Thursday, November 29, 2007
I have no earthly damn idea if any of this is true.
The President of the Board of Trustees of the UA system said , in an interview with the local paper, that the salaries of these coaches were out of control and that maybe the NCAA should impose a ceiling.
Stop us before we kill again.
He also said something along the lines of " Some of this money (paid to coaches) could be used for education."
What put that damn fool notion in Stanley Reed's head anyway? The notion that the athletic program has anything to do with the higher academic mission of the school, that is.
This entire transaction was handled badly. This was an exceptionally ugly divorce. But the Internet message board nerds that stupidly think that they were instrumental in running Nutt off are in for a rude surprise. The upside with Nutt at Ole Miss is way high. Way high being 7 wins a year. He will get that done at Ole Miss.
And he will be back, Internet message board boys. He will be back and he will be in your face. And there is nothing you can do about it. Not that your voices ever much counted for a whole lot in the first place.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Of course, this completely ignores the fact that if all of a sudden there was a bunch of action on the Arkansas game, the bets would be taken off, seeing as how Arkansas was unranked and playing in Red Stick.
But as we know, some sports fans live in a parallel universe where the facts don't matter too much.
This year's stranger was a strapping young man running down Kavanaugh wearing a buzz cut and warmups with "United States Marine Corps" emblazoned upon them. He pointed at the Tulane logo on my hoodie as he approached.
" Good Morning, Sir!" he called out in his bass voice. "Roll Wave!"
" Happy Thanksgiving, son," I called back. It occurred to me that I'm old enough now to address men in their twenties as "son." " Happy Thanksgiving and good luck!"
" Happy Thanksgiving to you, Sir!" he replied as he motored on down the street listening to his IPod.
That kid had muscles in his teeth. I pity the fool that tries to take him on in a straight up fight.
When I got back home, I noticed a text message on my phone.
"Today is Thanksgiving," it said. " I want you to know that I am grateful to have you in my life."
The sender is a friend of mine who lost her daughter to suicide last summer and who has been pretty much incommunicado for the last 5 months or so. I take this to be a positive sign that she is returning to the land of the living.
I had Thanksgiving lunch with Mother at the nursing home. We were joined by Mr. Riley Hunter who lives across the hall from her along with his son-in-law Bill. Mr. Hunter is frail but he's still pretty sharp. Mother, unfortunately, is virtually incoherent at this stage of the disease process. Words leave her in mid-sentence. To complicate matters, we suspect that the Parkinson's is into her vocal cords a little now because her vocal production is very poor. Her volume is just above a whisper.
I just smile and nod and tell her that I am sorry but that I don't understand her.
She waves the back of her hand at me and says, " Never mind." She can say that and she is forced to say it a lot.
After he was through eating, Mr. Hunter turned his back to the table so he could look at the football game on the TV behind us.
Bill tilted his head toward his father-in-law, " You're looking at some American history there, boy."
" Really. How so?" I asked.
" Riley was one of the boys that took the beach at Omaha." he replied. " Never could bring himself to talk about it until 50 years later."
" Fifty years, I'm tellin' ya."
" My dad was a Seebee," I said. " Went ashore with the Marines at Iwo Jima."
" Oh God, that was even worse," Bill said." Those Japanese.......I mean, the Germans were no fun but the Japanese were just, they were just vicious." He closed his eyes and shuddered.
" Dad never talked about it either."
" It was too hard. Too hard." Mother said. She was as clear as a bell.
There was silence at the table. I noticed tears in her eyes.
" I'm sure it was ma'am." Bill said. " I know it was."
It is a good thing to remember always that there are heroes in our midst. I was surrounded by them on Thanksgiving from that big son-of-a-bitch loping down Kavanaugh in his Marine Corps drag to guys like Mr. Hunter who, along with my father, went and did their duty and kept their mouths shut about it afterwards.
And let's not forget people like my Mother for whom every day is a struggle to retain basic human dignity. Thank God she is in a place where she is truly well cared for. Some people at her station in life can't make that claim.
When I got back home I sent a text back to my friend.
" I want to see you soon," I wrote.
" I would like that very much," she replied.
Welcome back, Sweetheart. I'm glad you decided to stay with us.
Talk about a hero.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I love the Internet. After the Razorback's 50-48 triple overtime victory over LSU in Baton Rouge yesterday, I couldn't wait for the rosy fingers of dawn to spread over my little house this morning. First thing I did was brew a big of coffee. The next thing I did was jump online to read the New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Baton Rouge Advocate. As you might expect, the Tiger faithful are high pissed. Or,as one poster put it on the Times-Pic's blog about the game, "Let the meltdown begin."
