Category Archives: Weather

Another Kansas summer commences

Summer has arrived in Kansas. The broiler was turned up today in Russell, with a high of 36 Celsius (96 Fahrenheit), which is 9 C (13 F) hotter than it should be in the first week of June.

The hotter weather prompted me to wait until after sunset to make a quick drive to the UPS and USPS drop boxes in town. I almost went too late. It started raining in Hays 30 minutes ago, and the lightning was striking quite frequently to the west. Oops, the rain just started at 1224 North Brooks. As Maxwell Smart used to say, missed it by that much.

I have had no desire to leave 1224 North Brooks since getting home from my excursion Tuesday. It was hot enough Tuesday.

It was a good decision to not stay overnight in Hutch, because it was an easy drive there in the morning. I got there way too early, so I killed an hour plus at the large Dillon’s not too far from the clinic. Most people were not wearing masks.

The visit with my new health provider in Hutchinson–I have not ditched Dr. Custer–went well. Made a quick trip to Wichita to pick up a new seat cushion from Bed Bath and Beyond, get my car washed and make an Amazon pickup at a QuikTrip. I avoided the protest areas.

IF you want an opinion on what’s going on right now, don’t ask. Not providing it.

I realized Tuesday morning I normally would be writing summaries of how local schools performed at the high school state track and field championships the previous weekend. This year’s meet, originally scheduled for last Friday and Saturday, was cancelled in March when schools were shut down for the remainder of the year.

I HATED covering that event. Check that. I DESPISED covering that event with every fiber of my being.

It was two of the worst days of every year. If the weather was as hot as it was today, that made it a million times worse.

Fans rave about how much they love that meet, but they don’t have to dash between eight events going on at once, trying to photograph 15-20 athletes. Heaven forbid if you don’t get a picture of an athlete, because the family of that athlete will not let you live it down.

When I was taken off of event coverage in August 2015, I wanted to quit. Now I realize it was a blessing. A HUGE blessing. There are some events I miss covering. The two days of hell at Wichita State are two days I’m glad I’m sitting on my fat ass in Russell or somewhere else (the last three years, that somewhere else was–surprise, surprise–Kansas City).

June 3 and 4 are Desiree Days, since those dates are mentioned in Neil Diamond’s 1977 hit “Desiree”. It woke me up at 05:00 Tuesday. And I heard it again driving back to Russell.

“Desiree” is on the Neil Diamond playlist on my iPod. “Sweet Caroline” is not and never will be.

Saturday is Convoy Day in honor of the 1975 classic “Convoy” by C.W. McCall, which opens “It was dark of moon on the sixth of June in a Kenworth pulling logs…”

That’s all I have for now.

August anniversaries

Gulfport, Mississippi and Bethel, New York are 1,283 miles (2,065 kilometers) apart.

It would seem as these two locales would have absolutely nothing in common.

Yet they are forever linked by 17 August 1969.

Those who were in Bethel that day remember it fondly and wish they could go back.

Those in Gulfport that day would probably like to forget.

Thirty days after Ted Kennedy drove Mary Jo Koepechne to her death off Martha’s Vineyard, 28 days after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon, nine days after Sharon Tate and four others were brutally butchered by Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenewinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Tex Watson on orders of Charles Manson, there came an August Sunday which made not one, but two, indelible impressions on the United States of America.

Woodstock, held on Max Yasgur’s Dairy Farm, a little more than 100 miles (160 km) from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, was filled with three and a half days of “peace, love and music”. The names of those who performed that weekend are legendary: Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who. The list of those who didn’t perform may have been just as impressive: Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles were among those who said no.

There were hopes for a 50th anniversary Woodstock. Many of the performers at the original festival who are still alive were invited. However, it never got off the ground and was cancelled in June. It would have been held at the Watkins Glen automobile race course, about 155 miles (250 km) west-northwest of Bethel.

Two years after Woodstock, organizers attempted a similar festival in Louisiana. They found some land on a levee along the Atchafayla River in Pointe Coupee Parish, 60 miles (97 km) northwest of Baton Rouge and 80 miles (128 km) southeast of Alexandria.

The Festival of Life was nothing short of a disaster. Needless to say, nothing like that has been attempted again in Louisiana.

While 400,000 were having the time of their lives in New York, residents of the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Panama City were dealing with something which was certainly not peaceful.

Hurricane Camille crossed the western tip of Cuba hours before Richie Havens opened Woodstock. Once it emerged into the hot waters (30 degrees Celsius/86 F) of the Gulf of Mexico, it exploded, surpassing the intensity of Betsy, which had winds of 145 miles per hour (223 km/h) when it crossed the Louisiana coast at Grand Isle the evening of 9 Sepember 1965 and caused over $1 billion of damage and 76 deaths in what would become my native state.

