“Dry January” articles in my local newspaper today:

Dr. Richard Friedman addresses “wine moms”, depression and anxiety and acohol, how wine disturbs sleep.

Naomi Ishisaka points out that alcohol related deaths from 1999 to 2017 grew 85% among women compared to 35% among men.

Not throwing rocks —I wrote this article several years ago:


I wasn’t a good drinker.   Not that I didn’t drink a lot, I just didn’t handle it well.    Some do, some don’t.
So I quit years ago.
As a non-drinker you have some advantages, some disadvantages.   One of the things I’ve observed is a shift in the beverages consumed.   And the consumers.
When I left the “participant” category, hard booze and cocktails were in large part consumed by males.   Boone’s Farm and Lake Country Red were about all I knew about wine.
Maybe Allison Krauss was right: “… you’re drinking whiskey when it should be wine.’
This seems to have happened. And probably for the greater good.   More men drink wine today
Are more women drinking too much now?   “After the third glass the wine drinks man (woman too?).”
Maybe its because I’m some what of a tightwad, but it bugs me to split a restaurant bill with three 60$ bottles of wine on the tab.   Once, after the main meal, I ordered four different desserts.   “Trying to even things up”, I threatened. Vetoed again by my Bride.
Many say legalizing pot would be a bad decision : A” gateway” drug that would lead to bigger problems?   Have you seen the movie HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS?
     No one seems to be getting anywhere toward solving the number of young people jailed on pot charges.   Would legal pot take the money out of the criminals hands?   Maybe save some salvageable young people. Isn’t it worth a try given current failures?   Bet our North Carolina farmers would love it.   Plus “sin tax” revenue.
Some of us have trouble with “moderation”,   I’m still fighting ice dream and BBQ.   Is that a “word to the wise”, Moderation?

Allison again: “He put the bottle to his head and pulled the trigger” (WHISKEY LULLABY).

Damar Hamlin, #3

Sixty years ! In the late 60’s the tackling technique called “spearing” emerged as the effective path. Soon a book and common sense produced the article below.


In the late 1960’s an orthopedic doctor, concerned about the health of his football playing sons, wrote his observations.  Dr. O. Charles Olsen’s book, “The Prevention of Football Injuries”, made note of the adverse and pronounced effects of “spearing” or head gear to chest tackling. While this technique was effective and caught on quickly, the number of deaths and severe injuries rose as a rapid level never before witnessed before in football.

Dr. Olsen concluded that energy equaled one half of the mass times velocity squared. (e=1/2m x v squared).  The bigger, stronger, faster players were creating a force that couldn’t withstand head gear to head gear, or head gear to knee contact.

The consolidation of schools eliminated many of the smaller players.  African American footballers were added to the talent pool, along with weight programs, better diets, and better coaching, and in many instances steroids.  Tremendous contact ensued.

And, while efforts have been made to control this violent hitting, football is at a crossroads.

The question of the long term effects of head contacts have forced the questions of (1) are we dealing with concussions properly,(2) are we legally liable if we turn our backs on the problem (3) are the linemen more vulnerable than we thought and  (4) can you “take the head out of football?” and on and on.  These questions have been around.  Perhaps no one has done more research than UNC Chapel Hill.  Dr. Carl Blyth and Dr. Fred Mueller have done yeoman’s work in an attempt to protect our young players.

This effort was begun a long time ago. Dr. Mueller still pursues the data (see “National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research”).

Pro football features a real “ballet” each game day.  The receivers and defensive backs are making plays that are at a new level of brilliance. Truly a work of physical, human art.  At the same time Olsen’s theory of force is hardly better exemplified than when a receiver crosses the field and is hit by a defensive back.  And, while a defensive back may be penalized for “head hunting”, he knows if he jars the ball loose, and or intimidates the receiver, his game rating goes up. While this risks tragic injury possibilities (his own included) is his job security a factor that urges him on?

The crossroads football faces include some other variables.  The more violent the hitting, the more the injury.  Yet the more violent the hitting the more market appeal the game experiences. Are we getting to the “gladiator” level of violence?

And while college and professional football are in the crosshairs of violence, perhaps high school footballers are even more vulnerable. And here is why: the weak and small and slow are eliminated at the college level.  But in many high schools small youngsters, who are very limited players, may face tremendous opponents that wouldn’t be admitted to college. These guys hitting the “canon fodder” can create catastrophe.  

“You can’t take the head out of football” might become you MUST take the head out of football.  How to do this is the crossroads question.  I fear the 2011 season will make this even more apparent.

