Saturday, April 28, 2007

I Won A Tee Shirt From Teddy

There's a lot of useless knowledge stuck in my brain, no doubt a product of wasted time. I was using my time productively and checked out the blog being maintained by Teddy Allen From the Newspaper. There, Teddy challenges his readers to explain the origin of a reference to Giraffes being selfish. This was obvious to me. Everyone who loves the Andy Griffith Show knows that Giraffes are selfish. Teddy was offering a free tee shirt to anyone who could properly explain how this came to be known.
I wrote to Teddy and explained that there was an episode where Opie had to let some stray dogs go on a farm. As I recall, there were storms coming, and he was worried about how they would do. Barney explained that dogs are too low to the ground to get struck by lightning, then said something like "Now, if there were giraffes out there, we'd be in trouble." Barney goes on about how the dogs will help each other, but not giraffes. "Boy, giraffes are selfish, just run around looking out for number one, getting hit by lightning...."
Then, thunder claps and Barney leaves the courthouse to go save the dogs....

When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, we visited the National Zoo in Washington, DC. While we were there, a baby giraffe was born. We have photos of it, and all. So, in the gift shop, we bought a stuffed-toy giraffe for Future Baby.
Fast forward about four years: my mother-in-law takes our daughter to the Acadiana Zoo where she hand feeds a full-grown giraffe. The photo is so cool that we have it blown up to poster size.
All that being said, I have to admit that giraffes ARE selfish, always
running around looking out for themselves, getting struck by lightning. They're not at all like dogs, which are well insulated by fur and low tothe ground, but still watch out for each other.
Teddy wrote back, promising to send that tee shirt to me because, as he said, "Unlike giraffes, I try never to be selfish."
It is a proud, proud day.
Further evidence that giraffes are, indeed, selfish: Two more photos of my daughter visiting the same giraffe on different occasions. As you can see, the giraffe, selfishly, is always demanding food.

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Wings Win Again, Improve to 4-0

(Bossier City, LA) – The Bossier –Shreveport Battlewings overcame a sluggish start and rode their opportunistic defense to a 64-45 win over the Laredo Lobos.
The Battlewings, ranked #3 in the af2 coaches’ poll, improved to 4-0 while the Lobos remained winless in four tries.

The outcome remained in doubt until the closing seconds when Wings’ wide receiver PJ Winston, playing at defensive back in place of the injured Kenneth Williams, picked off a Daniel Forrest pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.
The Lobos opened the scoring with a 31-yard Jonathan Scifres 1st-quarter field goal, but the Battlewings found the end zone first when quarterback Quincy Carter connected with Winston for a 27-yard touchdown pass. It was the first of three touchdown catches for Winston, in addition to his interception return for a score. For his efforts, Winston was named the Schutt offensive player of the game.

“Boss” Walker worked his magic once again for the Wings, intercepting two passes. He also returned a Laredo kick-off 54 yards for a second quarter touchdown that gave the Battlewings 17-16 lead. Walker earned U.S. Army Ironman honors as well as being named ADT defensive player of the game. Carter connected on touchdown passes to Winston and Jamaal Perry in the second quarter, lifting Bossier-Shreveport to a 30-16 lead. Laredo responded with a 21-yard pass from Forrest to Mike McCullum to trim the lead to 30-23 at halftime.
With 2:03 remaining in the third quarter, Laredo grabbed a 37-33 lead with a four-play 37-yard drive punctuated by a 34 yard scoring pass from Forrest to Shaun Rochon.
Carter responded by leading the Battlewings to a score on a 17-yard pass to Manwell Talbert to regain the lead, which they would not relinquish.
Carter attempted 26 passes, completing 17 for 260 yards and 6 touchdowns. He threw two first-half interceptions. Jamaal Perry led the Battlewings with nine catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
The Battlewings will play on the road the next two weekends at Corpus Christi and Arkansas before returning for a Friday night encounter with the Manchester Wolves.
*Photos borrowed from Greg Pearson of The Times
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Laredo Lobos 3 20 14 8 45 Record: (0-4)
Bos-Shv BattleWings 10 20 10 24 64 Record: (4-0)

PASSING: Daniel Forrest (LAL) 46-26-3-320 4 td’s;
Quincy Carter (BSB) 26-17-2-260 6 TD’S
RECEIVING: Mike McCullum (LAL) 10-104-2; Jamaal Perry (BOS) 9-112-2

Attendance: 4252

Schutt Offensive Player of the Game: PJ Winston
U.S. Army Ironman: Kendrick Walker
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Kendrick Walker
Cutters Catch of the Game: Jamal Perry

Scoring Summary:

1st quarter
11:40 Scifres 32 yd FG BSB 0 LAL 3
8:48 Carter to Winston 37 yd pass BSB 7 LAL 3
2:25 Hazelwood 20 yd FG BSB 10 LAL 3