Camille’s winds reached 170 miles per hour (265 km/h) as it made it way steadily towards the Florida panhandle the afternoon of 16 August. From Pensacola to Panama City, thousands of residents headed north into Georgia and Alabama.

The next morning, Camille was still on her inexorable march towards land.

The target, however, had shifted dramatically westward.

The storm had shifted to a north-northwest track, a path which would lead it straight towards New Orleans. It appeared the storm would follow a path eerily similar to Betsy’s, making landfall approximately 25 miles (40 km) east of Grand Isle.

If that occurred, New Orleans would have been utterly destroyed. My parents would have perished.

Eventually, the storm took a due north heading, crossing the mouth of the Mississippi River. It wiped much of southern Plaquemines Parish (county) off the map. Fortunately, evacuation orders were followed and nobody died in Louisiana.

Mississippi was not as fortunate.

The storm crossed the coast on the border between Hancock and Harrison counties. Pass Christian was ground zero. The small town between Bay St. Louis and Gulfport was blown away. Nothing remained standing.

Had the storm come in a few miles/kilometers further east, Gulfport would have been ground zero, and Biloxi would have been devastated more than it already was.

The wind speed at landfall will never be known. The wind measuring instruments in Gulfport and Biloxi were demolished. J

The storm killed 160 in Mississippi, but Camille wasn’t done.

Her remnants dumped buckets of rain on northern Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky before once again exploding in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia.

This time, nobody had any notion of what was coming. Over 100 people perished in the Old Dominion, and floodwaters came dangerously close to leaving Richmond completely swamped. Richmond and Roanoke, two of the commonwealth’s largest cities, were spared the worst, but it was of little consolation.


Twenty-five years ago this morning, I almost died because of my own stupidity.

It was that Sunday I moved into my dormitory at LSU in advance of my first semester of college.

I almost didn’t make. I probably shouldn’t have.

The night before, I slept maybe three hours. I left my house in New Orleans at 0600. My father followed me to help me move my belongings into my sardine of a room at Power Hall, which thankfully has been demolished and replaced with modern apartments.

This was the first time I drove from New Orleans to Baton Rouge alone. I knew the route, but every time, my dad was with me.

The first 50 miles (80 km) was fine.

Suddenly, I found myself drifting off the road to my right.

I fell asleep shortly after the St. James/Ascension parish line. I panicked and cut the wheel of my 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier sharply to the left. That took me across both lanes of traffic and into the median. By time I was done, I was facing westbound in the eastbound lanes of traffic.

If it were any other time except Sunday morning, I would have been dead or paralyzed.

I was beyond lucky that no traffic was coming either way. I crossed the median and continued my journey.

When I got to the McDonald’s on Louisiana Highway 30 in Gonzales to meet my dad for breakfast, I told him. He agreed I was very, very lucky.

Power Hall featured seven two-story units, rather than one high-rise. I am grateful I lived on the first floor. Climbing the stairs carrying things would have been hellish.

There was a communal bathroom and shower just down the hall. I made sure I took my shower early in the morning so I didn’t have others in there. I don’t recall anyone else ever using a shower at the same time I did.

I had a private room at Power Hall, so it was a little better. I would not want anyone to have to deal with me as a roommate, nor do I care to have someone else in my room. I like my privacy.

When I returned to LSU in January 1997, the department of campus housing did not give me a private dorm room at Kirby-Smith Hall, a high rise on the northwest edge of campus. After sleeping in the room for two nights, I hastily moved off-campus. Lucky for me, the person who was assigned to the room had not checked in, so I was alone. That worked out better, because it allowed me to stay in Baton Rogue year-round. I should have thought it out better when I first went to LSU.

The efficiency I lived in for the last two and a half years at LSU was a rat trap. I was desperate and I didn’t want to make my parents pay an outrageous sum, so I took what I could find. I lived to tell the tale.

There are so many things I wish I had done differently in college. Leaving LSU after my first year was a huge mistake. Not paying attention in class was another. I cry about it. A lot.


High school football is cranking up. I want to be back in Louisiana covering games on Friday night. Kansas high school football is severely lacking.

(Slight) Sunday cooldown

The heat wave which gripped Kansas from Wednesday through Saturday has abated, thank God.

