Jesus: All-Round Good Guy

I’m not a theologian. I’ve read the Bible, but much like Karl in Sling Blade, I understand parts of it but not all of it. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading the Bible. It is full of sex, violence and scandal–and that’s just the Old Testament. The New Testament is the cornerstone, of course, of Christianity. It’s not nearly as saucy as the Old Testament. It does, however, tell the story of Jesus, the key figure in the Christian world.

Most folks know the story of Jesus. He was born to a virgin in a manger. He is the son of the one, true Living God. He was sent to Earth to die for our sins. He did just that, being crucified, of all things. His sacrifice bore all the sins of mankind. Three days after he died (wink, wink), he arose from the dead, thereby fulfilling the promise that he would not die. That’s pretty close to accurate.

Before reading further, you should know a couple of things. One, you’re not going to see a bunch citations to scripture. This ain’t Sunday School. Plus, I don’t research much for this silly blog. This is no pedantic discourse on historical Jesus. I’m going from memory, which may be inaccurate, but I’m sure you’ve heard just as reckless preaching from the pulpit. Second, I’m not a fan of “oral histories” when it comes to religion. There’s too much room for mistakes and outright lies. I don’t believe the oral history of my own life. So, all you’ll see here is stuff I remember from the Bible and my own rank speculation.

I’m not so much interested in Jesus as God or even a god. That’s a religious thing. If you believe that, you have taken it on faith, like all religions. You don’t need to be sold on it. If you don’t believe, no amount of persuasion on my part will affect you, especially since I would probably make little sense and only end up arguing with myself about it.

My interest is more in Jesus the man. After all, he was a man, in addition to be the son of God and God himself. From this point forward, I shall try to avoid discussion of The Holy Trinity, as it only confuses me. But, what of Jesus the man? What kind of guy was he?

First off, it’s unlikely that he wa  6′ 2″ with flowing sandy blonde hair and a perfectly shaped nose. He was a Jewish man. He probably wasn’t a foot taller than everyone else or look like Barry Gibb.  According to science, he probably looked like this:


Since the Bible doesn’t describe his appearance, he can look like anything we want, but we should try to be a slightly realistic.

Back then, I guess, people didn’t have last names, but we call him Jesus Christ or, sometimes Jesus H. Christ. I’m pretty sure Christ wasn’t his last name. No one called his step-dad “Joseph Christ.” Of course, Judas was Judas Iscariot. I can’t really reach a conclusion on this one.

Jesus's monogram has caused centuries of debate about what the "H" stands for.

Jesus’s monogram has caused centuries of debate about what the “H” stands for.


We don’t know much about Jesus the child. The sketchy narrative breaks when he’s a preteen and picks up when he’s in his 30’s. What did he do during that time? He could have been a slacker for all I know. If he was, you can be sure he told someone not to write that part down.

He seems like a regular guy. He was a carpenter, which is a regular guy job. There aren’t any details about what kind of carpentry he did, but it was probably the normal stuff for the times–barns, mangers (how ironic), yokes, maybe houses. Who knows? He may have even made crosses for crucifixions.

30 years old was probably pretty old in those days.  Whether it was because of poor health care or more accurate record keeping, we were no longer in the times of people living to be 900 years old.  I’m guessing that Jesus was middle aged.

When the story picks back up, he’s ready for business. The Sermon on the Mount is some of the best preaching you’ll ever hear. I picture it as being quite the scene, with the turnout being mostly the sick and demon-possessed. The sick people probably had leprosy and wore those big leper bells around their necks to warn people when they were approaching. The possessed were just plain insane. Jesus didn’t care. He hung out with them anyway. He even healed them. Good guy.

People were probably leery of Jesus at first. First, the son of God thing was probably off-putting. Imagine if the guy who built your house went around claiming to be the Messiah. Second, even those who believed he was the son of God were probably a little rattled. Up until that point, God was a vengeful cuss who destroyed entire countries, turned people into salt, slew children and even wiped out mankind–all because he had a Byzantine set of rules no one could follow. His son might be a bit edgy. Can’t you just see someone meeting him for the first time?:

Son of God. No foolin’? I’m sure you know about that pork chop I ate last week. I don’t know what I was thinking. Haha. Anyway, could you see your way clear to pass on the smiting just this once?

Imagine the surprise when Jesus said it was no big deal.


It didn’t take him long to collect followers, the so-called Disciples. They were a motley crew and seemed to bitch and moan a lot. Jesus had to be a patient dude to keep from blowing up at them. The first time someone doubted that I could walk on water, he would be walking–right out of the inner circle. “Oh, you can’t feed all these people with a loaf bread and fish.” “Oh, really? Who’s the son of God, you moron?” Jesus did none of that. Nor did he ever rub their noses in it like I would have. I would have been all: “Looks like everyone else is eating, what are you gonna do now, smart ass?” Even after he came back to life, he dealt with this stuff: “Hey, Doubting Thomas, what do these look like–callouses?” Not Jesus. He was a patient man. Good guy.

Even if you don’t believe Jesus was real, he was still a good guy, even as a literary figure. Consider the things he said:

  • Love your enemies. Any tool can love his friends.
  • If someone asks you for something, give it to him. Then, give him more of your stuff.
  • If someone slaps your face, tell him to do it again. This isn’t to prove that you’re a badass. It’s just to let him do it.
  • Don’t worry about the splinter in your friend’s eye when you’ve got a plank in yours. In other words, stay on your side of the street and deal with your own crap.
  • Quit bitching about the government. Give them what they want, and give God what he wants.
  • Don’t judge anyone. Ever. End of discussion.
  • The humble, the meek, the pacifists, the downtrodden–these are my kind of people.

This is just a small sampling of the man’s wisdom. The funny thing is that even though he’s had billions of followers, I’ve never met even one who does any of what he suggests.

Just as impressive as what he said is what he didn’t say. Here is some of that:

  • It’s okay to hate people, especially if they look different from you or don’t believe I’m the son of God.
  • Go forth and kill people in my name.
  • I really hope the folks who preach this gospel all get rich.
  • Give me money to show that you believe in me.
  • Arrogant, self-righteous jackasses are really cool.
  • C’mon boys! Let’s go protest a funeral.
  • Some day there will be a land called America. It will be my favorite place on Earth.
  • You know what I like? War.
  • If people are poor or starving it’s because they deserve it. They’re probably lazy.
  • I hate foreigners.
  • When you pray, be sure to ask for things. Money is always good. Oh, and ball games–I’m a big sports fan.

