By JOHN L. SLOAN
A few weeks ago, I was asked to write another column of nostalgic fiction. The person commented on how much “Sharp as a Memory”, jogged his memory. It has taken until this week to get the story “sitiated” in my head and transmitted to my fingers. This is partially fiction, partially fact. You may decide which is which.
Wilson Post Blogs
By JOHN L. SLOAN
Now we will see what the Nashville Predators are made of.
They find themselves on the short end of a 2-0 deficit in the best-of-seven series with Phoenix.
Losing the first two games of the series wasn’t easy for the Preds. They just made it look that way.
They managed to lose the first game in overtime after outplaying the Coyotes all over the stat sheet. In a must-win Game 2, the Preds left their defense at the team hotel as they allowed Phoenix to score five goals in a series in which hockey analysts predicted would be a low-scoring affair due to outstanding credentials of both teams’ goalies.
It has been a real trying weekend. Wanda Walker's dad passed away this past Wednesday night, and I have been at the funeral home most of the weekend. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.
I finally got my paws on some chicken feathers to attract the Tree Swallows to my nesting box. I had racked my brain, trying to locate some, then it came to me as to where I could find them. I was calling my good friend, Haskell Evans, who is a farmer and also sells produce at the farmers market, to ask what his favorite tomato was. Pink Girl and Bradleys were number one and number two on his list. I also remembered that he sold fresh country eggs and put two and two together, which added up to having chickens and, of course, feathers.
Besides religion, politics and sex there’s one more hot button issue that should be added to that list of taboo topics never discussed in mixed company. Not war. Not equal pay. Not even the latest shocking elimination on Dancing with the Stars. Nope, it’s breastfeeding. I understand that because this word actually includes part of the female anatomy some would argue it falls under the ‘sex’ category but trust me it’s shouldn’t.
When my oldest child was born, I had every intention of doing things the ‘right’ way. No television, strict feeding and sleeping schedule, classical music piped in the nursery daily, cloth diapers and because all the books and medical research proved that breastfeeding would make my little genius even smarter and healthier, I would breastfeed for at least a year. After six months and 6 brand new razor sharp teeth emerged, I decided to quit.
So Kentucky’s national championship team scattered to the winds after hoisting the trophy.
All five starters – three freshmen, two sophomores – declared for the upcoming NBA Draft. That included National Player of the Year Anthony Davis.
Cats Coach John Calipari never shed a tear. Instead, he was a proud papa at their press conference, in which he participated.
Conversely, Coach Cal realizes it is today’s system and embraces it. While he says he doesn’t like the NBA rule that prohibits a player to declare for the draft until they turn 19, Calipari is miles ahead of the curve on college coaches who have not adjusted to the rule.
Calipari is King of One and Done. He sells recruits a ticket to the NBA after one year. It is not a recruiting ploy. He backs it up. Calipari pushes the baby birds out of the nest and watches them fly.
I always thought college basketball coaches had a screw loose.
See Billy Gillispie. He lost the best job in the business, Kentucky, because he had a habitual drinking problem.
Or Bruce Pearl, whose bright future at Tennessee came crashing down after he told NCAA investigators he did not recognize some people in a picture they showed him. Not only did Pearl fail to identify one of his assistant coaches, he could not identify his own house. Cheatin’ and lyin’ don’t pay.
Another fall from grace case was Louisville’s Rick Pitino, who came close to the firing line after his sexual fling with a woman in a Louisville restaurant. It made headlines all over the country. The female went to prison, but Slick Rick managed to keep his job at the expense of his reputation.
I believe their football-coaching brethren may be catching up in the demolition derby.
Dear Ken: Share an update on Rae Dawn Chong, who starred in “Quest for Fire.”
Chong, 51, the daughter of comedian Tommy Chong, was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and continues to work in film and on TV. She co-stars in the current film “Jeff, Who Lives at Home,” about two brothers in their 30s, one who lives in his parents’ basement and the other in the midst of a bad marriage. In the past five years, Chong appeared on “That’s so Raven” and in the TV movie “Deadly Skies.” Coming up for her is the TV movie “The Blood of Pegasus” and the feature film “Shiver.”
Another weekend has come and gone, and my little friend next door has gotten a year older. Birthday wishes goes out to Andrew Boyd, son of Ashley Boyd, who just turned 4 years old on the April 15. It is very easy to remember his birthday because it comes on tax day each year. I hope you got yours filed.
