Witnesses Of An Execution

It’s May 25, 1979.  John Spenkelink is about to be executed at Raiford prison in Florida after capital punishment was re-instituted nationwide in 1976.  Gary Gilmore was the first person killed while incarcerated in Utah in 1977, Spenkelink’s execution was the second such event two years later.

i was seven years old when this happened, and I remember it well for some reason. First was the odd last name kind of stuck with me. Second was that the young woman who gave her account of the execution that Stan Major mentions about 37 minutes into the clip was someone who worked at Channel 8 here in Tampa on WFLA, Kris Rebillot.  Unusual last names usually stuck in this filing cabinet of mine throughout the years.

As I mentioned on social media yesterday, you don’t see this long form of news reporting on the radio anywhere these days outside of NPR or Amy Goodman, and it’s the very same Stan Major who’d I work with nearly 12 years later at the Sun Radio Network, describing the scenes. A good piece of audio.

Athletic Pornography

Most NFL players don't need a reason to party.
Most NFL players don’t need a reason to party.

With the exception of MLB’s All-Star game, I often think of all-star games as athletic pornography, a phrase I once heard wrestling announcer Gordon Solie (who would be 86 today, I’d later discover) use to describe the WWF in its “attitude era” of the 1990’s. Must like how porn is a bastardized version of movie making (not that there’s anything wrong with that), all-star games are a bastardized version of sports. Look at all that talent, never mind that the games are a glorified exhibition.

Look at the NHL all-star game last night in Columbus. 17-12?!? You can watch a Stanley Cup playoff series in the spring go the full seven games and you won’t see 29 goals in the whole series. This game alone had 29 goals.

The Pro Bowl has always been one of those events I either don’t watch or watch with the sound down. It’s a meaningless game that someone can only get hurt playing in. Imagine getting a career ending injury in a Pro Bowl? That would boggle the mind, and probably make the afflicted player suicidal.

If the Pro Bowl ever went away, I don’t think I’d miss it. The only thing good about it is it gets us closer to the Super Bowl.

Flashback Friday: “Sea Of Heartbreak” by Don Gibson

Was thinking of this song watching the Seahawks-Packers playoff game this past Sunday. Packers had it locked up, and entered that sea of heartbreak.

This song was a top 40 hit for Don Gibson in 1961, and has been remade by many including Roseanne Cash and her father Johnny Cash in separate recordings.

Talk to you all again after the weekend!

Pauly The Pet Owner

Harry has a new owner...
Harry has a new permanent owner…me.

I was fretting a bit when I mentioned that I probably had seen the last of Harry back at the start of the year. I shouldn’t have been so worried.

The landlords where I live where having problems getting the little fella adopted, and the chance existed that he might have been put down before turning seven years old due to nobody taking him in.

Do you ever have epiphanies in your life? I had one last Friday night regarding the cat.  I realized that taking him in, despite his issues, would be the most humane thing to do, and so I asked to be reconsidered as Harry’s permanent owner.

As I speak to you now, he’s sitting on a chair in the porch area, getting some well needed rest.

Glad to have him. Glad to own a pet for the first time at the age of 43.

Welcome to your new home, Harry.

My Take On Deflategate

Like many of you this week, I’m keeping up on the whole Deflategate fiasco. Just what the NFL needs: another scandal of high magnitude.

I had thought for the past couple of days that both teams use the same allotment of 24 NFL footballs during the course of a game.  (I remember that number from childhood, reading about it in the 1980 Monday Night Football paperback book.) But it turns out that both teams use a pool of 12 different NFL balls, some for kicking and some for regular scrimmage plays.

The reports the past couple of days is that 11 of the 12 NFL footballs used by the Patriots were deflated, and as mentioned by ex-NFL quarterback Brad Johnson and present Panthers kicker Graham Gano, this is not a totally unheard of practice.

Do I think the Patriots will be disqualified from the Super Bowl?  No frigging way. I think New England probably pays a steep fine (steeper than the $500,000 paid for the Spygate scandal, if not equal) and they probably lose their first draft choice, maybe a second one too.  Maybe suspend Bill Belichick a year as well, as both incidents happened on his watch.

But I think the Super Bowl goes on as planned with the two anointed teams.

No One Likes A Snitch


I was in the first grade at Anona Elementary, which would either make the year 1977 or 1978.

I’m playing a game in Phys Ed class, and the game doesn’t go my way, so I thought I would mutter on my way out much like my favorite cartoon of that time frame, Muttley, the pet of the anti-hero Dastardly.

