’m not big on Subway because I grew up eating too many great sandwiches in New Orleans. Between oyster po-boys, shrimp po-boys and muffulettas, I couldn’t go wrong.

    Back to the Golden Q today. No Cassandra. Par for the course this week.

    ##########################################################################

    The United States female association football team defeated England yesterday and now plays The Netherlands for the championship Sunday.

    Alex Morgan embarrassed herself after scoring the second US goal yesterday, mocking England by mimicking a proper lady sipping tea out of a cup.

    Morgan is married to some tattooed association football player from Mexico now playing in the fraud of a league known as Major League Soccer, so she will never be accused of knowing how to properly sip tea.

    I am sick and tired of the American jingoistic media fawning over Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, who sat out yesterday with a muscle pull. It’s as if nobody else is on the team, although Julie Ertz gets some coverage simply because her husband is a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Between the disgusting displays by US players after scoring goals to manager (do not call an association football leader a “coach”) Jill Ellis sending members of her staff to scout a hotel where England was staying in case the Americans won, I have had it up to here with this team. They were just as arrogant in 2015, when Carli Lloyd was being praised as the greatest thing since sliced bread and Hope(less) Solo was still around.

    I want the Dutch to win Sunday. It would force the jingoistic Americans to shut the hell up. It’s only going to get worse between now and the opening of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

    That was a very good reason to bail out of Kansas City yesterday. There were a bunch of jingoistic American fans at Buffalo Wild Wings Friday who would not shut up. Sadly, my headphones had no battery life and I stupidly forgot the charging cord in my hotel room, so I was screwed.

    I know what I will not be watching Sunday. I’m ready for this crap to end.

    ##########################################################################

    Wimbledon began Monday. Boy.

    The non-stop Serena worship is on full blast from London. Most ESPN “experts” think Serena will win the ladies’ singles title.

    I honestly don’t care who wins, as long as it is not Serena. I quit caring about tennis when Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe all passed their primes.

    Another thing which gets my goat are media who keep using “WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND” in bylines. WIMBLEDON is a section of LONDON. The byline should always be LONDON. They must have forgotten a few things in journalism school.

    When the Brooklyn Nets play at home, the byline always reads “NEW YORK” not “BROOKLYN, NEW YORK”. Same with the Yankees, Mets, Rangers and Islanders. It’s always NEW YORK, not the borough. Why can’t the idiots who cover Wimbledon get it?

    ##########################################################################

    Looks like I may have extra trivia tonight. It is pouring in Hays, and the storm is barely moving. Reminds me of Louisiana when storms would dump buckets of rain on one place, yet five miles away, not a drop fell.

    Everyone who is coming into The Q over the past hour has been soaked. I made the right choice by not cracking the windows in my Buick.

    Tomorrow is INDEPENDENCE DAY. Yes, the date is 4 July, but it is INDEPENDENCE DAY in this country. Everywhere else has a 4 July, too, but it doesn’t hold the significance.

    June ends badly

    The last day of June was quite lazy, even by the standards of your intrepid blogger.

    I dozed off the night before on the couch in my hotel room, finally heading to bed at 0035.

    I slept. And slept. And slept. Every time I tried to get up, I went back to sleep. It wasn’t until 1630 I finally had the energy to move around a little bit.

    All I had to do now was turn on the lights in the kitchen and living room and figure out what to do from there.

    Oops.

    The lights in the kitchen and living room wouldn’t come on. The air conditioner, refrigerator, microwave and oven were working, but no lights, no television, no power to the desk, which meant my computer had no juice.

    Meawhile, the lights in the bedroom and bathroom were all just fine. However, without the living room and kitchen, I couldn’t very well work or eat without stumbling around in the dark.

    Ugh.

    An hour after this discovery, I was told I would have to move to another room.

    AAARRRRRGGGHH!

    It wasn’t moving so much as it was having to pack my considerable belongings and move them down two floors. I hurriedly threw everything into one bag or another for transport, and given the short time I had, I risked losing a lot of things. I think I lost a pair of scissors in the move, but if that’s all I lost, I’m fortunate.

    I did not leave the hotel at all, something very rare for me. At least I thought ahead the previous night and got extra Zaxby’s. Otherwise, I would have been in deep.

