Saturday, October 25, 2014

week eight: opportunity awaits.

“It’s nine o’clock on a (Sunday).
The regular crowd shuffles in.
There’s an old man, sitting next to me,
Making love to his tonic and (vodka) …

He says son, can you play me a memory?
I’m not really sure how it goes.
But it’s sad, and it’s sweet, and I knew it complete,
When I wore a younger man’s clothes …

Sing us a song!  You’re the piano man!
Sing us a song tonight!
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody,
And you’ve got us feeling alright! …”


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Last Week ATS: 9-6-0.
Season to Date ATS: 50-54-2.

Last Week SU: 10-5-0.
Season to Date SU: 60-45-1.

Last Week “Screw You Pete King” Upset / Week: split!  Both ATS and SU.
Season to Date Upset / Week: 4-4-0 ATS / 4-4-0 SU.
This Week’s “Screw You Pete King” Upset / Week: Panthers (+5) over Seahawks.

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The Non-Jets, Non-Chiefs Best Guesses:

* “Blooper” Chargers (+9) 34, at donkeys 31.  As made on Twitter last night.  I think I’m now 0-96 picking these Thursday nighters.  (Note: approximate guess at record; actual record is likely far, far worse.)

Left unsaid?  After this game, the donkeys have 6 of their last 9, on the road … and the only three home games left (Buffalo, Miami, oakland), they’d win anytime they played them.  If the donkeys don’t get home field advantage (and we all hope they don’t), don’t sleep on the NFL schedule maker screwing them out of a credible home-field advantage for the last two months of the season.  (Especially since they still have to visit Foxboro (next Sunday afternoon), The Murph, The Paul, and a little piece of heaven known as Arrowhead Stadium.  On a Sunday night.  To close November.  Get ready, donkeys.  Because I am.

* Lions (-3 ½) 34, Falcons 20 (in London).  We’ve had games on during tailgating before.  Happens a lot when the Chiefs host the late stand-alone slot, or the Sunday nighter.  I am damned certain we’ve never had a NFL game on … at 8:30 in the morning.  Gotta love Roger and Diane deciding “screw it, we’re mounting a flat screen with DirecTV reception to the side of the bus” last season, for the donkeys game.  The gift that is gonna keep on giving!

* Vikings (+2 ½) 13, at Bucs 2.  Sadly, this is not the worst game on the board.  It’s not even close.  But it does get “Gordon Shumway Game O’ The Week!” recognition.  My suggestion for your Hulu viewing of three hours of “ALF”?  Sorry, I got nothing for you.  That would mean admitting I watched “ALF”.  I refuse to do that.

* at Patriots 38, Bears (+5 ½) 35.  Overtime, and I think this is gonna be the Game O’ The Day.  I have to admit, the Bears baffle me.  I love Marc Trestman, but this just isn’t going as I expected, when I was so geeked on his hire last January.

* at Panthers (+5) 34, Seahawks 31.  One of these two teams is in deep, deep trouble after this one.  Carolina may be saved by how horrific the NFC South is: they’re still in first, at 3-3-1, and will remain in first no matter what happens Sunday.  (The Saints and Falcons are 1 ½ back entering Sunday.)  But the Seahawks really need this one, badly.  If they fall to 3-4, that’s temporarily recoverable: their next two are home against oakland and the Giants, to get to 5-4.  Then here’s their next six after that: at Arrowhead, vs “Super” Cardinals, at 49ers (on a Thursday night), at Philly, vs 49ers, at “Super” Cardinals.  As my brother would say, “Sweet Jesus!  That’s horrible!”

* at Jaguars (+6) 26, Dolphins 20.  I am beginning to irrationally like Blake Bortles.  Also, “Webster Game O’ The Week!” honors.

* Texans (-3) 42, at Titans 10.  Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that Week One debacle at Arrowhead is going to get the Titans in, ahead of the Chiefs.

* Ravens (-2 ½) 27, at Bengals 24.  The Ravens can all but clinch the AFC Norris with a win Sunday.  Never saw that coming seven weeks ago, when the Bengals won in Baltimore.  A Cincy loss here drops them 2 ½ back with nine to go (only eight for the Ravens).  Their Christmas Goose could be cooked before Daylight Savings Time ends.  Yikes.

