Rambling on at March’s midpoint

Yes, I succumbed to my craving for IHOP’s Swedish crepes last night for dinner. I nearly regretted it.

I left Buffalo Wild Wings at 1730 and immediately got my breakfast for dinner. But I admit I got a little greedy…I added an order of the Nutella crepes and hash browns to my Thursday night/Friday morning order.

I ate all the Nutella crepes, the hash browns, and I started on the Swedish. I also finished half a can of Lay’s Stax plus a small bag of popcorn.

I watched two movies and three episodes of Law & Order: SVU before going to bed. I was starting to fade during the episode which aired on NBC, so I’ll probably watch it again before I leave Kansas City.

At 0400, my gluttony caught up with me. Indigestion. Bad.

I managed to get a little more sleep before I woke up for good at 0610. Some Extra Strength Alka Seltzer helped, and I ate my crepes for breakfast.

God I might wear out the iHOP in Hays when I go back west. Or both in Salina when I’m traveling there.

I was able to order wings from Buffalo Wild Wings today. However, the fish sandwich it is offering during Lent was outstanding. Larry had it when I met him yesterday to play trivia and he liked it, so I said what the heck. Excellent. I’m not a huge fan of beer-battered fish, but B-Dubs doesn’t bury the fish in batter like Long John Silver’s.

FYI, LJS gave me the terrible heartburn in Hutchinson during Norton’s game with Royal Valley last Friday. Never again. However, I don’t foresee myself in Hays in a situation where I would need to eat on a Lenten Friday again this year. Either I’ll be in Russell or somewhere which has more options.

Why am I eating LJS? Come on, I lived in Louisiana for almost 29 years. It’s the same as a chef at Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris eating truck stop steak.

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Huddersfield Town is almost out of the Premier League. Fulham will be joining them. The third relegation spot is up for grabs, with Cardiff City, Burnley, Southampton, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Brighton and Hove Albion, and West Ham not entirely safe.

Liverpool and Manchester City have separated themselves in the title chase. The next four–Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea–are battling for spots in the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues.

Wolverhampton is having a great first season back in the Premier League after being in the Championship for six seasons. Watford is in good form and could finish in the top half. Bournemouth is somehow afloat despite playing in that bandbox stadium. Everton is again a disappointment. No reason it cannot challenge the “Big Six”.

As for Leicester, another mid-table finish is coming down the pike in the East Midlands. It’s been a very hard year at the KP; Leicester’s owner perished in a helicopter crash on the stadium grounds following a match earlier this season, and recently, manager Claude Puel was sacked.

Yes, the expectations for the Foxes have been through the roof since the miracle championship of 2015-16. On the other hand, Leicester doesn’t have the resources nor the deep top-flight tradition of the Big Six. Considering the Foxes were all but relegated at Christmas 2014, to not be in the relegation scrap after Christmas the last two seasons is pretty good.

There will be no new faces in the Premier League for 2019-20. The current top two, Derby County and Sheffield United, have been there before, as are closest pursuers Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.

Major League Soccer started its season earlier this month. Sporting Kansas City or any other team could lose every game and end with zero points–that’s nearly impossible–but would stay in the top flight. That’s why I don’t watch MLS, among other reasons.

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I wonder if the Vatican knows St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis will play fo rite Atlantic 10 Conference tournament championship tomorrow, with the winner going to the NCAA tournament. Two fine Catholic institutions battling it out, although I am partial to the fellows from Olean, New York. I am still peeved Saint Louis once employed the late Rick Majerus, who, despite being Roman Catholic, opposed the church’s teachings on many issues, including abortion. I’ll leave it at that. Majerus was a heck of a coach, as evidenced by his success at Ball State and Utah, but his personal life was odd to say the least.

St. Bonaventure made the Final Four in 1970, but lost the best player to ever wear the brown and white of the Bonnies (formerly Brown Indians), Bob Lanier, during the East regional. The Bonnies were mortally wounded when they got to College Park for the Final Four, and were no match for Jacksonville and Artis Gilmore. Gilmore’s Dolphins then lost to UCLA, which was in the two-year interregnum between Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. The Bruins still won titles both years, and would extend their streak to seven before losing to David Thompson, 7-4 Tom Burleson and North Carolina State in the 1974 semis.