Jesus was a positive, upbeat guy, even in the face of what he had to know was going to be a bad, bad ending for him. If it had been me, I’d probably have said: “Look. After they crucify me, you dudes kill every last one of those bastards. I’ll be back in three days, and I expect to see some carnage.” Not Jesus. He tried to stay positive. Good guy.


Two stories demonstrate that Jesus, Godliness notwithstanding, was a good guy. Remember Lazarus? He was a good friend of Jesus’s. Maybe Lazarus bought a yoke or something from Jesus. Lazarus died, and his family asked Jesus to resurrect him. Now, you could tell Jesus didn’t want to do it, and I can understand. He performed miracles to make a point, not just to do it. He might have thought this would set a bad precedent. Anyway, he got nagged into it. Lazarus had been dead awhile and was pretty rank. I’m sure Jesus thought: “Man, what have I gotten myself into? Damn, he’s funky.” He did it anyway. Boom! Welcome back, Lazarus. Jesus just did it to be nice.

The other was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew that some bad crap was coming down, so–like a lot of us would–he went off to pray. The gist of his prayer was: “Okay. I know I’m supposed to do this. I get it. But, IF by any chance you’d like to get me out of this, I’m cool with that, too. Of course, you’re the boss. If this is what you want, I’m all in. Just think about it.” What could be more human than that? He would do what he was supposed to do but was fine with getting out of it. What else would a good guy do?

Even his crucifixion shows what a good guy he was. He could have unleashed all manner of wrath. Remember–he’s God’s son, the same God that wreaked vengeful havoc throughout the Old Testament. Instead, he forgave his tormentors.


Like any regular guy, Jesus had a family. Yes, he was the son of God, but Joseph was his step-dad. Joseph taught him carpentry. They probably argued about stuff like any family.

His brother James probably had it tough. At this point, some of you will get hair-lipped and scream: “THAT’S A LIE! JESUS DID NOT HAVE A BROTHER!” I say he did. Why? Because the Bible calls him James, brother of Jesus. That’s good enough for me. So, calm down.

My older brother was an excellent student and good kid. That can be tough to follow. Imagine poor James. Even when he was spreading the gospel, he probably heard about it:

MAN: What’s your name, friend?

JAMES: James…uh…James Christ.

MAN: Are you related to….?

JAMES: Yeah, he’s my brother.

MAN: Wow. He was, I mean is, a great guy.

JAMES: Yeah. We’re fond of him.

MAN: Look, we’re having a little get together later. You’re welcome to come by. Do you think….?

JAMES: Thanks. I’ll see what I can do, but He doesn’t just appear. But I’ll check.

No matter what a good job James did preaching, he was never going to measure up.

Mary was a typical mom, except for the virgin birth thing. Why did Jesus turn the water into wine? Because his mom told him to do it. Haven’t we all been there? My son is an excellent, self-taught piano player. His mother always wants him to play for her friends. He rarely does. It’s embarrassing. Jesus reacted the same way. He hadn’t even started performing miracles yet, but she was his mother. So, he did it. “Okay, Mom. Are you satisfied now?” Good guy and a good son, too.


Jesus hung out with women, too. I suspect women weren’t treated too well in ancient Judea. Jesus didn’t care. Mary Magdalene was right by his side until the end–and the beginning. He didn’t care. Now, I know a lot of you say Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. Maybe so, but the Bible doesn’t say that. If she was, it wasn’t important enough to write down. If you feel better thinking she was a whore, good for you. I know this much: Jesus wouldn’t have cared. He liked the downtrodden. They were his peeps. He made no judgments. Good guy.

I don’t know if Jesus dated or had a wife. If he did, the Bible doesn’t talk about it. Then again, it doesn’t talk about any of the Disciples having wives (Okay, maybe it does, and I just don’t remember). Let’s face it. The Bible isn’t very kind to women, so they probably wouldn’t have included that anyway. It wouldn’t have been weird if he had a girlfriend or wife. In fact, it would have been weird if he hadn’t. I’d like to think he did. He was human, too.


Even if you are a committed atheist, you must admit that Jesus was a fine fellow. If not atheist, maybe you’re just not a Christian. No one ever turned from Christianity because Jesus was a bad guy.  Hey, the Koran mentions Jesus frequently, maybe even more than it does Mohammed.

Jesus said that he’ll come back one of these days.  Maybe he’s your plumber.  It’s doubtful that he’s preaching on TV.  He’s probably just a regular guy–good guy but regular.  If he does come back, though, I’m pretty sure we’ll all try to kill him again.

So, there you have you it. Jesus the man. Good guy. Now, some of you may be poised over your keyboard ready to set me straight and accuse me of heresy and blasphemy. Before you do, ask yourself this: What would Jesus do? Good guy, that Jesus. He’d just like this post and move on.

© 2013

Acorns, Bombs and Guns: The Falling Sky

Chicken Little once famously declared “THE SKY IS FALLING!”  Of course, he (she?) was wrong–it was an acorn.  Sadly, Chicken Little terrified his barnyard companions until they sought shelter in a fox’s den.  Only the unfortunately named Cocky Locky survived.  The lesson? It was a freakin’ acorn, you moron.  Now, Ducky Lucky, Henny Penny and the rest of your friends are dead meat–literally.

We can all agree that Chicken Little was a damn moron.  Plus, he was a chicken.  Chickens are filthy and disgusting.  Why the hell would the other animals listen to one of them, anyway?  Now, you probably think I don’t eat chickens, but I do.  Why?  Because I want to.  They’d eat me if they could.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah, Chicken Little.

(By the way, I have an idea for a post about chickens.  I’m not sure the public is ready for it.)

We Americans have much in common with Chicken Little.  I’m not saying we wallow in our own filth and stink like hell, although some of us surely do.  We do, however, get hit with the proverbial acorn and then scurry about the national barnyard in a panic.

