Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye To All That

At this time of year, writers tend to write about the "Best and Worst" of 2007. I suppose I should do that too, seeing as how one naturally tends to get reflective on the last day of the year. That, and writing such a post will kill an hour. So here we go!

Personal Best for 2007: There were more than one actually. I had a couple of essays published this year in a local magazine that were favorably received if e-mails and voice mails from total strangers were any indication. I got reacquainted with an old friend that I had lost track of over the years. She told me she would have gotten in touch with me sooner after her divorce but she had heard through the grapevine that I was married. I assured her that the rumors of my matrimony were greatly exaggerated. I am glad she has resurfaced even though she thinks the blog is "too windy."

Speaking of the blog, it is interesting where the hits come from. Some of the readers and I have become "friends." I routinely hear from a anesthesiologist in Texas, a entrepreneur in Atlanta and an educator in Alabama. Turns out the Alabama lady used to babysit my friend Judy who I went to see in Chicago of all damn things. Small world, huh?

One of my readers I used to get e-mail from was an exotic dancer who worked in one of the local "Gentlemen's Clubs" around here. She once invited me to come visit her on the job. She told me I wouldn't have to pay her to talk to her or nothin'. I declined just the same. Anyway, I haven't heard from her since she said she was going to try to get a job in sales at a local car dealership.

I hate that.

I helped coach my brother's little T-ball team. That was fun. One of my old musician friends and I started hanging around together again. It's good to have her around again. I love her a lot but I will never, ever, volunteer to edit her Master's thesis again. Next time I will offer to help her with something simple. Like donating a kidney.

The local women's shelter, on whose Board I serve, is in the black for pretty much the first time ever. We actually have a surplus! Many tough decisions, most of them unpopular with the old guard, were made by the Board and wholesale changes got rammed through. It was tough trucking there for awhile but the end result proved to be gratifying.

I was able to arrive at a certain peace about an issue that had proven to be troubling to me. What was once perplexing, at times almost maddeningly so, has resolved itself in my mind. I am at peace and ready to move on. I cannot tell you how good this makes me feel.

This year, I received one of the coolest gifts ever: a cookbook written by buddy Don. PM and I thinks he needs to get this published. It's that good. More on this later.

I had no "old house" disasters, was hardly sick and didn't injure myself a single time in 2007. Of course, this means that the chest press will collapse on me at the gym tonight. The Saints almost made it to the Super Bowl last January only to lose to the Bears in frigid Chicago. I watched them beat the Eagles for the Divisional title with my excellent friend Joan in formal attire, having hightailed it from a function to catch the second half. Up until then, I had never watched football in a tux before. I will never forget how much fun we had that night.

I bit the bullet and joined a gym down the street. I have even retained the services of a sadist named Travis who is slowly but surely banging me into shape. I now have muscles albeit very teeny tiny ones.

I went to Chicago last Summer. I ran into the historian Garry Wills at the Art Museum. He even remembered me from the Arkansas Literary Festival. What are the odds of running into somebody like that in a city of 4 million? What are the odds of somebody like Wills remembering an absolute nobody like me? Later that night, I went to a Cubs game, all the while fielding text messages from my brother back home who rumor has it enjoys placing a bet now and again.

"You don't have money on this game do you?" I wrote him, holding my 16 oz. Old Style between my legs.

" It's far worse than you think," he wrote back.

It must not have been too bad. They didn't find him in the Arkansas River with a bullet in the back of his head or anything the next day.

The good news? Once Brother Bob passes his boards he will be a Nurse Practitioner. The bad news? Once he passes his boards he will be a Nurse Practitioner.

But the absolute, hands down, coolest thing I did in 2007 was to get involved with the Miracle League. There was absolutely nothing, I mean nothing, in my prior experience to prepare me for what an absolute joy every minute with those kids has been. We start back up in April. April cannot get here quick enough for me.

Personal Worst for 2007: The suicide of the daughter of friends of mine. When I got the news I literally could not stand for at least 10 minutes. Her Mother attempted it herself on two separate occasions after the funeral. Thank God she did not succeed. I am not an emotionally labile person. I had not cried since the death of my Uncle Bill. I cried when I heard about Amy. I cried when I heard about her Mom. Such overwhelming incomprehensible sadness I pretty much had never experienced. And I hope never to again.