There is a debate as to the exact location of St. Bonaventure. I’ve always thought the school was in Olean, but the postal address is St. Bonaventure, New York, and others refer to the borough of Allegeny in Cattaraugus County, New York, southeast of Buffalo. I’ll stick to Olean, since it’s easier to find on a map than the other locales.

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Kentucky blew it. Lost 82-78 to Tennessee, so the Volunteers play Auburn tomorrow in the SEC tournament final. I cannot stand Auburn these days because of a jerk fan from Baton Rouge I knew when I lived there. I am not an Alabama fan in any way, but knowing he’s miserable when the Crimson Tide beat Auburn makes me feel a little better.

Speaking of Alabama, LSU is not a rival of the Crimson Tide. NOT. A. RIVAL. LSU’s rival is now Texas A&M, and that’s that.

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I just played Andy Gibb’s “Everlasting Love” on the jukebox at Buffalo Wild Wings. God, why did you need drugs to make you happy, Andy? If you were still alive today, you and Barry could be touring and raking in $$$$$$ as the new Bee Gees. Instead, poor Barry is all alone. Andy died 31 years ago this month. Maurice and Robin left the realm of the mortal earlier this millennium.

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Okay what have I not discussed? Trump’s emergency declaration? Well, that will have to wait–if I comment on it at all.

Awesomely crepe-y

Eighteen hours ago, I had never tried the Swedish crepes from iHOP.

Now I’m craving them worse than a pregnant lady craves ice cream and pickles.

While I was on the barstool at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek last night, I decided to order pickup from iHOP in Liberty so I could have breakfast in the morning. I figured I’d put them in the fridge in the hotel room then warm them for 90 seconds in the morning.

After getting lost on my way to the restaurant, I decided I couldn’t wait until morning. I tried one.

Wow. I have a new favorite iHOP dish, and one of my favorite restaurant items anywhere, right along with any steak from Outback, the Jumbo Combo pizza from Minsky’s, the Veggie 7 pizza at Old Chicago, the brisket and corn grits at T.J. Ribs in Baton Rouge, the charbroiled oysters at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans and Baton Rouge…you get the idea.

Thank God I got two orders. Breakfast was great. Now I want to go back and get some for late tonight and tomorrow morning.

The best thing about the Swedish crepes is they are meatless, meaning I can eat them on Lenten Fridays. If I happen to go to Columbia next month, I guess I’m going there at some point.

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LSU’s basketball saga is over, at least as far as playing in the SEC tournament. The Bayou Bengals, the SEC regular season champion, lost 76-73 to Florida when the Gators, coached by New Orleans native Mike White, hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left.

LSU is a lock for the NCAA tournament, but with so much controversy surrounding Will Wade and the wiretap which revealed his willing to do anything to sign Javonte Smart, the three-time Louisiana high school player of the year from Scotlandville in north Baton Rouge, what can LSU reasonably expect?

I don’t think my alma mater will last past the first weekend. I hope I’m wrong, but I see trouble.

Kansas City is now overrun with Iowa State fans in town for the Big 12 tournament. The Cyclones play Kansas State at 1800, followed by Kansas vs. West Virginia, which finished last during the regular season but is still alive thanks to wins over Oklahoma and regular season co-champion Texas Tech.

Honestly, I only know what’s going on because I’m at Buffalo Wild Wings. If I were back in the basement in Russell, I would probably not watch.

I won’t watch the selection show Sunday. I can wait until the bracket comes out.

I usually don’t watch the NBA, but with the Bucks heading for the top seed in the East, will I have to?

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The Chiefs are big news this week with the start of the NFL’s business year. Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Eric Berry are gone. Tyrann “Honey Badger” Matthieu is in. Kansas City needs to restructure its defense, but right now, it looks like it will try to win every game 41-38 with Mahomes.

The Saints let Mark Ingram go to the Ravens via free agency. It looks like the Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray first overall after drafting Josh Rosen last year. Great idea, Arizona, to let Murray get beaten up behind an offensive line which is worse than a sieve.

The Cardinals have had a horrendous offensive line since Dan Dierdorf was in his heyday, and that’s when your intrepid blogger was in diapers. Arizona is doing this back-assward, but I can’t help it.

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Swedish crepes at iHOP. Gotta have them again.

Business at Pump 5!

The wind has been HOWLING across Kansas and neighboring states the last two days. A fierce low pressure system brought a blizzard to Colorado and high winds and rain to Kansas. The barometric pressure in Russell at one point yesterday dropped to 977 millibars (28.77 inches), the lowest ever recorded at the Russell airport. That’s lower than most Category 1 hurricanes.

