Tag Archives: Arkansas Razorbacks

That happy summer magazine

With kickoff to the new season of football starting…today! (we’re talking college football, ya bums, which is the only football that really matters!) I thought I’d yak about it a bit.

NewMadridEarthquake1990Some years ago—long before the internet and email—I used to receive regular packages from my dad full of newspaper clippings of assorted stories of interest and sports pages. Now, he didn’t just save me all the sports pages, but only the ones that had news about the Arkansas Razorback football team. Back in the pre-internet days, it was very difficult to get news of my favorite team because I was outside the state of Arkansas. In fact, when I was living in California, during football season I’d get a vhs tape around Thursday that had the game from the previous weekend in addition to the sports pages.

I absolutely loved getting those packages. I’d read up the papers, watch the game…and often I’d call dad. This was in the day when you had to pay for your long distance call by the minute, so our football conversations were often brief.

Dad used to send me the summer preview edition of Hawgs Illustrated, which is loaded with roster/player/coaching info to get Razorback fans hyped about the upcoming season…after he was finished. Somewhere along the way—and I don’t remember exactly when—I got a copy in the mail addressed to me! And it was NEW! I called and asked Dad if he’d sent me a copy because I was confused why the publisher was sending me one…and he said he’d ordered me a copy when he ordered his copy. One year my magazine even came with a post-it note attached that said something like “From Dad.”

He’s been doing that every year since.

My happy summer magazine, courtesy of my dad!

My happy summer magazine, courtesy of my dad!

And it’s STILL a happy surprise to get the magazine in the mail…mostly because it reminds me that my dad was thinking about me when he ordered his copy.

Thanks, Dad!

Here’s to a fun football season! Go Hogs, WPS!

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House = SOLD!

Yes, you read that right = we’ve finally sold the house. After more than a year on the market, we’re no longer paying for a home we don’t live in! And the timing is perfect—all on God’s time, of course—but we’d reached that point where we just couldn’t scrape the money together for two homes and had paid our last note. I wish I could tell you I was independently wealthy enough to afford a home here and a “Mississippi summer home!” ha.

121008-1311-itsbeginnin1.jpg 121008-1311-itsbeginnin2.jpgBut, all with most new chapters in life, there are positives and negatives moving on. We have a lot of really great memories in the home in Oxford. We were there for five good years: Brittany was in the 7th grade and Brett was 2nd grade when we moved in: Brittany had graduated and Brett was starting 8th by the time we moved. Man…talk about changes (just look at the pictures).051713_1825_Youaretheon2.jpg

Brett7thgradeWe went there knowing only the person who hired BJ at the University—which is what took us there. We leave with a host of people we know and love (even those who have the misfortune to cheer for the Mississippi school UpNorth)—and it’s really them we’ll miss the most. Fortunately we live in a day and age of Facebook and Twitter and whatever else, so we’re expecting to stay virtually in touch.

We watched the Hogs rise…and then fall in the sports programs, particularly when it came to playing Ole Maid. Heck, prior to moving there, the football team had won 7 of the last 10 games. While we lived there, we only won 2 out of 5 against the mascot-ly confused Black Bears. Many of the other sports were in similar reversals (all but the Track team—which continued to dominate on a national level). I’m hoping now that I’m gone and can’t watch them live, they’ll start winning again!

060111_0437_Gradumicate4.jpgI started—and finished!—my MFA while there. Was part of a great MFA program at Spalding University and made a lot of very cool writer pals who are doing great writer things today! The novel that was my thesis is making rounds with an agent and I’ve had good comments from those few who’ve read it.

We all witnessed our largest snow ever—a full 10 inches! I know, I know, you folks in the northern climes laugh at that, but for us it was pretty cool (see what I did there?).

Anyway, it’s nice to have closure on the home…and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of memories to create! And, of course, I’ll put a good bunch of them here. As always, thanks for reading.


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Visiting the Swamp

I was going to talk about plotting for multiple characters this week…but last week I had the opportunity to see my beloved Razorbacks get beat by Florida. Actually, I went thinking the Hogs had a great chance at victory…and if they’d play quarters 2-4 the way they played in the first quarter, then maybe.

But I’m not here to bemoan that fact—I’m done with that. I am here to say that we came away incredibly impressed by the kindness of Gator fans. The Swamp was about as I expected: it was big. I was, however, surprised to see that there were empty seats. With a team in the top 20, I’d expect to see all 90,000 of the seats filled. It was also very loud. The only things I can think of I’ve personally heard louder were Aerosmith in 1978 and Queen in 1980. I understand how the players can goof up on the field when they can’t hear!

