Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Daddy D is Published

Redskins Run Over Cowboys
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I've been having some fun with my camera, mixing my hobby with my former profession. I've earned a little legitimacy, it seems. This photo was published on the front page of the local newspaper's sports section this morning, accompanying a story crafted by my friend Roy Lang III, the sportswriter. They even gave me credit.
It's good that the image is in focus.
On the heels of a trip to Auburn for an LSU game, the opportunity to be back on the sidelines at Texas Stadium was simply a thrill. When I broke into broadcasting (in the 70's, my God), I had the great fortune to routinely cover the Cowboys. It was one of those circumstances that led a young man to give no consideration whatsoever to the paltriness of his paycheck. The rewards were so great that as long as the rent got paid, nothing else mattered much. Trips to Texas Stadium dwindled and ultimately stopped, much to my disappointment. I had not been on that field in years.
The Cowboys are moving into a new facility in 2009, and I told my wife over the summer that I felt a desire to get to Irving for one more game in the stadium. I had no notion that it would happen for me with such style. Roy was assigned to cover the Cowboys-Redskins game. When he called and asked if I would be willing to tag along and shoot some photos for him, I practically jumped through the phone saying yes.
Walking down the tunnel past the visitors' locker room toward the field, I was transported back in time. As my senses came alive, I was awash in nostalgia. I had been there many times before, but as a much younger version of me. I had a still camera instead of a TV camera, but the setting was the same. I didn't close my eyes, but instead opened them a little wider. For a moment, I had a full head of hair, was 25 pounds lighter and there was a little dream of being a big-time sportscaster.
The moment of self indulgence passed and it was time to work on a freelance photo assignment. I just needed one decent image to justify my sideline pass and I think I got it. The work was comfortably familiar. I was shooting images of Romo and T.O. instead of Roger and Drew, but the uniforms looked the same.
The only real difference I felt was how I reacted to the cheerleaders. On the sidelines, you stand within inches of them and occasionally pass a word or two. When I was doing this with regularity, I was typically dreaming of making those conversations more substantive. I still noticed them and acknowledged that they are beautiful women, but my brain registered, "some guy's daughter." I realize they might have looked at me and if they thought anything at all, it was "harmless old man." There's some comfort in that.
I walked away from a career in sports broadcasting five years ago because it aggravated me more than excited me. It was great, at least for an afternoon, to be reminded what it was I loved so long ago.
Thanks to Roy and Scott and everybody at the paper!

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Gold Moment

SEC East standings
Originally uploaded by Darrell
While Southern Cal and Florida fans are suffering following their teams' shocking losses this weekend, the graduate of a Southeastern Conference school in our house is riding high. Yes, the Vandy Girl who shares my home is worked up. It probably won't last, but for at least one more week, The Commodoresare undefeated and atop the SEC East Division standings. Since Vanderbilt does not have a game this weekend, its stranglehold on 1st place will last two weeks at a minimum. Georgia plays Alabama tonight, so we will be flipping back and forth between that game and LSU-Mississippi State.
My resident 'Dores fan is a realist. She knows there's virtually no chance her team will win the division. She's just hoping for two more wins so they will be bowl eligible.
How excited is she? She got on the internet and ordered some Vandy gear, and she's been checking the front porch twice a day while she impatiently awaits delivery.
In the meantime, I'm facing a potential conflict of interest. I'm on the selection committee for the Independene Bowl, which has a contract with the SEC. If the Commodores get it done, will I need to recuse myself? What if they're bowl eligible and we don't invite them? I'll never hear the end of it.
Maybe they will win their way into the Sugar Bowl or something and I won't be conflicted. Maybe pigs will fly over downtown New Orleans, too.

