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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/16/2013 in Blog Entries

  1. 6 points
    The best summer of my life was 1963 when I rode for the Ehrlecher spread in Jeff Davis County, Texas. They had about 30,000 acres and a couple of thousand head of mixed beef cattle that had to be counted, vaccinated and treated for screw-worms. I was trying to make a hand and they let me ride, paying me $50 a week and all I could eat. They set me up with 4 horses; I had to bring my own hotroll. We had an old Airstream trailer where we slept, out in the middle of nowhere, too far from town to make it worth riding or driving in. The cook had a tent and a wagon where meals were prepared. After a long day in the saddle we'd wash off in the stock tank, have supper, and then entertain one another with stories--some of them were even true. There was one story told by another hand, Sixto (his last name I don't recall) that he swore was true. I must’ve heard him tell it at least a half-dozen times that summer and it was always the same. Some of the other cowhands scoffed, but he swore it was true. I've taken the liberty of putting it in first person, the way I heard it from Sixto, and I think I've got most of it right as to dialogue. I know the facts are just as he told them back then. Once in a while I've added a comment in [ ] to explain something a little better that he didn't originally tell, since we all knew back then what he was talking about. ****** It was in '53 when I was working for the sheriff's department down in Presidio. I was a new deputy in the department, and Sheriff Race was my boss. [Race Harland, known as "Sheriff Race" to most of the people in the county] I had night duty, and that meant I just drove around to see if there was trouble out on the roads. Kids would buy cheap wine or tequila over in “the O’ [Ojinaga, a Mexican town just across the border from Presidio] and raise hell in their daddy's car. Sometimes there'd be some bad wrecks, but usually just a car with drunk kids that run through a fence. One particular Friday night in late October I was over on 67 [state highway 67, between Presidio and Marfa] when I saw this old yellow school bus chugging down the grade from Marfa. I pulled up alongside and saw a bunch of kids in the bus and they looked like football players because I could see some standing and talking with football jerseys on. The bus had "Shafter ISD" painted on the side. Like I said, it was an old-looking bus. I followed it for a while, mostly because I had nothing else to do but then I wondered if it was going to make it up the next hill. After a while I passed and waved at the driver and went on towards town. A few days later I was in Shafter and stopped at a gas station for coffee and to stretch my legs. Just making conversation I asked the kid at the station about the high school football team, if they were having a good season. He shrugged and said "They used to have a six-man team here but not in a few years, I don't think." That puzzled me but not much since that old school bus could have been sold to another district and never painted so it could have been some other team I saw. But after I finished my coffee I went over to the school just to see, since I was curious and being curious is part of a deputy's job. I walked around but didn't see any school bus even though classes were going on. The whole school didn't have more than about 80 students, brought in from the ranches and a few who lived right there in Shafter. After a while I saw an old guy painting and stopped to kill some time with him and just be known around town. When I asked him about the football team he said "Who told you there was any football team here?" I told him I'd seen the team on the bus just a couple of weekends before. He stopped painting and gave me a real funny look. "Deputy, we ain't had no team here in years, ever since the accident." About that time I felt this kind of chill run up my back. He told me back in 1948 there was a six-man high school team that played some of the other little schools around, like Marathon and Fort Davis and Valentine, but that was the last year. He told me about the accident. The Shafter team was returning home from a game in the school bus, getting close to home out on 67. The best anyone figures they topped a hill and began the downgrade, but something must have happened to the brakes or the steering because at the big curve right where 67 crossed Cibola Creek at the edge of town the bus went off the road and down a drop off into the dry creek bed. Every one of them was killed. ****** Sixto went on about checking the accident records in the Sheriff's office and he found the accident report, but he never told anyone who worked there what he'd seen because he feared losing his job or at least being laughed at. Only after he quit the department and started cowboying again did he feel he could talk about his experience, and then only to men he trusted not to call him a liar or a lunatic. After hearing his story and seeing the look in his eyes as he told it, I couldn’t call him either one.
  2. 6 points

    Don Juan

    Don Juan was in prison. His daughter Ana ran to tell me the news as my pickup rattled into the wide spot in the dirt road the people who lived there called Galeras. It isn't a town, not even a village, just a collection of houses that had to be built somewhere, and for unknown reasons they were built here. A tiny place, a hard place, a lonely place. Forty-five minutes of gravel, dirt and potholes to the nearest paved road. Water runs down from natural springs higher up in the hills, through plastic pipes and hoses put there by CARE in an attempt to give the people something they could call potable water. There isn't any electricity, except for the generator at Ruperto's house where I spent most weekends. Folks here are farmers, raising corn and pigs and children, all considered essential for a reasonably long and marginally prosperous life in rural Honduras. Juan had a small farm with dismal looking corn, five children, and a two-room adobe house with a clay tile roof. That's where I met Juan, where we became friends, under his roof. For some reason we hit it off from the beginning. I'd get to Ruperto's house about three in the afternoon, drop off my backpack, and begin my ritual walk around Galeras, talking with people and generally looking out of place, the only person within miles with more than just a hint of European genes. One afternoon I met Juan. He invited me in for coffee, and we talked about politics, crops, the weather, his family, his life...the things that men with more empty hours than hopes talk about. We passed whole afternoons together. If times were good he'd ask his wife to bring us tortillas and fresh cheese, or some tamales she'd made from corn masa and mysterious pieces of meat. We'd sit and talk until dark, then he'd light the homemade lamp, an old brake fluid can half-filled with kerosene and a strip of cloth for a wick. The flickering orange light it provided was only slightly brighter than the darkness around us, but in it I could see Juan, surrounded by all his worldly goods, his face lined from days in the sun, his eyes alive with friendship. Now he was in prison. He was my friend. I went to see him. The prison was at Yuscarán. Forty-five minutes back to the highway, another half-hour to the turnoff, then thirty minutes of dust and gravel and I was there. A gold mine birthed the town in colonial times but that played out, and now the main sources of employment were the distillery, a few unimportant government offices and the prison. I presented myself to the guard, and asked if I could visit a prisoner. A full body search later I entered Juan's new world. There was a large central patio of sandal-packed dirt. Surrounding the patio were cells built for ten and holding thirty. I looked for Juan and found him in his usual T-shirt, brown pants and sweat-stained straw hat. Vacant brown eyes came alive when he saw me. We didn't shake hands, Juan grabbed me and hugged me, a manly Latin abrazo. I hugged back. He was embarrassed to be in prison, but, life is that way, isn't it? A man struggles just to make a living for himself and his family, then celebrates the sale of a good corn crop with a bottle of aguardiente and...his shrug spoke eloquently. "Please, let's find some shade," he said, and we headed towards a wall. On the way we passed an inmate selling bananas. Juan reached into his pocket, pulled out ten centavos, and bought two bananas. He smiled and gave me one. It was almost too precious a gift to eat. We squatted in the shade, sitting on our heels, our backs leaning against the wall. We talked, not looking at each other because of his shame. Yes, he was doing fine, but missed his family. Yes, he had enough money to buy extra food to supplement the prison's meager rations, but...well...he needed money to pay a fine. Or a lawyer, I was never really sure which, but it didn't matter. He needed $100. A pair of shoes to me, but freedom to him. Would I please give the money to Ana, and she'd make certain the legal expenses were paid, and he'd pay me back a little at a time until the debt was cancelled? Certainly. Within ten days Juan was home with his family. Juan was a prisoner who could be set free because he was held behind walls of concrete and bars of iron. Galeras held other prisoners not so easily given their freedom. Prisoners of ignorance, of tradition, of poverty. Most are there still, only a very few have been set free.
  3. 5 points
    old scribe

    the most amazing...

    I've been around. I've met presidents and oil barons. I saw Earl Campbell play football. I watched Clyde Drexler when he was a UH freshman. I saw flaming crashes on race tracks. I used to pass Cullen Davis on the street regularly in downtown Fort Worth. But the most amazing thing I ever saw was Chuck Eisenmann and his dogs. It was about 1960, in the Reporter-Telegram office in Midland. Eisenmann evidently was touring to promote something or other and I was thrilled to meet him, not because he brought dogs with him, but because I had watched him pitch in the Texas League about 1946. He was a name from my childhood. But what he had taught those dogs was unbelievable. I remember he told a dog, ``Turn off the lights." He didn't touch the dog, or gesture or motion toward a light switch. Just said, ``turn off the lights." The dog looked around the newsroom until he spotted a light switch. Then he went to the light switch, reached up with a paw and turned off the lights. I think he had another one of the dogs turn the lights back on. We had people working there who couldn't turn on the lights or follow directions, but those dogs could. Eisenmann then handed a dog a wad of paper and said, ``Put it in the wastebasket." No gestures, no motions. The dog found a wastebasket and dropped the paper in it. And there were other tricks they did. It really was amazing. Years later I discovered that Eisenmann had made a living training dogs such as those. He even wrote a book about how to do it. His method was to talk to the dogs, much as you would to a person, until they actually began to understand all the words. It worked for Chuck. I don't know how it worked for others. But it was amazing to watch.
  4. 4 points
    old scribe

    Remember your grandpa?

    Some of this may have been mentioned in past years, but bear with me: Since I go back further in time than anyone here (I know we are in the ``common era," but I grew up in what was surely an uncommon era), I will relate some memories of my grandfather Milner (the grandfather who didn't know Wyatt Earp). He was a farmer and boss of a thresher crew mostly, though during the Great Depression he moved into town (Henrietta) and opened a garage. So that was my first memory of him. He'd let me pump gas up into the glass tank at the top of the gas pump, which was a thrill for a 3-4-5 year old kid. Then when WWII came along, and gas and tires were rationed, he went back to farming. Through it all he drove the same 1934 Chevy pickup. We lived in Tulsa 1944-48, but either by car or train I got to Henrietta each summer. Remember being at the station in Denison (always a big rail center) in 1945 and waiting for troop trains to go by so that our passenger train could procede. I guess the troops were moving moved west as the European war was ended and we still had the Japanese to fight. I also spent the first half of 1944 living in Henrietta with my grandparents and attending the second grade there while my parents hunted for a house in Tulsa (Tulsa had a big airplane plant and housing was hard to find). My most indelible memory of that was the fire escape slide from the second floor of the elementary school. We would play on it, and one day I was sliding down and sort of rolled up the side and got a big cut in my upper thigh. Had to be sewed up. Only realized later that a few inches more and I would have sung soprano all my life. I would accompany ``Daddy" as we called him on his jaunts down U.S. 82 to Ringgold, St. Jo, Muenster, etc. for cattle auctions. That road is straight, but it does go up and down some nice hills. It was his frugal habit to cut off the ignition at the top a hill and coast down the hill before starting the engine again. Now, yes, in 1944-45 we had gas rationing (since he was a farmer it didn't affect him that much), but this was false economy on his part, I now realize. Besides which, far as I know he never drove faster than 30 mph anyway. That pickup was the first vehicle I ever drove (this was a little later, when I was about 12 and helped with a corn harvest by driving the pickup while men tossed corn into the truck bed). It was that truck (made of solid pre-war steel) that Daddy drove across his farm each day. He took his 10-gauge shotgun with him in the cab and if he saw a jackrabbit, he poked the gun out the window and got the rabbit to take home to the two old dogs that he had. Once he hit a bump on one of these trips and the shotgun went off and blew a hole about 8 inches in diameter in the roof of the pickup cab. I think after that he stopped taking the gun with him. That's enough for today about G.E. Milner of Henrietta. The last time I saw him they had moved back into town in the late 1950s, and he passed away in early 1961, to the end more a man of the 19th century than of the 20th. I did get from him a couple of useful earthy sayings, as when he described some really good dessert as ``richer than 3 feet up a bull's ass."
  5. 3 points