The high temperatures the previous four days soared to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with the heat index hovering between 42 and 44 (105-110) each day as well. It was enough to keep me sheltered in the cool confines of my basement for three full days. I hated having to miss my favorite trivia game at 1930 Thursday evening, but I felt I could skip one playing in this case.

It’s cloudy in Russell and Hays, with the thermometer now hovering between 25-27 Celsius (77-81 F). Tomorrow is going to be nice with temps around 27 Celsius, so it will be a very good day to go to Salina and Wichita to get the car washed and play some trivia at either Buffalo Wild Wings or Old Chicago.

I had to get away to Hays today after lunch at home. Playing ‘semi-blind’ at Starbucks. The only problem you don’t see clues, so you only have a 20% chance of getting the answer right. Then again, if you’re certain of the correct answer, you don’t need clues. Through 21 questions, I’ve only struck out on one.


I watched exactly ZERO holes of The Open Championship.

Why bother? The tournament sucked. Big time sucked. So much for the hoopla surrounding the first Open Championship in Northern Ireland since 1951.

Rory McIlroy missing the cut in his home country took the air out of it. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were gone after Friday as well. The big names who got to play the weekend–Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia–were way down the board.

Shane Lowry of the Republic of Ireland won.

I cannot stand him.

I’m sure many in Kansas were thrilled to see Lowry win it.

I’m betting because Lowry has a thick, bushy beard, he is the second favorite golfer of many Kansans behind Gary Woodland, the Topeka native who won the U.S. Open last month at Pebble Beach.

I won’t grow a beard. Got it? Don’t ask. I won’t do it. If a woman thinks a beard is necessary for her to be attracted to a man, she needs serious psychiatric evaluation.

I will never, ever comprehend why beards are so “manly”. Those who need facial hair to feel more “manly” are not real men. They are insecure little boys.

That makes you an insecure little boy, Ted Cruz. The U.S. Senator from Texas is now sporting a beard. Although it isn’t as gross and unruly as many beards worn by rednecks in Kansas, it looks terrible nonetheless.


The sun is out and it’s up to 30 C (86 F) right now. Good thing I put the sunshade up in my Buick.

A lady was in Starbucks FaceTiming with the volume all the way up. Didn’t need to hear that conversation.

I’ll probably change locations after the next game. I’ll have about seven minutes to get to a new place. Besides, I bet the employees at Starbucks are suspicious as to why I’ve been here for almost three hours. Then again, I did buy food and a beverage and I’m not exactly bothering anyone just sitting here. Oh well.

Pains in the neck–literally and otherwise

The right side of my neck was killing me much of yesterday. It hurt to turn to my right. I probably slept wrong Wednesday night.

I took aspirin and used heat massage (good move carrying the massager in my travel bags) before going to bed. It reduced the pain, but when I woke up at 0400 this morning, it hurt again. I wonder what it could be. I’ve never had problems with sleeping at the TownePlace Suites at Briarcliff in Kansas City.

I did not take Seroquel last night before going to bed. I was groggy much of yesterday before leaving the hotel. I might be taking it early tonight. It’s supposed to rain anywhere from 1 to 3 inches in Kansas City between 1800 tonight and 0900 tomorrow. I wanted to stay at Buffalo Wild Wings until at least 2030 to play trivia, but Mother Nature might make me change my plans.

My neck may hurt, but nowhere near how much they’re hurting in Jefferson City.

A violent tornado tore through Missouri’s capital late Wednesday night, causing much destruction. The state capitol building was spared, but many homes were levelled. It happened on the eight-year anniversary of the monster tornado in Joplin, 205 miles to the southwest, which killed more than 100. Imagine if one of those tornadoes tore through Kansas City or St. Louis.

Russell is very fortunate it has never experienced the types of tornadoes in Udall (1955), Topeka (1966), Hesston (1990), Andover (1991) or Greensburg (2007). Katrina was horrendous, but I got out of town 48 hours before the storm arrived. I doubt I would have 48 minutes if a tornado as strong as the one in Jefferson City, or even worse, the ones in Greensburg and Joplin, were barreling towards Russell (or Hays if I were there for something).

The Missouri State High School Activities Association had to move its track and field state championships for Classes 3, 4 and 5 to other sites. Classes 3 and 5 will simply move 30 miles north on US 63 to Columbia, with Class 3 at the University of Missouri and Class 5 at Battle High. Class 4, however, has to go to Washington, 50 miles west of St. Louis along the Missouri River. Tough break for schools from the western half of the state having to make that long drive. Classes 1 and 2 held their state meet last Friday and Saturday.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association holds its mass chaos of a state track and field meet this weekend in Wichita. For the fourth consecutive year, I won’t be there. Praise Jesus. I absolutely despised covering that event. It may be great for the fans, athletes and coaches, but for the media who have to cover it, it is hell. It was much worse for me because I was trying to cover athletes from different classifications, and events were all going on at once in all six classes on Saturday. It sucked. It really sucked.