“I would let my son play football, but I would not encourage him to play football.” James Michener, Sports In America 1976.

HEAD, HEAT, HEART –Still the dangerous ones.


College team tennis has its own unique rules. The “no service let” is even for men only.  One coaching colleague suggested “…the NCAA should have only ten rules, and if they add one they also have to eliminate one!”   Rules can be complicated .  Both coaches and players are better off knowing the rules.  American  college tennis is ruled by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).  High schools have their own.  USTA rules are the backbone of both, with differences for local and team differences. 

Here are some simple core rules:

PLAYERS ——Play by the CODE*

COACHES—-Don’t “stack” your lineup!**

REFEREES—- Line calls.  Stop the cheaters.  ***

  • A. The Code USTA Rules & Regulations are in effect in college tennis except where explicitly superseded by ITA, NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, CCCAA or Conference Rules. The Code is not part of the ITA Rules of Tennis. Players shall follow The Code unless there is a specific ITA Rule on point or except to the extent to which an Official assumes some of their responsibilities

Opponent gets benefit of the doubt. Whenever a player is in doubt, the player shall make the call in favor of the opponent. Balls should be called “out” only when there is a space visible between the ball and the line. A player shall never seek aid from a Chair Umpire, Roving Umpire, spectator, teammate or coach in making a line call.

**3. Players must play in order of ability. The line-up shall always be based on order of ability. In singles, players must compete in order of ability with the best player on the team playing at the No. 1 position, the second best at No. 2, and so on through all positions. This rule shall also apply to doubles play with the strongest doubles team at No. 1, etc. 

***Overrule must be immediate. It is the responsibility of the player to make an initial line call. An official in direct observation of a court shall immediately overrule a player’s erroneous “out” call. 

The  USTA (United States Tennis Association),  The ITA,  NFHSAA (National Federation of High School Athletics Associations) all have their rules in their online handbooks.   Most states have theirs online also.  ( North Carolina’s  are under THE NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS COACHES ASSOCIATION).

Parting Shots:  Rules change.  Year to year.  Tough to keep current.  

And societal changes affect sports too.  i

In my career Integration, Title IX,  Proposition 46 (800 SAT ) were seismic changes.  The influx of international  college tennis players was the most influential tennis rule change.  This year the portal rule becomes law.  It will affect American tennis families  ( see blog PORTALS AND POTHOLES )

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TENNIS PARENTING (by Frank Giampaola )  is a current  book I recommend. 

Additionally the article below should alert parents, players’ and coaches to the present situation:

  1. Check the college’s websites for rosters and nationality of players.
  2. There is an “elephant in the room” of college tennis: They don’t want
    your kid. Why? An 18-year-old can’t beat a 23-year-old international
    (other factors being equal).
  3. Don’t give money to institutions that don’t support our kids. Tell your
    alumni and giving buddies the same.
  4. Don’t go for the “walk-on” speech. If a coach wants your kid, he will
    find a scholarship. Otherwise, he has nothing to lose and probably
    doesn’t think your kid will play. Believe me.
  5. “Enron” University is out there. You have to protect your kid.
  6. Let the press know your feelings.
  7. Check out the “Florida Story” about internationals.
  8. Let the coaches know how you feel.
    James Michener, in Sports in America: “and we do it in the name of
    education.” What hypocrisy.


“…its not dark yet, but its getting there.” Bob Dylan.

DARK HUMOR (edited 2022)

Like a lot of people my age I read obituaries more often.  Some are humorous.  Here are some examples of gallows humor.

• A man named Tom Traylor had paid in advance to be cremated . A cancer patient, Tom wanted to renegotiate the price. When he signed the original contract Tom said that he had weighed about 180 lbs. Cancer treatment had affected his weight downward to about 140pounds. Tom reasoned he’d lost easily about 30% of himself. Shouldn’t he get a discount?

• Another interesting observation about obituaries came from a Professor Clotfelter of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor. Here are two the professor cited for support:

• When this North Carolina State gridiron faithful could no longer attend games in person he was despondent. He really missed the live action. Still it was reported that he never missed an Wolfpack game on television. He watched every game in front of his home TV. Frequently in a three point stance.

• Clotfelter did admit fanaticism was not limited to North Carolina. He cited a man from Wisconsin who stated in his obituary:” I love the Badgers, the Green Bay Packers, and most of my grandchildren.”