That pressure is nowhere near as low as it is in the center of tornadoes. I believe the pressure in the center of the EF5 monster which struck Greensburg in 2007 was 840-850 millibars. That’s going to cause a hell of a lot of destruction.

I drove to Kansas City this morning and arrived just after 1000. Right now, it’s 4 Celsius (40 Fahrenheit), but the wind and mist makes it feel much colder than a calm day when it’s minus-15 Celsius (8 F).

I stopped for gas at QuikTrip in Parkville. I pulled up to a pump on the back row, behind a van from A.B. May one of the two major HVAC installers in Kansas City. Ironically, a van from his competition, Bob Hamilton Heating and Plumbing, was at a pump to the left.

I was not happy the A.B. May van was parked in front of a red pump, which is for non-ethanol gas. Not all QuikTrip locations have them, and those that have them have only four pumps at most dedicated to non-ethanol. The ones I have noticed with them are State Line and I-435, Parkville, Riverside, I-435 and Parvin Road, and Blue Springs on Highway 7.

In October, I boiled over when I noticed two cars parked in front of non-ethanol pumps on State Line Road, yet the motorists were using the black pumps for the gas with 10% ethanol.

It happened again today with the van from A.B. May, as well as two other motorists. But the A.B. May van really got under my skin.

After pumping my gas, I pulled up to the parking lot in front of the store. When I got out, I noticed there was a man inside the van. He was texting away.

I went into the store and used the restroom. That took 10 minutes, and the A.B. May van was STILL in front of the pump!

You know how some companies have a number to call on the back of the van to report bad driving? I’m tempted to call that number. I’m also tempted to call A.B. May’s main number.

Look, if you have pressing business to conduct while you’re at a gas station, pull up to the front or side of the store and do it. Don’t block the gas pumps.

If this were a station in a crowded part of a big city, it might be a problem because there might be a line for gas. The old Exxon at Lee Circle in New Orleans comes to mind. That place was ALWAYS busy prior to Katrina.

Fortunately, it was not a busy time and Parkville’s QuikTrip is not in a crowded area. It also has a lot of pumps. One of my favorite stops on the circuit.

Otherwise so far so good in Kansas City. Fourth laser hair treatment on my body went well, checked into the hotel, trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek, where I saw one of my favorite bartenders, Tina, for the first time since December 2017. I’m very happy she recognized me.

Mood-altering Monday

My life is over. I got some horrendous news just before 1700. Horrendous. Will make my life a living hell.

Good night.

The least wonderful time of the year

Today is one of the worst days of the year. I could learn that I am coming into millions upon millions of dollars and today would still be terrible.

Why? Daylight savings time took effect in the United States.

I hate DST. HATE IT. Cannot stand it being sunny outside so late into the evening.

This idea that DST saves energy is a bunch of crap. (I promised I would try to stop using nasty language; therefore, I’m not using the word I would like.) If there is energy savings in DST, it is so minuscule one needs an electron microscope to find them.

Tomorrow morning, children in Russell and other communities across Kansas will be going to school in the dark. Why? Just to satisfy stupid Congressmen and Congresswomen who thought this was a great idea in 2005? To satisfy George W. Bush, who signed the stupid bill into law? To satisfy tens of millions misguided Americans who think DST is the bee’s knees, many of whom want full-year DST?

Driving home from Salina after an June evening of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings is horrible. The sun is blinding all the way to Ellsworth, much the same way I often fight the sunrise between Salina and Topeka when I leave for Kansas City early in the morning.

There is a bill in the Kansas legislature which would end DST in the Sunflower State. GOOD. I hope it passes. I hope Governor Laura Kelly signs the bill if it passes, because DST is a raging fraud. If Johnson County is one hour behind the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro in the summer, SO WHAT? The television schedules are not going to change. Government offices and stores could adjust.

Kansas’ time zones are already out of whack. More counties should be on Mountain time than four (Sherman, Wallace, Greeley, Hamilton) which border Colorado. I’ll explain in another post.

Arizona, save for the northeastern corner of the state which is part of the Navajo nation, does not observe DST. In case you’re from Planet Lovetron or some other far away galaxy, Arizona is only slightly less hot than the surface of the sun in the summer. Imagine if the sun were staying up past 2200 on June nights. It would be 45 Celsius (113 Fahernheit) at 2200. Try sleeping with the sun beating down on you.