The KSHSAA began its baseball and softball state tournaments yesterday. The KSHSAA continues to insist on eight teams in every state tournament in those sports. Four would be far more manageable.

Another bad thing about KSHSAA state tournaments in many sports is the continued insistence on playing a third place game. Yes, I understand the KSHSAA insists the third place games are a reward, but in many cases, the coaches and players see it as a chore, one they would rather not undertake. They are heartbroken from seeing their state championship dreams die, and winning a meaningless game isn’t going to make it go away.

It has rained each of the last four days. It will rain again today. The KSHSAA is trying to beat Mother Nature and get these tournaments in. They were mostly successful yesterday, except in Salina, where evening games in Class 4A were suspended until today.

That’s what makes what I am about to type beyond asinine.

The KSHSAA has rescheduled all third place games in baseball, and in softball in Classes 6A (Lawrence), 5A (Maize) and 3A (Emporia), to be played after the championship games. Two sites in softball, 4A in Salina and 2A in Pratt, are using two diamonds simultaneously, so teams in the third place games won’t have to wallow in their sorrows waiting around.


Third place games in baseball are a very, very, VERY bad idea. Many teams are out of pitching, and some pitchers can’t pitch, anyway, because the KSHSAA limits players to 105 pitches in any 72-hour period. They are a very bad idea in softball, too, although the underarm motion doesn’t cause quite the wear and tear.

It makes ZERO sense to play third place games after championship games. It’s bad enough the teams which lose in the semifinals have to stick around, sometimes on a very hot and humid day, to play a game for next to nothing (the winner gets a trophy, so there is technically something on the line). Now the KSHSAA is going to make the teams which lose in the semifinals sit for two hours or more and watch the championship game?

If I were coaching a team which loses a semifinal and then had to sit through the championship just to play a third place game, I would be livid. I would not want to subject my players to that humiliation.

Unfortunately, the KSHSAA holds the proverbial gun to the heads of its member school by threatening stiff penalties, including fines, suspensions, probation, and potential bans from future championships, for teams which forfeit a state tournament game. None have because of these threats. Administrators and coaches should be lauded for not exposing their student-athletes, and future student-athletes, to repercussions, but it has to be very unpleasant at times.

In recent years, third place games in baseball and softball state tournaments have been cancelled when rain delays occurred. Both teams received third place trophies. Why not go this route? The umpires who are scheduled to work the third place game are paid regardless of whether the game is played or not, so nobody will be out any money.

The state track meet has now been delayed until 1000. The first race was scheduled for 0730. Another reason I am glad to be far, far away from Wichita right now.

Trying to beat the obscene heat

Just got back home after making a quick visit to the post office and gas station.

Yes, that’s right. I made those stops around 0430 (4:30 a.m. for those uninitiated to military time).

I have no desire to venture outside in the middle of the afternoon right now. To call it hot would be a gross understatement.

It is ridiculously unbearable in all corners of Kansas right now. Temperatures today are expected to be well over 100 Fahrenheit for the third straight day. The AccuWeather app on my phone gives me temperatures in Celsius (I set it up that way), and when I saw 40 as the temperature the last two days, I knew it was brutal out there.

The heat index was far worse the farther east you went. At one point yesterday, the heat index reached 116 F (46.7 C) in Topeka. For as long as I lived in Louisiana, the heat index rarely got that high.

It had to be hell on all of those dressed in suits who work for the state of Kansas. I hate wearing suits, period. I would not want to wear one in the summer. In fact, had Lisa’s wedding in St. Louis been in June or July and not October, I may very well have passed.

Any heat index above 110 F (43.3 C) is deadly. If it’s this bad in late July and throughout August, there will be football players who will encounter serious problems. Some may die. That would be a crying shame, because no football coach should ever put his needs above those of the young men (and a few ladies) he oversees.

Some love to point out more people die in the cold than the heat. But last I checked, you can put on layer after layer to guard against the cold. You can’t go outside naked in the heat, unless you are at a place where nudity is allowed. And there aren’t many of those places on the planet.

Yesterday’s hottest heat index in Russell was 104 F (40 C), which was only one degree above the actual high temperature. The heat index was 109 F (42.8 C) Wednesday. I was smart enough to make sure I got back from Hays by 1100 to ensure I didn’t have to deal with the heat any longer than I had to.

