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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Big Blue Sadness: The State of University of Kentucky Football




Being a University of Kentucky Football fan sucks.

Yeah, I know. Huge revelation there. But stick with me for a minute.

Ever wonder why UK football fans get more angry and despondent than most other fans of losing programs? I mean, we should be used to it, right? There are plenty of other bad teams out there. What makes us so special that we demand consistent excellence where none has existence for decades? Why keep getting our hopes up like Charlie Brown kicking a field goal with Lucy holding the football? Just accept that we aren't good and enjoy the rare years that we are. We've got a great basketball team, anyway, so why not just focus on that?

Believe me when I say that we've tried all those methods and then some with no effect. It would be infinitely easier and less painful if the team was consistently terrible, like they were today against Florida. But part of what makes watching our team implode on national television especially painful is how close we've been in the past. 

No other Division I college football program in the country is more proficient at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory than the University of Kentucky. 

Listed below are a few examples of my 'favorite' Kentucky losses from this century. I won't go back into the 1900's due to my relatively limited experience and the sake of my mental health.

These are not just close or tough losses. Everyone has those. These are games were Kentucky had the win in hand, looked at it, and then politely handed it over to the other team. Join me now on a barefoot trip down memory lane paved with broken glass and stray Legos:


*****


- November 17, 2001. The 2-7 Wildcats face off against the #6 Tennessee Volunteers and somehow build up a 3-touchdown lead by the second quarter. As if that weren't great enough, The UT Band was forced to watch it silently while not playing Rocky Top every two minutes! Then things started to turn around. Going into the fourth, Kentucky still clung to a 1-touchdown advantage, but eventually lost 38-35.


- September 28, 2002. A 4-0 team Kentucky travels down to the Swamp in Florida. They overcome a 19-0 deficit to actually take a 28-25 late over the No. 20 Gators in the third quarter. They ended up losing 41-34. I may have cried. Don't judge me.


- October 12, 2002. The very next week, excitement buzzed around the campus as ESPN followed our team around school for a special feature. It all led up to a huge SEC showdown with South Carolina. Going into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats held a 1-touchdown advantage. You can probably guess by this point how the game ended; a 16-12 loss for the Wildcats.


- November 9, 2002. Commonly known as the Bluegrass Miracle, this game...yeah, I can't do this. That game deserves its own post. Just know that if you watch the video below, I was one of the students on the other side of the field, my hand on a goalpost and ready to climb. I still get sick thinking about it. #16 LSU beats Kentucky (and my soul) 33-30.





- September 30, 2003. Kentucky leads the #25 Florida Gators 20-9 with less then 7 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. It was Gator QB Chris Leak's first start. His dad had gone on national TV during the game and made a complete ass out of himself (I thought) by saying this was a good first start for his son since playing Kentucky wouldn't be too hard. Surely the forces of probability and karma would converge and result in a UK win, right? Nope. We lost 24-21.



- November 3, 2003. Kentucky and Arkansa battle it out through 7 overtimes, the longest game in NCAA history. We all knew what was coming, but did they really have to drag it out? UK loses 71-63.



- October 16, 2004. If there's one thing Kentucky does well, it's make bad quarterbacks look good. The Gamecocks' fourth string (!) QB Mike Rathe leads his team from behind in the fourth quarter to beat the Cats 12-7.



- November 25 2006. Kentucky holds a bizarre 12-10 lead over Tennessee into the fourth quarter, which is summarily converted into a 17-12 UT win. After the game, Vols coach Phil Fulmer said "It's great to win when you don't play particularly well." Thanks for rubbing it in, jackass.



- November 25, 2007. After a brilliant fourth quarter comeback, the Wildcats put themselves in position to beat #18 Tennessee. Unfortunately, those chances evaporated in the scoreless second overtime when Lones Seiber's 35-yard field goal was blocked. Two more OTs later, the Vols had defeated the Cats 52-50.




*** LARGE GAP OF TIME FOR THE JOKER PHILLIPS YEARS ***
(WHEN COMING CLOSE WAS THE LEAST OF OUR CONCERNS)



- September 14, 2014. Kentucky vs. Florida in the Swamp. Three overtimes.. And of course, this.