Oh, the huMANity.
There is a reason we watch the games: Just when you think you have seen it all, something else happens sometime down the road to top it all. I was in War Memorial Stadium with my brother John in 2002 when rag armed quarterback Matt Jones somehow took the Razorbacks 50 yards in the final minute and beat LSU with a desperation heave to the end zone as the clock expired. It happened right in front of my face. It was the damnedest thing I have ever seen.
At least it was until last night. Last night's game was one for the ages in which an unranked Razorback team with 4 conference losses largely due to a leaky defensive backfield went toe-to-toe with the #1 team and stopped them on the last play of the game. Much will be written about last night by writers far gifted than I. And Wally Hall will undoubtedly write more about it as well although even he will be hard pressed to top the observation in today's column that the Razorbacks' Darren McFadden "ran the WildHog (an offensive formation in which McFadden lines up in the shotgun instead of the quarterback) like it was designed for him."
Umm, it was designed for him actually. But I don't want to talk about Wally. I want to talk about whether winning a game of almost mythic proportions on national television is enough to save Houston Nutt's job.
As I have stated before, I am agnostic about the Razorbacks and this agnosticism extends unto Houston Nutt. I really don't much care one way or another. I concede that 3 of the 4 conference losses were complete gag jobs (it is no sin to get whacked in Knoxville). These losses were hard to contemplate given a backfield that included the #3 rusher in SEC history plus two other guys who will play on Sunday. And Houston Nutt, for all of his virtues, has a tendency toward whininess and petulance when confronted with adversity, much of which was his own doing over the last two seasons, that is unattractive and tedious in equal measure.
But let's put this in perspective. First of all, this was a crazy year in college football. To Nutt's credit of those 4 losses hung on the Razorbacks this year, none of them were at the hands of a Louisiana-Monroe or Appalachian State, which Alabama and Michigan sure can't claim. Secondly, 8-4 ain't too shabby given the murderous conference schedule. Besides, Nutt had some bad luck handed to him when virtually his entire receiving core including All-American Marcus Monk went down with injuries. It's hard to throw the ball if there's nobody that can get open and catch it.
Nutt is open to justifiable criticism over the debacle involving the exodus of the players from Springdale. But likewise he has reopened the pipeline to Little Rock where he grew up. The Razorbacks have never been much good without players from Central Arkansas. Indeed, the "501 boys", so-named for the tattoos of Little Rock's area code the guys from here put on their biceps, were largely responsible for the Hogs' recent success. This would include the aforementioned Mr. McFadden who played for Pulaski Oak Grove. And not that anybody much cares, but Nutt's players tend to perform no worse in the classroom than players at other schools. Granted it's a low bar. And nobody much cares.
Finally, when I was at the Mississippi State game a week ago, I heard people chanting "Dead Man Walking" when Houston Nutt took the field with the team. That's just wrong. The Nutt family has meant too much to athletics in Central Arkansas for him to be treated that way, especially here in Little Rock.
Now I really am agnostic on this subject. But I also want to suggest that given the virulence of the haters that tend to frequent the message boards out there and/or file FOIA requests in search of embarrassing material, Arkansas's fans are getting something of a reputation for being full-blown batshit crazy. This might make it hard to recruit a so-called "big name" coach. Secondly, things could get worse if Houston Nutt leaves. They really could. Ask Ole Miss. Ask Texas A&M. Ask Nebraska. Bet David Cutcliffe looks pretty good to the Rebels fans right now.
Now this may already be a "done deal." Perhaps the marriage can't be saved. I hear that Mike Markuson, the offensive line coach is leaving for Notre Dame. Maybe this portends much. Maybe not.
Not everybody could pull off a game like last night. And the Razorbacks got him. At least as of this writing.
As for me, Lord now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace. For mine little eyes finally have seen it all. And it happened last night and it happened at LSU.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Here are some pictures from yesterday at the Arkansas-Mississippi State game. It was a beautiful day at old War Memorial Stadium. The Hogs tried their best to gag it away as per usual but held on to win in what is probably head coach Houston Nutt's final time to run through the big "A" in his hometown of Little Rock.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
God knows I am not a saint by any stretch of the imagination. My character flaws are deep and they are deep and they are as wide as the River Nile. But I think I have earned a certain reputation in this town for charity and good works, particularly with children. God also knows that I am a sucker for a hard luck story. I am not afraid to get my hands dirty to help out another soul who is having a rough time of it.