2nd quarter
14:37 Forrest to McCullum 22 yd pass BSB 10 LAL 9 missed extra point
12:10 Forrest hand-off to Oliver 4 yd run BSB 10 LAL 16
11:13 Walker 54 yd kick-off return BSB 17 LAL 16
2:30 Carter to Perry 33 yd pass BSB 24 LAL 16
0:20 Carter to Winston 32 yd pass BSB 30 LAL 16
0:04 Forrest to McCullum 21 yd pass BSB 30 LAL 23

3rd quarter
8:10 Forrest to Rochon 32 yd pass BSB 30 LAL 30
4:58 Hazelwood 40 yd FG BSB 33 LAL 30
1:59 Forrest to Roshon 34 yd pass BSB 33 LAL 37
0:15 Carter to Talbert 17 yd pass BSB 40 LAL 37

4th quarter
10:41 Carter to Perry 8 yd pass BSB 47 LAL 37
7:35 Carter to Winston 13 yd pass BSB 54 LAL 37
2:02 Forrest to Roshon 13 yd pass BSB 54 LAL 45 2 pt conversion good
0:41 Hazelwood 41 yd FG BSB 57 LAL 45
0:12 Winston 44 yd interception return BSB 64 LAL 45

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Friday, April 27, 2007

A Brand New Car!

A crushed and humiliated car has been dragged away to the salvage yard. My son, who was minding his own business and turning toward school one recent morning, was blasted from the rear by a lady driver who didn't bother to apply her brakes.
Thus began an unanticipated and joyless search for a replacement vehicle. We exhumed the old debates about whether to get a car that could last through college or get a junker that he can abuse.
Happily for him and unfortunately for the family's monthly cash flow, he actually got something new, something bigger and something more expensive. I can't explain why. I know a lot of people will question our judgment, but the car he wanted has massive cool points. More importantly to his mother, it features more air bags than you've ever seen in any car, ever. So, out there on the mean streets of Shreveport is a 17-year-old boy in a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer.
Aside from the financial piece, I'm a little uneasy about the fact that this is the first non-American car I've ever bought. My wife is an import person, not by design but by happenstance. She's had a Honda, a Mazda and an Infiniti since I've known her. Now, happily, she's driving a Chrysler. But there, in my garage, is a Japanese car.
The good news is that my teenager has caved into pressure and is employed.
He wants to buy a stereo for the car and he's feeling pressure to do nicer things for his girlfriend, now that they are approaching their one-year anniversary. I congratulated him on getting the job, which involved three separate interviews with two managers. He said, " I don't feel like celebrating. I feel like having a funeral." I asked why. He said, " To mourn the death of my free time." This is the dude I live with.
I don't blame him for being a little despondent, though. He lost his first car through no fault of his own and now he's bearing an adult-like responsibility. Growing up can be tough, espcially when no one is willing to slam on the brakes for you.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wings Win Again - What a Thrill

Bossier – Shreveport 52 Rio Grande Valley 48

(Hidalgo, TX) – The Bossier Shreveport Battlewings scored with three seconds showing on the clock to remain undefeated on the young af2 season with a thrilling 52-48 win over the Rio Grande Valley Dorados.
The match-up of unbeaten af2 Southwest division teams was a rock and roll thrill ride, with teams swapping scores until the final seconds. On the Battlewings’ final offensive play, Quincy Carter hit PJ Winston in the end zone from 24 yards away to provide the margin of victory. It was the third touchdown catch of the night for Winston, who caught ten passes for 177 yards. Carter completed 27 of 42 attempts for 344 yards and seven touchdowns and was named the offensive player of the game for the third time in three games.
The Battlewings surrendered the ball on downs on their opening possession and quickly fell behind. Dorados quarterback Josh Kellett connected with Coco Blalock for a score and a 7-0 advantage. The Bossier-Shreveport offense was sluggish in the first quarter of their first road game of the season, managing just a 30-yard field goal from Brian Hazelwood.
In the second quarter, the Wings would claim their first lead. Carter hit Jamaal Perry from 16 yards out, capping a five play, 40-yard drive. Hazelwood’s Point After made the score 10-7.
The lead would change hands four times before the half. Carter’s 38-yard scoring pass to PJ Winston at 5:34 o the 2nd quarter made it 17-14. The Battlewings led 24-21 at the half following an eight-play 45 yard drive that culminated in a Carter to Perry scoring pass with five seconds showing on the clock.
The Dorados quickly regained the lead with the first possession of the second half when Josh Kellett and George Williams connected on a six-yard scoring play, which put a punctuation mark on an 8-play, 45 yard drive.
The Wings had a dramatic response: Carter to Manwell Talbert on the very next play. The 37-yard pitch and catch made the score 31-28 Battlewings.
The Battlewings appeared to be in trouble when, with less than four minutes remaining in the game, Carter fumbled the snap from center at his own 5 yard line. Keenan Williams of the Dorados picked up the loose ball and scampered into the end zone for a score that would give RGV a 41-38 advantage.
But Carter and Talbert comined for another one-play dandy, a 24-yard scoring toss on the next play. When the Dorados scored with less than a minute to go to take a 48-52 lead, the stage was set for Carter and Winston’s dramatic finish, a pass into the back right corner of the end zone which Winston hauled in with ease, bringing a boisterous Rio Grande Valley crowed to an eerie hush.
The Battlewings improve to 3-0. They will host the Laredo Lobos Friday night in Bossier City.

