Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When you are watching a basketball game and nine players have their jerseys outside their shorts, but one has his jersey neatly tucked in, what is the name of the one with his jersey tucked in?
Buyer's market. When prices go down, there are wonderful opportunities for buyers - but you can't be a buyer if you are already loaded down with debt. The borrower is servant to the lender.

Some Day My Prince Will Come

If you want to hear a really beautiful, tasteful arrangement, get Chet Atkins playing "Some Day My Prince Will Come."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bling-bling. I had to have it explained to me today by the ladies at work that this term means some sort of adornment. And all along I thought it was the name of a Siamese cat.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


By Rick Reilly

On Tuesday the best man I know will do what he always does on the 21st of the month. He'll sit down and pen a love letter to his best girl. He'll say how much he misses her and loves her and can't wait to see her again. Then he'll fold it once, slide it in a little envelope and walk into his bedroom. He'll go to the stack of love letters sitting there on her pillow, untie the yellow ribbon, place the new one on top and tie the ribbon again.

The stack will be 180 letters high then, because Tuesday is 15 years to the day since Nellie, his beloved wife of 53 years, died. In her memory, he sleeps only on his half of the bed, only on his pillow, only on top of the sheets, never between, with just the old bedspread they shared to keep him warm.

There's never been a finer man in American sports than John Wooden, or a finer coach. He won 10 NCAA basketball championships at UCLA, the last in 1975. Nobody has ever come within six of him. He won 88 straight games between Jan. 30, 1971, and Jan. 17, 1974. Nobody has come within 42 since.
So, sometimes, when the Madness of March gets to be too much -- too many players trying to make SportsCenter, too few players trying to make assists, too many coaches trying to be homeys, too few coaches willing to be mentors, too many freshmen with out-of-wedlock kids, too few freshmen who will stay in school long enough to become men -- I like to go see Coach Wooden. I visit him in his little condo in Encino, 20 minutes northwest of L.A., and hear him say things like "Gracious sakes alive!" and tell stories about teaching "Lewis" the hook shot. Lewis Alcindor, that is. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

There has never been another coach like Wooden, quiet as an April snow and square as a game of checkers; loyal to one woman, one school, one way; walking around campus in his sensible shoes and Jimmy Stewart morals. He'd spend a half hour the first day of practice teaching his men how to put on a sock. "Wrinkles can lead to blisters," he'd warn. These huge players would sneak looks at one another and roll their eyes. Eventually, they'd do it right. "Good," he'd say. "And now for the other foot."

Of the 180 players who played for him, Wooden knows the whereabouts of 172. Of course, it's not hard when most of them call, checking on his health, secretly hoping to hear some of his simple life lessons so that they can write them on the lunch bags of their kids, who will roll their eyes. "Discipline yourself, and others won't need to," Coach would say. "Never lie, never cheat, never steal," Coach would say. "Earn the right to be proud and confident."

You played for him, you played by his rules: Never score without acknowledging a teammate. One word of profanity, and you're done for the day. Treat your opponent with respect.

He believed in hopelessly out-of-date stuff that never did anything but win championships. No dribbling behind the back or through the legs. "There's no need," he'd say. No UCLA basketball number was retired under his watch. "What about the fellows who wore that number before? Didn't they contribute to the team?" he'd say. No long hair, no facial hair. "They take too long to dry, and you could catch cold leaving the gym," he'd say.That one drove his players bonkers.

One day, All-America center Bill Walton showed up with a full beard. "It's my right," he insisted. Wooden asked if he believed that strongly. Walton said he did. "That's good, Bill," Coach said. "I admire people who have strong beliefs and stick by them, I really do. We're going to miss you." Walton shaved it right then and there. Now Walton calls once a week to tell Coach he loves him.

It's always too soon when you have to leave the condo and go back out into the real world, where the rules are so much grayer and the teams so much worse. As Wooden shows you to the door, you take one last look around. The framed report cards of the great-grandkids. The boxes of jelly beans peeking out from under the favorite wooden chair. The dozens of pictures of Nellie.

He's almost 90 now, you think. A little more hunched over than last time. Steps a little smaller. You hope it's not the last time you see him. He smiles. "I'm not afraid to die," he says. "Death is my only chance to be with her again."

Problem is, we still need him here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Some history of University of the Ozarks basketball

If he feels like it, I plan to take my 83-year-old father to the Ozarks game at Clarksville tomorrow night. It has been several years since he has been to one, and he did not get to come with us to the Jack for our first game this year. I printed off some of the old coaches and their records, and their all-conference honorees to show to him, and his face lit up immediately. He remembered them well. He said the starters were dubbed "The Mighty Five" because they played the biggest part of the minutes. Incidentally, Gale Kaundart, long-time Northside H.S. and Westark College coach, was one of the starters. Their center, Bob Barolin, was 6-7, which was very tall for that time. Ozarks had a pharmacy program especially designed for WWII vets, and there were quite a lot of them on campus those years.

In 48-49, three of the five were All-AIC and the other two were honorable mention. Ozarks went 20-6 that season and (I think) won the conference title. That year really stuck out in my Dad's mind, and after looking at their record book, I can see why. Since 1983-84, Ozarks has had 15 seasons over .500, so they have had a fairly successful program. However, before that, from '47-'48 through '82-'83, that had been one of only two winning seasons in Ozarks history (they were also 14-11 in 49-50). They had suffered through 1-15 in 54-55, 0-12 in 56-57, 1-21 in 69-70, and 2-25 in 73-74. So, it is easy to see why that one big season stuck out in his mind so vividly. Dad's short-term memory has slipped a little, and old memories have become more important to him as is often the case. Obviously, the 1948-49 season was one of his good memories.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Here Is My Heart

HERE IS MY HEART. Pam and I watched this early Bing Crosby movie last night. 1934 vintage. The plot was not all that great, but Bing had some nice songs, and it was very interesting from a historical perspective to see him in the beginning of his career. His voice was somewhat higher in timbre than it was in later years.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Lord Bagot

Sir William Bagot, 4th Baron Bagot of Bagot's Bromley

I love it! Who makes up these names, anyway?
Flame of Araby. Pam, Joshua and I watched this last night. Save your time and money. It was awful. Unless you like to watch horses run. There were some pretty nice horse race scenes.