Talking Sports

I mentioned in one of my e-mails last summer that Lexington is an overgrown college town, because of the presence of the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University, and sports seems to be the favorite topic of conversation. For those who missed that e-mail, here is what I said. Quote:

“Of course Lexington is famous for the horses, but most of the horse races take place in April and October, which I presume are the times when the weather is just right for them to run. For the rest of the year, the sport of choice is anything played by the University of Kentucky team, the Wildcats. When somebody uses the term UK around here, they don’t mean the United Kingdom! In fact, that’s why the area code around here is 859–on a telephone dialpad it spells out U-K-Y. There aren’t any major-league teams in Kentucky, but a lot of folks travel to Cinncinati to see the Reds play there. A minor-league baseball team, the Lexington Legends, is also popular. Last month the Legends were in the local news when a real legend, Roger Clemens (the pitcher for the Houston Astros), got to play ball with them for a few days. Normally I don’t follow baseball, but I knew Clemens had been a baseball player for a long time, when the news announced that his son was also on the Legends team.”

Unquote: Since then I have learned that the Cincinnati Bengals have their training camp on this side of the Ohio-Kentucky border. That probably works the same way for the locals as the “Grapefruit League” spring training baseball games do in Florida.

Oh sure, in Orlando we have the Magic, and sports is a topic of conversation there, too. But in Orlando we are also inclined to talk about the weather and bad traffic, because we’re all I-4 hostages at one time or another. I guess in that sense, sports talk leaves you feeling in a better mood afterwards.

I am mentioning this because in the local news, both of Monday’s headlines were sports-related:  the tragic death of Barbaro, last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, eight months after he broke his leg, and the announcement that tickets for UK basketball games are going to be more expensive.  What’s more, the Superbowl is coming up on Sunday, and my workplace seems to be splitting into two groups, those favoring the Chicago Bears and those favoring the Indianapolis Colts. It reminds me how in ancient Rome, political factions formed around fans of the blue and green teams at the chariot races.

We all know that Superbowl Sunday is the biggest American holiday that doesn’t appear on most calendars. But do you ever get the feeling that the Superbowl isn’t so much a sporting event as a religious one? Consider these parallels:

  1. It’s on a Sunday.
  2. There’s a choir.
  3. There’s a worship service.
  4. And boy, is there a collection!

Myself, I haven’t been inclined to follow sports since I worked at Ticketmaster, so I’ll probably be right here in front of my computer that night, or taking Leive out to see another furniture store. The rest of you, have fun, and tell me about those clever commercials they only run for that game!

Cabin Fever in a Brick House

Well, it turns out Leive has got cabin fever.  I guess it was bound to happen, since she sold her car instead of bringing it up from Florida, and because the weather is cold (and promising to get even colder next week), she is not inclined to go outside.  I got my first inkling of it last Friday, when she remarked that the house seems so empty without the kids we’re planning on adopting.  That told me two things:  (1.) she’s done moving in at last, and (2.) she’s bored.

I suppose it doesn’t help that we’re only 15-20 miles from Boonesborough, the spot where Daniel Boone built his fort in 1775.  I took Leive by there last New Year’s Day, and while the nearest houses and restaurants to the fort are probably modern enough on the inside, on the outside they’re decorated to look like real log cabins!

Today I offered to take her out, when I went to the men’s prayer group, but she said no, in part because “American Idol,” one of her favorite TV shows, is back on the air.  I guess she won’t feel so cooped up as long as she can see that program; that takes care of Tuesday and Wednesday nights, anyway.

A Few Updates to What I Wrote Yesterday

It’s still below freezing here, and it looks like it will be that way all week. However, the snow is all gone, except for a few patches. How can the white powder on the grass melt so easily, if the thermometer hasn’t gone above 30? Do they put salt on the grass, too?

I’ve also been hearing of a possible freeze in my former Florida home, with a low tonight of 26-30. The last two winters there were so mild that I barely wore a jacket at all. From Atlanta, talk show host Neal Boortz talked about the cold snap, and claims that the Gore Effect has struck again!

According to Leive, Lindy and Adam arrived in Georgia without incident. Good, that’s one prayer answered. And since I last wrote about our house in Florida, we’ve had two visits to it and one offer. The offer was too small, but it’s good to see some activity at last. Keep praying that we sell, the sooner the better.