    Life in a cow camp was generally made up of long days spent in the saddle and short nights spent in rolled-up blankets. The eau-de-jour was a mixture of horse, cow, dust and man. We were lucky that the cook kept us well-fed with the usual beef and beans you find in every cow camp, but sometimes there were eggs and bacon and sausages and potatoes and Dutch-oven baking powder biscuits, everything flavored with just a touch of wood smoke. Once in awhile the "coosie" would even surprise us with some kind of "sweet." Usually this was rice pudding with a handful of raisins thrown in, or maybe his version of a fruit cobbler made out of dried apples or dried peaches. But on truly special occasions he’d make up some extra biscuit dough and roll about a biscuit's worth flat and thin on a floured board, and drop a spoonful or two of stewed, sweetened dried fruit onto one half or the other of the circle. Then he’d fold the other half over the fruit, and seal the round edge with a fork or his fingers, whichever was handier, and drop the little half moons of raw dough into about two inches of hot fat. He’d keep an eye on things for a couple of minutes, then one flip with a fork, another couple of minutes’ worth of watch care, and then he'd remove those golden-brown little pies to some spread-out newspapers to cool. I swan, there’s nothing I’ve ever tasted better than a still-warm fried pie and a tin cup of hot, blacker-than-sin coffee. My favorite recollection of coosie's fried pie cookery is one day in early fall when Toy Raynor and I were surveying the grass that was still green from the late August rains and making note where Mr. Ehrlecher’s cattle had scattered. Somehow those critters sensed the fall roundup was getting close, and took it upon themselves to make sure we all earned our fall wages by scattering themselves from here to yonder and back, so’s that every hand had to ride harder and longer than any other time of the year, except, of course, for the spring roundup. We had left the camp just after daybreak and had ridden all morning northwest and up into some of the most rugged parts of the ranch. This was sure enough Paradise for me. Toy and I rode at our own pace, stopping from time to time to let our horses blow while Toy rolled and smoked a cigarette. I was happy just to wait for one of his stories or to learn from the old cowboy as he taught me to judge how many head the grama would graze or to understand how cows thought and therefore figure where they could be found. Well, on this particular day we expected to be riding all day and not get back to the wagon until the job was done or the sun had set, whichever came first. So coosie had packed us a lunch for our nooning. We weren’t in any special hurry to eat, since we'd fed ourselves pretty well at morning chuck, but when it was a little past noon we came to a slope with above-average grass and decided to stop, and give our horses and ourselves a chance to graze and rest. The slope slanted downward to the northeast and overlooked a wide valley that stretched north toward an upthrust of rust- and yellow-colored rock. The sky was as clear as spring water. There was a right nice breeze blowing in from Mexico down to the southwest. We could hear the cry of a red-tailed hawk somewhere off in the distance. The sight and the moment were just plain inspiring, even for a kid who saw this kind of scenery almost every day. I loosened the cinches and removed the bits while Toy built a hatful of fire. I pulled the rolled-up horse blankets from behind our saddles and spread them on the ground. Toy already had unpacked the saddlebags with our lunch and the coffee pot. Coffee was making. We began to unwrap our two lunches—newspapers wrapped around a tea towel which was wrapped around two slices of sourdough bread with fried meat between them, a carrot, an apple, and in another, smaller towel, two fried pies. Toy looked at me, I looked at Toy, and he just grinned and said, "He went all out today, didn't he?" We sat in partial shade and ate our meat and bread. I got up walked over to the horses. Mine got the carrot, I never did like those things much, and I finished the apple. By then coffee was made. Toy pulled two tin cups out of the saddlebags and poured. It was time for dessert. Now, you might not believe me when I tell you no king, no maharajah, no pharaoh of the richest kingdom on Earth has ever had any dessert tastier or any better than those fried apricot pies coosie packed for us, but I swear to you it's the truth. The filling was thick and sweet. The crust was browned just right, the edges were sealed so no filling oozed out until you bit into it, and the pies were still nice and warm after their 6-hour ride behind Toy's saddle. The coffee was hot, and no one ever accused Toy Raynor of using too much water in a pot of coffee. We took our time eating our pies, enjoying every bite, quiet, not wanting to say any word that might break the spell of that moment. The red-tailed hawk, some cicadas and two grazing horses provided our noonday conversation. Coosie's fried pies provided everything else we needed. It's been more years than I care to count since that day, but whenever I ride out in the fall of the year the memory is as fresh as if it was yesterday. I can almost taste that sweet apricot filling and the fried biscuit dough crust. I catch myself sniffing the air, hoping for that dusty, smoky smell of horses and men working cattle. Toy and coosie…both gone, now I reckon. They were "old men" when I was still a kid, and now I'm their age or more. No such thing as bad pie, I suppose, but an apricot fried pie—and a memory of a good horse and a good friend—that’s unreservedly the best there ever was or likely will be.
  6. 3 points
    old scribe

    the print era, etc.

    One of my friends on the Frog Horn, being of questionable taste and sanity, asked me for some newspaper (or Star-Telegram) memories. I've mentioned here and there some of the old personalities from the S-T. Guys I knew best (and this is when there were more guys than women in the business) included columnist Jim Trinkle and our old sports group like Herb Owens, George Kellam, Dick Moore, Flem Hall (our boss and my neighbor), Bob Clanton, George Wallace, Bob Sonderegger, Bob Hood (recently departed), etc., and my editorial page comrades like Bill Youngblood, roger Summers, Cecil JOhnson, Tommy Denton and J.R. Labbe. Anecdotes? Well, Moore covered several Olympic games and came back from one of them (about 1960 or 1964, I guess, complaining that he had let U.S. shotputter Parry O'Brien borrow his (Dick's) room. O'Brien used it for a tryst with Aussie swimmer Dawn Fraser and left the room a mess. Herb Owens was funny. (I've told elsewhere the story of his ``Frank Lane" phone call to Lon Goldstein, wherein he told Goldstein he was looking for a first baseman for the White Sox and Lon said, ``Have you tried Leonard Brothers?"). Herb was our sports ``slot man" (the guy putting the section together, decided stories to be used, assigning headlines to be written, etc.) for the evening S-T. He sat at the desk idly eating paste (there were pots of flour-based paste essential to all newspaper operations) while reading copy. Herb also once went to the Panhandle to cover a HS playoff game (this was when the S-T was more or less the newspaper of record for all of West Texas) and wrecked his car. He came back with an expense account entry of a couple thousand dollars to fix his car. It was disallowed (this was at a time when an S-T worker had to turn in a pencil stub to get a new copy pencil with which to edit copy....the paper was not throwing nickels around freely). I've also told elsewhere the true story about a former S-T editor and the thermostat. We had gotten a new copying machine and it happened to be situated against a wall under a thermostat. This editor asked someone how to use the new machine and was told that the controls were on the wall and you set it for how many copies you wanted. He did set the thermostat for his copies and waited. Finally he realized he had been snookered. Perhaps the half-concealed laughter around the newsroom was a clue. I imagine some of you remember Jerry Flemmons. Flemmons was an excellent writer and also one of those people who is always in the right place. As when he took a leave of absence to be the press secretary for Waggoner Carr's gubernatorial campaign. Thus he happened to be in Austin, and on the UT campus, just when sniper Gary Whitman opened fire from the tower. When two cops finally ascended the stairway to the tower roof to get Whitman, Flemmons was with them. He got the story first-hand. I'll keep this short and save more stuff for another time, like the lowdown about J.R. Labbe or how Roger Summers almost had a surprise roommate.
  7. 3 points
    old scribe

    after the tech game...

    And all the finger-pointing (if ever a game deserved finger -pointing, this was it), I was reminded of an old Frog star, Blair Cherry. When Cherry was the coach, the very successful coach, at UT, a big cigar alum asked him, ``Coach, how many students we got now?" Cherry responded, ``Oh, about 18,000, I think." And the alum said, ``Well, why the hell can't you get one of them blocking out in front of the ball carrier?" Not long thereafter, such comments led Cherry to take his 32-10-1 record and go back to Amarillo. His last season (1950) was 9-1 before losing to Tennessee in the Cotton bowl. But the point is that I had been thinking about a blog pointing a finger at one of those occasional sea changes in football. I had about decided that this was to be the era of the basketball-on-grass game exemplified by Oregon and a few others on the college (well, semi-pro) level. I was thinking, the old days of defense are over. It'll take a few years for defenses to catch up with the latest offensive trend (just as D eventually dealt with the single wing, the straight T, the split T, the veer, the wishbone, etc.). I was premature. Turns out we are not quite yet seeing the era of the commonplace 50-45 game. There will be some, but not every week. I point my finger at the TCU defense. It actually did a very good job of restricting Tech's offense. Good D (with a couple notable exceptions) should have won the day. Tech even came up with a very good defensive plan (I guess) and certainly very good defensive effort. I guess about the plan because how can you tell when the Frog offense keep shooting itself in the foot? So the finger has to be pointed at the TCU offense. Some pointing goes to Boykin. We have seen few more athletic quarterbacks at Frogland (certainly not since Dutch's day). But there has to be some soul-searching in the coaching offices. They have to figure out how best to use this young man. Then there is an OS finger pointing at the receiving corps. I got to watching them when the TV allowed, and they were not exactly as open as butcher knives. Carter was a few times. But it is hard to throw to receivers who are not open. Also not wise to do it. They were better last year. So a finger has to wiggle in the direction of Coach Luper, who replaced last year's WR coach. His son is doing okay. Not sure yet about Dad. Of course all five fingers on the pointing hand go toward the OL . It is not very good. It needs to be better. Or else we are staring at a 3-9 record or thereabouts. There is not a lot of offensive scheming that can hide a bad OL. And the fingers pointing at the coordinators are busy. I don't know enough to criticize calling this play or that play. But I can criticize the overall confused look of the offense in the first half and say it goes to the coaching, either overall or maybe some over-coaching of the QB. I have hopes the Frogs will win another couple games, but I really don't know how they will do it. Maybe they cut down on the foot-shooting. Maybe they can recruit OL people from the student body. Maybe a light bulb will go on over the OC's heads. And if they overcome what we have seen, and find a key to success. I will point a finger at mine-ownself and say, ``I wuz wrong, fellas."
  8. 3 points
    old scribe

    Politicos, chapter dos...

