Saturday, December 14, 2013

week fifteen: live it up

“Hey girl?  It’s now or never!
It’s now or never!
Don’t overthink –
Just let it go!

And if we get together?
Yeah, get together?
Don’t let the pictures
Leave your phone!

Yeah! 
We’ll be doing what we do,
Just pretending like we’re cool.
So tonight …

Let’s go crazy, crazy, crazy,
‘Til we see the sun!
I know we only met,
But let’s pretend it’s love!

And never, never, never
Stop for anyone!
Tonight?  Let’s get some!
And live while we’re young!

Tonight?  Let’s get some!
And live while we’re young!”


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Last Week ATS: 8-8-0.
Season to Date ATS: 90-111-6.  My God.

Last Week SU: 11-5-0.
Season to Date SU: 119-88-0.  That's not bad.

Upset of the Week Last Week*: loser.
Season to Date Upset of the Week: 6-12.
This Week's Upset of the Week: Titans over Cardinals

As always, all lines pulled from Danny Sheridan via USA Today.  Danny Sheridan: the official oddsmaker of Stevo's Site Numero Dos!  (danny sheridan angry like a grizzley bear voice) WILL YOU STOP THAT!  YOU'RE KILLING MY BUSINESS, YOU INEPT, INCOMPETENT, CLUELESS PROGNOSTICATOR!!!

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(*: it's Chrismukkah.  After four years, I forgive Ol' Pete King for ranking the Chargers ahead of the Chiefs EVERY BLANKING WEEK in 2010, despite the fact that, I don't know, the Chargers NEVER ONCE led the division that season!  The Chiefs were in solo first place EVERY DAY OF THE SEASON!  Yet to 'Ol Pete, the Chargers were better.  I forgive you, Mr. King.  Try to do better next time though.  Look at the actual standings, when ranking your Fine Fifteen.  Deal?)

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The Non-Chiefs, Non-Jets Shaky Predictions:

* at broncos 34, Chargers (+10 1/2) 31 (OT).  I love being wrong.  Eat it donkey!  Eat it!

* at Falcons (-7) 42, Redskins 3.  Hang on, I need to check something here.  (Stevo browsing over to nfl.com ... Stevo pulling up the week fifteen schedule ...)  Yup, thought so.  Hit it!
                                                                                                      

Also, in case I have mentioned it yet (I'm too lazy to check), how freaking awesome is it that James Evans Senior (played by John Amos*) is a gigantic Chiefs fan who not only makes every commercial promoting the team he's made (I've counted three distinct ones so far this season) beyond inspiring?  And don't forget Chiefs fans -- Mr. Amos is the one who pounded that drum like the government mule Reverend Sharpton has been looking for since his inspirational oratory at the 2004 Democrat National Convention**, to sound the war cry before the Cowboys game (aka "the home opener"), the game the season truly begins.

(*: Mr. Amos also played Sergeant's Rick Hunter and Dee Dee McCall's boss for a couple seasons on "Hunter".  In case you care.  And I know you do.)

(**: THE single best thing I'm looking forward to about the 2016 DNC?  Aside from the obvious (that His Incompetency is being shown the door via a swift kick to his (rhymes with "mucking") ass by all us Hillary supporters ... it's that Reverend Al and Reverend Jackson, who Mr. Obama (correctly, sadly) refused a speaking spot either in 2008 or 2012, will be welcomed back onto the stage for Tuesday night (the party faithful get verbally fellated night)!  Who can ever forget a drunk Jesse Jackson screaming "Stay Out the Bush!" at the 2000 DNC (referring to Mr. Bush) mere days after the story about his love child hit the fan?  And who will ever forget Reverend Al in 2004, for twenty straight minutes ripping President Bush, ultimately demanding to know "when he gon' get his 40 acre and his mule?"  There's hilarity, there's high hilarity, and then there's Reverend Al trying to make sense for thirteen straight minutes.  Hence my love for Politics Nation, every weeknight at 5pm CT on the truly biased network in news, MSNBC.)

* 49ers (-5) 27, at Bucs 20.  If the 49ers were coached by damned near anyone not named Harbaugh, Belichick, fox, or Reid, I'd pick the upset.  Gigantic letdown game after last week's showdown win over the Seahawks.

