Archive for November, 2011

No Treat!

The signs were there.

I knew early last Saturday morning that it wasn’t going to be my day!

From a faulty tire pressure indicator light on my car to having to wait for of all things, coffee, at a McDonald’s drive-thru to even receiving a prank phone call, I knew it wasn’t going to be my day!

I speaking of course of my trip to Fargo, North Dakota to meet my son and watch my alma mater, Northern Iowa take on his school, North Dakota State on the football field.

It was a battle for first place in Missouri Valley Conference.

Not long after reaching my seat in the Fargodome that a sherpa and climbing ropes would have come in handy, it became even more apparent that my day would continue on its downward trend.

Despite running the opening kickoff back to NDSU’s 40 yard line and quickly advancing the ball to the 5 yard line, UNI’s drive stalled and they were held to a field goal.

That would be their only lead of the day.

NDSU pretty much dominated from that point forward and led at the end of the first quarter 7 to 3.

NDSU led at the half 17 to 13.

And of course they led when it most counted, at the end, 27-19.

There wasn’t much doubt who the better team on the field was last Saturday.

I knew it was going to be tough for my Panthers to win in the noisy Fargodome so it wasn’t unexpected. UNI should get another crack at them in the playoffs in a few weeks.

But, what was unexpected was a final score out of Minneapolis!

Minnesota 22
Iowa 21

Yes, my Iowa Hawkeyes had lost to one of the worst teams in college football this year! And I get to go home and listen about it for the next year!

The perfect ending to my not-so-perfect day!

Okay, back to the details of the signs I was in for a long day…

Prior to leaving for Fargo, I went for an early morning run during which I didn’t have a good feeling about the game. This was the opposite of the day when Northern Iowa upset Kansas in the NCAA basketball tournament. That day I had also gone for a morning jog and had a strong feeling that UNI was going to win, which proved to be the case. (Maybe, next time I should consider running in Las Vegas and place a bet or two along the way!)

There was some last minute confusion over a ride for my daughter to her dance class, which got cleared up, but we left a little later than planned.

We were on the road for about a minute when the low tire pressure light came on. I had our car in for repair work on its struts the day before and that probably caused the false indicator light, but still you want to be sure before driving 240 miles on a busy highway. Following a stop to check all of the tires to make sure they weren’t low, we continued on our way.

Next, we stopped at a McDonalds about twenty miles out of the Twin Cities. Now, occasionally you will be asked to pull ahead and wait while something you ordered is being cooked, but only on days when things aren’t going your way do you find a McDonalds that is out of coffee!

Finally, to top it off, I fell (almost) for the best timed prank phone call of all time! I was driving in the left hand lane of Interstate 94, going about five miles an hour over the speed limit, when I see a Minnesota State Trooper parked in the medium with a radar gun. I slow just a bit, but am not too concerned since I really wasn’t going that fast. Within thirty seconds, my cell phone rings (I didn’t recognize the number and there was no Caller ID) and the voice on the other end identifies himself as “The Minnesota Highway Patrol” and “we’re going to pull you over for speeding”!

I said, “Okay” and hung up.

I didn’t pull over.

And then I popped over a hill and there was a helicopter hovering and facing me! I’m thinking this must be real, but…

How did they get my cell phone number?

I still didn’t pull over since I hadn’t had a patrol car pull up behind me.

But I kept thinking, how did they get my number?

Was there some new app from Apple that allowed the highway patrol to get a cell number simply by passing their car?

Then I had my answer…

A few seconds later my phone rang again.

Same number as before, only this time it was my neighbor and big Michigan State fan, “Sparty Pete”! (Remember, he was the guy responsible for hanging the “S” letters in my trees during the 2010 NCAA Basketball Tournament.)

He was at it again!

He knew we had left for Fargo, so he decided to play “Mister Highway Patrol”!

He had no idea how PERFECT his timing had been with his prank call!

I bow down to his genius on that one!

But mark my words…

Maybe not today or tomorrow, but I will someday get even for that one!

But, in hindsight…

It was just one of those days!

Out numbered in Fargo!


Bill Keane

The creator of the long running comic strip, “Family Circus” passed away this week, he was 89 years old. Family Circus ran in over 1,500 newspapers worldwide and was a favorite of mine growing up. It was simply good, clean, family humor, spoken in a single panel.

Peanuts creator, the late Charles Schulz believed they shared the same type of humor.

Keane was born in Philadelphia and taught himself to draw while in high school.

He started “Family Circus” in 1958. In recent years his son, Jeff drew the strip, while Bill enjoyed retirement.

I also taught myself to draw at a young age and can remember drawing the characters from “Family Circus” as a way to improve.

His incredible talent will be missed!


I know others may think differently, but I don’t believe there is any significance to today’s date other than it being kind of cool.

Cool because it hasn’t happened since 11-11-11.

1911 that is!

Funny how our brains like to notice repeating numbers and try to apply some meaning to them. I’m sure there will be just as many people out there predicting the end of the world as there will be people thinking it’s just the perfect time to get married!


I don’t believe today will be any different than any other day.

The sun will rise.

The sun will set.

But just to be safe, I plan on buying a lottery ticket at precisely eleven minutes and eleven seconds after you guessed it, eleven this morning!

Let’s not forget…

There is a significance today.

Today is Veterans Day.

Everyone should take a moment today and remember all that has served this country.

Friendly Fire

The Michigan State Spartans play the Iowa Hawkeyes in football tomorrow.

My oldest son traveled home from Fargo on Wednesday night and will head off to Iowa City later today to watch the game.

At some point today or tonight I fully expect my neighbor and Michigan State alum, “Sparty Pete” to travel across the street and place numerous letter “S’s” in my trees or paint a giant “S” on my driveway!

Yes, it’s game on!

Our annual battle for bragging rights.

Also, our battle for a prized steak dinner, which I don’t believe either us actually ever collects!

But it has a nice ring to it…

“How ’bout we make it for a steak dinner?!”

“You’re on!”

Just don’t sharpen your steak knife!

I’ve lost count on exactly where we stand on our “standing” steak bet!

As I wait for him to strike, I have managed to get off a few preemptive strikes against my “Photoshop Challenged” opponent.

About ten years ago in a “settlement” of one of our first Iowa- Michigan State bets, “Sparty Pete” was required to pose with my Hawkeye flag and cap. Little did he know how that one photo shoot would live on thanks to the wonderful world of Photoshop!

Here are a few examples that I have shared on his Facebook page down through the years…

The original...taken at a Minnesota- Iowa game.

"Hawkeye Pete" in East Lansing!

Celebrating another Hawkeye victory!

The Hawks are out of this world!

Let the games continue…