    One of the most intriguing candidate interviews I can recall (our editorial board tended to interview most candidates for all offices, if we could get them in our building for an interview) was David Dewhurst, the first time he ran for statewide office. He was very impressive, except that everything he said (it was like he was programmed) was more applicable to running for governor or lite governor than for whatever down-ticket office he was supposedly trying for. It was really strange. We'd ask a question about land commissioner or whatever it was and he'd give the pre-recorded answer about stuff that had nothing to do with that office. Yet I guess he has been an acceptable lootenant guv, once he got there. Among local candidates the one that stands out was June Garrison. I knew June from when I covered tennis at Colonial CC. Then she was drafted by local GOP to run for tax collector. She said down with our board and when the first question was asked, she broke down in tears and left sobbing. Only candidate to do that, as I recall. Problem was that she was totally unprepared for someone to actually ask anything. She got elected and was swift enough (June is a very nice person, by the way) to retain the deputies who had been running the office very efficiently, so that it remaining running efficiently. Of course, my personal favorite was Jim Wright, a consummate good politician who never met anyone he couldn't stay in touch with whatever high office he held. My feeling about him may be colored by the fact that he had my column about Abe Martin (when Abe passed away) inserted into the Congressional Record. Interviewing candidates meant you did find some oddities. Like Gene Kelly. He was an obscure lawyer from someplace in South Texas and ran several times for various high offices, hoping his familiar name would boost his chances. Or Johnnie something-or-other. She ran for governor several times, getting about as votes as I did. She did high marks for perseverance.
  9. 3 points
    Any avid college football fan, particularly one who follows one team closely over the course of a season, knows that teams of 18-22 years old kids/men are fickle. The 2005 TCU team starts the season by going into Norman and handing the Sooners the second of just 5 losses they've had at home in the Bob Stoops era. Then the next week they lose to a 5-6 SMU team. Last year's TCU team was all over the map as well, losing badly to a mediocre Iowa State team but whipping a solid Baylor team. In many cases, such imprecision from our college football teams is rationalized away with excuses like "coach didn't get them motivated" or "trap game" or "getting caught at the Indian casino playing poker with a table of hookers shows that Johnny wasn't ready to play." Any one or combination of such excuses might be relevant, but the reality is that college football teams, even the best ones with the most disciplined and senior-laden rosters, are extremely inconsistent. So as we enter the first week of the 2013 college football season and we look over the Frog's schedule and tick off the wins and losses, let's review the 2012 season and look at just how confident we should be when we predict that W in the win column for the SMU game. DUSHEE, guide the way As we've discussed before, Point Differential compares how Team A does against Team B relative to how all of Team B's other opponents have done against them. The Point Differential (PD) tells us that if Team A beats Team B by 10 more points than the average team on Team B's schedule beat them by, then if Team A is consistent, they should be pretty close to 10 points better than the average opponent against every other team on their schedule. Let's take the 2012 TCU team as an example. TCU's average PD for the year was 3.6, meaning that TCU was, on average, 3.62 points better against their opponents than the average team their opponents played. In turn, here were the final PD's for all of TCU's opponents on the year: Kan Uva SMU | ISU Bay Ttech | OkSt WVU KSU | Tex OU MichSt -15.8 -9.6 1.3 | 1.5 9.3 3.8 | 14.3 0.9 18.6 | 8.3 13.9 7.1 Table 1. Season average PD's for TCU's opponents in 2012 So if TCU (and their opponents) had been perfectly consistent in their play, we would have expected the outcome, or margin of victory, for each of those games to have been roughly TCU's PD minus their opponent's PD. So Table 2, we compare the "expected" outcome to the actual outcome: Opp Exp. | Act. Diff Kan 18.4 | 14 -4.4 UVa 13.2 | 20 6.8 SMU 2.3 | 8 5.7 ISU 2.1 | -14 -16.1 Bay -5.7 | 28 33.7 TTech -0.2 | -3 -2.8 OkSt -10.7 | -22 -11.3 WVU 2.7 | 1 -1.7 KSU -15 | -13 -2 Tex -4.7 | 7 12.4 OU -10.3 | -7 3.3 MichSt -3.5 | -1 2.5 Table 2. Based on Point Differential the expected outcome for each of TCU's games last year compared to the actual outcome. Based on this, we would surmise that TCU's worst game of the season was the Iowa State game where an expected 2 point win was in reality a 14 point loss. TCU did 16.1 points worse in that game than the rest of the season indicated they should have done. They followed that game the next week with the game in which they most "out-kicked their coverage" against Baylor. Had both teams performed, on average, as they performed for the season, we should have expected Baylor to have beaten TCU by 6 points. Instead TCU beat Baylor by 4 TDs. From this perspective, the games in which TCU (and their opponents) performed most like their "average" selves were the West Virginia, Kansas State, Tech, and Michigan State games. The Baylor, ISU, Texas and Oklahoma State games were the games most unlike our average performance. Even the Best Are Inconsistent Despite TCU's youth, upheaval, and conference inexperience, TCU was the 44th (out of 124) most consistent team in college football based on standard deviation of PD (13.9 points). By that metric, the most consistent team in college football last season was Troy with a standard deviation of 7.7. Assuming that their performance looks like a normal distribution (i.e., a bell curve) then it is 32% likely (1/e) that in any one game they are at least 7.7 points better or worse than their average PD would predict. And that is the most consistent team in college football. There was a roughly 1-in-3 chance that TCU's play in a given week was TWO TOUCHDOWNS or more off of their "average" performance. Alabama, DUSHEE's (and everybody else's) best team, was the 13th most consistent team in the country, with a standard deviation of 10.1 points. If we repeat the exercise that we did for TCU in Table 2 for Alabama, we get the following: Opp OppPD | Exp Act | Diff Mich 11.5 | 19.6 27 | 7.4 WKU -2.8 | 33.9 35 | 1.1 Ark -4.4 | 35.5 52 | 16.5 FAU -8.4 | 39.5 33 | -6.5 Miss 6.7 | 24.4 19 | -5.4 Mizz 1.9 | 29.2 32 | 2.8 Tenn 0.5 | 30.6 31 | 0.4 MissSt 3.9 | 27.2 31 | 3.8 LSU 15.3 | 15.8 4 | -11.8 A&M 26.3 | 4.8 -5 | -9.8 Aub -8.7 | 39.8 49 | 9.2 Uga 18.7 | 12.4 4 | -8.4 ND 17.9 | 13.2 28 | 14.8 Table 3. Alabama's expected and actual performance Besides the week 3 annihilation of Arkansas, Alabama's most "uncharacteristic" performance was the MNC game against ND. On average, we should have expected Alabama to have beaten ND by two TDs rather than 4. But again, there was a 1-in-3 chance that Alabama's performance could swing at least 20 points on a given night last season. On that night, it swung up two TDs. Understanding this, you begin to see why going undefeated is such a difficult thing to do. Even the best teams in college football will have a game or two where they underperform by a touchdown or more. And if those games come against an opponent whose average performance is only a touchdown worse, or who happens to overperform that week, that team loses, even if it is, statistically, the better team. Alabama was, statistically, 5 points better than A&M. Play that game 100 times and Alabama probably wins 60**. But on that particular day they lost by 5. ** Monte Carlo simulations using an adjusted PD estimate that Alabama would win 55-60% against A&M -- perhaps we'll discuss such simulation techniques on a future post. Selling Oceanfront Property in Kentucky The most inconsistent team in college football in 2012? Kentucky with a standard deviation in PD of 27.1 points. Opp OppPD| Exp Act | Diff L'ville 4.8 | -19.2 -18 | 1.2 KentSt 4.5 | -18.9 33 | 51.9 WKU -2.8 | -11.6 -1 | 10.6 Fla 18.9 | -33.3 -38 | -4.7 SoCar 15.8 | -30.2 -21 | 9.2 MissSt 3.9 | -18.3 -13 | 5.3 Ark -4.4 | -10 -42 | -32 Uga 18.7 | -33.1 -5 | 28.1 Mizz 1.9 | -16.3 -23 | -6.7 Vandy 5.1 | -19.5 -40 | -20.5 Tenn 0.5 | -14.9 -20 | -5.1 Table 4. Kentucky's roller coaster season. Kentucky "should have" lost to Kent State by 19. They beat the Golden Flash by 33. Kentucky "should have" lost to Arkansas by 10. Instead they lost by 42. Vanderbilt treated them similarly. Georgia "should have" beaten Kentucky by 33 but only beat them by 5. If you bet on Kentucky during the 2012 season, you were a fool. In a strikingly odd statistical anomaly, of the 10 most inconsistent teams in college football last year, seven were on TCU's schedule including six from the exceedingly inconsistent Big 12: Kentucky 27.1 SMU 26.5 UCLA 24.3 Arizona 23.8 Oklahoma St. 23.7 Texas Tech 23.1 Baylor 22.4 Texas 21.8 West Virginia 21.5 Kansas 21.4 Table 5: The 10 most inconsistent college football teams of 2012. TCU's opponents are bold. So as maddening as TCU's inconsistency may have felt for fans last year, the Frogs were in reality one of the more consistent teams in their conference. Which is damning with faint praise. So some may accuse me of writing all of this as a hedge against my performance in college pick-em contests. But I assure you my motives are purely analytical. That said, if I do poorly, come to this post to see my excuse. The rest of you suckers just got lucky ...
  10. 3 points
    old scribe

    treasuring our dads

    Frogtwang posted this week about chatting with his dad in a hot tub or something and it started me thinking. Many of you, being younger, have living dads. Those like me, who do not, can advise you to spend time with those fathers, in or out of a hot tub, and, like Twang, talk. Talk about whatever (``Of shoes and ships and sealing wax....of cabbages and kings"). My father would be 108 years old next month. He passed away in 1959, having just turned 54. And, damn it, I do not have enough memories of him. For various reasons, we did not spend as much time together as some boys and fathers. For one thing, much of my life (all but four years spent in Tulsa during the war) he worked on morning newspapers, and when he was home, I was in school, and when I home, he was working. Oh, there are memories. We went to a lot of baseball games as a family in Tulsa and some in Dallas. We took vacations to Galveston and Padre Island (which was still undeveloped in 1950) and Carlsbad and such places. We visited some of his brothers and sisters (he was the youngest of 12 children and I had first cousins his age) in places like Ballinger and Fort Stockton and of course I knew his brother Henry, who was closest to my father in age and lived in or near Wichita Falls where I was born. He surprised me the first Christmas after the war with a new bicycle, which I think he had had to assemble. We played a game, in Tulsa, where I looked at a map of Texas in the family atlas and called out a county and he responded with the county seat. It was the kind of thing he had learned as state editor on a Texas newspaper. I saw his annual from the year he attended junior college (it was either Wichita Falls JC or Hardin JC at that time; now Midwestern University). I knew he had not actually graduated from high school, but he seemed to know almost everything. I saw the scar on his leg and knew he had been shot in a hunting accident when he was about 16 and had almost died. When John Ford's ``Darling Clementine" came out in 1946 and we saw it (it is a highly fanciful Earp-Clanton OK Corral yarn) I learned that I should not take it seriously, and that in our family Wyatt Earp was considered a bad man. I had read ``Tombstone", which was Earp-flavored, but a little later I read ``Helldorado", written by a man who was in Tombstone, and it mentioned my father's father (yes, my own grandfather) as having been on the other side of the squabble from the Earps, which clarified the situation a bit. And when I wanted to go into the newspaper business, he tried to dissuade me (he wanted me to be a veterinarian), but gave in and I later found out that he took some pride in my early journalism efforts. But he had been gone a few years and I was married and we had a daughter when I realized how little I really knew about my father. I knew vaguely that he had a tough early life, but I found out that after his father died in 1917, having already lost the Ballinger newspaper, things got really tough. My father's mother, whom I never knew because she died in 1930, held the family together (at least the younger ones who were still at home) by doing things like managing boarding houses (in Coleman, Ballinger and other towns)in the late teens and early 1920s. That's how my father's education was interrupted. His mother was living in Wichita Falls with Henry (who had become a pharmacist) in the 1920s, and Papa drove a Coca-Cola truck for a while, went to the junior college for a while, had no money and finally got a job on the Record-News almost by accident. They wanted someone to write about the oil business, which was a big deal there. He said he knew a lot about the oil business (mostly, I suspect, how to change oil on a Coke truck), got the job about 1928 and stayed on to become city editor before leaving in 1943. After my mother died in 1997, I found in her things letters they had written each other while he was courting her (a TSCW graduate, she lived in nearby Henrietta and may have been the Record-News stringer there) in 1932. That was eye-opening, as we don't often think of our parents as having had lives, or romance, or dreams before we came along. I also found letters he had written when he was on a tour with Studebaker and the Elks Club magazine in 1930. He seems to have a very interesting time doing that and made some neat friends, including Hollywood actresses and a former Lafayette Escadrille pilot. I also found letters he exchanged with acquaintances in the 1930s as he tried to get a job in New York, or Baltimore (both big newspaper towns then). I found through some of those letters that the Depression (capital D) was really a hard time. I recalled my mother mentioning once that Papa at one time worked for no pay in Wichita Falls, but got to keep his job so that he would have one when they could again pay him (Boston and others may understand this). I still don't know as much as I would love to know about his life. I realize he never really talked much about his early life, probably because it had been tough and not much fun. I would give anything to be able to ask him questions now. I'd like to be able to tell our daughter, and our granddaughter more about him. The point is don't dally. Take advantage of opportunities with your dad, and your mother. Ask questions. Take notes if you have to. One day it will be too late.
  11. 3 points
    old scribe

    My Idaho...

    This will teach you to applaud blogs..... In the summer of 1956, when I was 20 and before my junior year at UT, I went with three friends from HS (two of them also from college) to Pierce, Idaho, for a Forest Service job in the White Pine Blister Rust Control program. I knew two guys where I lived at UT who had been there the year before, and one of them was returning, too. We had received instructions on what to bring. On the way up from Boise to Orofino to Pierce we purchased ``corks" (as caulked boots were known up there) and Can'tbustem brand heavy, heavy denim pants. Both required. Also long-sleeved shirts. We went from Pierce to Headquarters, Id. (named for being the HQ town for the Potlatch Co., which was cutting down trees for lumber in that area). And thence by our camp boss's truck to our own camp, which was set up with tents each housing four of us (wooden floors, cots to sleep on) and with an eating tent and the cooks' facilities. We were greeted by our boss, ``Dirty Ed" Ogden (that really was how he was known up there), who told us how the camp would be run. He tossed in his favorite phrase for anyone who did not do what Ed said to do, which was ``Dirty Pigf***er." About Dirty Ed: He had lived up there (and this was still sort of the frontier, where the only civilizing factor was the Forest Service and the national forest system) all his life except for a brief paid vacation to Europe in WWII. He ran this camp each summer (for a group of very young men) and did something else the rest of the year. Had a wife and I think a child living in the area. Ed explained to us that if we didn't measure up, he would ``take your plate off the table and send you down the road." We took this as a warning, and indeed, the next day the friend in whose car we had driven from Dallas to Idaho voluntarily left to go back to Texas and see his girlfriend. We also saw a few guys sent down the road not so voluntarily. Our job, after a day's training, consisted of ridding the forest of various wild gooseberry plants of the genus ``ribes." These were alternate hosts to the white pine blister rust, which tended to kill white pine forests. I remember one of the plants, which smelled very much like a skunk, was the ribes petulari. Anyway, we had ``hodags" (sort of a combination hoe and pickax) with which to dig up these plants root and all. We each had an ``acre" to work each day. The acres were roped off and designated by the asst. camp boss (the first asst. was a cross country guy from U. of Tenn; he was shifted to another camp later and my friend who had been up there the year before became our asst. camp boss...he was 25 or 26 years old and a Korean War vet). We also had checkers, experienced at the job, who came along behind us and checked the area we had worked. If the checker found one unkilled ribes plant on your acre, you had to go back and work it again. This was hard work, involving a lot of walking up and down small mountains, through the swampy areas between mountains and fighting your way through dense undergrowth.It also was hot work. One big dumb kid disobeyed Dirty Ed's orders to keep your shirt on in the field, and was delivered to us as an example of why. He was one huge blister from neck to waist. Ugliest thing I ever saw. See, there was nothing but thin air between us and the sun at that altitude. The other dangers involved animals (we had porcupines and bears to avoid, but no snakes up there) and learning things like not to fill your canteen downstream from some grazing sheep. For respite, we got Saturdays and Sunday off (unless we worked Saturday at time and a half) Oh, the base pay was minimum wage, as I recall about $1.50 an hour, from which was deducted our food at the camp (and the food WAS good and plentiful). We rode into camp on Ed's truck, or with our asst. camp boss, who had his Chevy up there. One trip in the Chevy we came face to face with a moose standing in the middle of the dirt road. We stayed in the car, he remained huge, and finally he moved on. In town there was little to do. Headquarters consisted of a small hotel (rooms $2 a night), an ice cream parlor, two or three stores that mainly sold and repaired chain saws, and about 6 or 8 saloons. Being mostly underage, we naturally opted for the saloons. One memorable day in town, a kid at our camp (he was 16, from Oklahoma, and had lied about his age to get the job) got drunk and we saw him being dragged down the street by the collar by the town law. Another time we were in a saloon where Junior Kramer was pointed out to me. Junior was like a block of pigiron and had a local reputation. I saw why when the town law came to Junior's booth to talk to him about something. Without rising from his seat, Junior reach up with his big fist and cold-cocked the town law, leaving him unconscious on the floor and continuing his (Junior's) conversation with his friends. This impressed me. The saloons were really like old west saloons in the movies. A long bar, tables where grizzled guys sat playing poker, etc. We flatland college kids had adjusted to all this by late August. The job didn't seem so difficult. We had figured out that while alcohol was verboten in camp, we could smuggle in a six pack from town and keep it cold in a creek nearby, to be surreptiously enjoyed in the evenings. Everyone drank Olympia beer. Some guys had even located the easy girls in town. Then we got a day's training in fighting forest fires, Do's and don'ts. And sure `nuff, at Labor Day, we were called out as the cleanup for a forest fire 30-40 miles away in the national forest (paid double time for that). Trucked in, we slept that night in the open, in the rain, and in 33-degree weather. Then we spent a day locating fires that still burned under stumps and so forth. One of our number, a really nice guy from Coffeyville, Kan. (he ran track at the JC there) forgot to check above and behind him while using an axe. The axe was caught by a branch, and came down onto his leg, almost severing it. He was taken to hospital and we never saw him again. Thus I lost one of my two chess opponents. A couple of days later the job was over. One friend and I rode the train from Orofino to Spokane and on to Denver, where my folks met us. It was the closest I came to military service. It was overall a great experience. I managed to save a couple hundred dollars for the coming college year. I came back in the best shape of my life. And I have always wondered what became of Dirty Ed Ogden.
  12. 3 points
    old scribe