Some idiot legislators in Florida want to put the state on year-round DST. If that were to happen, most of the state, save for the western panhandle, would be ONE HOUR AHEAD of Eastern time during the summer. This would mean the absurdity of prime time not starting until 2100 in four major media markets: Jacksonville, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Miami and Orlando. Due to Florida’s low latitude, sunrise and sunset times might not be that outrageous, like they are in Colby, Kansas, but still would be way too late.

Florida doesn’t need DST, especially in areas south of Orlando. The length of sunshine per day is less and less the farther south you venture, to the point where it’s negligible in Key West.

Besides, that proposal violates the laws of the United States, which do not allow a state to use year-round DST. A state may exempt itself from DST and use standard time year-round, which is also the case in Hawaii in addition to most of Arizona, but not the other way around.

Enough ranting about DST. Thanks to that, it’s still two hours from full light, and I have to drive from Wichita to Russell. Nice.

What’s in a name?

The girls basketball team of Schlagle High in Kansas City took third place today at the Kansas State High School Activites Association’s state tournament in Emporia.

Schlagle’s nickname is the Stallions. An alliterative nickname, not uncommon for schools in the KCK school district. You also have the Harmon Hawks, Sumne rSabres and Washington Wildcats.

However, why is the GIRLS team from Schlagle nicknamed the Stallions?

A stallion can never, ever be female.

How hard would it be for Schlagle to nickname its female teams the Mares or Fillies?

Iola uses Fillies as the nickname for its girls teams, while using Mustangs for the boys. Not hard.

I understand Schlagle would like to keep the alliteration, but the school is doing its students a huge disservice by using an anatomically incorrect nickname. It’s a school. They are supposed to be educating. And educating people that stallions can be female isn’t right.

Schlagle isn’t the only school in Kansas that leaves me scratching my head over its choice of (a) mascot, (b) colors and/or (c) name.

Exhibit #2: the Catholic high school in the city where I have spent three of the past four days.

Hutchinson Trinity is nicknamed the Celtics. Good nickname for a Catholic school.

Yet Trinity has a terrible color scheme, red and white.

What? Red and white when you’re nicknamed the Celtics? Come on. Green. GREEN. So what if you’re copying the Boston NBA franchise? Green and white scream Celtics. Red and white do not.

The public high school in Hutchinson got it right with Salthawks. Whenever you say Salthawks in Kansas, you know it’s Hutch High. Same with Ringnecks and Hill City. Any school can be Tigers, Eagles, Bears, Lions, Wildcats, Broncos or Trojans. It takes creativity to figure out a unique nickname.

Now, on to the actual name of some schools.

Wednesday evening, I was listening to Thunder Ridge’s girls basketball game against South Central.

I don’t know how the folks in Agra and Kensington came up with Thunder Ridge when they consolidated school districts in 2008, but it is a unique name and a name you would recognize right away if you follow high schools in Kansas enough.

However, South Central? Where the heck is that? It could be anywhere.

For the record, South Central is in Coldwater, the county seat and largest town in Comanche County along the Kansas-Oklahoma state line.

There was a time when there were two high schools in Comanche County, one in Coldwater and the other in Protection. However, the high school in Protection, despite being placed on the National Register of Historical Sites, closed more than a decade ago and is now serving as the middle school for the school district in Comanche County.

Why does USD 300 not call the high school “Comanche County High School”? People could easily look on a map and find Comanche County and where Coldwater is located. However, South Central is very nebulous. Nobody who attends school in Comanche County right now went while Protection High was still open. It’s time to make the change.

If Russell High School were not located in the city of Russell, I would hope it would be called Russell County, because it is the only remaining high school in Russell County.

Another thing I don’t get is why almost all school districts in Kansas are loath to name high schools after people. Kansas City is an exception.

Wichita has eight public high schools, nearly all of which take in a direction on the compass. The original Wichita High is now Wichita East. There’s also North, South, West, Northwest, Southeast and Northeast. The other is Wichita Heights, named for the neighborhood in the northern part of the city.

Olathe has five directional high schools. So does Shawnee Mission. The original Salina High changed its name to Salina Central when Salina South opened in 1971.

