Friday, October 26, 2012

Football games against Cincinnati are some of my favorite football trips and memories. I'll share a few with you.

First, we go back to the late seventies. A hastily arranged trip to Cincy to watch the Cards play UC by me and several of my frat brothers. A night game and the plan was to go watch horse racing at nearby Latonia Race Track (now Turfway) that afternoon and then to the game. Five guys, one car, two cases of beer and a bucket of chicken. We arrive at Latonia fairly smashed and "the Fish" hits a exacta that pays over $400.

More beer and we arrive to tailgate 45 minutes before kickoff. The smell of brats in Nippert Stadium is overpowering as we enter and each guy has two or more. Louisville wins, Crazy George nearly gets into a fight in the parking lot after the game and Barry decides to drive us home on US 42 instead of I-71. Five guys taking a "potty break" behind an abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere and almost running out of gas before finding a open station on Brownsboro Road.

A night halloween game in Cincy and the group Sonja and I go up with decides to dress up in costume. Jim and Lou in clown suits. Sonja and I wearing masks...( I'm George Bush and she's Jimmy Carter). Bellowing at the crowd "Four more beers!" with my mask on while in the stands. The stares. Every one deciding to spend the night in the Travelodge near campus after the Louisville win. The desk clerk asking if we wanted the two rooms for the night or for an hour. Me pretty much crawling into Jim and Lou's room at 6 a.m. and begging for aspirin.

Tailgating in the parking lot on a clear, crisp afternoon and tossing the football around with a bunch of kids. One of them Denny Crum's son. Coach sitting in a chair, watching, smiling and talking with passerbys as I make sure and toss several touchdown passes to his son. Coach coming over to sit with us at the game and giving us a brilliant, rambling commentary on Louisville's offense. Me offering Coach a nip from my bottle of Maker's that I'd smuggled in. Coach declining.

The bus trips....so many and so much fun.

Getting off the bus at UC parked behind a dorm and drinking for three straight hours before managing to get in Nippert. Losing Chris during the first half, going to find him at halftime and eventually seeing him with a whole pizza, propped up against a trash can, munching and talking to a beautiful blonde in a UC sweatshirt. Buying beers for the three of us and not making it back to the seats until the fourth quarter. That blonde telling us that she'd like to take us back to her apartment and do some pretty wild things with us. He and I declining and going back to sit with our wives. Watching Linda cook bologna on a grill after the game behind the dorm and dozens of people lined up holding pieces of white bread to get slices of burned sandwich meat fresh off the grill.

The bus trip with the "broccoli lady". Stopping at Montgomery Inn Boathouse after the game, polishing off a rack of ribs, watching her stagger around the room carrying a plate of vegetables and then listening to her deliver an impassioned, obscenity-laced and inspirational speech over the bus P.A. system on the way back to Louisville on why we need to buy UofL women's basketball season tickets.

"Those f'cking Lady f'cking Cards are f'cking great and you f'cking need to buy f'cking tickets, f'ckers!"

Sitting in the snow one year at the UC game in Nippert with the late Don French, while the majority of the bus riders bailed out and went into a dorm lobby on campus and watched the game on TV. Don and I finishing all the "airport" bottles he smuggled in and then several of us getting lost on the way back to the bus.

Having to enter Nippert Stadium one year through the Shoemaker Arena because of construction and seeing (then) coach Bob Huggins in the hallway. Walking over to him, shaking his hand and then delivering a rambling, dis-jointed speech to him about BIG EAST basketball while he warily eyed me and was probably wondering what the hell were all these UofL fans doing in his basketball arena...They fired Bob several months later. I can't help but think he was glad to get out of there...

Me and MArkie-MArk grilling tons of meat for the bus riders, using two antiquated charcoal grills on a gravel road 13 blocks from the stadium during a tailgate and giving most of it away to college students. The bus driver almost knocking over a fire-hydrant while trying to park and the memorable frozen pound hunk of hamburger we cooked and subsequently gave away to a guy who put it between two buns and ate it in front of us....juice rolling down his chin and all over his white sweat shirt. He said it was the best burger he ever had. We think he was just stoned and hungry.

Last year at Paul Brown Stadium, meeting former UC basketball great Herb Jones supervising a concession stand booth and talking his ear off for the entire second quarter. Leaving the game, encountering three Cincinnati policemen and getting into a bargaining session with them...trying to buy their white uniform hats. The officers good-naturedly playing along and offering to give us a golf-cart ride back to where the bus was parked. Sonja's memorable parting comment..."No, that's OK. He's drunk and needs to walk it off."

