Posts Tagged 'history'


It’s that time, Sports Fans! It’s almost football season. As a Public Service, I am posting my SEC101 that I wrote in order to bring my Smurf City beau up to speed on REAL football. Thought I’d share it with you. I make no apologies for any bias in my writing. It is, after all, about the greatest football Conference in human history, warts and all.

SEC101 (in Alphabetical order):

The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama (AKA Aladamnbama or Bama) The Crimson Tide (but somehow they got represented by an elephant in graphics). Fans known as “Bammers” by the rest of the Conference. Proof that, like maggots, it’s possible to live off a dead Bear for 30 years. Colors are crimson and white. Houndstooth patterns, made popular by Bear Bryant’s signature hat, are also common. Rival is Auburn University. Home is Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821).

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. (AKA “Arky”). Officially the Razorbacks, but also known as the Hogs, sometimes spelled Hawgs. Defected from the Southwestern Conference in 1991. Still waiting for its first SEC Conference Championship Game (SECCCG) win. Colors are Red and White. Rival is LSU. Most home games are played in Fayetteville’s Razorback Stadium (78,000), but games against LSU and Mississippi State are played at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock (54,000).

Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (AKA “The Barn”) The Tigers or the Plainsmen (but represented by a golden eagle, who provides their rallying cry of “War Eagle”). Proof that you CAN be schizophrenic and still kick ass in football. Colors are blue and orange. Rival is Bama. Home is Jordan (pronounced JER-dan)-Hare Stadium (87,451).

The University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. The Gators. Highest concentration of jorts in the Western Hemisphere. Colors are blue and orange. The “chomp” is simply a two-handed version of non-Conference rival Florida State University’s tomahawk chop. Loved by its fans, hated by everyone else. Home is officially Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548), but is much better known as “The Swamp.”

The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. The Bulldogs, but spelled “Bulldawgs” or “Dawgs” by the faithful. The oldest state university in the US, founded in 1785. Coach Mark Richt (affectionately abbreviated to CMR) is considered not only a outstanding coach, but an all-around good guy. Colors are red and black. When greeted with a loud “How ’bout them Dawgs?” the correct response is an equally loud “Them Dawgs is hell, ain’t they?” New mascot UGA IX makes his debut this season. Home is Sanford Stadium (92,746)

The University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. The Wildcats, or Cats. Deafeningly silent during football season, but more than makes up for it with cries of “Fear the Cat” once basketball season starts. Infamously fired Bear Bryant after basketball coach Adolf Rupp complained about the inordinate amount of attention being shown the football team–just because they were actually winning games. Colors are blue and white. Home is Commonwealth Stadium (67,606).

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tigers. Abbreviation is LSU, but is known by other teams as “LSWho” or “Loser State.” Perfect season in 2012 shattered by Bama in the National Championship game despite beating Bama during regular season conference play. Rallying cry is “Who Dat,” for reasons unknown. Tiger Stadium (92,542) deemed most unfriendly locale for visiting teams in the country, especially if it’s a night game. Signs reading “Geaux Tigers” are legion. Colors are purple and gold. Despite the mutual season spoilage with Bama, rivals are actually Arky and Florida.

University of Mississippi, Oxford Mississippi. The Rebels. More commonly known as “Ole Miss.” Area known as “The Grove” on campus is not only considered the best tailgating in the Conference by its fans, but by many visiting teams’ fans as well. Most unjustly maligned team in the SEC. Not because of football–they aspire to mediocrity in that department–but because of their adherence to storied tradition by the diverse local and college community in the face of busybodies who’ve never set foot in Oxford. Most noted casualty was “Colonel Reb,” beloved mascot, in 2003. A campaign to choose a new mascot in 2009 went viral on the Internet and became the subject of a 5-minute feature on ESPN when a student organized an effort to make Star Wars’ Rebel leader Admiral Akbar the new mascot. The bid died when Steven Spielberg refused to allow licensing to the University, and a unanimously-hated black bear was forced on the fans by UM admins, who have since been driven from the University. Speed limit on campus is 17 mph, in honor of favorite son Archie Manning’s number. Colors are red and blue. Rival is Mississippi State. Sometimes called “Ole Piss” when disparaging is considered to be worth the effort. Home is Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (60,580).

Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi. You can’t get there from here (or from anywhere else). The OTHER Bulldogs. Known as “Moo U” by fans of rival Ole Miss, but no one else really bothers. Colors are maroon and white. Home is Davis Wade Stadium (55,082).

