Thursday, April 28, 2016

thursday april 28. one last time, for the greatest writer we'll ever be blessed enough to read ...

“Hello darkness, my old friend.
I’ve come to talk with you again.
Because a vision softly creeping?
Left its scenes while I was sleeping.

And the vision that was planted
In my brain?
Still remains,
Within the sound of silence …

In restless dreams?  I walked along
Narrow streets of cobblestone.
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp?
I turned my collar to the cold and damp,

When my eyes were stabbed
By the flash of a neon light,
That split the night,
And touched the sound?  Of silence.

And in the naked light I saw?
Ten thousand people – maybe more!
People talking without speaking!
People hearing without listening!

People writing songs
That voices never shared!
‘Cause no one dared
Disturb the sound?  Of silence …

Fools, said I?  You do not know!
Silence?  Like a cancer grows!
Hear my words?  That I might teach you!
Take my arms?  That I might reach you!

But my words?
Like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed in the wells?
Of silence.

And the people bowed and prayed,
To the neon god they made!
And the sign flashed out its warning –
And the words that it was forming?

And the sign said,
The words of the prophets?
Are written on the subway walls!
And tenement halls!

And whispered in?
The sound … of silence …”

-- “The Sound of Silence”, so epically covered by Disturbed last fall …


The Sound of Silence.

Jesus, what a phrase.  The Sound of Silence.  At once, it strikes you as patently absurd – how can silence make a sound?  And then, on second glance, you realize the utter brilliance of Paul Simon’s poetry – what greater sound could be made, than no sound at all?

The sound of silence, at its core, means the end.  When communication ceases?  Relationships die.  And when you, as a person, cease to communicate – through any form of communication?

Then the end is here.

And sadly, that is the case today.

Today, my favorite sports writer of all time – and in my opinion (and I’m not the only one who feels this way), THE greatest sports writer of all time – has gone silent.


The great Blackie Sherrod passed away this afternoon, at the young, productive age of 96.  I almost noted in last week’s post that the end was near – SportsDay, the sports section of America’s greatest newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, had noted Mr. Sherrod entered hospice care last week.

(That, and let's face it, that post was heavy on nostalgia of something you never, ever, ever want to forget, for even a moment of time.)

I came late in life to Mr. Sherrod – I never read a column of his until I was a sophomore in high school, and my parents – in a rare, rare moment of being lead consumers! – signed us up for this magical new subscriber site known as America On Line, for this fancy new thing former Vice President Gore invented called “the internet”.

The Dallas Morning News – just further proof that it is truly the greatest publication to ever exist – posted all their columns online.  It’s how I discovered Rick Gosselin, Kevin Blackistone, Tim Cowlishaw, Norman Chad, Evan Grant, Randy Galloway, and the newly rediscovered (for me, at least, since until Sunday the Stars hadn't mattered to me since Game Seven against Vancouver in 2007) Mike Heika.

But one of the shining stars of America’s best newspaper – and unquestionable greatest sports section – grabbed my attention above all the others: Blackie Sherrod.

After three years of loving the paper – and Mr. Sherrod’s columns – online, I moved to the Metroplex in 1995 to attend college.  I paid an extra $.25 every morning to subscribe to the Morning News, instead of the inferior Fort Worth Star-Telegram … which every TCU student could grab for free out of the paper machines anywhere on campus.  Me?  I subscribed to the Morning News.  I still have the key to that paper machine somewhere in the Cigar Box of Memories.

Even to this day, I pay almost $10 / month to access the paywall of the Morning News.  Why? 

Come on, isn’t it obvious? 

Blackie Sherrod!

Every Sunday until his health tanked last summer, I so damned anticipated his Scattershooting column to start my Sunday.  And I wasn’t the only one – it was tradition on The Bus ride in for tailgating, that I’d read Mr. Sherrod’s column to Russ the Bus Man on the drive in.  Pull it up on the phone, scroll through 700 some odd words of brilliance that never failed to make you laugh, smile, giggle, cry, or applaud – often all five emotions within a 100 word stretch. 

A simple five minutes of time … that will never happen again.

Because as of today, and every day forward, all that remains … is the sound of silence, from Mr. Sherrod.

I need a drink.  A stiff, stiff drink, to deal with this ... and what The Sound of Silence truly means.

So for one final time – in honor of the greatest that ever was, and ever will be, in the world of written sports journalism – let’s go scattershooting on this site, while wondering what the hell I am possibly thinking, trying to honor Greatness by typing, when I am not even 1/1,938,384,295,698,847th decent enough of a writer, to pull this off, compared to Blackie Sherrod …

* The Draft. 

I hope the Chiefs trade out of round one … unless Paxton Lynch is sitting there at 28.

