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Free Samples of a Sleep-Deprived Brain

…or what happens when family meets work meets severe weather meets baseball…

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Emporia

Aftermath of a Football Road Trip

2015 STUDIO

I think it was 2:17 am when we pulled into Emporia State’s HPER parking lot this morning. Fitting, because I think I had 217 seat adjustments from when we left Joplin, Mo., following the Hornets’ 38-20 win over Missouri Southern, back to the Flint Hills.

Honestly, as much as I was looking forward to watching ESU open the football season (and, hopefully, have a much better season than what I witnessed last year), I was dreading the impact Friday. The Day After. We had left around 1:30 pm to make sure we got to Joplin in way more than enough time to get set up, test the equipment, get interviews if we wanted to and settle into the broadcast instead of scrambling into it — and trust me, there is a difference in the finished product if you’re scrambling. Leaving when we did also gave me another rather large window to plan how I’d attack Friday’s schedule.

The plan: Get in around 2:30. Skip sleep (because I knew I’d snooze right through every alarm known to man outside of a tornado siren directly in my ear). Shower and be back out the door by 3 am. Write up my morning’s self-assignments by 9 am. Hope the Morning Show doesn’t sound like Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech.

Oh yeah — Record midday, plop stuff on the website and be unconscious by 10 am. Sleep until I wake up or when Ginny comes home, whichever comes first.

Well, it’s 2:20 am and I can already tell I’m going to be off schedule and not in a good way. I’ll leave it to your imagination what happened. Anyways, by the time I’ve gotten showered, let the dog out and given hugs, it’s 3:10 am. Ten minutes is an eternity in broadcasting, but I’m still in pretty good shape.

Writing goes up to just shy of 5 am before I take a break for caffeine. I’m at the same time impressed and a bit worried, thinking I’ve waited too long to start gulping down the Coke. At least short-term, that worry turns out to be unfounded. I’m still conscious and alert (something you hear on the scanner all the time) — right up until I take a quick break to pause. That’s when nice, peaceful darkness lurks until I snap back to the land of the conscious.

Surprisingly, the Morning Show goes fairly well. I don’t stumble much more than normal during the newscasts and my train of thought doesn’t derail in spectacular fashion. By 9 am, though, I can tell the three cans of Coke just ain’t cutting it.

coke tower

I still have one more story to write, another to update with sound, two calls to make on a weekend story and the web to update. And the yawns have started. In fact, they can’t stop. I’m actually thinking I could fall asleep sitting bolt upright…or get whiplash if I lean back…thinking….skngxxxxxxxx…

I’m resigning myself to the fact I’ll have to adjust my schedule. And I’m needing something — anything — to get my motivation back to where it was six hours earlier.

What’s In Outdoors ends and I have to walk up and down the hall a few times, doing some strategic air drumming in the process to get the blood going and caffeine redistributed.

9:30 am: Ron comes back and orders Greg and I to find some time to take a nap. No problem there. So long as I get these stories done and posted.

10:10 am: Stories written but putting one thought in front of the other is now getting reeeeeally hard. Listening to Pat Metheny, while relaxing, isn’t helping.

10:20 am: Change of music will have to happen. Time for Dire Straits’ Alchemy. Maybe that will help.

10:25 am: The more air drumming I do, the less work I do. Grrrr.

10:35: Singing helps to keep me awake — and I can type at the same time. I can hear Greg and AJ getting annoyed.

11 am: Web almost done. But I’m missing one picture I wanted for the front — because I blitzed that out two weeks ago. Lengthy bleep.

11:02 am: Now realizing I have ingested enough caffeine to likely keep me awake the rest of the afternoon. Looooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggg bleeeeep.

11:20: Time to resume recording. So much for 10 am. Now the goal is noon. And I have 18 minutes of news loaded for the midday AM cast. And I’m leaving stuff out. Cannot remember what I was doing 10 seconds ago.

11:27: Almost said “partly chucky” in the headlines forecast. If you want to know what partly chucky is, don’t ask. I have no idea. Apparently I’m not totally chucky today, though.

11:28: Puberty returns. That was weird.

11:34: In an effort to maintain a clean working space, AJ starts to dismantle my Coke tower. Said tower falls apart. Chuck’s rendition of Dr. Giggles (hey, we all have one) breaks out.

