Friday, October 15, 2010

15 OCT 10: Not in Kansas Anymore

My first mistake involved cable television. I presumed since my alma mater was playing a big rival in a Thursday night college football game, ESPN would show it nationwide. It turns out I was wrong - and ESPN has enough brains only to show Kansas-Kansas State basketball during February.

The annual "Sunflower Showdown" in college football was a big event for me this year. With the game scheduled for Thursday night instead of Saturday afternoon, I could watch it on television. But since I don't have cable or satellite TV, I had to go somewhere to see the game - and offering to bring dinner to a friend's house seemed unrealistic.

But Thursday night is poker night for me, and the chance to win money came first. Mistake #2: I went to a downtown location with no TV screens. And I didn't win any money -- although whether that counts as Mistake #3 may depend on which poker player you ask.

An early exit from the poker tournament allowed me to drive to Loco's Grill on 13th Street for dinner and a ball game. The sports bar was full for a Thursday night -- and I realized as I dined that plenty of the customers were kickball players. If the game has become that popular for young adults, ESPN will organize a national championship for it before long.

(At one point during dinner, a kickball player to my left lay flat on the floor as if she was about to do sit-ups. Shouldn't you wait until "the morning after" to try something for all that alcohol?)

But I spotted trouble even before I entered Loco's. All the TV screens seemed to be tuned to another college football game - as ESPN showed South Florida-West Virginia. I know Columbus is closer to Florida than Kansas. But really now - the only South Florida fans around here are the ones who want that school to upset Florida or Florida State.

So I asked the greeter at the door of Loco's if one of the televisions could be tuned to the Sunflower Showdown. "It's on ESPN," I told her - only to have her point to a screen behind me. ESPN-2 wasn't showing football. It presented qualifying for this weekend's NASCAR race near Charlotte -- as if Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski would start brawling in the pits two days early.

With my pigskin presumption blown up, I admitted to the Loco's greeter I didn't know which channel had the Sunflower Showdown. But then ESPN's football game bailed me out, by showing a highlight from Lawrence. I was too busy figuring out the source of the video to be upset about Kansas State scoring.

ESPN seemed to indicate Fox Sports Southwest had the Kansas rivalry, so I mentioned that to the Loco's greeter. "Do you know where that is on Direct TV?" she asked. Aw, c'mon -- if I had Direct TV, I would have been watching the game at home in the first place.

The Loco's greeter tried to help me in another way. "Do you know what conference they're in?" she asked. Yes - the Big 12. The staff at The Sports Page would have known that. So maybe Loco's isn't really a sports bar at all - it's a restaurant that simply shows a lot of sports, because turning up competing talk shows would cause too much confusion.

Another member of the Loco's staff came out, and attempted to find Fox Sports Southwest on the TV showing ESPN-2. I didn't know you could use a remote to type in a satellite TV channel, but he did. Loco's probably can't wait for the next step - a remote which lets you type in hourly drink specials.

But the trouble continued, because Direct TV's long list of channels didn't show "Fox Sports Southwest." Things looked bleak, until I noticed channels beginning with "FS." It's tempting to call this change in names "frankly stupid...."

Mistake #3 (officially): ESPN put the wrong source on the screen for its video from Kansas. "FS Southwest" offered us the chance to see a Detroit-Dallas hockey game. Give Loco's credit for one thing - it realizes Columbus sports fans don't really care about hockey until the Cottonmouths season opens next weekend.

At this point, I was scrambling for ideas more than a quarterback in a two-minute drill. I had the Loco's employee go through the other "FS" channels. FS Kansas City would have been logical - but for some reason, Direct TV wouldn't let us see it. I know times are tough, but this football rivalry should NOT have been blacked out due to unsold tickets.

We finally found the right answer to the Sunflower Showdown puzzle - as the game was on Fox Sports Midwest. The extra effort assured the Loco's server an extra tip, even though he didn't tune in the channel. The server DID shake my hand at the table, however -- as though we had serious business to transact.

So how did the biggest rivalry game in Kansas turn out? Wellll.... uh, er, wellllll.... hey, I almost forgot....

-> Wednesday night's "thrilling moment" in online poker now has us feeling robbed! Read the latest on this unfinished story at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Some readers may want to scroll down a bit now, because we still owe you one more message from C.A. "Brother Love" Hardmon. It's in response to our discovery Wednesday of a confidential settlement, involving a Columbus Fire Department Battalion Chief....

Mr. Burkard,

I really do appreciate your interest. At least you tried to find out who is telling the truth. I believe in basic fairness and good government. The taxpayers have been duped and robbed here and Jim Wetherington has helped every step of the way since he found out to protect the wrongdoers.

They are refuting documented facts and substantiated evidence with stories that keep changing.

Jim Wetherington deserves to leave office in disgrace. He is no hero he is a villian who betrayed his oath of office as a retired law enforcement officer and as an elected official he betryed the citizens' trust. He and others are hiding behind every conceivable lie in this Bruner case. He is buying time for him and Chief Jeff Meyer.

Interestingly, Councilor Anthony gets to misspeak in a news interview confusing present with past tense while providing important information to the public. All of this is brought up after a heated exchange at council between Mayor Wetherington and NAACP Edward DuBose. If it was as simple as that the mayor would have made mention of it and Assistant Attorney Jamie DeLoach was sitting right there at council and never uttered a word.

The CCG officials get to make mistakes every time they are forced to explain something about the Bruner case. Everytime! We have not had to retract or adjust one word that I can think of unless it was a misspelled one.