* at Titans (+3) 24, Cardinals 21.  Hu-yuge game for both teams.  Although the "Super" Cardinals do control their own destiny -- if they win out, they will be the five seed (thanks to tiebreaker over Carolina).

* Saints (-6) 24, at Rams 13.  To quote the former great Senator from Texas, as well as former Treasury Secretary and Vice Presidential nominee, the late, great Lloyd Bentsen: "Kellen Clemens?  I knew Kurt Warner.  You, sir, are no Kurt Warner."  OK, fine, that wasn't totally an accurate quote -- if you replace "Kellen Clemens" with Dan Quayle, and "Kurt Warner" with "Jack Kennedy", then it'd be accurate.  But -- but! -- the sentiment fits.

Besides, plagarizing didn't destroy Vice President Biden's career; why should it derail mine?

* Seahawks 24, at Giants (+7) 23.  I really, really, really want to pick the upset here.  Cross country travel, early kickoff, letdown game, Giants last gasp, and the Seahawks at this moment have nothing to play for -- they have to completely collapse (as in, lose all three games) to blow the NFC West and home field advantage (they're two up with tiebreaker, in each case).  Let me noodle this one a little more.  We might be coming back to this.

* Bears (-1 1/2) 26, at Browns 3.  Tough closing stretch for Chicago -- an upset alert roadie at Cleveland, a Sunday nighter in Philly, and the finale at Soldier Field with the Packers.  They have no margin for error.  Especially if Detroit wins Monday night.

* at Colts (-5 1/2) 41, Texans 13.  Son O' Bum on the road!  Son O' Bum on the road!  Lay the points, and laugh as the bookie cries in the morning.

And for what it's worth, the Texans will be the 2014 version, of this year's Chiefs.  From first overall pick, to credible threat to land in the conference title game, in the span of seven months.  And since Bob McNair didn't ask for it, I'll give him my free unsolicited advice.  Sir?  You stated you want a head coach with head coach experience.  I have a perfect one for you, especially if you take Teddy Bridgewater number one.  Hue Jackson.  The job he did in oakland in 2011 was nothing short of remarkable, and he gets fired for it.  Only in al davis land.  Someone's gonna give this guy the second shot he deserves, and they are NOT going to regret it.

(Note: in the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Jackson was who I wanted the Chiefs to hire.  (Pause).  Yeah, I was thinking it's a good thing Clark Hunt doesn't read this site too.)

* at Jags (+1) 3, Bills 0.  My God.  This game is so wretched, I cannot bring myself to attach the great Gordon Shumway to it.  It's an insult to Melmacians everywhere.  Congrats, late but not great Bonnie Franklin -- this is it.










* Patriots (PK) 31, at Dolphins 20.  This smells like a classic "Tom Brady is embarrassed as hell about last week, and his next opponent is not going to like it" games.  Let's hope, as Chiefs fans, that it is.

* at Cowboys 31, Packers (+7) 28.  My favorite rivalry that doesn’t involve the Chiefs, Jayhawks, or Orange.

And while I’m at it, or at least noting rivalries, major kudos to John Thompson III and Jim Boeheim, for continuing the Georgetown / Syracuse rivalry.  (It is taking this year off as Syracuse and Georgetown transition to new conferences.)  

Bill Self?  THIS is what acting your age, looks like – Jim Boeheim and John Thompson III.  Enough is enough.  

Jesus, if I can find it in me to spoil Unborn Baby No Name Champ or Chica this Chrismukkah season, surely you can find it in you to schedule a damned basketball game on New Year’s Day at the Sprint Centre every year.  Grow up, Bill.  You’re embarrassing yourself.

* Bengals (-2 ½) 27, at Steelers 21.  I have a feeling Coach Hobo is going to struggle to find a muni course willing to let him be a range marshal, by the time his tenure in Pittsburgh draws to a merciful close in three weeks.

* at Lions (-6) 34, Ravens 31.  Setting up the biggest "kitchen sink" game the NFL has seen in a long, long, long, long time next Sunday night.

And with the non-rooting interest portion of these tastefully prepared remarks completed, let’s pause for a moment.

This, is a ... 

Stevo’s Site Numero Dos Commentary:

Jack Harry?  Ol’ Mad Jack Harry?  You crazy old coot, you really stepped in it this week, didn’t you.