University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. The Tigers (again?) AKA “Mizzou,” but “Mizz-ery” is also used by non-fans. Joins the Conference in 2012 for reasons the rest of the Conference is still trying to figure out. Even more head-scratching was their placement in the East Division. Colors are black and gold. Rivalry to be determined. Home is Faurot Field (71,004)

University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks, or Cocks. Women’s teams known as the “Lady Cocks.” Considered to be chicken by the rest of the Conference. The Original “USC,” having claimed that monogram in 1801, when California was still a Spanish backwater. The last meeting between the two USC’s resulted in an epic student-created sign in the stadium: “No Trojans can hold our Cocks.” Joined the SEC in 1991 as an independent school. Despite having being led by the likes of Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier, has yet to win a SECCCG. Main rival is non-Conference Clemson University, but consider Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida to be rivalries as well. Colors are garnet and black. Home is Williams-Bryce Stadium (80,250).

University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee. Home town known as ObKnoxville by non-fans. The Volunteers, or “Vols” for short. Band only knows one song, “Rocky Top,” and will play it at the drop of a hat. They will even play it if the hat DOESN’T drop. Also known for outlandish orange-and-white checkerboards in their end zones, and still can’t get past the shadow of former coach Phillip Fulmer’s beer gut, although current coach Derek Dooley’s devotion to orange pants is also the stuff of nightmares. A movement to convince alum Peyton Manning to leave the NFL and take a coaching position gains momentum with every Vol loss. Fans still cry “Go Big Orange” (abbreviated to “GBO”), however. Biggest rival is Florida, but games against cross-state conference team Vanderbilt are becoming less and less lopsided. Colors are orange and white, in case they haven’t already made that abundantly clear. Home is Neyland Stadium (102,455)

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. The Aggies, or Ags. Mascot is Reville, a collie (I’ve met her). She is the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets, and is assigned to a Cadet Corporal (being chosen is one of the highest honors available), who is her constant companion, including attending his classes. If “Miss Rev” barks during class, the class is immediately dismissed. If she jumps on a bed, the student who has that bed sleeps on the floor until she chooses to get off. Joining the Conference in 2012. Steeped in tradition and should be a good fit, despite the stretch in geography. Expected to renew the dormant SWC rivalry with Arkansas and to intensify the long-standing rivalry with LSU, although not expected to be a Conference power unless the alumni (known as “Former Students”) release their death-grip on the Athletic Department. Not likely to happen, since they didn’t for Bear Bryant when he coached there. They have “yell leaders,” not cheerleaders, and they are all men. It is considered heresy by fans to sit during a game, as all consider themselves to be the team’s “12th Man,” ready to suit up and take the field if needed. Colors are maroon and white. Home is Kyle Field (82,589), which is considered sacred ground. A member of the Corps of Cadets once rushed (with saber drawn) a Southern Methodist cheerleader who had unknowingly stepped onto the turf.

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. AKA “Vandy.” The only private college in the Conference. Called the “Commodores,” or “Dores” in honor of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who founded the school. Known as the “Commodes” by those who think trash talk is worth the effort. Although a member of the SEC since its founding in 1932, has never won a Conference Championship in football. Main foe is cross-state rival Tennessee. Colors are gold and black. Home is Dudley Field (39,790).

Since the 1991 Conference expansion, there have been two divisions. East Division teams are Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt. West Division teams are Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss, Miss. St, and TAMU. The winner of each division (determined by regular season W-L record) plays in the SECCCG, played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta since 1994 (the first 2 games were played at Birmingham’s Legion Field). Winners of the SECCCG have been Florida (7 wins in 10 appearances), Bama (3 wins in 7 appearances), LSU (4 wins in 5 appearances), Tennessee (2 wins in 5 appearances), Auburn and Georgia (each with 2 wins in 4 appearances). Arkansas has appeared 3 times, and Mississippi State and S. Carolina have each appeared once, but have never won.

This Time, I’ve Done It for Good!

Yesterday, I did it.  I took the plunge.  I’ve committed myself.

No, not to the insane asylum, although I’m sure at least one of my two readers came to that conclusion.

I signed up with MediFast.  We’ve contracted to shed myself of 75 lbs. in 25 weeks.  That would put me at my target weight of 150lbs. one week before Thanksgiving.