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Bos-Shv Battlwings 3 21 14 14 52 Record: (0-2)
RGV Dorados 7 14 13 14 48 Record: (2-0)
Offensive player of the game: Quincy Carter
Defensive Player of the game: Kenneth Williams (BSB)
Ironman of the game: Chris Canty (RGV)
Catch of the game: PJ Winston (BSB)
PASSING: Quincy Carter (BSB) 42-27-0 7TD’s
Josh Kellett (RGV) 43-24-2 6 td’s
RECEIVING: PJ Winston (BSB) 10-177 3td’s; George Williams (RGV) 8-56 4 td’s

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Thank God for iPod: The Long Way to Texas

The long day's journey into night began at 6:15am this morning in Shreveport, took me to Houston, back to Shreveport, back to Houston, then to McAllen, TX and ultimately to the fine little village of Hidalgo.

A planned 38-minute trip to Houston took six hours. Instead of arriving to the comfort of my airport hotel at 10:30am as planned, I finally put keister to king-size mattress at 4:30, with a whopping one hour of chill time before I had to hit the road again.

Anticipating several trips like this over the spring and summer, I caved in to impulse and bought an iPod. Then, I obsessed for a week about loading songs onto it. I have 1275, all of them chosen by me. God Bless my wife, who surprised me a couple of weeks ago with some Bose noise-cancelling headphones. Today, as frustrations mounted, I was Easy Like Sunday Morning, baby. Sweet music, my own world, no interruptions. People left me alone. I think they did, at least. The noise was cancelled. I couldn't hear a thing I didn't want to hear.

It occurred to me along the way that I had been walking around, sitting around and occasionally napping with five hundred bucks' worth of stereo equipment stashed in my pocket and strapped onto my head. It's worth every cent, I can now assure you without reservation.

We can't blame Continental Airlines. In fact, they were just outstanding when it came to helpng with all the unexpected changes. We actually started our descent into Houston when we were sent away because of dense fog. By the time we got back to Shreveport and took off again, more than a dozen planes were stacked up at Shreveport Regional. Glancing through our windows into those of our neighboring planes, we all seemed to have that glazed-over "what the heck?" look. Finally, the fog lifted and off we went again, Deja-vu style.

I will turn around and leave in about 14 hours. It struck me that God or my iPod (or both) must have a sense of humor. I have to tell you what song was playing on my iPod as I stepped out of the McAllen airport: SuperTramp's "Take the Long Way Home."

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Kick in the Jockstrap

In Shreveport and Bossier city, we know what we are. When vistors arrive, we usually treat them with hospitality and kindness, but the favor isn't always returned. Over the years, we have endured our share of potshots and criticism from Independence Bowl travelers and others who have been compelled to come here. Sure, it stings a little because we would like people to think nice things about us. I remember well when columnist Woody Paige of the Denver Post wrote that Shreveport is a "dingy, dismal southern city." That may have been the most unkind description I've read from an outside media person. Until now.
A writer from the weekly tabloid "The Dallas Observer" came to town to craft something about Battle Wings quarterback Quincy Carter, who used to play for the Cowboys. The things he wrote about Carter's fall from grace speak for themselves, but this passage made me see red:
Since getting dismissed by the Cowboys in the summer of 2004, Lavonya Quintelle Carter's life has gone to shit. And, arguably worse, Shreveport.
Dude's name is Richie Whitt and don't ask me what we ever did to him. He took his share of unfair shots in his piece, including making the ridiculous comparison of our nice little arena on the river to the stadium being built for the Cowboys:
Fittingly, on an Easter Eve sprinkled with snow, Carter looks ridiculously out of place in the quaint building about the size of a concession stand in the Cowboys' new $1 billion baby. The joint is sponsored by Shoney's, has all the ambience of a nursing home knitting hour and boasts a grainy black-and-white scoreboard video screen not unlike the set your old man used to watch The Honeymooners. The game is 8 on 8, the 50-yard field is surrounded by padded walls and the referee constantly stops play to yell "Please turn down the music!"
I was sitting two seats away from this man, and I can tell you that his demeanor the entire evening should have been a barometer for the turd storm he was about to unleash on us. I'll give him this: the video screens do need work, and the referee that night did announce twice that music was being played improperly. Making two announcements is a long way from "constantly" stopping play.
The story Whitt wrote actually has some facts in it and had the potential to be a legitimate piece of reporting. To allude to some of his own language, it turned out instead to be a piece of something else. The biggest problem, from our perspective, is that some of his stink lingers and is now associated with us.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

La. Tech's Bold Move

It appears there has been an epiphany at Louisiana Tech. The great folks in Ruston have come to grips with the fact that their athletic department has retreated into a morass of mediocrity and they aim to change things. “In many ways our athletic program is at a critical juncture,” offers long-time tech Athletic Director Jim Oakes. “We have tremendous potential to advance Tech Athletics like never before.”