Our latest acorn is the Boston Marathon Bombing.  Here’s what we know (or think we know):  Two brothers born in the Caucasus region of Russia are alleged to have detonated homemade bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.  One of them is dead and the other is hospitalized.  Since these two were identified, here are just a few of the things I’ve heard from folks, most of whom I consider intelligent (my comments are in red) :

  • These guys should have been sent back to Chechnya.  First, Chechnya isn’t a country. Second, when would we have sent them back?  One of them has been in the U.S. since he was 8 years old. 
  • The FBI had been asked to check out the older brother.  It’s the FBI’s fault.  How do we know the FBI didn’t check him out?  There’s no law against being sketchy. 
  • Pressure cookers aren’t designed to be used as bombsNo shit?  All this time, I thought KFC was a terrorist front.
  • All terrorists are Arab.  Ahem, Chechnya is not an Arab region.
  • All terrorists are Muslims. Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Eric Rudolph, Ted Kaczynski–Not Muslims.
  • Muslims are dangerous and should be watched.  Some are. So are some Christians, Jews and atheists.  There are 2.5 million Muslims in the U.S.  If they were ALL terrorists, don’t you think we’d notice the constant terrorist attacks?  The last time we demonized an entire group of people, we put them in interment camps.  No one looks back at that with pride.
  • No one is safe!!  Technically, that’s true.  The U.S. has 15,000 or so homicides a year.  You can’t really call that being “safe,” but it begs a question:  If terrorists are responsible for three of those, who’s killing the other 14,997?
  • We can’t try these terrorists in civilian courts.  Why not?  We have a great and fair legal system.  It affords the accused many rights but also arms the government with ample resources to prosecute crimes.  We become outraged if American citizens aren’t afforded these same rights when accused of crimes in other countries. 

Here’s what appears to have happened in Boston.  Two followers of some radicalized version of Islam took it upon themselves to build homemade bombs and blow up people.  They succeeded.  The Muslims in our country aren’t all banded together to destroy our way of life.  Relax, Chicken Little.

These weren’t criminal geniuses.  They learned to make bombs on the Internet.  You can, too. You can also get helpful advice from a book called The Anarchist Cookbook.  It wasn’t even written by a Muslim.  It was published in 1971.  My brother owned a copy.

We also have acorns bouncing off our heads over gun control:

  • People don’t need ANY guns.  Perhaps that’s true, but it’s irrelevant.  The U.S. Constitution protects the right to own guns.
  • You’re wrong!  The Constitution only allows a “well-regulated militia” to own gunsNo, I’m right.  At least that’s the U.S. Supreme Court says.
  • I must have a gun to protect my family.  Where exactly do you live?  I’d like to know so I don’t move there. 
  • I must have a gun to protect myself against the government.  Which one?  If you mean the U.S. government, good luck with that.  Have you seen the firepower of the U.S. government? 
  • Well, I have other good reasons to own a gun.  You well may, but here’s the deal:  You don’t need a reason.  You can own one just because you like guns.  Hell, you can even own one for the sole purpose of wanting to shoot someone with it. 
  • The Second Amendment is bad. Let’s get rid of it.  Interesting take, but here’s your problem–and it’s a big one–it’s very difficult to amend the Constitution.  That’s a good thing.  It keeps us from tearing it apart with knee jerk reactions.  If you can’t get a few guns law passed, your chances of amending the Constitution are less than nil.  Move on to something that’s at least possible. 
  • Expanded background checks are the beginning of a police state.  No, they aren’t.  If that’s true, let’s just get rid of ALL background checks. 
  • If we pass new gun laws, the government will come and take our guns. The only way that can happen is if the government decides to ignore the Second Amendment and a host of other Constitutional rights.  If that happens, a few new gun laws will be the least of our problems.
  • We don’t need new gun laws, because criminals won’t obey them.  That’s probably true.  Law-abiding citizens obey the law, and criminals don’t.  That axiom applies to all laws.
  • Guns don’t kill people.  Again, that’s true.  It’s also true that Sarin gas, rocket launchers, grenades and flamethrowers don’t kill people, either.  You need a better argument. 

The truth is that a few new gun laws won’t hurt us.  Who knows?  They might even help.  I doubt we’ll find out any time soon.  My advice?  Relax.  We have a violent country full of people who like to hunt humans for sport.  If you’re one of them, you’ll still be able to get a gun.  If you’re a law-abiding citizen, you’ll also be able to get one. If you’re on the other side of the debate, think of this:  If you’re right and over 90% of the public wants stricter laws, there will be political backlash.  Count on it.  Relax.

Bombs and guns.  Terrorists and criminals.  Law-abiding citizens and victims.  Black and white.  Acorns and the end.  We live in a world now where we can get real-time news reports.  During the pursuit of the Boston bombers, you could follow it almost moment-by-moment on Twitter.  The news of the world in 140 characters.  That’s how we think now.  We hear something, and it requires an immediate response.   There’s no time to think.

Perhaps this is why there is a visceral reaction to everything now.  We color it black or white.  I suppose a lot of things are black or white, but those aren’t colors.  There are a lot of colors out there.  Take a look at the world and you’ll see them.  The same thing applies to the big issues of the day.  Maybe they’re black and white.  Maybe not.  It’s at least worth looking at them long enough to tell.

We are an odd people. Most of us, regardless of political leaning, are proud Americans.  We love our Constitution and cherish our rights.  But, when we thinking the sky is falling, we’ll gladly give up those rights in order to assuage our fears. Could it be that this is the reason that people–whether terrorists, politicians or our friends–try to scare us with the black and white of the world?  Maybe the fox tossed that acorn at Chicken Little.

Now, back to acorns.  An acorn hit my head once.  It hurt–a lot more than you’d expect.  It actually raised a knot on my head.  So, I’m not saying that terrorist attacks and gun control aren’t painful topics. They are.  Just don’t confuse them with a hunk of the sky. The fox awaits.

© 2013

The 1976 Loyall Spelling Bee: The Scandal That Will Not Die

Four years after the debacle of the 1972 USA-USSR Olympic Basketball game, another scandal occurred.  Like that infamous game, it remains shrouded in controversy.  In a country wearied by Watergate, perhaps it is understandable that it didn’t capture the public’s attention.  The time has come to clear the air.

I was once quite the fine speller. This was many years ago before spell-check rendered me a virtual illiterate. Spelling was my forte. I did quite well on spelling tests, of course. I well remember the first time I missed a spelling word. It was in the 3rd grade in Mrs. Brewer’s class. I cried. I guess I should also mention that I was quite an odd child, too.