Hard to blame the team for that one. I don't care what the SEC says. We got jobbed. But there's no asterisk or change forthcoming, so might as well accept it. Kentucky loses 36-30.



- November 29, 2014. With bowl eligibility and state bragging rights on the line, Kentucky jumped out to a 13-0 lead over #22 Louisville. UL's star quarterback, Reggie Bonnafan gets injured, forcing them to put in this kid...





...Lexington native and Soulja Boy enthusiast, Kyle Bolin. Bolin still had a big chip on his shoulder over how UK's coaching staff completely bungled his recruiting process. Perhaps that was what helped inspire him to completely go off and torch UK in the second half, leading to a 44-40 UL win.



- November 14, 2015. When you can't score a touchdown from the goal line once, that's rough. When you can't do it twice, that's bad. When you can't do it twice against Vanderbilt, it's inexcusable and utterly depressing. Kentucky loses to Vandy 21-17



- November 28, 2015. With bowl eligibility and state bragging rights on the line, Kentucky jumped out to a 24-7 first half lead over Louisville. Once the third quarter started, the Wildcats engineered one of the most impressive second half collapses of all time, eventually losing the the Cardinals 38-24
That's right. UK didn't score a single point in the third or fourth quarter. 

As if that weren't embarrassing enough, Bobby Petrino celebrated the win with a poorly executed dab.






Surely the coaches would never let the team suffer an indignity like this again, right? 


- September 3, 2016. Kentucky opens the season against Southern Mississippi, who just hired their embattled former offensive coordinator, Shannon Dawson. After struggling a bit in the first quarter, UK rolls to a 35-10 halftime lead...sort of. Southern Miss scored on a busted coverage right before the clock ran out to make it 35-17, but still, we were in good shape. Unfortunately, we are also Kentucky. Southern Miss torches the Cats in the second half for a 44-35 victory.


*****

There may be more this year, but only if we're lucky. The team looks so bad right now that we'll be lucky to get that close...and if we do, you can all but guarantee that Lucy won't have the laces down.

Oh well. At least the NFL starts tomorrow. As an Atlanta Falcons fan with three fantasy football teams, that should still be relatively enjoyable.

Right?




Lones Seiber definitely had better hair than Chucky B.


Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am directly, I can also be found on Twitter. 


To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, the Kentucky football program decides to rebuild again.



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Weird Crime: Killer Clowns from Greenville?





Coulrophobiacoul·ro·pho·bia | (noun): an abnormal or extreme fear of clowns.

Defecate | def·e·cate | (verb): A bodily function that will likely occur in my pants if any part of this is true.


***


When news starting coming out of Greenville last month that clowns were trying to lure children into the woods, it was easy to dismiss. While a child's welfare should never be taken lightly, the whole creepy clown story seemed a bit too on the nose. Surely this had to be the work some devious kid. They were probably up late and flipping through the program guide, saw the 1990 It miniseries, and got an idea for a prank that ended up going too far. They wouldn't have even needed a clown suit--just some solid rumor mongering and one false police report to give it the glossy sheen of legitimacy. 

The story also didn't seem to mesh very well with the whole clown horror motif. According to witnesses (most of whom refused to be identified), the clowns would try to draw the kids toward them by waving large amounts of cash and flashing green lights (?) in their direction.


If you're going to make up a story about a homicidal clown, then having him/her tempt kids with money is kind of lazy. Candy (which they also allegedly offered) might be cliche, but at least it lines up with the theme. Even Pennywise, the personification of all that is malevolent and evil, would have found this cash-for-souls method of entrapment to be beneath him.


Unfortunately, it's starting to look more and more like this isn't just a poorly conceived prank and/or a catastrophically bad viral marketing stunt.


Not only have the clown sightings drastically increased, but they are being witnessed by adults, as well. Even more terrifying are reports that many of the clowns (allegedly armed with knives) have begun knocking on people's doors in the middle of the night--with chains.