Fueling your car before sunrise is actually a good thing to do in the summer. Ozone is released every time a car is fueled, and those effects are multiplied when the temperatures are warmer. When I lived in Baton Rouge, it was not uncommon for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to issue ozone alerts for the city and the surrounding areas.

One of the suggestions the DEQ always makes on those days is to not fuel cars between sunrise and sunset. I heeded that advice this morning, although Casey’s at the corner of Maple and Wichita was closed, so I had to go to the Great Bend Co-op station on US 281. Now I don’t have to worry about it Tuesday when I return to see Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones found something in my right eye during my exam Tuesday. She put me on prescription drops and is having me come back to check my progress.

I’ve got to stop eating sugar, although I have been drinking Gatorade recently. I bought the Gatorade before my appointment with Dr. Jones, where she harped on me to watch my blood sugar. She’s right, I need to watch it carefully.

As bad as the Kansas heat has been Eureka went through much worse Tuesday when an EF-3 tornado struck the Greenwood County city, causing much damage. The high school was destroyed. There is a tie between Russell and Eureka as Sean Spoonts, who was Russell High’s athletic director for three years (2013-16) is now in the same position at Eureka. Hopefully they are okay.

Lazy Friday ahead. No World Cup, because the group stage ended yesterday and the knockout rounds begin tomorrow. The College World Series is over. There is a full slate of Major League Baseball, but only one game matters, since the Red Sox and Yankees are playing this weekend. THANK GOD the Braves and Cardinals will be the Fox game of the week in Kansas.

The worst thing in the sports world will come later tonight when it’s expected LeBron will opt out of the final year of his contract with the Cavaliers and become a free agent.

I hear enough about LeBron during the NBA season. Every time I have to hear about him outside of game action is a time too much.

High of “only” 100 F (37.8 C) expected in Russell today. Won’t matter to me. I’m done venturing outside today. And probably for tomorrow, Sunday and Monday as well.

Why do people like the heat?

The high today in Baton Rouge was 40 degrees according to the stupid scale Americans use for temperature (4 Celsius according to every other nation on earth). That was much warmer than it was in Hays, where it was -8 Celsius (17 above on the stupid scale).



Few in Hays battled an eyelash at it being that cold. It’s winter. It’s Kansas.

I found it to be quite nice this morning. There wasn’t much wind, and it was not too bad for me only in a sweatshirt and turtleneck underneath in the minus teens Celsius. As long as I had my head covered, I was just fine. The wind makes it brutal when it blows, but it wasn’t blowing much today.

Had the high in Baton Rouge been the high in Hays today, many in these parts would have put on shorts. Most would have gone out in short sleeves without a jacket.

Yet in Baton Rouge, they were bundled up more than they were here.

On January 12, 2017, the high in Baton Rouge was a ridiculous 27 Celsius (82 on the stupid scale).

One of my high school classmates, Steve Caparotta, is a meteorologist for the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge. On his Facebook page, he asked whether those in “Red Stick” preferred hot or cold.

Most said they liked it hot.

What is wrong with those people? Do they not realize it is WINTER, even if it is at a subtropical latitude?

To me, any winter temperature above 7 Celsius (45 on the stupid scale) is too hot. And don’t get me started on it being that ridiculously hot in January.

Those who like it so hot in January need to move to Rio de Janeiro or other equatorial climates. That way they can have it hot and humid for 12 months a year.

I don’t know how ANYONE likes living in hot and humid weather 12 months a year. I wouldn’t last 12 minutes in Brazil. Or any other climate between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

I hate hot weather. I really hate it. I despise going outside in the summer when it’s so hot you can fry eggs on the sidewalk. In western Kansas, it’s really bad when the wind starts blowing. You might as well stick your head inside an oven.

Do these people who love the heat not realize you can layer up in the cold, but in the heat, you can’t strip down to your birthday suit? I lived in the damn heat and humidity of Louisiana for 29 years. It’s one of the many, many, many things about the Bayou State I do not miss one bit, and the main reason I would never, EVER consider moving back.