    looking at scout, etc.

    and reading about the start of practice and the outlook for coverage of the next few weeks of August camp, and then the season, and I am reminded of how much has changed. These guys may get to see 3 or 4 workouts this month and occasionally get to hear what CGP has to say after a workout. Considering that they are kept at arm's length, they do a darn good job. But in another era long ago for both football and reporting, the beat writer on TCU football (and I speak particularly of the Fred Taylor/Pittman-Tohill/Shofner years, with a little of the Dry era thrown in) would spend 2-3 hours each afternoon, Monday through Thursday, on the sidelines at practice, come hot weather or cold. He could also spend some time most days prowling around the coaches' offices, dropping in and learning what he could, swapping stories, etc. If he wanted to do a feature story on a player, he would catch the player in the locker room before practice and chat with him, and probably also talk to the player's position coach, or the head coach to flesh out the story. More than one assistant coach during those years would jokingly address me as ``Coach" because I was always there. Tohill assistant Jerry Boudreaux still called me ``Coach" years later. Sometimes it paid off in unusual ways. For instance, in 1970, the Frogs were about to start practice for the coming Baylor game. I sat in the tiny office occupied by offensive assistants Marvin Lasater and Ted Plumb. They had noticed something in the Baylor film and had drawn up a quarterback draw play, in which the QB (Steve Judy at the time) would take the snap under center, drop back a step and then simply run up the middle of the field, largely unaccompanied. I told them there was no way that could work. They said to watch and see. Sure enough, as drawn up, the Frog RBs (it was a split backfield) each flared out into a flat, the Baylor LBs took off after them, the Frogs blocked the nose guard (almost everyone played some kind of 5-man line at the time) and Judy, a decent runner but no speed demon, went something like 75 yards straight down the field for a touchdown. I doubt somehow that any writer these days, at any Div. 1 school, could have that degree of access, and that sort of experience watching a play go from paper to blackboard to the field ... and to the end zone.
  13. 2 points
    Norman Lear almost killed TV in the 1970s. Oh, sure, he, Bud Yorkin and a few of their pals revolutionized the medium, and most of what they made was absolutely brilliant: All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times and One Day at a Time, to name a prominent few. In the dying days of the Vietnam conflict and during the collective shame of Watergate, America craved yelling, screaming and fighting on television. (And maybe we still do in troubled times; look at the reality-TV boom of the early 2000s and all the events that occurred in that era. Apparently escapism isn't all it's cracked up to be and never has been.) The brilliance of Lear's creations was that, although the "liberal" side almost always won in his programs' episodes, viewers of all political and social stripes had somebody to embrace. Archie Bunker, most prominently by far, was supposed to be an easy-to-hate, ready-made bigot always comically set up for a fall by his own backward thinking or that of his goofy friends, or by his daughter and cultured son-in-law (and even sometimes by his sweet wife). Maude herself gave Archie fits in the early years of the series, as did George Jefferson and Irene Lorenzo. Pretty much all of Lear's subsequent creations (the successful ones, anyway) emerged like smoke from Archie's cigar. Archie Bunker was pater familias of the most dysfunctional extended TV family of all time. But a funny thing happened on the way to Archie becoming a villain. He became a hero. So many Americans loved him so much--warts, humiliations, bald-faced bigotry and all--that the show's producers eventually had to make the show all about him. The liberals faded, slowly, as did most of Archie's nemeses. Gloria disappeared. Meathead disappeared. Maude got her own show fairly early on. The Jeffersons got one even earlier. Even Edith, beloved wife, got killed off when Jean Stapleton quit the show. But Archie soldiered on, eventually half-spinning off into a show that really was all about him, Archie Bunker's Place. It ran into the Reagan administration, which surely would have pleased a real Archie Bunker. Archie possessed the same charm that Howard Stern used to rule the airwaves for a decade or two and that Donald Trump is using now to try to ascend to the highest office in the land. He said what he felt when he felt like saying it, and he didn't care who heard or what other people thought. Americans love a loudmouth, almost no matter what he (or she) says, and let's face it: Archie was lovable! And hilarious! And not always wrong! Mostly, that was because Carroll O'Connor gave the character more wrinkles than Abe Vigoda has on his whole body (if, indeed, Mr. Vigoda is still alive, and I think he is). But it was also because Archie said what a lot of Americans were thinking at the time, and the funny part is that history has proven him right on at least a few occasions. At the end of the Jimmy Carter election episode in 1976, maybe 1977, Archie barked to Meathead, "You're getting Reagan in '80!" And on another famous episode, Archie's televised proposal to arm every passenger on an airplane with a pistol in order to prevent hijackings foreshadowed the era of air marshals post-September 11. But back to Norman Lear almost killing television. In a nutshell, it all got to be too much. All in the Family's ratings started to slip, just a little bit, in 1976 and fell from there. Maude suffered a similar fate. George and Weezy lasted into the mid-'80s but with a vastly changed set of messages. They basically went from serious to silly. George ended up doing the unthinkable and palling around with Tom Wills! One Day at a Time also softened considerably, eliminating the contentious divorced-father character and turning Schneider, the famous building super, from a somewhat lecherous dude always wanting to boink Ms. Romano into a protector of the single mother and her girls (or girl, of course, after poor McKenzie Phillips went off the rails and took Julie Cooper with her). Good Times should have ended when John Amos left the cast. In any case, fighting got old. Yelling and screaming got old. Politics got old. No other entity can overdo a good thing and pound it mercilessly into the ground the way American television can. That's what was happening in the late '70s. The outlook was bleak. The Lear formula was boring, but networks kept trying it. And then somebody at ABC came to his (or her) senses. What you're about to see is powerful. It's borderline mind-blowing. This is how ABC responded to CBS and Norman Lear's hegemony on television. Stripping away all pretension, ABC went old school. It brought back stand-up-style comedy, sort of (Welcome Back, Kotter). It brought in an alien for more, and more bizarre, stand-up stuff (Mork and Mindy, of course). It brought back hot chicks, sexual tension and broad physical comedy (Three's Company). It brought something of a yeller-screamer show to the fore, but it made the conflicts personal, not political, and it gave multiple characters enviable depth, not just one or two (Taxi). And it brought back the '50s (Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley)! When in doubt, bring back the '50s. Nothing bad ever happened in the '50s, right, Archie Bunker? Now, ABC's revolution didn't start in 1978. It had been going for a few years, and by the time the long-form trailer below hit advertising agencies, ABC had become the No. 1 network on television, mainly by killing off Archie Bunker with Mork, the Fonz and Suzanne Summers. Behold: Now, let's take these gems one by one. Welcome Back, Kotter: It didn't have long to run, as Vinny Barbarino would soon be on his way out and Beau de la Barre on his way in, but Welcome Back, Kotter managed to capture inner-city pathos without pounding us over the head with it. There were two white guys, a black guy and a Puerto Rican Jew serving as the main characters on this show, along with a Jew-fro'ed, mustachioed, wise-cracking teacher who himself had been a Sweathog a scant decade or so before taking over in the classroom. We didn't ask why guys from diverse racial backgrounds were friends. (Norman Lear would have hammered that angle.) All we knew was that they were scamps, mostly low-level troublemakers who wouldn't so much as be called down in the classroom in today's era of school violence. And they loved the one guy they could relate to, the one guy who got them, who had been one of them in a not-so-distant former life. This is probably one of the better shows about teaching and classrooms ever made (Head of the Class also comes to mind) in part because it mostly deals with the everyday, fairly mundane problems that seem so magnified and earth-shattering in high school. There's really not much in the way of hard drug use, alcoholism, teenage sex or domestic violence on Kotter. (Again, Norman Lear would have had a field day with that stuff.) The guys worry about girls, sports, their hair, whatever. Kotter just wants to keep them out of trouble--not life-changing trouble, necessarily, just school trouble. This show teaches without preaching. That's why it worked in the let-up era of the late '70s. Operation Petticoat: This one doesn't jog the memory for me, but it looks sufficiently slapstick to fit into the lineup. Hey, not every hit is a home run. Taxi: This must have been Taxi's first season. (I did no research for this entry.) This show is criminally underrated (yes, really) and merits a long blog entry of its own. What made it appealing was an amazing cast and characters that people cared about because they seemed like people, not like the political caricatures Norman Lear (skillfully) drew. Sure, there was conflict, but there was also resolution (most of the time, anyway) and the strong feeling that these people could, and maybe did, actually exist. And seriously, that cast: Judd Hirsch, Danny Devito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza (yeah, OK, but he had a pretty good career after Taxi), Jeff Conaway, Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future!) and, for heaven's sake, the unbelievable, inimitable, completely mold-breaking Andy Kaufman. And Carol Kane as his wife! Other than the cars and the telephones, this show holds up well today. It has a timelessness that the Archie Bunker family tree mostly doesn't have. That's not to say that Norman Lear's creations weren't great. They were. They just weren't set up to be relevant 40 years after they aired. Happy Days: The show that ended up originating the phrase "jump the shark" (which now dates to the late '90s, ouch!) hadn't quite done it yet in 1978. It was still goofy Richie and his pals, cool Fonz (how was he ever cool? ... that's another blog entry) and the straight-laced Cunninghams. Smooth and easy. Satisfying. Nostalgic for the middle-aged folks and yet entertaining enough for the kids. This show was emblematic of the ABC revolution and led the way. It didn't need to be brilliant. It just needed to be fun, and it was ... until Chachi came along. Laverne & Shirley: Happy Days with girls! And more laughs! And more goofiness! And Carmine "the big Ragu" Ragusa, the world's first dancing tough guy! And one of the great theme songs of all time! After half a decade of strife, yeah, people were ready for this. And it was great ... until they moved to California. Three's Company: Based on a British show (as so much of our television is, check out Til Death Us Do Part sometime) called Man about the House, this show became emblematic of mindless drivel on television and was probably the most prominent antidote of all to Norman Lear's seriousness. But you know what? Three's Company was funny. John Ritter was a brilliant physical comedian. The writing was vaudevillian in the best possible way. The setting, Southern California in the '70s, could not have been more enticing. And there were blondes, so many blondes, blondes with big hair and short shorts and halter tops. And there were the Ropers, and after the Ropers came Mr. Furley, who was actually funnier than the Ropers! As a kid, I wanted to live in Three's Company, just in the same neighborhood as Jack, Janet and Chrissy/can't remember the middle one's name/Terri. This show is still great today because innuendo, mild situational irony