Had me some great fun on the road at UC football games. My kind of town.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I guess the city of Lexington is waiting for the Joker to be removed from the crumbling deck of cards that is know as UK Football. On the surface, a lot of UK fans feign indifference about the gridiron program...especially now that basketball is so close. Deep down, you know it irks them.

USF recently ran an open forum for questions to be submitted to embattled football coach Skip Holtz and possibly to be answered on his weekly radio show. The Bulls are 2-4 and 'Mama ain't happy in Tampa, boys...' Some of the questions were hilarious and most will never make the airwaves.

So, in that same vein, here a list of questions that could be fun for Joker Phillips to wade through on his weekly football show. Enjoy!

Hey Coach, Do you wake up most mornings, look in the mirror and mutter, "Dude, u suck!" ?

Dear Coach Phillips. I have a small piece of property outside some swamp land in Arkansas. With the real estate market the way it is, I'm willing to build a small cabin on it, equip it with an outhouse and will consider running electricity and water to the property. If I turn the deed over to you, would you kindly get the f&^% out of Lexington?

Joker. Are you part of a Communist or Tea Party plot to undermine morals, corrupt the youth and ruin football at UK?

Coach, did your panties get in a uproar and all moist in Fayetteville last week, bitch?

Hey loser! Would you please get in your pimpmobile, wipe that s#!$-eating grin off your face and kindly get on I-75 South and never return?

Hi, Mr. Butthead! You are an epic fail of huge proportions. Do you still have a penis?

Do you like Spaghetti-O's? I love them! I often eat them straight out of the can! Maybe you could come over and we could eat them and look at my picture collection of shot-putters? I would like to see UK Football but I can't leave the house because I poopie all the time. Could you bring the team over to play in my backyard? Or could you put a toilet on the sidelines at Commonwealth and maybe I could sit there, go poopie and watch? I love Spaghetti-O's!

How much did Charlie Strong pay you to throw the season?

Hi, Coach! I coach a 4th grade team at St. Blessed Fish Fry and I think I have some plays that my kids run that could be of some help to you. Or, I could lend you a few of my players?

I have been a UK football fan since the days of Blanton Collier. I am so disgusted with this year's team that I have started to build a small nuclear device in my shed. What's the address of the UK Football office?

Bozo. Would you please put the crack pipe down and just walk away from it?

Is it true that John Calipari had you served with a restraining order to keep you 500 yards away from anything that has to do with UK Basketball? How's life on Shit Avenue?

Have a great Wednesday! I'm going to go warm up some Spaghetti-O's now, Bye bye!
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Department of Codes and Regulations in the city of Louisville, more specifically The Division of Inspections, Permits and Licenses has it in for me. A couple of weeks ago, I received a letter from them concerning my rental property down by UofL. It concerned my garage on the property. It was the first garage and house we ever owned. Lived there a good, long time and I have fond memories of that garage, the work I did in there...building it into a structurally sound and functional workspace, storage area and even a place to park a car.

This did not impress the Division. They're more worried about peeling paint and a few stray weeds. The Code Enforcement Officer sent me a two page letter, expressing her disappointment on the growth and paint chips. Gave me a month to square it away before " you will be subject to a citation, including a fine and possible criminal sanctions, as provided by law."

Fast forward to the Kentucky State Reformatory in LaGrange.

Inmate 3047264:  'Whaddya in for, tall drink of water?"
Paulie: "Weed and paint crimes."

I am not ready to spend whatever years I have left busting up rocks with a sledge-hammer and making license plates. I've watched the movie Shawshank Redemption enough times to realize that i probably wouldn't make a great inmate...so I went about complying with the correction of these dastardly and criminal violations.

The first step was clearance of the weeds. I brought along my organic and plant-growing expert, who doubles as my wife, to survey the situation and "nip it in the bud." Armed with hedge trimmers, hand-held clippers, brooms, rakes, shovels and plastic trash bags...we descended on the blight to society one afternoon...ready for battle and with a firm resolve. Gonna kick some noxious plant growth's ass!

It took about two hours, but we cut, trimmed, swept and raked diligently until the area looks like a promo for Better Homes and Gardens. The Queen Mother would be proud to spend an afternoon picnic soiree there now...with croquet matches and finger sandwiches. Step one...done.

I had a plan for the next step. And a Plan B. I consulted with my renter of the property, showed him what needed to be done and proposed a reduction of rent for the month if he'd do the work. He whole-heartedly agreed at first. Several days later, I got a phone call from him.

"P. That's just too big a job for me. I'm gonna pass on it." he informed me.