This isn’t my first attempt at dieting.  I had 115 lbs. on my 5’6″ frame the summer before my senior year and I decided I needed to go on the (then-trendy) Scarsdale Diet.  That was before I found out the Scarsdale Diet involved eating canned tuna–a food I despised then and still dislike now (although I will eat it when I have no alternative–like during my 6 mo. unemployment).

The Air Force called my 145 lb. weight “unacceptable” and ordered me to attend aerobics classes at least once a week.  My knees have been bad since the age of 15, and the step exercises hurt like hell and made me feel like an idiot.  Thank God I became pregnant soon after and the 1st Shirt (the senior non-commissioned officer in the unit and “hatchet man” for all issues involving enlisted personnel) had to rescind the order.  It was a matter of 6 weeks between my return from maternity leave and my discharge thanks to the first round of Congressionally-mandated personnel cuts (selected by scheduled end of enlistment).

As I bore two more children and became more focused on them (and earning my bachelor’s degree along the way), my weight slowly and gradually crept up.  Dammit, there’s just so much food out there that tastes wonderful, but is in fact a willingly-ingested time bomb.

To make a long story short, in the past 20 years, my weight has ballooned.  Last January, I weighed in at 225 and was shocked.  I enrolled in Weight Watchers, the only supervised diet plan available where I lived then.  I followed the plan religiously, and shed 2o lbs. in 12 weeks.  Then I hit a plateau.  For those of you for whom weight isn’t an issue, a plateau is when all the good things you are doing don’t do it anymore.  I struggled for another two months not moving more than half a pound in any direction, then I moved, then I couldn’t find work and couldn’t afford meetings.

Finally, when I did get a job, one perq was a free meal in the dining hall.  No, it’s not very appetizing and way too dependent on pinto beans and white rice, but it was free and I availed myself.  As I undid all the good I had fought for the year before, my body began a quiet but persistent protest.  My heel bones felt like they wanted to go through the soles of my feet.  My knees hurt more and more.  My clothes were tightening.  My feet weren’t fitting into some of my less-flexible shoes.  I was tired all the time.  I wanted to be left alone.  I wanted another 2-piece dark meal from Golden Chick.  Caffeine alone wasn’t doing it for me, so I kicked in sugar for energy–2 or three cups of black coffee, followed by 2 or three mugs of Mountain Dew or Dr Pepper.

Something had to give before my body did.  I began to research weight loss programs.  I paid attention to the Nutri-System ads, but all those damn commercials so incessantly annoy me–and I haven’t had a TV in my home since last August!  I can’t imagine how insane I’d be if I saw Dan Marino, Marie Osmond, etc. as often as “the average American” must.  I just wrote them off on principle.

I knew I wanted a diet that was idiot-proof.  I have enough thinking to do between the requirements of career and family; I did not want to have to analyze the minutiae of every meal I ate.

Then I heard Sgt. Sam Cox on KLBJ’s Morning Show extol the virtues of MediFast and how he lost his weight so quickly without ever being hungry.  His testimony of the JumpStart plan was appealing, but I delayed.  Sgt. Sam, Mark, and Ed also extolled the wonders of a place horribly misnamed “Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries, and Shakes.”  I didn’t want to be burned again.

Finally, I checked out MediFast’s website.  I liked what I saw.  The regimen is 6 meals per day, spaced about 2-3 hours apart.  Five of them are pre-packaged; the 6th (although you can have it at any time) is called “Lean and Green.”  This meal is one portion of lean meat (and a healthy fat, if your meat choice is lean enough), and three portions of (mostly) green vegetables, either raw or cooked.

The one thing that gave me pause is that the program isn’t cheap, and I am.  In fact, I cancelled my appointment to start the program when I found out that my health insurance carrier wouldn’t cover the cost (some policies do).  It turned out that my carrier has a sweetheart deal with Jenny Craig.  I decided that I’d save money and sign with Jenny.

Then I researched it.  The more I read about Jenny Craig, the less I liked.  Location wasn’t an issue; the two centers are located just a couple of exits apart on IH-35.  What did bother me was the two most consistently-recurring complaints:  the lack of knowledge of the counselors, and issues with Jenny’s frozen food.  Basically, it turns out that many of Jenny Craig’s counselors have never had to deal with weight issues; they are selected for their sales prowess.  Many repeat dieters (like me) remarked that they knew more about health and nutrition than the counselors did.  Also, a frequent complaint among people who (like me) live in states that experience triple-digit temperatures in the summer was that the frozen food (which must be shipped by FedEx) would be delivered in the morning, just after leaving for work, and when the client came home in the evening, the food would be thawed (and in one case, spoiled and responsible for a nasty food poisioning).  I don’t have space in my freezer for the two- to- four weeks of food that a Jenny Craig client is required to purchase at a time, and I don’t have the ability to keep frozen food at work.