and a horny straight dude having to pretend to be gay will never get old. By the way, that gay thing ... Ridiculous as it might have been on this show, homosexuality was something Norman Lear never really, really breached in his a career, at least not prominently. Just saying. Starsky & Hutch: Overrated. Sorry, but it was. Great cars, cool clothes, but it got repetitive. But crime dramas get that way. Sacrilege, I know, but I don't care. Definitely cool at the time, though, and yes, I still have the toy car. Vegas: This, however, was great. Robert Urich is underrated historically. I never figured out, though, why he parked his car right in his house, or apartment, or whatever it was. Didn't the engine make the place hot? Didn't the car smell? Whatever, awesome show. Dan Tanna. Seriously. Charlie's Angels: Its best days were past it (Farah Fawcett returns to guest star ... ugh), but three beautiful women fighting crime for some guy we never see? Again, after Maude, America needed this. America wanted this, no matter how much Maude would have hated it. (Or would she have? It was all about female empowerment, after all.) Eight is Enough: TCU's own Betty Buckley! Eventually! This show was the serious Brady Bunch, but it worked because Dick Van Patten was strangely likable and Adam Rich was just cute enough. Again, ABC went with family here, but it was a family that fought over personal things, not over politics (mostly). These seemed like real people until one of the girls married a pitcher for the Dodgers. Mork and Mindy: Oh, wow. What is there to say? Robin Williams. An adorable Pam Dawber. Later, Jonathan Winters! A settling in Boulder that was brilliant, in that Mork could hide pretty effectively in a midsize college town that was half full of stoners, anyway. This was one long Robin Williams stand-up show, complete with his constant message of peace and kindness, with the occasional friendly chiding or shocked reaction from Mindy. And for a while, it worked. Spectacularly well. But it's hard to carry such a goofy set-up on for very long. Eventually, Mork starts figuring out Earth. He starts figuring out Mindy. He settles in. Then what? Then it's over. But what a sensation this show was, and what a brilliant and funny departure it was from the Archie Bunker family of shows. Mork was an alien right in the heart of the Star Wars era, when science fiction was huge. But he wasn't scary. He was Robin Williams, RIP and thanks. It's hard to watch this one now, but the appeal is still fresh. And remember, this was actually a Happy Days spin-off. The Fonz had a family of his own. What's Happening!!: Is it racist for me to say that this is very likely the best black sitcom in the history of television? Yes, really! Why was it so great? First of all, it was funny. Always funny. The characters were endearing. The scripts were memorable. (Dwayne bet on the football team that had the helmet he liked best. Tampa over Oakland? Oh, no!) There was plenty of charm to go around, from Shirley at the diner to Mama to Dee to Rerun and Dwayne to Roj, arguably television's first black nerd. But what really worked on this show was that it was about people--black people, but that didn't matter. After getting lecture after lecture from Norman Lear about race (some of them necessary, of course), here we had a program that featured black characters with no soapboxes. They were just funny characters. And the theme song was awesome. Another criminally underrated show. Barney Miller: Just as teachers talk about Kotter as the best classroom show ever made, cops talk about Barney Miller as the best cop show ever. Well, at least those old enough to remember it do, or used to. TV has tried so hard over the decades to come up with something both entertaining and authentic to depict the lives of police officers, but until the actual show Cops debuted, nothing had come as close as Barney Miller to nailing the scene. Sure, the cops on Barney Miller were detectives, not street cops (except for poor Levitt, of course), but their daily routine of filling out paperwork, drinking terrible coffee and dealing with fringe-ish types in Greenwich Village was much more accurate a portrait of cop life than the car-chase and gun-battle action shows that both preceded and followed the sitcom classic. Or so I've read, or been told ... or maybe I just want that to be true. In any case, here was another show that mixed characters seamlessly and didn't bother to talk much about the fact that there were white, black, Puerto Rican and Asian characters sharing the same small space. (Again, this was extremely post-racial stuff compared to All in the Family or The Jeffersons.) Even Linda Lavin had a turn as a female detective in the show's early years. Barney Miller was elite television, despite, or maybe even because of, numerous cast changes. It's still one of the best and most entertaining shows on TV, a cut well above most of what the medium has cranked out over the years. Soap: It wasn't Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman or Fernwood 2 Night, although the idea was similar, if not pretty much the same. Still, this show, which actually looked a bit like a Norman Lear comedy (remember, it spawned Benson), became a farcical '70s classic. Despite the always corrosive presence of Billy Crystal, Soap was a rollicking riot of a show that captured the Carter-era malaise by making every character on the show pretty much completely indifferent to every other character. This program took the feelings and anger of Lear's work and turned them into farce and complete stupidity--with hilarious results! Of course, it would never work today because the programs it parodied, soap operas, are basically dead, and realty TV has swallowed the last bit of potential irony on television. Family: To my somewhat limited memory, this show was Eight is Enough with fewer kids and with a budding star named Kristy McNichol, who pretty much disappeared after the show's run, save maybe for a few after-school-special-type programs. She did some damage on Battle of the Network Stars, though, another brilliant ABC creation (starring Howard Cosell and Bruce Jenner!). Donny & Marie: Mormon disco! This was the oldest of old-school crap. Whatever. People liked it ... for a while. It was definitely mindless, and that was appealing for the era. Apple Pie: One bad Apple didn't spoil the whole bunch for ABC, but this show only lasted eight episodes. I'd never actually heard of it until I saw the promo video. Sitcoms with historical settings only last if they're set in the '50s (including M*A*S*H). This was was from the '30s. Why? Still ... Dabney Coleman! Carter Country: Unquestionably the best mostly forgotten sitcom of all time, this show was about black and white cops in the South (Carter Country, as in Jimmy) but still managed to be mostly silly, with Roy, the gruff police chief; Kene Holliday's savvy cop character; and the Mayor, who coined the catchphrase, "Handle it, Roy! Handle it! Handle it!" goofing around in a small-town Georgia police station. This was a sillier version of Barney Miller that lacked Barney's gravitas but nevertheless turned out to be pretty entertaining. And again, we're mainly in post-Lear racial territory here, with everybody getting along for the most part and their relationships requiring no real explanation. Carter Country was an absolute delight and was as late-'70s as Sam Houston was Texan. It's a gem to see these days if it pops up on one of the nostalgia channels. Why this show didn't get a more legendary treatment remains a mystery. The Love Boat: Oh, wow. Oh, wow oh wow. I'm not saying that I named my first born after Isaac the bartender, but I'm not saying I didn't. Because I kind of did, kind of. This is a cultural touchstone if there ever was one. Basically a reference point for cheesy television, The Love Boat nevertheless ran for a very long time and roped in every guest star imaginable from mid-'70s and early '80s television. What an absolute tour de force of sappy, goofball television this was. Needed a break from Norman Lear's preachy creations? Oh, America, you got it. I mean you really got it. Fantasy Island: This show was awful, awful, awful. Diabolically acted, amateurishly cast, drippily dramatic and borderline scary, it's hard to believe that it's still pretty much the defining role of Ricardo Montalban's career. Still, again, it was a break from what the first half of the decade had brought to television. The unintentional comedy on this show was rampant, though, something I've mainly discovered watching the program in recent years on nostalgia TV. How did TV execs of the era green light this stuff? And how did it stay so popular for so long? Was Tatu really that cute? (By the way, Herve Villechaise, who was from Paris, had normal-sized organs in that tiny body and lived every day in excruciating pain. Which is sad. But apparently his not-dwarfy genitals were popular with the ladies. Really! Aren't you glad you read this far? I know. Nobody did.) The Hardy Boys: I vaguely remember this show, but what I don't remember about it was it being the gayest show ever. NTTAWWT, of course. But still. Wow, so gay. I actually feel some sense of retro happiness for all the poor, closeted gentlemen who, at least, got to get excited about seeing this show on Saturday nights, even if they couldn't express their true selves in the open in 1978. Good for you, guys, really. Somehow, Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy (IMDB profile photo from 1978, no joke) are still working, Cassidy as a pretty big-time producer. There's no business like it. (OK, so I did a tiny bit of research. IMDB is a day killer.) Movies: Taxi Driver on network TV? How? I'm pretty sure I saw The Bad News Bears on ABC in 1978, deleted bad words and all. And Battlestar Galactica, wow, what a great show and franchise that was. World class, and I'm not even a sci-fi guy, normally. And then there's a musical number at the end of the video! (Remember the video? That's what all of this was supposed to be about.) Mr. Cunningham, Isaac, Shirley, Barney Miller ... they're all there, grooving to a mild disco beat. I've seen better promo dance numbers (much better), but it's charming nonetheless. And that voice of ABC was the best TV voice ever. Norman Lear was a genius, a revolutionary and quite possibly the most important person in the history of scripted American television. But when enough was enough, ABC came through with a lineup so powerful that its awesomeness and grandeur still resonate today. And most of all, it was fun. It defined the greatest era in human history, the late '70s. And it kept the beautiful medium, television, from eating itself. We owe much to Mork, the Fonz, Wojo, Alex Reger, Roj and even the Mayor from Carter Country. Long may their legacy endure.
  14. 2 points
