Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year Odds and Ends

As 2016 comes to a close, it has certainly been an interesting year. One year ends and another begins. I hope 2017 will be a better year and I hope I have the time to make more entries here. My current job takes up the vast majority of my time, but sooner or later, that will change.

A year ago, I figured Second Chance would have been published by now. Little did I know that my sixth book, Justice, will end up being my fifth published book. Justice is still in the editing process, but it's looking much better. After this post, I'm making the time to get some significant work done on it.

Since I haven't made a post since July, let's get down to business.

Congrats to the 59-103 Minnesota Twins. You are the 2016 MLB Kings of the Cellar. Even though you ended the year on a two game winning streak, you dominated the runner-up 68-94 Cincinnati Reds by nine games!

This week's NFL Kings of the Cellar, the 1-14 Cleveland Browns, are one loss away from the winning the beer in the NFL cellar. They face a playoff bound Pittsburgh Steelers team on the road, so their title is all but earned. Their only competition, the 2-13 San Francisco 49ers, will host the Seattle Seahawks. The title will go to who wants the beer more.

Now for some trivia. On December 22, 1979, the LSU Tigers faced off against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the Tangerine Bowl (now the Citrus Bowl). LSU won easily, 34-10. Here's some trivia about the players in that game.

  • Wake Forest's head coach was John Mackovic. He had a 34-14 record there and went on to coach at Illinois (1988-91), Texas (1992-97), and Arizona (2001-03). His record was 95-82-3. 
  • Mackovic was also a QB for the team from 1962-64. As QB, he threw 6 TD's and 26 INTs. This was his only bowl appearance with the Demon Deacons.
  • Wake Forest WR Kenny Duckett was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1982 Draft.  He played for the Saints from 1982-85 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1985. Over his career, he caught 36 passes for 503 yards and 4 TD's.
  • The was LSU head coach Charlie McClendon's last season with the Tigers. He coached the team for 18 seasons with a 137-59-7 record. His bowl record was 7-6.
  • LSU QB David Woodley went on to get drafted in the 8th round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. He played for Miami from 1980-83, including an appearance in Super Bowl XVII, and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1983-85. Over his career, he passed for 8,558 yards 48 TD's and 63 INT's.
  • LSU RB Hokie Gajan went on to get drafted in the 10th round of the 1981 Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played for the team until 1985, when a knee injury ended his playing career. Over his career, he rushed 252 - 1358 yds and 11 TD's, for a Saints record of 5.4 yards per carry. He also caught 63 passes for 515 yards and 2 TD's. He went on to be a scout for the team and later, the color analyst for WWL radio. He passed away in 2016.
  • LSU RB Carlos Carson was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 5th round the the 1980 Draft. He played from 1980-89 with the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles (1989). He played WR and caught 353 passes for 6,372 yards and 33 TD's.
  • LSU WR Tracy Porter was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 4th round of the 1981 Draft. He played for the Lions (1981-82) and the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts (1983-84). He caught 79 passes for 1,161 yards and 3 TD's.
  • LSU WR Orlando McDaniel was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1982 Draft by the Denver Broncos. This was his only season in the NFL. He played in 3 games, with no statistics.
  • LSU TE Greg LaFleur went on to get drafted in the 3rd round of the 1981 Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he never played for the team. Instead, he played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1981-86) and the Indianapolis Colts (1986). He caught 64 passes for 729 yards and 3 TD's.
  • LSU TE Malcolm Scott was drafted by the New York Giants in the 5th round of the 1983 Draft. This was his only year with the team. He played again during the 1987 players' strike with the Saints. Over his brief career, he caught 23 passes for 241 yards and no TD's.
  • LSU DB Willie Teal went on the play for the Minnesota Vikings from 1980-86 and the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987.
  • LSU DB Chris Williams went on to play for the Buffalo Bills from 1981-83.

    Here is a link to the video of the 1979 Tangerine Bowl on YouTube. Enjoy.