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Loud Night Out

Rascal Flatts
Originally uploaded by darebouche
Let me just say this: That Rascal Flatts dude can sing. The hugely popular, mostly country trio came back to town and we decided to give them another listen. They really go big-time with their presentation, and that counts for a lot when you mosty don't know their songs. Three of their biggest hits were familiar and I actually found myself singing along with the emotional ballad "What Hurts The Most."
Mostly, though, it was a night out and a chance for my wife and me to share an experience with our daughter and her friends.
Their interest was focused on the opener, young country singer Taylor Swift. I knew her songs from spending time in the car with my daughter, who has her iPod loaded with everything Swift has ever released.
As has been noted several times in this space, I seem to wind up at country music shows even though I rarely actually listen to country music. The lyrics are mostly clean and the crowds are usually well-bathed and well-behaved, so it's almost always a positive experience.
My ears are ringing. Feels like I went to an LSU game.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Leftovers From the Road

Wal-Mart goof offs
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I have a buddy who insists I'm living a "charmed life" for a variety of reasons, among them my occasional access to a big-time football game. There's no question that I am privileged to find my way onto the field despite my departure from full-time pursuit of a career in sports media.
Charmed, though? Let's get real. Someone living a charmed life is not forced to hang around a Wal-Mart in Monroe, Louisiana for thirty minutes while the clock strikes midnight. That's exactly where I found myself when my traveling companions deemed it essential to buy a sackful of snacks for the all-night trip to Auburn.
The only thing to do, it seemed, was laugh. We were surrounded by the exhausted, the drunk and the infirm as we rounded up beef jerky, Nutter Butter and M&M's. One poor guy, who had quite obviously just finished a shift at a job he merely tolerates, was trying to buy a fifth of Captain Morgan and a generous supply of mixers. We slid right behind him at the checkout line at about 11:45. The clerk was so inept and flustered by her professional challenges that we did not get to the register until about 12:10. That's when she told our beleaguered companion that liquor sales are not allowed after midnght. The fact that he got in line before midnight was of no consequence to her whatsoever. Rules are rules, so Captain Morgan sailed back to the aisle and our new friend slinked off into the oppressive amber light of the Wal-Mart parking lot. When last seen, he was forlornly swatting away a cloud of mosquitoes as he went off in search of a way to wash away the memory of his emotionally exhausting day.
The football was high level, but the meals were far from it. The highlight was the "continental breakfast" at a Hampton Inn somewhere in Mississippi. Wendy's and Taco Bell were staples on the trip. There's nothing wrong with that. It's fun in its own way, but charmed?
Three grown men shared a room with two beds for two nights. That meant somebody got a chair or a floor. At least there were choices.
"Charmed" would be a room to himself for each guy and a flight instead of a nine-hour drive.
I'm not complaining. I'd do it again this weekend or the next.

I think the Wal-Mart experience scarred us, though. Tim, who put the trip together, blogged about it too. Click there to get a different outlook on our "charmed" trip.
The Auburn football experience rivals LSU's. Their "War Eagle" is as impressive a live mascot as Mike the Tiger. The tailgate experience is on par with Baton Rouge in geographic footprint as well as duration. And yes, Jordan-Hare Stadium is big and the crowd is ear-splitting at times.LSU-Auburn 2008 (198) I'm glad I went and I thank Tim for inviting me. Maybe he's my charm.LSU-Auburn 2008 (46)

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Monday, September 22, 2008

A Colossal Waste of Time

To add insult to injury: my son literally bumped into Bruce Willis. There's another movie filming in town. Willis is the star. They are shooting on campus and my son actually crossed paths with the megastar...and bumped into him. There was an exchange of "Sorry, man." "No problem."
To rub salt into the wound: my friend Tim got a speaking role in the movie that wasted my day. The stars are not lining up for me an any sense here.----------------------