As you can see by the picture, we were surrounded by Gator fans. Brittany isn’t in the picture because school kept her away. The picture was sent to her to show we were missing her. I was a bit concerned when we took our seats because—well, I’ve been to my share of Arkansas-Black Bear games (that’s Ole Miss for the uninitiated) and those are the only games I’ve ever been physically threatened. Yes, I know it’s generally the alcohol speaking, I get that…but it is what it is. We did see a little of that in the pre-game tailgating, even saw a few Hog fans who were humorously displaying their alcohol encouraged Razorback spirit in the form of non-stop hog-calling and high-fiving anyone with a red shirt on. I’m not convinced they made it to half-time, though.

There was one Gator fan about three rows down from us who was indeed alcohol obnoxious. So much so that he almost got into a fistfight, not with a Razorback fan, but with another Gator fan. Yeah, he was THAT obnoxious. Security finally came and removed him and his buddies—and much applause was heard around us. We even had Gator fans apologize to us for his actions. The others around us were sincerely kind; they asked us where we were from, wished us safe travels, said good things about our team (even though we were getting beat), and just all around general niceness.

Yeah, I was impressed.

I’ve not been to that many “away” games for the Razorbacks: Auburn, Miss. State, Ole Maid, Vandy and now Florida. I hesitate to rank them, but Florida and Auburn were both great experiences meeting some very nice “opposition” fans. I’ve never been to Death Valley (LSU), but I’ve heard horror stories about the place.

Their kindness made for a very nice Saturday…and eased the pain of losing…some.


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Origin of “Hotty Toddy”

Disclaimer: This post may offend some. Offense is not intended. Humor is intended. However, seeing as to how I may likely fail at my attempt at humor, offense may follow. Thus, if you are a University of Mississippi fan (sometimes referred to as That School Up North), please do not read any further. I would hate to offend my Rebel Black Bear friends. Both of you are important to me.

Anyone who’s spent any time around SEC sports is well aware of the foul-mouthed chant so dearly loved by the Ole Miss faithful. All other eleven schools in the SEC are repulsed by both its vulgarity and by its execution, which is generally only done when 85% of the participants are fully inebriated. Black Bear faithful are quick to point out that there is a “kid-friendly” version, but regrettably cannot remember those words.

It’s funny, though—if you aren’t already laughing—at the general misunderstanding of the “Hotty Toddy” term. 98.32 percent of the current student body believes it comes from a form of hot totty, which is, of course, a hot alcoholic drink. Serve them another, please.

Fans of rival Mississippi State claim it comes from a time when teams hurled slurs at one another during sporting events and a drunken Ole Miss fan heard an angry Mississippi State fan yell “hoity toity” which, of course, means “Pretentiously self-important, haughty or pompous.” The Ole Miss fan, in his drunken stupor, took it as a challenge to imbibe more alcohol. Serve him another, please.

Fans of rival LSU also claim it comes from a time when fans of the team hurled slurs (as well as beer bottles) at one another.  Of course, the LSU faithful were actually yelling “potty potty,” which was a stab at the ever poor quality of the Ole Miss football team. Serve them all another, please.

Fans of rival Arkansas claim no knowledge of the obnoxious chant and are insulted when intoxicated Rebels accuse the Razorbacks of having an obnoxious cheer. Razorback fans wonder how that new coach is working out for the Rebel Black Bears and are thankful not to have to play such football powerhouses as Jacksonville St.

Fans of rival Alabama, which is not really a rivalry at all as Alabama rarely loses (44-9-2), have actually never heard the Hotty Toddy chant. They’ve heard of it, but it seems the Bamrs begin their own famous Rammer Jammer chant at kickoff of their games with Ole Miss. The Rammer Jammer chant is generally done after victory is assured. They’ve all had enough, thank you.

Of course, no one associated with the University can remember the REAL origin of Hotty Toddy—statistics say memory is the first thing to go when one is intoxicated.

LATE EDIT: As I seem to be getting a LOT of hits recently…I think I discovered why and just HAD to post this very humorous youtube video. Not sure how long it will be up before the Black Bear lawyers force it down–so watch it while you can!


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The absent blogger

I’m afraid to look at the date before I “publish” this one…but I know it was sometime in July. Where oh where has the time gone? Well, for me personally, mostly school. Trying to balance my school with a busy summer schedule was hectic! With a capital WOW! There’s so much to catch up on, I hardly know where to start.

But I gotta start somewhere so I’ll start with Brittany having a go at American Idol. When we learned they lowered the age to 15 this year AND that there were auditions in Nashville AND it was conveniently placed next to Camp Electric on the calendar…well, we decided to do it. Brittany and I went to stand in line around 4 that morning and found the line already formed. However, once it was all said and done, we were in the first ¼ of the entire line. While she didn’t make it past the first round, it was a great experience for her. I was impressed by how efficient they were in their organization. Those guys know what they’re doing.

Brittany has been offered a contract/representation by CTA and we’re still examining those possibilities and praying about it. It sounds very good, but we don’t want to jump into it blind and make a bad decision that she’ll be stuck with. She’s competing in a contest that I’d encourage you to go vote for her here.