11:50: Final check of recorded material. Brain alternately hyper and crashy. Saved midday ag report to the wrong cart, but otherwise everything is clear.

11:55 am: Scanner….nooooo….OK. Patient transfer. We’re good.

So I’m out around noon. A busier day than I thought and, frankly, hoped, but there was some worthy news this morning. Accessibility concerns, blue-green algae impact, United Way starting its general fundraising drive and other stories. All told, seven stories today — including two rather hefty pieces — with three of those needing updates as the morning progressed.

Another #bya #sggd day. Now it’s time for pizza and nap..and to tear down this Coke tower. Chat with you guys again when its #darkandearly tomorrow.

2015 ESU MSSU

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Game preview: Emporia State at Missouri Southern

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Game 1: Emporia State at Missouri Southern
Time: 7 pm Thursday, Fred G. Hughes Stadium
Coverage: 6 pm, Mix 104.9 FM and Mix 104.9-TV on KVOE.com

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s go time. Time for football season, and another pivotal season for the Emporia State Hornets.

The 2015 season begins with a battle of the known versus the unknown as ESU travels to Joplin, Mo., to take on Missouri Southern. Emporia State has the stability in the coaching staff and quarterback, while Missouri Southern is all new. New head coach, new staff, new quarterback, new schemes both offensively and defensively.

There are some knowns for the Lions. Head coach Denver Johnson had decent success at FCS schools Illinois State and Murray State before a dismal 2-10 record and spiraling attendance at the end of the 2014 campaign spelled the end of the Johnson era at Tulsa. Defensive coordinator Kenny Evans, who had decent success at Northeastern State as a head coach, may have done better as Southern’s defensive coordinator from 1989 to 1997.

The questions for the Lions, though, are legion, including how the coaching staff melds together, how the offense adjusts to a spread formation with a former quarterback-turned-running back as quarterback and how the defense does with a 4-2-5 setup.

Things to listen to Thursday night:

Can the Emporia State offensive line keep Brent Wilson upright? Wilson got through most of the magical playoff run in 2013 clean before suffering a broken collarbone. No offense to Wilson’s replacement, but the Hornets’ playoff chances died on the spot. The Hornets were already scuffling when Wilson’s collarbone snapped again during the Northeastern State victory last year, and the team looked lost, disillusioned and frankly uncaring afterward. ESU should have a dynamic offense with a stacked receiver corps and a solid stable of running backs, but none of that matters if No. 15 is flat repeatedly or on the shelf again. If, however, Wilson has time to survey the field, look out. Kavaski Ervin, Mitchell Foote and Justin Brown should all have really good years, and one of them should have a big game Thursday night if Wilson is kept clean.

Does Emporia State’s glass jaw from 2014 extend to 2015? Last year, if the Hornets got hit in the mouth or had a case of the dropsies, you could guarantee a snowball effect. Guarantee it. And if it happened in the first half, there was no hope of a comeback. The only exception was the Nebraska-Kearney season closer, when the Hornets roared back from a 28-point deficit and overcame several miscues to lose by two (no second-half miscues, no loss, but that’s beside the point here). The hope is that loss to the Lopers, which saw the emotional emergence of Eddie Vinson as a team leader, reestablished the fight the Hornets have been known for the prior two seasons.

Can ESU’s defense harass Missouri Southern’s new quarterback? ESU fared poorly defensively last year, and that’s one of the bigger understatements of MIAA football from 2014: last in total defense, 10th in scoring defense, last in pass defense, 10th in third-down conversions against and dead last in sacks (32 behind No. 11 on the list). In general, the Hornets have to get after the quarterback better this year, and there’s no time like the present. Southern QB Ty’Quan Hayes has a feel for the offense, according to Johnson, but he was a reserve running back and return man last year — throwing all of one pass in the process. Hayes was an accomplished quarterback in high school, but rust can be expected. With the right attack, the Hornets should take advantage of this.

Final score: ESU 31, Missouri Southern 21

10 Musical Acts I’d Love to See at the Granada Theatre

granada

Emporia’s Granada Theatre is starting to make a name for itself as quite the concert venue.

