OMG! Hell Froze Over

For way too many years I told people that hell would freeze over before the Chicago Cubs will win a World Series. So, hell must be really cold right now. How long before the ice melts and everyone in hell gets back to the normal hotter than ever climate?

The Cubs also broke the Curse of the Billy Goat placed on them in the nineteen forties  by the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern when he was asked to remove his goat from Wrigley Field.

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It Is In the Air

FOOTBALL IS COMING SOON

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1. “Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble the football” – John Heisman

2. “I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game.” – Bear Bryant / Alabama

3. “It isn’t necessary to see a good tackle, you can hear it!” – Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

4. “At Georgia Southern, we don’t cheat. That costs money, and we don’t have any.” – Erik Russell / Georgia Southern

5. “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” – Lou Holtz / Arkansas – Notre Dame

6. “When you win, nothing hurts.” – Joe Namath / Alabama

7. “A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall.” – Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

8. “There’s nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” – Woody Hayes / Ohio State

9. “I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.” – Bob Devaney / Nebraska

10. “In Alabama , an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in Bear Bryant.”

– Wally Butts / Georgia

11. “I never graduated from Iowa. But I was only there for two terms – Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.” – Alex Karras / Iowa

12. “My advice to defensive players is to take the shortest route to the ball, and arrive in a bad humor.” – Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee

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13. “I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.” – Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

14. “Always remember Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David.” – Shug Jordan / Auburn

15. “I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn’t recruit me .” He said,”Well, Walt, we took a look at you, and you weren’t any good.” – Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State

16. “Son, you’ve got a good engine, but your hands aren’t on the steering wheel.” – Bobby Bowden / Florida State

17. “Football is NOT a contact sport, it is a collision sport. Dancing IS a contact sport.” – Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

18. After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his post-game message to his team was, “All those who need showers, take them.” – John McKay / USC

19. “If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.” – Murray Warmath / Minnesota

20. “The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.” – Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

21. “We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches.” – Darrell Royal / Texas

22. “We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.” – John McKay / USC

23. “I’ve found that prayers work best when you have big players.” – Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

24. Ohio State ‘s Urban Meyer on one of his players:”He doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”

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25. Why do Tennessee fans wear orange? So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.

26. What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs? Drool.

27. How many Michigan State freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb? None. That’s a sophomore course.

28. How did the Auburn football player die from drinking milk? The cow fell on him.

29. Two Texas A&M football players were walking in the woods. One of them said, “Look, a dead bird.”The other looked up in the sky and said,”Where?”

30. What do you say to a Florida State University football player dressed in a three-piece suit? “Will the defendant please rise.”

31. If three Rutgers football players are in the same car, who is driving? The police officer.

32. How can you tell if a Clemson football player has a girlfriend? There’s tobacco juice on both sides of the pickup truck.

33. What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room? A full set of teeth.

34. University of Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh is only going to dress half of his players for the game this week; the other half will have to dress themselves.

35. How is the Kansas football team like an opossum? They play dead at home and get killed on the road.

36. Why did the Tennessee linebacker steal a police car? He saw “911” on the side and thought it was a Porsche.

37. How do you get a former Illinois football player off your porch? Pay him for the pizza.

Whopper of a Fish Story

When I close my tiny backyard pond I dread pulling the pump in near freezing water. The cold is so intense my hand hurts with a burning sensation for an hour. This video of a Lake Superior ice fisherman extending his arm into the ice hole to extract a fish mad me shiver. Obviously, his adrenaline rush was so intense he didn’t notice his arm burning up to the shoulder. The fish he caught is certainly a trophy, and he did the right thing.

Last Email of the Day

This evening I began to shut down my Mac and head to the TV when I decided to look at my Emails one more time. I found one from my good friend Jim. He and I went to high school together and roomed for a year in college too. Jim suggested I watch a video he sent. I clicked on the link and it took me to a Pickleball Website. Inside that site was the video which I later found on YouTube.

There are many amazing people in the USA and this vid highlights one of them; his name is Mike Ehredt an Endurance Athlete, Postal Worker, Veteran, and genuine great human being. My words will never do him justice to the project he undertook called Project America Run (Click link to see map). In 2010 he ran a mile for each vet who died (4424) in the Iraq war, then in 2012, Mike ran a marathon everyday for 81 days. At each mile he placed a flag in honor of a vet who died in Afghanistan (2140 US service men and women).

If you like feel good stories, watch the video, and click the links to learn about this amazing ordinary person like you and me.

 

 

Do You Think Life Is Hard?

Very often it seems that I get a little down and start feeling sorry for myself and complain about how hard my life is. Then, someone sends me an angel. Today, the angel is my old friend and colleague Rich. The video below is proof positive of the human spirit and the power of positive thinking. If this story doesn’t bring a tear to your eye nothing will.