I could spell almost anything. I learned to spell “Constantinople” before I even attended school (I think it was in a Dr. Seuss book). One reason I could spell was that I was an excellent reader, far ahead of many of my peers. You might now guess that I was a child prodigy of some sort (note that it is “prodigy,” not “protegé”). Alas, I was not. I was, however, of above average intelligence and armed with some kind of 6th sense when it came to spelling.

I attended Loyall Elementary and Junior High School in Loyall, Kentucky. Loyall is in Harlan County, far off the beaten path for most folks. Don’t be fooled, though–we had our share of smart kids. Just because you live in the mountains of Appalachia doesn’t mean you can’t spell.



Loyall, home the legendary 1976 Spelling Bee. In my day, we did not have the air conditioners shown here. We battled in the sweltering heat.

For most of my education, my spelling was never put to the test. Actually, it was, but those were just spelling tests. We’d occasionally have a class spelling bee, which I normally dominated like an academic version of Michael Jordan with a spelling hang time unseen before.

The 1975-76 school year was 8th grade for me. High school loomed. As with every year of school, my only goal was to go on to the next year. My early school years were marked by two things: 1) stellar academic performance; and 2) spells of habitual truancy. That latter had little impact on the former but great impact on my parents. I spent half the 7th grade at Evarts Junior High where my mother kept a watchful eye on me from her post as a teacher at the adjoining high school. It worked. One semester at Evarts, and I was ready to fly right back in Loyall.

8th grade was mostly uneventful. I promised that I wouldn’t skip school–and I didn’t (that would wait until high school). Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I was part of Loyall’s Health Fair Championship team.


Your author’s odd appearance belied his spelling ability

The other event of that year was the school spelling bee.  This wasn’t just any spelling bee. It was for the whole junior high. It was like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, except everyone got a bid. Every kid competed from the smartest of the smart to the most impaired dullards. It was a Battle Royale.

While I was quite confident in my abilities, I didn’t care for the spelling bee. Over the years, I had grown weary of being thought of as a smart kid. As offensive as this might be to say about myself, I was a smart kid; however, unlike my older–and even smarter–brother, I would rather have been an athlete or just average. I just didn’t care for it.

There was no refusing to participate in the spelling bee. I thought about it, but I figured that would just be another issue for my parents. So, I played along.

As you might suspect, I was spelling like a whirling Dervish dances. Every word lobbed to me was like hitting a beach ball. Not all my classmates were so fortunate. Some were felled by simple monosyllabic words. Although I don’t recall the specifics, I’m sure “cat” and “dog” took some out.  Others choked, such as one lad who spelled “neither” N-I-E-T-H-E-R. That’s the spelling bee equivalent of a called third strike.

We started one afternoon in the gym. Participants dropped like flies as we moved to polysyllabic and more arcane vocabulary. I was cruising. As the day wore down, I became troubled (if I had a hobby back then, “being troubled” was it). A fear gripped me: What if I won? I would have to go the county spelling bee. Who the hell would want to do that? It was probably on a Saturday, too. How was I going to get out of this without looking like a moron who couldn’t spell? It was quite the conundrum.

When the day came to a close, only two spellers were left. Naturally, I was one of them.  The other was a was very smart and a fetching young 7th grade girl. I suspected she had lived somewhere else at some time, because she had that Michigan-sounding accent which was a little suspicious. Now, I had another problem: To get out of it, I’d have to lose to a 7th grade girl to boot.

When we broke for the day, I consulted my friend Norman, my confidante on important matters. Norman was a fine fellow but a bit devious. He always had good ideas about how to get out of ticklish situations. For example, he once broke up with a girl by writing her a letter claiming that his father had gotten a job on the Alaskan Pipeline and that he would be moving to Yukon, Alaska at the end of the school year.  A man of his stripe would know what to do.

He suggested a feigned illness. I know that doesn’t seem very original, but we were pressed for time. With the passage of time, I can’t recall which illness he suggested. He once claimed to have gangrene himself.  He liked to accuse people of having VD, but I doubt that was one of the suggestions.

Nevertheless, an illness wouldn’t work. I had been fake sick so many times that my parents never thought I was really ill. Dangerously high fever or vomiting or both were threshold requirements. I wasn’t going to be able to swing that.

There really was only one choice. That’s right: take a dive. Norman was leery of this, believing that I would lack credibility. I told him that I would just screw up the first tough word I got.

As usual, Norman and I hung around after school goofing off for a while. Then, we started our walk home. We weren’t a block from the school when two of our classmates–notorious ruffians–yelled at me: “WILLIAMS!!” Uh oh. They were sitting on the steps of a church enjoying their after school cigarettes.

I’d known these guys since first grade. They were okay, but I was kind of terrified of them, too. They rarely had a kind word for anyone.

Here’s (roughly) how our exchange went:

Kid No.1: What’s this bullshit about the spelling bee?
Me: What?

 Kid No.2: We’re gonna whup your ass.
Me: Why? (surely my spelling prowess didn’t merit an ass whupping)

 Kid No.1: We heard you’re throwin’ it. Gonna let that girl win.
 Kid No. 2: We’re gonna whup your ass.
Me: I don’t where you heard that…

Kid No. 1: From him (pointing at Norman)
Me: (looking at Norman): Thanks.
Guys, I just don’t want to win the thing.

 Kid No. 2: We’re gonna whup your ass.
Me: Why?

 Kid No. 1: ‘Cause you can’t lose to no 7th grader. We’re countin’ on you. Don’t f— it up.
Me: I’m not throwing it.
 Kid No. 2: We’re gonna whup your ass.

So, with that, Plan B was scuttled.  It seemed too risky.  One of these lads, in particular, was pretty smart, despite his rough ways.  He would probably detect a dive.  The other guy  was like the big guy who put Steve Buscemi in that wood chipper in the film Fargo–very quiet and probably dangerous.  It was a bad combination.

The rest of the evening I vacillated between trying to fake an illness and losing the will to live.  I had one other problem–part of me really did want to win the damn thing.  Why?  I don’t know.  I guess it was because I really was smart.  It was my only real objective strength.

After a fitful night of sleep, I woke up resolved to win and accept whatever embarrassing accolades came with it.  I pictured myself in some sort of World Series of spelling bees with other socially inept children.  Maybe it was just time to accept my lot in life.