Joe and Darrell movie stars
Originally uploaded by Darrell
My movie career appears to be over after just one day. I spent twelve hours in the company of some fine, talented people. That's twelve hours of my life I'll never get back. My old buddy Joe here was called for the same film, so at least I had somebody to hang out with. I actually knew about five people there, which was good since all we did was sit on our rear ends all day and into the night.
We were to be professors in a dinner party scene. We dutifully reported at 7:30am, went through paperwork and wardrobe selection and the started our sit-a-thon.
There were some women there, too. They primped and made a fuss about make-up & hair. Then they sat there, much of the day in an outdoor tent where their well-styled hair went flat and their make-up couldn't hold back the sweat.
We did get to the place where The Big Scene was being filmed, but only about eight people from the herd of "background artists" actually got to go onto (or even see) the set. The rest of us, about forty people, sat and sat and sat in a "holding area." We never saw a movie star or a director.
They did feed us well: steak, shrimp, a chicken option, nice salad and sides, excellent dessert slection. So, there's that.
I got a $25.00 bonus because I drove my car on one outdoor scene. The film's star, Edward Norton, was driving a car that I had to pass. The assistant director or somebody told me my timing was excellent. I hope that counts for something.
After my moment as a stunt driver, I stood around and watched them film the next shot in the sequence, which involved moving the camera on a track. That was interesting to see, I suppose. The one star I caught a glimpse of was the one I sort of hadn't heard of when I got asked to work on the movie. Somewhere, Susan Sarandon and Richard Dreyfuss were lurking. I think I might have been in the same building with them. I think they were in the dinner scene I never got called for.
At the end of the day, I had earned the car bonus plus four hours' overtime. It wasn't worth the disappointment and frustration. There are at least 30 people I hung around with who seem to feel exactly the same way.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Smiling All The Way

Darrell and Mike (47)
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I have made it home from Auburn, and boy what a great weekend!
Let's start with the obvious: LSU overcame a 14-3 second half deficit to win at Auburn for the first time in a decade. They scored the winning touchdown with just about one minute left in the game to win 26-21. I was standing on the end line when Brandon LaFell caught the winning pass from Jarrett Lee. LaFell ran directly toward me as the impressive throng of LSU faithful at Jordan-Hare Stadium exploded with glee. The trip would have been great no matter what, but certainly it was better because the game was thrilling. The fact that LSU won was gravy. Both teams were ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
The traveling companions and I left home Friday evening and watched high school football, then headed eastward into the night.
We were out of town for 48 hours. 17 of those hours were spent in the car. About 8 of them were spent watching football. The other guys all were working, so they had to write and produce stories for their media employers. Consequently, a good chunk of their time was spent under significant deadline pressure. I pitched in where I could in a good faith attempt to justify my attendance, but I had essentially no stress.
There was a little pressure to be witty. That comes with the territory when you hang with this crew. I don't have may opportunities to do "guy trips," and this one seemed to go really well.
The weather was spectacular and the football was even better. The company was consistently entertaining. You can't ask for much more than that.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's a Great Day So Far

(Auburn, AL) - Look at Daddy D...waving at you from Jordan-Hare Stadium. Somehow, I worked my way into the press box for a nationally-televised Southeastern Conference game which features two Top Ten teams. LSU, the defending national champions, have come to the plains and we're tagging along.
It has not been an easy journey. After work on Friday, I left for West Monroe, LA, where I helped with a high school football broadcast. From there, with a post-midnight departure, my traveling companions and I drove through the night to Meridian, Mississippi where we crashed for a few hours. Trust me, there's no easy way to get from Shreveport to Auburn, but I'm here and I'm excited.
I have to be honest, I'm hoping for an LSU win. It will make the long overnight drive home much easier to take.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daddy D in the Movies

The movie industry continues to percolate around town. Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss and Edward Norton are coming to town to star in a move called "Leaves of Grass."
I knew nothing of this until yesterday. I was sitting there minding my own business when my phone rang. It was a casting director, who said he has shown my photo (among others) to someone working on the film. He might have said the director, but I was kind of half-listening at the moment. However it happened, somehow it was determined that I look scholarly or something, because they're asking me to appear in the film as a professor.
I poked around and this project has a lot of credibility. Norton will play twins. One is an Ivy League professor (presumably I will be an on-screen colleague) and the other is a drug dealer. The professor is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown for a doomed scheme against a local drug lord (Dreyfuss) that unravels his life. I doubt I will meet or even see the Big Stars, but I'm looking forward to the experience. I'd like to see how big-time movies are made. It's a one-day shoot for me, which obviously means no lines and a lot of sitting around. I have no idea what they will pay, but I can't imagine it will be much. Still, If I make it onto the silver screen for even five or ten seconds, it will be kind of a rush. I'll definitely buy the DVD, so maybe I will come out even on the deal. Here's the first movie poster. See you at the multiplex.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Working That Sale