    It would have done no good to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. All the people I know who work there were at a reception for two of their fellow employees who got married last month. Given my history with receptions, you couldn’t pay me enough to go to one. Besides, I played trivia for six consecutive days before that.

    This trip to Kansas City has been lonely for me. I’m regretting it. I never thought I would want to hurry back to Russell, but this time, I do.

    Press Your Luck—the good and bad

    Late Thursday night when I was searching for something to watch on Hulu, I discovered a game show which originally aired during my formative years had been revived.

    Press Your Luck aired for three years (19 September 1983-26 September 1986) on CBS alongside two highly-rated game shows, The $25,000 Pyramid and The Price Is Right, the latter of which begins its 48th season on CBS in September.

    The premise of Press Your Luck was pretty simple. Players took spins on a computerized game board with 18 squares. They could accumulate cash or prizes with each spin, but if they hit a “Whammy”, they would lose all they had accumulated to that point. Four whammies eliminated a contestant.

    To earn spins, players had to know the answers to questions asked by the host, Peter Tomarken; if a player buzzed in and gave the correct answer, he/she earned three spins, while a player who guessed the correct answer out of a list of three received one spin.

    There was some strategy involved. A player could pass his or her spins at any time. Those spins would go to the player with the highest amount of winnings at that point, unless the other two contestants were tied, then the player passing the spins could choose whom to pass to. The player receiving the passed spins had to take all of the spins passed to him or her, unless he or she hit a whammy. At that point, the passed spins would transfer to the earned column (spins won by answering questions correctly and hitting spaces on the board which included an extra spin).

    The winner of the game was the only player to keep his or her earnings. He or she would come back until (a) he or she won three consecutive games, at which point that contestant retired undefeated or (b) the player went over CBS’ earnings limit, which was $25,000 when PYL premiered; it was later raised to $50,000 and then $75,000. There is no cap on winnings now; if there was, Drew Carey couldn’t offer Maseratis and other ridiculously expensive cars on TPIR during Dream Car Week, nor insane amounts of cash during Big Cash Week.

    A bum from Ohio named Michael Larson cheated his ass off in 1984 to win $110,237 in cash and prizes. The unemployed jerk spent his days watching tapes of PYL in order to memorize the pattern of the lights on the board. He figured it out and kept avoiding whammies so much (a) the game was aired over two shows; as luck would have it, the first half aired on a Friday, meaning you had to wait out the weekend to see the second half, and (b) Tomarken and the other players were frozen like zombies while Larson performed his robbery of CBS.

    Tomarken and CBS executives were dumbfounded. One producer did not want to give Larson his winnings, thinking he cheated; but in the end, Larson got his loot, after Uncle Sam got his cut, of course. Larson went broke and died in 1994. Too freaking bad.

    Game Show Network, now shortened to GSN, began airing PYL reruns in the late 1990s. In 2002, it created a semi-revival of the show called Whammy: The All New Press Your Luck.

    I did not like that revival. Too many inane prizes that nobody cared about, not to mention the infamous “double whammies”, which not only took the player’s winnings, but dumped something upon him or her (water, golf balls, feathers, etc.).

    Early this year, ABC and Fremantle Media announced Press Your Luck would be coming back in its original format. Sadly, Tomarken could not have hosted the revival had ABC wanted him to, because Peter and his wife died in a 2006 plane crash off the coast of California. The Tomarkens were delivering organs for transplant when they went down in the Pacific.

    Less than three months after Tomarken’s death, CBS played PYL as part of its Game Show Marathon, a one-off series of classic games which also included TPIR, Match Game, Family Feud and Card Sharks. Rikki Lake hosted, while Leslie Nielsen, Tim Meadows and Kathy Najimy played for charity, with Najimy winning. Nielsen, unfortunately, hit four whammies.

    Elizabeth Banks, the fabulously talented and fabulously beautiful actress, was chosen to host ABC’s PYL. Great choice.

    The only knock I have on Elizabeth is she needs to stop wearing so much black. In three of the first four episodes, her wardrobe was black. However, in the third, she wore a green dress which exposed her arms, shoulders and lower legs. WOW!

    The game play is faithful to the original, with one notable addition.

    There is now a bonus game. The lack of a bonus game in the 1980s differentiated PYL from most game shows on the air in the mid-1980s.