We were back on center stage in the gym, spelling away.  We didn’t get the kinds of words you see thrown at these freaky kids today spell in national bees–nothing like antidisestablishmentarianism.  I don’t recall being allowed to have the words used in a sentence or anything like that.  They just gave you the word, and you spelled it.  It was an old school throw down.

We were back and forth for a while until it happened.  I was up.  The word:  “Inquire.”    (I know that’s not a tough word.  This was Eastern Kentucky in the 1970’s.  We weren’t considered linguists). I fired away.  “E-N-Q-U-I-R-E.” Loser!!  I was stunned.  How could this happen?

I was taken down by the most basic of villains–mass media.  As we all know, the National Enquirer uses that spelling.  That is what flashed into my head when given the word.  Yes, my penchant for tabloid journalism was my Achilles’s Heel.  Or was it?

It turns out that “enquire” is a proper spelling, especially in Great Britain where it is used to denote formal queries. You don’t believe me?  Let’s ask Mr. Webster.  He defines it as a “chiefly British variant of INQUIRE, INQUIRY.”  It’s also included in The Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, the foremost authority on the English language.  Loser?  I think not. I was hoist on the petard of my own erudition.

I took the high road, of course.  I did not appeal or ask for an investigation.  I made no public accusations of wrongdoing, though I would have been justified in doing so.  I’m also pleased to report that no ass whupping occurred.  One of my antagonists, in fact, was outraged that my opponent was not required to properly spell the word to prove her superiority.  Although I don’t think the rules required that, fair play certainly did.  I accepted my defeat, much like the sore loser I have been my entire life.  After several days of sulking, I returned to my normal activities which at the time consisted mostly of brooding.

Years of mostly unsuccessful therapy helped me deal with this and other injustices. My spelling skills have eroded over time, the victim of age and technology.  I’ve gone on to bigger and better things.  I’m a reasonably successful lawyer with a 25 year marriage and three strapping sons.  Time goes on and heals all wounds.  Far be it from me to allow one minor incident to stick in my craw.

If you have any questions about this post, as always, please submit your enquiries below.

© 2013

Wildcats and Cardinals: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

If you’ve read this curious blog of mine, you know that I am an unabashed fan of University of Kentucky athletics, especially basketball.  I hold it too high esteem, and I make no apologies for that.  As a UK fan, I am now faced with one of our periodic conundrums of a bitter rival winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  In this case, it’s the University of Louisville.

I began writing this before Louisville beat Michigan, but I thought it better to wait a few days to finish.  During the title game I found myself pulling for Louisville, yet disturbed when they won.  A few days’ decompression has allowed me objectivity of a sort.  Otherwise, this could have devolved into a pathetic rant fit only for a therapist to read.  Now, let’s continue.

For the uninformed, UK and U of L are easily the two largest university in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.  The schools are similar with excellent professional schools.  U of L, situated as it is in the city of Louisville, has an urban flare while UK has a more college town feel to it.  Basketball, though, is where the schools are most similar.  Both programs have been wildly successful and are money-making machines.

For the uniformed, you need to know a few things.  Louisville is pronounced “Lou-a-vull.”  Call it “Louie-ville” and you’re immediately exposed as an imposter.  Also, it’s “U of L,” not “UL.”  Kentucky is “UK”–never, ever “U of K.”  Should you call it “KU,” just leave our state.  We UK fans arrogantly call ourselves Big Blue Nation or BBN, for short.  I have no idea what U of L fans call themselves.

We like to point out that UK has won EIGHT titles to U of L’s measly three.  Truth be told, UK and U of L have each won three since 1980.  Both have also had other Final Four appearances during that time.  There have also been ups and downs for each program.  U of L can claim to be the steadier of the two, having had only two coaches in the past 40 years.  During that same period–coinciding with the retirement of Adolph Rupp–UK has had six coaches.  Fans on both sides can debate these points until the listener is embarrassed to belong to either camp.  Of such things, I suppose, are rivalries built.

I’ve always struggled with the U of L rivalry, because during my formative years as a fan I didn’t hate U of L.  They were like any other state school.  I pulled for them unless they played UK, which they never did.  In fact, I had more bitter feelings toward Western Kentucky University, which had blown my beloved Cats out of the NCAA Tournament in 1971.  Such players as Wesley Cox, Rick Wilson and Junior Bridgeman played at U of L, and I thought of them as Kentuckians, too.  My hatred was reserved for Indiana University and the University of Tennessee in those days.

U of L won its first NCAA title in 1980 beating UCLA.  I remember cheering for U of L.  It had only been five years since UCLA’s last title (beating my Cats, no less), and I couldn’t stomach the idea of them winning yet another title.  Plus, Darrell Griffith played for U of L.  He was a Kentuckian, and easily the best player in college basketball.  I liked him.

Then, it happened.  Suddenly, U of L was exalted as THE best team in Kentucky, better than UK.  One might say that was sensible, given that they had just won the title.  UK, however, had won the title just two years previously, to go with the FOUR other titles won by Coach Rupp.  We chafed at the notion that U of L was now better.

The drum beats started for UK and U of L to play.  Nimrods in our state legislature proposed a LAW requiring it.  This took priority over such things as our state’s crippling poverty and inadequate schools.  Although no law was passed, the demands for a “dream” game continued unabated.  (As an aside, playing UK is only important to our other state schools when they actually have a chance to win the game.  It seems much less important if a beating is in the offing.)

Of course, it eventually happened but not in the regular season.  In the 1983 NCAA Tournament, the Cats and the Cards met, and the Cards won 80-68.  That game has taken on such mythical status that U of L fans now describe it as a thorough pummeling.  That it was an excellent, thrilling OVERTIME game is largely forgotten.  Also forgotten is that UK beat the Cards TWICE the next season–once in the regular season and again in the tournament.  Oh well.

The remainder of the 1980’s consisted of U of L fans declaring their superiority much like UK fans typically do.  Then, it happened again.  The damn Cards won the title in 1986!  By then, my ambivalence toward U of L had been replaced by jealously and seething hatred.  I was in law school at UK (where I had also earned my undergraduate degree) and at the height of my irrational fandom.  My only hesitancy is that I couldn’t help but like U of L head coach Denny Crum.  He was an excellent coach and seemed like a good guy.

I guess I should also point out that the Cats CRUSHED the Cards 85-51 during that championship season.  Freshman Rex Chapman–who spurned U of L for UK–lit them up for 26 points.  While U of L fans probably wore their championship regalia, we had t-shirts that said:  “CATS 85, NATIONAL CHAMPS 51.”