It was time to buy a new suit and I had a coupon for $300.00 (yep, three hundred bucks) off a regular-priced suit at a men's store close to the house. So, I went shopping.
I found a suit I really liked. It was on sale for $299.00. FREE SUIT!
Not so fast, Skippy.
The deal is for Three Bills off the regular price. Alertly, I asked what the regular price of the suit had been. I was told $550.00.
Quick math led to perhaps the first-ever request of its kind: I asked them to put the suit back at its regular price. There was a pause, and then....they did it!
Back up to $550.00...$300.00 coupon on the table and BOOM: Suit costs $250.00 instead of $299.00. Sold. I feel like I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night or something.
I was so pleased that they were willing to work with me that I bought some new shirts. I had another coupon for ten bucks off each shirt. They started ringing them up and noticed something else: my company's corporate discount would actually make the shirts costs even less. So, they disregarded the coupon and gave me the coprorate price. That's customer service.
There's a local men's store I'm usually loyal to. I have spent thousands and thousand of dollars at Pope's over the years and I'll be back. But, I have to hand it to Joseph A. Bank for reeling me in and hooking me. I'll go to Pope's to buy ties to go with my sale suit.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Another Sure Sign of Aging

We were out and the Cowboys were on TV, so we decided to stop into a sports-themed restaurant/ bar to grab a bite to eat and watch a few minutes of the game. It should be a sports fan's dream, right? A nice collection of jersey-clad fans surrounded by big-screen TV's with waitresses bringing fried food and beer. What more could you ask for?
A little quiet, if you don't mind. The people were just too loud, too wild.
Speaking of wild, I ordered some chicken wings. Knowing my limitations, I asked for mild sauce. We have established it was LOUD in there. Apparently our waitress didn't hear me exactly right. She brought "wild," not "mild." Since I was watching the game and trusting my server, I munched right in. I knew mmediately I had made a terrible mistake. Wild is right. I was wildly sweating down the back of my neck in less than thirty seconds.
How old am I? I know that I will pay the price tomorrow for tonight's accidental ingestion of Wild Wings.
Break out the medicated cream and turn up the TV a little, will ya?

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

How Great is DirecTV?

Hurricane Ike played havoc with a couple of local television stations. Saturday night, the NBC affiliate was off the air. This was worrisome because the much-anticipated season premier of Saturday Night Live was coming on! The local FOX station is still not transmitting, which is an issue because it's NFL day. No problem. The fine folks at DirecTV somehow knew of the troubles and simply directed another FOX signal and another NBC signal into this market. They provided on-screen messages on the channels where we would normally see these networks instructing us where to tune. It was a beautiful thing.
Try that with cable.
It wasn't perfect. The video streams were got were not in High Definition. If you're accustomed to HD, it's an adjustment to go back to the old way of seeing things. But, hey, I'll take it.
Do the right thing. Switch to satellite. If you do, tell them I sent you. Maybe I'll get a free month of ESPN GamePlan or something.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Breezy Breeze

While millions are suffering from the effects of Hurricane Ike, at our house it was a non-event. I made my daughter get up off the sofa and go outside "to feel the wind of Ike."
After a week of hearing we might have tropical storm or hurricane force winds here in northwest Louisiana, we were pleased to be able to step onto the street and feel the invogorating breezes. There is no damage in our neighborhood.
In fact, Ike forced us into a day of rest. I had an assignment as a TV sideline reporter for a college football game today, but the game was postponed and the telecast was called off. So, I sat around the house watching games, talking with the ladies who live here and troubleshooting a frustrating internet connectivity issue.
People are dutifully staying indoors, making for a quiet day.
The wind was remarkable, but we've endured more frightening gusts during many spring thunderstorms.
Don't confuse my relief with a lack of concern. My best friend and his family hunkered down south of Houston. When last I heard from him, he was without power and housebound with his wife and three young children. The kids weren't scared, he said. It was sort of like camping. That was before the hurricane came ashore. I'll be interested to hear later how that camping trip worked out for them.
Update: I feel like an idiot for kidding around. My friend texted me tonight to say they "lost the west side of the house." It's like somebody punched me in the stomach. Thankfully, he said everyone's okay.

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See? I'm Not the Only One!