Modern country has been the calling card ever since Director Bryan Williams started bringing concerts to the venue a couple years ago, but classic rock is now establishing a foothold with the sold-out Guess Who concert a few weeks back and Kansas selling out within oh, say, minutes when that Oct. 1 concert was announced this past spring.

So with that in mind…and with no prior discussions with Williams…here are some of the bands I’d love to see at the Granada (in no particular order).

Candlebox

candlebox

The Seattle grunge rockers burst onto the scene with the angry “You” and wistful “Far Behind” off their self-titled 1993 debut and have been producing solid music since. They have enough hits just off their first CD to bring a lot of people to the theater.

Chances of a sellout: Decent.

Song I have to hear: “He Calls Home”

Collective Soul

collective soul

Simply put, one of the most musically versatile rock groups out there. They would be a treat in concert and shouldn’t have a problem selling out if they were booked.

Sellout chances: Strong

Song I have to hear: “The World I Know”

Indigenous

indigenous

If you like Texas blues and haven’t heard of Indigenous over the past 15 years, your address is a rock. If you are into any other music genre and haven’t been introduced, you’re missing out. Mato Nanji, the lead guitarist and vocalist, is worth the price of admission all by himself.

Sellout chances: Poor

Song I have to hear: “Awake”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

kws

On the other side of the current blues recognition spectrum is Kenny Wayne Shepherd. If “Deja Voodoo” didn’t put him on the map, “Blue On Black” did — and he’s stayed a fixture of rock music playlists since the late 1990s.

Sellout chances: Fair

Song I have to hear: “King Bee”

Eric Johnson

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I wish Eric Johnson produced more music. His first two albums, Tones and Ah Via Musicom, were stellar mixtures of blues and rock, and Venus Isle was pretty good in its own right.

Sellout chances: Poor.

Song I have to hear: “High Landrons”

The Rippingtons

ripps

One of the most recognizable fusion jazz bands of the past 30 years. However, this would be a stretch for the Granada, which would be taking a huge financial risk bringing the Jazz Cats to town.

Sellout chances: Poor

Song I have to hear: “Destiny”

Mark Knopfler

mk

The frontman for Dire Straits. Regardless of whether you like Knopfler’s music direction since Straits disbanded, and honestly I’m not that much of a fan, I’d still love to see him in concert and I’m guessing I’m not alone.

Sellout chances: Good

Song I have to hear: “Telegraph Road”

Mr. Mister frontman Richard Page

richard page

Page has been the most active of the Mr. Mister alums since the band disbanded, and I love his music since he went solo. I’m also an unabashed Mr. Mister fan, especially of Welcome to the Real World and Go On. Having said that, he has virtually no name recognition anymore.

Sellout chances: Not a chance

Song I have to hear: “Into My Own Hands”

Living Colour

living colour

The band disappeared from radio playlists after Vivid and “Cult of Personality,” but it’s still pumping out its mesh of rock, funk and blues. Should be a fiery show.

Sellout chances: Fair

Song I have to hear: “What’s Your Favorite Color?”

Bad Company

badco

Boy, if Bryan could get them…

Sellout chances: Guaranteed

Song I have to hear: “Bad Company”

Who would you like to see at the Granada? Let me know. Heck. Let the Granada staff know at 342-3342.

You’re welcome.

Stingers Up as Austin Willis Latches On With Raiders

austin images

Helmets off to Austin Willis, the former Emporia State wideout who is on an NFL team. How good does it feel to say that?

Willis, who scampered by defensive backs routinely for touchdowns and big plays the final three years of his career at ESU, was offered a deal by the Oakland Raiders over the weekend. Sub-4.4 speed helped to gain the Riders coaching staff’s attention, but Willis also must have demonstrated an acuity for picking up on things quickly for them to maintain interest.

After spot duty on special teams his freshman year, Willis gradually added playing time and by his junior year he couldn’t be rooted out of the starting lineup, catching 10 touchdown passes as a junior and accumulating over 2,000 receiving yards in his career.

Numbers like that would get instant notice if Willis was in a Division I Power 5 conference. Even though Willis played in the toughest football conference in Division II, his name wasn’t mentioned all that much — if at all — leading up to the NFL Draft.

Such is life if you play football in any other level than D-I.

