Insomnia/Sick Day Notes

Ugh. I had battled a cold for a week or two, with this weird congestion passing back-and-forth between my head and chest. I never had a sore throat, never felt bad. Just constant plug of yuck in part of my body.

In the midst of that, I took NyQuil for several nights so I could breath and sleep peacefully. I slept like a baby all of those nights. Since I got off the meds, though, my periodic insomnia has returned. Last night I went to bed 11:30ish, drifted off for a bit then jolted wide awake. I came downstairs around 1:30 to read and have a drink to try to reset my body, then tossed and turned for several hours before maybe getting two solid hours.

I hate when this happens. I know my body will eventually get back on track and in a few nights I’ll be sleeping great again. And it’s not like my days are busy, so I can sneak in a nap if needed. Just doesn’t give me much energy or motivation to do things.

Didn’t help that C threw up this morning, so the errands I had planned got wiped out. I tried to nap but my one cup of half-caff coffee was enough to keep me from getting any rest. At least there’s nothing big going on tonight, so I will be relaxed and ready to hit the sack early.

Thus, a few more notes that I planned on holding for a couple days but I’ll share now since I’m kind of a zombie.

Kid Hoops

L’s team got a 12-point win last night. It should have been more than that; they led by 15 at half and then played sloppy and let it get down to four before we put them away. L had 10, including six in that late run.

I forget if I shared this already, but we have new coaches for the winter session. Now the CHS varsity coach and her top assistant/freshman coach are in charge. Our two wins this week were against pretty bad teams, but at least our girls seem to have a much better idea of what’s going on compared to when the previous coach was running things. A good change, and a chance for L to spend time with the people who will hopefully be coaching her next fall.

College Process

I haven’t shared the latest on M’s college search.

You know that she was accepted to IU quickly in November, including admission to the honors program. Then we waited to hear on her next four applications. We got word on each of them over the last three weeks.

First was an acceptance from Purdue. She doesn’t want to go there, but it was serving as her in-state, backup school. It was nice that she got in, though, because she heard of several kids she thinks have similar grades to hers who got deferred admission.

Next came Cincinnati, two weeks ago, another yes. Which was expected. UC is a solid school but not as selective as IU or Purdue.

Then last Friday she got word from Michigan: deferred. Which at first she was thrilled about, thinking that meant she has a shot to get in in April when they open up the enrollment spigot again. However, she read that all out-of-state applications are automatically deferred, so they may not have even looked at her file yet.

I heard from the parent of another kid who was deferred by UM that is not true; he knows of a couple out-of-state kids that got in last week. So we don’t know if M has gotten any attention or not.

Michigan is kind of fucking this whole process up. She’s never visited there, hasn’t done deep research about any specific programs, housing, etc. She just knows it is arguably the best public school in the country. If she gets accepted I think she’s really going to want to go there.

I’m torn. It would be awesome if she got accepted and had a chance to spend four years in Ann Arbor. But basically doubling the tuition we had planned to pay the next four years changes the parenting math quite a bit. And I’m not sure I could deal with her ego if she gets a Michigan degree!

Still, I didn’t want to crap on her excitement Friday, so I told her it was awesome that she’s at least still in the game. I would be surprised if she gets in, simply because it is so competitive and her non-academic resumé is lacking. But you never know.

Now she is stressing about not hearing from UM until April, while both IU and UC need a decision by May 1. I told her not to sweat it, spend the next two months making a choice between IU and UC and then we’ll have a plan in place when she gets her final decision from Michigan.

We booked a spot in UC’s admitted student program in February and will take a similar trip to IU in March. I gave her the task of coming up with some specific questions to ask when we are on each campus so we’re not just repeating what we did over the summer.

I can’t get a good feel for where she’s leaning. For awhile I thought she was higher on IU. But over the weekend she told us one of her best friends since grade school may go to UC, and they’ve talked about rooming together if they both head that way. The good thing is the tuition at the schools is basically the same so she can make a decision purely on where she thinks she fits best.

I honestly never realized how stressful this process is. I applied to two schools and knew where I was going. I only applied to UMKC because my stepdad was going through his first battle with cancer at the time and wanted a local option in case I needed to stay in town.

Health updates

The beginning of the year has been busy on the health tip for our family. Or at least for two us.

I mentioned awhile back that C was diagnosed with a bulging disk. She’s been doing PT twice a week to try to build some core strength and take the pressure off her spine to avoid more invasive treatment. It seems to be going well. I think she’s been consistent with her home exercises, and most days when we go in for PT she says she feels better. She’s been cleared to do anything that doesn’t cause new pain, so she has the ability to be active. She’s not really taking advantage of that, although it is January. I just hope she can be consistent with continuing her therapy at home once she’s released from PT so she can feel better and avoid either injections or surgery.