The Tech campus is one of the kindest patches of Earth around and that has been reflected in the hiring processes. Head coaching vacancies often have been filled from within. Oakes has gone against the grain by hiring Derek Dooley to lead the football team and Kerry Rupp to coach men’s basketball. Oakes is their biggest cheerleader, “Derek Dooley and Kerry Rupp are intelligent, committed to building strong leadership programs, and perfect fits for our school.” he said.

The fit is made more comfortable by the fact that the hires have the blessing of Tech’s two most successful athletic alumni, Terry Bradshaw and Karl Malone. Bradshaw, and NFL Hall of Famer with four Super Bowl rings, recently visited the campus and said he likes what he sees from Coach Dooley. Malone, one of the greatest NBA players ever, steered Rupp toward Ruston and is expected to become heavily involved in the basketball program. The mere mention of their names can give Tech a recruiting advantage.

Dooley, who was on Nick Saban’s staff at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins, replaces Jack Bicknell III, an extraordinarily likeable man who was popular among the Tech faithful. Removing Bicknell was hard on Oakes, who says “change is a constant in college athletics like most other pursuits. We want to push the envelope - be innovators with all of our sports. That is why change is sometimes inevitable.” Rupp takes the place of Keith Richard, who ruffled a few Ruston feathers on the way to 150 wins and 117 losses over nine seasons. Rupp comes to Louisiana Tech with impressive credentials after serving as the associate head coach under Mike Davis at Indiana and then at Alabama-Birmingham. Notably, he also was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Rick Majerus at Utah and as interim coach in 2004, led the Utes to a conference title.

Getting fans to attend games in significant numbers continues to be a challenge. Oakes knows winning consistently will help, and he hopes the new hires have people’s attention. “We have quality coaches in place. This has created a real buzz among Tech fans,” Oakes asserts with his legendary optimism. No doubt he will preach patience while people buzz about, because rebuilding takes time. It also takes money in the form of donations and ticket sales. Tech will continue to compete in the geographically challenging Western Athletic Conference. Oakes is attempting to rally the troops, saying “Now we must generate more support from our fan and alumni base in order to compete fairly with conference partners with much larger budgets. Simply put, we must invest for success and all indications are that Tech folks are ready to do just that.”

An investment in success is clearly indicated by the resumes of the two new coaches. The next step is for Oakes and the rest to find a way to convince the rest of north Louisiana to emotionally invest in Tech athletics. Change is constant, says Oakes. He says change is inevitable. Maybe he’s right. Maybe people will change their attitude about the Bulldogs and start paying attention.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Greatest Line Spoken by a Waiter

My wife and I went to lunch at a nice, locally-owned Italian restaurant. An elderly couple was seated next to us. We can infer from overhearing their conversation that there had been some discussion about where they would eat, and the gentleman got his way. The lady was not pleased.
She didn't like the way they were preparing the veal or the eggplant. She whined and went round and round. They chirped at each other for a while about what to order and whether to leave. The man, God bless him, kept his patience, even as his companion grilled the beleaguered server. She said to the waiter, "When we eat at Olive Garden, they bread the eggplant and fry it."
He replied, "Well, I can call over there and get it to go for you."
It was so great that when he came to our table I shook his hand. Later, I threw an extra buck in for his tip.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Wings Win in Record-Setting Fashion

(Bossier City, LA) - Record-setting defensive dominance led the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings to a 52-0 whitewashing of the Texas Copperheads. Battle Wings defensive end Elex Reed (#91) laid siege to Copperheads quarterback Tony Eckert. Reed was credited with 5.5 sacks, an af2 record as he led his unit to only the second shutout in af2 history.
Wings’ quarterback Quincy Carter, the former Dallas Cowboys star, spread the ball around, throwing touchdown passes to four different receivers on his way to a 18-30 night. Carter amassed 222 passing yards, throwing two scoring tosses to P.J. Winston and one each to Jamaal Perry, Anthony Chambers and Marc Bacote.
The Copperheads rarely threatened to score, and the Battle Wings defense consistently rose to any challenge. The Copperheads were still competitive in the second quarter, trailing 21-0 and in position to score, when Wings’ defensive back Phillip Geiggar (#22) intercepted an Eckert pass in the end zone and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown. The Battle Wings led at halftime, 31-0 following a 22-yard field goal from Brian Hazelwood.
Battle Wings fullback Jason Schule added to his league-leading rushing total by carrying the ball four times for 24 yards and a third-quarter touchdown..
For the second week in a row, Carter earned Schutt offensive Player of the game honors. Reed’s record-setting evening earned him the distinction of ADT defensive player of the game for the second week in a row. Kendrick “Boss” Walker, who bottled up Copperheads receivers and was effective on kick returns, was named the U.S. Army Ironman of the game.
The Battle Wings, at 2-0 for the first time in franchise history, will play on the road for the first time in 2007 next week when they travel to Hidalgo, Texas to take on division rival Rio Grande Valley.