In case you missed it, Mr. Harry referred to the University of Kansas as the “Gayhawks” on his Sunday evening sports show.  To the surprise of no one, Mr. Harry was trashed in every forum of media known to man.  Talk of suspension, and even termination, was being talked about earlier this week, before cooler heads prevailed.

And they should have prevailed.  

Because I thought the comment was hysterical.

Look it, I root for KU (although I did not attend school there.  A happy Horny Frog here, thank you very much.)  But lighten up folks.

Jack Harry is a passionate Missouri Tigers fan.  He wears his emotion on his sleeve – just like Bulldog Bob Fescoe wears his Kansas allegiance, just like “Klassy” Kevin Keitzman wears his KSU allegiance.  What’s wrong with tweeking your rivals every now and then?  Isn’t that half the fun of rooting for sports, is the joy and thrill you can get, by rubbing your buddy’s face in it?

Because isn’t that what we all do?  All Mad Jack did was have a little fun at his rivals’ expense.  If that’s a fireable offense?  Then we should all be unemployed.

And that, is this week’s Special Stevo Commentary.

(Note: the views reflected above reflect the opinions of the founder, owner, and chief contributor to this site, and you’re damned skippy I own those remarks.)

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The “Klassy” Kevin Keitzman Tweet O’ The Week:

It is not often, I will let the words of "Klassy" Kevin Keitzman, a man who may or may not have literally fallen backwards out of his chair, sh*t faced drunk, while playing blackjack next to me at Harrah's at about 11:15pm on a Saturday back on August 23, 2003.  (I cheated; I looked the date up.)  

A man who may or may not have been told by a brave occiffer of Prairie Village's finest that "you may pull your pants up now".

A man who is the biggest hypocrite to ever draw breath on this planet, and I am fully aware of my feelings for a certain someone whose last name begins with the letter J, that is the encyclopedia definition of the word "hypocrite".

But dammit, "K"KK hit the damned nail on the head, on Sunday:


(image credit: me, via Snag-It 10.)

"What a dumpster fire."

Hold that thought -- because of all the "what are the f*cking odds?" coincidences that I don't believe in?

Dumpster fire, actually ... is something I've been planning to talk about, in the Chiefs portion of these prepared remarks, all week long. 

The Poem:

There is no “The Poem” this week, due to the Chiefs playing on the road.

The Tailgating Plans:

Actually, there are some.  Watching party at Russ and Mona’s.  Bring beer if you're coming.  And prepare to celebrate the most improbable playoff berth, in this franchise’s history.  And I am fully aware the shenanigans, tomfoolery, and hijinks that had to occur, to make 2006 happen.

The Flashback – Chiefs at raiders:

There have been some amazing, awesome moments in this rivalry when played in whatever the hell they call the oakland Alameda County Coliseum these days.

Consider:

* 1997 – The raiders lead 24-6 with exactly nine seconds left in the third quarter.  The Chiefs won 28-27 on an 80 yard, 6 play drive with exactly one minute to play, leaving three seconds on the board after Elvis Grbac hit Andre Rison in the end zone, for a 33 yard touchdown.  This is also the “Jeff Criswell Game”, and yes, it is also the game with my favorite Al Michaels call of all time.

Scanning the sidelines after this stunning result, Al says the following:

“(Camera pans to Carl Peterson) There’s the president of the Chiefs.  (Camera pans to oakland’s owner box) And I believe Andre Rison, just burned al’ davis house down.  (Pause).  If you know what I mean.”

Dan Dierdorf’s perfect comeback (more on him momentarily)?

“Unfortunately … we do!”

* 2003 – The Chiefs lead 17-10 with (I think) five seconds to play.  (It might have been six).  oakland has one final play, from the Chiefs twenty yard line.  marques tuaisosopu flings it, tim brown catches it … and Greg Wesley tackles him at the one inch line, the ball facing out onto the field.  Goalline stand.  Victory delivered.

This was also Dick Gannon’s final NFL game.  And the beginning of the end for “Sur” William Callahan’s raiders career.

But my favorite, without question?

* 1999.  Ooh, story time!  It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  The Chiefs sat at 5-5 (as did oakland), a full three games out of the playoffs with six to play.