A couple weeks back I went to a dermatologist for the first time in my life. Being light skinned and having spent too much time in the sun in my life, it seemed like a good time to have a doc who is trained in such matters to take a look at my skin.[1]

Good news is I got a clean bill of health. I did have a spot he was a little worried about. Years ago my primary doc told me it wasn’t anything to worry about, and S had assured me that she also thought it wasn’t problematic. But my dermatologist said while he thought they were both probably right, he wanted to go ahead and do a biopsy just to make sure.

I got the results late last week and it came back benign. I wasn’t super concerned but was still nice to hear. I figure most people are going to end up with sun-related skin issues at some point, so it’s nice to be able to kick that can a little farther down the road. Use sunscreen, my peeps!

  1. I often ask S to look at moles, skin tags, etc that look odd. She’ll poke it, wrinkle her nose, and say, “Yeah, that’s weird. You should get that looked at.” Those two months of derm she did really come in handy!  ↩

Weekend Notes

A lot of sports this weekend.

Kid Hoops

L’s team played one game Saturday night. They were matched up with a team that we think were all soccer players in a hoops league for winter conditioning. We play at least one of these teams a season. Sometimes these teams are really good.

This one was not.

It took awhile for our girls – only eight this week – to find their groove but eventually they got it going. They led 23–2 at halftime and won 40–9. Their coach said he was going to make them run for giving up nine. I think he was joking.

L had a great game. She scored 13, all on drives (plus 1–2 from the line). She also completely dominated the girl she was guarding, which happened to be one of S’s patients. L didn’t know that during the game but giggled when S told her afterward.

They were original supposed to play two Saturday, but their second game got moved to tonight for some reason.


The losing streak is over! And it couldn’t have happened in a better setting, against a more worthy opponent.

Three weeks ago most people would have thought KU would destroy Kentucky. Then the Jayhawks hit their losing streak, the Cats seemed to finally figure their shit out, and I was hoping it wouldn’t turn into a replay of last year’s blowout in Allen.

It seemed like it was headed that way for about four minutes, when UK jumped out to an easy 9–4 lead that could/should have been a couple baskets bigger.

But the next 35-ish minutes were a masterclass in coaching by Bill Self. He limited Oscar Tshiebwe’s touches and the Jayhawks gang-rebounded to limit the toughest rebounder in the nation to only nine for the night. Self ran smart stuff on offense, moving the UK defense around to give KU open looks. And the Jayhawks did their jobs, with Jalen Wilson being his usual stud self, Kevin McCullar shaking off an ankle injury to dominate on the boards and hit the biggest shot of the game, while Gradey Dick battled and finally hit a huge three late.

Meanwhile John Calipari was too busy stomping his feet like a baby and screaming at the refs to tell his team to throw the ball to Oscar every possession. It was hilarious watching Jacob Toppin post up and turn it over while Oscar was sadly watching from the other side of the lane.

Seriously, Kentucky wins, maybe easily, if Oscar touches the ball five more times each half. KU could not stop him. But the Wildcats apparently aren’t well coached enough to recognize a huge mismatch and use it as the first option on every possession.

Self is now 3–1 in Rupp Arena, which is pretty damn impressive.

Thank goodness the losing streak is over. Not sure how I would have reacted to KU’s first four-game losing streak since, checks notes, I was in high school?!?!

Now it’s back to the Big 12 bloodbath, hopefully with a nice dose of confidence. Also saying prayers and lighting candles for McCullar’s ankle.

Other College Hoops

I watched a lot of the other Big 12-SEC games Saturday, in little chunks while switching around. I could not believe Oklahoma hammered Alabama by nearly 30. Seems a little flukey, like the Crimson Tide didn’t take OU seriously on a day OU was red hot. Still a legit-ass win.

Baylor-Arkansas was probably the most entertaining game of the day, although we had to leave before it ended.

Iowa State-Missouri, with Mizzou in their Norm Stewart era jerseys, made me think I was watching from my room in McCollum Hall in 1990 or 1991. I told my best Tiger and Clone fan friends that all we needed was Jay Randolph and “former Big 8 All American” Gary Thompson on the call and it would have been perfect.

BTW, I owe Mizzou fans an apology. I wasn’t trying to be snarky when I suggested they would fall apart after KU pounded them in December. It just seemed like an easy prediction, given MU hadn’t played anyone tough before KU, got worked over, and then had a brutal stretch of games immediately after. The Tigers have proven me wrong since then with a series of nice wins.

I laughed when I saw some bracket prediction last week that had MU playing Indiana in the first round, and both in KU’s bracket. It would be crazy for either a KU-MU or KU-IU rematch in the Sweet 16 in Kansas City. The Border War bonus game would obviously be a little more crazy.