* at “Super” Cardinals (-2) 35, Eagles 31.  It’s a damned shame this game will be seen by less than ten percent of the country.  This one could have GIGANTIC ramifications for who has NFC home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

* at Browns (-6 ½) 45, raiders 0.  My God.  This is the backup in CBS’ national stand-alone slot.  0-6 oakland at woeful Cleveland, who made your Jacksonville Jaguars look like Super Bowl contenders last week.  Oh, and it goes without saying: “Good Times Game O’ The Week!”

* Colts (-3 ½) 34, at Steelers 27.  This is the primary CBS national stand-alone game … and as epic as this one looks to be?  (And as massive of potential playoff implications, especially for the Steelers, it holds?)  I’m grateful I’ll get to see at least the second half of it, after getting back from Arrowhead.

* at Saints (-2) 41, Packers 38.  I’m guessing the rating for NBC 41 in Kansas City for this game will be 0.01.  (Or 0.28 below my BAC at kickoff (rimshot!).)  Nobody’s watching NBC 41, come 7pm on Sunday night.  We’ll all be watching the former NBC affiliate in this fine town: WDAF Channel 4.

* at Cowboys (-10) 28, Redskins 6.  This screams “TRAP GAME!  TRAP GAME!”.  Dallas / Arizona next Sunday, in a rematch of arguably the worst playoff game I’ve ever seen (1998 NFC Wildcard).  Plus Dallas has five brutally ugly games after the bye in two weeks: at Giants (Sunday Nighter … unless flexed out), vs Eagles (Thanksgiving; short week), at Bears (another Thursday nighter – the NFL must hate Dallas as much as denver), at Eagles (Sunday nighter), vs Colts (CBS stand alone).  The Cowboys need this one, badly.  Their only three “safe” games left are the two with Washington, and at the Jags in two weeks.

But as big a “TRAP GAME!” as this one is screaming … it’s Colt McCoy.  On the road.  (The Voice of Reason voice) Lay the points.

The Watching Party Plans:

There are no The Watching Party Plans, due to this being a Chiefs home game.

The Tailgating Plans:

There’s gonna be a healthy group out there this week.  The usual regulars, of course.  Jeff and Paula are coming in from Omaha for this one; that’ll be cool to see them.  (And to, of course, once again refer to them as “Tony and Lisa”, because I am horrific with names.)

I have a few co-workers coming out to tailgate with us, my buddy Geoff and my buddy DeNeece, plus whoever they bring with them.

I’m pretty sure we secured the early-in pass; if we didn’t, the Season Ticket Holder email said gates open at 7:30, so it won’t be too long of a wait at the gates.

We’re going pretty simple and easy on the menu, and we’re doing this not only because the odds are, everyone will be up well past a normal pre-Chiefs GameDay bedtime, but because we believe in the team across the parking lot.

If Country Breakfast is good enough for Billy Butler?  Then Country Breakfast is the menu Sunday.  We’ll have biscuits and gravy, hash browns, eggs, some sausage and bacon, and if we feel frisky enough, a waffle or three might appear.  We’ll also have the usual assortment of libations, although feel free to bring some more, under the tried and true theory that “you can never have enough booze”.

We’ll be in our usual spot no later than a lil’ after 7:30am.  Roger should have the Falcons / Lions game on his flat screen, and I will try to have the Mixology list up tomorrow, so you can see the Playlist for Sunday. 

As always, anyone who wishes to tailgate, will be welcomed with open arms, and possibly an offer to raid my cooler.

Just make damned certain you know the words to “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”.  Including the third verse, that makes it the perfect country and western song.  Ryan and I won’t be happy, if you prove incapable of singing along.

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

First, the Tweet, with accompanying pic … and then, my thoughts:



(image credit: me, via Snag-It 10 Tool on my laptop; I’m guessing FOX Sports broadcast, for the initial image credit.)

This one made me laugh out loud.  If only because my mommy has had that exact disgusted-as-hell look on her face towards me so many times, she should have patented it, then sued the former intern / now wife of “K”KK, for copyright infringement.

And for what it’s worth, Ol’ Klassy Kev’ doesn’t exactly look happy to be there, either.

And since it’s my site, and I enjoy full and unedited, uuh, editing privileges, allow me to share the text message my brother sent me from Game Two on Wednesday night:

“Best sign in the stadium?  Hunter Pence Thinks Arthur Bryant is Kobe’s Dad.”