The raiders lead 34-20 with a little over eight to play.  Dick Gannon does his dink and dunk think, this time to former Chief / current raider TE derrick walker, who makes the catch, turns upfield without a defender in sight …

… and lays the ball on the field.  It slid out as he started running straight, and he didn’t realize he’d dropped it.  Cris Dishman sprints past the clueless walker, and returns the muff to the end zone.  34-27 raiders.

Then Elvis Grbac repays the favor, hitting the man who replaced derrick walker at the position (that would be Tony Gonzalez) for a touchdown before the two minute warning.  We’re tied.

Being the raiders, they wind up punting, and the Chiefs reach the outer limits of Pete Stoyanovich’s range with very few seconds remaining.  I’ll let Gunther Cunningham, from his postgame presser, explain what happened next.

“I approached Mike (Stock, the special teams coach) where he wanted the play to go – which side of the field, factor for the wind.

Mike looked at me and screamed “Doesn’t matter!  He’ll f*cking make it!

I began to ask him again, and again Mike yelled “Doesn’t matter!  He’ll f*cking make it!”

48 yards later, the Chiefs escaped 37-34 that jumpstarted one of the funnest stretches of football I can recall from this franchise, that sadly ended with the Chiefs blowing a fourteen point fourth quarter lead – and the division – to the raiders at Arrowhead six weeks later.

The Jets “Reality Bites” Prediction:

Technically, they’re in it.

They’re 6-7, close vs Bills / at Dolphins, and I firmly believe the second AFC Wild Card is going to an 8-8 or 7-9 team, unless San Diego wins at denver.  (Then I think it’d be the Chargers at 9-7.)

But they’re not in good shape.

The Jets are an astonishingly awful 3-7 in the conference.  Every other team tied or in front of them (and there are five of them) are better off.

They’ve already lost to the Ravens and Titans, and now face the most daunting task of the season yet – a trip to face “Riverboat” Ron Rivera* and his rejuvenated Panthers, last week’s stink bomb notwithstanding.

Have some booze ready folks.  Possibly some weed.  Jets fans?  We’re gonna need both to self-medicate the pain of this wasted season away.  Because it’s ending Sunday.

* at Panthers (-11) 34, Jets 13.

(*: remember a few weeks ago, I went off on a tangent, about how nobody uses great wrestler nicknames anymore?  You’re welcome.  I LOVE how “Riverboat” Ron has taken off, since Bill Barnwell at Grantland launched it two months ago.  It just sounds neat, doesn’t it?  “Riverboat” Ron Rivera.  Complete with the dark black sunglasses, slicked back hair, leather coat – he just looks like a riverboat gambler, doesn’t he?  I think so anyway.

When was the last great coaching nickname?  “The Tuna” Bill Parcells?  We need more “Riverboat” Rons, and less “Stevo Makes Up a Name For Him Because He Doesn’t Have One” coaches.)

Stevo’s Site Numero Dos Tribute:

A few weeks ago, my favorite color commentator in the NFL announced that after nearly thirty years in the broadcasting business, after a decade plus as a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the St. Louis Cardinals, he is hangin’ ‘em up at the end of the season.

Dan Dierdorf is a man, that a lot of fans don’t care for.  And I can understand why in many regards.  Is he the best color guy?  No.  Is he routinely off on down, distance, and timing situations?  Absolutely.  Does he say things randomly that make Mike Patrick blush with jealousy, at how idiotic his sentence sounded?  Of course.

But – but! – does he openly root for the Kansas City Chiefs in the announcing booth?

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!

My love of Mr. Dierdorf was born on the most magical night the Chiefs have given me in my lifetime.

Monday, October 7, 1991.

The night the world was introduced for the first time, to what I like to call, “The Arrowhead Experience”.

For the first time since Joe Delaney was still alive, the Chiefs were hosting a Monday night football game.  Against the 5-0 defending AFC Champion Buffalo Bills to boot.

There are moments in time, if you live or experience or witness, or simply take note of, that you will never forget.  For myself, there are four* of those moments:

* Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
* Friday, August 21, 2004.
* Tuesday, October 5, 2004.
* Monday, October 7, 1991.

It is the only one of those four, that has anything positive attached to it.