Strangely, the original Topeka High did not add a direction when Topeka West opened. Highland Park is named after the neighborhood.

I’m sorry I’m boring you with semantics. Just had to get it off my chest.

To console or not to console

The last day of Kansas’ high school basketball season is upon us. However, it’s all sideshows and consolation games until 1600, when the girls championship games start at six (five too many) sites. The boys games will start at 1815.

I have never been a fan of third place games. Never will be a fan. In Louisiana, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association does not require losers in the semifinals to come back. Kansas, along with Missouri and several other states, do.

The NCAA had a third place game in its men’s tournament from 1946 through 1981. It’s amazing it took 35 years for the NCAA to realize the teams which lost their national semifinals were in no mood to stick around at least 36 more hours to play a meaningless game. The last third place game, Virginia vs. LSU in 1981, was played the same day President Reagan was shot in Washington by John Hinckley Jr. There was serious consideration given to cancelling both the third place and championship (Indiana vs. North Carolina) games, but in the end, the games were played.

If the NCAA had been smart about it, it would have told Virginia and LSU to head for the airport and go home, because the third place game would be cancelled and not played. Then Indiana-North Carolina could be put on hold and postponed to the following day if need be. In the end, it worked out okay, because the president made it through surgery and served two full terms.

To its credit, UCLA won the only third place game it played under John Wooden, defeating Kansas in 1974 after a heartbreaking double overtime loss to North Carolina State, which defeated Marquette for the championship. Two years later, Gene Bartow coached the Bruins to victory in the consolation game against previously undefeated Rutgers. UCLA lost in that year’s semis to Indiana, which completed the last undefeated season in NCAA Division I men’s basketball by defeating Michigan.

I have never heard of a team forfeiting a third place game in Kansas, but I would applaud any coaches who would. It might force the KSHSAA to reassess the worth of third place games.

Basketball isn’t the only sport with a third place game in Kansas. ‘

Volleyball has them, but they go on at the same time as the championship match, which doesn’t add time. I think that’s a big mistake; I would like to see the championship matches played on a center court after completion of the semifinals in both classifications at a site.

Softball usually plays simultaneously on different diamonds. The biggest problems are baseball and soccer, where games can and often do go longer than regulation. Baseball is particularly troubling, since most teams have very few pitchers available due to pitch count limits.

If it were up to me, I would award each team which loses in the semifinals a plaque and medals immediately after that game, and that’s it. If the final day were only two championship games, the KSHSAA could make more money by charging two admissions and spacing the games out by four hours, playing one game at 1300 and one at 1700, alternating between boys and girls early/late each year.

If I were forced to coach in a third place game, I would play the seniors who are graduating and the players who rarely played varsity. The players on the end of the bench have worked just as hard as the starters all season. They deserve the opportunity to shine, if only for one day.

For the varsity starters who were returning the next season, I would play them, but not as much. I would explain it to them as gently as I could. Hopefully they would understand.

I remember Osborne’s girls playing in back-to-back third place games in 2007 and ’08. The Bulldogs won in the former year, and looked impressive in doing so. The next year, their hearts didn’t seem to be into it as much, and they lost.

I’m interested to see how Norton and Nemaha Central handle this. There is a trophy at stake. I don’t want a foul fest, and I don’t want a blowout.

LSU’s men’s basketball program is under serious fire for a wiretapped phone call involving coach Will Wade and the recruitment of Javonte Smart, a Baton Rouge native who is a starting guard on this year’s team. Wade is suspended indefinitely, and Smart will not play tonight vs. Vanderbilt. If the Bayou Bengals win, and they should, since the Commodores are 0-17 in the SEC, LSU will win at least a share of the conference championship and be the number one seed for the SEC tournament. Boy what bad timing, but if Wade indeed committed NCAA violations, he has to man up and pay the piper.

College basketball is corrupt. Yet people keep watching. I’m seriously considering taking a pass on this year’s NCAA tournament. I know I’m not filling out a bracket, that’s for sure.

Norton’s dreams dashed

Norton gave it all it had this afternoon, but Mary Broxterman proved to be too much.

The Royal Valley standout scored 26 points, going 9 of 14 from the field and 8 of 11 from the foul line, to help the Panthers from Hoyt to a 53-44 victory and a berth in tomorrow’s state championship game against Cheney, which leads Nemaha Central by 20 in the final minute of the third quarter.