To me, Kansas is way too hot as it is. The only reason I would not live in Alaska is because it’s isolated, but if I had my druthers, here are the states I would most like to live in:

  1. Maine
  2. North Dakota
  3. Wyoming
  4. South Dakota
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Vermont (I don’t care if Bernie Sanders is a Senator)

My least favorite:

  1. Florida (if you couldn’t have guessed that, you don’t know me)
  2. Arizona (I love you, Raymie, but it would take a heck of a lot for me to live there)
  3. Louisiana (how did I live there for so long? And I will never forgive my dad for marrying a New Orleans native)
  4. Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina all tied
  5. Arkansas EXCEPT the northwest corner
  6. Texas EXCEPT the panhandle

I feel very, very, VERY sorry for those who are going to be living long after I pass away. They’re going to have to deal with the severe consequences of global warming. It’s bad enough now. I can’t imagine what it will be like at the beginning of the 22nd century.

I cower in fear for the summers in Kansas. I’m seriously considering adopting a new sleep/wake pattern for days when I don’t have anything going, and that’s to sleep during the day and not do anything until after sunset. That would have to be altered on days I have appointments and want to do things out of town, but maybe it’s worth looking into.

At least I have two, maybe three, months of good weather still ahead. Then there’s tornado season, then the summer. Kansas sucks.

Louisiana comes to Kansas City

If you’re in Kansas City today, I have two words for you: AIR CONDITIONING. And lots of it.

There is an excessive heat warning in effect for the Kansas City area, which extends south on Interstate 49 to the Arkansas state line, and then into Kansas and Oklahoma. There is a heat advisory as far west as Salina and far east as Columbia. Summer is here in case you didn’t know it. Yes, summer does not officially start until Wednesday, but it was here on Memorial Day, and it is now unleashing its fully fury. 

The heat indicies they’re talking about in Kansas City today are common in Louisiana this time of year. Yes, I realize Kansas City gets hot and the humidity is worse than it is in Russell and points west, but this is oppressive. I hate to think how bad it gets in St. Louis. 

It stormed again last night. I went to bed a few minutes after midnight, just when it was getting cranked up. It didn’t prevent me from falling asleep. I finally got up at 9–there was no reason to really get up early–and made my way to Buffalo Wild Wings for a Saturday of trivia. I’ll eventually cross Barry Road and go to Minsky’s, where I went for an hour and a half yesterday. I was looking to go back in the evening, but when I went at 7, the parking lot was completely full. So I went back to Buffalo Wild Wings and played more trivia with Robb and Dawn, leaving at 8:30. 

I ate lunch with Peggy and Caitlyn yesterday at Yard House in the Legends shopping plaza, where the Kansas Speedway and Children’s Mercy Park, home of Sporting KC of Major League Soccer, are located. I really wanted to go for a steak or a big piece of fish, but I opted to just get the sashimi. Peggy paid, and I didn’t want to take advantage of her generosity. I hadn’t seen either of them since early May, and this was the first extended time I spent with them since the end of the basketball season in late February. 

The U.S. Open gollf tournmaent is in the thrid round in Wisconsin. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day all missed the cut. Jordan Spieth is well off the lead. Phil Mickelson didn’t even play, choosing to attend his daughter’s high school graduation in San Diego. Eldrick Woods? WHO CARES? Rickie Fowler is the biggest name in contention, trailing by one stroke at 8-under. He shot 71 yesterday after a 65 Thursday, which tied for the best opening round in U.S. Open history. 

Johnson will not be able to repeat as U.S. Open champion. It hasn’t been done since Curtis Strange did it in 1988 and ’89. This is the second consecutive major in which the defending champion has missed the cut; it happened to Danny Willett at The Masters. Willett has basically fallen off the face of the earth since winning at Augusta National 14 months ago. Sergio Garcia made the cut, but he’s probably too far back to make a run. 

People have complained about Erin Hills, the course hosting the tournament for the first time. Many do not like new courses thrown into the mix of the traditional sites, which include Oakmont, Winged Foot, Shinnecock Hills, Baltusrol, Pebble Beach, Congressional, Lower Merion and Bethpage Black. Those players may have a point.
The College World Series starts in one hour. Cal State Fullerton and Oregon State, which has won 21 consecutive games and is the top ranked team in every poll, as well as the #1 national seed, open the festivities in Omaha. Then it’s LSU and Florida State at 7.  LSU is aiming for its seventh national championship and its second under Paul Mainieri, who led the Bayou Bengals to the title in 2009 at Rosenblatt Stadium, the penultimate year the CWS was played there. It moved to TD Ameritrade Park in downtown Omaha in 2011. LSU has not fared well there, going 1-4 in two appearances, including an 0-2 trip (coloquially referred to as “Two and Barbecue” in college baseball lingo) in 2013 when LSU entered 57-9 and the #1 national seed. 