(*: gun to my head, I’d throw Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in there as well.  The night Stevo stared at his television in utter disbelief at the realization that President Clinton, had just won the election for Barack Obama with his inspirational, “can we nominate this dude again, Constitution be damned!” incredible speech.  How did I know Mr. Obama had won that night, even though I refused to admit it?

Because Mr. Clinton was so effective, he got ME to consider re-electing Mr. Obama.  And I still haven’t forgiven that man for South Carolina 2008 for crying out loud.  Let alone anything in the first five years of his administration (most of which, to be fair, has been a net positive.  Well, if you ignore the economy, and utter collapse of American foreign policy since Mrs. Clinton decided she’d had enough dealing with the lunatic fringe that runs 92.4% of the world.)

Dan Dierdorf spent four straight hours that night, praising Kansas City, praising Arrowhead Stadium, praising The Kingdom.  Everything Carl Peterson and Marty Schottenheimer had done, built to that moment, the “truth or dare” moment of a franchise’s arrival.

And did the Chiefs ever deliver – a 33-6 ass kicking that gave the fans an entire half to just soak it in.  Soak it in?  Soak it in.

I once asked “The Voice of Reason” what his favorite KU game he’s ever been to is.  He mentioned a few, and then eventually noted, “but Marquette, 2003 Final Four.  It’s a surreal feeling – your team in the Final Four, and is up 30 plus at the half.  You know you’re going to win.  You just get to ENJOY the hell out of that second half.  That?  Was fun.”  (Agreed, by the way, although my favorite KU game I've ever attended was against Stanford in the 2002 Second Round of the Tournament.  I was absolutely convinced entering the "Whatever the Hell They Call It Now" Dome in St. Louis that day, that KU was going to get obliterated, and every KU fan entering agreed with me.  I love, love, love being wrong!)

That’s what that night was for Chiefs fans – a celebration of the greatness of this team.

Dan had many more memorable moments – every second of Montana’s final drive in denver in 1994 to exercise every damned demon that place ever held.  You know the moment – “Lord?  You can take me now!  I have seen it all!”  EVERYONE remembers that moment, the sheer euphoria of not just watching two of the all-time greats duke it out, but seeing it done with the eyes of the nation watching.

Most people forget the other great calls from that drive, such as:

* when it goes quiet when the Chiefs call a timeout, and the fanatical Real Mile High bronco fans calm down to catch their breath for a moment (as do Frank, Al, and Dan in the booth), Dan just throws it out there: “how’s it feel, john!!!!”, as a helpless john elway stands on the sidelines, powerless to stop what’s coming.  Or after the Chiefs get the job done, when the camera pans to Son O’ Bum on the sideline: “Aah!  Poor Wade!  His team did everything, but win!”  OPENLY rooting for Kansas City, in the booth.

* or how about 1995?  My favorite Chiefs play of all time – Tamarick Vanover, in overtime, from 87 yards away.  The first overtime punt return touchdown in NFL history, and the league was 76 years old at that point.  Everyone remember certain aspects of that call.  Me?  I remember Dan screaming “NO FLAGS!  NO FLAGS!  THIS ONE’S OVER!!!” throughout Al Michaels and Frank Gifford trying to explain what was happening.  Dierdorf loved the play.  He also wanted the Chiefs to win so bad, he was making sure every Chiefs fan knew, that play was standing.  “NO FLAGS!”  Seriously, find the clip, it’s out there in various places.  (If Blogspot didn’t ban posting mp3’s for copyright issues, I’d post mine.  I have the whole damned return, from start to sign off of the broadcast.  Dierdorf yells “NO FLAGS!” AT LEAST five times.  And not back to back to back.)

There’s so many more.  The raiders game in 1997 that “burned al davis’ house down”.  The Monday Night Meltdown in 1998, when Dierdorf somehow justified Derrick Thomas’ utter stupidity.  (Note: I’m as big a Chiefs homer as you’ll ever find … and even I was disgusted by DT that night.  (Pause).  He should have DECAPITATED shannon sharpe, not merely allegedly punch him where mr. sharpe may or may not have needed an athletic supporter.)