On KVOE’s Morning Show earlier this week, Ron Thomas made a great point in that technology now has made it much easier for scouts to unearth talent. I wouldn’t go so far as to say things are tilting in favor of D-II athletes, however. Even with the stated goal of trying to find talent everywhere, there is a reason NFL rosters are so heavily stacked with D-1 players. It’s the best college competition and players have proven themselves at what is basically a minor league football level. So it makes sense to keep the attention on D-1, often — and unfortunately — at the expense of D-II players or other levels who just need a chance to show they can measure up.

Willis got his chance. And he measured up.

Besides being a big win for Willis, this is also a major recruiting coup for ESU. The Hornets now have had several players get more than a cursory look by NFL teams since Garin Higgins became coach, like Chris Poston and Adam Schiltz, who has been with Tennessee TItans’  and the Kansas City Chiefs’ practice squad during his career. It’s not being part of the 45-man roster, but at least the dream is still viable without going to Canada or Europe to play. If Willis can stick with the Raiders, Emporia State stands to benefit as impressionable teenagers look for a place to play college football.

Can Willis capture some of the magic that kept Rod Smith of Missouri Southern as one of the NFL’s elite receivers and that’s propelling John Brown, a Pittsburg State wideout, to stardom? Perhaps. There’s nothing he can do about his size, so he will have to be a precise route-runner, possess soft hands and a spongy brain, and make himself versatile — likely special teams — to make it hard for the Raiders to cut ties. Austin Willis has made it this far because of those qualities, and a door has opened as a result. He’s poised to walk through to stardom if everything works out in his favor.


Schiltz Comes Home…Or Close Enough for Us Hornet Fans

esuhelmetThis weekend, the Kansas City Chiefs gave Emporia State University Hornet football fans yet another reason to pay attention to training camp by bringing in former Hornet standout Adam Schiltz.

KC claimed Schiltz off waivers from Tennessee, who had the former ESU tight end on its practice squad for most of the 2013 season.

For the Chiefs, it’s a move that makes sense because they just lost Sean McGrath to retirement, and there have been questions about the position. Anthony Fasano returns, but after that there is really no name-brand, dependable option, Demetrius Harris is big at 6-7, but he’s probably more raw at the position than Schiltz. Travis Kelce appears to be Fasano’s main backup, so Schiltz has a fair amount of competition for that third TE spot.

For Schiltz, it’s a second chance to latch on to an NFL team. Schiltz became a go-to guy as Emporia State’s offense became more wide open his junior and senior season, catching 44 balls for over 500 yards and four scores as the Hornets won the Kanza Bowl. Schiltz’s size won’t overwhelm anybody — 6-foot-3, 245 pounds — but he could always get space in third-down situations and his body positioning was always solid if coverage was tight. He also developed into a good blocker as his career progressed.

Schiltz became an integral part of Emporia State’s offense, and with the Chiefs’ tight end position in flux, he has a chance to become a third-down specialist and then expand his role from there.  Tight ends didn’t catch a lot of balls from QB Alex Smith last year (less than 60 catches combined out of almost 550 passes thrown), but the role the Chiefs’ short passing game had in the team’s overall offense was well-documented, even as the team got more accustomed to Andy Reid’s offense and used a more vertical approach in the back half of the season.

Schiltz seems to be a good fit. Now he has to distinguish himself in a relatively crowded field.

Red

Recently, JT Crawford asked me to play bass with him and Jane McCoy for the Flint Hills Beef Fest BBQ contest concert Aug. 22.

So we’re just under a month away from “Barracuda” and “Tennessee Flat Top Box.” From Loverboy to Johnny Cash, the Pretenders to Garth Brooks, we’ll likely have it covered.

Not having touched my bass since the last time we got together, the 2013 Smoke in the Spring barbecue event in Osage City, I was a bit hesitant to agree…only for the simple reason I haven’t had much time or inclination to dedicate to what once had been an integral part of my life.

bass 4

***

I first met Red at Paragon Music in Lincoln, Neb, back in the late 1990s.

I had started teaching myself bass guitar a few years earlier after what can only be called a failed flirtation with guitar during a failed attempt at college in Tucson, Ariz. I don’t even remember how I became acquainted with the black three-quarter model I officially started out with, or how I came in contact with the Peavey 5-string that followed. I do remember the 5-string, Thumper, was a ton of fun, either hanging out for a solo creative session or at parties.