As my bowling league teammates can attest, I literally spit up a lil’ vodka tonic from laughing so hard, when that one came across my phone, as we were watching the sixth inning at P Otts on Wednesday night.

“Hunter Pence Thinks Arthur Bryan t is Kobe’s Dad.”

That’s awesome.

The Poem:

I’m taking a pass this week. 

The Voice of Reason’s, Uuh, Reason:

To be posted when (or if) received from Mr. Reason, unedited save for font and text size formatting.

The Jets Best Guess:

I ask this with all due sincerity.  How in the hell are the Jets favored?

They’re 1-6, L6, and their only win was a rally against the freaking oakland raiders to open the season (a 14-9 victory at the Fake Meadowlands that should have clued us all in, on how God awful this version of Gang Green is.)

If you’re laying the three on Gang Green?  Stevo Rule 34.

(For those of you who’ve never heard Stevo Rule 34, it’s simple: “If you ever make a decision, and you find that people’s reaction to that decision is “you’d have to be mentally retarded or named Stevo to have done that”?  Just assume you f*cked up.”)

* Bills (+3) 33, at Jets 9.

The Chiefs Prognostication (And Pointless Commentary):

Well, it’s been a week.

Scratch that – it’s been a week and a half, that seemed unbearable at times, and seemed ridiculous and beyond awful at times … until that time, you realize, that how you feel about it?

Doesn’t matter.

Not even a little bit.

Let alone a damned big bit.

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Last Wednesday, I got a call from my brother early in the day, that Dad was headed to the ER to get checked out.  He wound up being admitted with a case of pneumonia, with fluid buildup in both lungs, but thankfully, the heart seemed fine.

This is three straight Octobers he’s spent at least a week in the ER.  At least this time, he didn't die twice in an hour.  He wound up spending eight days in the hospital, was released Thursday, has lost 21 pounds from all the fluid being drained out of him, and seems in good spirits.  My mom surprised him Thursday for the trip home with a new Royals long-sleeve t-shirt*. 
  
So Saturday, I headed up to spend the day with him.  He called me before I headed out, and asked me to grab a couple Coke Zero’s, to sneak in with me.  Hey, I’m a good kid; I do as I’m told approximately 8.42% of the time.  This was one of the 8.42% of the time; I swung into the non-Quik Trip on 87th Street, and grabbed a couple Coke Zeros.  I pulled out the wallet, yanked the $20 out of it, set the wallet on the counter while waiting for the change, and walked out.

With said wallet, on said counter … a brain fart I didn’t realize until three minutes later, when I began sprinting back to said non-Quik Trip to retrieve it.

Go figure: it wasn’t there.

The good news is, I had no cash in there; all the cash I had was on me in my pocket.

The bad news?  I had three credit cards, one HSA card, and my check card in there, along with the emergency credit card my folks have had me carry all these years, for emergencies.  I also had a list of Dad’s medications and prescriptions in there, plus my Social Security card, plus my “valid photo ID” that the fine folks at Bank of America demanded, before I could get a temporary ATM card from them, that I no longer had.

And one other item, I forgot about, until Wednesday, when a great friend – a truly great friend – reminded me about it.

Go figure – it’s the item, that matters the most to me, in that pushing ten-year old wallet.

Not mattered.

Matters.

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(*: I guess this is where, I should point out, if you are not from this fine five-county metropolitan area I have called home for all but 3 ½ years of my life?  You need no further proof as to how thoroughly the Royals have taken over this town, than the fact that my mom is buying my dad a Royals t-shirt.  They both thoroughly DESPISE baseball.)

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I spent half my day Saturday cancelling credit cards, requesting new ones.  I use Credit Karma to track things, so notifying TransUnion was pretty easy, to put a fraud alert on my accounts. 

Dealing with Capital One and MBNA was easy.  Dealing with the good folks at Optum Bank was also relatively easy.  Even cancelling my B of A card was easy enough.  Within thirty minutes, I’d limited the damage, reported everything, and shockingly, nobody has tried to use any of my cards yet as of the time of this posting.

Which of course begs the question: what kind of a dumb ass steals a wallet, and doesn’t try to take advantage of it?  There was a solid nearly $1,000 of available credit in that thing, and another $400 or so in my checking account … and they never tried even once to use a cent of it?  No wonder people who live in my part of town live here – we’re all Stevo Rule 34 designees.