    Well, here it is, folks. This first ranking comes out with the usual caveat: it's early. Many of the teams are ranked on the basis of two games played against FBS competition, including the top 2 teams in the ranking, conference mates Baylor and West Virginia. In fact, this may be the first time that every team has emerged past the 2 FBS opponents threshold by week 4 since I started doing this. Usually there is a straggler or two with more than one bye or FCS opponent in the early part of the season. The Frogs come in at number 9, which frankly is higher than I thought they would be. The Frogs' ranking is buoyed in a large part by their yardage differential, where they rank 6th in the country, gaining 224 more yards against their opponents than the average team has. DUSHEE, at this point, has SMU as an average FBS team (rank 68th, DUSHEE score 1.37 ... a score of 0 is average) and Tech as a top 15 team. Minnesota comes in at 49th with a DUSHEE score of 7.90. TCU's schedule strength is among the top 25 in the country right now, keeping in mind that DUSHEE is completely unaware that the SFA game was played. DUSHEE is a big fan of the Big XII-II after 4 weeks, ranking them easily the best conference based on the average team scores. Five Big XII-II teams are ranked in the top 14. And, like last year, DUSHEE is not on board with ESPN's touting of the Pac12 as the next emerging super conference. It places ZERO teams in the top 15 and only two (USC, Stanford) in the top 25. In fact, DUSHEE has the Pac12 as the lowest rated "Power 5" conference by some margin. In fact, DUSHEE has the Left Coasters closer in conference strength to the American Athletic Conference than the Big 12, SEC, or ACC. Here is the week 4 conference ratings: B12 17.93 SEC 12.80 ACC 11.98 B10 6.32 P12 3.97 AAC -0.24 MAC -9.81 MWC -14.61 CUSA -17.43 SBC -20.99 A few obvious early candidates for the 2015 WTF team have emerged. No. 8 Iowa, no. 22 Vanderbilt, and no. 23 Pitt all merit future scrutiny as the weeks progress. Again, keeping in mind that there is a lot of movement in this ranking early in the season. Last season LSU opened as the #2 DUSHEE team in week 5 and were #20 by season's end. Georgia Tech started week 5 as the 50th ranked team last season; they finished the season at number 13. Finally, carrying forward the discussion of the last blog post, venue is still being ignored. Until I can get a handle on what the statistical impact home games have on the DUSHEE rankings, I will wait to adjust rankings until I have that handle. That adjustment may not happen until after the regular season. And with all that, here is your inaugural 2015 DUSHEE rankings: Rank Team P/G Y/G Score 1 Baylor 43.75 513.25 54.53 2 West Virginia 53.25 321.75 51.40 3 Clemson 39.00 286.75 40.17 4 Alabama 33.25 318.54 37.91 5 Oklahoma 28.67 235.00 30.72 6 Tennessee 25.11 187.50 26.01 7 Notre Dame 23.71 196.25 25.50 8 Iowa 19.00 205.00 22.80 9 TCU 17.50 224.06 22.74 10 Mississippi 20.78 166.83 22.10 __________________________________________ 11 Michigan 19.83 177.67 22.00 12 Miami (FL) 18.67 166.00 20.65 13 Northwestern 17.44 164.17 19.74 14 Texas Tech 20.50 121.28 19.66 15 North Carolina 24.58 63.92 19.55 16 USC 22.54 77.71 18.87 17 Ohio St. 18.00 125.00 18.18 18 Stanford 18.83 110.21 18.00 19 Middle Tenn. St. 16.44 137.72 17.77 20 Texas A&M 18.79 104.46 17.69 ________________________________________________ 21 Georgia 17.06 115.06 17.06 22 Vanderbilt 15.83 129.61 16.96 23 Pittsburgh 17.75 101.50 16.85 24 Air Force 12.50 164.25 16.45 25 Boston Coll. 10.50 187.00 16.24 26 Arkansas 13.79 142.08 16.22 27 Louisiana Tech 11.72 166.94 16.06 28 Memphis 8.89 195.67 15.60 29 LSU 18.83 60.67 15.55 30 N.C. State 12.83 140.33 15.49 __________________________________________________ 31 Florida 16.83 84.50 15.40 32 Florida St. 12.17 145.00 15.28 33 Georgia Tech 13.06 117.67 14.52 34 BYU 15.29 82.08 14.25 35 Navy 17.50 45.75 13.93 36 Louisville 15.67 66.67 13.74 37 Oklahoma St. 12.39 98.00 13.10 38 UCLA 13.00 64.33 11.85 39 Indiana 10.06 83.11 10.81 40 Iowa St. 10.25 76.50 10.61 ________________________________________________ 41 Utah 17.17 -23.46 10.29 42 Houston 9.25 75.25 9.89 43 Wisconsin 11.33 45.21 9.79 44 Connecticut 8.33 65.83 8.81 45 Illinois 8.00 66.67 8.63 46 Kansas St. 7.08 76.17 8.49 47 Temple 14.33 -24.17 8.36 48 Appalachian State 5.50 94.50 8.34 49 Minnesota -0.13 161.50 7.90 50 Nebraska 7.13 57.46 7.59 _____________________________________________ 51 Arizona St. 6.39 60.50 7.25 52 Mississippi St. 10.50 -8.33 6.59 53 Tulsa 4.28 73.61 6.49 54 Duke 3.67 62.50 5.53 55 Boise St. 5.50 32.72 5.28 56 Troy 3.33 59.08 5.14 57 Michigan St. 8.38 -10.88 5.05 58 Washington 8.33 -11.33 5.00 59 Massachusetts 7.89 -6.50 4.94 60 Penn St. 9.25 -26.25 4.87 __________________________________________________ 61 Cent. Michigan 2.17 52.06 4.02 62 South Carolina 9.21 -53.04 3.52 63 Oregon 5.28 -3.06 3.37 64 California 7.00 -30.78 3.15 65 Washington St. -0.25 42.75 1.95 66 East Carolina 2.83 0.06 1.89 67 West. Kentucky 2.88 -4.13 1.71 68 SMU -2.83 66.00 1.37 69 Kentucky 3.25 -21.08 1.12 70 Oregon St. -2.17 49.56 1.00 ___________________________________________________ 71 Bowling Green -6.50 96.88 0.45 72 Virginia Tech 1.06 -7.28 0.34 73 Texas 5.54 -81.46 -0.33 74 Wake Forest -1.17 -3.50 -0.95 75 Arizona -3.11 -3.67 -2.26 76 Army -0.39 -46.39 -2.55 77 Ball St. -1.61 -34.28 -2.77 78 Georgia Southern -2.67 -25.17 -3.02 79 Toledo 1.56 -86.50 -3.24 80 Syracuse 0.50 -100.00 -4.61 ______________________________________________________ 81 Virginia -8.22 9.44 -5.01 82 Cincinnati -11.33 33.83 -5.88 83 Ohio -1.67 -110.72 -6.58 84 Auburn -4.67 -83.83 -7.25 85 Northern Illinois -5.39 -86.44 -7.86 86 Utah St. -2.58 -147.00 -8.99 87 Buffalo -5.39 -120.78 -9.56 88 Missouri -12.67 -24.39 -9.65 89 Maryland -8.78 -109.89 -11.28 90 Akron -11.17 -87.50 -11.77 __________________________________________________ 91 LA Monroe -16.75 -19.75 -12.14 92 Colorado St. -18.56 -2.78 -12.51 93 Florida Atlantic -16.38 -35.63 -12.68 94 Rutgers -8.67 -149.89 -13.18 95 Florida Intl. -14.33 -77.17 -13.37 96 UNLV -11.89 -115.39 -13.63 97 Hawaii -11.61 -144.44 -14.88 98 W. Michigan -13.89 -116.39 -15.01 99 UT-San Antonio -21.25 -24.75 -15.39 100 Nevada -7.72 -225.39 -16.29 __________________________________________________ 101 Rice -21.00 -71.28 -17.52 102 Marshall -11.50 -211.25 -18.11 103 Southern Miss -16.89 -148.22 -18.58 104 Wyoming -25.61 -49.67 -19.53 105 Arkansas St. -20.11 -164.94 -21.56 106 South Alabama -26.00 -95.22 -22.04 107 Kent St. -28.67 -66.11 -22.38 108 San Jose St. -27.50 -93.67 -22.96 109 South Florida -19.75 -203.50 -23.22 110 Purdue -25.08 -155.42 -24.40 ____________________________________________________ 111 Old Dominion -21.89 -203.06 -24.63 112 East. Michigan -22.75 -207.63 -25.43 113 UCF -19.56 -255.94 -25.69 114 New Mexico -27.00 -161.83 -26.00 115 LA Lafayette -26.58 -193.08 -27.26 116 Idaho -24.56 -243.44 -28.40 117 Texas St. -29.00 -191.83 -28.81 118 Colorado -30.33 -213.67 -30.78 119 San Diego St. -28.33 -241.61 -30.83 120 Fresno St. -29.44 -238.61 -31.42 ____________________________________________________ 121 Kansas -27.00 -276.25 -31.65 122 Miami (OH) -33.06 -209.61 -32.40 123 UNC-Charlotte -37.00 -198.56 -34.48 124 Georgia State -38.83 -181.83 -34.87 125 New Mexico St. -36.22 -259.78 -36.99 126 UTEP -36.44 -256.89 -36.99 127 North Texas -43.33 -251.50 -41.32 128 Tulane -46.75 -311.50 -46.56 By Conference 28 Memphis 8.89 195.67 15.60 42 Houston 9.25 75.25 9.89 44 Connecticut 8.33 65.83 8.81 47 Temple 14.33 -24.17 8.36 53 Tulsa 4.28 73.61 6.49 66 East Carolina 2.83 0.06 1.89 68 SMU -2.83 66.00 1.37 82 Cincinnati -11.33 33.83 -5.88 110 South Florida -19.75 -203.50 -23.22 114 UCF -19.56 -255.94 -25.69 _______________________________________________ 3 Clemson 39.00 286.75 40.17 12 Miami (FL) 18.67 166.00 20.65 15 North Carolina 24.58 63.92 19.55 23 Pittsburgh 17.75 101.50 16.85 25 Boston Coll. 10.50 187.00 16.24 30 N.C. State 12.83 140.33 15.49 32 Florida St. 12.17 145.00 15.28 33 Georgia Tech 13.06 117.67 14.52 36 Louisville 15.67 66.67 13.74 54 Duke 3.67 62.50 5.53 72 Virginia Tech 1.06 -7.28 0.34 74 Wake Forest -1.17 -3.50 -0.95 80 Syracuse 0.50 -100.00 -4.61 81 Virginia -8.22 9.44 -5.01 _______________________________________________ 8 Iowa 19.00 205.00 22.80 11 Michigan 19.83 177.67 22.00 13 Northwestern 17.44 164.17 19.74 17 Ohio St. 18.00 125.00 18.18 39 Indiana 10.06 83.11 10.81 43 Wisconsin 11.33 45.21 9.79 45 Illinois 8.00 66.67 8.63 49 Minnesota -0.13 161.50 7.90 50 Nebraska 7.13 57.46 7.59 57 Michigan St. 8.38 -10.88 5.05 60 Penn St. 9.25 -26.25 4.87 89 Maryland -8.78 -109.89 -11.28 94 Rutgers -8.67 -149.89 -13.18 111 Purdue -25.08 -155.42 -24.40 _______________________________________________________ 1 Baylor 43.75 513.25 54.53 2 West Virginia 53.25 321.75 51.40 5 Oklahoma 28.67 235.00 30.72 9 TCU 17.50 224.06 22.74 14 Texas Tech 20.50 121.28 19.66 37 Oklahoma St. 12.39 98.00 13.10 40 Iowa St. 10.25 76.50 10.61 46 Kansas St. 7.08 76.17 8.49 73 Texas 5.54 -81.46 -0.33 122 Kansas -27.00 -276.25 -31.65 ______________________________________________________ 19 Middle Tenn. St. 16.44 137.72 17.77 27 Louisiana Tech 11.72 166.94 16.06 67 West. Kentucky 2.88 -4.13 1.71 93 Florida Atlantic -16.38 -35.63 -12.68 95 Florida Intl. -14.33 -77.17 -13.37 99 UT-San Antonio -21.25 -24.75 -15.39 101 Rice -21.00 -71.28 -17.52 103 Marshall -11.50 -211.25 -18.11 104 Southern Miss -16.89 -148.22 -18.58 112 Old Dominion -21.89 -203.06 -24.63 124 UNC-Charlotte -37.00 -198.56 -34.48 127 UTEP -36.44 -256.89 -36.99 128 North Texas -43.33 -251.50 -41.32 128 Tulane -46.75 -311.50 -46.56 ____________________________________________________ 7 Notre Dame 23.71 196.25 25.50 34 BYU 15.29 82.08 14.25 35 Navy 17.50 45.75 13.93 76 Army -0.39 -46.39 -2.55 _______________________________________________ 59 Massachusetts 7.89 -6.50 4.94 61 Cent. Michigan 2.17 52.06 4.02 71 Bowling Green -6.50 96.88 0.45 77 Ball St. -1.61 -34.28 -2.77 79 Toledo 1.56 -86.50 -3.24 83 Ohio -1.67 -110.72 -6.58 85 Northern Illinois -5.39 -86.44 -7.86 87 Buffalo -5.39 -120.78 -9.56 90 Akron -11.17 -87.50 -11.77 98 W. Michigan -13.89 -116.39 -15.01 108 Kent St. -28.67 -66.11 -22.38 113 East. Michigan -22.75 -207.63 -25.43 123 Miami (OH) -33.06 -209.61 -32.40 _________________________________________________ 24 Air Force 12.50 164.25 16.45 55 Boise St. 5.50 32.72 5.28 86 Utah St. -2.58 -147.00 -8.99 92 Colorado St. -18.56 -2.78 -12.51 96 UNLV -11.89 -115.39 -13.63 97 Hawaii -11.61 -144.44 -14.88 100 Nevada -7.72 -225.39 -16.29 105 Wyoming -25.61 -49.67 -19.53 109 San Jose St. -27.50 -93.67 -22.96 115 New Mexico -27.00 -161.83 -26.00 120 San Diego St. -28.33 -241.61 -30.83 121 Fresno St. -29.44 -238.61 -31.42 ___________________________________________________ 16 USC 22.54 77.71 18.87 18 Stanford 18.83 110.21 18.00 38 UCLA 13.00 64.33 11.85 41 Utah 17.17 -23.46 10.29 51 Arizona St. 6.39 60.50 7.25 58 Washington 8.33 -11.33 5.00 63 Oregon 5.28 -3.06 3.37 64 California 7.00 -30.78 3.15 65 Washington St. -0.25 42.75 1.95 70 Oregon St. -2.17 49.56 1.00 75 Arizona -3.11 -3.67 -2.26 119 Colorado -30.33 -213.67 -30.78 ____________________________________________________ 48 Appalachian State 5.50 94.50 8.34 56 Troy 3.33 59.08 5.14 78 Georgia Southern -2.67 -25.17 -3.02 91 LA Monroe -16.75 -19.75 -12.14 106 Arkansas St. -20.11 -164.94 -21.56 107 South Alabama -26.00 -95.22 -22.04 116 LA Lafayette -26.58 -193.08 -27.26 117 Idaho -24.56 -243.44 -28.40 118 Texas St. -29.00 -191.83 -28.81 125 Georgia State -38.83 -181.83 -34.87 126 New Mexico St. -36.22 -259.78 -36.99 _____________________________________________________ 4 Alabama 33.25 318.54 37.91 6 Tennessee 25.11 187.50 26.01 10 Mississippi 20.78 166.83 22.10 20 Texas A&M 18.79 104.46 17.69 21 Georgia 17.06 115.06 17.06 22 Vanderbilt 15.83 129.61 16.96 26 Arkansas 13.79 142.08 16.22 29 LSU 18.83 60.67 15.55 31 Florida 16.83 84.50 15.40 52 Mississippi St. 10.50 -8.33 6.59 62 South Carolina 9.21 -53.04 3.52 69 Kentucky 3.25 -21.08 1.12 84 Auburn -4.67 -83.83 -7.25 88 Missouri -12.67 -24.39 -9.65
  15. 2 points
    Noting that there is currently quite a bit said or shown about the 100th anniversary of World War I, it hit me that most of us probably haven't known a WWI veteran. Even the WWII people are now older than I am. But every time I go to our kitchen I am reminded of WWI because there is a small piece of furniture, originally a bedside stand, I presume, that we use as a telephone for the phone in our breakfast room, right by the kitchen. It is very well made, and was, I think, a wedding present or something similar for my parents, who wed in 1932. It was made by Potts Royer. And that's almost all I really know about him. In my young days I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' home when they lived in town in Henrietta. And Potts Royer lived, with his parents, I think, across the street. Remember than I was 3, 4, 5, maybe 6 and surely 7 (while I temporarily attended 2nd grade in Henrietta during a wartime move by my folks). I can't recall what Potts Royer looked like. I know I saw him. I remember he had a shop in their garage or a shed behind the house. But I also remember at some point being advised by my parents or maybe my grandmother not to bother Potts. I was given to understand, in a vague way, that Potts wasn't quite right because he had been in the war. If he was in WWI, he must have been lin his early 40s when I would have seen him in Henrietta. Whenever I see To Kill a Mockingbird, I think of Potts. Boo Radley came back from the same war and didn't quite fit in, if you will recall. Something like that was true of Potts Royer. The little nightstand was always referred to, in our home, as ``Potts Royer's table." I still think of it that way. And I have no idea what became of Potts Royer. Like I said, I was very young when I knew of him. And by 1946 my grandparents had moved back to a farm, and then about 1955 moved back into Henrietta, but to a different house. I never saw Potts again. Don't remember anyone every mentioning him when we visited Clay County. But I have the stand he made. He, and it, are my only connections to what my grandparents, in the years before Pearl Harbor, still considered the Great War. It's a very good, solid little stand. I like to think Potts would have been similarly solid....he and Boo Radley, too....had it not been for that war.
  16. 2 points
    old scribe