For the record, I don’t think he will be.  But damn, what a temptation that should be, to Mr. Dorsey.  Who eleven years ago, did what I argued “One Bad Ass Negotiator” King Carl should have done: take the sliding for nobody knows why reasons quarterback of the 2005 draft, Aaron Rodgers.

(Come on, it’s the only time in my life I’ve clearly and totally won an argument with The Voice of Reason.  I refuse to let it go.  Aaron Rodgers trumps Derrick Johnson, period.)

(Oh, and in Mr. Reason's defense?  Let's forget this ever happened.  Jesus, how f*cked up was I, to think Ryan Mallett was the answer, to a question that didn't need asked?)

Unless Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis is the pick?  I hope we trade down, pick up a third for our consideration, and repeat 2011 – when we traded down with Cleveland (who moved up to get Brandon Weeden – hang on, I need five minutes to laugh over this trade, and you will momentarily …), the Browns moved up to get Brandon Weeden, gave us Numero Seventy overall, and Scott Pioli promptly turned in the card with the name “Justin Houston” on it, the following night.

Let that sink in – the Browns essentially traded Justin Houston for Brandon Weeden.

I’m guessing someone in the Browns front office was smoking at least some of Mr. Weeden’s last name, when that deal was made.

* Forty Games in Forty Nights.

Well, this is sucking so far.

The Clippers are in utter hell right now.  Blake Griffin, done for the postseason.  Chris Paul?  Probably finished.  They trail the Blazers 3-2 after last night’s defeat at Staples.  And this really p*sses me off, because the Clippers at even semi-reasonable health, would have put the fear of God Himself into the Warriors, with or without Stephen Curry.

On the bright side out West, we’re guaranteed one more epic Spurs / Thunder showdown.  Durant and Westbrook against Duncan and Parker (and now Aldridge) one more time.  I’m guessing NONE of these classics will wind up on NBA TV.

In the East?  Utter chaos.  The Celtics face a do-or-die tonight at the Fake Garden against a “how the hell do they keep winning enough games to get home court?!?!?!” Hawks squad.  The Heat face a do-or-die tomorrow against, of all teams, the freaking Charlotte Hornets.  I mean, Charlotte Bobcats.  I mean … sh*t folks – the squad that employed Nathan F*cking Scott, is one win away from ending Miami’s run of excellence in this decade!  A team run by Michael Jordan is about to become one of the last eight teams standing!

And my pick to win the O’Brien?  Thankfully has a game to play with, thanks to one of the greatest comebacks I’ve ever been privileged enough to watch on my television: the Toronto Raptors.

For the record, my Finals pick is Raptors over Warriors in 5.  They’re gonna steal Game One at the Oracle, and then #RTZNation is going to turn the Air Canada Centre into the most frightening home court advantage in NBA history.

* Also, how awesome is it that a team that Spells Centre CORRECTLY is a legitimate viable threat to win the O’Brien?  I might need a towel to clean up, just thinking about that.

* The Royals.

How awesome was Opening Night?  They had the little alphabet blocks, with the balloons in them, like the Chiefs!  A lil’ r, o, y, a, l, s!  You’re damned right I cried seeing those balloons launch!

Also, how awesome is it that the Boyz N Blue haven’t been below .500 since July 23, 2014?  Not even an 0-1, 1-2, 3-4 blip; not even a 51-51 blip since they rose to 50-50 on that magical Wednesday night two years ago.  How is that even possible?

I went to the game last Saturday night; made a ridiculous purchase I’m hauling out for work tomorrow.  (Note: I am fairly sure I’ve never paid more for a freaking t-shirt, than I did at the Royals Team Store last Saturday.  The first digit, including tax, would be a 5.  And there’s another number between said 5, and the decimal point.  Having said that, I’ve rarely if ever been more geeked to put this thing on for the first time, tomorrow morning.)

This week is a drag so far – three losses to a decent Angels team.  But how great is it, that a three game losing streak is causing people to freak out?  It was only three, four years ago, a three game losing streak wouldn’t even grab anyone’s attention in this town!

* The Election.

I have a whole other post (almost done) about this … but I’ll sum it up in three short points:

1. This site strongly endorses Madam Secretary Clinton in the election.

2. I cannot WAIT to FINALLY cast my vote, for the Madam Secretary.  And

3. I’m actually OK with it, if Mr. Trump wins. The reason why, might stun you.

(OK, fine, I’m not “OK” with it – I’ll be more fuming mad than I was after the Supreme Court’s indefensible ruling in Bush v Gore sixteen years ago.  I’ve waited twelve f*cking years to elect Mrs. Clinton to the office she was born to hold.  I’ve waited twelve years to restore this country to the greatness it was under her husband.  She should have run in 2004 – she’d have cleaned Mr. Bush’s clock.  She should have been the nominee in 2008 – Mr. Obama wasn’t qualified for the job.  If some reality show star denies her the destiny us PUMA Democrats have been praying for, for eight years now?  I’m gonna be p*ssed. 