But there was one card, I forgot about … until Wednesday.

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Like dealing with Dad wasn’t enough, and dealing with my dumb (bleep) inability to put my wallet in my pocket wasn’t another, then I had to deal with the “how the hell do I get some cash on me” debacle.  I walked into the B of A on 79th and State Line on my way to see Dad on Saturday, since it was the closest one on the way to the hospital.  The lady there was very nice.  Confirmed I had cancelled my old card, confirmed my account info … and then asked me for a “valid photo ID” to get a temporary ATM card.

My response?  “I don’t have one; it was in my wallet.”

Her response?  “Then I’m sorry; come back when you replace it.”

Peoples?  Peepettes?  If ANYONE says the words “valid photo ID” to me anytime in the immediate future?

You’re getting b*tch slapped so hard, the mark will be permanent.

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Thankfully, my mommy gave me her ATM card*, to take out $100 once I got to the hospital Saturday.  And my boss was cool with me taking Tuesday morning off, to go deal with getting a “valid photo ID” from the good folks at the DMV on 63rd and Blue Ridge, and then dealing with B of A at the branch closest to me at 87th and Blue Ridge.

So here’s a hint, in case you are one of the fortunate and blessed ones in life, who aren’t in endentured servitude to B of A.

Their temporary ATM cards?

(great outdoors voice) Bite the big one, Uncle Roman!

You get this lovely, official looking card … with the words “Preferred Customer” on it, as your name.

You know how many places take “Preferred Customer” as an acceptable form of payment?

One.

Exactly one, based on my last week.

The cafeteria at work?  Nope.  The non-Quik Trip gas station on 87th Street (which, in the interest of fairness, has THE cheapest beer prices in town – 8 16 oz. Bud heavy’s for $9.72 after tax!)?  Nope.  (Although thankfully, I’m friends with the evening attendant, and he’s let me run a tab the last couple nights, for that 8 pack of Bud heavy.  (Pause).  Yes, the fact that a freaking convenience store lets me run a tab, because they know me so well, and know my alcohol purchasing habits so well, they trust me to pay once this debacle is over?  Frightens me too.)

Wal-Mart?  Not a chance in hell.  I was laughed out of line, trying to buy the mint M&M’s on Tuesday.  (Quick shout-out to my co-worker who left a fresh bag on my desk on Wednesday.  Greatly appreciated by every person in the department, especially me.)  D’Bronx Deli?  The lady actually looked at me and said “your name is Preferred Customer?”  (Pause).  They hire nothing but the best and the brightest.  (Although in D’Bronx’s defense, they make THE third best pizza in Johnson County, Kansas (behind only the late, great The Pizza Maker, and Rosati’s), and I’d kill to know the secret recipe to their Italian dressing on their salads.  It’s almost as good as The Pink Stuff at Pizza Shoppe.  Hell, it might be better than The Pink Stuff.  I know, I know, that’s sacrilege.  But it’s that damned good.)

The ONLY vendor, the ONLY retailer, the ONLY place that took “Preferred Customer” this week?

Our good friends at the bar, at College Lanes in Overland Park.

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(*: she gave me the wrong PIN number.  Sadly, pathetically, dealing with last October?  I knew which two numbers weren’t in the correct order.  The things we do for love.  Which I believe, in the words of Jack Perkins, “is a song!”)

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I also have a really good friend, whose identity I (ralph wiggum voice) choo-choo-choose! to keep as private as possible, that’s going through a pretty rough stretch right now. 

This friend actually sorta, kinda reached out to me on Tuesday, through another mutual friend … but did officially reach out to me last Wednesday.  I got the reach-out when I was at bowling league, and I was trying to figure out whether things were ok with Dad or not, and I have to be honest: could not possibly have been worse timing.

(To say nothing of the fact Travis was single-handedly beating our team, three versus one, at that point.  Dios Con Mio!)

This friend’s message, actually jolted me.  And I have to sadly be honest; it took me almost five hours to respond, I was so unsure how to respond.  This friend has hurt me that much, over the last few years.

(Which I guess narrows it down to three people, in the interest of honesty.)

In the end?

I did what any friend would do.

I did what my friend asked me to do.  Not because I wanted to (although I didn’t mind, and every fear or reservation I had, has been proven false, through the last ten days, thankfully).