The Bluejays, who got 16 from Taryn Kuhn and 12 from Hadley Hauser, will face the ladies from Seneca–the birthplace of John Riggins–at noon for third place.

Royal Valley is probably glad to see a new face in the championship game, even if Cheney is the obvious favorite. The Panthers lost twice to Nemaha Central in Big Seven League play during the regular season.

Riggins was born in Seneca because it has the only hospital in Nemaha County. The Diesel grew up in Centralia, a tiny hamlet 12 miles southwest of Seneca.

I’m not a fan of third place games. But I’m not playing in the game. I’m hoping Norton will regroup and come out strong. It deserves to take home something from Hutchinson after a stellar season, one where it had to navigate a difficult Mid-Continent League where Trego has its best team in at least 15 years, maybe ever, and Thomas More Prep is still a tough out even without Kayla Vitztum and other standouts.

I am ambivalent about going. Part of me says stay away because it’s a third place game. Part of me says go because it would be disrespectful to Norton. I stopped covering third place games when I was still going regularly. I missed Russell’s girls playing for third in 3A at Hutchinson in 2013; I had to be in Manhattan to watch Smith Center’s girls play for–and win–the 2A championship vs. Jefferson County North.

The carrot for the third place game is the trophy. The loser of the consolation game doesn’t get one. Now the players will have medals, but other than the sub-state championship plaque, nothing tangible commemorating the trip to state.

Norton won’t hang a banner in the Stull Gymnasium for this one, win or lose. Norton only hangs banners for state champions, a policy I like. Really like. Set the bar very high and challenge the athletes who wear the Norton colors to meet it. And that bar has been met plenty.

There is one school I covered extensively which recognizes just about any trip to a state tournament. Another filled up walls with league championship banners and sub-state championship banners, even if the team was one-and-done at state.

It was not a good day for the Mid-Continent League.

Trego’s girls lost 67-49 to Sterling in 2A, and Thomas More Prep’s boys fell 62-50 to Girard in 3A. No basketball titles for the league this year. Last year, Phillipsburg’s boys reached the 3A final, only to lose 44-42 on a buzzer beater by Halstead.

The Golden Eagles should be a force again next year. Donnie Shubert, who coached Trego’s boys to a state title many moons ago (see below), returns a ton of talent, including his daughter Lili, who was Trego’s leading scorer as a sophomore.

The MCL’s last championship, male or female, was Nick Linn’s Lady Red six years ago. The last MCL boys title? Trego in 2006. TMP won in 4A in 2007, but it was in the old Mid-State Activities Association at that time.

At least the MCL can crow about football championships by Phillipsburg and Smith Center in the fall; Trego’s girls winning cross country, led by individual 2A champion Helen Giefer; Plainville’s Jordan Finnesy winning a wrestling title; and looking forward to what should be good years in track and field and golf.

As I was running a couple of errands in Wichita this evening, an announcer referred to the girls basketball team at Kansas City Schlagle as the Stallions.

Big problem: stallions are always MALE. Schalgle and a couple of other schools perplex me with their choices of nicknames, colors and even school names. I’ll elaborate at some point tomorrow.

The tilapia from Outback was outstanding. Lunch? Not so much. I’m swearing off most fast food seafood forever (not Popeye’s). Why the heck am I eating it in the first place, considering I grew up in the best city in America for seafood?

I have problems in my life, but I could be in Venezuela, where the electricity is out in nearly the entire country, adding more misery to a country where millions are starving, the unemployment rate is 35%, $1 of currency would get you about .00000001 cents American, and the military is blocking all humanitarian aid from Colombia and Brazil.

Maduro is a psychopath, right on par with the fatso running North Korea. Anyone who supports him is also a psychopath. Huey Long was never this bad.

I’m going to try not to think of Maduro as I prepare for bed. There’s much more pleasant stuff to think of.

64 minutes to a title…or 32 to heartbreak

My iPad was off when i dug it out of my bag at the arena in Hutchinson. Not the first time it happened; it did so in January at Kansas City. I was panicked then because I thought it was not working. Turns out I only needed to execute a hard reboot. This time, I knew to do that, and it was back online in seconds.

Yes I am in Hutchinson. Norton takes on Royal Valley in the first Class 3A girls semifinal at 1500. The winner gets the winner of Cheney vs. Nemaha Central at 1830. In between are boys games, Beloit vs. Perry-Lecompton at 1645 and Thomas More Prep vs. Girard at 2015.