Super Chiller Sunday

My oh my, I thought it was cold the last time I wrote about the weather! Well, it was 23 degrees F when I woke up this morning, and it never got warmer than that. It was 15 when we went out in the afternoon to look at furniture stores, and it’s 10 as I write this. Snow fell on-and-off throughout the day, and while it tried to melt every time the sun came out, more came down before it could disappear completely. In the morning I went to pick up a prescription, and stopped at a gas station for coffee; the cashier must have taken pity on me, because when I handed him the receipt from last time which said I had won a free cup, he told me to keep it because it’s such a cold day, and use it again on my next visit. Can you imagine that ever happening in Florida? When we went furniture shopping, one of the stores was closed, and Leive got out of the car to look in the store window; she thinks she got frostbite on her right leg as a result.  I don’t think I’ll be taking her out in this weather again, unless she wants to go.

In another news, today Lindy and Adam move from Lakeland, FL to Portal, GA.  I haven’t talked with them since Friday, and I probably won’t call them until tomorrow evening.  Hopefully their day wasn’t as “interesting” as ours.

(I’m referring to “interesting” in the sense of the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”)

In Search of Sesame Bagels

Brrr! It looks like the temperatures won’t get higher than the 30s for at least another week. We got some more snow yesterday, but it didn’t start falling until 6 AM (too late to affect my driving), and most of it melted by lunchtime, so I don’t know if I should even count it. Today was still cold, but sunny enough to briefly attract Leive outside.

I am starting to realize that it’s not easy to get a good bagel in Kentucky. Leive has been craving them this week, so I’ve been looking for her favorite kind: sesame. They weren’t that hard to find in Florida, being the state with the second largest Jewish population, and I must have taken it for granted that they would be just as easy to find here. Well, I checked first at Kroger, and while they had some frozen sesame bagels, they didn’t have fresh ones; I ended up buying half a dozen frozen, plus a few kaiser rolls, which aren’t too different if you leave out the hole. The other grocery stores (Wal-Mart, Meijer and Save-A-Lot) didn’t have sesame bagels in any form. Nor do there appear to be any bagel bakeries, like Einstein Bros., the fancy deli that had stores in my part of Florida. For what’s it’s worth, I checked the Einstein Brothers website, and their nearest store to here is at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 125 miles away; even Cincinnati doesn’t have one.

Gosh, I thought sesame was one of the more common flavors! It’s not as if I’m looking for spinach, orange & walnut, or one of the other exotic flavors that Einstein Brothers stocks. The phone book had an ad for a place that calls itself an authentic New York deli; maybe they’ll have sesame bagels. In the meantime, have you seen the Saturday Night Live parody of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” that ends with a Mayan kid whispering, “I smell bagels?” I guess I shouldn’t expect to hear anyone say that in Bluegrass country.

Driving in the Snow

Well, it finally snowed again this morning, and this time we got enough of it to make driving dangerous. Just 1/4 inch, but it caught the city off guard; no salt was put on the road beforehand. I was warned that in the winter I would have to learn how to drive all over again, and sure enough, I had trouble braking every time I slowed down. On the radio, they were reporting one accident after another, and all the schools were closed.

When I got to work at the usual time, the parking lot was almost empty, so I wondered if the office had been closed. Those who know me also know I have a knack for getting stuck outside on the worst weather days (remember how I drove through the rain, fallen trees and green lightning of Hurricane Erin in 1995 to get to work, only to find that the place had been closed after I left the house). Well, the office was open, but a lot of folks chose to play it safe by coming in late, even the co-worker who’s normally there by 5 AM.

Although the temperature never even reached 40 today, the snow was nearly all gone by the afternoon, meaning I was able to go home normally. In fact, on the way back, I visited the new Wal-Mart Supercenter that just opened last Friday on this side of town.

Last Monday, I called my pastor in Florida and asked him to pray over my house there, and annoint it with oil. Leive heard from her niece about somebody trying that after her house failed to sell for two years, and it sold a week later. Well, I heard another prospective buyer is going to look at it on Friday, so things are looking up, but keep praying that it sells anyway, the sooner the better.

My First Sleet, and an Observation on Population

This afternoon as I left the office, the weather was a mixture of sprinkles and some ice pellets the size of pinheads. So that’s what sleet looks like.

