Flashback: “Thank God And Greyhound” by Roy Clark

As some of you heard yesterday, Roy Clark of Hee Haw fame passed away at the age of 85.

Much like Buck Owens, Clark had a legendary career on the country music circuit. “Thank God And Greyhound” went to #6 on the country charts at one point in 1970, also reaching #90 on the Billboard “Hot 100” that covers pop music.

My memories of Mr. Clark also hearken back to a series of commercials back in (if I remember accurately) the 1980’s. Back in an era when workout videos by Jane Fonda were the rage, Clark had advertisements for a tape he put together on how to learn to play the guitar.

Well, now that I’ve done a bit of investigating on YouTube – my memory may be incorrect. At one point, Clark had a book that taught readers how to play the guitar. Not so sure about a VCR tape now.

Anyways, rest in peace, Roy.


Heidi Turns 50

Had you seen the Jets-Raiders game end that night in 1968, it would have sounded a bit like this. Veteran play-by-play man Curt Gowdy is doing most of the commentary.

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of a famous professional football game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders won, 43-32, but if you lived on the Eastern half of the US that Sunday night, you never viewed the finish of the game unless you watched the NBC News the next day, or perhaps the sportscast on your local news.

This one game changed how sports broadcasts are treated should they run over their allotted time. Back then, it was rare for a football game to take over three hours to play – hard to believe in the modern era where a nine-inning baseball game can take over four hours to decide. But this is back when pro teams ran the ball (gave the ball to a running back to see how many yards the back could accumulate) a lot more frequently.

This one particular night in Oakland, fate was a bit unkind to NBC – who carried the AFL (then later AFC games) contests from 1965 onward to 1997. CBS, who used to carry NFL/NFC games up until 1994 when FOX bought their package of games, then acquired the AFC package in 1998 – and both FOX and CBS have had their separate packages ever since. (In more recent years, the networks have “cross-flexed” Sunday games on occasion, so that two AFC clubs could wind up on being broadcast on FOX, and two NFC teams could be covered by CBS.)

Scores, penalties, and incomplete passes mounted up – and the “Peacock Network” wanted to get to a well-advertised kiddie film, Heidi, right at 7:00pm if at all possible. Usually, in that era, that wouldn’t be a problem – but this game was taking a longer than normal duration to contest, and the result was very much in doubt all the way through.

Fans began to call NBC’s switchboard in New York City – either to ask whether or not the game would stay on, or whether or not Heidi would begin airing on time. Network officials decided the best thing to do would be to air the game to its termination no matter if the game ended by 7:00 or after that – but because so many viewers had called into New York, they couldn’t get through to tell those throwing the switches to keep the game on.

As 7:00pm arrived, NBC went to Heidi – while back in Oakland, the Jets lead 32-29 with 61 seconds left in playing time in the game (overtime for regular-season games didn’t take effect until 1974). The Raiders scored a quick passing touchdown, then sealed the game when the Jets fumbled a kickoff into their own end zone and the Raiders jumped on it for yet another touchdown.

All went a bit better for the Jets a couple of months later, as they stunned the pro football pundits at Super Bowl III when they defeated the heavily favored Baltimore Colts 16-7 to become the first (and only one of two) AFL teams to win the pro football world championship.

The President And The Press

The good people at WordPress have again changed the process of how I post these entries up – so pardon my dust if things look a bit off, initially.

Last week, we had the familiar spectacle of President Trump sparring with CNN’s Jim Acosta. The President must have felt at some point that Acosta was filibustering him, so he had a staffer attempt to take the microphone from him when the cable reporter wouldn’t surrender it. A rather brief hand wrestling bout ensued between Acosta and the female intern, with Trump doubling down on his insults of the reporter. Later that night, Acosta was banned from the White House press pool – told to give us his “hard pass” to get on White House grounds.

There’s been a lot of furor over the move in the week that’s followed, with CNN turning around and suing the White House in response after the Veteran’s Day weekend passed. Some favored the move, but not surprisingly the media organizations, on the whole, berated it – saying it’s a bad sign for future White House/media relationships.

I guess you wouldn’t be astonished if I had a contrarian view. I often say that I don’t think Trump is hard enough on the media. By saying that, let me explain that I personally don’t want a bad relationship to exist amidst a president and the various media outlets. What I’m saying is that when the President called the media “the enemy of the people” and “fake news”, it’s hypocritical to turn around and give them press conferences and the ability to ask questions. If they are “the enemy” then why assist them?

The argument against doing that seems simple – that it makes the President look like a dictator. Maybe so, I’d submit. At the same time, there’s nothing in the Constitution (the last time I looked) that guarantees the media has the right to question the President as they wish. They can attempt it, but the President has no obligation to respond to it as he often does.