It ended up being a nice day here, with the sun out and it approaching 50 – S and I even took about a 45 minute walk mid-afternoon – but the quality of the hooping would have been ideal for a more typically cold, snowy January day.


The Pacers made big news last week by re-signing Myles Turner, who was going to be a free agent in the off season. Turner is playing the best basketball of his career, and the rumors popped up a few weeks ago that the Pacers made him a contract offer, which included a bunch of their free cap money for the remainder of this year, something no other team could do if they traded him. But when Tyrese Haliburton got injured two weeks ago and the team lost nine of ten,[1] it started to feel like they would again look to move Turner before the trade deadline.

I think this is a smart move. It’s only a two-year extension, so the Pacers aren’t hitching the franchise’s future onto a massive contract that could go bad in three years. Plus it gives Turner a chance to be a free agent after the next NBA national TV contract is signed and revenues take another jump. Win-win.

As long as Turner stays healthy, which is always the question with him.

Now the focus needs to be on finding a way to get a big wing onto the roster, either through a trade in the next two weeks, or more likely over the summer. The team has a great, young core of Haliburton, Turner, and Bennedict Mathurin with a bunch of other smallish wings. They should bundle that bench depth with some of their three first round picks this year into a package to get someone in the 6’8” range who can defend and score.


So Chiefs-Eagles in the Super Bowl. Not the matchup I wanted, but not like I had strong interests in the outcomes of the conference title games. I causally watched both games, often with the sound down while also consuming other media. I think M was upset that Joe Burrow lost. He is the first pro athlete she has ever expressed any independent interest in. I can’t imagine why.

I still have to constantly explain to people here, even ones I’ve know for years, how I’m not a Chiefs fan. It can be exhausting, let me tell you.

  1. Now ten of eleven.  ↩

Friday Playlist

It seems like embedding Spotify playlists has been funky for the past week. I’ve checked old posts a couple times and received error messages where the playlist should be, only to find them available again a few hours later. So just a note to check back later if it is being a bitch when you first read this post.

“True Blue” – boygenius
Music fans rejoiced last Friday when the supergroup boygenius released three new songs, one featuring each of its members on lead. At least of the first batch, Lucy Dacus’ effort is my favorite. But I’m sure when their new album arrives, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker will have something to say about that. The new albums seem slow to roll out this year. In my running list of ones I’m looking forward to, there are only four accounted for at the moment. Three of them, including boygenius’, will arrive March 31. That’s kind of weird.

“Rice” – Young Fathers
I don’t know much about this band. I do know they’re Scottish, although two of the members were either born in Africa or have African parents. Globalization FTW! I don’t recall if I’ve heard their music before. But after finding this, I’m definitely going to be listening to and learning about them more.

“Smash the Machine” – Babe Rainbow
OK, if you’ve been following along with these playlists and tracking my music tastes long enough, you should know this band is from Australia based on its sound without me having to say a word.

“Dress” – Softcult
This is the first band that I discovered on The Bridge that I’m hearing new music from on my own. So kind of a big moment? Anyway, this is a deceptive song. It’s bouncy and light, and a departure from their normal shoegazey sound, but is deeply serious lyrically.

“Jet Fighter” – The Three O’Clock
Speaking of The Bridge, another old song I discovered on the Sonic Spectrum show. This band was part of the Paisley Underground movement of the ’80s, most famous for spinning out The Bangles.

“Under the Milky Way” – Lilly Hiatt
I don’t usually go for covers of my most favorite songs. But I’m just fine with Hiatt’s version of The Church’s 1988 classic.

“Judy’s Staring At The Sun” – Catherine Wheel with Tanya Donnelly
One of my favorite collabs of the ’90s, featuring a band that should have been massive and the terrific lead singer of Belly. I’m sure I heard it at some point, but I do not remember this mix of the song, which gives Tanya Donnelly the lead vocals in the second verse. Spotify just threw a Belly song at me, so I may have to dive into their catalog today.

Thursday Notes

Snow Day

We had the first snow day of the year yesterday. It was kind of a dud. The storm that was supposed to drop 5–8” of snow here could only muster about 2.5 inches. As the storm was expected to hit right at the morning rush, most area schools had either cancelled classes or jumped to e-learning well before bedtime Tuesday. M and C found out they would be home Wednesday while they were still in class Tuesday. St P’s didn’t call it until about 10:15 PM.

That was still probably the right move, as the roads were not great right when high schoolers would be driving and younger kids would be waiting for buses. But once the heavy snow ended, it was a letdown to still see grass poking through in our yard.

The real bummer was that the snow that fell was very wet and heavy, making it difficult to move. It was too thick for the snowblower and too heavy to pick up with a shovel. So L and I spent about 30 minutes struggling to shove it off the driveway. Even that was tough, since if you pushed snow for more than 10 feet it compacted into big lumps that didn’t want to roll any farther. But it was good for snowmen and snowballs! Once we were done L spent about two hours at a friend’s house playing in it.