I took my SLR camera with me. I haven’t taken photos at a basketball game since Caitlyn’s last game for Norton two years ago. I remember the Bluejays lost by three at Beloit, and Caitlyn missed a tying shot in the final seconds. I hustled out of there to drive to Kansas City. I pulled into the hotel at 0001.

The WiFi provided by Hutchinson Community College is working today. It wasn’t Friday. I have plenty of data with my Verizon plan, but every bit I can save helps. I have never gone over half my allotted data for a month. The most I used was 42% last April, and that was because of the trip to Baton Rouge, since I was using my hotspot while driving.

Peggy isn’t here. She went to Lincoln to watch Caitlyn play beach volleyball for Ottawa in a tournament at Nebraska. Hopefully the courts are climate controlled; it isn’t as cold as it was early this week, but it is chilly enough. It was foggy most of the drive to Hutch today, but the sun is trying to peek out of the clouds.

It’s down to Wichita for me after this. I’ll give my parents a chance to clean the basement and not have to cook tomorrow. I’m planning on being home Sunday by noon. I don’t really have much writing to do this week, only for the teams we have left: Thunder Ridge girls, Osborne boys and Plainville boys, who lost Wednesday to Inman. Thunder Ridge has the Herculean task of facing Central Plains, which has won 109 consecutive games and is going for its sixth consecutive state title, something never done in Kansas before by a boys or girls team.

My high school, Brother Martin, lost in the state semifinals of the diluted Louisiana High School Athletic Association boys playoffs yesterday. This is the third year the LHSAA has held separate playoffs for “non-select” and “select” schools. Non-select is basically all public schools with traditional attendance zones and charter schools which do not have strict admissions requirements, while select schools are private and religious schools, plus those charter schools which have a strict admissions policy.

Scotlandville falls into the very last category. The north Baton Rouge school is a public school, yes, but there is a significant magnet component, forcing the Hornets to battle the likes of Baton Rouge Catholic and members of the New Orleans Catholic League in the state playoffs.

Sure enough, Scotlandville will play St. Augustine, Brother Martin’s archival, for the “Division I select” state championship tomorrow in Lake Charles. Meanwhile, the “Class 5A non-select” championship game is Walker vs. Thibodaux. I’m sure the “non-select” schools of 5A are overjoyed Scotlandville is a select school, because the Hornets have owned Louisiana basketball in recent years.

Lake Charles is not the best place for these games. I have never seen Burton Coliseum, the facility hosting the boys semifinals and finals, but it’s not conveniently located, and there are much better options. The best are the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU, but both of those facilities have logistical problems with the home teams. The NBA has been flexible with teams wishing to allow amateur organizations to use their arenas, but the Southeastern Conference has not, and LSU has not hosted high school title games since 1996.

The same thing exists in the Big 12, a reason why there haven’t been any high school championship games in Lawrence since 1987, and there are none in Manhattan this year.

If Louisiana can’t get either of the showcase arenas, the Cajundome in Lafayette worked very well when it hosted, as much as it pains me to say it. I can’t stand the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but it is a fine facility which is centrally located.

Tip in 30 minutes. Time to go for now.

The sandman always gets his man

So much for getting to bed at a decent hour.

I got home from Salina last night at 2145–not bad. However, I chose to stay up very, very, very late, not going to bed until 0215 the next morning.

Ouch.

I paid for it by not waking up until 1205 today. I kept dozing off through the afternoon.

Thankfully, there were no games I wanted to see today. Norton plays Royal Valley at 1500 tomorrow in Hutchinson in the first 3A girls semi, with the second at 1830 between Cheney and Nemaha Central. The winners play for the title Saturday at 1600, while the losers play the pointless third place game at 1200.

It’s been a very rough week. Luke Perry succumbed to his massive stroke. Alex Trebek revealed he has incurable pancreatic cancer–stage 4–and may not be with us much longer. Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher who won 300 games, struck out more than 3,000 batters and won 3 Cy Young Awards, revealed he has dementia and will not make any more public appearances, including the 50-year reunion of the 1969 Miracle Mets in June.

Add in a president who is making power grab after power grab after criticizing his predecessor for doing exactly the same and demagogue members of Congress advocating white supremacy, anti-Semitisim and unrealistic ideas America can’t afford and many Americans don’t want, and it’s a wonderful life, right?