    Have a great day and Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Last Place Update - July 26

Hey everybody! Hope your summer has gone well. Mine has been great, except for one thing that must be noted here shortly. Since my last post, I had the privilege of performing with the Phantom Regiment Alumni Corps a couple of weeks ago. I got to perform with people ranging from the founding members from 1956, to people I looked up to when I first got involved in the drum and bugle corps activity, to people I marched with long ago, to members of the 1996 and 2008 DCI champion corps, to recent ageouts. It was a great experience. SUTA!!!!

Now to the exception.

My 33-66 Atlanta Braves are Kings of the Cellar right now. They are 2-8 since the All-Star break, losers of the their last five. At least the 1899 Cleveland Spiders' record is safe for another year. The 1962 New York Mets were 25-74 after 99 games, so the Braves are 8 games ahead of their pace.

The 37-61 Minnesota Twins are 4.5 games back. The Twins have done a little winning, going 5-5 in their last ten games. Also standing outside the cellar door are the 38-60 Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who are 5.5 games back. They are 4-6 in their last ten games, losers of their last three.

Today's honorable mention goes to the 58-41 San Francisco Giants. The NL West leaders are 2-8 in their last ten games, losing their last two. That's what bad relief pitching gets you. Before the All-Star break, they enjoyed  a 7-2 record dating back to June 30. Will Frisco improve or implode?

Today my Braves play the Twins for a battle of mediocrity. Atlanta leads the series 10-9, which includes the 1991 World Series. The Braves have a five game winning streak against Minnesota dating back to June 12, 2010. They first met in the World Series, when the Twins won 4 games to 3. They went to extra innings five times, three of those in the World Series, including Game 7. Their last extra innings game was in 2013, when Atlanta won 5-4.

Will Atlanta take the beer in the Cellar? Will the Twins take this series and break my Braves' win streak against them? Will the Devil Rays surprise everybody and kick down the Cellar door?

Bring on the games!

Have a great day!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Catching Up

Hope your summer is going well. You'd figure with school being out, there would be more time to write a blog entry or two, but that's not the case. Here are some comments.

  • Congrats to the 10-72 Philadelphia 76ers. They are the 2016 NBA Kings of the Cellar and missed tying their NBA record of futility from 1973 by one game.
  • Speaking of the 76ers, they're set to draft LSU's Ben Simmons with the first pick in the NBA Draft. Will picking Simmons add to the streak of good first picks?
  • Congrats to the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. It's a major accomplishment to win a championship and an even bigger one to win one over a Golden State Warrior team that won 73 games.
  • The 23-48 Minnesota Twins are today's MLB Kings of the Cellar. My 24-47 Atlanta Braves are a game back, because the Twins are on a 3 game winning streak.
  • Today's honorable mention goes to the 31-39 Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who are on a 7 game losing streak. They edged the 43-30 Washington Nationals for the mention, who are on a 5 game losing streak.
  • Now on to some writing news: I added a prologue to The Curse. It fits with how the story works and improves the way it starts.
  • My final beta reader is almost done with Second Chance. I hope to have it published this summer.
  • Once Second Chance is done, the next book to be published has the working title Justice. According to my ideal reader, this is the best story I've written so far. This is the first book in a series. I already started a sequel and even set up a story that could take place just before the sequel. This pre-sequel story takes place in a fictional town in Louisiana.
  • Speaking of stories started but not finished, there are at least two. My November 2014 NaNoWriMo effort, Return To Origin, is still unfinished. That's what I've been working on this month. This is the first story I've written that has a cover completed before the first draft. The other first draft started but not finished is the sequel to The Curse.
  • Finally and most importantly, thank you all for your support and thanks to those who bought my books!! You are greatly appreciated!!!

    Have a great day!!!