As you know, the first time I saw Sarah Palin, the first thing I thought was "Tina Fey."
The world apparently agrees with me:

By JAKE COYLE, AP Entertainment Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Tina Fey was "likely" to play Gov. Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live," said a person close to NBC's sketch comedy show.

Fey is "likely" to return to her former show Saturday to play the Alaskan governor and Sen. John McCain's running mate, a person close to the show told The Associated Press on Friday night. The person requested anonymity because the decision has not been announced officially. No further details were available.

Since Palin's entry onto the national political stage, speculation had been rampant over who might play Palin on the program. Many have commented that Fey resembles her.

In an interview earlier this week with The AP, "SNL" executive producer and creator Lorne Michaels said, "The whole world cast her in that role."

The final decision went down to the last minute, apparently. "SNL" premieres Saturday evening with Michael Phelps as host. An appearance had been planned by Sen. Barack Obama, but his campaign said early Saturday that the Democratic nominee for president was canceling.

Fey was a cast member and writer — including a stint as head writer — for "SNL" for nine years before leaving in 2006 to star in "30 Rock," which is also produced by Michaels. On Tuesday, Michaels said that should Fey play Palin, she was unlikely to remain in the part in the long-term, which depending on the election results, could be for four years or longer.

Fey's publicist did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Look Out, Dallas. Here They Come

Hurricane Gustav Shelter
Originally uploaded by Darrell
With Hurricane Ike bearing down on the Texas coast, evacuations are underway. This means shelters across the state will start receiving visitors today. I suspect the folks fleeing Ike's fury may be decidedly different, culturally, from many of those who hit the road ahead of Gustav. Nonetheless, host cities should be prepared.
Someone I know personally who worked exhausting hours in a Gustav shelter has expressed her frustrations in a letter to the media.
Her essay is on the brink of going viral. I know we all get e-mails from people vouching for the veracity of fantastic claims therein.
I am well acquainted with the author of this letter. I can also tell you that, based on my experiences in the shelters following Katrina and Gustav, I believe every word of it.
There were problems in some of the shelters. No one denies that. Most of the people in them were good, decent and honorable.
This letter, I can assure you, is an accurate representation of an alarming percentage of the people for whom volunteer care was provided:

I am a nurse who has just completed working approximately 120 hours as the clinic director in a Hurricane Gustav evacuation shelter in Shreveport, Louisiana over the last 7 days. I would love to see someone look at the evacuee situation from a new perspective. Local and national news channels have covered the evacuation and "horrible" conditions the evacuees had to endure during Hurricane Gustav.

True - some things were not optimal for the evacuation and the shelters need some modification. At any point, does anyone address the responsibility (or irresponsibility) of the evacuees? Does it seem wrong that one would remember their cell phone, charger,cigarettes and lighter but forget their child's insulin?

Is something amiss when an evacuee gets off the bus, walks immediately to the medical area, and requests immediate free refills on all medicines for which they cannot provide a prescription or current bottle (most of which are narcotics)?

Isn't the system flawed when an evacuee says they cannot afford a $3 co pay for a refill that will be delivered to them in the shelter yet they can take a city-provided bus to Wal-mart, buy 5 bottles of Vodka, and return to consume them secretly in the shelter?

Is it fair to stop performing luggage checks on incoming evacuees so as not to delay the registration process but endanger the volunteer staff and other persons with the very realistic truth of drugs, alcohol and weapons being brought into the shelter?

Am I less than compassionate when it frustrates me to scrub emesis (clinical word for vomit - DR) from the floor near a nauseated child while his mother lies nearby, watching me work 26 hours straight, not even raising her head from the pillow to comfort her
own son?

Why does it insense me to hear a man say "I ain't goin' home 'til I get my FEMA check" when I would love to just go home and see my daughters who I have only seen 3 times this week?

Is the system flawed when the privately insured patient must find a way to get to the pharmacy, fill his prescription and pay his copay while the FEMA declaration allows the uninsured person to acquire free medications under the disaster rules?

Does it seem odd that the nurse volunteering at the shelter is paying for childcare while the evacuee sits on a cot during the day as the shelter provides a "day care"?