She’ll also be competing at the MidSouth Talent Fair Thursday, September 30. This will be her fourth year to compete there, her third in the “senior” category (which is ages 13-21). Come out if you can, and cheer her on.

Brett’s big event is his braces—which he didn’t want. He’s only had them on for two weeks, but we can already see major movement in his teeth!

I’ve had a busy summer also signing copies of Buying Time and working to promote it. I wish I’d had more time—maybe I should “buy” some, huh? Ha. Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis had me up for a reading and a signing and I was happy to have several family members and friends come out to support me. I can’t mention all of you, but if you were there, thank you for coming. If you couldn’t make it, DK graciously put some copies on their shelves, so go in and ask for it and pick up a copy!

This summer, I’ve managed to get myself some podcasting interviews. While I’ve been interviewed on television and for the paper and such before, this was a completely new experience for me—and I had a lot of fun. The first time I went on was with the Imagicopter folks. Next I went on with Andy Childress of bubbaworldcomix.com when we were at SFCC in Jackson. We were interviewed by Cody Shedd and Danny Rushing and had a blast. I’m hoping they’ll holler at me again for a follow up! And then, I had a very cool conversation with John Wilkerson, Jesus Geek. We had such a good time John had to split it into two parts: Part 1 and Part 2. In fact, we talked for another 20 minutes off air as we figured out that we knew some of the same folks out in Killeen, Texas! You should go listen to them—drive up the hits if nothing else! J

This coming Saturday, September 25, while the Razorbacks are beating Alabama, I’ll be at the Winston County Library in Louisville, Mississippi from 9 a.m. until that afternoon. I’ll be there with a handful of authors and artists, so if you’re in the area, come out and see us! You already know about Buying Time, Wizard of Oz, Huck Finn, but I’m also able to promote now Martyrs, an anthology of the early Christian Martyrs in which I wrote a 12 page story of Polycarp.

On October 2, I’ll be the keynote speaker for a Writing Retreat in Byhalia. I’ll be in Coffeeville, Mississippi the next Saturday, October 9. And then, I’ll blink my eyes and it’ll be November and I’ll lead the Hemingway Writers Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas. So, for those of you who read this blog regularly (thank you!), I apologize if I don’t get here as often the next several weeks!


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Hittin’ deer

On Wednesday before Thanksgiving day, the family set out for a fun night on the University of Mississippi campus to watch the Arkansas Razorback Volleyball team take on the Rebels. Neither team had been all that great this year, but since Brittany is very interested in v-ball, we decided to go. While I really like football, the cost of tickets is outpacing the affordability for my family. Plus, seems to be fewer drunks at volleyball games, even at the #4 party school in the nation. (That’s not fair for me to say—as far as I know, I haven’t seen any drunks at the UM v-ball games, not something I can say about the football games)

It was an exciting set of matching, going all the way to the 5th game to determine the winner. Ole Miss pulled it out in a squeaker, and Brittany decided she wanted to stay and try to meet the coach…the Razorback coach, that is. So we waited around and the Razorbacks (Brittany wouldn’t let me call them “Hogs,” because they are girls!) began to trickle out. She had the opportunity to meet a couple of them and talk to them—asking questions like what should she do to prepare for college ball.

Then some nice Razorback lady took us over to the coach and the group of girls that were riding the bus back to Fayetteville. Man, talk about an incredibly nice welcome. The coach (Robert Pulliza)—who’d never seen us before in his life—talked to Brittany about the game (in general, not the game that night) and what she needed to do to be a Razorback when she graduated. Several of the team members asked her questions about her position, her team, etc. What a very cool experience. We left calling the hogs, of course.

On the way home we talked about the fact that it wouldn’t be long before Brittany (in 9th grade) would actually be in college. Of course, BJ and I aren’t really ready to accept the face that in 4 years from now, Brittany will be a freshman in college, not high school! As we lollygagged along, (I wasn’t speeding, really! We were taking our time, going about 40-45 mph) a deer stepped out in front of me and ran into our van!

We called the police and the came to check on us. We were fine, but the van was in horrible shape (photo attached!). Seems the deer took off the entire left front corner of the van—parts of my van are still sprawled along the side of the road.

Keep in mind, this was Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I talked to our insurance agent and nothing could be done until Monday, after the holiday weekend. So, we let the van sit until then.

Monday, we took it to the preferred shop and he couldn’t get to it for 2 weeks. Finally, we found someone who could get to it in a week—but it still had to sit for a week before any work would even be started! As we absolutely cannot travel out of town in my truck with all 4 of us in the family, we told them we’d really, really, really like to have it back before Christmas so we can travel to see family. They assured us they could do it. As of today, though, we’re having to deal with only 1 vehicle…and one that can’t take the entire family anywhere.

To top it all off—the deer must have lived after tearing up the van. Neither us nor the police found any sign of him!

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