But not as p*ssed, as if she lost to Lying Ted.  And in those two words – Lying Ted?  Is the reason I’m shockingly becoming accepting of a potential Donald J Trump “House of Wings” Presidency.)

* My Health.

Is OK.  I guess that’s good – it’s OK.

My blood pressure spiked again last month; I had a return visit to Dr. Frank, who doubled the milligram dosage for the Lisinopril I’ve been on for six months.  (From 12.5mg to 25mg.  As Dr. Frank noted: “you’re in bad shape for someone not even 40!”  As I noted to Dr. Frank: “you’ve kept my dad alive for twenty years longer than he should have lived.  Don’t retire yet!”)

If you don’t have blood pressure issues, then you won’t get how it feels.  It literally feels like my head and neck are on fire.  That, I can live with.  I’ve always sweated more than the average bear; being constantly hot has never bothered me.  (Nor hurt me – (rimshot!)  Well, save for that STD test (rimshot!)  I kid, I kid … I think.  J )

But what’s weird is how the slightest thing can set me off.  Tuesdays are my late day, with our standing meeting with Seattle that usually devolves within ten minutes into a two hour b*tch fest / shouting match.  That meeting?  Never phases me.  Almost like my body is used to it.

But I can get an email that seems innocent enough in my inbox, and within five minutes I have to plug in a fan, and need a wet wash cloth, just to cool off enough to see.  (Not sure if this is normal, but when my blood pressure goes through the roof, I literally can’t see.  I don’t feel faint, I don’t collapse, I just get blinded.  “Adam Scott”, what say you – is this normal?)

Anyways, you didn’t come here to read about me, you came here to read about what I think.  So let’s get back to the task at hand.

* Indy 500.

I so want to go.  It’s the 100th.  Mr. Penske himself is driving the pace car.  I guarantee you major, major lobbying efforts are being made to bring Mr. Back Home Again in Indiana himself, our good friend, Mr. Jim Nabors, back for one last hurrah. 

Hit me up, Stevo Nation.  Anybody up for this?

* Chiefs Schedule.

I have no complaints.  Save for one.

I love that Houston is early (Week Two), and that it’s at a time of the month, where I can take an entire week, head down to my adopted home state, and spend at least one day in the searing heat on a beach somewhere on the Gulf. 

I love that Indy is in the middle of the season (Week Eight) – still decent enough to not be a weather / travel threat to make it, but late enough that the sanity of putting a f*cking roof over a football stadium, is beyond obvious.

I love that the oakland roadie is early enough – for the first time – that all my South Dakota peeps will still be there.  (And I also, like my South Dakota friends, am optimistic the raiders are moving to Vegas.  Jesus, Mr. Reason and bts would make every road game from now to eternity at the raiders, when this happens.  (cue Brent and Gregg nodding in agreement …)

I love the finish at San Diego – the weakest team in the division, and it’s not even close.

I love the Jets slot – the national slot, late afternoon to close September.  I pray it’s as gorgeous a day, as the Eagles in that slot 11 years ago was.  (And I pray it’s a better outcome – Philly rallied from down 23-6 to win 37-30, on one of the most perfect weather days in Arrowhead history: 90 and sunny, to close September 2005.)

And I love – I mean LOVE – hosting satan’s squad, on Christmas Night, in the hallowed grounds of Terrorhead Stadium.

The Sound of Silence?  Will NOT be an issue Christmas Night.

(Hey, lookie there Mabel -- he worked that whole theme song thingy into the post yet again!  Jumpin' jerwillekers, Mabel, how is this guy not employed by a national site?)

(And side note: could NOT be prouder of my buddy Heath.  Job well done dude!  From complaining about "the herd" not getting their extra fifteen minutes for lunch on Short Fridays, to National Sports Writer for Reputable National Site in barely ten years!  And to think, this was us eight short years ago ...)

I even have to applaud the NFL, for scheduling the Chiefs out of town all but one weekend in October -- because even the NFL computers that create the schedule, know how great the Boyz N Blue are going to be again, in 2016.

My only complaint … is the raiders.  At home. 

On Thursday, December 8.

One prime time game at home in the hellish cold that is December in Kansas City, is bad enough.  (Doubt me?  Anyone remember denver in 2014?  Seven degrees at kickoff, on December 1.  Minnesota in 1999?  14 degrees at kickoff, on a Sunday night in December 1999.  Philly in 2001?  Was so cold, the leftover Jack Stack froze during the game.  Prime time games in December at Arrowhead = damned cold.)