Yesterday on Free Republic, I read a discussion on an editorial that claimed the United States has already reached the limit on how many people it can support. That may be the case in California and the part of Florida I used to live in, but we’ve still got room where I currently reside, so here’s what I had to say. Quote:

“The author lives in California; while he makes some sense, that also explains his attitude.

Myself, I moved from Florida to Kentucky last May, and I can say that this state, if anything, is underpopulated. Because not much seems to have happened here since the Civil War ended, sometimes I call Kentucky ‘the state the rest of America forgot.’ For a start, most Kentucky counties only have one town or city in them. The other places that look like ‘towns’ on road maps usually turn out to be intersections with a few houses and a gas station/general store. I think Louisville and Cincinnati are the only cities with any suburbs at all; I’m in Lexington, which is surrounded by horse farms instead of residential communities. Perhaps Mr. Pitts should come here for a visit?”

Unquote: Leive was worried about me before she moved up here, because I often went out of town to do some exploring on weekends. She especially got nervous when I talked about “going into the mountains.” I think part of it is because in the Philippines, most folks think only the city is an appropriate place to live; mountains are for Communist rebels. Well, I told her you don’t have to worry about Communists here, and in the two out-of-town excursions we had earlier this month, she saw a few of Kentucky’s smaller mountains and liked the scenery around them. However, I haven’t said much about the Hillbillies so far . . .

Hillbilly with a jug!

Funny Weather We’re Having

Though definitely colder than Florida (sometimes this month I have seen a 50-degree difference between temperatures in Lexington and Orlando at the same time), the oldtimers tell me this is an unusually mild winter for Kentucky.  So far the only days that got more than a few flakes of snow have been November 20 and December 7.  The second time was the morning after Leive arrived, and she had to call the rest of the family to tell them about it (“Lindy, it’s snowing outside!  Can you see it?”).  Since then, however, it has often gotten as warm as the 50s or even the 60s.  Because of that, Leive is claiming that Florida’s weather followed her up here.

Last Tuesday, the temperature dropped back to normal January level, but still no snow.  Then I started getting weather advisories warning that Sunday morning would be the big day; expect up to four inches of snow then!  Well, Sunday morning is here, but still no snow.  Instead, we’re getting what they call “freezing rain.”  Because the outside temperature is 30 degrees, the roads are wet and icy, so I don’t expect to go anywhere today; lately Leive and I have been visiting furniture stores on my days off from work.

By the way, last December 24 I put a bird feeder in the backyard, with the intention of playing Santa to those birds that didn’t fly south this year.  Now I’m finally getting a visitor, a sparrow who seems to appreciate a dry spot and a meal on a day like this.  See also the essay I recently wrote on my website, “By the Grace of God and a Female Cardinal“; I felt I owed the local birds some sort of favor after moving here.

The Xenophile Historian Site Map

For those who haven’t been to The Xenophile Historian yet, here’s a sitemap.

Main/front page.

The Genesis Chronicles: A Proposed History Of The Morning Of The World

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: The Evolution Revolution
  • Chapter 2: “The Heavens Declare the Glory of God”
  • Chapter 3: Theories on the Origin and Development of Life
  • Chapter 4: Evolution and the Fossil Record
  • Chapter 5: The Truth About Cave Men
  • Chapter 6: Why God’s People Should Reject Evolution
  • Chapter 7: Creation
  • Chapter 8: Adam and Eve
  • Chapter 9: Ten Generations
  • Chapter 10: Noah’s Flood
  • Chapter 11: After the Deluge
  • Chapter 12: The Fall and Rise of Civilization
  • Bibliography

A Biblical Interpretation Of World History

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: Overview (sample chapter)
  • Appendix 1: Problems With Egyptian Chronology
  • Appendix 2: A List Of The Kings Who Ruled The Empires Described In Chapters 5-9
  • Appendix 3: A List Of Major Events In The History Of Islam

A General History Of The Middle East

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: The Land Between The Rivers
  • Chapter 2: New Peoples, New Nations
  • Chapter 3: The Assyrian Conquests
  • Chapter 4: The Neo-Babylonian Empire
  • Chapter 5: The Persian Empire
  • Chapter 6: The Age of Hellenism
  • Chapter 7: In The Shadow Of Rome
  • Chapter 8: Zoroastrians, Pagans, And Christians
  • Chapter 9: The Islamic Explosion
  • Chapter 10: The Arab Golden Age
  • Chapter 11: Saracen And Crusader
  • Chapter 12: The Mongol Terror
  • Chapter 13: The Ottoman Era
  • Chapter 14: The Challenge From The West
  • Chapter 15: Setting The Stage For Today’s Conflicts
  • Chapter 16: The Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1948
  • Chapter 17: The Mother Of All Trouble Spots, Iran And Iraq Since 1948
  • Chapter 18: The Rest of the Middle East Since 1948
  • Bibliography