Badge of Honor

I have to admit that the word treacherous in the hazardous driving report psyched me out. So much so, that Peg and I spent 24 hours sitting in a hotel room waiting for the snow to melt. Our window view of Vail, Colorado made up for some of the time. I spent most of the day writing and answering e-mails. The Vail Pass was open on this day, but the day before the State Patrol shagged us off the I-70 because too many accidents had plugged it up. I also spent too much time studying weather reports and driving conditions.

We enjoyed an Egg McMuffin breakfast at the McDonald’s across the parking lot from our hotel. Later in the day we planned to move it up an inch by dining in the hotel restaurant. Since Vail is empty in April, none of the shops were open for us to do the typical touristy walk through the quaint shopping district. This led us back to our room to read, write, and relax.

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Later we learned that April is out of season and the dining room closes for supper. I inquired and learned of another restaurant immediately next door. We ventured forth. This place was equally deserted and upon entering I had to shout for someone to come from out of the walls. The staff, a man wearing shorts, sweat shirt and a baseball cap with an apron, and a waitress wearing a hooded sweatshirt appeared out of nowhere. The business definitely relied on a big crowd for its heat. Since we were the only ones there to enjoy the cold we left our winter coats on throughout the meal. The Bear Fish is by its decor a Sports Bar. They decorated the walls with skis standing on end. As an extra touch, antlers from a moose adorn one of the side walls. I got the idea that when Bear Fish is in season, and there are people, they are skiers. Genius deduction right? The menu specialized in smoked meats and sea food, mostly sandwiches. I ate a pulled pork sandwich with crispy sweet potato fries washed down with a Cabernet. Peg munched on a green salad finished off with a hamburger, and lemonade. We left totally sated and to our surprise several other people had ventured in and were eating in the main dining area. All of them kept their winter coats on.

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The following morning, we awoke to two inches of new snow covering everything, including the Death Star. We could barely make out the white car covered in white, and  parked on a totally white parking lot. We ate breakfast in the hotel restaurant. It is a quaint place with good food. The crowd in the room led us to believe we were not the only ones at the hotel as we wanted to believe. Many people did what we did, i.e. sit out a day of the bad weather.

By the time we loaded the Death Star with our overnight stuff and gassed up it was ten-thirty. I nervously drove through the town of Vail which is a canyon of ski chalets, lodges, resorts, condos, and tall buildings running up the side of the mountain, and merged the I-70. Vail is 8500 feet high, and the roads were dry. As we drove east the road began to ascend the Vail Pass and snow flurries began to swirl around us as we drove at fifty mph up the hill. I read that the pass is 10,500 feet high, so we had a climb ahead. We passed some parked snow plows, and I thought that is comforting to know that they do plow the roads. Further along we saw semi-trucks pulled off to the side with drivers attaching chains to their driving wheels.

We reached the level of two slushy lanes with somewhat cleaner tire tracks in each. I switched the GPS to show elevation, and surprisingly we were nearly at ten thousand feet. My white knuckles hurt from clenching the wheel so tight, and the right hand fingers kept pulling the washer lever to spritz the windshield clear. By now our speed was more like thirty mph, and some brave SUV’s passed spraying our windows with slush. I turned on the emergency blinkers to show that I was a slow-moving vehicle, but there weren’t too many cars passing me. We reached the tunnel, and I thought this is it, we reached the peak. Wrong again. The damn tunnel climbed and we kept on climbing to over eleven thousand feet. “We are two miles high,” I told Peg.

The snow kept blowing, the road narrowed to one passable lane and the windows kept getting dirty by passing cars. I finally passed a truck going fifteen mph, and he sprayed me with a stream of slush that moved us sideways. Just at that moment my cell phone rang. What the? “Sorry phone, but I am not answering you now,” I said out loud. My phone rings once a month and it happens now. I didn’t even look at it to see who called. No way was I taking my eyes or hands off this wheel for anything.

We finally crossed the Vail Pass and descended to nine thousand feet when we reached the Loveland Pass which is higher than the Vail. We went through the same white knuckle experience except this pass is higher than the Vail topping out at 11,990 feet. The descent couldn’t come quick enough for me. It finally did and we dropped down to eight thousand feet where the roads were dry and traffic resumed to sixty-five miles per hour. It was like nothing had happened at this lower level, but a raging blizzard was happening just a few feet above us.

A couple of hundred miles east of Denver I stopped for gas and couldn’t believe my eyes. The sides of my car were black with slushy road dirt. My beautiful Blizzard White Death Star had earned its badge-of-honor crossing two mountains in a raging spring snow storm.