My friend JG has been undergoing chemo again for the brain tumor that keeps coming back. As if the man didn't have enough to contend with, his wife was struck down with a rare neurological disorder which, last I heard, has her ambulating with a walker. Naturally, JG is a saint on Earth which is the way these things seem to happen. His bravery in the face of all of this is truly humbling.

Mother is still with us, but her dementia is becoming more pronounced. It is a difficult thing to watch. God will take her in His time as the Catholics say. But it would be okay with me if he could see his way to end this misery sooner than later. I mean that. She is miserable. This is no way to live.

By definition anything else will be trivial in nature, so let's discuss the trivial.

After teasing the long-suffering fans of Chicago in the second half of the season with delusions of competence, the Cubs got swept per usual in the playoffs. The Saints, meanwhile, reverted back to their typically dreadful selves by blowing the first 3 games of the season to finish a woeful 7-9. Nothing like building on success. Nothing like it in New Orleans at least.

The Razorbacks? I'm tired of the Razorbacks.

Want to know something else I'm tired of? I'm tired of being such a shitty golfer, that's what I'm tired of. And judging from yesterday's round at hallowed, historic War Memorial, that condition is not likely to pass me by anytime soon. But I'm gonna stick with it even though I would be better off trying something simple such as levitation. Or editing a Master's thesis.

That's pretty much 2007 in a nutshell. There was more good than bad although some of the bads were pretty awful.

I have employment, and I have the best family and friends a man could ask for. I have a roof over my head and I have my health. I have been blessed far more than I deserve. And I know it.

You know what I liked best about 2007? All of the walks home after working out at the gym. I enjoy the cold wind and watching the steam come out from under my windbreaker. I look at the shops along the way and sometimes I look up into the sky to see what the stars might be doing on any given night. And I am always filled with happiness despite the fact that I am typically a hurting cowboy after all the stuff Travis makes me do.

That's what I liked best. The walk back home.

May you be blessed with simple joys in 2008. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Sunday Feeling

Even though December 25th is,Praise God, in the rear view mirror, there's still more Christmas to do. People are just now returning to the People's Republic of Hillcrest from far away places and the folks that have kids are just now getting over colds and a nasty case of the flu that is making the rounds. My excellent and long-suffering friend PJ is stuck in Philadelphia mediating a family dispute that, from what I have heard, is nasty in extremeous. And so the guest room is still full of Christmas stuff that has yet to be distributed. That's OK. Everybody that has something with their name on it will get by here eventually. They always do. As long as I maintain a wet bar, people will always show up.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a disaster story. Here's mine. Every Christmas I make barbecued ribs. This tradition got started when I wrested Christmas from Mother some 11 years ago or so and started having it here at my little house. Christmas immediately got more bearable in no small part due to the fact that I had a considerably more lenient view when it came to alcohol than Mom ever did. I made ribs that first Christmas at my house just for the hell of it. I also made my first pecan pie that year. Both were big hits and a tradition was born.

Last Sunday night I made a martini and slapped together the ingredients for 3 pecan pies. I put them in the oven and repaired to the living room. I sat down in my chair, turned on the football game and promptly fell asleep. About an hour later I awoke to the smell of pecan pies burning away. How the damn smoke alarm failed to go off is beyond me and this will be taken up with the alarm company soon. Anyway, the hell of it is that I was completely sober. If I had been drunk I would have maintained my aggression at a level that would have kept me awake. My friends who are predisposed to think in these terms viewed this disaster as a cautionary tale about the efficacy of alcohol during the Holiday cooking process which is a lesson I'll not forget next year.

So, on Christmas Eve, forced as I was by exigent circumstances brought on by situational sobriety, I returned to the Kroger store in the Heights where every person that lives in this zip code was also doing their last minute shopping. I was merely going in to replenish my pie supplies that I had incinerated the night before. However, I could tell by the baskets full of stuff that some people had obviously waited to the last minute to plan their Christmas dinners. Don't get that. However, I concede that many of the shoppers at Kroger's were confident in their ability to stay awake while preparing a meal. It is a near thing.

I have never seen that parking lot more full of cars. I was in a hurry. I had pies to redo and I had folks coming for dinner Christmas Eve. So, I parked illegally me being the center of the universe and all. Besides, I wasn't the only one. I figured I would be long gone before Mr. Kroger called for the tow truck.