Mr. Dierdorf called the Brandsmart Game against San Diego in 1999.  He took the time to explain to the nation why Chiefs fans were going ape-sh*t crazy with excitement and happiness, when San Diego WENT FOR IT on 4th and 1 at the Chiefs one, trailing 17-0 early in the second half.  He called the Mitch Lyons Game against the Steelers later that year.  He called the win in the Real Meadowlands over the Jets in 2002 that, in a moment of true irony, both (a) was the Chiefs high water point, and (b) not just marked the Jets lowest moment, it sparked the rally from 1-4 to AFC East Champs.  He called the raiders game at Arrowhead that year, which was one of only two games the raiders lost the rest of the way (the other being the Super Bowl).

He had many more memorable calls.  I hope to do a tribute stand-alone post by the end of the year, but I’m betting between work obligations, holiday obligations, and that pesky thing known as “The Annual Column”, my bar none FAVORITE post I post each year (usually on Christmas night) that takes me a friggin month to type, there’s so many people to thank and moments to remember from my 2013 that was, that I’m guessing I may never get to it.

So just know, Dan Dierdorf – this Chiefs fan gets it.  And this Chiefs fan loves the hell out of you, for it.  Thank you for twenty plus years, of standing up for this franchise, and not just defending it to the nation – supporting it, to the nation.  This Chiefs fan noticed.  And thanks you from the bottom of his heart.

The Chiefs Prognostication:

I can genuinely say, 2013 has been the worst year of my life, and there isn't another one that is even in smelling range of 2013, save for maybe 2002, which might get a lingering whiff of the stench of this year.

Which is probably why, I took a step back on Friday, and thought "wow, what a perfect way to end this year."

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The building I work in, is being remodeled, and my department (currently on the 2nd floor) is moving into its new digs on Monday on the 5th floor.  So all week, the second floor has been one massive packing / document dumping debacle.  The poor Iron Mountain guy, who showed up twice today, had a look on his face for the second run like "damn people!  You be burnin' every document on site!"

And that's kind of what this week has felt like.  The shredding bins are so full, you kind of want to pull a "oh crap, the enemy broke the fail safe line, BURN EVERYTHING AND FLEE!!!!!" maneuver the Nazis faced in Berlin in April 1945, the Confederates faced in Richmond in April 1865, and (sadly) the United States faced in the District in August 1814.

I requested 11 boxes to send stuff off to Iron Mountain for storage (since we're losing 2/3 of our department filing cabinets in this move).  And I thought I hadn't ordered enough.

Early in the week, I was kind of sad and nostalgic.  The redesign is an interesting looking concept.  It looks NOTHING like what we're used to at "company Stevo works for".  Monday, when I walk onto two early in the morning to get my Christmas poinsettia (which, if history holds, will be dead before the Super Bowl) off whoever's still there desk I leave it at (lookin' at you, Susie or Reggie), will probably be the final time I see the building as it has been, since I first walked in the door on July 10, 2006. 

You spend a chunk of your life somewhere, you get used to the familiar.  You come to expect certain things.  For example, I graduated from college (gulp) exactly fifteen years ago on Thursday, December 19th.  My first trip back to TCU was barely three months later, and everything looked the same.  My second trip back, in the summer of 2002, things had started to change, but most of the campus still looked the same.  My third trip back, in September 2007?  I didn't recognize the west side of campus.  All the old dorms were gone, replaced by new state-of-the-art living accommodations.  The Union was gone, as in gone. 

I crossed University, from the west side of campus to the east, and entered the alumni walkway.  This was always my favorite part of campus -- the walkway down the center of the east side of campus, is made up of bricks with the names of the alumni on them.  (It's your lovely parting gift for that $41,000 / year education -- a $50 brick with your name on it, that’s billed to you as part of your graduation cost.  Good grief.  Even the Chiefs just give us season ticket holders that brick, and they have robbed me and my folks of far, far, far less money, than the good folks at 2800 University Drive did.)

I wasn't even going to look for mine; I was just going to walk to where I'd parked, and head on back to Frisco, where I was staying on the way down to Houston for the Texans game.  But walking along, I wound up in front of the library, where I'd worked for all of my 3 1/2 years at that fine institution. 

You all know, I do not believe in coincidence.  There is no such thing as "random f*cking odds in life".  Of all the places the Class of 1998, fall edition, was residing for the year?  Was in front of the place.  There I was.  My neat little brick thingy with my name on it, in front of where I'd spent way too much time in the late 1990s.  Like I was marking my territory.  A "I may not be here anymore, but you'll always remember I was here once" memory.