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Texas Copperheads 0 0 0 0 0 Record: (0-2)
Bos-Shv BattleWings 14 17 14 7 52 Record: (2-0)

Photos are from the Shreveport Times' on-line gallery. All photos by Greg Pearson
PASSING: Tony Ekert (TEX) 22-11-2-104 0 td’s;
Quincy Carter (BSB) 30-18-0-222 5 TD’S; Gary Cooper (Bos) 2-2-0-18
RECEIVING: Jason Deml (TEX) 8-72-0; Jamaal Perry (BOS) 9-109-1

Attendance: 4108

Schutt Offensive Player of the Game: Quincy Carter
U.S. Army Ironman: Kendrick Walker
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Elex Reed
Cutters Catch of the Game: Jamal Perry

Scoring Summary:
1st quarter
10:55 Carter to Bacote 6yd pass BC 7 Tx 0
6:05 Carter to Winston 25yd pass BC 14 Tx 0
2nd quarter
8:56 Carter to Perry 9yd pass BC 21 Tx 0
7:05 Geiggar interception and 51yd run BC 28 Tx 0
0:50 Hazelwood 22yd FG BC 31 Tx 0
3rd quarter
3:33 Schule 2yd run BC 38 Tx 0
0:10 Carter to Winston 5yd pass BC 45 Tx 0
4th quarter
7:12 Carter to Chambers 6yd pass BC 52 Tx 0

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Time for a New Car!

Three Caddo Magnet High School students were taken to a local hospital this morning following a three-car accident on Youree Drive at East Herndon.
How many times have we read a lead sentence like that? It takes on a different feeling when one of those students is your son. What a way to start the day, with a phone call that my 17-year-old's car has been crushed from the rear, and that he was pushed into another car.
He will be okay, but tomorrow he probably will feel worse than he does today. He was stopped behind other cars, preparing to turn left about two blocks away from school when he got blasted. There were no squeals and no skid marks, which tells us that the 65-year-old driver whose car collided with his did not apply her brakes. She told police she doesn't know what happened or why she didn't see the cars stopped in the road.
My son's passenger needed a few stitches, but both boys are alright thanks to their seatbelts. Believe it or not, my son is a seatbelt militant. Today, his insistence really paid off. He has a bruise from the shoulder harness, but he didn't hit the steering wheel or the windshield, and that's a tremendous break. The girl driving the third car was treated and released.
The car is done. The body shop guy took one look at it and told me what I already knew: "It's totaled." I had to explain that concept to my son, that it would cost more to repair it than it's worth. He said he will be okay as long as he can get his stereo out. Maybe we'll get him a new stereo in his new car. Maybe he can get excited about getting a new car. Maybe I can get past the financial shock of shelling out the difference between what we buy and what the insurance company pays us.
That's another process I'm dreading. The adjuster at Kemper, the company which insures the lady who caused the accident, has been proactive about helping us. She's being friendly, but I'm cynical enough to think that's part of her training. If she's nice to us, maybe we won't get bent out of shape a threaten a lawsuit. I'm not inclined to call any of those TV lawyers, anyway. I'll be interested to see if anyone in the legal profession tries to contact us. That's not our way, but I am expecting Kemper to treat us fairly. How do you define that? We will see how the kids feel in a few days.
It's good to dwell on the positive. Nobody's life has been in danger. There are some bumps bruises, cuts and some significantly sore muscles, but everyone will be okay. For that, we all are grateful.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Peeps Show

True confessions time. I played a dirty little trick on my son on Easter Sunday. His mother got him some Easter candy, and he seemed to enjoy it. I noticed, however, an alarming absence of Peeps in the Easter basket.
This is an clear oversight which demanded correction. So, I went to my closet and pulled out the secret stash of Peeps. He eagerly opened them and ate many of them. I have to say I had a few, too.
Here's the thing. They were leftover Peeps from Easter '06! My wife just sat there and laughed, her son none the wiser. The Peeps went so quickly that she bought more the day after Easter, from the discount shopping cart at Brookshire's.

Peeps apparently have the shelf life of military MRE's as long as you don't break open the cellophane. These ridiculous little sugar-coated marshmallow candies have become a cultural phenomenon. I can remember, a decade ago, participating in an extended newsroom conversation about the nuances of enjoying Peeps.
This year, the revered Washington Post invited readers to participate in a Peeps Diorama Contest. They received more than 350 entries from around the world! You can see a photo gallery here.