But two of them?


(Also, the Chiefs are going 12-4, winning the AFC West, and will throttle the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round, before hosting … your oakland raiders, in the AFC Championship Game.  I’m telling you right now, hosting oakland with a f*cking Super Bowl on the line?  Is going to have this city going more ape sh*t crazy, than November 3, 2015 was.  And that only saw 800,000 plus descend on Union Station.  If a Royals championship draws literally 1 out of every 3 people who lives within 50 miles of the Town Pavilion?  What is a Chiefs Super Bowl going to draw – the entire godd*mned five county metro area, plus Douglas and Cass Counties to boot?)

* (Doo Doo Doo Doo Do Doo Doo!) Go Stars Go!

Tomorrow night, meaningful hockey returns to North Texas, as the Stars host the Blues in Game One of the de facto Central Division Championship.

So allow me to say, how f*cking cool I think it is, the NHL has gone back (for the most part) to the Divisional Playoffs they held for most of my childhood.

You not only have to make the playoffs from your division … but you have to defeat your division in the postseason, to even have a chance, at Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Gary Bettman is a f*cking idiot.  But even a broken clock is right twice a day.  And damn, did he nail this postseason re-format or what?

(Also, Stars in 5 if Tyler Seguin plays in all 5; Stars in 7 if he appears in less than 5.  Get better dude!  Jamie Benn can’t do this alone!)

If you loved hockey in the late 1990s / early 2000s before Gary Bettman f*cked it all to hell (with an assist from the Devils trap zone)?  You will LOVE this Stars team.  That third period on Sunday was hockey at its finest – the Wild threw literally everything at Dallas.  Four goals in a period when they trailed by four … and Dallas held on because of one of the sweetest breakaways you’ll ever see.

I cannot wait for this series to start.

If only to one again make our “good friends” to the East of the state, bend over and assume the position, they bend over and assume so well.

* Finally …

The Sound of Silence.

I’m not a huge fan of sites that lecture you, if only because (a) the writer doesn’t know you personally, so who is (s)he to judge you, and (b) the writer is usually full of sh*t (s)himself, that (s)he's dark brown 24/7/365.  (Or in 2016, 24/7/366!)

(Note: both (a) and (b) apply here!)

But trust me on this:

Don’t EVER let The Sound of Silence? 

 Become a way of life for you.

Today marks two years to the day, to the last time I “spoke” to someone that was once my best friend in life.  I sent him a quick email two years ago today, to inquire about a dude we were seeking to hire at “current employer”, who I sorta, kinda remembered from our days at Transamerica.  

Said former best friend’s response didn’t stun me; if anything, it just reinforced what I thought of Kyle -- who I am damned proud to not only call a fellow employee, but a friend, as of this posting.

That was our last “communication”, that generated a response worth mentioning.

Because in person, face to face?  “The Champ” and I haven’t spoken in longer than that, by a couple months.

The Sound of Silence between us?  Has destroyed a friendship that was once so epic, we simply called it "The Family", and NOBODY who knew of us, thought that was anything but fact.

So yeah, The Sound of Silence between us?  Haunts me.

Sh*t, it’s probably responsible for at least 10mg of the Lisinopril I cannot get to tomorrow?  

Without choking down tonight.

(Side rant: I cannot swallow pills to save my life.  The Lisinopril?  At least melts in your mouth like a a M&M.  Kinda like Benadryl, another pill I cannot get to tomorrow, without choking down tonight.)

What we have become, haunts me.  As in, nightmares at times, haunts me.  

Because the sh*t, the utter bullsh*t that caused "The Sound of Silence", is such bullsh*t, it’s pathetic, embarrassing, and should repulse everyone involved.  (And it does repulse me – violently.  Sadly, it only repulses me at this point.)

Which is probably why I love the Disturbed version of this incredible song, far more than I love the legendary original by Simon and Garfunkle.

Because somehow?  Disturbed’s version?

Is optimistic! 

Seriously, give it a listen, if you didn't click the opening link:

It’s upbeat!  It gives you a reason to hope, to believe, that The Sound of Silence doesn’t have to be, uuh, a sound of silence!

It’s a declaration that – contrary to what the words indicate – The Sound of Silence does not have to be!

Peoples and peepettes?  Listen to the words of the song.  And do yourself one favor.

Don’t EVER become, what Dusty and I, have become ... and are probably destined to be.

"The Sound of Silence."

Speak.  Listen.  Apologize.  

Acknowledge f*ck up and failure.

Because The Sound of Silence?

Is the single most f*cked up thing, life has to offer anyone.

Because if today’s tragic loss has taught me anything?  It is this:

How the f*ck can ANYONE overcome, a permanent "sound of silence" ...

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