Sitting outside this morning there were a couple of Tree Swallows checking out one of my extra Bluebird houses that was put out just for that particular species. Most of the time they are flying up above the large hay field out back, soaring back and forth with the Purple Martins, as they do their thing to decrease the insect population. That sure beats the old mosquito wagon that we older kids used to chase after on our bicycles, just to ride in the fog. Maybe, just maybe, that might account for some of my brain damage and memory loss.
From down in Central America and the southern United States, where they spend the winter, another harbinger of spring returns to Tennessee and on up to northern Alaska and Canada. The Tree Swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor) is one of the earliest of morning singers, uttering its sweet, liquid twitter as they take to the air. Now you know why they call the internet website "Twitter" after the constant twittering.
By June mated pairs have moved into tree cavities and bird boxes as far north as Alaska. The birds favor a home site in an open field where water is close by. I have that one covered. The nest is constructed with dry grass where they pile a lining of feathers, often arranging them where they will curl over the clutch of four to six white eggs. I do believe that 14 days in, the magic number in which most songbirds eggs will hatch after, she sets the clutch and another 14 till they leave the nest.
Delta wings give this bird speed and agility in flight. The Tree Swallow also has a diet that not only consists of insects, but also will dine on vegetable food and bayberries along with other fruits. Its colors consist of a snow-white breast and a dark blue back. I hope the picture I finally took will reproduce in the newspaper where you will get the full effect of its color. There should be plenty of Mulberries to tickle their palate in the coming weeks, unless the starlings strip it clean first.
Sheila Smith sent me a new picture of her Bluebird family. The tiny mouths are a bright yellow-red which prompt mom and dad to want to poke food into it. One egg did not hatch, but the parent birds leave it be to help provide support for the other hatchlings.
Dotty Kim called me this past Sunday describing to me a new bird in her yard. She perfectly gave me a description of a White-Crowned Sparrow. Dotty has really improved on her bird identification since she has moved out in the country. In the old days, she just rolled out to my house and asked, "what am I looking at?”
Here is another reminder to attend my upcoming bird program on Saturday, April 28, at 7 a.m., and later at dark-thirty an Owl Prowl. The timing is perfect to see a bunch of our Warblers and other song birds on their way north to their breeding ground. For those of you that are feeding black oil sunflower seed, keep your eyes out for Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
By JOHN L. SLOAN
We have had several of them, those hot spring days when things are all green and the sun gets hot about 10:30. The bass, you figure, should have moved up from the deep water. So you start in tight with a white fluke and a Pop-R. Not much. The sun is just filtering through the trees in the back of the first creek. Somewhere, a turkey gobbles. Where was he yesterday when we had a gun in hand?
We change to a GitZit on a 1/8 ounce head. Nothing. They do not want the spinner bait or worm.
Frustration is starting to set in and you tell Big Bird maybe we should have gone turkey hunting. Only one option left. I hate it. I hate throwing them and I really hate retrieving one. However, they do catch fish, crankbaits. They catch fish when nothing else works.
I woke up early this past Saturday morning and peeped out the kitchen window to see what was lurking about at my bird feeding station. There were about eight or ten individuals of two different varieties of Doves feeding on the bare spot where I put out millet on the ground. The place where my old van was parked keeps the area bare and makes it easier for my ground scratchers to locate their food.
I have not killed a turkey, only went for a few minutes one time. So, I will tell you this story.
Haunted? -- I guess just about anything can be haunted. Usually, when you think of haunted, you think of a house. But I know a lake that is haunted. I can’t tell you where it is, I am sworn to secrecy. However, it is haunted. I can tell you the story just way it came about. See, the thing is, for some reason, I seem to be attracted to places that have, I guess you say, strange occurrences-lakes, houses, canyons etc. Maybe I attract the unusual. This is about a lake, perhaps a haunted lake. Some call it Nock-e-nut. I have never known why.
It is full of crappie and bream and bass, this haunted lake stuck on an island in the middle of a swamp. It is hard to get to, as are most lakes with large fish populations. The island is several hundred acres in size, the lake in the middle, maybe 100-acres. I have fished the lake several times. It is a favorite spring lake for crappie or specs as they are called down there. I went some years ago, went just for the bass fishing. It was planned we would fish Mound Bayou, Saline and maybe Little Larto. Instead, we went to the haunted lake. Here is how it came about.
By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
One month from today, this summer’s potentially biggest blockbuster is opening in local theaters, and “The Avengers” will signal the comic book movie industry’s greatest achievement, after over a decade of billions earned.
While the film certainly doesn’t need more hype, “The Avengers” is the story of a group of clashing personalities and grandiose heroes coming together to fight a common enemy. It’s a huge gamble for Marvel Worldwide Inc. (Marvel Comics) and Disney (who now owns the comics giant).