Which is what this week was for me.  The "I may not be here anymore, but you will always remember I was once" week.

Every once in a while?  It’s nice to know you mattered.

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I only used three of those eleven boxes.  I was chucking accounting manuals, LOMA books, and MDI guides into the dumpsters like a clerk of Ol' Jeff Davis in Richmond nearly 150 years ago. 

Because those were just relics of a past, that doesn't exist anymore.  (Seriously -- what brain-dead idiot kept EVERY LOMA BOOK PUBLISHED SINCE 1989?  Really?  They revise the damned exam every year; I'm pretty sure insurance regulations in place during the first President Bush administration were discarded or modified long ago, folks.)  I didn't need a notebook of how to upload an entry into SAP, to tell me how to upload an entry into SAP.  So chuck it.  Reinsurance files from 2002?  Scan 'em and let the originals get lit like me on a typical Tuesday.  Because those are just tangible items.

The memory, is what counts.  And no matter how much this building changes, I won't forget the good times here.

No matter how much anything changes?

The memory, is what counts.

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Seeing the names written on some of the stuff chucked into that dumpster, and into those shredding bins, made me smile.  People I hadn’t even thought of in six, seven years, but the moment I saw who that book, who that annual statement, had belonged to, the memories came rushing back.

Sometimes, I had to pause for a moment, a little, uuh, verklempt, at seeing the name, of co-workers who not only no longer worked with me, but no longer draw breath on this planet. 

But never once did I have to stop and hold onto something for purely sentimental value, or throw something into the “keep” pile because of the name on it.

I don’t need inanimate objects, to remember why I care about someone.

Because I know, why I care about them.

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And that’s what this whole Chiefs season, has been to me.

I don’t need ticket stubs to remember great memories, amazing moments, and incredible afternoons and evenings spent with the Fine 53.  (Note: if you’d told me that last June?  I’d have launched into a ten minute tirade over how much I hate the credit card season tickets.  Now?  I’m fine with it.  (dave matthews band voice) Funny the way it is, if you think about it!)

This season has been one fantastic trip down memory lane, reminding me of why I love this team in the first place.  Ever since that cold December Sunday in 1986**, straight through to today, this team has been my driving passion in life.  (Yes, I realize how pathetic that is.  No, I don’t give a sh*t what you think about it.  In the words of The Champ: “Deal With It!”)

This season has been nothing short of a Chrismukkah miracle.  A daily reminder of why I love this team, why I care about this team, why I shell out thousands of dollars that, quite frankly, I don’t have, to root for this team in person every year, at least ten different times … and this year, at least eleven.  And I’m praying for twelve, as my Chrismukkah gift from the football gods. 

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(**: gun to my head, that is my favorite post, I've ever written.)

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I have enjoyed the hell out of this season – the good (nine and oh!), the bad (three straight losses!), and the despicable (oh and two against Satan’s Squad!).  I love the fact that the Chiefs can still tie denver in the standings, if not pass them, with five games left between the two team’s schedules.  (Note to donkey fans reading this: if you get Case Keenum next week?  Be on HIGH upset alert.  HIGH upset alert.  That kid can play the position … even if he’s approaching Brokie Croyle-like standards for “plays just well enough to get you beat” notation at this point.)

I love the fact we effectively ended the mike shanarat regime in Washington.  I love the fact that denver fans wish it had been them beating that jackwagon by five touchdowns on his home turf last week.  I also kinda, sorta, maybe, possibly like the fact, that denver fans were rooting for that five touchdown beatdown by us last week.  Like my t-shirt I had in my college days used to say: “UT!  A&M!  United By Hate … And the fact Texas Tech isn't an institute for higher learning!”

I love that the odds are, next week’s Colts / Chiefs game is going to be one boring ass glorified preseason game.  And I love the fact that, if things go well on Sunday?  It doesn’t have to be.  I cannot wait, I simply cannot wait, with a win on Sunday, to have Arrowhead erupt every 2-3, 3-4 minutes, as the broncos / Texans score is shown, and you get the random “broncos 0, Texans 3, 11:52 1st” shown as the current score. 

I believe the Chiefs are going to win on Sunday.  Let me pick the game now:

* Chiefs (-4 ½) 24, at raiders 6.