And then the man from Ohio, who requested that his six pallbearers be members of the Cleveland Brown’s football team. Asked why? he reasoned “…I want to be LET DOWN one last time by the Browns.”

•One person concluded: “Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they would tell you how the person died.”  (“Passed”—-in the South?  See Jeanne Robertson’s demonstration ).

Garrison Keillor tells of a dying friend’s prohibition of the terms “she passed”, or “celebration of life”.

Jeanne Robertson said when a Southerner used “passed” or “passing “, they always lowered and tilted their head to the side.

Covid shares reasons for the delayed “celebrations” uptick. Before the pandemic most funerals were plain vanilla (Psalms 23, Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, The Lord’s Prayer. —-0utta here! ) Delays caused by Covid have spawned more creativity. Cremation too! (up 50%).

Willie P. Richardson wondered if the perquisite BBQ grill a funeral offered , would be hot enough to just go ahead and cremate his uncle? After the que.

B&S : I am “burn and scatter”. Atlantic ocean is one mile west. Economical at worst.

ECONOMICS: 5OK annually, or more, for something you don’t want? (Nursing homes). All us old folks say no to drooling in a wheel chair. BUT–“There are no atheists in foxholes”! Like cremation, euthanasia is an Old Fart’s” interest area. Some suggest some form of a “do it yourself “project. Listing options, asphysxiation (car, hose, garage, carbon dioxide route ) was mentioned to my friend. He replied, “…yeah but you could wind up like ( a relative I didn’t know).”

I asked what happened to that guy”?

“The dumb son of a bitch ran out of gas”!


SERIOUS NOTE ON EUTHANASIA (from author Cederquist ):

Everywhere and always, civilization depends on the drawing of intelligent distinctions.

Jennifer Glass, a Californian who died August 11, drew one. She said to her state legislators, “I’m doing everything I can to extend my life. No one should have the right to prolong my death”.

The Economist reports that in the seventeen years under Oregon’s pioneering 1997 law, just 1,327 people have received prescriptions for lethal medications—about seventy-four a year—and one third of those did not use them. Possessing the option was sufficient reassurance.

There is nobility is suffering bravely borne, but also in affirming at the end the distinctive human dignity of autonomous choice. Brittany Maynard, who chose to be with loved ones when she self-administered her lethal medications was asleep in five minutes and soon dead.


Okay–so not all are “celebrations of life.”

One minister, who didn’t know the deceased, asked the congregation for comments about him? No response. Finally a man raised his hand and the concluded, “…his brother was worse!”

EVENING SHADE featured the father in law (Hal Holbrook) telling coach son in law (Burt Reynolds), in almost every episode, “…yeah, but that was before you married my daughter and ruined my life!” Rreading obits in hard times : “…hmm. there’s another job opening!”

ON ATTRITION : CLYDE PASSED –tilt your head!

(see letter)


Another obit question–should all who marry wear white? “love of their life”? Or FOR ALL THE GIRLS (BOYS) I’VE LOVED BEFORE”? List “loves of their lives”? No, no.

Our Governer’s wife just flipped off a group of Trumpers. Does a funeral not give the “others” the last word?


Why not write your own obit? I have heard that some are making their own funeral videos!

FUND RAISERS? My wife worked with Hospice. Never was I surpised that memorial gifts were directed to Hospice. But, “c’mon man”–send $ for their cat? That begs the question of a “fake”. Even before one “passes” (head turn)… a gofund for Tommy?

My minister Father satd his idea of heaven would include “…being able to eat all you want and not get fat.”

I read THIS IS ASSISTED DYING by Stefanie Green. At the end of the book she listed things people said in their last moments. Often one requested music, Often specific songs. One man pretty much knew St. Peter’s answer. They played AC/DC’s HIGHWAY TO HELL for him.

A lot of people think one will be able to “see back” from the other side. I wonder about all that. I would like to know for sure about a few line calls, gimme putts, golf balls found in the woods. away referees on block/charge, TDs called back on holding penalties, pass interference.

We are too far away for funerals. I’m gonna send some songs to anyone who asks:

1, HEROES AND FRIENDS by Randy Travis

2. FAMILY RESERVE by Lyle Lovett


4. SOFTLY AND TENDERLY by Emmy lou Harris

5. BROKEN HALOS by Chris Stapleton


The latest “funny item” on the subject is the Apple movie RAYMOND AND RAY

SERIOUS OBSERVATION FROM MY DOCTOR : YOU, at 82 years. are most apt to die from some form of cancer, or from a stroke, or a heart attack. If it is cancer you will probably be told of it’s severity and your own treatment options and decisions. Bad heart attack—not much time for choices! Strokes are different—if the emergency room people get you, then decision making is no longer the patient’s. Do you want to forego those choices? (Dr. Mike)

I FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON. There are lots of legal questions related. A new book, IN CASE YOU GET HIT BY A BUS (Sniederman and Seifer ) does a thorough job for “…when you are not around later”.