A black kid thinks that when I mutter, I’m using a dirty word…the one that rhymes with mother trucker.  Didn’t bother him that I never heard that particular profanity until HE used it.

He goes to the PE teacher with it, and guess who loses the battle?  Yours truly.  I’m told by the teacher to “go stand out” which means I am to excuse myself from further play and await discipline.

My parents weren’t particularly happy I used that word either, but let’s not get the fiction in the way of the facts.

Nope, I’m not confessing to using those words 36 years later, just that I never said the words placed in my mouth by that snitch.  That kid has probably grown up nicely…and cheats on his taxes.

Heart Of A Champion

Russell Wilson proved today it is not how you start, but how you finish.
Russell Wilson proved today it is not how you start, but how you finish.

Comebacks like the one that happened today in Seattle are not supposed to happen at this level of the season, but yet it did.

If you missed it (and my apologies in advance for the rehash for those who saw it), the Seattle Seahawks were playing the Green Bay Packers today to determine the NFC representative for the 49th Super Bowl to take place in Phoenix in a couple of weeks.  Green Bay held a 19-7 lead late until the Seahawks put up 15 points in a mere 44 seconds, then won the game in overtime, getting the required touchdown in the first possession of the extra session to avoid further play.

It was one of those games the sports world likes to give us that will be talked about for decades, and I’ll guarantee you that 50 years from now, they will still be talking about this game.  Everything went right for Seattle in a short period of time.

Good luck to the Seahawks and Patriots in the coming Super Bowl.  I haven’t formulated an opinion yet as to who will win the big game, but I’ll let you all know.


Joe Paterno, the former PSU head coach.

I found myself yesterday doing something I don’t ordinarily do on a regular basis: disagreeing with Keith Olbermann.

The topic was whether or not wins should be restored to Paterno’s record, once again giving him 409 wins to lead all NCAA coaches on its biggest level.  Olbermann thought it was another slap in the face to the victims of Jerry Sandusky and the institution that failed for so long to dismiss him.


I do not disagree that Paterno could have done more, and if he could not have done more, the school should have him strongly consider retirement.  What I don’t understand is what that has to do with all the wins he accumulated as head coach.  It’s not like having a pedophile as an assistant coach gave Paterno an unfair advantage of some kind.

What happened at Penn State a few years back was morally reprehensible.  But to take away from Paterno’s win total was never the correct solution.  It would be similar to me robbing some bank, getting caught doing so, and the judge taking away a TV set I had before I robbed the bank.  It made no sense.

Exchanging Liberty For Security

Words to remember with terrorism nigh...
Words to remember with terrorism nigh…

I couldn’t help but notice on CNN yesterday that airport security is being ramped up in the wake of the latest attacks in Paris that killed 17 people in three separate incidents last week.

This continues the trend that has developed in this country since 9/11: when terrorists attack, the people who had nothing to do with the attacks are not only terrorized by the attacks psychologically but also lose their freedoms in the process.  A two for one special.

This is why conspiracy theorists are believers in the Hegelian Dialectic, where they believe that world leaders who react and solve problems are so eager to do so because they create the problems to begin with.  Thus they believe that the (insert your major event of choice here) was inside job and that those who do the harm in (insert your major event of choice here) are actually some form of governmental puppets.

No, I don’t know what our government should do other than tighten security.  I just point out that this is always the first solution: inspect those who are clearly not terrorists.  Might want to think about changing the script a little bit, gang.

Pigskin Musings

Tonight is the big College Football Playoff championship between Ohio State and Oregon.  Oddly enough, these two teams play in the first ever NCAA basketball championship back in 1939.  A quick look at Pregame.com suggests Oregon as anywhere from a 6 to 7 point favorite, which sounds to me to be accurate odds.  I think Oregon wins 31-21, though I expect there to be plenty of nerves and rust in the early going.

Just a thought on that Packers/Cowboys game that went the Packers way, 26-21 on a controversial call late in the game that would have given Dallas the go-ahead score with about four minutes to go.  I’ve long given up the logic in trying to explain NFL rules, but how can a ground not cause a fumble, but yet it can cause a completed pass to be ruled incomplete?

(Then again, the Lions-Cowboys game had a controversial call also.  I’ve never seen a pass interference call waived off before, and I’ve been watching NFL games since Super Bowl XII in 1978.)

I think Dez Bryant is looking for that kind of explanation in the aftermath of that game at Lambeau Field.  Since they were my Super Bowl pick from the NFC, I wouldn’t mind one either.