However, I made a slight miscalculation that ended our relationship. As in not studying how to properly tune said 5-string.

Inattentiveness to details such as that is bad. Very bad. It leads to bad breakups…or, in this case, a neck so warped it’s impossible to fix. I could have done some repairs, or had somebody else do them for me), but I decided against for some long-forgotten reason. I think a large part of that was I was just looking for something else, something more basic.

So, with Thumper effectively out of the picture, and with me totally hooked on the instrument (thank you, Geddy Lee, John Illsley, Kim Stone, Roscoe Beck, Marcus Miller, Brian Bromberg, John Pattitucci, Flea, Muzz Skillings, Bardi Martin, John Entwistle, Chris Squire, Jeff Ament, Gabe Nelson, Steve Kilbey, Peter Hook and others) I was looking for something long-term right away. There were a lot of flashier (and more expensive) models to dazzle the eye and the fingers. All sorts of brands were available in all colors and finishes.

It was a rather mind-numbing choice to make. And, no, I didn’t have any mind-numbing ingredients in my body when I stopped there.

Given my budget, I had to eliminate most of the store’s selection…and hope one of the less pricey models was the one.  I didn’t really have any set criteria when I visited Paragon that summer afternoon other than my new musical partner had to feel right. It had to fee comfortable when it was draped around my neck. My fingers had to slide quickly up and down the neck.  The instrument had to hold its tune — something I had struggled with (through a lot of fault of my own) with my previous two basses.

Somehow, some way, Red did. I picked up Red for the first time, plunked a few runs — and I knew. Right then and there.

bass 3

***

Red, in case you’re wondering, is an Ibanez TR series 4-string. Twenty-two frets, two pickups, bass and volume knobs. All in all, pretty simple. There were apparently several in the series, and at this point I have no idea if I have a TR 50 or a TR 200 — although judging from a 1995 catalog, it looks like I have the TRB 50. If that’s the case, Red has a light American maple body, maple neck, Powersound pickup setup and standard four-string bridge. Oh, yes — don’t forget the Ibanez All Access neck joint. Again, nothing to make you jump up and say “wow.”

Sometimes, though, you don’t need the “wow” factor to develop something special.

bass

***

Red became more than my bass, and it didn’t take long for that to happen. With me trying to get a Catholic rock band started, and with me writing lyrics for several years beforehand, Red became more and more of a partner as I conceptualized bass lines, guitar and drum parts to go with the words. We were pretty much inseparable after a short time, and we spent a lot of long hours together.  I’d take Red out with me to work some days, over to the church on others to work on some licks. Red would stay up well past 2 am some nights me as I’d hammer out some song details or rock out a jam session with some of my friends.

Soon, Red wasn’t just my music partner. Red also became my dream partner. Music had been part of my life since my dad let me play his cornet back in fifth grade. Even as I slid down the scale from there (thick lips=no range=instrument change) to euphonium, trombone and eventually tuba in high school, I’ve always loved not only listening to music but playing — and performing. I don’t remember when my dream developed of having a rock band, but it’s always been burning for as long as I can remember. Getting a chance to play “as part of a band,” even with all of two performances (a one-song gig at a church and a youth conference), was pretty heady stuff.

Red assisted me in how I wanted my music to sound (what I can describe, at least in my head, as a mix of Rush, early Dire Straits, Candlebox, the Rippingtons without a saxophone and The Church), and although I never purchased any music software to flesh out ideas that sound is still where I want to go if I have the good fortune to do so. Red also helped me unlock my inner performer, although it took a move to Kansas and a shift in music genre philosophy for that to happen. I have never been the cleanest bass player — far from it, actually, and the more amped up I get the messier I get. But as I got more practice in front of people, the mistakes smoothed out and I didn’t let them affect me for long stretches like I did when I started. On top of that, especially as I transitioned from religious rock to more secular music later, I began realizing you can’t just stand there and play and expect people to want you back. You just can’t. You have to, well, “give them a show.”

Off the microphone or off the stage, I have no problem blending into the woodwork. Give me a stage and my bass, and something happens. Something changes. Automatically I’m trying to do what I can to keep the audience engaged, wanting more. I can’t play behind my head (tried that, didn’t work), but I’ve slid on floors, stood on tables, turned my back to the crowd and looked back through my mike at the group (people still laugh at me for that one), used my cell phone for the ballad lighter effect…all while playing what I can only describe as some active bass lines.