A Concise History Of India

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: Dravidians and Aryans
  • Chapter 2: The Classical Age of Indian Civilization
  • Chapter 3: Hindus and Moslems in Turmoil
  • Chapter 4: The Mogul Empire
  • Chapter 5: The British Raj
  • Chapter 6: Twentieth Century India

A Concise History Of China

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: An Introduction to Chinese History
  • Chapter 2: The Development of Chinese Civilization
  • Chapter 3: The First Chinese Empire
  • Chapter 4: The Zenith of Chinese Civilization
  • Chapter 5: Mongols and Mings
  • Chapter 6: The Qing, or Manchu Dynasty
  • Chapter 7: The Nationalist Years
  • Chapter 8: China Since 1949

A Concise History Of Korea and Japan

A Concise History Of Southeast Asia

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: The Initial Formation of Southeast Asia’s Nations
  • Chapter 2: The Age of God-Kings and Monumental Architecture
  • Chapter 3: The First Centuries of European Penetration
  • Chapter 4: The West Takes Over
  • Chapter 5: World War II
  • Chapter 6: Nationalism Triumphant
  • Chapter 7: The Second Indochina War
  • Chapter 8: Southeast Asia in the Late Twentieth Century

A History of Christianity

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: The Development of the Early Church
  • Chapter 2: Christ Conquers Caesar
  • Chapter 3: Europe as a Christian Society
  • Chapter 4: The Age of Faith
  • Chapter 5: The Reformation
  • Chapter 6: The Church Goes Forth
  • Chapter 7: New Denominations, New Opportunities
  • Chapter 8: The Church in the Twentieth Century

A History Of Russia

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: Medieval Russia
  • Chapter 2: Imperial Russia
  • Chapter 3: Soviet Russia
  • Chapter 4: Commonwealth Russia

A History Of Europe

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: Pre-history and Forgotten History
  • Chapter 2: Classical Greece
  • Chapter 3: The Rise of Rome
  • Chapter 4: The Pax Romana
  • Chapter 5: Decline and Fall
  • Chapter 6: The West at its Lowest Ebb
  • Chapter 7: The Viking Era
  • Chapter 8: The High Middle Ages
  • Chapter 9: Transition and Turmoil
  • Chapter 10: The Age When Europe Woke Up
  • Chapter 11: The Game of Princes and Politics
  • Chapter 12: A Generation of Revolution
  • Chapter 13: The Age of Industry
  • Chapter 14: The Iron Storm
  • Chapter 15: A New Europe Emerges

A History of Africa

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: The Original Africans
  • Chapter 2: Valley of the Pharaohs
  • Chapter 3: Carthage
  • Chapter 4: Africa in the Classical Era
  • Chapter 5: The Trading Kingdoms
  • Chapter 6: The Forest Kingdoms
  • Chapter 7: The Dark Continent Partitioned
  • Chapter 8: “Wind of Change”
  • Chapter 9: The Independence Era
  • A List of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and the Kings of Ancient Nubia
  • The Ipuwer Papyrus (Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage)

The Anglo-American Adventure

Index page.

Topics covered include:

  • Chapter 1: Pre-Columbian America and the Age of Exploration
  • Chapter 2: Colonial America
  • U.S. Presidential Elections, from 1788 to 2004.
  • The Black Muslims: A Special Feature

Beyond History

The Holy Book of Universal Truths, K.U.P.

Index page.