When my wife tried to point out that the door knocker could be a copycat or imposter clown, I calmly reminder her that IT'S STILL A FREAKING ARMED CLOWN AT SOMEONE'S DOOR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!


In another reported incident, a woman looked up from doing her laundry to see a clown standing in her back yard. Staring at her. If that had been me, the pants I was wearing would have gone in the wash right then and there.


Things in Greenville have gone from nervously amusing to downright serious. One police chief has vowed to arrest anyone found wandering around town in a clown suit (which seems like a solid plan no matter what the circumstances are). As of now, however, they have no leads on who is doing this...except for a trail where many of the clown sightings have occurred, which (no joke) leads through the woods to an abandoned house. If you are promiscuous teenager, then it's virtually guaranteed that having relations anywhere near that property will result in a gruesome end. 

Thankfully, no one has been hurt yet. Let's hope the police catch the folks behind these creepy shenanigans are caught soon...or at least before my scheduled 3-day trip to Greenville in March.



Otherwise I'm commuting home every day.



Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am directly, I can also be found on Twitter.
 

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, the clown under your bed decides not to eat your organs for dinner.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Weird Crime: Supernatural Road Trip to Walmart




Panama City, Florida

In the early morning hours of June 24, 2014, employees of an area Walmart called police to report that a vehicle was awkwardly moving through their parking lot. This normally wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary (especially at a Walmart in Florida), but in this summertime instance, the vehicle was school bus.

When police arrived on the scene, they pulled up behind the bus and turned on their emergency lights. To their amazement, a 12-year-old kid named Michael Wade Propst exited the vehicle. He quickly explained to the officers that the driver was actually a man named 'Constantine' and they were just stopping for gas.


...along with some cigarettes...and maybe few mystical artifacts.


After that story didn't hold up, the boy finally admitted to stealing the bus, which he found at a bus driver's home 14 miles away (with the keys still inside it). Security footage from the bus also showed that the kid was a pro at driving the thing...except for the $2,000 worth of damage he caused during his trip.

Michael Wade Propst was arrested and charged with grand theft over $100,000 and felony criminal mischief. He was taken to the department of Juvenile Justice for processing. When his mother was contacted by the police, she asked them to talk to her son because "she was not having any impact on him."



Hopefully, his time in juvie includes
lots of important life lessons...and a haircut.



Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter. 

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, a kid bored during the summer decides to read a book instead of steal a school bus.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Weird Crime: Shoot Me Once, Shame On Me




Port Charlotte, Florida

To say that Florida resident Peter James Bonfiglio has a checkered past would be a gross understatement.

- In 2005, Peter was arrested for making threats against the life of then President George W. Bush. Then in 2006, the 19-year-old was busted for manufacturing false secret service credentials...including one that bore the likeness of the very agent who arrested him.



- 2008 saw Peter losing the sideburns while gaining an arrest for larceny.


- In 2009, Peter went from making threats to actually carrying them out. After a three hour standoff with police, he threw a lit bottle at a police cruiser and pointed a gun at them. The standoff resulted in him getting shot and arrested.

- In 2011, Peter brings back the sideburns while getting in trouble with the feds again




...twice.



In 2013, he was busted for violating his parole while operating a comb over.



His most recent arrests, however, may actually be the most absurd of them all. In 2013, Peter called police to report that someone hiding in the woods had shot him. The shooter turned out to be him.

The on June 18, 2014, Peter decided to try his luck at deceiving the police again. This time, he claimed that a woman he knew and a man he didn't had robbed jewelry from him at gunpoint before shooting him in the foot.

When the police interviewed the woman, however, she was able to show them text messages proving that Peter had actually approached her about buying jewelry from her. They also found the cab driver who drove the woman over to Peter's home, who confirmed that she went there by herself (and should really be more careful about who she visits alone).

As if all that wasn't bad enough, the woman also said that Peter's foot was already shot/injured when she got there. Once again, the old "shoot yourself and call the police to blame it on someone else" trick had failed.

Peter Bonfiglio was arrested and charged with filing a false police report. There were probably some other things they could've/should've tacked on as well (probation violation, illegal possession of a firearm, etc), but the mugshot below might show why they didn't.