On to Plan B. I know a couple of painters. Used them before on various jobs. Loved their work. So, I arranged to meet them at the scene of the crime and get quotes. The first guy spent about 10 minutes walking around the garage, scratched down a few notes and then fire me a price.

After I got up from passing out in shock, I responded with a "seriously, dude...that much?"

"It's a lot of work. I'm pretty busy right now and I'd barely be able to squeeze this job in before the deadline." he blithely informed me. I thanked him for his time.

The next guy had done work at my properties before. He's more of a handyman/hauler type of guy, but he's pretty good with a paint brush, too. Once again, I made the trek to inspect and greet. He walked the scene of the crime, pointed out a few things to me and shot me a price. Higher than the first guy's quote. I tried the bargaining ploy. Got him down a few dollars by offering to supply the paint. Not enough, though. I told him I'd let him know. He emphasized that he "and a buddy" would be able to start on it immediately. I guess so, at those prices.

I talked it over with my wife. She was shocked at the cost, as well. So, I developed Plan C. Do it myself.

Scraping. More scraping. Painting. More painting. Up and down the ladder. I was beginning to realize that for every good intention, comes a bucketful of second-guessing and pain. The job was laborious, boring and tedious. The neighbor down the street, who had received a similar notice of violation about his garage has five boys...all over eighteen. He has a ready-made, home-grown work force and he told me they were going to team up on it on a Saturday and then have a little cookout later that afternoon.

I refrained from scraping and painting him.

My quads and hamstrings will probably never recover. My shoulders and arms feel like I've been in the ring with Mike Tyson for 10 rounds. My feet hurt, my knees ache and I may never successfully get the paint off my fingers, ladder, shoes and forehead.

But, it is done. I have gained a new-found respect for painters. I now realize just what they go through. I'm not considering becoming one, mind you...although a steady stream of income like that would have me eventually on the beach in Naples...pounding drinks with little umbrellas in them and dining on lobster and steak each night.

I have won the battle. I beat the rap and won't be sharing a cell with a guy named Bubba.

But, lord...I am tired.
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Monday, October 8, 2012

You gotta love "found" money.

I was surfing around the Internet late Sunday morning and decided to check out my TVG account. In case you aren't familiar with TVG, it is a site where you can wager on the horses on the Internet.. They have a TV channel also and they're showing Keeneland during the fall meet.

I hadn't used it in a while and wasn't sure if I had any money left in it. I switched to Twinspires.com a few years back. I barely remembered my account # and password over at TVG, but was able to access my information and got a good surprise. I had a little over $120 still in the account.

I'm a big fan of jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. and saw that he was on four horses on the Sunday card. I decided to "go for broke" and put $10 "across the board" on his four chances. This all but wiped out my balance...the cost of investment was $120.

Things got busy, though...as they usually do on Sunday afternoon...and I didn't get around to watching any of the races until right before the 3rd race. That was also his first ride of the day. He was on a horse named Rivers Legacy, and the horse got off to a pretty good start in the seven furlong race but got tired around the turn for home and finished pretty far back and out of the money. My "go for broke" strategy was off to a rough start.

Brian had a mount in the next race and Keeneland runs races every half hour or so. I had a quick errand to run so I motored off, got that done and got back home in time to see the start of the race. He didn't start off too well in the mile race but started picking up momentum at the 1/2 pole and came flying down the stretch to grab second place by about a neck. Couldn't catch the winner, but he had pretty good odds at 12-1 and the horse that won was 21-1, so the payoff for place and show wasn't bad. $30 invested again, but a payoff of $92...so I was ahead $32 dollars for the day. Miss Squeal was the name of the horse. I squealed in delight.

I really liked his chances in the next race. He was on a horse trained by Charlie Lopresti named Rivendell. Once again, the start was a little slow but he swung Rivendell outside of the pack as they enered the turn, drove him hard down the stretch and hit the wire first by about a half-length. At 5-1, the payout wasn't too bad...$120 returned on the $30 spent and I now had a nice $122 profit on the day

Brian's final ride of the day was in the Bourbon Stakes, a stakes race for 2 year olds on the turf. Brian is a great turf rider and I was surprised that his horse, Strike The Note, wasn't getting much respect at 32-1. He had the runner pretty close to the leaders in the mile and one-sixteeth race and made a nice outside move to
go for the lead as they started down the stretch. Then,  another horse, named Really Sharp, sweved violently right into the side of Strike the Note and almost knocked Brian off his charging mount. The impact knocked Strike The Note into the horse on his right and a horse sandwich with Strike the Note being the meat in between the two pieces of bread occured.