And Red saw it all. Was part of it all. Helped to nurture it all.

jam

***

When I moved to Emporia to become a news reporter with some sports duties, I figured I’d get to form a band at some point. Initially, though, it looked like Red and I would just hang out in my apartment. I was honestly working more to fit into the community than finding fellow musicians. Then two things happened: Crawford called me to play at Reading’s annual concert…but before that, I started dating my future wife.

I actually started dating Ginny as my time in my last praise band was ending. Things developed very quickly, and in barely four months we were engaged. The wedding didn’t take place for another year, but 11 months afterward we had welcomed our daughter, Isabella, to the world.

JT had heard me mention on air that I played bass a few months later, and he invited me to the school to play. Things went well between him and his friends, singer/guitarist Tammy Patterson and drummer Dan “Boogie” Wooge — well enough for us to loosely form a cover band, practice occasionally and look for gigs.

It took a while to develop some contacts, but that eventually happened and we did indeed get some gigs. Quite a few, actually. Osage City, Melvern, Burlingame, Topeka. Even played the Flint Hills Beef Fest main dance back-to-back years.

Life happened, though. I moved from news reporter to news director. JT, Tammy and Dan all had life-changing events of their own. And I started losing interest in playing, especially as I was poorly balancing my home life and sleep. So my personal jam times, which about a decade earlier would run in the hours, could be compressed into 10 minutes or less (usually less). Eventually, about two years ago, the jam times evaporated, with my bass guitar collecting dust on its stand.

Red sat. And waited.

Red’s still waiting.

bass 2

***

JT’s call came at a time when I finally was feeling the itch to start playing again, although unfortunately not feeling the itch enough to actually get the instrument out, find the practice amp and play. It took two weeks after JT’s invite before I finally took stock of my current relationship with my bass guitar.

Red’s a different color than Thumper, but Red’s now in similar shape to Thumper when I regretfully set it aside. Red’s been in its case for I don’t remember how long. The neck is dirty…and it’s warped.  It’s a different reason, but it’s the same sign of neglect that’s worrisome to me.

I’m not in the best of shape, either, and not just because I’m about 40 pounds overweight. My calluses are completely gone, and soft fingers make for painful bass work. Sliding my fingers up and down the neck, trying a few hammer-ons and trying desperately to remember some of the runs I’d conceptualized over the past 20 years, it still feels right to play.

Dealing with instruments is like dealing with friends. You can’t not interact with your instrument for months, in my case now 15 months, and expect you can pick up where you left off. That certainly hasn’t happened with me and Red. The timing’s currently off, the runs don’t come naturally anymore, my fingers are quite sore after the first couple minutes, the freewheel feel of piecing together the fretboard on the fly and creating a coherent but pretty fricking awesome run just isn’t there.

It will take some time to get reacquainted. Get comfortable again.

But it will happen. Over the past 15 months, I’ve rediscovered the need I’ve apparently always had to have some form of music creativity in my life. For that to happen, I need to be back with Red.

And the whole process will be worth it in the end.

When I Woke Up This Morning…I Knew That It Was Cold…

tauntaun

KVOE News reporter AJ Dome and I have been trading “It’s so cold” ideas this morning.

You would, too, if Alaska was warmer than Emporia, Kan.

I woke up this morning to an air temperature of -10. That slid to -13 before sunrise.

Wind chills? All the way down to -28.

Temperatures in central Alaska today: Topping out at 25.

It’s the coldest air we have had in several years. In fact, it’s the coldest on record for Emporia since the 1950s.

Lord knows where things would stand if the National Weather Service had some records for cold weather between 1980 and 1996, when I vividly remember 1983 (-15 air temperature, -72 WCI on Christmas Eve) and 1989 (-19 in mid-December).

There is nothing fun about this. With snow, you can slip and slide and throw and make snow angels and be a kid.

With the cold, all you do is shiver. Watch your nose turn blue or something. Feel the life drain out of you.

“Use the force, Luke.” “I can’t, Master Yoda. It’s frozen.”

At least we should be back in normal ranges for temperatures the next few days.