I went to Omaha in 1998 and 2003. Great experiences, but I am not big on the crowds. I certainly do not want to be in the heat, and not in the general admission seats in the outfield, where if you leave your seat, you might as well leave the park, because someone will swipe it. General admission seating is a terrible idea for college and professional sports. TERRIBLE. The NCAA should outlaw that for the CWS and other Division I events. 

LSU has won 15 consecutive games, and is 21-2 since I saw the series at Kentucky. Bill Franques, who is attending his 16th CWS as LSU’s baseball publicity director, told me as we departed April 23 he didn’t see LSU making it to Omaha, and he was worried LSU would have to travel for a REGIONAL. LSU has played in a regional away from Baton Rouge only once since 1990, in 2010 at UCLA, when it lost twice to UC Irvine. LSU did not make the NCAA tournament in 2006, 2007 and 2011. 

LSU’s prospects in a road super regional would have been very iffy, considering it is 1-6 all-time in super regionals away from Alex Box Stadium (old and new): 0-2 at Alabama in 1999, 1-2 at Tulane in 2001, and 0-2 at Rice in 2002. The 2002 super regional saw LSU get shut out in both games, the only time that’s happened. 

The other bracket tomorrow has Louisville playing Texas A&M and Florida battling TCU. TCU beat LSU twice in the 2015 CWS. The Horned Frogs are in Omaha for the fourth consecutive year under former Tulane assistant Jim Schlossnagle, doing something LSU has never done. LSU made it three straight years from 1989-91 and again from 1996-98, but never four. 

UGH. Some employee at Buffalo Wild Wings is playing nothing but horrendous hip-hop. I’m already getting nauseous. 


I wish I could hit the reset button and start 2017 over. For the most part, it has been very, very bad. 

Yes, Alabama lost to Clemson Monday in the college football national championship game. Other than that, and two trips to Norton, this year is off to a putrid start. 

And it will get even worse this weekend, if that’s possible.

An epic ice storm, known as Winter Storm Jupiter if you’re a Weather Channel fanatic, is heading to Kansas. The worst ice, one inch or more, is expected between Hays and Junction City on I-70. 

That includes Russell. 


I hate sitting in my house in the middle of nowhere on a good day. On a day without power? I will be beyond miserable. BEYOND. FREAKING. MISERABLE. 

Not to mention my CPAP machine won’t operate. I’m okay as far as writing since the battery for my iPad will be charged, but the sleep will be hard to come by. Yikes. 

Kansas City looks good right now, but it might have the same problem. But I would be betting a hotel would not have the same problems as a rural residence. 

I wish it were zero degrees Faherenheit right now. That way the precipitation would fall only as snow. Right now, I would take two feet of snow. At least the power would not go out. 

This might be the most costly natural disaster in Kansas history. Forget the Topeka tornado of 1966. Forget Greensburg 2007. Forget Andover 1991. Forget Udall, Heston and Chapman, which all got smashed by tornadoes. This will be worse. Much worse. 

St. Louis is hell to live in on a good day, but right now, I can only imagine. The ice has arrived in the Gateway City, and with all those elevated bridges across the Mississippi, I’m sure it’s fun out there. NOT. 

The Chiefs and Steelers won’t play Sunday until 7:20 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for 12:05, but this afternoon at 2, the NFL announced the game was moving to the evening. The ice storm is supposed to exit Kansas City late Sunday morning, and the later start gives MoDOT time to clear the roads leading into the stadium and the Chiefs time to clear the parking lots and seating areas. 

It won’t be a problem getting back from Norton tonight. Tomorrow night might be the start of 72 hours of pure hell. The only thing which would be worse would be having a long power outage in the summer, but at least you could drive away immediately. 


A little more than an hour ago, the earth moved over the heart of the United States.

A 5.6 earthquake was recorded near Stillwater, home of Oklahoma State University. I saw several reports on Twitter a few minutes after the quake struck at 7:04 a.m. that people in Kansas felt it. I didn’t feel anything in the basement of the house in Russell. My mother was upstairs and said she heard it, but didn’t feel it.

There’s always been talk of a calamitous earthquake striking along the New Madrid fault, located along the Mississippi River between Memphis and St. Louis, but it’s never happened. There have been several quakes to hit Kansas and Oklahoma recently, but this is the strongest, measuring 5.6 on seismological scales.

Earlier this week marked the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The only good thing about hurricanes is you have time to get out of the way, and with forecasting becoming increasingly accurate, there is more time to get out and save yourself and as much as you can jam into your car.