This evidently perturbed some lady in a Yukon who was probably pissed that she hadn't thought to do likewise. She rolled down the window.

" You son-of-a-bitch," she yelled. " You think you can just park anywhere?"

" Y'all go to hell now," I explained, trying to be helpful.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

I made a beeline for the store, got my stuff, checked my own self out and got back to the car. Never did see the lady from the Yukon again which disappointed me greatly for reasons that I cannot quite explain but are probably traceable to a certain lack of maturity, if not overt sociopathy, that is part of my discreet charm.

Upon pulling into the driveway of my little house, I immediately was overcome by a sense of unease and dread which was even more pronounced than my usual state that obtains during the Holidays. As I sat there it dawned on me. I had forgotten to buy any goddamn pecans. There is another Kroger store about a quarter mile from my house. I don't use it for any of a number of reasons that do not merit discussion in this space. But, being forced once again by exigent circumstances to return to a grocery store, I decided to walk over to the one by me to get the friggin' pecans. Besides, I figured that security might be waiting for me at the other Kroger's.

The good news is that the last trip to the store was completely uneventful and the afternoon's baking took place without any further high drama or inappropriate smoke levels. Both the pies and the ribs went over real big as they do every year.

Like I said, I'm not through with Christmas and I probably won't be until PJ gets back and comes over for copious amounts of gin to help the legal advice go down better. I give it about another week.

But I ain't making any more pies. At least not while sober.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More Proof Cops Are Underpaid

According to today's Democrat-Gazette, Rick Carroll of Long Beach, California was arrested outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. He was wearing a red Santa hat, a blond wig, a G-string, a red lace camisole, and legwarmers at the time.

The charge? Suspicion of drunk driving.

If you ask me, there was all kinds of suspicious stuff going on there. After all, I know all kinds off drunks. I don't know any drunks or many drag queens that would go out in public attired in such immodest, albeit festive, fashion.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Blogger sometimes doesn't let me edit the way I want. Hence, the jumbled up lines at the bottom of the last post. For some reason, it wouldn't accept any spacing edits toward the end.

Go figure.


Monday, December 24, 2007

My Christmas Feeling

As I type this, the Christmas of 2007 is scheduled to come in sunny and not too cold. In fact, as I type this, I am trying to sort out in my head how I might possibly work in 9 holes at the club. What can I say? I am a multi-tasker. At least when it comes to things that aren't work related, that is.

As most folks know, Christmas is not my favorite holiday on the Christian calendar. I am not nearly the Scrooge that I profess to be. Indeed, I was pretty much outed on this score by my alleged friend Phil Martin in one of his recent columns. But it ain't my favorite season of the year.
I try to adopt the attitude of my friend Marge who says that since it comes once a year whether we want it to or not, we might as well have a good attitude about it and try to enjoy it as best we can. And I try to follow her lead although I don't know how successful I am at it. But this is also the only time of the year that I have bad dreams on a consistent basis. Dr. GG says that this is a common occurrence during the Holidays. It's hard to have a good attitude about that, boy.

Attitude problems or no, there have been some nice moments this Christmas. Don, my old buddy from our Tulane days, gave me one of the truly more beautiful presents I have ever received: a copy of a cookbook he wrote for his daughters Caroline and Annie. Each recipe is prefaced by a story. It is a moving account of a Father's love for his daughters as much as it is a recipe book. Further, there are passages about me and our friendship over the years that are far kinder than I deserve. I will write more about this later after I have digested it further if that's not to punny a term for a recipe book.
One of the nicer moments, and I can't imagine anything that will top it, was the Christmas party we had for the Easter Seals kids at their campus out in West Little Rock. Many of the kids that live out at Easter Seals play ball with us in the Miracle League. So I knew most of the ones that were at the party.

Kids are funny. Before Santa arrived to pass out the presents, I walked around and greeted my Miracle Leaguers. I was wearing slacks and a blazer. None of them had ever seen me dressed up or not wearing a baseball cap before. It took them awhile to retrieve who I was from the mental Rolodex. Oddly enough, the boys tended to recognize me at a faster clip than did the girls.
We were all given a list of names to buy for. I picked Britney, the kid pictured above. I picked her in part because we don't have any girls in my family and I was sick of buying boy stuff. Mercifully, I have female friends, who even though they love me, were horrified at the notion of me buying for a 13 year old girl. So Jenny volunteered to get Britney the toiletries she wanted and Renee at Gallery 26 said she would pick out a necklace and earrings that she thought would go with her based on a picture I sent over there. I was entrusted with getting the MP3 player.