In contrast, Linda (my counselor) is a MediFast success story.  Also, the MediFast food is all shelf-stable.  Even though I teach at a year-round school, all I have to do is nibble on a bar or sip on a shake while my students are doing their individual work.  That’s a meal!

Today was day one.  Right now, I am nibbling at my last meal of the day–a Lemon Meringue Crunch bar.  In truth, I am having to make myself eat it.  I’m not hungry, but part of the deal is commitment, and that means eating every one of the six meals.  The only times I did feel hungry today was one time in the morning and one time in the evening when I lost track of time and almost reached my 3-hour limit.

Next time, I’ll give you the REAL “inconvient truth”:  my initial measurements.

Where Were You When…

After being political two days in a row, and getting so serious yesterday, I decided to back off a bit for the weekend.  Last week, a bunch of us on The Daily Kitten’s Chat Room got to talking about where we were during pivotal events in recent history.  I admittedly went overboard (and I cut out quite a bit before posting, even!), but I thought I would repost recent history through my eyes, along with a few additions that come as a perq of having one’s own blog.  Someday, I may even go into even more detail, but again, they are Tales for Another Day!


JFK Assassination: I don’t remember–too busy floating about in my mother’s womb (I was born 3 mos. later). Interesting side note, though–my uncle was living in Manhattan in the early 60’s with a successful career as an award-winning architect (which he later abandoned to travel the world playing piano). He remembered vividly seeing bumper stickers everywhere that read “Eliminate the KKK: Jack, Bobby, and Teddy.” Those bumper stickers disappeared very suddenly after November 1963.

Malcolm X: busy being 11 mos.

MLK/RFK: busy being 4.

Apollo 11 Landing: THAT I remember! I was 5 1/2, and since it was summer and there was no school, we kids were allowed to stay up late to see Neil Armstrong take his first step. We had our color console set in the living room, but since the video from the moon was black and white anyway, Dad set up in my bedroom the little b/w portable set we had bought for our camping trip the month before. I remember it was about 10:30 at night when Armstrong finally appeared–two hours past my bedtime. I was sleepy, but aware that this was important, and I have never forgotten it.

Elvis’ death: For me, it was “Yeah, he died, in an embarrassing manner, but that was my mom’s music–big deal.” Turned out it WAS a big deal. Little did I know.

The overthrow of the Shah: This affected our community greatly. The US Navy’s Supply Corps School is in my hometown of Athens, GA (for a brief time longer; they are handing it over to UGa to create a medical school in 2010), and we had a lot of Navy families relocated there after being very hurriedly removed from Iran. There were also a lot of Iranian refugees who came to our town, including one family that had a son who became my hubby’s best friend in college. Too many stories about that time to post all at once.

The murder of John Lennon: I didn’t even like the Beatles until I got into high school. I was a sophomore when Lennon got shot, but what got everyone talking was the fact that the shooter (Mark David Chapman) was a friend of the older brother of one of my classmates, and had been a frequent houseguest when my classmate lived in Atlanta. My friend was freaked–he never thought Chapman was the type to do something like that.

The Reagan Shooting: I will always remember that day as if it were yesterday. My favorite class that year was 11th grade American History, because of the irreverent way my teacher, Mr. Bosquet, presented the material (I have always tried to teach like he did, because the irreverence made routine stuff memorable). The lecture that day had been on the election of 1840–Gen. William Henry Harrison had gained fame as an Indian fighter and the enmity of one particular shaman, who, according to Mr. B, had placed a curse on Harrison. The shaman said Harrison would die in office, and so would every other president elected in a year ending in “0.” If you know your American History, you know that Gen. Harrison had the shortest term of any president, dying of pneumonia contracted on a cold and rainy Inauguration Day 31 days after taking office. Lincoln, of course, was elected in 1860; Garfield in 1880; McKinley in 1900; Harding in 1920; F.D. Roosevelt in 1940; and Kennedy in 1960–all died in office (only Harding and Roosevelt of natural causes).