Tornadoes are a lot less predictable, but with modern radar, there is enough time to get to a safe place, as long as you’re not in a car. It’s amazing the monster tornado in Greensburg in 2007 killed 12. If it had struck 10-15 years prior, the death toll would have been in triple digits. And how many more would have died in Alabama and/or Joplin in 2011?

Earthquakes? NO warning whatsoever. Just look at what happened during the Loma Prieta quake in October 1989. Over 60,000 fans jamming into Candlestick Park for game 3 of the World Series between the Athletics and Giants. Game is only a few minutes away, and then BOOM! Al Michaels and Tim McCarver were handling the pregame for ABC when it struck.

I doubt a severe quake would ever be center over northwest Kansas, but there could one day be a strong one (7.0 or greater) which could be felt and do some damage.

It’s the first Saturday of the college football season. As much as I like watching LSU, I’m glad I’m not in Baton Rouge anymore. Game days there were insane. About as bad as it gets in Kansas is traffic on Interstate 70 when Kansas State plays. You can always find a long line of cars streaming west between Topeka and the Manhattan exit. KU games? Not so much.

Ending a long silence, take 32

I haven’t posted anything in too long. I had something terrible happen to me the afternoon of August 10, about five hours after I arrived at home following my latest trip to Kansas City. The drive from Kansas City to Russell was smooth, but after that, my life descended into deep hell.

I cried almost all throughout my session with Crista the next day. My eyes were red as, ironically, I stopped in at Dr. Jones’ office to pick up my contact lenses and get a pair of reading glasses, because I’ve been having trouble seeing small print up close. The reading glasses have helped, but I still made an appointment for this coming Thursday, the 25th, to check out my prescription.

I went off my sleep machine for a couple of nights. I was going to go off my meds, too, but Dr. Custer kicked my tail a bit when I saw her the day after my appointment with Crista. I agreed for her to go back on my meds and sleep machine.

Now I have a problem with the sleep machine. Not the machine itself, but the mask. There are way too many straps to keep up with. I am seriously considering a full face mask. The nasal mask is nice, but I might feel better with a different one. My health insurance will pay for it.

I had another session with Crista this past Wednesday. Told her I’m scared about what might be coming, but she also told me that I needed to see Catilyn play her first match on the 30th. Norton’s home playing Hill City and Ellis, which is good for me, since I will get to see someone else I don’t see enough, Linda Nighswonger, who coaches the Ringnecks. I also need to see Peggy, obviously.

Dawn Amos’ birthday was last Sunday. I feel bad I couldn’t go to Kansas City to see her. I promised Robb I would come back soon, hopefully next week. I can’t go Thursday due to my appointments, but Tuesday is a possibility. I won’t be able to on Tuesdays until late October if I want to see Caitlyn play.

Speaking of birthdays, a very important one is next Friday. I’ll explain in an upcoming post.

I’ve been watching The O.C. way too much. Today is a very good day to be watching, as the man who gave us Sandy Cohen, Peter Gallagher, turns 61. He looks fabulous. Hard to believe yesterday marked the 27th anniversary of the nationwide premiere of Sex. Lies and Videotape, which starred Gallagher, Andie MacDowell, Laura San Giacomo and James Spader. The movie was shot in Baton Rouge in late 1988, a year after another film, Everybody’s All-American, was filmed in Louisiana’s capital.

Today, Baton Rouge is a real-life horror movie. Most of the city and surrounding area is reeling from devastating floods which have left 13 dead and tens of thousands homeless. It will go down as one of the worst non-hurricane natural disasters in Louisiana’s history.

Livingston Parish, east of Baton Rouge along Interstate 12, was hit much worse than the big city. Denham Springs, the largest community in Livingston, was swamped. Schools in Denham Springs won’t open until at least late September, and Denham Springs High may be closed until mid-October. I once covered a basketball game there. The hometown Yellow Jackets bombed Baton Rouge Catholic 85-59, shooting 60 percent from the field.

Another place I’m familiar with which was badly flooded was St. Amant, a tight-knit community in southeastern Ascension Parish, about 40 minutes south of where I used to live in Baton Rouge. I saw an aerial photo of St. Amant High, and it was completely underwater. The Pit, the football stadium at St. Amant Primary, fared no better. I spent many a Friday night at The Pit, including one where O. Perry Walker of New Orleans gained 707 yards and LOST. Twenty-one penalties for 182 yards and a defense which gave up 51 points will do that.

I am sick and tired of the Olympics. SICK AND TIRED. Come Monday morning, the world will be a better place. No more Olympics until the 2018 Winter Games, and no more summer crap until 2020. And hopefully Ryan Lochte and his pals will never be heard from again.