A motor vehicle accident put Britney in the chair. She is better off than some in that she can actually walk a little and can sit in a chair. But I gather that this is a work in progress and that she spends most of her time in the wheelchair. Britney is far and away the most sweet natured and polite teenager I know. To maintain this graceful disposition under her circumstances is more than I can fathom. Indeed, I am known far and wide for my dyspeptic temperament and I lead a practically charmed life. But maintain it she does. She, and many of those kids out there, possess more strength of character in their little fingers than I have in my entire body.

When she opened her present, you would have thought that 100 bucks worth of jewelry was the Hope Diamond.

" Thank you, Sir," she said, after one of the ladies placed the necklace on her. " This is the prettiest thing anybody has ever given me."

"I'm glad you like it. And don't call me Sir."

" You're such a nice man. I can see why everybody likes you."

I hunkered down next to her where I could look her in the eye.

"Look, sweetie," I said. " I appreciate the compliment but there's a whooolllllllle lot of people that don't like me."


"Yeah. Really."

She let this bit of information sink in. After a moment she spoke.

"Well," she said. "Everybody here likes you."

She waved her arm toward all of those kids with their broken little bodies happily playing with their presents given to them by total strangers.

I tapped her shoulder with my knuckles.
" And that's all I need to know," I said.

I gave her a hug and said goodbye.
" Sir?"

"What, buddy?"
" I love you."

"I love you too, honey."

" Those folks that don't like you?"

"What about 'em?"

" You don't need to worry about them because I got your back."

" I'll keep that in mind, honey."

Christmas is pretty much an awful time. It really is. But every now and again, some goodness
leaks out.
Why should I toil and spin and have bad dreams? After all, Britney's got my back.
And now a message from the Gratuitous Plug Department: The " Tales From The South" Holiday show will air Thursday night at 7pm CST on radio station KUAR FM89 here in Central Arkansas. I will be reading another story. Those of you who want to hear the show on the Internet go to and listen to live streaming of the broadcast. Or, you can get it from the archives at . They told us during the taping that it will also run Christmas Day but I can find no evidence of that from the website. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Sunday Feeling

No time for blogging this weekend. But check back Christmas day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mike Huckabee and the United States Constitution

Christopher Hitchens, one of my personal favorites, gives it to Mike Huckabee and his evangelical acolytes here in Slate.

Just keep repeating to yourself, "There is no religious test for public office. There is no religious test for public office."

Monday, December 17, 2007

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

According to ESPN Radio Roger Clemens was supposed to address the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association meeting in Waco, Texas tomorrow. According to the report, Clemens was "disinvited" by the association after the Mitchell Report came out last week which alleged that Clemens, among others, used illegal steroids.

The title of the speech Clemons was scheduled to give?

" How I Managed to Stay in Baseball So Long."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Vox Populi

Today's text message concerns the events of the weekend.

tmfw: Went to a party last night. John and Amy were there.

Polycarp: How was it?

tmfw: Real nice. John brought his own whiskey that he drank from a styrophone cup.

Polycarp: Did he share?

tmfw: With me he did. He poured me some from a stash that he always keeps in the trunk of his car in case of emergency.

Polycarp: A common procedure amongst married men. It's funny how much whiskey women sell.

tmfw: Wonder how guys in AA cope under the circumstances?

Polycarp: They cope by being narcissistic assholes.

tmfw: Oh.

My Sunday Feeling

You've got to think Bobby Petrino's week got a little easier Thursday. To the limited extent that an asshole like Petrino even cares about the torrent of criticism that has come down upon him after he left the Atlanta Falcons with 3 games on the schedule to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks, and there are many who would say that he could give two hoots in hell about what others think, the fact that the Mitchell investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball probably provided a welcomed diversion of attention away from him. No matter how you slice it, this has not been one of the better weeks in sports.

But first of all, let's revisit an old issue that has been written about in this space on more than one occasion and generally when something like this pops up. When a coach-and it is always a coach-leaves a job before his contract expires, you always hear all of this blather about morality and the "sanctity of a contract." This is complete and total nonsense.