That very afternoon, I came home to learn of the attempt on President Reagan’s life. There wasn’t an empty seat in Mr. Bosquet’s classroom the next day–in fact, no one was even tardy: we ALL wanted to know what he had to say about the shooting of (as he pronounced it) “Ronnie Ray-gun.” He came in and said simply “Guess the ol’ shaman is losing his touch.”

The Challenger Disaster: I was in the Air Force’s Intel School at what used to be Lowry AFB outside of Denver when this happened. That week was our final exam–a 5-day war game we had to successfully run. We were in a building that was so secure that broadcast signals could neither enter nor leave the building, save the lobby, which was about the size of a 2-seater public restroom. The war game scenario took place in Communist Yugoslavia, and throughout the exercise we would get updated “intel” unexpectedly that would affect the battle plans we would recommend to the brass. Suddenly, someone burst into the room and said “The Shuttle’s blown up!” Our first reaction? “OK, let’s see how that affects what’s going on in Ljubljana.” It took us a good 10 minutes to realize that this was real-world stuff going on, then everyone abandoned the game and crowded into the lobby to see the only TV–a 13″ portable on the guard’s desk. There must have been at least 100 people jammed into that lobby, but no one jostled or complained.

The Marcos Exile:  I was stationed on Hickam AFB when former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda (she of the shoes) and their entourage fled Manila and stayed at Hickam for a month back in February, 1986.  Apparently, they could own half the planet, but couldn’t buy a decent set of luggage because all the news footage showed everyone hauling stuff packed in Pampers boxes out of the military cargo plane.

All of us enlisted barracks-rats were upset because the large-screen TV’s in the Enlisted Mess were appropriated for use by the Marcos’ and because off-base pizza parlors were not permitted to deliver there due to heightened security that did not allow people without a military ID on base.  Much as we grumbled, though, we all knew that the folks living in Officers’ Country were having it worse–much worse.  Those living near the home where the Marcos’ stayed were not even allowed to be on the other side of the street from their own homes!  Needless to say, everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the Marcos’ got their own private residence a month later.

9/11: The hardest day teaching I ever had. I taught 2nd grade in Florida at a Christian School that ranged from K3-8th. My own children were in 8th, 4th, and Kindergarten. I was on break when I was told about the plane crashing into the WTC, and thought about the B-25 crash into the Empire State Building in 1945. I imagined this Cessna with an inexperienced pilot. It turned out the whole Middle School was watching in the history classroom. I went more as an opportunity to spend a few minutes with my oldest–I still didn’t fathom the enormity of what was happening until I saw it on TV. There were no classes for the MS that day–they just watched. We elementary teachers, though, were told not to let the kids know what happened. About 1/4 of my class got picked up by anxious parents before lunch–enough to make the rest suspicious, but not so suspicious that a quick, flip, non-informative reply couldn’t satisfy them. Pretending to act normal on the most abnormal day of my life was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I pulled it off.

All the rest of that week, I made it a point to step outside as often as possible to view the sky and observe the absence of aircraft.  My house in Clearwater, FL was underneath the approach of the small municipal airport about a mile away, and was also under the flight paths to/from Tampa’s, Orlando’s, and Miami’s airports and MacDill AFB.  The sky was always lousy with contrails and the sounds of freedom and commerce.  To see only clouds and hear only birds was eerie.  I never wanted to forget that.

The Columbia disaster:  We had plans that day, but I don’t remember what–perhaps it was an afternoon session swim meet.  I seem to recall that it was Gasparilla weekend in Tampa–there was always a meet then.  Anyway, I was at home preparing while Hubby went to gas up his truck.  He came back enraged.  He had gone to the Chevron Station not too far away–it always had the cheapest gas in the area.  He had his radio on while filling up and heard the news.  He went inside the station to ask about some STP or something like that, and the man of middle-eastern descent who either owned or ran the station (he was someone in charge) asked Hubby how he was today.  Hubby replied “Not good; I just heard the Columbia blew up on re-entry.”  The SOB behind the counter said nothing, but GRINNED from ear to ear!  Hubby turned around and left, because he knew if he stayed one second longer, he’d be going to jail–at the very least on assault charges.   We never went to that station again, and rarely go to Chevrons at all.


So tell me, where were you?  What sticks out in your mind about the events that have shaped our lives and our world?  Also, how do you like the silhouette photo of Linus and the dear, departed Lucy (his sister) for my new banner?  I’d like to know.

July 2020

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