The Post reported: There were copious dioramas with antiwar or patriotic themes ("Give Peeps a Chance" and "George Washingpeep Crossing the Delaware," for example). Several chronicled Britney Spears's meltdown in front of the "Peeparazzi." Two dioramas adapted a classic Charlton Heston movie line: "Soylent Green is Peeps!"

The entry pictured above, in a photo borrowed from Renee Comet Photography, has the theme "Peeps are a girl's best friend." A woman I know would agree with that. She likes to leave her Peeps out for a couple of days and eat them stale. She could enter next year's contest, because the first tip offered by the paper for a successful Peeps diorama is to let them harden for a day or two before construction. "Girl's Best Friend," by the way, was the winner of the paper's contest.

The Post has even arranged for a showing, starting this Friday at a regional art facility.

There, one will be able to see in person "Peeping Peeps," among other creations. Many are elaborate and obviously took hours, even days to create.

There is an undertone of alarm in the Post story, simply because they think this event will really take off. They are already planning for next year. At least they have a foundation for a nice art collection. I mean that. Based on our own experience, Peeps can hang around for a long time. I'll poke around in my closet and see what I can find.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Watch the Birdies!

After suffering through the Masters over the weekend, I was relieved finally to see some birdies on TV Monday night. Close observers may have noticed I have cultivated a little interest in Arena football. So, I actually was watching the Monday night version on ESPN2. I wasn't grinding it, or anything. I just had it on. The Philadelphia Soul was hosting the Georgia Force.

The Soul is owned by "rocker" Jon Bon Jovi, who was watching with interest from a luxury suite when Georgia scored a controversial touchdown. As the refereee explained the ruling, the director took the inevitable shot of the famous owner looking on in disgust. Then, we saw this:
To Bon Jovi's credit, I suppose, he brought it up after the game before anyone had a chance to ask him about it. Talking about the play in which a Georgia reciever caught the ball, dropped it, then played it off the wall and was awarded a touchdown, he said, "I didn't understand the ruling. (The Georgia player) did have possession on the play. He fumbled in the end zone. He recovered the ball. I reacted to something I didn't know the rule on."*
Bon Jovi said he obviously didn't realize he was being shown on TV when his gesture flew the coop. "I apologize for the middle-finger thing," he said. "I didn't understand the rule. It's simple as that. We will be back next week."* The Soul siffered its first loss of the season.
The owner will be back, too. Apparently, he will get in no trouble from the league for this. It all has a benefit. This is getting some national attention, and people who didn't even know Philadelphia had an Arena team, not to mention that Bon Jovi owns it, are paying attention.
Given the majesty of JBJ's birds, maybe he can buy an ownership stake in the Eagles.
*quotes from the Philadelphia Inquirer

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Life at the Beach

My crew went to the beach without me, which probably is a good thing. The girls who spend every weekend at my house took a spring break roadie to the Redneck Riviera with my wife in tow. By all acocunts, they had a wonderful time. Certainly, the looked fabulous. They arrived home safe and sun-splashed, relaxed and ready to return to school for the Last Push Before Summer.
A strange thing happened while they were gone. I got cranky. People probably got sick of hearing it, but that was the longest I had ever gone without seeing my wife's face. My son and I operated quite nicely at home without the ladies, but something was just missing. He may grouse about having the girls around, but there's a certain level of stimulation as they antagonize him. It didn't help that his girlfriend was out of town with her family much of the time, too. We sat and watched two seasons of "Entourage" on DVD and ate dinner out of a box most of the time. It was kind of pitiful, to tell you the truth.
Women and girls rule our lives. Even our dog and cat are female. They can be as demanding as the rest of them. It came down to this, though: we literally did not know what to do without them. They have become such a part of our day-to-day existence that we just kind of came to a halt. It was very restful, but disconcerting nonetheless.
It's good to have everybody home. I hope they know how much we missed them.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Quincy Carter Creates a Buzz

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter makes no secret about his desire to get back to the NFL. One of the first steps on his journey is to learn the Arena game, and he's doing that in Bossier City. Carter and his new team, the Battle Wings, played their first 2007 game Saturday night, defeating the Ft. Wayne Fusion.

Carter might have gone big-time on his new teammates, but he hasn't done it. The overwhelming majority of the time, he has treated the people he has encountered around town with patience and kindness. After Saturday's game, Carter and the rest of the players came back onto the field to mingle with fans and sign autographs. One fan got Carter's attention. He was wearing a Dallas Cowboys #17 jersey, a Quincy Carter replica. When carter saw this fan, who is confined to a wheelchair, he stopped everything he was doing, worked his way through the crowd and engaged the fan. He signed autographs and posed for photos with him.

If Carter plays well enough, he just might get a call this summer to report to an NFL camp. As we have said before, if Carter is a one-year wonder in Bossier City, everybody wins. Saturday was a big night for Carter. He led his team to a victory, proved he can still play and lead, and he made a direct positive impact on one of his devoted fans. Winning begins one victory at a time.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Battle Wings Win '07 Opener

(Considering they were 3-13 last year AND in 2005, this is pretty good...