She was upset she didn’t get to use the snowblower, though. Ours broke two years ago, then I gambled, and won, by not getting it fixed last year, a season we avoided any big snows. I got it fixed before Christmas and she was fired up to get a chance to use it.

After nearly a month of relatively mild weather, looks like it’s going to be more typical of winter here for the next few weeks. Not super cold, thankfully, but lots of chances for snow. So L may well get her chance to unleash mechanized fury on some snow.

She was done with her school assignments pretty early. Or maybe it’s because she’s been getting up at 5:30 AM lately that she was done so quickly. Her sisters slept much later but were still pretty much done with their work by mid-afternoon.

I spent most of the day and evening reading a very good book. I started it late morning and was done by 10:30. You’ll hear more about that soon.


Twitter has been a huge part of my life for 12–13 years now. I can’t remember exactly when I signed up; my current account was not my first so its 2011 start date wasn’t my true introduction to the service. I just remember that was when I listened to a lot of tech podcasts, and they were all raving about the platform, so I logged on pretty early in its life.

My experience with Twitter was always through using some of the great Mac and iOS apps that were made for it. Tweetbot and Twitterific were the two I used most, although I know I dabbled with others over the years. These were great because they were much more user friendly than either the Twitter website or the official apps. As the company moved into areas like promoted tweets and advertising, these third party apps kept those out of my feed. Until two weeks ago, I had never seen an ad in my Twitter feed or Tweets the company thought I should see based on their algorithm. And I could completely avoid the For You feed.

When Tech Karen suddenly shut down access for third party apps two weeks ago,[1] I suddenly had to see how most Twitter users live. And it sucks. A hostile interface that is constantly pushing things on me I don’t want, and forgets changes I’ve made in my personal settings to reflect my interests. It’s pretty much the same way that Instagram has gone from one of the best and most enjoyable platforms to one that shows me more ads and Reels, which I never asked to see, than photos from people I choose to follow. Only Twitter has Nazis and people complaining about Furries and constant suggestions that I need to gamble on sports.

Because of all of this, I’ve been using Twitter less and less. I still check it a couple times a day. Where it was once my default time waster, I have reached the point where I often realize “Hey, I haven’t looked at Twitter in 12 hours.” Because my feed was so carefully curated, I got a lot of good info out of it without being weighed down by things I didn’t have time for. So that’s a loss. But I’m realizing it may not be as big of a loss as I feared it would be when Tech Karen took over and began tearing the company apart like the toddler he is.

I’m hoping that TK either bails and someone else saves Twitter, or some other service pops up to replace it as my favorite virtual water cooler. I’ve signed up for Mastodon, which a lot of techies are jumping to. But it seems very weird and not functionally ready to scale to the size of Twitter so I’m not spending any time there. I guess as long as the people I get the most value from on Twitter remain there, I’ll keep checking in occasionally and tolerating its many issues. And hope that if/when it is saved, rationality will return and third party apps will be allowed again.

  1. Based on lies about violations of their policies and with no communication for nearly two weeks after the fact.  ↩

Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 81

Chart Week: January 23, 1988
Song: “Don’t Shed A Tear” – Paul Carrack
Chart Position: #21, 11th week on the chart. Peaked at #9 for three weeks in February.

It feels like I’ve lost the momentum for this series lately. After reviewing the numbers, I did add 15 entries in 2022, which was three more than 2021. Perhaps it seems like I’ve slacked off because I have a bunch of drafts where I’ve jotted down ideas, but, for one reason or another, haven’t been able to turn them into completed posts. Hopefully I can get back into a more regular rhythm with these in 2023.

Aside from my biggest music geek friends, I doubt the name Paul Carrack will mean much to most of you. However, I bet every one of you knows his voice.

In 1974 he hit #3 with his band Ace on their debut single “How Long.” Later he sang lead on Mike + The Mechanics’ two biggest hits: “Silent Running (Dangerous Ground),” which hit #3 in 1986, and their 1989 chart-topper “The Living Years.

Throw in “Don’t Shed a Tear” and Carrack hit the top ten performing with three different acts.

What isn’t included in that list is Carrack’s most enduring single. In 1980 he joined Squeeze to play keyboards. A year later, on the suggestion of producer Elvis Costello, he sang the lead vocals on “Tempted.” Despite becoming a classic in the decades since, that track stalled at #49.[1]

Wanderlust was a theme for Carrack’s career. Reading through his Wikipedia page is a dizzying experience, as he was constantly hopping around, performing with different groups or different sets of musical friends. Roger Waters, members of the Eagles, Roxy Music, Nick Lowe, and The Pretenders to name just a few of the other acts he worked with. His career path reminds me a little of Marshall Crenshaw’s.