“I had my ( crap ) in a pile!” ( Chatty Bird )


Song by Chris Stapleton

Broken Halos

Seen my share of broken halos

Folded wings that used to fly

They’ve all gone

Wherever they go

Broken halos that used to shine

Angels come down

From the heavens

Just to help us on our way

Come to teach us

Then they leave us

And they find some other soul to save

Seen my share of

Broken halos

Folded wings that used to fly

They’ve all gone

Wherever they go

Broken halos that used to shine

Broken halos that used to shine

Don’t go looking

For the reasons

Don’t go asking

Jesus why?

We’re not meant to know the answers

They belong to the by and by

They belong to the by and by

Seen my share of

Broken halos

Folded wings that used to fly

They’ve all gone

Wherever they go

Broken halos that used to shine


As a Southern Baptist minister’s son I was early on aware of the tift between “moderates” and ‘conservates”. At age 82 I’ve had a long time to watch (“…you can observe a lot by watching!”—Yogi Berra ).

A good friend gigged me with a pro-conservative e-mail. I wrote back and simply asked if he was a “Republican” or a “Trump”? He hasn’t responded. But he has to soon. Mid-term elections are here. Matter of fact the church has to vote. Politicians. Public and private schools-colleges- universities. Issues of race relations, equality, democracy, climate dangers, abortion, greed. prejudice. lot of issues on the American plate in November.

“Now is the hour” sang the Baptist.

“People Get Ready” sang The Temptations.

People get ready,

there’s a train coming.

Don’t need no ticket–

you just get on board.



Not enough for a poker game?  Many gamblers fill that time with some version of gin rummy.

Here is a home made poker game for when small numbers have “the itch”.

The game for two: 


*Determine the dealer. Dealer alternates  round to round.

  • Dealer deals four cards in a row face down to his opponent,  then four similarly to him/her self.  These stay in order dealt, face down.
  • Dealer offers  one face up card.  The opponent can leave the card on stack, or card  one,  or pass it once to card two, or twice to card three.  Two passes and it is stuck there.   When that card is placed the next is offered to the next eligible card, whether opponent or dealer.  The cards are then offered to the required open card in clockwise fashion. 
  • The dealer offers each card in order until both players have four full stacks or  FIVE CARD HANDS;  the first card still down, the other four up. 


*This is a high – low game.  One point for best poker hand (high) and one point the worst (low).  Low is the “wheel “ or ace, 2-3-4-5.  The wheel can low or high or both.  All other straights are high only.

  • There are two points per round.  To win both points you must win high and low from  your four hands.  One point goes to the high winner, one for low.  Ties high or low yield 1/2 point.
  • Scores are added round to round.  Players pre-determine winning total  (example 10 points is winner and can win with 1/2 point margin, or 10 to 9 and 1/2.)

* Pot per game is preset.  Winner takes all.


Gerald said, “…every now and then the cow eats the butcher!”

Football season is here! Actually it is “money game season”.

You whip us, but you pay us. Say what? Appalachian beats Texas A & M and walks with 1.5 mil! Boone Goons rock. Marshall screwed the system too. Stuff happens.


How many over matched youngsters get hurt in these games? One player said “…our coach would give OUR lives for the school!”

A university’s website proclaims “Every thing we do is first for the good of our students.” Does this include students who play football?

And isn’t there more size and ability variation among 10th graders and high school seniors? 125 pounder vs 270 lbs.


Also: Portals and Potholes and Proximity:

Was it Southern California that recruited twenty plus PORTAL footballers? Does that equate to that many legit freshmen who didn’t get that scholarship/ opportunity? How many times did this happen in all football programs combined? All sports? How many closed doors to the high school class of 2022?

North Carolina football 2022: We don’t need to play any more this year. We can’t beat East Carolina and NC State, or App vs the Tar Heels. Mountaineers over #6.

Makes one wonder about pacific coast teams in the Big Ten.

Radical ideal?–Carolina, State, Duke, Wake Forest, Appachian, and East Carolina all play each other? ps-UNC Charlotte will be ready soon. Western Carolina Univ. No flying required, football or women’s volleyball.