    The player who wins the most cash and prizes over two rounds in the main game keeps what he or she has accumulated to that point, then goes to the bonus game. The players go to the board and attempt to build their bank.

  • There are anywhere from one to six rounds in the bonus game, with each round having a set number of spins. A player must take all spins in a given round, plus any spins he or she might earn from hitting a space on the board which gives the player an extra spin.
  • Once the round ends, Elizabeth asks the player whether he or she wants to go on or stop and keep what is in the bank. Once a player commits to another round, there is no turning back; he or she must get his or her spin total to zero. Dollar amounts increase in each round, with some spaces worth $100,000 in the sixth round.
  • As an added sweetener, players have three “dream prizes” available to win on the board. Those prizes are selected by the players and range from the practical (a new car) to the strange (a week traveling on Michael Bolton’s tour bus and having VIP seats to all of his concerts) to the out of this world (pizza for life). There are other prizes out there which are not customized, like cars and vacations.
  • The best thing about PYL, both then and now, are the whammy animations. Some animations from the original series have been updated with new graphics, while ABC has added some fresh ones. To show PYL has kept up, in the original show, animations included The Supremes and The Beatles; the new show has the whammies imitating the Backstreet Boys.
  • I would love to see some celebrities play PYL for charity. Like have two shows with The Brady Bunch kids. Or fellow game show hosts.
  • Another revival taking me back to my childhood. And this one is pretty good.
  • ##########################################################################

    Speaking of pressing your luck, I did it yesterday and lost big time

    I got caught in two massive traffic jams caused by construction on the eastern side of Interstate 435 in Kansas City. It took 30 minutes to travel from Missouri Highway 350 to Highway 210 due to construction at the junction of I-435 and I-70 near Arrowhead and Kaufman Stadiums, and on the bridge over the Missouri River just south of Highway 210.

    Of course, some idiots wait until the last possible second until merging, thinking getting a few cars ahead will save them time.

    IT WON’T. If anything, it’s dangerous, because it’s more likely to cause an accident.

    Yesterday was terrible, at least after my laser hair removal treatment. Let’s see:

    • I was stupid enough to attempt to handle dry ice without gloves at a grocery store in Prairie Village. My left thumb and right ring finger stung for a few minutes. I’m having other problems with my right ring finger, and it may come to an operation.
    • Larry couldn’t show up at Buffalo Wild Wings because a contracter working on a house next door parked a large truck in his yard, damaging his lawn.
    • Tina didn’t show up to work at Buffalo Wild Wings. Between her absence and Larry’s, I was lonely as hell.
    • The Women’s World Cup match. Megan Rapinoe, everyone’s favorite anarchist, scored twice as the not okay USA won 2-1 over France.
    • Bill, the human chimney who plays trivia every Wednesday and Friday without fail at this Buffalo Wild Wings, showed up at 1630, prompting my exit. Maybe it was for the best; I was exhausted from getting up at 0445.
    • I thought I had lost a cable at Buffalo Wild Wings. The search for a Pilot travel center, where I bought the cable last month, took me straight into the massive traffic jams on I-435, because I was in Kansas picking up things I ordered from Amazon.

    Add in the stifling heat, which is as bad as I remember it from Louisiana, and it hasn’t been good. With everyone I know at Buffalo Wild Wings not scheduled to work tomorrow, I might be in search of a new trivia locale tomorrow–should I want to play. The thought of coming into a place with foreign faces is not appealing.

    I want to cry. I don’t know why.

    THINGS I DON’T KNOW JACK SHIT ABOUT

    • Schwarzenegger movies

    • Steve Martin movies

    • Saturday Night Live

    • Harry Potter

    • Lord of the Rings

    • George Clooney

    • Avengers

    • French pastries

    • Comic book characters, especially superheroes

    • English monarchs

    • Indian emperors

    • Explorers

    • Marine life

    • Mythology

    • Shakespeare

    • Literature

    • Video games after 1988

    • ALL Television shows except

    o The Brady Bunch

    o King of the Hill

    o Family Guy

    o American Dad

    o The Simpsons (mostly)

    o The OC

    o One Tree Hill

    o Monk

    o Law & Order: SVU

    o Some Disney Channel shows

    • ALL Movies except

    o A League of Their Own

    o The Help

    o Risky Business

    o Crazy, Stupid, Love

    • Any music after 1989

    • Science fiction

    • Boston Marathon

    • Poetry

    • Golf

    • Tennis

    • Olympic sports

    • Foreign cuisine

    • Nobel prize winners

    Be nice or shut up, okay?