I can’t find any evidence that he had an abrasive or difficult personality, so I think it truly was wanderlust, a desire to perform, and a lack of ego that allowed him to work with so many others.

For years I thought that Carrack must hold some kind of record for singing lead on the most Top 40 songs with different acts. However, last summer I randomly came across a note that proved me wrong. Turns out the person who holds the record is even more obscure than Carrack.

In 1970, British session singer Tony Burrows had one of the most remarkable runs in chart history. What took Carrack 15 years to accomplish, Burrows topped in a matter of months.

In March of that year he hit #5 on “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” fronting Edison Lighthouse. In mid-June he reached #13 with White Plains, singing “My Baby Loves Lovin’.” The week of July 4 he again hit #13 sharing co-lead vocals for the band Brotherhood of Man on “United We Stand.” And two weeks later he peaked at #9 with “Gimme Dat Ding” as frontman for The Pipkins.[1]

Four singles with four different acts in five months. That’s pretty good work.

He wasn’t done.

In 1974 he hit the top ten one last time, on First Class’ Beach Boys-esque track “Beach Baby,” which topped out at #4.

Amazingly, not one of those acts ever hit the US Top 40 again. Burrows also released his own music throughout the 1970s. Not one of his solo singles ever cracked the Top 40.

You can make an argument that Tony Burrows is the biggest one-hit wonder in chart history for taking five different acts into the Top 40 exactly one time and then basically disappearing. There aren’t retrospectives of his work, tributes to the “Tony Burrows Years,” or modern artists who seek him out as a collaborator. He had his five little moments and then was gone.

“Don’t Shed a Tear” is a solid if unremarkable song. Phil Collins once said that Paul Carrack could sing the phonebook and make it sound great. You definitely hear his talent here. His vocals are terrific. I probably sang along with them back in the winter of 1988. Not much else about the song is memorable, though. I would not have been able to recall it without hearing this countdown. At least Carrack has one song we all remember, even if it doesn’t bear his name. 6/10

  1. “Gimme Dat Ding”? Seriously?  ↩

Jayhawk Talk: 1-2-3, Time to Panic?

Perhaps THE thing that has set Kansas apart and made their Big 12 success so consistent in the Bill Self era is their ability to avoid losing streaks. Lose one? They almost always win the next. On the rare occasions they lose back-to-back games, a win in the third is about as easy money as you can find. There might be momentary panic among the fanbase after a loss. But normally that is quickly quashed.

Today, though? I’m not so sure.

Suddenly the Jayhawks are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, with no easy wins in sight.

Jalen Wilson has been fantastic, on as hot of a streak as any KU player since at least Paul Pierce in 1998 if not Danny Manning in 1988, averaging a hair over 30 ppg over the last week. I’m wondering, though, if that’s kind of the plan against KU: let J-Will get his and make sure no one else goes off.

If so, it has worked pretty well.

Since halftime of the game in Manhattan, it’s as though KJ Adams suddenly remembered that he is KJ Adams and has kind of stunk. Kevin McCullar has looked thoroughly shook. Although he had 14 points and 12 rebounds last night, he still had some really bad moments.

We saw signs of life from Gradey Dick. He was only 2–5 from 3, but he was finally aggressive in getting to the rim again and dropped a game-high 24. If he can get people to even halfway respect his shot fakes and drives, that should give him space to get a couple more good looks per game. Which opens things up for his teammates.

DaJuan Harris? Yikes. He hasn’t been the same since he smacked his head on the Bramlage Coliseum floor. He somehow was only charged with four turnovers last night, but it seemed like more. Several of those were just bad decisions/plays, not the product of good Baylor defense. He’s not getting to the rim as often, either, and when he does he seems more interested in passing out than trying to get a shot off or seek a foul. He went through a phase like this last year, but that was more survivable since he was surrounded with better, or more consistent at least, scorers. There’s less room for error this year, especially from him.

Monday night in Waco was frustrating because KU did a lot wrong, and still did enough right to make two big runs in the second half, briefly taking the lead midway through. But in each of those moments, it was little mistakes by KU that gave Baylor back the momentum. Bad passes. The inability to hold onto a ball that hit them in the hands. Getting beat and being forced to foul on drives. All little things that add up quickly on the road against a very good team.

My random, postgame, half-assed theory is that KJ Adams’ development in December may have actually hurt the Jayhawks long term. He was great for 5–6 weeks, meaning Self had no reason to give any of the other bigs meaningful minutes. Zuby Ejiofor and Ernest Udeh might get a look here and there, but as soon as they missed a defensive rotation or blew up a play on offense, Self would sit them down.

Now, when defenses are taking away what made KJ successful during that stretch, his lack of size becomes a real problem. But Self doesn’t trust Ejiofor or Udeh to come in for more than spot duty. KU really needed a longer player on the court in each of the three losses. Had those freshmen played more minutes in December, would Self have the trust to play them more now?