    Lawdy, Lawdy...

    I feel old today. Watched some TV stuff about Pearl Harbor yesterday, Dec. 7, and then realized that I am surely the only on this entire forum who was alive 72 years ago. Most of your parents weren't even around then. To 95 percent of Americans Dec. 7 is the day they show Tora, Tora, Tora on at least one channel. It is a part of a page (I assume) in a history textbook. It is a couple monuments you can visit with head bowed if you vacation in Hawaii. Hey, that war is over. We won. It is now more notable for having introduced the atom bomb than for what it actually meant. But, looking back, our war that started with Pearl Harbor was the sundering event for America in the 20th century, and for guys like me who were just old enough at the time to understand what happened. Look at it this way. America after World War I was a lot like America before World War I, but with radios and more cars. America after World War II was and is nothing like America before World War II. Pearl Harbor was actually the final stone in getting over the Great Depression of the 1930s. America went back to work, one way or another. America was no longer captive of its isolation protected by two oceans, and never will be again. America was forced to become (really for the first time) a world power, with the world's most powerful military. It emerged from the war with the greatest economy in the world, which we have not quite managed to fritter away yet. The war that caught us asleep with Pearl Harbor led to the greatest act of generosity (however self-serving in its own way) ever...the Marshall Plan which rebuilt Europe, or part of it. We all owe a debt to those who led (faltering at times, but led nevertheless) us to success in that war, and especially to the more than 16 million who served and the almost 300,000 who died. Gadzooks! I was actually in college with people who had served in World War II. I had first cousins who were in that war, including one who trudged through France and into Germany carrying a razor in his pack but never using it because at 18 he still had no beard and another cousin who wound up marrying a German girl (years later they ran a liquor store on Padre Island). Soon all the veterans of World War II will be gone. And even those of us who were kids during the war, collecting paper and tin cans and stuff for the war effort. To us, that war was, as Dobie Gillis' dad said so eloquently, ```the big one." So on future Dec. 7's, remember not just those who died beneath Japanese bombs in Pearl Harbor, but also the unbelievable changes it marked for our nation.
  17. 2 points
    With Fred Taylor's death today, I had to hark back to this..... I dealt with five active TCU head coaches, and they were a very diverse group of men. First was Abe Martin, the Jacksboro Philosopher, who drawled and acted country but was really quite a guy. I never was close to Abe, but enjoyed him. Oddly enough he was the straight man in a couple of the funnier things I recall from my years hanging around TCU football. First was on the sidelines during a workout and Abe mentioned to Allie White, his line coach, ``If old E.A. just had speed he'd be a great linebacker," and Allie responded, ``Coach, if he had speed he'd be at Texas." The other was when the Jim Pittman staff had just been at TCU a few weeks, and Abe, who had had some heart difficulties by then, was taking his daily several laps walking around the concourse at Daniel Meyer. Billy Tohill, Pitt's irrepressible defensive coordinator, passed him and said, ``Coach Martin, you gettin' any?" Abe was dumbfounded. I covered the Frogs during Fred Taylor's four-year stint. He was accessible, honest to deal with, but probably not equipped to be a head coach in a rapidly-changing college football atmosphere.Or paid to be head coach, for that matter. Or given much help by the administration (TCU surely had the lowest-paid football staff in the SWC, by a good margin). Being around Fred taught me just how physically and emotionally wearing coaching could be. He aged 10 years in those four years. He had students after his head, alums grumbling, you name it. And then when he was able to recruit some outstanding black players, and had something on which to build, it came tumbling and he was ``reassigned." He longed, in his last season, for one-platoon football, dreaming of putting guys like Ray Rhodes, Hodges Mitchell and Danny Colbert on the field both ways instead of having to find 22 good-enough-to-start players to go against Texas and a huge squad. Not surprisingly, the job got to Fred. When working out on the practice field he more than once sent a student manager across the street to make sure someone on an apartment balcony was not spying for the next opponent. Jim Pittman followed, and was one of the most impressive guys I ever met. He could dominate a practice field just by standing there. His glare, if annoyed or angered, could peel paint off a fencepost. But his face also could light up in the world's biggest smile. It turned out that his health was worse than anyone thought. He passed away on the sideline during a game in Waco. Miz Scribe and I had gotten to know Jim and Jane Pittman, and we mourned. I'll finish this with Billy Tohill and Jim Shofner (two more opposite people I cannot imagine), but not today....to be continued....
  18. 2 points

    Yoga Poses

    Hello Yogis, I started my Yoga practice at TCU some many years ago. Over the years I gone to a lot of different classes, both good and bad. I even practice Yoga on my own each morning (or try some mornings are better than others). Yoga has helped me on good days and bad days. I definitely do not think I could have made it through law school and the bar without some of the things I have learned from Yoga. Most people know Yoga as the stretching exercise class that women do to stay in shape. This is an untrue stereotype about yoga. Men and even some of the best athletes in the world of both genders use Yoga to help improve their own sports. Yoga can be much more than just stretching. I enjoy Yoga because it has helped with my breathing, stress, anxiety, back pain, and knee injuries. It has built total body strength based from my core muscles and helped clear my mind of unneeded stress. I have attached (hopefully, the upload worked) some poses that go from simple to advanced. I encourage anyone who practices yoga to try new poses. Some of the fun of yoga is the challenge of trying to hold a new pose. At first some poses can be extremely hard. However, Yoga is something that can constantly be improved and adjusted. Its part of the beauty of Yoga is that allows a person to move through different positions allowing for a new experience to occur. Growing up I loved to play competitive sports. Yoga is non-traditional competitive sport. Some may ask what is a non-traditional competitive sport mean? It means that the competition is against oneself. In yoga someone will always be better than you. It does not matter because you are not competing against others. I have a hard time touching my toes. Yep, I said it! You may ask how can someone who has been doing Yoga for so many years have a hard time touching their toes? It is something that I have always had to work on with stretching. While this has always been a challenging pose for me in Yoga. I've seen a Yoga teacher who can bend forward over and lay her head down on her knees! While she could do a lot of the flexible poses, she struggled with some of the arm balancing poses that come easy for me. The point is that you can always learn something in Yoga even if you practice by yourself or with others! I encourage others to post about their Yoga practice. Namaste.
  19. 2 points
    old scribe

    still on the road....

    More about antique travels, but first an anecdote or two. Like when we flew to Boston and rented a car to drive up to Maine. We were upgraded to a Cadillac (Seville, I think, this was in 1990). Miz Scribe's comment was, ``Well, this makes it hard. Try driving up in a Cadillac and asking somebody for their best price on something...." That same trip we hit a heat wave in Maine. We were staying at the Cape Arundel Inn at Kennebunkport and the temp was in the 90s. They had no A/C, but the clerk told us proudly, ``But we have a fan in each room!" True. The fan in our room was about 3" in diameter. That same trip we were trying to find West Lebanon, me., where the chef at our inn had an antiques shop. We never saw a sign for it. After we crossed a creek, I saw a store and stopped there to ask the way. Turned out we were in New Hampshire. We had managed to miss Maine. Later that day we pulled up at an antiques shop outside Rochester, N.H. That was the summer after here in Texas we heard folks say ``Let a Yankee freeze" because soaring oil prices (nice for us down here) were making heating oil too dear for many folks up north. They remembered up there. We pulled up in our rented Caddy and went inside and immediately I picked up on conversation among some locals, who were cussing Texas and Texans for the ills of the world. ``Hon," I whispered to Miz Scribe, ``pay cash here. Don't write one of our checks on our Texas bank or they might lynch us." Many years later when we were cruising eastern Pa. and drove over into Lambertville, N.J., we found a three-story antiques mall that had good stuff. We discovered that you were supposed to pay on each floor for what you found on that floor.....and having spent the day buying stuff, we had only one check left. But God looks out for those ready to buy, and the folks at the mall decided we could, after all, pay for everything with one check and they would work out any persnickety accounting details. Some more of our favorite places: Springfield, Ohio, was a regular big stop. There are three huge antique malls there, right off the interstate. Martinsville, W.Va., was a place we always spent the night on our way to Md. and Pa. Good place for a room and dinner. Our usual first shopping stop the next day was Beaver Creek, Md., where two big malls are almost next door to each other. From there we usually went north to Gettysburg and New Oxford, Pa. The route took us through the Catoctin Mountains (and probably within a mile or two of Camp David, though there is a lack of signs giving directions to that presidential hideaway). Speaking of Gettysburg, we bought little there, but did stay one time in a motel on the site of Lee's headquarters. Gettysburg we treated as a sort of shrine. If you have never been there, it is a visit to cherish. We dined once in an inn on the spot where Lincoln spoke. The cemeteries there are something else, lacking only Confederate dead. In fact, we have found all the Civil War cemeteries and battlefields to be emotional stops, and we have been to several (Vicksburg, Antietam, Harper's Ferry, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Chickamauga, etc.) We loved Maine. On later trips, including one where we drove from FW to Maine and back, we stayed in or around Boothbay Harbor, Very nice area. Love the rocky coast of Maine. And perhaps the best shopping we ever saw was up around Waterville. Another regular stop was Medina, Ohio, either on our way north or on our way south. A great mall there. But we spent more time in Nashville than anywhere else. For a long time there was a huge antiqueing experience there, in Feb. or March, with the Heart o'Country Show at the Opryland Hotel and 3-4 other shows across the street at Fiddler's Motel and other venues. Heart is no longer what it was (the couple that ran it have passed away and now there are about half as many exhibitors), but back in the 1990s it was heaven on earth for American country stuff. They had seminars on antiques in conjunction with the show, and Miz S. enjoyed that. But the shopping was tremendous. Fiddlers, and a 3-story motel nearby were total antiques. Every room was a dealer's shop, plus all the furniture and stuff in the parking lots. One feature each year with the seminars was a road trip with expert commentary. We went to Franklin, Columbia, the Hermitage and other places. Saw some unbelievable pre-Civil War plantation homes. One of our guides was an old professor, John Kiser, who had advised on the restoration of several antebellum homes and he became a good friend. Another guide was Robert Hicks, who had a thriving music business and had sold it to one of the big international music outfits. As our bus prowled through Williamson county, south of Nashville, he pointed out where all the country stars had built gadzillion-dollar mansions on many acres of land. Then we had supper at one of his own houses, an 1850-ish place somewhat added-to for comfort in the 1990s. At that time lots of entertainment stars were leaving the West Coast and relocating to the Franklin, Tn. area. I figure it was because they got so much better BBQ in Franklin than in Los Angeles. I can see there will have to be a third chapter to this mishmash, because we haven't even touched on Atlanta or Cincinnati or Michigan yet! Or the leaves in Mississippi! Or the Lexington-Paris, Ky., area! Or the mall on Goss in Louisville! Or Baton Rouge and New Orleans! So much territory, so little time!
  20. 2 points
    Monty Python might very well have never reached our shores had it not been for local television in Dallas-Fort Worth. Back in the mid-'70s, some executive at Channel 13 (the PBS channel, of course, so executive is likely a very strong word here) dug some tape out of an old bin of castaway shows. On it was some weird stuff from some oddball Brits. KERA had already established itself as the first TV station in the US to broadcast British comedy (true), but this was a little different, a little non-traditional. "Are You Being Served?" it was not. Could Channel 13 actually put this stuff on TV, this communist hippie PBS "executive" wondered? Eh, why not? Nobody's watching, anyway. What could it hurt? Well, it didn't hurt anything. In fact, it rapidly established the Pythons, who had been doing their bit in Britain for a while by that point, as cult stars in the US. So, on the way back from a premiere of Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Los Angeles (a movie for which there was not yet a US distributor at the time), the Pythons made one of there very first public appearances in Dallas, in the studio of KERA, or possibly in some rec room at a junior high school. It's hard to tell. A very nervous man with an impressive beard interviews the group (minus John Cleese). The Pythons took questions from the audience, some of which (Who is Monty Python?) we'll have to forgive for their naivete. It was 1975, after all, and there was nothing but public TV sharing Monty Python with the United States. Remember, there was no Wikipedia, no Twitter, not even cable in any serious way. These were the good old days. As some whiny little guy from modern public radio will explain in the introduction to the video, a random engineer at Channel 13 kept this footage, even though the end of it is cut off and lost forever. Unearthed about seven years ago, this tape was slapped on YouTube and viewed for the first time since 1975, and for the first time, presumably, outside of Dallas-Fort Worth. Since it only has about 160,000 views, though, chances are it might be new to you, as it was to me. Also, in case you miss the subtle allusion to it at the outset of the tape, this interview was part of Public Television's Festival '75. Pay close attention. The beauty of this 10 or so minutes of footage doesn't just revolve around the Pythons themselves, although they're obviously awesome. As if they were at an elementary school assembly, the crowd, presumably made up of regular local folks, is sitting on the floor. KERA seems to have sprung for some folding chairs or something for the Pythons--which explains why there's a pledge drive going on (of course) during the interview, phones ringing off their little '70s-yellow bases. Watch out for a few other things, too. The guy asking a question at about the 10:40 mark just has to be wicked stoned. The accents, for some reason, seem really strong, much stronger than today's Texas drawl. And there's also a stuffed armadillo. From 1975 (and Festival '75!), it's Monty Python in Dallas: And now to the comedy. Dear sweet Lord in heaven, where do we even start with this? It defies words. Evidently, this promo bit from Channel 8 from 1980 never aired. WFAA executives showed it to advertising agencies and other insider-types only. Thank God for that. The beginning of this clip likely signaled the death of the true '70s (although it was late 1980 by the time this, uh, happened) because if disco had ever been cool, what these people at the beginning of this video did to it rendered it uncool for eternity, or at lest until Generation X got a hold of it ironically in the '90s. But the dancing doesn't stop there. Go about 45 seconds in, and Channel 8 people are dancing, more or less. Yes, people who work there, apparently. Some of them are on-air people; Troy Dungan really does appear to be dancing with the little red and blue arrows he would have used to show warm and cold fronts back then. In fact, everybody seems to be interpretatively dancing something related to his or her job at the station. There's reel-to-reel tape, a huge channel 8 logo and other '70s TV stuff. Things slow down for a little bit after that, aside from the male host of PM Magazine scratching himself or adjusting his tube sock or something in the show's promo. Keep going, though. Get to about the 3:20 mark. That's when stuff gets real. It's time to pimp Channel 8 news, with the news team you can trust...to do weird stuff in this video. Seriously, behind a voice-over talking about all the awards the station has won, there are reporters tripping over themselves, anchors screwing around, what appears to be Tracy Rowlett sneaking up behind some woman reporter and kissing her...and then...and then... Out of nowhere, Verne Lundquist just gets up, plaid sport jacket and all, and gives Tracy a huge hug. I mean a manly bear grip that should have been way more awkward than it was. This goes on for several seconds. All of this comes after Channel 8 has run some smack about the other newscasts in town, actually showing clips from them while playing a song (maybe by Anne Murray?) that semi-subtly refers to how much they suck. Yeah, suck on it, 4 and 5! Where's your video of reporters blowing kisses to the camera, sexy dancing, committing what must have been sexual harassment and engaging in gentleman-on-gentleman contact? News 8 is number one, baby! Whoooo! Get on back over here, Tracy! From 1980, Channel 8's likely chemically influenced in-house promo: Better times. Better times.
  21. 2 points
    old scribe