Here is Contract 101: Implicit in every contract is the right to breach. And when a party to the contract breaches, the only issue is how is the non-breaching party is to be compensated as a consequence of the breach, not whether the breacher is a lying scumbag. Period. Indeed, one could say that these employment contracts in Big Time Sports are "widely honored in the breach" so ubiquitous is the practice. This is why "buyout clauses" are part of the liquidated damages clauses in most of these contracts.

We kinda know this already even if we don't know the legalities of it. And we also know that the complaints about this issue typically follows the principle of the gored ox. Houston Nutt is reviled by some because he split for Oxford. These same guys likely view Petrino as a pigskin savior who left an impossible situation in Atlanta to return to the college game. Go figure.

In that same vein we kinda expected the Mitchell report to disclose that which most of us already widely suspected: that steroid use was rampant in baseball throughout the nineties.

So we are used to the fact that coaches in big time sports are always looking for the next gig. The fact that what appears to be a considerable number of baseball players were juicing comes as no big surprise. So why do the events of the last week sadden some of us? I think I know why.

It is because now we see with crystalline clarity that most of the people involved in Big Time Sports are in it only for themselves. As kids, we are told that athletes are role models and that sportsmanship and fair play are more important than the results on the scoreboard. And yet, the Mitchell Report accuses up until recently future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens, among many others, of using steroids to gain a competitive advantage. My friend PM is on the record that, legalities aside, using steroids is no more unsportsmanlike than having lasik surgery on your eyes to correct your vision.

My friend PM and I agree on many things. We do not agree on this. Here is where my friend is flat-assed wrong, to employ the term-of-art we use in Arkansas. Any one of us can get our eyes done. However, the choice to use performance enhancing drugs means choosing to commit a felony in order to gain an advantage over competitors who either do not have the wherewithal or connections to enter the arms race with you or fear the consequences-legal or medical-to do so. That's what makes using performance enhancing drugs manifestly unfair not withstanding the fact that the fools that run baseball, in concert with the fools that represent the player's union, couldn't make it against the rules of the damn sport until George W. Bush, who used to own the Texas Rangers, started threatening to do something to them.

As for the Bobby Petrinos of this world, suffice it say in the words of sportswriter Mike Lupica, they do not hire themselves. While Petrino's exit from the Falcons was graceless even by the low standards of Big Time Sports, he is not especially any more mercenary than many of his headset wearing colleagues. What it does mean is that, with the hiring of a man who has a past relevant work history of loyalty to nobody but himself, the University of Arkansas has made the statement that the Razorbacks are a thing unto themselves with practically no meaningful connection to the higher academic mission of the school. What was once seen in a mirror dimly is now writ large. It's all about the bucks. It is showbiz.

Like I said, we kinda knew all of this stuff before we got pimp-slapped by the events of last week. So, when you talk to your kid about playing sports, it is still right to reinforce all of those old chestnuts about competing hard and playing fair. Only don't point to any of the guys in Big Time Sports as role models for right living.

Because most of them-even some of the people we thought were the good guys- are in it for nobody but themselves and they will do whatever it takes, fair or unfair, to get what they want. What was once seen in a mirror dimly is now writ large.

And that's what made last week a sad week in sports.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vox Populi

The earliest response on the Mitchell Report's finding that the New York Yankees' Roger Clemens used steroids came in a text message from Polycarp today:

" I predict that the next time Sen. Mitchell steps up to the plate, Roger beans him good."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crossing Over

My Mother used to lecture me about the perils of temptation. She used to tell me that "once you cross that line even once it's hard to come back."

The University of Arkansas hired ultra-mercenary Bobby Petrino to fill the Endowed Chair of Football up there. I'll write more about this later. But for now read what ESPN's Pat Forde thinks about his hiring here.

Withe the hire of this sleazebag the University of Arkansas has finally crossed the line that Mother always warned me about.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quote Of The Week

In today's column in the New York Times, Maureen Dowd discusses Mitt Romney's speech last week about his Mormon faith. She interviewed Jon Krakauer who wrote about the history of the Mormon Church in his book "Under the Banner of Heaven."

Krakauer compared Romney's speech with J.F.K.'s famous speech about his Catholicism thusly: " J.F.K.'s speech was to reassure Americans that he wasn't a religious fanatic. [M]itt's was to tell evangelical Christians 'I'm a religious fanatic just like you.'"