The answer to that question is always “Well, he sees them in practice and we don’t, and they obviously aren’t doing enough there to warrant the minutes.” I just wish Zuby and/or Ernest did enough of something – rebounding, blocking shots, playing solid D – to get on the court for 5–10 minutes a night and force teams to deal with their size.

Of course the real source of angst among KU fans isn’t losing at Baylor. It’s getting waxed at home by TCU Saturday. I kind of saw that coming – I warned you that TCU was the worst matchup in the league for KU because of their size and speed – but I did not expect such a thorough ass kicking. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an opposing team go on a 19–0 run in Allen Fieldhouse before.

In my personal preseason rankings, I had KU third in the Big 12, behind Texas and Baylor. Baylor and KU have both suffered through three-game losing streaks. TCU lost three of four. The league is so tough there’s no reason to think that the other contenders won’t go through similar spells. The Ken Pomeroy prediction for the Big 12 currently has a four-way tie for first at 11–7 with two teams at 10–8. The challenge for KU is can they get their issues figured out so they can stay in that top six.

I’m not the first person to think about this, but over the past week I’ve been considering losing streaks in the era of NIL. What happens when a kid who is making money to play in college isn’t performing well, or his team is losing, or he’s just sick of his coach’s BS? Are they more likely to look for their own at the expense of the team, to mentally check out, or even flat-out quit? I think most kids who earn a big NIL deal have enough built-in pride where that won’t be a factor. But I hate how that’s in my mind now.

Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis shared a message he received from a “fan” a couple weeks back, calling him out for his play and using NIL as a specific argument for how he didn’t stack up to the legends of IU who came before him. I doubt he is the only one getting those messages.

Players like Jackson-Davis, who is making well into six figures this season, don’t deserve pity. However, when they have track records of playing hard, they also don’t deserve to have their motivation questioned when they go through a cold spell.

Every January KU goes through a rough stretch. Now it isn’t always losing three (or more) straight, obviously. But it is a rite of passage this time of year for KU fans to rip on the team, bemoan the recruits we missed out on, and start wondering about who will fill those holes for next season. Bill Self usually figures out a way to get KU right again. The path is certainly tougher this year.

A week ago some KU fans[1] were suggesting this year’s squad was/could be better than last season’s national champs. Now I think most of us are wondering if they aren’t more analogous to the 2020–21 team. That team also had a three-game losing streak and ended the year getting humbled by USC in the round of 32.[2] At least for today that seems like an apt comparison.

  1. Not me!  ↩
  2. That team lost five of seven from Jan. 12 to Feb. 6. Hmmm…  ↩

Friday Playlist

This was the week when I tried to figure out what my new normal listening habits are. The Bridge went back to playing their regular rotation of music, so while I still listened to their stream often, I wasn’t quite as obsessive as during their Z to A countdown. But I also didn’t completely fall back into listening to mostly newer music on Spotify. Throw in a lot of appointments and my listening time, in general, was reduced. But we’ll get there.

“Sideways Skull” – The Hold Steady
We got new music from a couple giants of indie rock over the past week. As always with THS, this will never match their peak, but it’s still pretty damn good.

“Tropic Morning News” – The National
What is it, 2007 around here? I generally run hot-and-cold with National tunes. This one falls on the hot side.

“Blood Rushes” – CIVIC
Your occasional reminder that if I could have any job in the world, being a DJ in Australia and getting to play music like this before anyone else would be pretty high on the list.

“Dreams” – Brandi Carlile
Another song from the list of ones I discovered during the Z to A countdown. I’m not usually a big Carlile fan, but this track is terrific.

“Up the Down Escalator” – The Chameleons
Last Saturday while out driving kids around, I discovered The Bridge’s Sonic Spectrum show, where DJ Robert Moore takes a listen back to music of a certain moment. That show was focused on 1983. In the 20 or so minutes I listened, I heard a couple classics and a couple that were new to me. This was one of the new ones, which totally blew me away. Apparently The Chameleons were big influences on later bands who rose out of the Manchester scene, including Oasis. This song is amazing and I’m mad I had never heard it before January 2023. It would have made so many mix tapes/CDs/playlists better over the past 40 years.

“The Magic Number” – De La Soul
I was annoyed that I didn’t read the news about De La Soul’s music coming to streaming services later this spring until well after I posted last week’s playlist. I could have included this, the first of their classic songs to hit Spotify. I guess a week late is better than never. Crank this up and get your weekends off to a proper start.

“Gloria” – Patti Smith
Despite my love for many of punk’s originators, I’ve never really gotten into Patti Smith. I’ve never had a problem with this song, though. I was reminded of its brilliance, especially the band’s performance behind Smith, during the Z to A countdown. Her voice may have been unconventional, but the passion in her performance is irresistible.