Pinched back, he steadied his stunned horse and tried to get him re-started...but it was too late and he finished fifth. Really Sharp was disqualified from second because of the bumping incident. Strike The Note really looked like he was getting ready to unload on the field and I thought he might have won the race if he hadn't got so rudely slammed just when he was kicking into high gear.

I lost the $30 wagered but still had a $92 profit and no wagers left pending.

So, it should come as no surprise to you readers that I've decided to keep this little "bet on Brian" strategy going the rest of the Keeneland meet. They run again Wednesday at Keeneland, so I'll check the paper and see what kind of rides he has.

A $92 total profit on $120 wagered isn't bad. Beat the heck out of the stock market. How long it'll last is anyone's guess...but as I mentioned...it was "found money" and a chance to have a little fun. That $212 dollars now currently there could grow into vacation fund money...or shrink down to nothing.

That's why it's called gambling and those of us who take the risk are called gamblers. It's never wise to bet money that you don't have to spare on races...or anything, really. This "found money" though sat waiting around for me to find it for nearly two years. It's getting some exercise now...
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Here it comes again.

Seems like every time that the University of Louisville gets a fairly successful football coach, the pundits, talking heads, impresarios and press immediately peg him for departure. Even though Charlie Strong was barely over .500 in his first two years here, his 5-0 mark with the 2012 Louisville Cardinals has speculation
and rumor that he's looking around. He's a hot commodity.

Arkansas is being mentioned. Charlie was born and raised in Arkansas. John L. Smith (SMILE!) has taken
a pre-season top 10 program and tossed it in the recycle bin in Fayetteville. Arkansas is in the SEC, the self-proclaimed, best darn conference in football. ( These promoters obviously haven't watched Kentucky play, but I digress....they're a basketball school.)

Arkansas has a checkered history of ending up with ex-Louisville coaches. It began with Tom Collen, Louisville women's basketball coach, who left the Cards to go to Fayetteville. He had two years left with Angel McCoughtry. He still went. He had the KFC YUM! Center in a couple of years to play in. He still packed up the twins and Nikki and got on the bus.

Arkansas women's basketball isn't exactly tearing up the SEC.

Collen was 88-37 in four years in the "Ville". That .707 winning % is the best in Louisville women's basketball history. He's nowhere near that with the Hogs. His departure did open the door for Jeff Walz to
take the job. I say we definitely got the best end of that deal. Walz will eventually top that .707 percentage. The only variable is time. A move to the BIG 12 wouldn't hurt, either.

John L. Smile Smith and Bobby Motorcycle took circuitous routes to get to Fayetteville. Their stays have been bad career moves for the most part. Are you paying attention, Charlie?

I don't believe that Charlie Strong is looking to leave Louisville. His appearance on the Jim Rome show yesterday pretty much backed my philosophy up.

There will be more innuendo and speculation down the road about Charlie and other jobs. There's nothing we can really do about that...programs look to improve and go after proven, successful and trendy coaches.
Charlie is one of those.

I hope he studies the lessons of the three mentioned coaches in today's article and learns from their sagas.
Tom Jurich has provided him with pretty much everything he's asked for over the past three years. That commitment is likely to continue, as far as I can see.

There's no place like home, Charlie. Unless it's Arkansas.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tell me it's a joke, OK?

The four-letter network...ESPN...has dictated a 11 a.m. start for the Louisville @ Pittsburgh football game on Saturday, Oct. 13th.

Jammies and a pillow are optional.

I won't go into how badly this is going to wreak havoc on my (and many other Cardinal fans) tailgating
regimin and schedule. Having signed up for a bus trip to go to Steel City and take in the contest...I'll be there. I'm not happy about the start time, though.

It's a prime example of two things that are ridiculous about the state of college football. Major networks, ESPN being the prime culprit...have taken a Hitleresque hold on the gridiron nation and have dictated that everyone march to their cadence, which consists of doing whatever the hell ESPN wants, when they want and screw anybody who protests.

It's money that matters. Randy Newman pegged it dead on in his classic song. Link below:

IT'S MONEY THAT MATTERS

The second ridiculous thing is that it has come to this. Corporate America keeps delivering groin shots to the average football fan and we keep taking them without raising our hands in defense.

I'd offer a boycott of the game if I thought that it would do any good. It wouldn't.

The ugly duckling BIG EAST isn't going to cry out in protest. They'd take a game on the National Geographic Channel for ratings.

I weep for the current state of college football. It's probably why I don't write about it much anymore.

Our bus group will be in a quandry about this deal concerning the Pitt game. They like to get out and tailgate several hours before the game starts. I wonder how they'll respond to a 7 a.m. departure and 8 a.m. tailgating venue.

Thanks, ESPN.
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