But I refuse to be panhandled.
There are two theories on how to handle this. One is the high-minded approach taken by the senior pastor at my church. He tends to give money when asked as he figures that if they are lying about why they need it, that's between them and God. But that is why he is a Minister of the Gospel while I am me. I have a decidedly darker view of the human condition than does Vic.
I figure that 2/3 of the guys that hit me up on the street are either drunks or just outright grifters. Indeed, about this time last year LRPD arrested a bunch of guys out of Dallas that turned up here to ply their trade. Turns out that they were actors pretending to be street people. I am convinced that I was hit on by one of the actor types last year. He was a black kid of abut 20. He was pretending to be retarded. I say pretending because upon inspection, he was clearly wearing fake-Jerry Lewisesque-false teeth. And I know some people who are MR. They don't sound as stupid as this kid was acting and they comport themselves with greater dignity besides.
While I adamantly refuse to give money to panhandlers it's not anything I am particularly proud of. A woman approached me out in the River Market the other day and said she "only needed a couple of dollars." I told her that I didn't have any money on me and went about my business. Now, I had plenty of money on me and it certainly wouldn't have hurt me in the slightest if I had shared some of it with her. Besides, I have this feeling, probably erroneous, that a woman is less likely to be lying about what she needs it for than a man would be.
Back to the larger point. I used to offer to buy them food. Not a single one ever took me up on it. I quit that practice when one guy became so angry I thought he was going to try to rob me. Now I just tell them I don't carry money and move on down the street.
I remind myself at those moments that I donate lots of money to legitimate charities that care for the poor. I throw my change in the Salvation Army buckets located outside the stores during the Holiday season even though I view their parking the bell ringers outside the entrances to the stores to be a not-so-subtle-extortionate demand.
But I also remember that Jesus didn't say "even as ye do to the guys that ye trust ye do unto me." Maybe Vic's approach is best. I certainly wouldn't feel like such a heel if I were to hand someone a quarter now and again.
So I ask you Gentle Reader. What do you do when you are approached for money by a stranger on the street? Feel free to leave a comment below. You may post anonymously if you wish.
Random thoughts on Wally and the Razorbacks: It is a beautiful Saturday morning as I sit on my front porch and type this. I will head down to the Stadium in an hour or so to go watch the Razorbacks with my brother John and his kid. It is finally football weather. The air is clear and crisp. I can hear the band practicing down the street at Forest Heights Junior High. Fans festooned in red are walking past me en route to War Memorial.
Depending on who you listen to, Head coach Houston Nutt is done after this season. Reputable sports journalists-read anybody not named Wally Hall-are finally going with this. The rumor has it that Nutt has 3 or 4 jobs lined up. Both Nutt and the University deny all of this. But it seems clear to me that he is histoire even as he prepares the boys for what I anticipate will be an ass-kicking from a vastly improved Mississippi State coached by all around good guy Sylvester Croom.
My first thought that Nutt was indeed probably toast was when Wally Hall, the sports "editor" for the local paper took a cheap shot at Nutt in last Wednesday's column when he said"Nutt is a good soon,dad,brother and most likely a good husband (emphasis supplied). That egregious slur was most likely a not-so-veiled reference to the fact that it was revealed last Winter that Nutt had sent numerous text messages to a woman who was not his wife on his state financed cell phone.
The fact that Wally kinda sorta speculates on the subject of Nutt's fitness as a husband now rather than during the heat of the controversy tells me that Nutt is gone. Wally is too big a chickenshit to pick this kind of fight when he knows that his target will be around to fight back. So I really believe that HDN is not long for the Chair of Football up on the Hill.
But enough of this gay banter. Although the notion of a beer at 11:30 in the morning makes even me queasy, I'm going to go down the Stadium to enjoy tailgating with the fans and enjoy the day. It will be fun.
Or as Wally put it yesterday in his deathless and inimitable style, " Some schools might have more organized tailgating, some might have more eloquent tailgating, but none have more miles for smiles as War Memorial Golf Course affords Razorback fans."
More eloquent tailgating? Wally, being semi-literate fat best, probably meant elegant but no matter. Tailgating out on that golf course beats the hell out of playing golf on it.
There will be miles for smiles too.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I have my doubts that they will replace him with anybody that will come up with comparable results. I also have my doubts that many guys would want to put up with the nutbar fringe element of the Razorback fan base.