Jayhawk Talk: The First Slipup

Well, KU’s end-game luck had to run out eventually. After winning 15-straight games that were decided by less than 10 points, KU came up a point short in overtime in Manhattan Tuesday night.

KU missed 10 free throws and 23 3-pointers. They had the ball at the end of regulation and overtime and didn’t get a shot off either time. They had the ball at the end of the first half and a chance to run out the clock. Instead Gradey Dick drove into traffic, was fouled, and hit one of two free throws. Seconds later Keyontae Johnson hit a short jumper at the buzzer to put the Wildcats up by five at the half.

The Jayhawks still only lost by one on the road to a top 15 team. With three starters fouled out and another (possibly) playing concussed.

It takes a lot to kill this KU squad.

The only true bad luck of the night was Bill Self calling a timeout with about 40 seconds left in overtime, just before Jalen Wilson swished a 30-foot shot that would have put KU up four. After the timeout KU couldn’t get a shot off and the Wildcats hit the game-winner.


That was, by almost every measure, a good loss. But it coming to the Purples makes it sting a lot more than it should, and makes the replaying of the dozens of little moments that cost KU a point or two even more bitter.

There’s also the specter of what lies ahead. Any loss in the Big 12 can quickly turn into a nasty losing streak. KU hosts TCU Saturday, probably the team they matchup with the worst in the conference. Then go to Baylor. Then to Kentucky. Then host K-State. Then go to Ames. Then host Texas. Shit can get sideways really fast, so every close loss seems even bigger than normal.

After the first few minutes, when he had his shot blocked at least three times, Wilson was fantastic. Had his late 3 counted, he would have tied Andrew Wiggins for the most points scored by a KU player under Self. He’s been super inefficient in recent weeks, but was nails last night. A W in Manhattan on his shot would have propelled him back into the national POY conversation.[1]

The rest of KU? Everyone had their struggles. Well, not KJ Adams, who was incredible during KU’s first-half comeback but disappeared in the second half.

DaJuan Harris had 11 assists but three terrible turnovers in crunch time. I really wondered if he was concussed after hitting his head on the floor. Maybe that explains that poor decision making late?

Gradey Dick had a horrible night shooting from behind the arc, going 1–8. That will happen. But, man, some of them were wiiiiiide open. He still managed to pitch in 16 points, grab seven rebounds, and get four steals and two blocks. K-State kept picking on him on defense, and he either got beat badly to give up layups or committed cheap fouls. I don’t know if he was ever going to hit another 3, but it sure would have been nice having him on the court instead of fouled out thanks to three soft fouls that came from being in bad position instead of making any real effort to stop his man.

Kevin McCullar had been poor for a couple weeks, but was flat-out bad Tuesday. I wondered if he was sick. He looked literally shaky. He nearly air-balled two free throws. He did airball a 3 and hit the side of the backboard with another. He seemed a step slow on defense. Hopefully he did just have a bug of some kind and can rebound Saturday.

I had to laugh when KC Star beat writer Shreyas Laddha Tweeted that he had never seen a team as good as KU miss as many layups as they do. If you didn’t know he was new to the KU beat, that would be an obvious tell. Seriously, KU misses a TON of shots right at the rim. At least three on the break last night, as guys got stuck between laying it up, dunking it, and worrying about the defense. Easy for me to say sitting on my 51-year-old ass in Indianapolis, but come on, fellas!

I’m guessing for a neutral this was a great game to watch. Well, except for the officiating, which was atrocious. Now, it was called pretty evenly. But it was as if the refs decided about 30 minutes in, “OK, this is a rivalry game, it’s close, we need to blow the whistle on every play.” KSU’s Johnson was called for two fouls when he was just in the vicinity of someone falling down. He was given an and-one, and fouled out McCullar in the process, when he flew by McCullar and Adams without being touched. Nae’Qwan Tomlin fouled out on a play when another K-State player clearly was the guilty party. Wilson had a clean steal in overtime that a ref decided he needed to blow the whistle on. He was also hammered on one drive, a shove from Tomlin nearly knocked him over, with no call. Two possessions later he flipped a runner at the rim with the mildest contact and drew a foul.

Oh, and worst call of the night was when they stopped play, with K-State driving to the hoop, because Wilson was cramping in the backcourt. Pretty much everyone in my various KU chats said “Oooh, that was a really bad call. And lucky for us!”

Those are just the examples that I can think of immediately. Worse than the bad/wrong calls were the sheer number of whistles. There were 49 fouls called in 45 minutes. The game was physical, but never egregious or nasty. It was just two really good teams battling. And the refs decided they needed to take it over. Even then they couldn’t do it with any consistency. Quite the commercial for the Big 12!