But because my friend needed me to.

And because I needed to do for that friend, what they asked me to do.

Which was simply, be their friend.

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Funniest moment of the last two weeks – because we all need some levity:

My bowling league is supposed to start practice at 5pm, bowling at 5:15pm, and ideally be out of the joint and enjoying dinner somewhere by 7:30pm, every Wednesday.

There wasn’t a squad in the league – all eleven of them – that had finished Game One, before the Royals clinched a berth in the World Series, a little before 6:30pm, on last Wednesday.

The league bowling after us?

Didn’t have a single person complain, at the delay to their schedule.

#TakeTheGodDamnedCrown

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So let’s wrap this up before page 13 for once.

The card I forgot to deal with?

My Season Ticket Card.

I called the Chiefs on Wednesday, after my friend* that’s been staying with me for most of the last ten days noted “hey, did you call the Chiefs and let them know” I’d lost my wallet.

How did I whiff, on the most important card, inside that bad boy?

It literally has been falling apart for half a decade.  (The wallet … and fine, (rimshot!) it – me.)  It had one casino players card in it (love ya, Ameristar!), one Sporting KC fan thingy card in it, three credit cards, one debit / check card, one HSA card, one list of prescription medications, one driver’s license – excuse me, excuse me, “valid photo ID”, damned Bank of America regulations – one Social Security card, one spare key to the “Car That Doesn’t Start”, one personal hand-written note I wish I hadn’t lost, about five “lunch punch cards” to various places I frequent for lunch, one rewards card for Lew’s and The Well, and yeah …

The Season Ticket Card.

The most important thing in there, to me.

Which means, the most important lesson I learned these last ten days?

Is what I’m about to close with.

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(*: you all who know me best, know who the friend is.  So if the significant other of said friend is reading this?  I will f*cking kill you, if I ever see you again.  What you did to my friend?  I’ve never cried like I did, seeing it.  I will punch you in your junk so hard, my fist is going to come flying out of your ass when I’m done with you, along with your junk, I so despise and hate you, for what you did to my friend. 

And I know I am not only not the only person reading this, that’s ready to tear you a new asshole?

I defy you to find one person, ready to defend your asshole, from my fist flying through it, if I ever see you again.)

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OK, back to what I truly wanted to use my last ten days, to frame.

Credit cards?  Replaceable.

Wallets?  Replaceable.

Medicine lists?  Replaceable.

Rewards cards?  Replaceable.

Even Season Ticket Holder cards to get you in the gate?  Replaceable.

What truly matters in life?

Not even up for negotiation.

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Because friends, and loved one, and those you treasure and value and admire and – quite frankly, worship like they’re God-like irrationally?

That’s what matters.

We matter.

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re a friend.

If you’re showing up Sunday to tailgate with me?  You are a friend.

If you’re “The Voice of Reason”, or “Jasson”, or “The Ex”, or my brother (who needs a nickname, I suppose, on this site)?  If you are my Dad, if you are my Mom?  If you’re my Second Parents? 

If you’re anyone who’s ever had a beer with me, at any point in time?

You’re more than a friend.

You’re family.

Please know – that word has damned significant meaning to me.

Always has.

Always will.

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And if you happen to be a member of the Fine 53, or an employee of the Kansas City Chiefs Football Club?

You’re irreplaceable.

Unlike every damned thing in that lost wallet, but like every person I’ve ever met?

You’re irreplaceable.

* at Chiefs (-7) 54, Rams 34.  You can Google search why I picked that score … but just know, a re-enactment using couch pillow cushions of Mike Cloud blocking a punt, was involved.  Also, the single greatest “holy f*cking sh*t, he nailed it!” prediction of a lifetime, occurred at The Overlook that morning.  Also, a certain NFLN panelist may or may not have up-chucked breakfast in the huddle, during that game.

But I picked it, because?

The Royals stealing bases, and America’s heart?  That?

Is what Royals do.

The Chiefs slobber-knockering their way into the heart of the AFC Wildcard race, only to once again lose to the Colts in my birthday month about ten weeks from now?  That?

Is what Chiefs do.

Using pillows to re-enact a punt block when you’re in your nearly mid-20s?

That?

Is what friends, is what family, do.

Give me that, every day of the week … and twice on Sunday.


Especially this one.

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