And, by the way, here is what we have come up with so far:

It’s so cold that…

1. Squirrels chewed through power lines to keep warm.
2. People are reconsidering their allegiances to Starbucks.
3. Penguins are comfortable wandering around town.
3a. Penguins are sticking their beaks on light poles to see what it’s like to get stuck.
4. Steak can freeze in under 10 minutes.
5. You can freeze an egg.
6. Metallica has announced they are playing their next concert here.
7. We have seen tauntauns. Honest.

First Takes and Second Helpings, December 2013

barry-hinson

Man. I can’t believe it has been months since I last posted anything. Well, yes, I can, but that’s for another post.

It has been a busy quarter-year. Locally, we’re looking for a new city manager, the college football team made the D-2 playoffs and the women’s basketball team is in the nation’s top three.

Nationally, the Affordable Care Act still gets raked over the coals, two members of Pussy Riot were released from prison and a basketball head coach made headlines for comments about size and snipers (in one of the best postgame rants of all time).

And now that I have your attention (in no particular order)…

OWH_logo1. Am I glad this isn’t 1983. The Omaha World-Herald just published a story on December 1983. Worst winter weather of my life. A week straight where the high temperature didn’t crack zero. Lows of -15 to -24, and that’s just the air temperature. Christmas Eve saw a high of -11 and an obscene wind chill of -72 (calculated differently than we do today, but still…). A foot-plus of snow already on the ground which didn’t start to melt until February. Not how you want to spend your Christmas break at any age, but especially as a teenager. 1989 was almost as bad. I took a flight from Tucson back home at the end of my first semester break at the University of Arizona. Temperature when I left: Around 60 degrees. Temperature when I got back home: -15.

2. Thank you, Barry Hinson. Wish we had more honest postgame news conferences such as his from a couple weeks ago.

3. It was hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year. Until the gifts opened up. Blame the shorter shopping season, blame Target’s credit card security breach, blame the busy schedule, blame whatever. However, watching everybody’s faces when they tore away the wrapping paper…it’s hard not to enjoy that.

catsstevens214. I’m still looking for a relatively new rock band I can gravitate towards. Not really feeling the shouty, wall of noise nature of rock today. And now I know how my parents feel when they listen to a lot of the rock that I like. Unnerving. On the flip side, I’m really wondering 1) why I didn’t get Rush’s Vapor Trails earlier and 2) why I got away from the fusion jazz that I used to really enjoy. And 3) how in the world Cat Stevens goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Nirvana and Kiss. And 4) what’s it going to take for me to actually want to play my bass again. Talk about unnerving. So that’s what happens when you’re followed by a moonshadow.

5. Returning to weather. The way this winter has gone — gradual warmups followed by sudden cold snaps — we’re setting up for an early severe weather outbreak. Just saying. It’s way, way too much like a spring weather pattern with colder temperatures for my liking.

elreno_tornado

That’s it from here. Back to you.

Game preview: Emporia State vs. Northeastern (Okla.) State

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ESU vs. Northeastern State
Game time: 1 pm, Welch Stadium
Coverage: Noon, Mix 104.9 FM and KVOE.com

Following its record-setting 54-38 shootout win over Central Oklahoma last weekend, Emporia State has entered the AFCA rankings for the first time at No. 24. Northeastern State, however, wasn’t close to the national ratings when Saturday began and fell further away from the rankings after a 48-3 loss to Washburn.

Based on trends and available personnel, this should be an easy win for the Black and Gold. Should be.

Keys to a win:

Running game. Hornet running game found some holes in the second half against Central Oklahoma, helping to blunt Central’s comeback efforts. Riverhawks were counting on running back Joel Rockmore to carry the offensive load, but he’s done for weeks after injuring his knee against Missouri Southern. Advantage: Hornets

Defense (clap clap) defense (clap clap). Last two games haven’t been stellar for ESU, but Central Oklahoma has the athletes to gash even the better defenses in the MIAA. Despite giving up nearly 50 points last weekend, NSU’s defense was a bright spot for the team after forcing five interceptions. Advantage: Hornets.

Tempo. Northeastern State has eight starters out for the year. If the Hornets can maintain an uptempo pace for most of the game, the second half could get real ugly for the visitors from Tahlequah. Advantage: Hornets.

Final score: ESU 55, Northeastern State 24

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