Have government entitlements created this mentality and am I facilitating it with my work? Will I be a bad person, merciless nurse or poor Christian if I hesitate to work at the next shelter because I have worked for 7 days being called every curse word imaginable, felt threatened and feared for my personal safety in the shelter?

Exhausted and battered but hopefully pithy,

Sherri Hagerhjelm, RN

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still Scrapping with Allstate

It has been exactly one month since a driver, insured by Allstate, pulled into the path of a car being driven quite legally and responsibly by by son. Joe College is still driving a rent car. Hopefully, that will change soon.
I give Allstate a bit of a pass because their "total loss" department is in New Orleans and they sort of evacuated the city last week. I got a call from them last Friday, and surely enough my Total Loss Person was a Gustav victim. She had not left town, but her whole family stayed in a shelter in Shreveport. She said she wanted to get this settled. So do I. As you all know, I have surrendered to Allstate. Having my son in a rent car exposes me to much more potential trouble than the fight is worth.
Still, I need to continue to express my frustrations with "the good hands people." My friend the Gustav victim, who alertly did not flee the city in the path of the storm, told me on Friday that she knew I was frustrated with all the delays and that she would "overnight" the proper paperwork to me. Saturday came. No papers. Monday came. No papers. Tuesday....found the papers on the porch in a DHL envelope. So, now I'll work on the papers.
Meanwhile, our devastated vehicle rests forlornly in a body shop. I stopped by to pay my respects and was told that the salvage company called and wanted to pick the car up. I told the guy, "please do not surrender that car to anyone until I let you know I have a check from Allstate in my hand." So, that's the working plan. I'll be sure to overnight all the documents to them.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cable Boys Reunited

(I told my wife that I needed this "be still" weekend. Maybe I did, but reading these posts, I realize I just sat around like a lump watching TV. I did go to church. I need to get out more. You can tell it's football season.)-----------------------------------------------------
As a sports fan and a former TV sportscaster, I found myself surprised and happy while passively watching television Sunday night. Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, who brought "SportsCenter" into the big leagues, were back together on TV. When ESPN was still just a little cable outfit struggling for viewers, they co-anchored SportsCenter and informally dubbed their news and highlights presentation "The Big Show." Their on-air rapport and obvious friendship allowed them to develop a collective humor and complementary styles. They brought viewers along with them for the ride and became household names among sports fans.
Olbermann moved on and has made cameo appearences on TV and radio sports presentations but has carved out a niche on cable TV news as a bombastic news-talk host who is harshly and often angrily critical of the Bush administration. I'm not a big fan of News Keith, but Sports Keith is immensely entertaining.
Patrick was an early cable sports pioneer, anchoring a sports news program on CNN during the formative years before moving to ESPN, where he eventually settled into a successful daily sports talk radio show. He recently left the ESPN empire to strike out on his own with a daily radio show. He also writes for Sports Illustrated.
NBC reunited them on "Football Night in America," where they co-hosted an NFL highlights segment. I didn't know it was coming and I stopped what I was doing to watch it. Bob Costas introduced the segment as "The Little Big Show," which is actually pretty clever. They fell right in with their old banter and humor. Heaven help me, I was entertained. I watched the whole thing and just laughed. It was great. I hope it's a permanent fixture.
Cris Collinsworth, sitting beside Costas, said something like, "Keith goes to school all week and this is recess." It was clear Olbermann was having a great time. Patrick seemed to be swimming in it.
It's a week for reunions. On a much saller scale, I did a segment on the radio with my old broadcast partner, Tim Fletcher. We were promoting the game we called together last week along with our former co-worker Clif Cotton. I said on the air that since I left the media, I'm usually working around people who are more highly educated and much smarter than me. I said, "I know a rising tide lifts all boats, but I'm just flopping around in the wake." Fletcher said, "Well, welcome back to the shallow end."
Maybe Olbermann would be happier in waist-deep water himself.