When is this election over?

My Sunday Feeling

Is it just me or is anybody else put off by what I perceive to be an inordinate amount of religiosity being bandied about by our candidates for public office? On the one hand, I don't much care about Mitt Romney's Mormonism or the fact that Southern Baptist Mike Huckabee willingly concedes that there is no disconnect between his politics and his fundamentalist Baptist faith. I don't intend to vote for either of these gentlemen.

But I am very much put off by the candidates that I am interested in discussing matters that I believe are largely the business of nobody but that candidate and his or her immediate family. And I remember a time in the not so distant past when a candidate might identify himself as a member of a particular church and that was that. A person's personal religious preference was just that. Personal.

I concede that it is a near thing. And I concede that it is a complicated thing.

Certainly, all of our actions are informed by our upbringing. A person's worldview is undoubtedly influenced by religious training. This is not necessarily a bad thing. And to that limited extent, knowing that Hillary is a Methodist,for example, is useful information. But so is George Bush. Such knowledge is merely useful. It ought not to be conclusive evidence of fitness to hold public office.

And just as certainly, all of us are informed by our biases concerning religion. I view the historical truth claims of most religions with skepticism. I view the truth claims concerning the Mormon church with complete amusement. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, was a con artist, pure and simple.

But I don't hold Mitt Romney's Mormonism against him simply because his Church is founded upon the theological equivalent of "three card monte." I know any of a number of "cradle Catholics" who disagree vehemently with certain positions of the Vatican and yet could no more convert to another faith than they could quit breathing oxygen. You are as you are raised. I take it no further than that.

But clearly the candidates for President feel compelled to put the Jesus card in play. It must be important from a strategic standpoint or they wouldn't do it. They do nothing, I mean nothing, that isn't poll-tested or consultant approved. And in that fashion, they run the risk of trivializing faith, of making it a "position" along with farm subsidies and gun control when the reality is more complicated than that. Bill Clinton is a professing Baptist whom history will judge more kindly than not despite his idiotic decisions about his personal life. George Bush is an evangelical Methodist. Yes, they do exist although we are not proud of this fact. And we will be lucky if we can survive the remainder of what may loosely be described as his administration without stumbling into World War III.

The point is, what should matter more than a candidate's religion is his or her positions on the issues and his or her's record for competence in professional life. Certainly a person's religious background is useful information but as a whole it shouldn't be much more of a factor than whether he or she ran cross-country or can play the piano.

I look forward to the day- a day that will never come again-when a candidate says, "Look, everybody knows I belong to First Presbyterian back home. That's where I was raised and everybody knows me back there. I don't feel comfortable talking about such a personal matter in a public forum. But you can go back home and ask the folks there what they think about me."

Most people that run for office are no better or no worse than you and me. And so, if you checked on his story back home you might find that he or she was regarded as a good kid. That she sang in the choir. That he helped with the food drive for the needy. That she looked out for the elderly. And so forth. This is useful information that informs us about a candidate's character.

Conversely, Arkansas's own Mike Huckabee's claim that God is responsible for his recent showing in Iowa, which, with the characteristic modesty we have come to expect from him, he likened unto the miracle of the loaves and fishes. This is not much useful information.

But it sure does speak volumes about the character of the man.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Modest Suggestion

As of this writing, the Chair of Football at the University of Arkansas remains vacant. Last night it was announced that Wake Forest's Jim Grobe had accepted the job. Then the news came this morning that Grobe had decided to stay at Wake. Which made him-by my count-the 4th coach to spurn the Hogs. This also caused Wally Hall to waste an entire column on the subject of Grobe's alleged hiring when he could have used the space to pander to the peckerwoods about how the egghead administration up there is trying to turn a mere land grant college into another Vanderbilt at the expense of the football program.

At this point in the fiasco, the University has 2 choices as I see it. The more psychotic fringe of the fan base will not be satisfied unless the Razorbacks hire a "big name" coach. The problem is, most of the "name" guys they have played footsie with evidently wouldn't touch the damn job with a set of tongs. So why not just go completely mercenary? Give Dennis Erickson a wad of money to leave Arizona State. Erickson is a proven winner with the ethics of a hit man. The lunatic fans will trouble him not just so long as he has his palm greased. With Dennis it's all about the Benjamins. The upside? They will win a slew of games. The downside? He will recruit a bunch of thugs. They might go on probation. And he will leave the first time somebody waves more money at him. But, hey! They will be "winners" if only for the short term and that's all that matters to some people.