    I was angered beyond belief last week when I discovered a piece of fecal matter replied to a comment I made on someone’s social media post.

    In the past, I would have replied to this jerk with a bunch of curse words. This time, I simply blocked him.

    Do people have nothing better to do than to reply to your comments with hurtful stuff?

    I did it far too many times to count. Guess what? It may have made me feel good for about 30 seconds. Then I realized that it made me no better than the person who made the first snide comment.

    It didn’t make me less of a man. It made me sub-human. You always hear about be the bigger person? Replying to someone else’s nasty comment doesn’t do that.

    I still have problems with it from time to time with making nasty comments. I’ve got to do better. Until the day comes where I don’t do it, I still have room for big improvements.

    ##########################################################################

    My last trip to The Golden Q didn’t go so well.

    First, two people were sitting not too far from where I usually sit, and it irked the hell out of me.

    It shouldn’t have irked me, but I felt like they were in my personal space. I had my headphones on, but every so often, I looked their way, wishing they would move.

    Finally, I had enough and I moved into the room where the dartboards are, hoping for some peace. Of course, there were others in the area, and they were making quite a racket. I gave up on trying to find quiet.

    Trivia was giving me a lot of hell Saturday. I started making a list of “stuff I don’t know Jack (expletive about”. Then I posted I am living proof the stupid gene does exist.

    Again, I’m my own harshest critic. Nobody would feel bad about missing the questions I missed except me and a few other hard-core trivia players. Certainly nobody in Hays or Salina would do better than me.

    Maybe it was I woke up at 0445 Saturday, drove to Wichita to pick up deliveries and wash my car, then drove straight back to Hays without stopping, save for a short bathroom break in, ironically, Russell.

    ##########################################################################

    Last Friday marked the one-year anniversary of my most recent date. I met the (older) woman online and texted for three days, then met in person at her apartment in Hays. After an hour with the woman, I left and raced to meet Peggy in WaKeeney, which was the better part of that day.

    By time I got to Hays on the drive east, the woman said she didn’t want to see me anymore.

    It hurt a lot immediately after. A week later, it didn’t hurt.

    A year later, I feel much better things didn’t progress further.

    I certainly would not have been able to go to Kansas City (or Salina) nearly as much. I would have had to sacrifice trivia for spending time with another person and her family, something I don’t enjoy. I didn’t particularly enjoy it with my own family in New Orleans, so why the heck would I enjoy it with another person’s family?

    I haven’t sniffed online dating sites since last June 21. I’m not planning on doing it anytime soon. What I endured in the spring of 2018 between fake profiles scamming me out of money and the wasted time I spent inside my basement instead of doing productive things wasn’t worth a dime, much less all the money I coughed up.

    I’m resigned to not having children or getting married. It just isn’t in the cards for some people. I’m one of them.

    ##########################################################################

    The dog days of summer return to Kansas this week, with temperatures starting tomorrow rising into the mid-30s (93-98 Fahrenheit). However, with all the rain we’ve had, hot and dry isn’t so bad. There has been too much water around Kansas and Missouri this spring.

    Independence Day (NOT the 4th of July; the 4th of July is just another day on the calendar) is on the horizon. Most of my good stuff will come before.

    A middle of June mashup

    I felt guilty yesterday, and it lightened my wallet a slight bit.

    Two ladies who teach at a middle school in Liberty met for drinks. I felt like I was eavesdropping on their conversation. I buried my face in my hands a couple of times.

    I thought it was happening again. I had it going through my mind I was “hovering” and making women uncomfortable in a Buffalo Wild Wings.

    Very few people have told me outright I’m hovering and making them uncomfortable, but Lord knows how often I’ve thought it.

    One of the teachers got there a little after two. She was waiting for her colleague, and ended up waiting more than an hour. She was on her phone quite a bit. We made a little small talk, but once her colleague arrived, I felt uneasy sitting there, despite being engrossed in trivia.

    The lovely ladies, Joanne and Heather, told me everything was okay and I wasn’t eavesdropping. Crista has told me more than a few (thousand) times I read too much into situations. I’m sure I’ll tell Crista all about it when I see her on 27 June.