During this time, UK’s coach was Eddie Sutton.  Besides crippling NCAA probation, Coach Sutton made one unforgettable contribution to UK lore.  He is the one who coined the term “little brother” in reference to U of L.  It stuck.  For that, we thank him.

After ’86, U of L began a gradual slide into mediocrity while the arrival of Rick Pitino as head coach in 1989 pushed UK back to the top.  Pitino won the title in 1996 and was runner-up in ’97.  Then, he made his ill-fated departure to the Boston Celtics.  UK didn’t miss a beat, winning the title again in ’98 under Tubby Smith.

Of course, Pitino famously returned to the Bluegrass State in 2001, at LOUISVILLE, re-stoking the hatred, at least of him.  Oddly, though it wasn’t until 2012 that either program won another title.  Now, we have them back-to-back, and IT IS ON again.  I, for one, am glad to see it, but there are legitimate concerns about keeping the peace in our fair commonwealth.

With the rivalry white-hot again, our state is torn asunder.  Well, not really.  Most Kentuckians are UK fans.  By “most,” I mean virtually everyone.  We do have some risk of driving a wedge between our largest city, Louisville, and the rest of the state.  Of course, we already don’t think of Louisville as being part of Kentucky.  It might be in Indiana or even Ohio for all we know.  Regardless, we should make an effort to get along now.  Both fan bases have recent success to embrace.

The main problem is that the fan bases hate each other.  We Kentucky fans think of the U of L faithful as chinstrapped, knuckle-dragging, troglodytes whose penchant for angry, drunken rages is exceeded only by their desire to fight.  The U of L crowd views us as pompous, self-important, egotists who insist that the Cats are always the best, regardless of overwhelming contrary evidence.  Both crowds are right, of course.  How, though, can we bridge the gap and allow each to enjoy its own success?

First, we should embrace the commonalities of our two cultures:

  • Both universities are in Kentucky, although–as noted above–U of L’s exact location is unknown.
  • U of L’s mascot is the cardinal, Kentucky’s official state bird.  UK’s is the wildcat, the official state woodland beast of Kentucky.
  • Each school prefers a truncated version of its nickname–Cats and Cards, as opposed to Wildcats and Cardinals.
  • Each logo bears a fierce caricature of its mascot.  Even the most die-hard Card fan must admit there is only so much that can be done to make a cardinal frightening.  They’ve done the best they can with it.

A fearsome wildcat prepares to maul the on-looker.


An ill-tempered cardinal preparing to chirp an opponent into submission.

  • Rick Pitino returned both schools to prominence.
  • Neither school is Duke.
  • Both schools hate Indiana University.
  • U of L is in Jefferson County, home to the most Cards fans AND UK fans.
  • Both fan bases are excellent at producing insulting or angry t-shirts:

Some are busy and require study.


Others are simple and to the point.

  • Basketball is the most prominent feature of both universities, rather than some haughty, egg-headed academic program.

Based on this common ground, I propose we move forward, if not together, then certainly without the animus which has marked our past association.  Toward that end, I offer several suggestions to my fellow UK fans to smooth the waters:

  • Let us avoid calling U of L “little brother” or posting any memes like this one:


  • Do not continue to point out that EIGHT NCAA titles are far superior to THREE.  This will only antagonize them, plus it requires them to do rudimentary math.
  • Under no circumstances should we write poorly constructed limericks like this one:

There once was a coach named Rick

His style was flashy and slick

One night after dinner

He met a real winner

Now they call him Coach Rick the Quick

  • Do not point out that Pitino has referred to UK as the “Roman Empire” of basketball and “Camelot.”
  • Do not emphasize that UK has won more basketball games than any college team ever.  Ever.  In the history of mankind.  Ever.
  • It is petty to continually note that UK has won 7 of the last 10 meetings between the two schools.
  • It is even more petty to point out that UK is 21-12 in the series since 1983.
  • Do not mention that UK won its third NCAA title before Rick Pitino was born.
  • Do not magnanimously congratulate U of L fans on their big win.  Nothing infuriates them more than UK fans patronizing them with insincere praise.

Any of these actions will just make matters worse.  The U of L fan will foam at the mouth and start pointing to football, baseball, women’s basketball and softball as proof of Louisville’s superiority.  You, then, might start raving about cheer-leading and the rifle team.  Inevitably, the U of L fan will want to fight you.  (Trust me on this one.  It always happens).  You both may then inexplicably hurl homophobic slurs at each other.  Nothing good will come of this.

The last time I encountered a Louisville fan, we had a dust-up over his sitting in my seat.  Nevertheless, I’m pleased to report that my personal animus has receded to the point that I actually wanted U of L to beat Michigan.  As I have aged, my self-esteem is longer wholly dependent on whether a group of strangers wins ball games.  Family and friends  are now more important.  Of course, my beloved Cats are family, and the Cats have the Number 1 recruiting class next year–perhaps the best class EVER.  You better button down those chin straps.  See you next season.

© 2013

Feel Lucky?


Luck has a bad reputation. People don’t like it. They certainly don’t want to give it any credit. We don’t care for the randomness of it. If we’re just plain lucky, how do we take credit for our good fortune? It’s antithetical to our desire for praise.  Bad luck is just plain unfair, and no one likes that.

People talk a lot of about luck, because we don’t understand it.  Sure, it explains all the success of our enemies and all our own bad choices.  Beyond that, it baffles us.  Why me?  Why not me?

Webster’s Dictionary defines luck as a “force which brings good fortune or adversity.”  Carl Jung called it synchronicity which means “meaningful coincidence.”  Luck can be good or bad.  We can luck out.  We can have a run of bad luck.  We can get lucky.  We can run out of luck.  There are lucky dogs and ducks.

Luck seems inherently good, although there surely is bad luck, just like bad Karma.  If you wish me luck, I assume it’s the good kind, but I could be wrong about that.  If you run out of luck, it’s always the good kind.  We know that you never run out of bad luck.

Those of a religious bent prefer to call good luck a “blessing.”  We’re not lucky. We’re blessed. On its face, that’s a selfless view. All credit goes to God. Even that view, though, gives us just a wee bit of credit, doesn’t it? After all, aren’t we just a tad superior if God blesses us while others suffer innumerable hardships? Or, maybe we’re just lucky that God blesses us.  Regardless, blessings, it seems, are of the good luck variety.