    More Dutch

    Just a few footballish things about Dutch: Never heard him say, or take credit for saying ``Fight em on the ice." What he did say, any time we talked football, was ``fahr and desahr! Gotta have fahr and desahr!" He could roar that, and I am sure he demanded it of his players. While he considered Baugh the greatest player he had, and loved Davey O'Brien, he thought that Kyle Gillespie, who followed O'Brien, might have been just as good had he not been hurt. Dutch was very loyal. He never forgave the Aggies for firing Matty Bell in 1933. He and Matty were very good friends even while coaching against each other when Bell led SMU right before the war and again after the war. I've mentioned before that Dutch went to his spread not for passing but for better blocking angles to run the ball. And in giving Mrs. Scribe lessons on how to watch football, he stressed following the guards, not the ball. Enough for today...
  22. 2 points
    old scribe


    To my shame, my only voyage outside the U.S. (other than driving a few miles into Canada from Detroit) was a 1982 or 83 golfing trip to Guadalajara. Our group was four couples and we stayed at the El Tapatio Hotel or resort ....beautiful place that is still there. Two of us guys and all the wives went down one day, followed the next day by the other two fellows. Naturally, my buddy Pat Richardson and I went right out the first afternoon to play one of the two nearby courses. Here's what I recall: You could get a cart, which was handy for carrying a load of beer, but also had to employ caddies. The caddies were about 9 years old, but they could guide us to the next teebox and they didn't drink any of the beer. I remember on one of the holes we teed off from atop a cliff to a green about, oh, 300 feet below us....looked almost straight down but I guess it wasn't. Anyway, that was fun. The next morning we were joined by the other guys and tried the other course that had been recommended. It had been built by Bing Crosby and while the fairways were lush green, a few feet off the fairway was utter desolate desert, sandy and rocky. Funny thing there was watching our caddies walking along the fairways, plucking bananas or plantains or some such off the trees. Frankly, with all the beer and as bad as I was at golf at that time, I don't really remember much about our rounds. The girls were the ones that really had fun...shopping while we played golf. And one day they decided to take a bus to Tlachipacque for some really great shopping. Unfortunately, none of them spoke Spanish and they wound up on the third class bus....like the ones in the movies (remember the bus Kathleen Turner rode in Romancing the Stone? That was it....people carrying live chickens, etc.). The bus stopped and one of our ladies had to visit the little girls room, and the bus tried to leave again without her. Miz Scribe and another gal, unable to make the driver understand, forcibly held open the door so that the bus couldn't leave their friend behind. The trip was fun. Shopping was good. Food was good. Beer was great. Then, as we were preparing to leave, all hell broke loose. That was the week that the peso crashed and there were riots and really competitive elections were about to held for the first time in years. So we left for the airport amid trucks full of dangerous fellows with machine guns, roaming the streets. And then we discovered that we had to pay a departure tax of some kind at the airport, which we did happily if they would only let us on the plane. Miz Scribe flew back holding one of her treasures, an ancient Mexican saddle tree (the other gals had bought many skirts, blouses, etc., but you-know-who was looking for antiques!) in her lap. She also brought back a painting which is hanging on the wall above this computer. It is a cat, wearing an orange ribbon. Couple years ago I looked up the artist (Gustavo Martinez) and discovered that he is well known, some of his stuff is worth a good bit and is handled by some fancy galleries in this country. We will leave it to our granddaughter. We also acquired a taste for an excellent fried cheese dish. I got the recipe for it. Finally, I found the right cheese at an Hispanic grocery here in Fort Worth. I gave the recipe to one of the Pulidos and they may still be using it. In return they provided and delivered tamales to me and my coworkers in the S-T think tank at Christmas!
  23. 1 point
    In poker, as in NASCAR racing and the Kama Sutra, position is everything. This basic fact is often overlooked by less experienced poker players, who tend to make their betting decisions based on the strength of their two hole cards without considering their position in the hand. The relative value of your table position should be a primary factor in your decision to get involved in a particular hand from the outset. Position is determined by the betting order that will occur after the flop. If there are nine players at the table then the first three players are in “early” position, the next three are in “middle” position, and the final three are in “late” position. The player on the button has the strongest position for that hand. The blinds are in the weakest position, even though they bet last pre-flop. Remember, when considering position it is the order after the flop that matters. Why does it matter? One reason: because flops are hard to hit. The odds of improving your hand on the flop are roughly 1 in 3 – which means that (approximately) 2 out of 3 times you are going to miss the flop. And there’s where the problem lies. If you are in early position, and you miss the flop, you don’t have many good options for what to do next. If you check then you signal weakness and a late position player is likely to bet in order to get you to fold. If you bet out you might get some to fold, but a late position player who did hit the flop is likely to raise you and force your hand. Bottom line: it sucks to have to act first. If you get to act last, then you have the most information available to make your betting decision. So how do you incorporate this table position knowledge? By carefully choosing which hands to play at all. If you are in early position, you should only play premium hands (such as high pocket pairs or suited connectors with faces). In the later positions you can loosen up and play more hands, because from there you have a much greater possibility of winning the hand even if you don’t hit. Now, if you have great cards in early position you should still play them, and if you have junk cards in late position you should still throw them. But for all those hands in between those extremes, consider position when making your decision.
  24. 1 point

    First Trip to the Casino

    So you’ve played Hold ‘Em in a weekly home game, and you’ve watched the WSOP on television, but now you’ve been invited to go play in a real casino and you’re not sure what to expect. Good thing you read my blog! First of all, you need to find the poker section of the casino. The poker area is generally separated off from the other floor games, often by actual glass walls. When you enter the room there is usually a front desk that has a computerized display behind it showing what games are being played. A game labeled “1/2 NO” would be a no-limit Texas Hold Em’ game in which the starting blinds are $1 and $2. All games are Texas Hold ‘Em unless they are otherwise labeled (such as “Hi Lo Omaha”). Sometimes there is immediate seating available, but often you will have to add your name to the waiting list and wait to be called. There should also be information at the desk regarding any upcoming tournaments. What should you play? Depends on what you’ve been playing in the home setting and what kind of play you are most interested in. As a Hold ‘Em player your options are: a limit cash game, a no limit cash game, or a tournament. Here are the basics for each option… LIMIT – a nice choice if the thought of losing all your money in one hand is too much for you to contemplate. The biggest temptation at limit is to play too many hands because the price is low. If you don’t limit your play to strong hands in good position, you will slowly give away all your money. Luck plays a bigger factor in limit poker than it does in no limit – you will have to get the cards to win. Expect to be drawn out on in this game. The betting limits make it impossible to push someone out of the pot if they want to see if they will hit their flush or straight. This can be frustrating when your high pocket pairs don’t hold up, but the flipside is that you, too, can draw to higher hands. You just have to understand the dynamic s of the game have shifted some. NO LIMIT – Be sure you know the minimum and maximum stack needed for joining the table (generally posted, or you should ask at the desk before you go get your chips). Pay attention to everything that occurs at the table, even when you are not in the hand. You will want to know everything you can about the tendencies of other players before you have to make a big decision against them. Use the same betting strategy every time you make a play so you aren’t giving clues to your hand based on how you bet. Players may try to intimidate newbies at these tables – keep calm and cool and use your knowledge to make the best decisions with the given information. TOURNAMENT – Nice because you know exactly how much money you are committing to the game in advance, and every other player is committing the same amount. Study the tournament structure beforehand (are there add-ons after the first round? Re-buys allowed? How fast do the blinds go up? What round do antes start?). The most important strategy point to remember is to not wait too long to make your move. If your stack has dwindled too much when you go all-in, you will not scare anyone out and have less chance of winning it and staying alive. Most pros also recommend establishing a tight reputation early while the blinds are low and then using that to steal blinds later when the return is much higher. Some FAQs… Are the drinks free? Depends. Non-alcoholic choices are almost always free, but you should still tip the waitress for bringing it (you can tip with either chips or cash). Free alcohol varies by the environment – in Vegas they are probably free, at a Native American casino they probably are not. It is not a stupid question to ask. Is the food free, and can I eat it at the table? Casinos vary in how they do their comps, but almost all comp in some manner while you are playing. Before you start playing, always get a player’s card and make sure the dealer swipes it right when you join the table. Often the casinos credit you a certain amount each half hour you are playing at a table. If you play for several hours and then want to go grab some food, you probably have some credit built up to help pay for it. Some casinos will give you free buffet tickets if you ask at the poker desk (you can also ask about room deals, etc. at the poker desk). Most casinos let you eat at the table (they like to keep you playing), some with actual food servers working the poker room and others where you go get your food and bring it back yourself. If you need to leave the table to eat or do something else, tell the dealer and they will place a box over your chips and give you time parameters (normally 45 minutes to an hour). If they are busy, they may allow someone to play in your spot on top of your chip box. Can I smoke at the table? No. Poker rooms are almost always smoke free, unlike that cloud of chemicals out on the general casino floor. Do I tip the dealer? You tip the dealer when you win a hand. As you rake in your chips, toss one (or two if it’s a big hand) over to the dealer. Technically tipping is not required, but you should always do it. Does the dealer want to hear my helpful suggestions? No. Also, don’t touch your cards until all are dealt, and don’t touch the button unless the dealer specifically tells you to. What is a “bad beat” jackpot? Many casinos build a running jackpot that pays out when somebody hits a “bad beat” hand. A bad beat basically means losing with a REALLY good hand. Different casinos define a bad beat differently, so be sure to ask where the line is. Some consider a bad beat losing with quads, some count losing with aces full of kings or higher, others will say it has to be quad sixes or higher. Be sure to know all the promotions that are running while you play (such as “Aces Cracked Wins a Rack” meaning you get $100 if you lose with pocket aces). There are times when a promotion will change your decision making process in certain hands. I’m sure I have forgotten all kinds of things, but those are some pointers to get you started. So go! Have Fun! Take me with you! And don’t take money that you can’t afford to lose – like most fun things, poker should be enjoyed responsibly in moderation.
  25. 1 point

    OU single game pre-sale

    I received an email from OU sports that announced a presale starting July 25th at 12:01AM. Use code: OU2013 OU tickets