And I also believe this.  At my group’s watching party – whether it happens because the Patriots beat Miami, or we beat the raiders, or we have to wait until 11ish Monday night, when the Lions survive the Ravens, the two sweetest words of a non-foul variety, are going to be shouted by me.  Two words, I’ve only gotten to shout (hang on, doing the math …) four times in the last eighteen years.  In the words of the great 49ers (and former Cal Bears) play by play man Joe Starkey:

“HELLO PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!”

Holy Toledo, did ANYBODY think we’d be shouting that with two weeks to play, four months ago?  Because I sure as hell didn’t, and I thought I was being generous in having us lose tiebreakers at 10-6, to miss the playoffs …

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One last thing.  And I don’t give a damn how cheezy it sounds, how corny it sounds (seriously, who came up with “corny” as an adjective long ago?), how (the late, great brian griffin voice) “gay!” it sounds.

(Deep breath …)

The theme was picked for a reason.  "Live While We're Young".  Emphasis on one word -- LIVE.

This Christmas season, take the time – simply take the time – to go out of your way, to let those you truly care about, know they matter.

Don’t let petty differences, don’t let trivial sh*t, keep you from truly letting those you care about, know how you feel.  Petty sh*t doesn’t matter this time of year. 

You?

Do matter.  All the time.

This year, take the time to let those you truly care about, know how much they mean to you.  Don’t take for granted the time you have left with them. 

I try to do this on this site every year, with “The Annual Column”.  It’s my annual “thank you for simply being you” post, that never fails to attract the most readers every year.  Save for last year, when my recap of the Chiefs / Panthers game – sadly – drew the most views.  And – sadly – it’s still by far and away, the most read post on the site.

I say sadly, because if that’s how you feel, if you feel life is a losing proposition and you want to check out, please – don’t!  There is ALWAYS someone who cares for you so damned much, they’d take a bullet for you.  If that’s how you feel?  I’ve been in your spot – more times than you know, but never more so than in that linked post.  I’m still here, eleven years later.

Is my life perfect?  (Cue raucous laughter at how ridiculous that question is!)  Have I made a boatload of mistakes since then?  (Cue everyone nodding in agreement!)  Have I failed a lot of people, in damned near every way imaginable?  (Cue everyone applauding their agreement!)

My life is an encyclopedia example, of what NOT, to be.  And yet, I'm still here.  For one reason.

You.

Those who truly care about you?  Will hold you accountable when you fail them.  They have to.  (Jesus God above, how much I wished two people I care so damned much about, understood that basic fact.)  

But those who truly care about you?  Won’t turn on you because of it.  They not only won’t turn on you; they’ll double down their support of you, when you face your darkest hour.  (Jesus God above, how much I wished two people I care so damned much about, understood that basic fact.)

I would like to think, every person who considers me a friend, and every person I consider a friend, knows that is always true with me.  But if you don’t?

It is.

My way of saying, since it likely will be the next post going up, “The Annual Column” this year is going to be a little bit different.  But I think Version 2.0 is going to be better.  Because it’s going to be more personal, if that’s ok.  (Hey, it’s my site – it IS ok!) 

Because 2013 is a year, unlike any I have experienced.

God gave myself and my family a second – and third – chance on Sunday, October 6, that we asked for, we prayed for, and I lit every damned candle in that chapel at Shawnee Mission for ... and that we didn’t deserve.  The least I can do, is pay it forward.

I literally cried for five minutes this morning, writing "Dad" on the card to my mom and dad, in their gift bag from me for Christmas.  If it wasn't for the Divine Intervention of God Himself, and the amazing work of the EMT's who responded to my dad's demise on that horrific Sunday -- to say nothing of the incredible lady in aisle 4 of the Hen House, who dropped everything to perform CPR on my dad for six minutes, waiting for the EMT's to arrive -- I never would write those three letters again, to a living person.

Thank you, for all you are to me.  If you are simply reading this, you matter.  If you're reading this and know me personally, you REALLY matter to me.


Merry Christmas to all of you.  I hope everyone reading this, has a perfect 2014.  Many of you, will be noted in "The Annual Column" in a week or so.  

Until then?

In the words of that adorable 7 or 8 year old in the “Fans First” message that plays every week at Arrowhead: “Gooooooooooooo CHIEFS!” ...

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