What of those who aren’t so blessed? Sick children, poverty and lives of abuse aren’t blessings. No one suggests that God indiscriminately curses them. Is there some evil more powerful than God? That seems unlikely. Bad luck? Perhaps.

Religions discount luck.  It runs counter to the sovereignty of God.  I’m sure the Bible speaks poorly of luck, although I don’t know that for a fact.  Damn the luck, as they say.

We are so concerned about luck that we think we can bring it upon ourselves.  Four leaf clovers, pennies and horse shoes will draw good fortune.  Black cats, broken mirrors and umbrellas opened indoors can curse us.  7 is a lucky number.  13 is so bad that buildings won’t have a 13th floor, as if calling it the 14th floor changes its fundamental qualities.  We crossed our fingers for good luck.  All of this runs counter to the very essence of luck–randomness.  We so desperately want to gather the good and avoid the bad that we conveniently ignore that.

There are different kinds of luck, good and bad.  There’s dumb luck, like the time I found a $20 bill.  There it was, just sticking out from under my car tire.  Maybe it was a blessing, and God wanted me to do good with it. I don’t remember what I did with it.  I was in college at the time.  I probably bought some beer.

There’s the luck of the Irish, which may not be good luck at all. The Irish haven’t been all that lucky, historically. Maybe that’s why they think nattily dressed dwarves will lead them to pots of gold. That would certainly require some luck.  I asked an Irish guy once about the luck of his people.  His eyes welled with tears.  I just dropped it.

There’s beginner’s luck which explains why people far less experienced than us do better than we do at certain things we’re supposed to do well.

There’s hard luck.  Ever heard a hard luck story?  It’s never uplifting.  It usually ends with the teller asking for money.  You do that with me, and you’re out of luck.

Speaking of being out of luck, have you ever been shit out of luck?  That’s always bad.  Again, what the hell does it mean?  It may well mean that one has, in fact, defecated away one’s good fortune.  If so, I can see how that is bad.

So, is there luck or is it, as Branch Rickey said, the “residue of design?”  I don’t know what the hell he meant, but I take it to mean you have good luck when you’re just better than everyone else.  Conversely, if your design is poor, you’ll get a boatload of bad luck.  There is plenty of evidence of both in the world.

Rickey was right, to some extent.  Post-it notes were developed because a strong adhesive turned out to be weak. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by accident.  These folks were, however, working on something at the time.  It’s not like Fleming just let some bread go bad and then cured an infection by eating it on a dare.

Certainly, if you win the Powerball, there’s an element of luck. Consider than twelve men have walked on the moon. Ten are still living. That’s one out of every 30 million Americans. Your lottery odds are one in a 150 million. Luck.

What if, as Warren Buffett describes it, you win the “sperm lottery,” and you are born into great wealth? You’re lucky, at least when it comes to money. One of your ancestors may have been, too, or he or she may well have earned every penny you have. You, on the other hand, lucked out.

Grover Cleveland Alexander once said “I’d rather be lucky than good.”  Alexander was a Major League Baseball pitcher in the early 20th century. He was a great pitcher. He won 373 games. He gave luck its due.  If I were him, I would have taken all the credit myself.

Tennessee Williams said “Luck is believing you’re lucky.”  That makes no sense, but Williams choked to death on the lid of an eye drop bottle.  That’s some hard, bad luck.

Lou Gehrig, another great baseball player, once said “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”  He said this on Lou Gehrig Day, held in his honor because he had ALS, a disease so rare that they named it after him:  Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  If that’s good luck, no thank you.

Why do we call people lucky dogs? I think that’s because dogs used to be, well, treated like dogs. That was bad at one time, before we had dogs sleep in our beds and eat at our tables. I’m guessing that a dog who lived with people was just damned lucky.  Mr. Rickey’s theory doesn’t apply to dogs, I guess.

Having a stroke is really bad, unless it’s a stroke of luck.  Then, it’s really good.  You want that stroke.  A real stroke is not a stroke of luck, unless you mean bad luck.  Surviving the stroke could be a stroke of good luck.  See how random it is?

I’ve had my share of good luck, and I’d like to take credit for all of it.  Honestly, I can’t.  Some of it just happened.  Plus, if I take credit for the good, I have to take the blame for the bad, and that’s just not my style.

I don’t suggest you live your life hoping for good luck.  It’s random, after all.  Otherwise, it wouldn’t be luck.  I guess we just have to do whatever we do and take the good with the bad.  Good luck with that.

© 2013

Why Mike Rice Paid The Price


Until yesterday, I had never heard of Mike Rice, the now former men’s basketball coach at Rutgers University. Videos of his abusive treatment of players at practice have gone viral thanks to ESPN. Eric Murdock, a former assistant at Rutgers, apparently tried to get the University to intervene earlier. His thanks was the loss of his job.

Forgive me if I am a cynic about stories like these. Yes, Rice’s firing on April 3, 2013 was justified, but to pretend he was fired over the treatment of his players is as laughable as it is insulting to anyone of moderate intelligence. His abuse was well-known. It was the public revelation of it that cost him his job. Oh, and he didn’t win a lot. That may have been his greatest coaching sin.

Consider that his 3 year record at Rutgers was 44-51 with a 16-38 mark in the Big East. Don’t think for a minute that those sad numbers didn’t play a role in his firing. If Rutgers were preparing for the Final Four right now, this would still be a story, but I assure you that there would be a legion of defenders crowing about his “old school” toughness.

What did Rice do? He cursed at his players, physically attacked them and even threw basketballs at them. The video looks like a trailer for Dodgeball II with Rice in Rip Torn’s role. This being a blog and not fit for real publication, I can tell what he said without the need for asterisks. Among other niceties, he called his players faggot (that seems to be his personal favorite), cunt, pussy, bitch and fairy. One foreign player (who has since transferred) was called “Lithuanian Faggot,” which Murdock said practically became a nickname for him. If you’ve played sports on any level, none of this is all that shocking. We all know coaches who act like that.