The Jon Norris-Quincy Carter era started with a bang in Bossier City. Carter, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, made his af2 debut and led the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings to 67-52 win over the Ft. Wayne Fusion. Carter completed 20 of 29 attempts for 237 yards and six touchdowns. He threw one interception. He was overshadowed, though, by the spectacular debut of Wings’ defensive back Kendrick Walker. The 3rd-year pro from Abilene Christian intercepted three passes and returned a missed field goal for a touchdown. Late in the game, as Walker came off the field, Carter bowed to him as if to say “We are not worthy.” It was a moment of levity and a nice gesture by Carter, who by all accounts has ingratiated himself to his new teammates.
Jamaal Perry led all Battle Wings receivers with 8 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Anthony Chambers, one of the few players to return from the 2006 Battle Wings squad, caught two fourth quarter touchdown passes. Another returning player, fullback Jason Schule, rushed for two scores and caught a touchdown pass. Schule’s third touchdown of the evening came on the final play of the game as he scampered 45 yards with a simple hand-off around the right side.
Cody Hodges attempted 40 passes for the Fusion, completing 24 with six touchdowns. But, he also threw three interceptions, all of them to Kendrick Walker.
The Battle Wings scored first and never trailed. Their largest lead was 22 points, 42-20 following a Marcus Harris fourth quarter touchdown run.
The game ended with a furious flurry. Ten touchdowns, five by each team, were scored in the fourth quarter.
Defensive lineman Elex Reed, who recorded the Wings’ only sack of the evening, was named the defensive player of the game. Quincy Carter earned offensive honors. In the no-brainer decision of the decade, Kendrick Walker was named Ironman of the game.
The Battle Wings will be at home next Saturday to face the expansion Texas Copperheads.

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Ft. Wayne Fusion 6 14 0 32 52 Record: (1-1)
Bos-Shv BattleWings 14 14 7 32 67 Record: (1-0)

PASSING: Cody Hodges (FTW) 40-24-3-300 6 td’S;
Quincy Carter (Bos) 29-20-1-237 6 TD’S; Gary Cooper (Bos) 00-00-0-000
RECEIVING: Jermaine Jackson (FTW) 11-132-1; Jamaal Perry (BOS) 8-117-3

Attendance: 3893

Schutt Offensive Player of the Game: Quincy Carter
U.S. Army Ironman: Kendrick Walker
ADT Defensive Player of the Game: Elex Reed
Cutters Catch of the Game: Anthony Chambers

Scoring Summary:
1st quarter
11:01 Carter to Perry 35 yd pass BC 7 FW 0
8:30 Hodges to Walker 33 yd pass BC 7 FW 6
4:00 Carter to Schule 18 yd pass BC 14 FW 6
2nd quarter
13:06 Carter to Perry 33 yd pass BC 21 FW 6
11:48 Hodges to Walker 2 yd pass BC 21 FW 13
7:30 Carter hand-off to Schule 1 yd run BC 28 FW 13
3:38 Hodges 1 yd run BC 28 FW 20
3rd quarter
7:13 Walker fields missed FG with 51 yd run BC 35 FW 20
4th quarter
13:51 Carter to Harris for 2 yd run BC 42 FW 20
10:00 Hodges 6 yd run BC 42 FW 28 2 pt conversion Hodges to Walker to Jackson
7:28 Carter to Perry 14 yd pass BC 49 FW 28
4:54 Hodges to Walker 12 yd pass BC 49 FW 34 2 pt conversion fails
3:30 Carter to Chambers 15 yd pass BC 55 FW 34 Hazelwood missed
0:52 Hodges to Jackson 30 yd pass BC 55 FW 40 2 pt conversion fails
0:41 Carter to Chambers 14 yd pass BC 61 FW 40 Hazelwood missed
0:31 Hodges to Manning 19 yd pass BC 61 FW 46 2 pt conversion fails
0:02 Hodges to Harvey 9 yd pass BC 61 FW 52 2 pt conversion fails
0:01 Carter hand-off to Schule 45 yd run BC 67 FW 52 no kick – time out

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rest in Peace, Coach Rob

Eddie Robinson has died and it is sad to realize how many young people won't understand the impact he had on their lives. The legendary Grambling football coach stayed in one place, Grambling Louisiana, all of his adult life. For more than fifty years, he had one job: head football coach at Grambling. Along the way he became the first college football coach to win more than 400 games. He sent more than 200 players to the National Football League. At the time he retired, he was the winningest college football coach in history.
Football was his platform, and he used it well. Coach Rob took his teams all over the world and set an example everywhere he went. He refused to allow his players to use racial discrimination as an excuse to fail. He taught them that hard work and a will to win, in football and in life, can take you far. He was a leader along the lines of Martin Luther King, and for decades many mothers yearned to have their sons come under his influence.
Coach Rob was lost to those who love him long before he died. Alzheimer's took him away. He is an icon and the world has lost a treasure today.
Personally, I can tell you that Coach Rob was the first national figure I met as a young sportcaster. I don't think he ever remembered my name but he always recognized me. He always was kind to me. I have a drawing of Coach Rob, personally autographed to me by name, framed and treasured. For many years, it was displayed prominently in my office. I know exactly where it is and I will retrieve it today. I'm not qualified to address the profound impact he had on individuals, but more importantly on culture. I do know that I am surprisingly emotional at the news of his passing. He truly was a great man.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ralph Bellamy is William Shatner's Father?