    Joanne was the one who arrived early. She asked me if she could help me with anything. Fortunately, she didn’t have to.

    I told Tina to put their drinks on my bill. She kept the secret until Heather was ready to pay. Heather was going to pay for a couple of Joanne’s drinks due to being late, but then Tina said their bill had been taken care of.

    I shouldn’t be so surprised. There was Kelsey, the young lady in the Army from New Hampshire who stopped in at Zona Rosa on her way to St. Louis in December. I would give anything to hear from her. But I know she’s got much more important things to worry about.

    December 27, 2015 still pops into the mind from time to time. It was the infamous Sunday when two strangers began kissing and groping one another while sitting next to me. Luckily Robb and Dawn showed up to provide me company.

    Speaking of Zona Rosa, their Buzztime system has been down since Mother’s Day. No sense in going there. Also, most of the employees I knew are gone. Tori, Trey and Morgan are there amongst the veterans, but Liz, Lisa and all the rest are gone.

    The atmosphere at Shoal Creek is better. The decor is nice, the lightning isn’t too harsh, and it isn’t as loud as Zona gets. Between all the kids and the hip-hop often blaring from the jukebox, it gets unbearable.

    Between Joanne and Heather, Larry, Jeff Lagrande and trivia, yesterday was pretty darn good. I didn’t leave until 2030. I have to leave Kansas City tomorrow before 0730 to make sure I’m back in Russell by 1200. I might have dawdled around town Sunday and then driven home late, but my mother is cooking eggplant parmigana.

    ##########################################################################

    The Raptors won the NBA championship. YUCK. There was a jerk wearing a Kawhi Spurs jersey in Buffalo Wild Wings Thursday, cheering every good thing the Raptors did and every bad thing the Warriors did.

    First, I cannot stand Kawhi. Period. I’m not a fan of Gregg Popovich, but Kawhi was totally at fault for the stuff he pulled in San Antonio. Popovich had every right to treat Leonard the way he did, because Kawhi did it to himself. Kawhi wanted out of San Antonio so he could find a coach he could manipulate. Nick Nurse proved to be Kawhi’s stool pigeon.

    Second, Drake’s antics have made me hate the Raptors. He has no business anywhere near the benches. If it were up to me, I would ban courtside seats. Yes, they bring in boatloads of money for NBA teams, but is it worth the trouble?

    Third, men should never, ever wear sleeveless shirts without an undershirt in public, UNLESS they are working out. And if men are to wear sleveeless shirt while working out, they should have to shave their armpit hair, which is disgusting to begin with.

    I’m getting my armpit hair laser removed, along with my chest and back. Body hair grosses me out to no end.

    My father has almost no body hair. I wish I were like him, not my grandfather, who has more hair than an ape. Apparently, my sister-in-law loves body hair, because my brother is a gorilla. The only good news in my genes is my hair is light-colored, whereas my brother’s is darker, coarser and harder to remove.

    ##########################################################################

    The 25th reunion of my graduating class at Brother Martin High was last Saturday in New Orleans. I didn’t go, of course, but I did donate $70, the cost of attendance, which I did not do previously.

    I am friends with very few high school classmates on social media. On the other hand, I’m not wishing them any ill will, which wasn’t the case for a long time. I held a lot of resentment even after moving to Kansas, which was 12 years after my senior year of high school began. Time has a way of healing wounds. Maybe these have started to heal.

    ##########################################################################

    Geez. A man has walked into Buffalo Wild Wings wearing a cowboy hat. WEARING the cowboy hat.

    This is not a rodeo, sir. You should remove that hat.

    I am just aggravated by men who cannot remove their hats in a restaurant. I wore hats indoors when I was younger; I stopped after visiting the Louisiana state capitol in 1992 and being politely asked by an usher in the House seating gallery to remove it. I like showing off my short hair anyway.

    I made a horrible mistake many years ago of going outside without a hat in Kansas. My head was fried within two hours. I haven’t made that mistake since.

    Baseball hats are a nuisance. They do not block anyone’s view. But cowoboy hats? Another story.

    The public address announcer at Hill City’s gym wears a giant cowboy hat. Anyone sitting directly behind him who is not more than three rows up will have his or her view blocked.