What of the physical abuse? Rice grabbed players, kicked them, shoved them and hit them with basketballs. We all know coaches like that, too. If they’re successful, we respect them as tough. Who can forget the video of Bob Knight choking Neil Reed? Before you point out that it helped cost Knight his job, remember that the video was simply another nail in his coffin. It also didn’t help that he’d lost at least 10 games each year for five of the past six seasons and hadn’t gotten past the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in six years. When he was having his greatest success, chair-throwing and cop-punching didn’t hurt his job security any. The psychotic chair-throwing incident is now the subject of a “humorous” commercial for Applebee’s. Perhaps one day Rice can join him with a new slogan: “Don’t be a faggot! Eat at Applebee’s!”

I’m a University of Kentucky basketball fan. We’ve had our own experience with this. After Tubby Smith resigned, UK hired an unpleasant misanthrope named Billy Gillispie. We greeted him with open arms. He was “tough.” Tubby was too soft. Billy Clyde was a stern taskmaster. Tubby was too lenient.

We soon heard stories of two-hour practices on game days, of players’ feet bleeding from running and other inane practices. We didn’t demand his firing. Why not? We wanted to see if he’d win games. He didn’t. Then, we were outraged at the thought of player being put in a bathroom stall at halftime or one being forced to eat Pop Tarts to gain weight! He was a mad man! A mad man who loses too many games and ends up in the NIT will soon be out of work.

Gillispie’s antics continued at his next stop–Texas Tech where they wearied of him after only one year. Tech is now wooing a veteran coach with a much different approach–Tubby Smith. Go figure.

Sports are littered with these guys. In past generations, Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Knight and Frank Kush were lauded for similar tactics. Is it any wonder that some in succeeding generations followed suit? Knight is praised by ESPN as a god-like figure, yet his behavior was every bit as contemptible as Rice’s. Dick Vitale loudly condemns Rice, while he fawns over Knight (“Robert Montgomery Knight,” as Dicky V calls him), like a school girl gushing over Justin Bieber. Knight had the good fortune to win. Winning, it seems, fixes everything.

They are hired, and we cheer them, because we think they’ll win. Sometimes, they do win. Then, they are heroes, hard-core old school coaches. Lose, and they’re embarrassments to university, the fan base and even their own families.

I have limited personal experience with coaches of this ilk. Only one time did one of my sons play ball for one of these types. It was baseball and, of course, it was a father who envisioned himself a real coach. This clown was an assistant on the team. My son bore up under verbal abuse throughout preseason practice. We made it through one game where my son was verbally abused in the dugout the entire game. When we complained to the head coach, he feigned ignorance, meaning that he was cut from the same cloth. That was our last game in that league. My son has gone on to play baseball throughout high school without a repeat of this kind of foolishness.

We live in a time now where people are keenly aware of bullies and peer-related abuse. We seem less sensitive to the bullying handed out by adults or authority figures, especially when the recipient isn’t a child. Perhaps it’s because college athletes are young adults and more capable of standing up for themselves. That’s a dubious rationalization to allow humans to be treated like chattels. Indeed, if a video surfaced of Mike Kryzewski kicking a player, he could probably talk his way out of a firing. I imagine that a video of him kicking a dog would likely spell the end of his career. What does that tell you?

One of the persistent myths is that sports build character. There is no consensus that this is true. I’m not aware of any studies to support the notion that mere participation builds anything positive. A study of intramural sports at the Air Force Academy concludes that it is only true if character-building is an intended part of the program. That shouldn’t be surprising. When your character is shaped by bullies, it can’t helped but be warped. I suppose there are people from such poor backgrounds that any type of order–even that imposed by a bully–is to some advantage. Of course, that may be the same type of thinking that causes people to join street gangs–some order is better than none.

Imagine trying to build a young man’s character by the example of Mike Rice. Or Bob Knight. Or Billy Gillispie. What life lessons do they learn? If people don’t act the way you’d like, attack them, physical and verbally. Always attack those who aren’t in a position to fight back. How different is that than Jerry Sandusky’s behavior? Yes, by degree, there is a vast ocean of difference. By effect, there may not be that much.

I’m not suggesting that coaches must be Sunday school teachers. My own children can tell you that I’ve yelled at them over such mundane things as making too much noise (as though my yelling would set a good example). Nor am I sensitive to foul language. In fact, I’m given to use it myself. But to excuse such behavior simply because one is a coach makes no sense.

There’s nothing special about being a coach. ESPN’s Mark Schlereth once said that the words “coach” and “genius” should never be used in the same sentence. That’s certainly true. I don’t have unrealistic expectations of coaches. I know that the vast majority of them are not musing about string theory when they aren’t working.

Winning takes care of most coaching character flaws. Embarrass your university, if you must. Just don’t lose a lot of games while doing so. Lest we forget, Rick Pitino is coaching in this year’s Final Four.

The answer to all of this is to clean out the Neanderthals of the coaching ranks. Zero tolerance would be nice. It would probably be effective, too, at least until one of these fools started winning games.

Incredibly, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti claims he didn’t show the university president any of the videos until after the ESPN story broke, months after he’d seen them himself. Once the president saw them, so the story goes, Rice was fired. If this story is true, Pernetti should join Rice on the unemployment line.

One under-reported aspect of the story is that this isn’t Pernetti’s first experience with this kind of behavior.  Rice’s predecessor, Fred Hill, Jr., was fired after a profanity-laced tirade at a Rutgers baseball game.  As a show of support for his father, long-time Rutgers baseball coach Fred Hill, Sr., Junior loudly cursed at the University of Pittsburgh’s baseball coach.  Consequently, Hill, Jr. was fired.  His replacement?  Rice, who had just ended his coaching stint at Robert Morris University with his own tirade at the end of RMU’s overtime loss to Villanova in the NCAA Tournament.  Pernetti, it seems, may not be the best judge of coaching temperment.

By the way, Hill’s record in the Big East was 13-57.  Starting to see the pattern here?  Flip flop that record, and he gets a couple of months of anger management and a contract extension.

The responsibility lies with the administration of these universities–universities which make jaw-dropping revenues from these students. These revenues are not shared with the students but are used to fund the hiring–and firing–of coaches. When a university steps up and cleans out its athletic department, maybe that will change things. Of course, Rutgers is moving to the Big Ten now where it will make even more money. That, sadly, may be how Pernetti’s job performance is ultimately measured.

What of Rice? He’ll resurface. They always do. Some school at some level will think he can win. He’ll be contrite. He may even actually change, like Colorado State’s Larry Eustachy. Regardless, he better win.