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Watch For Animals

Our plan was to tour Canyon de Chelly (pronounced canyon de shay) National Park today, but the weather did not coöperate and we left Chinle for Denver. The route took us north through Moab, UT. The Indian reservations between Chinle, and Moab cover some absolutely stunning scenery. Giant monoliths, painted deserts, miles of sandy desert filled with sage, tumble weed, and creosote shrubs.  We unexpectedly lost an hour today because this little section of Arizona is on Daylight Savings Time. That put me back an hour of drive time, and I deliberately avoided taking too many rest and gas stops.

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Along the road between Chinle, Arizona and Moab, Utah. Snow-capped mountains provide the backdrop for a sage filled desert.

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Taken from inside a car doing seventy mph with an iPhone held up to the windscreen.

The drive was relatively uneventful for the first hour then out of nowhere a rusty colored dog appeared in the middle of the road within feet of my bumper. I heard Peggy gasp, and I automatically lifted my foot from the accelerator and began applying brakes. Luckily the wiry dog that blended into the landscape decided to trot off into the desert opposite his home. About ten minutes later I saw what appeared to me a group of large sage bushes along side of the road. These were not sage but a herd of very wooly sheep grazing on the roadside outside their pasture fence. I asked Peg if she had seen any signs to warn of animals ahead, she had not. About five miles further, a cowboy on a horse was moving a large herd of goats along the roadside, most likely to a new pasture. Evidently, Sunday morning is when the animals move, get moved, or feel safe grazing on the edge of the road.

Our average speed for the first two and a half hours was sixty-five miles per hour. Not bad for slow two lane roads with traffic, animals and great scenery.

We gassed up in Moab, and left town headed to Interstate Seventy (I-70). The GPS calculated an 8:00 p.m. arrival time in Wheat Ridge, Colorado where I had reservations at a Holiday Inn Express. We favor this chain because of the travel convenience they offer. They are newer, there are many of them, and we get a buffet breakfast. Not having to find a café, wait for a waitress, read a menu, get the food, eat, and then pay the bill adds at least an extra hour to our drive day.

We reached the I-70 and I breathed easier driving on a beautiful two lane limited access road with a seventy-five mph speed limit. I pushed the Death Star up to seventy-five and set the cruise control and watched the scenery roll by.

The topography changes immediately upon crossing the state line into Colorado. Utah is relatively flat soft green terrain with long ridges of colorful sandstone and pink bluffs. Crossing into Colorado changes to rolling hills and curves dodging the monoliths that tut out of the earth to amazing heights. I kept wondering where all the ski resorts were, but some snow-capped mountains in the foreground gave me a hint, they were yet to come. Moving at the rate we were it didn’t take long to realize that the mountain that appeared so far off was now immediately in front of us and we were beginning to twist and turn between the peaks along a river. The speed limit dropped to sixty-five because the turns were too tight for the higher speed. At the same time we began an ascent to higher elevation.  Then a black hole appeared in the face of the  mountain, we drove through a tunnel with a curve to the left and then curving to the right. We entered the tunnel from a grey sky, we exited the tunnel to a blue sky. The speed changed to fifty-five as the road narrowed and twisted even more sharply along the river which also narrowed. The mountain walls left us in shadows and only the blue sky showed us the sun. The road opened again and the speed resumed to seventy-five. Ranches dot the fresh spring-green valleys and colorful little hamlets some of which even had names like “No Name,” Colorado. I finally spotted a sign naming the river, So many times along the way both Peg and I would ask each other if we knew which river this was. The sign cleared the mystery, Colorado River. “Wow,” I said, “this is the same river that carves its way through the Grand Canyon.”

I spotted an electronic sign with a message, “I-70 Closed, MM 176.” Hmmm, I wondered what that meant, highway-repair work, snow, what? Surely if it is road work they will split the traffic and route us to a single lane, but why would they close the road if they do that. They could detour us to a local road. yes, that’s it we will detour.

Forty minutes later we learned the highway patrol closed the I-70 at Mile Marker 176 in Vail Colorado at the western end of the Vail Pass. There was no detour, there were hundreds of cars trucks, and Rv’s, parked along the local roads heading back into Vail. We drove through the town passing dozens of huge resort condos, hotels, lodges, and motels. All of them looked absolutely deserted and empty. I queried the GPS for lodging and came up with a Holiday Inn at the West end of Vail. Luckily, they had availability so we checked in. In the morning Peggy and I will find a sport shop and rent snow boards for a little fun on the snow-covered slopes above Vail.

We learned that the I-70 closed because of a wreck in the pass. It never dawned on me that an accident could shut the road down. It makes sense to keep traffic out of a narrow limited access road to allow Emergency vehicles, wreckers, and police to get to the scene.

I called the Holiday Inn Express to cancel the reservation I made for this evening. We are exactly ninety-miles from that destination. Oh well, it adds another ninety miles to tomorrow’s drive.

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