  • Chapter 1: Words of Wisdom from Various Sources (smart quotes)
    • Some of My Favorite Proverbs
    • More Wit From the Famous
    • Mark Twain Quotes
    • This is an Old Saying–That I Just Made Up!
    • I Don’t Know Who Said these, But I Love ’em Anyway!
    • Ancient Sumerian Proverbs
    • The Ten Greatest Unanswered Questions of Our Time
    • Now Here’s Some More Questions I Would Like Answers For:
    • The Ten Commandments of Electronic Publishing
    • Bumper Snickers
    • The Top Ten T-Shirt Slogans of the Summer
    • A Serious and a Funny Quote for the Day
  • Chapter 2: Some of My Favorite Stories
    • Modernized Fairy Tales
    • The Ant and the Grasshopper Revisited
    • Fixing a Flat
    • What if There Had Been Consultants Two Thousand Years Ago?
    • One Story, Four Perspectives
    • Ain’t It the Truth
    • A Modern Prayer
    • A Serbian Fable
    • Sometimes, Change is Hard to Accept . . .
    • A Neighborly Lesson
    • Your Tax Dollars at Work
    • The Original Warning About a Trojan Horse
    • The Y0k and Y1K Crises
    • Two Heroes
    • The Tears of a Clown
    • Two Gems from Mark Twain
    • How To Do Nothing
    • Teaching a Horse to Talk
    • The Evolution of Conservatives and Liberals
  • Chapter 3: Political Commentaries
    • Political Words to Live By
    • The Clinton Legacy
    • Seven Political/Economic Systems, From a Farmer’s Point of View
    • AutoPundit
    • If I Were the Devil
    • The Commandments, According to the Religious Left
    • Overcoming Liberalism: A 12-Step Program
    • Open Letter from African Americans to the Democratic Party
    • The Graveyard DOES Vote Democratic
    • Time for Term Limitations, in All Three branches of Government
    • What is a Neo-Conservative?
    • Circling the Drain: The Death of the Democratic Party
    • What Happened to the Republican Party?
    • The Liberal Birth Dearth
    • Other Random Thoughts
  • Chapter 4: Essays on Various Topics
    • Entitlement as a Way of Thinking
    • Land of the Free (to Lay Blame)
    • Bill Gates on Education
    • Trouble Happens: How World Religions Explain it
    • Only in America
    • What half a Century can Teach You About Life
    • Twenty-one Ways to Deal with a Dead Horse
    • Your Daily Moment of Zen
    • Strange Thoughts for the Day
    • For Those Who Have Gotten This Far and Still Take Life Too Seriously
    • Still More Eternal Truths
    • At Ground Zero in Florida’s Year of Storms
    • The Second Greatest Generation?
    • Are Northerners “Blue Necks?”
    • You Might Be A Northern Redneck
    • By the Grace of God and a Female Cardinal
  • Chapter 5: They Really Said It (dumb quotes)
    • A Collection of Dumb Quotes
    • Some Predictions That Were Really Off
    • Dumb Questions & Answers in the Courtroom
    • Dubious Product Warning Labels
    • Dilbertesque Quotes
    • Something Was Lost In The Translation
    • Funny Classified Ads
    • The Irish Bull
  • Chapter 6: Stuff That Won’t Go Away
    • Those Stupid Aliens!
    • It Must Be The Mystery Factor
    • Pyramidology = Pyramidiocy
    • The Barney Connection
    • About Atlantis
    • What Race Were the Ancient Egyptians?
    • Civilization: Has It Been Worth it?
    • My Pet Peeves
  • Chapter 7: Netiquette
    • Basic Netiquette Guidelines
    • Urban Legends, Hoaxes, Chain Letters and The Top Ten Dangerous Computer Viruses
    • Date Rape Drug Warning
    • Some Tools for Fighting Spam
    • Friends Don’t Let Friends Use AOL
    • Don’t Become Phish Food
  • Chapter 8: Observations on the War on Terror
    • War of Words: Quotes Pertaining to the Current Conflict
    • The Seven Deadly Sins of Terrorism
    • A Question Concerning Israel and American Politics
    • The Middle East “Road Map,” Applied to the USA
    • Some Questions About the History of Palestine
    • The Fate of the Palestinians
    • The Myth of Afghan Invincibility
    • A Military History of France
    • The Liberal Rules of War
    • The New Jews
    • Comedemocracy: A Theory
    • A Call for an Islamic Reformation
    • Satan’s Chosen People?
    • The Real Enemy
    • Time For A New Manhattan Project
    • All European Life Died In Auschwitz
    • ‘World Opinion’ is Worthless
    • Couch Potato Warriors
    • The Best of Victor Davis Hanson
  • Chapter 9: Just For Fun
    • My Vault in Cyberspace.
    • The Temple of Relief.
    • The Funniest Photos Ever E-mailed to Me.
    • The Very Last Page of the Internet.

The Ever-Growing List of My Favorite Links.

My Download Center.