Or they can do this. It appears that the common denominator in all of this is superagent Jimmy Sexton who so far has represented all of these guys as far as I can tell and who also negotiated the golden parachute for Houston "How Y'all Like Me Now?" Nutt. So, just call Sexton up and ask him who among his clients we can have. No search committee, no flying around to interview guys who will stab you in the back as soon as you head for the door, and no Internet rumors from the arrested development types that spend all their time making shit up on the message boards. How hard could that be?

In AA they require you to recognize a "higher power." The addiction that is Razorback football requires no less. So, hey! Jeff Long! Yield to the higher power and it ain't the Chancellor or the Board of Trustees. Call Jimmy Sexton and ask him who we can have. Or go to the dark side and hire Erickson and prepare to have to clean the sulphur smell off of the drapes in the Broyles Complex on a yearly basis. End of problem.

Can I have some tickets?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My Sunday Sex Scandal Expose

The Idaho Statesman got 4 guys to go on the record about having sex with lame duck United States Senator Larry Craig. Read about it here.
The audio version of the interviews are available on the page but listener's discretion is advised.
My favorite line out of all the interviews comes from one of his paramours who said of Craig's rather prissily hysterical response to being outed, "Heterosexual men don't behave this way."

My Sunday Feeling

The Christmas season is upon us , much to my considerable displeasure. As anyone who knows me even passingly well can attest, I have absolutely no use for the Holidays. My excellent friend Marge made the mistake of asking me the other day why this is so. Since you made the mistake of pointing your browser here, I will tell you as well.

First of all, Christmas has an inordinate impact on the nation's economy for a so-called religious event. Sales at Christmas can make or break businesses. It can plunge the country into a recession. Personal bankruptcies spike on a nationwide basis around February of every year. Any holiday that brings with it the annual prospect of financial ruin on a nationwide basis makes agnosticism look downright sensible if not frugal.

Another reason to hate Christmas is that, from property offenders to shoplifters, crime goes up every Christmas season. Further, the solicitations for phony charities increase during the Yuletide. Last week a disreputable looking young man bearing no identification came to my door seeking a donation for an alleged women's prison ministry called "Second Time Around." I may be a Scrooge but I am a socially useful Scrooge and I am plugged in to the various charities around town. There is no local organization that bears this name and so I sent his ass packing with the heartfelt assurances that I would have him arrested if I ever saw him again. I must have been convincing because he actually ran off down the street. Good.

I hate Christmas because choirs everywhere will attempt to sing "Hallelujah" from "Messiah." "Hallelujah" is as unsingable as it is unlistenable. Further, it is not even part of the Christmas section of the oratorio. It is from the justifiably ignored Easter section. Finally as long as we are throwing cold water on the season, let's throw some on "Messiah" as well. To hear some folks tell it, the fact that Handel cranked out "Messiah" in a couple of weeks is proof that it was a work inspired by Providence. The fact of the matter is a) Handel was a fast worker, a trait made easier by the fact that he was widely known in his day to be a musical plagiarist, and b) the secular operetta business that was in Handel's wheeelhouse back in those days was going through the floor and Georg needed a fast buck. So he slapped together "Messiah." Oh. One other thing. The tradition of standing during "Hallelujah" because George II allegedly was so moved that he stood when he heard it? And examination of the historical record-a record which is widely ignored on other subjects as well when it comes to the Christmas season-reveals that George II probably wasn't even there when "Messiah" made its debut.

The traffic is terrible, people act crazy and folks that have nothing but utter contempt for each other are forced to feign peace and goodwill during those grim anthropological experiments known as office parties.

So do I hate the holidays? Let me count the friggin' ways. I could go on and on.
But I don't have time right now. I have to go Christmas shopping.

And now something from the Shameless Plug department: I will be reading another short story on this month's edition of "Tales from the South." The show will air at 7 pm CDT on December 27th on KUAR FM 89.0. If for some reason you can't hear it you can listen to the broadcast by clicking on the archives on . I am told that it will be broadcast again on Christmas day but you can check the website to make sure.