Holy hell...I'm not saying I've aged all that well, but the change from 19 to 27 for Peter is like something from a really bad (or particularly bad) episode of Cold Case.

Either the police just felt bad for him or they've given up charging him with stuff. But the fact that he somehow keeps getting access to guns is yet another reason that The Bugs Bunny plan for Florida looks like a better idea every day.





Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter. 


To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, Florida gets a little bit closer to breaking free of the southeastern United States.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Not in My Write Mind: Rumble in The Writer's Arena, Part 3



'Not In My Write Mind' features trials and tales from my quest to go from a mediocre writer to a published mediocre writer. Please feel free to share in my struggle and laugh at my pain.



As my day in the Human Echoes Podcast Writer's Arena edges closer, I have finally begun to construct my story. There are a few key elements, both large and small, that will go into creating my masterpiece and/or polishing this turd.

Let's start with the small stuff, first:

1. Coffee and isolation

I tend to write a lot at Starbucks. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a douchey walking cliche, but they do have great coffee. They also provide a place where I can shut off the rest of the world without feeling badly about it.

When I write at home, I tend to shut out my wonderful wife Karen and our three very needy dogs. I can get very prickly when Karen dares to do such things as ask me how my day was or if I feel like going out for dinner. This makes me feel like a worse person than I already am. At Starbucks, however, I don't mind shutting out the hipsters, weird old dudes, or other wannabe writers like myself.

2. Music

Music can be a great help for pushing you through a small creative slump. The particular effectiveness of various musical genres, however, tends to vary greatly from person to person (I came up with the idea for my current story when 'California Love' by 2pac came up on Pandora, for what it's worth).

The two main sources of 'writing music' I like most are:

-Two Steps from Hell. Composers of incredibly epic orchestral music that you have probably heard in a million different movie trailers. Below is one of my favorites.



- Sam Cardon, specifically his work on the movie The Work and the Glory: American Zion. It's a pro-Mormon movie about Joseph Smith...so yeah, not something I expected to ever watch or enjoy. But a student of mine had a role in it and their family asked me to attend the premiere with them.

Not only was the film surprisingly good, but the quick track below caught my attention and led me to listen to more of Cardon's work.





Now onto the big stuff:

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a HUGE fan of author Chuck Wendig. Not only do I absolutely love his work, but he is constantly dispensing valuable writing advice in various books, his Twitter account, and his blog, Terribleminds.com.

I don't consider myself a good writer yet, but do think that I suck a whole lot less than I used to thanks to much of Wendig's indirect tutelage. When I'm not reading one of his excellent, urban fantasy novels, I am often reading his advice on how to continue improving my craft through disciplined methods rather than just 'trying harder.'

In essence, Chuck Wendig is my writing Yoda.




















"Excuses for not finishing your work, you must stop making."


There's lots of his advice I'll be using (along with various other tools of the trade), but here are two of my favorite nuggets of Wendig Wisdom:

1. A theme

 Your work must have a theme. I know that seems simple, but you'd be surprised how much stuff we watch or read doesn't have any real theme at all. It's just a bunch of actions scenes smashed together. If you want your writing to be something that people actually remember, it needs to have a primary message or idea behind plot and characters. It can be subtle or at the very forefront of the story. It can develop as you work on the tale or it can be your starting point. But it absolutely must be there.

Reaching the end of the universe (which is the story prompt for this battle in The Writer's Arena) is rife with good thematic material, so that shouldn't be a problem.

2. Question-driven plotting.

Your story should constantly have the reader asking 'And then what happened?' as they move from scene to scene. The 'end of the universe' presents a small problem since it's 'the end' and all, but I think I'll be able to manage it.

There's lots more good stuff to learn from Mr. Wendig (especially on character creation), but all this talk about writing stories has me actually wanting to...you know...write a story. Go check out his words of wisdom for yourself; you'll thank me when you're done in a few months.

As for me, it's time to crank up the music and get this story crackin'.


...while hoping that this man doesn't 
kill me for my horrible MS Paint skills.


Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter. 

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, I get one step closer to breaking down and purchasing Photoshop.