CNN cut off their nose to spite their face here. If they win the suit against the White House (for the purposes of this illustration), the White House could turn around and not hold press conferences or press briefings, or hold them and not call upon Jim Acosta or any CNN reporter. They could easily start something online to carry forth the news they want to present, or use one of the news outlets (most likely Fox News) as some sort of exclusive carrier.

If both sides stepped back and thought about things logically, they’d be a little more aware of the other side’s position. But Washington just seems like one of those areas where the “fog of war” never lets up.

Florida, Florida, Florida All Over Again

Well, a lot happened on the voting front between last Wednesday and today on the election front. A few prominent races have yet to be decided in Florida, nearly a week after the elections.

Many harkened back to the 2000 Presidential elections between Al Gore and George W. Bush. (A note here – I often refer to the more recent president with the Bush name as “Sonny” Bush, and I often call the older president of the same name “Poppy” Bush.) Preliminarily, I tend to think that the discussion of the elections of 2000 somehow being comparable to 2018 is an apples and oranges argument. In 2000, there was much more at stake – and many more errors were made by the media to make things all the more confusing. This year, the pending results won’t change the outcome of what took place, though it may make things tighter for President Trump. Instead of a 54-46 margin of seats in the Senate to play with, he could have a reduced 52-48 margin, and only be one seat better than he was coming in.

In 2000, the argument that “all votes should count” had a logic to it. In 2018, the legitimacy of some votes has been suspected, thanks to some questionable tactics in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Palm Beach County was also a tremendous part of the 2000 electoral scandal with an immoderate number of people voting for Pat Buchanan based on what many believed to have been a poorly constructed ballot.

In one sense, the mantra doesn’t change – the Democrats want all votes counted and the GOP wants all votes to comply with the agreed upon rules. But the new wrinkle into this happens to be the origin of these votes. Did they come from the voters, as they should have – or did they come for nefarious places, such as these elections offices?

Here we have Democratic operatives (such as Dr. Brenda Snipes of Broward County) at work dickering with elections. Gee, weren’t they the group that insisted the past two years that President Trump colluded with the Russians? Weren’t they the ones clamoring for integrity, or did I miss something there?

Anyways, I think you’ll see some big changes in voting law by the time 2020 rolls around – and that in itself will be quite a fight. The Democrats, who have been demanding for such reforms all this time, might change their tune – though I guess that depends on what is proposed.

Thousand Oaks

Like most of you, I woke up this morning, checked my phone, and said, “Oh no. Not again.”

This time it was a bar in the Los Angeles suburb of Thousand Oaks. I will continue my more recent policy of not mentioning how many were killed, because as you (the readers) read this entry when you do – the tally may different later on. However, they know now for sure that the death toll is at least in the low double-digits.

As I said a couple of weeks back when we have the tragic shooting in Pittsburgh – things have gotten to the point where reactions are very predictable. The President will react one way, the Democrats another – it has almost gone to the point where you can just hear the story and the plurality of the reaction can be written on autopilot. We have two points of view who want different things, mutually unrealistic to the other side – so no one wants to compromise and do what’s best for all of us. It seems sometimes that the constant divisiveness is the goal, and that all sides work to obtain that.

Therefore, someday in the future – whether it be later today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year, this will happen again. I plead to God that it doesn’t happen to anyone in my family or to someone that I know or their family – because when it does, I’m really going to be pissed off.

Purple Reign

The midterms have now come and gone. Media estimates have it that somewhere around 100,000,000 of you went out and voted yesterday, or earlier, or by mail – so before I dissect what happened like I’m some sort of Karl Rove, congratulations to you all for taking the time and taking part of the process.

The night didn’t offer the surprises a few were expecting. The pundits were correct in thinking the Democrats would take the House of Representatives – they need a 23 seat gain, and they’ll get somewhere around 34. The math that worked upon President Trump in terms of the popular vote in 2016 (Hillary Clinton had nearly three million more votes, but Trump won on the weighted state system to take the Electoral College) worked against him here. He set keeping the Senate as his goal, and he accomplished that – boosting the Senate Republican tally to an estimated 54 as opposed to 46 for the Democrats.

Locally, the GOP did much better than expected in the two big races here in Florida. No one had Ron DeSantis winning the governor’s race – but that happened, as was the case with Rick Scott obtaining the Senate seat from Bill Nelson. Here, I think the “hidden Trump voter” came into play – or the media perhaps gave too much credence to Puerto Rican refugees moving to Florida due to Hurricane Maria last year.

Easily, my favorite moment of these past few days took place in Missouri on Monday night. A woman had fallen ill at a Trump rally in Cape Girardeau, and the President brought proceedings to a halt so that the medical staff could get to her. The arena that held thousands of Trump supporters fell still as the paramedics quickly went to work. Then some members of the crowd broke into an impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace” for the fallen woman. Even typing the story now, two days later – it puts a noticeable lump in my throat.

The political dance in our country goes on – but it wouldn’t hurt if those who attempt to divide were met with such amazing grace. We need it now more than we ever have in our lifetimes.