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Few Comments and a Classic Game

Almost two months have passed since my last post and I apologize for that. I teach underprivileged children and the prep work and grading are far more time consuming than anticipated. However, there are times, such as today, when I have some time to write or post something, so here are some quick comments:

  • I'm already regretting not filling out my brackets for the NCAA Tournament, even though none of them would have been perfect. This is one of the better tournaments.
  • The 9-63 Philadelphia 76ers are the NBA Kings of the Cellar and have all but locked the door to the beer. If they lose out, the 76ers will tie their own record of futility at 9-73.
  • This year will be the 35th anniversary of the Louisiana Southernaires Drum and Bugle Corps' winning the 1981 Drum Corps International Class A Championship. The Southernaires are the only drum and bugle corps from Louisiana to have ever won a Drum Corps International World Championship at any level.
  • Sooner or later, I'll publish my 5th book, Second Chance. The story has no relation to the TV series. Besides, I came up with the title first in 2010. I'm waiting on my last beta reader to finish. The story is about a middle-aged man who lives in the past and would give anything if he could go back to his youth and fix the biggest mistake of his life. He gets his second chance, but will he succeed?
  • I've been watching (off and on) the NFL Network's Path to the Draft. I used to be more into this series, but since the NFL Draft is one big crapshoot anyway, none of the prognostication matters. It's pure entertainment.
  • Speaking of football, I posted a YouTube video of an old New Orleans Saints game from 1977 on Facebook a while back, but when I talked to people about it, they said it never showed in their news feeds. I wanted to show younger people how good of a quarterback Archie Manning was, that he was better than both of his sons (Peyton and Eli have admitted this). In this game against the Dirty Birds, Archie was coming off an ankle injury that had not yet healed (which affected his speed) and he still shined. More on this in a bit.
  • Back to March Madness. Kansas and Villanova have punched their tickets to the Final Four. Congrats to both teams. I'll predict that North Carolina and Wisconsin will make it in. Then the top two will be Kansas and North Carolina, with Kansas winning it all. Since it's one big crapshoot at this point anyway, let's see what happens.
Okay, let's see some historic football. This past season, New Orleans Saints fans have complained how bad the defense was and that the team isn't so good anymore. Here's a game from Week 10 in November of 1977. It's the Saints against the hated Atlanta Falcons. I do kind of miss the old Saints uniforms from that era. This is what Saints fans of old had to deal with, even though this was actually a very good game between the two teams. Gary Bender is the announcer and NFL HOFer Johnny Unitas is the color analyst in this game. Also, check out the commercials from then. You might recognize a few then unknown faces.  It's now time to click Publish and enhance my editing skills.

Enjoy the game and have a great Easter weekend!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

2015 NFL Kings of the Cellar

Wow, start a new job and it takes up most of your time. I apologize for the delay.

Well, it appears once again that the 3-13 Cleveland Browns snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by losing the first pick in the draft. Close, but no cigar.  They will have to watch while another team enjoys the beer in the cellar.

Congrats to the 3-13 Tennessee Titans! They are the 2015 NFL Kings of the Cellar and winners of the coveted first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Their four game losing streak and loss to the Browns in Week 2 sealed the Cellar door and the win.

There are a few honorable mentions this year. The first one goes to the Dirty Birds themselves, the 8-8 Atlanta Falcons. They started 5-0 and forgot how to play winning football, finishing the season at 3-8. The second one goes to 4-12 Dallas Cowboys for their collapse when Tony Romo went down. Finally, the last honorable mention goes to the New Orleans Saints defense, especially CB Brandon Browner, who was the most penalized player in the league and whose penalties at key points during the season cost the 7-9 Saints at least three wins.

As much fun as we have with the updates, it's important to remember that the Last Place Updates are a tongue-in-cheek look at teams with the worst records in the featured sports on this blog. However, only a tiny percent of the population is good enough to even be a professional athlete. It's also important to remember and appreciate that it takes that special kind of athlete to earn the privilege to play for a professional sports team, whether it's for only a few games or a long Hall of Fame career. The rest of us can only dream of the life these people live, regardless of how good or bad their team is.

Congrats to the NFL for a good season!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Last Place Update - December 24

Merry Christmas everybody! It appears the 4-10 San Diego Chargers wanted something other than the beer in the Cellar when they beat the 5-9 Miami Dolphins. Henceforth (at least this week), this week's Kings of the Cellar are the 3-11 Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns. Why? As the great John Blutarski once said, "Why not?" The Titans have only one division and home win and Cleveland is...well,...just Cleveland.