    I don’t see why people in Texas want to spend tens of thousands on a Stetson cowboy hat. Make a down payment on a car.

    I used to own a ton of hats. Most of them were flooded by Katrina. The only hats I own now are a few MLB throwbacks and the ones I used to wear when I covered outdoor sporting events.

    The last hat I purchased was a White Sox throwback, the one they wore from 1976-81 with the floppy-collared jerseys and navy blue or white pants. I discovered those uniforms watching Johnny Bench’s instructional show, The Baseball Bunch, in the mid-1980s.

    Most people hate them, especially Chris Sale, who cut a replica up in 2016 when he was scheduled to pitch wearing them on a Turn Back The Clock night, one incident which prompted his departure from Chicago. I love them. I bought the hat as a protest of Sale’s hacking. I despise the White Sox’ uniforms, which they have worn since 1991. Black is ugly, especially for a team which hardly ever wore black before then. It also is a reminder of the White Sox’ disgusting past, namely the Black Sox.

    Right now, I’m the only man not wearing a hat at the bar. One black cap, one Royals batting practice cap, the annoying cowboy hat, and a Diamondbacks batting practice hat. I swear there needs to be a hat rack in every restaurant.

    ##########################################################################

    Gary Woodland, a Topeka native who played at Washburn and KU, is leading the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by two strokes. He and Justin Rose make up today’s last pairing, teeing off at 1645 CT (1445 PT). Woodland has never won a major, while Rose won the U.S. Open in 2013 at Lower Merion near Philadelphia.

    It looks like Brooks Koepka’s bid to win his third consecutive U.S. Open has ended. That doesn’t make it any less compelling.

    Stealing for stealing’s sake

    It’s sickening when possessions are stolen.

    Buffalo Wild Wings in Salina has experienced this more than a few times recently.

    When I arrived at 1400 today, I noticed nearly all of the tablets used to play Buzztime poker and trivia were gone.

    Abby, the bartender whom I had a very pleasant experience with the last time I was here eight days ago, told me most of the tablets have been stolen.

    I’m guessing there may have been a few tablets broken by rambunctious children, but none of the tablets were in bad shape when I was here in January.

    Why the hell do people want to steal the Buzztime tablets?

    If the thieves think they can get a cheap substitute for an iPad or a Microsoft Surface, they’re sadly mistaken.

    First, there is no way to download any software to these tablets.

    Second, the tablets are completely useless outside the restaurant. They are equipped with anti-theft trackers which will shut the tablet down when they are too far from the location.

    Apparently, there are kleptomaniacs out there who get their rocks off by stealing anything, no matter how useless it is to them.

    It’s like a man going into Target or Walmart and stealing tampons even if he doesn’t have a wife, daughter or other female relative. Or a woman who steals condoms when she has absolutely no prospects for using them.

    Stealing is wrong. Why is it one of the Ten Commandments? But God, why steal things which are useless? I wouldn’t steal, period, but if you’re stealing food, you may have a good reason.

    Luckily for me, there was a tablet available, and nobody else was playing trivia or poker. Looks like I’m going to have to have my burner phone which has the Buzztime app handy when I go here.

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    I originally planned to go back to Buffalo Wild Wings at Shoal Creek (Liberty) and play until the evening, then drive back to Russell in the dead of night, because I had trouble waking up when I drove home Easter morning. However, as I was walking around two grocery stores, I realized I could drive to Salina and be home a lot earlier after playing there for a few hours.

    I skipped all the Lunchtime games, barely making it to my destination before 1400.

    Kansas City was very good this time. I got my car washed and the interior cleaned Thursday, but it rained Friday morning, so I asked for a re-wash, since the business guaranteed a clean car for two days. I got the free wash.

    I opened Buffalo Wild Wings yesterday, something I haven’t done in ages. I stayed ten hours, the longest I have in a very long time.

    The only faux pas was Thursday morning when I woke up at 0350 and left at 0545. I was feeling the effects from the lack of sleep all the way, but I made it in one piece.

    The Kentucky Derby is about to start. Omaha Beach, the favorite for a long time, was scratched Wednesday. The three favorites are all trained by Bob Baffert, who is quickly becoming the Nick Saban/Mike Kryzewzski/Bill Belichick of horse racing, as in unbeatable.