You always laugh when your rival hires a new coach and the fanbase gets irrationally excited about it. That’s a fundamental part of rivalries. “Oh, sure, Roy Williams is shaking in his shoes thinking about how to match wits with Jim Wooldridge.” So when K-State fans immediately suggested that hiring Jerome Tang would turn K-State into Baylor north, it was easy to be amused.

You can’t draw big conclusions from half a season, but Tang seems legit. Even assistants who have a good feel for the game can struggle when they have to be The Man. Tang doesn’t seem afraid of the moment and made some really nice calls last night. With Baylor not matching preseason expectations (yet), KU fans can turn this into another way to bash Scott Drew, suggesting Tang was the real brains in the operation down there.

So now KU is 5–1 in the conference, tied with K-State and Iowa State a third of the way through the schedule. I’m not sure anyone can make any safe assumptions about how the next third of the slate will go. Six games seems like an eternity when every night brings a physical matchup with another good to very good team. Just when you think you have confidence in any squad, they could easily go through an 0–2 week and prove that belief misguided.

  1. Although it’s going to take a lot for Purdue’s Zach Edey to not clean up all the national POY awards this year. ↩

Monday Links

Over the holidays I worked hard to get my Instapaper queue cleaned out, especially a whole swath of very long reads that had been sitting there for months and months. Of them, this might be my favorite, an accounting Susie Goodall’s attempt to sail around the world by herself. There are all kinds of harrowing details of her effort, but what stuck with me most was how the media framed her journey.

Those about Goodall took a different tone, shaped in part by Goodall’s fame as the only woman and in part by the fact that the race had released only the portion of the call in which Goodall sounded shaken and distraught. The media never heard Goodall say that she was prepared to save herself…Just like that, it seemed like race organizers were trying to shift the narrative around her journey from lone heroine to feckless damsel in distress.

Alone at the edge of the world

It’s always fun when you visit someplace and learn about its history and, shortly after, that exact thing pops up in the news.

Here are details of a study that may explain why Roman concrete was/is so much more durable than our modern stuff. Our tour guide in Rome shared what had been the prevailing view – until this study came out – that it was the volcanic ash the Romans mixed into their concrete that made it last millennia.

Previously disregarded as merely evidence of sloppy mixing practices, or poor-quality raw materials, the new study suggests that these tiny lime clasts gave the concrete a previously unrecognized self-healing capability.

Riddle solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable?

This is pretty geeky – I admit I couldn’t follow some of it – but it is a cool breakdown of how limited the hardware of the Atari 2600 system was, and how amazing it was that the games that were made for it were as good as they were.

Atari 2600 Hardware Design: Making Something out of (Almost) Nothing

Side note: I read both this, and a story about the change in the rules licensing for Dungeons & Dragons, on a Sunday morning when I was listening to an American Top 40 from January 1983. Which was just about perfect, as I got D&D for Christmas 1982 and likely spent a lot of that break playing on friends’ Ataris. I wouldn’t get my own until the next Christmas.


De La Soul’s Whole Catalog Is Coming To Streaming Services In March

Friday Playlist

A little late today as I spent most of the morning running around doing things for the girls. It’s also been a rather odd start to my music year, and I’m not piling up the new music the way I normally do. More on that below. I have managed to cobble together a few songs for your listening pleasure.

“Getting It Right” – Caitlin Rose and Courtney Marie Andrews
Another entry in my continuing exploration of where the line between pop and country that I can tolerate lies, and this is just poppy enough for me to enjoy.

“Daisy” – atmos bloom
One thing there is no question that I enjoy is shoegaze, whether modern or classic.

“Shit Talkin'” – Alex Lahey
An anthem for the social anxious among us.

“Down in the Park” – Tubeway Army featuring Gary Numan
For most of the past two weeks I’ve been listening to the stream of Kansas City radio station 90.9 The Bridge’s Z-to-A countdown (countup?) of their entire library. As I type they are in the B’s, and it looks like they will wrap up sometime Sunday. It’s been awesome. I’ve heard a lot of songs I love, rediscovered some old favorites I haven’t heard in years, and found some songs that were brand new to me. I think The Bridge is going to become a big part of my listening habits even after they transition back to a more regular format.

This is one of the new to me songs, a brilliant track from 1979 I had no idea existed.

“Lookin’ For Another Pure Love” – Stevie Wonder
This week’s big music death (not counting Lisa Marie Presley) was Jeff Beck. I mostly knew of Beck from his work with Rod Stewart. I also learned in recent years that he appeared on a couple tracks on Stevie Wonder’s legendary Talking Book album. Including this track, where Stevie encourages him to “Do it Jeff…” when he adds a lovely solo run.

“Taillights Fade” – Buffalo Tom
And here’s one of the forgotten tracks that I heard for the first time in ages this past week. When Buffalo Tom was good, they were exceptionally good.

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