What they constantly do is play a game of catch me if you can. If you catch them in one lie they just adjust on the fly and tell you another lie. Again, why is it that we lay all our facts on the table, but the other side keeps improving on their story.

The CCG cannot settle the illegal awarding of unearned time, fraud, and the theft of Muscogee County taxpayer dollars with the EEOC. There has been no remuneration to the city or any disciplinary action taken against Meyer, Fountain, and Futrell.

The mistreatment of Chief Janice Bruner is the only thing that could be settle in an EEOC complaint. Chief Bruner is not authorized to settle criminal conduct. The taxpayers of Columbus have been cheated. Jim Wetherington have help wrongdoers in the CFEMS go free of any discipline. If there was a settlement the CCG had to admit all wrongdoing, because Chief Janice still is a CCG employee. There are 8 different dates that were changed by Central Command to frame Battalion Chief Janice Bruner. Dates: 03/07/2008; 03/25/2008; 04/03/2008; 04/30/2008; 05/09/2008; 05/12/2008; 05/12/2008; 05/06/2008. Chief Bruner initially reported she was ordered to change the dates in May 2008. These other dates were modified just days after Chief Bruner took her Fair Treatment Report to HR Director Tom Barron. If they were looking for grounds to fire her and she had made those electronic alterations in time, she would have been fired on the spot and we would not be having this discussion.

If it all is settled and done, why no documented evidence to prove the sergeant had the accrued time all along? What was the explanation for that. It would be public record, but no one has produced anything yet. That proof would be all that is needed to shut down the issue....

Hardmon followed all this with a list of key spreadsheets, along with an e-mail exchange between Assistant City Attorney Jamie Deloach and Wane Hailes of The Courier. If you want to review these, e-mail the blog and we'll send them. If no one asks for them.... well, that may indicate how many people really care about this whole matter.

Our computer indicates C.A. Hardmon has indeed misspelled a few words in earlier e-mails to us. It's our policy to post "as is" unless specifically asked to proofread -- and Hardmon's message posted here 7 October called the Columbus Fire Chief "Jeff Myer" several times. He corrected that since then. Hopefully without Meyer threatening a new lawsuit....

(Oh yes: there are two misspellings in the first paragraph of this e-mail. Your homework assignment for the weekend is to spot them - assuming you've already mastered the spelling of "mendacity.")

We have one more e-mail, stemming from Thursday's Instant Message to a furniture store....

"I remember that singer with the big hat and poncho. He sang about another Columbus store with 'furniture to burn' several years ago."

Well, I assume that the "another Columbus" hits pretty close to home. I have no idea what singer or song you are referring to.


John D Carmack

This is a case where a "hyperlocal" blog might puzzle readers in other places. John lives in Ohio - where people are more likely to burn furniture to stoke a winter bonfire.

I've been trying to remember the other furniture store which used that poncho-clad singer. It was during a "quitting business" sale, so I want to say it's Rhodes Furniture. But readers are welcome to correct me - because I could be going down a wrong Rhodes completely.

So that just about wraps up the.... what? What are you saying? You still want to know how the football game ended? Oh dear - Kansas State stampeded all over my beloved Kansas 59-7. How bad does Georgia Tech's team look now?

I spent most of the second and third quarters at Loco's Grill - and as Kansas State kept scoring in a variety of ways, I kept saying to the TV screen: "No! No!! No!!!" Maybe that's why the server only checked on me a couple of times during dinner....

For some odd reason, news in Columbus took no holiday on Sunflower Showdown Day....

+ WBOJ-FM "88.5 The Truth" introduced Garrett Lee as its new afternoon host, and the replacement for the late Heath Jackson. Lee is a local musician, but clearly is new to radio - as he called WBOJ "the only Christian radio station" in the area. The traditionalists at WYFK would say the same thing about themselves, but declare WBOJ's music isn't Christian at all.

+ Former Columbus Council candidate Jeremy Hobbs issued a news release and video endorsing Teresa Tomlinson for mayor. This is curious, since Hobbs has worked actively for the Tomlinson campaign since January [11 Jan]. What's coming next - an endorsement from Tomlinson's husband?

(Hobbs probably would note to Tomlinson's critics that he's active with the Muscogee County Republican Party. Yet I spotted Tomlinson this week at the I.B.E.W. union hall on First Avenue - and that hall now has a campaign sign for her, alongside Roy Barnes and Sanford Bishop. Once again, we beat other blogs to the story. Even the mudslinging ones.)

+ Georgia Supreme Court Justice David Nahmias brought his campaign for reelection to downtown Columbus. WTVM put a headline on the screen saying, "Nahmias STOMPS for Votes." That's strange -- the video I saw didn't show the justice marching or dancing at all.

+ WLTZ showed some of the exhibits at Fort Benning's Army Robotics Rodeo. I'm sorry, but I was unimpressed by what I saw. The robots simply are too small, too slow - and too easy for a cowboy to tie with a rope.

+ Fort Benning also hosted the opening day of the U.S. Army sniper competition. After watching another story on the evening news, local police departments might want to consider this example carefully. I don't think Benning ever has held a competition for top tasers.

+ Columbus High School was eliminated from the Georgia state softball tournament, with a 3-0 loss to Walnut Grove. Walnut Grove?! I never knew "Little House on the Prairie" was set in Georgia....

+ Instant Message to Emily Walker: It's 18 days until the election. Where have you gone? Has Sam Olens decided he doesn't need your help to be elected Georgia Attorney General? Or are you satisfied simply for scaring Ken Hodges away from Columbus?

SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: A reader dared me to do something, so I plan to do it.... but he might regret it....

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