Move over Dirty Birds. You're out as this week's honorable mention. That distinction now goes to the 6-8 Indianapolis Colts. Why? Because they're sporting a three game losing streak after sporting a three game winning streak after sporting a three game losing streak, while sporting...well, you get the picture. What's worse, they scored over 30 points only once this season and that was in week 3. This week, Indy visits the Miami Dolphins. Will this begin another win streak?

Next losses...

Tennessee hosts the division rival 7-7 Houston Texans. The Titans lead the series 15-12, but are 5-10 against Houston since 2008. Indy hasn't swept a season series against the Titans since 2007 and it won't happen this year either. They first met in 2002, when the Titans won 17-10. They never played against each other in the postseason, but did go to overtime twice. That series is tied 1-1. The last OT have happened in 2013 when the Texans won 30-24. There is only one shutout in the series. In 2010, Tennessee got blanked 20-0.

Cleveland will invade Arrowhead Stadium to take on the 9-5 Kansas City Chiefs. The series is tied 11-11-2. They first met after the NFL/AFL merger in 1971, when Len Dawson and the Chiefs won 13-7. They never met in the postseason, but went to overtime twice. The Chiefs won the last one in 2006, 31-28, but their first overtime game ended in a 10-10 tie in 1989, which was their last tie. Again, there is only one shutout in the series, After the 1989 tie, Kansas City spanked Cleveland in 1990, 34-0.

Here are a few historical scores for teams playing each other this week, on December 24,

2006  Carolina 10 - Atlanta 3
2006  Baltimore 31 - Pittsburgh 7
2006  Denver 24 - Cincinnati 23

On a different note, my ebook, Rickshaw, New Mexico will be free for the Kindle through Christmas weekend. If you haven't already, click the link, download your copy, and tell a friend.

Now to the burning questions of the week.

Will Tennessee wrest control of the Cellar from Cleveland? Will Cleveland win another game? Will Indy break the streaks of 3 and hold on to the honorable mention?

Stay tuned.

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Last Place Update - December 16

So much for the crowd thinning out. Once again, there's a three-way tie and this week, the 3-10 San Diego Chargers are Kings of the Cellar. It's true that the 3-10 Cleveland Browns and 3-10 Tennessee Titans deserve a seat in the Cellar, but the Chargers earned the title this week, because they have no division wins. That and they're 1-8 since October 4. Had the Browns lost last week, they would be in sole possession of last place. Oh well.

Okay Dirty Birds, break time's over. That's right. The 6-7 Atlanta Falcons rose up and are once again this week's honorable mention. They snatched the mention from the 8-5 Minnesota Vikings by getting shut out 38-0 by the 13-0 Carolina Panthers, Carolina's first ever shutout victory over the Dirty Birds. It's the first time Atlanta has been shut out since 2004, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers spanked them 27-0. The last time Atlanta was shut out 38-0 was in 1987 by HOFer Rickey Jackson, HOF nominee Sam Mills (who should be in the Hall of Fame) and the New Orleans Saints.

Next loss...

The San Diego Chargers will host the 5-8 Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Miami leads the series 16-14 and are 2-9 against the Dolphins since 1995. They first met in 1966, back in the AFL, when the Chargers spanked Miami 44-10. Every postseason game these two teams played in was in the divisional round. Their last playoff game was in the 1994 season, when San Diego won 22-21 and went on to lose Super Bowl XXIX. That series is tied 2-2. They went to overtime three times and the Chargers won every one. They last time the two teams went to overtime was in 1984, a 34-28 Chargers win. The last time Miami shut out San Diego was 37-0 in 2014. The last time San Diego shut out Miami was 24-0 in 1967.

Here are some historical scores for games being played this week, from December 16,

1962  St. Louis Cardinals 45 - Philadelphia 35
1978  Pittsburgh 21 - Denver 7
2002  Tennessee 24 - New England 7
2012  Houston 29 - Indianapolis 17

Will San Diego hold on to their place in the Cellar? Will Atlanta rise up and lose the rest of their games? Will Cleveland even score against Seattle?

Stay tuned.

Have a great day!!!