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We Can Breathe Again

The first full weekend of football in 2008 has been reasonably entertaining despite the hurricane-induced absence of the LSU Tigers. In the off-season, I upgraded my High Definition package with DirecTV and it's worth every penny.
I spent more time today watching the NFL than I did in a month last year. The Cowboys looked New England Patriot-like in their imposing win over the Cleveland Browns. Felix Jones, the rookie running back from Arkansas, gives Cowboys fans reason for high hopes in the years ahead and quarterback Tony Romo was virtually flawless in the first half. In the second half, the Cowboys seemed to go through the motions against a hapless Cleveland defense.
I know I should have been riveted to the Saints' game against Tampa Bay. I turned the TV on and watched a lot of the game, which they won. But I simply could not stop myself from changing channels to watch the New York Favres in Miami. The drama of quarterback Chad Pennington playing his first game for the Dolphins against the team that released him to make room for Favre was too compelling. The presence of the unretired living legend in a Jets' uniform was reality TV at its best. Favre and the Jets won, but barely. I'm looking forward to seeing how Favre's season develops. It could be legendary.
I'm surprising myself by watching so much pro football. I'm planning to watch JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders Monday night. I'm not sure if it's the sport or the HD, but I need to shut things down and get out of the house.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Go Gold!

There is excitement in our house because the football team from the wife's alma mater is 2-0! Vanderbilt beat South Carolina Thursday night, raising hopes of bowl games. The last time the Commodores went to a post season game, my wife was a student at the school. That's been a while. Coach Bobby Johnson is doing a remarkable job at the Southeastern Conference's traditional doormat. The home victory over a nationally-ranked team was just huge. Four more wins to go bowling, baby! Any Vanderbilt fan (if you can find one) will tell you that the football team will tantalize you with a hanful of wins and then just crush you...usually with an embarrassing loss to Tennessee. For now, though, the Commodores are celebrating. My wife even went on-line to buy some Vandy gear.
One of the benefits for a coach of playing a Thursday TV game is the opportunity to go recruit in person on a Friday night. So, who did I see on the sideline of a game in Shreveport? It's Bobby Johnson, pressing hard on two players at Evangel Academy.
I sent this photo to my wife on her BlackBerry, and she immediately texted back asking me to congratulate Coach on his great victory. I told him she was in school the last time Vandy went bowling. I said, "I know you want Sugar, but she'd be happy with Independence." He laughed and said he'd see what he can do. That's all you can really ask for.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Back on the Teevee

Bad lighting on TV
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I'm the Michael Corleone of local/ regional TV. They keep dragging me back in. I was offered an opportunity to be the sideline reporter on a local broadcast of a football game, and I jumped on it.
It was fun and I knew most of the coaches involved. The best part, though, was the broadcast team. The local station cobbled together "talent" past and present. The three on-air guys were Tim Fletcher, Clif Cotton and me.
In the 1990's a local TV sports department was Tim Fletcher, Clif Cotton and me. The fact that we had a one-night reunion on another station is nothing short of remarkable. Fletcher put it all together, showing commendable friendship. Considering Clif and I are out of TV, it was a nice gift.
By all accounts, the broadcast came off pretty well. I hope we get to do it again.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Evacuees You Can Love

"Know what they're feeding us? Broccoli and corn! Who eats that slop?"
-A soundbite on the local news from a person spending some time in a Hurricane Gustav shelter.
The evacuees are displaced, uncomfortable and under tremendous stress, but give me a break. These are able bodied people who can take care of themselves. They had plenty of notice they were leaving home. They could have brought money and a change of clothes. Can I let you know, as politically incorrect as it might be, that the person complaining about the "slop" was an enormous human being?
I visited a half-dozen shelters and some of the conditions were unfortunate and possibly unsanitary. The food, however, was plentiful and of a reasonable quality.
My favorite shelter was housing the helpless. Hundreds of pets were being attentively cared for at the state fairgrounds. There were plenty of volunteers diligently feeding, medicating and cleaning up after the evacuees. Puppies and kittens, adult animals, too...in various colors, sizes and breeds were housed there. And you know what? they were all well behaved.
It's interesting to see the kids in the shelters. They're making do, playing with one another and finding something to do to pass the time. They get upset because they don't really get what's going on sometimes, but they recover quickly.
To be fair, most people are just surviving and getting along as they can.
Sadly, a few are causing trouble. Police and national guard troops are breaking up fights and managing unrest at the human shelters. Maybe it's the slop, who knows? I know those folks want to go home. Trust me, we want exactly the same thing.

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