We love to watch "Boston Legal." We actually watched the show from which it spun off, "The Practice." While the original show was a straight, often dark, legal drama; BL has a significant comedic element to it. James Spader is the star, but William Shatner consistently steals the show with his portrayal of Denny Crane. Shatner's character is a lawyer who is suffering form dementia, not to mention a viper's nest of prejudice and judgmentalism. We are to believe that Crane was once an imposing, invincible litigator who now wins cases in spite of himself based largely on his reputation.

Tuesday night, the show's creators pulled off a trick that was fascinating to watch. During the episode, the son of a murder victim takes Crane and other lawyers, along with some clients, hostage. He has with him the man who was tried for his mother's murder. He demands a new, mock-trial. We are told that the accused murderer was Crane's first client, and that he presented the case with his father. There are flashbacks to Crane debating the case's merits and the guilt or innocence of the client with his father.
The actor in the black and white flashbacks looks remarkably like Shatner. That's because it is Shatner, about ten years before he became a star as Captain James T. Kirk on "Star Trek."
The show's producers took scenes from a two-part special called "The Defender," starring Steve McQueen as a man on trial for murder. He is defended by a father-son lawyer team played by Ralph Bellamy and William Shatner.
The Boston Legal people wove this old kinescope into the show in a fascinating way. It worked really well. For me, it was a "Gee whiz" moment, a "How'd they DO that?" kind of thing. A show which has consitently entertained me really impressed me tonight.

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Is God a Baseball Fan?

KNOE television in Monroe, LA did a story on March 21st about the West Ouachita High School baseball team. The coach has pratice on Wednesdays and the junior varsity team has five Wednesday night games. Why is this worth a news story? Because a youth minister at a local Baptist church is worked up about it. In a story reported by KNOE's Mike McDaniel, Clark Springs Baptist Church youth minster Mike Israel complains, "It's very easy to fall off and quit coming to church or get out of the habit and I think that a conflict like this would easily take a kid out of the habit. I just don't feel like they ought to have to compete with baseball."

The baseball coach, Mitch Thomas, took a conciliatory tone, saying, "I've told these kids from day one, you know, our list of priorities is their religion, their family, their education and then baseball." Really? The coach and his athletic director have said that any player who misses a game or a practice for church will be excused. Lets get real here. Maybe it's excused, but there will be consequences. There are five games on the school's schedule planned for Wednesday night. Any player who misses five games, for whatever reason, will find plenty of time on the pine. More correctly stated, a player who shows up for all of his team's games absolutely should get more consideration for playing time than one who does not. What is the big deal, anyway? This is Wednesday, not Sunday. It's a tough sell to say a kid who misses five mid-week prayer meetings will go to hell or something.

What about the precedent that's being set here? If it's a prayer meeting, then why not the school play? If a kid wants to go to rehearsal instead of baseball practice or a game, then under the Mitch Thomas plan, he should be allowed to without repercussions. Typically, coaches do not make participation in games optional. It's just preposterous.

Let's be clear: West Ouachita is a public school. The baseball coach has inserted himself into a tight political wedge. He should set a standard: You commit to playing on this baseball team. You commit to contributing to this baseball team completely, or you don't play for this baseball team.

Back to the minister's point. Since when is attending church a habit? Doesn't habit have a negative connotation? Shouldn't the kids attend services because they're sincere or "on fire with the love of the Lord," or because they're exploring the very nature of their existence? Mr. Israel is doing the kids, the coaches and the community a real disservice. You can honor your commitments and show how much you love Jesus or your Baptist brethren while leading by example. Then, when you have done that, you go back to the church the next Wednesday and pray about it.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

My Hero, Ari Gold

I am stoked about the season premiere of "Entourage" on HBO. Why? Because I hate Ari and I love him at the same time. I know how Ari feels. Sadly, I bascially have been Ari, although on a much smaller scale. The intensity, the uncontrollable drive, the irresistable need to compel people to do what you want them to do RIGHT NOW! That was me not so long ago.
Thankfully, I'm not wound quite so tightly these days. I don't ever want to go back, and again I offer a blanket apology to anyone who was burned by my scorched earth policy. Ari is cathartic for me. Ari shows me where I don't want to go.
Daddy D's first YouTube embed offers you the high points of Ari. Caution, this video is definitely R-rated.

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