We shall see. About many things.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Again, I cannot make this stuff up.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
My own brief exposure to this came from Big Rollo, my intrepid cardiologist. Let me reiterate at this point that there is nothing wrong with me, praise God. It's just that the men in my family tend to cash in their chips at an untimely age. I go see Rollo every other year just to keep an eye on things. So far so good. Anyway, Little Rock Cardiology is virtually paperless. During my last visit, every step of the way: recording vitals, the results from the treadmill and the echo cardiograms, all were turned into "ones and zeroes" and put into a data base.
When Rollo came into the examination room afterwards, he invited me to pull up a chair next to a computer on a desk. "Watch this," he said. And with a push of a button all the data about my cardiovascular system was on the screen. On the top of the screen my EKG was running across like unto a stock ticker tape. On the bottom right was the computer's analysis of the treadmill test, along with height, weight etc. And on the the bottom left of the screen, the YouTube version of my poor little heart could be seen banging away for all it was worth.
"Is this not cool?" he said. " And let's say you move or you fire me as your cardiologist. With another push of the button all of this data in your virtual file goes with you in the blink of an eye. 100% secure and nothing gets lost. Do you have any idea how much medical information used to just get friggin' lost in transit the old way? Plus, not just anybody has access to your file anymore. This sure makes my job a hell of a lot easier."
Rollo was clearly pleased with their new toys at the Clinic. And I had to say that it was pretty amazing. And I am a person who is not easily amazed by technology. OK. I was amazed by PM's I-Touch. But it takes a lot to cause my jaw to drop.
What is amazing is that my brother, and other people in his line of work, will be selling, in addition to the hardware, space in the ether, a thing that does not tangibly exist in this, the tactile world. And he will be making a hell of a lot of money doing it too.
If you think about it, our money has been pretty much reduced to data as well. When I was in law school, I studied banking law and the Uniform Commercial Code version of what the old timers called "bills and notes." In that class, we learned such arcana about the Federal Reserve System (And no, we weren't taught that it was run by a Jewish conspiracy) and the law of what we quaintly referred to back then as "commercial paper." We learned how checks ran through the Federal Reserve system. We learned about "presentment" and what constituted a "holder in due course." I don't even know if they teach "commercial paper" anymore.
Of course, back in the day, and predictably using this newly acquired knowledge about the banking system for evil, my buddy Don created an elaborate float system involving 4 banks in 3 states. At the end of every month he would just start floating checks all over the Southeast until his Dad put money in his account. He once drew it out for me on a legal pad. It was a thing of beauty. Of course, Don's goals with this "scheme or device" as the prosecutor's call it was nothing more sinister than insuring sure he could buy whiskey and cigarettes at the KB at the end of the month while technically insolvent. Since then, I've seen schemes not much more sophisticated than Don's involving considerably more money.
That float system would harder to pull off nowadays because money is now mostly data. And data moves faster than the United States Mail. There are systems in place in most banks nowadays that are supposed to detect whenever somebody tries to "churn" an account. Think about it. I pay most of my bills,the ones I choose to pay that is, from my computer. All of my savings are automatically deducted from my paycheck, as are all of the wage assignments for my judgment creditors. And somebody, somewhere, is buying and selling the space in the ether to store all these "ones and zeroes."
Guys like my brother John who are laughing all of the way to what used to be the bank.
Friday, November 09, 2007
tmfw: I just hope Eddie doesn't show up with a gun tomorrow.
JR: That won't happen. Eddie's too big a redneck.
tmfw: How in the hell is Eddie being a redneck supposed to make me feel better about my chances for not getting shot?
JR: Simple. He fucks up and shoots you then he'll get arrested. If he gets arrested, he'll miss the start of deer season on Saturday.
Like I said, oddly enough I feel better.
You know, at this point it would be cheaper for the US government to just go ahead and make the New Orleans area a protectorate along the order of, say, Guam. It couldn't be make running the damn place any more complicated than it already is and the rest of the State would be glad to be shed of it.
Just a suggestion.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
In an interesting twist, some of these "ministers" also serve on the Board of Trustees of Oral Roberts University which is also undergoing scrutiny along with Oral's son Richard and his wife.
This should prove to be great fun and it coudn't happen to a more deserving bunch of people.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Let's see him try to set one of those up in Alabama.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
You can see some recent pictures of the little guys in action on our sister station strangepup which you can like to from the "Society of Friends" located on the lower right hand section of this page.
Hope to see you on Saturday! If you can't come, send money!