The film is the culmination of about four years worth of planning by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who has produced all of that studio’s films thus far, and many others.
As much as a number of fans have relished Tiger Woods’ personal and professional demise, the golf world needs him.
Woods is the Babe Ruth, the Muhammad Ali of golf. He set the golf world on fire when he won his first of four green jackets, symbolic of the Masters champion. He was 21 years old and smothered the field by a whopping 12 strokes.
For years he dominated the game. When he showed up on the first tee, everyone else was playing for second. Some players publicly acknowledged it to be true.
After accruing 14 major titles, Woods’ house of cards fell on top of him like an avalanche. He was labeled an adulterer. His marriage dissolved. He lost valuable face time with his two young children. He was mocked by late-night comedians.
He is now 36 years old, beset in recent years by a variety of health issues. His knee. His Achilles. His head.
He parted ways with longtime caddie, Steve Williams. He split with swing coach Hank Haney, whose book on Woods was recently released and paints him in some unflattering lights. There is a pornographic movie released early this week that features three or four of the girls Tiger allegedly cheated on his wife with. They reveal more of whom the real Tiger Woods was, far from the Teflon-coated image constructed by his close circle of management and PR types.
He seemed rejuvenated three weeks ago when he won on the Tour for the first time since 2009, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational by five strokes. Was this the real Tiger? Or was it fool’s gold?
Augusta National will go a long way in deciding the answer to those questions this week. It can bring even the best golfers in the world to their knees.
Woods has not won a major since the 2008 U. S. Open, which he won basically on one leg at Torrey Pines.
Woods enters a comfort zone at Augusta. It is his favorite course in the world. He knows the greens and danger spots equally well. His game appeared sound coming into this week, but golf is a sport that provides unexplained surprises just when you think you have it conquered.
The Masters champion must hold up through the final nine holes on Sunday. Even the best have tripped and fallen on their way to the green jacket ceremony. Greg Norman felt Augusta National’s wrath two years in a row.
The Australian could not stop a 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus from getting his sixth green jacket as Nicklaus caught fire on the back nine on Sunday to win the 1986 Masters. Norman returned the following year, only to lose in a playoff when homegrown and raised Larry Mize sank an improbable chip-shot on the 11th hole in a playoff, leaving Norman in shock.
Based primarily on resume and the recent win at Bay Hill, Woods has been installed by Las Vegas wiseguys as the favorite in this impressive world-class field.
Eyes will be on young Irishman Greg McIlroy to see if he can overcome a monumental Masters meltdown a year ago. They always wonder which Phil Mickelson will show up. Names such as Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are expected to be on the daily leaderboards that dot the course.
But the story will be Tiger Woods. Whether he succeeds or falls short, it is his story we all want to read.
The Wilson Post
“The Hunger Games” raked in tons of cash at the box office this past weekend, and while complaints about the teen violence seem to be racking up, too, the film presents a strong female heroine, robust characters hints at some major social commentary.
The film, which is based on the first in a trilogy of young-adult novels by Suzanne Collins and directed by Gary Ross, tells the story of a dystopian futuristic North America, now known as Panem. Collins, Ross and Billy Ray wrote the script for the movie. The nation is divided into a wealthy, decadent “Capitol” city and 12 dirt-poor districts that toil for resources that the people living in the Capitol need.
What payment do the district inhabitants receive for giving the Capitol all the necessities they need? They have to offer one male and one female, age 12 to 18, each year to the “Hunger Games,” so that they can fight to the death in the mass-media public spectacle to “honor” their district.
Dear Ken: I saw where country music star Taylor Swift was the voice of Audrey in “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.” Has she acted in any films? Who were some of the other actors who voiced characters in “The Lorax”?
Swift, 22, a native of Reading, Pa., was in a 2009 episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and portrayed Felicia in the 2010 movie “Valentine’s Day.” Danny De Vito does the Lorax, while Zac Efron speaks for Ted and Betty White is Norma. Swift gave actor Efron guitar lessons, as he told the “Los Angeles Times,” “She’s a great teacher. In the past, everyone who has tried to teach me guitar starts with music theory and stuff like that. I tend to just doze off after a little while. She went straight into songs. She taught me, like, four chords, and I’m already playing all the good campfire songs.”
For the second year in a row, Kentucky has made it to the last weekend.
I think this is the best chance the Cats have had for Coach John Calipari to win it all in the one-and-done era.
Kentucky starts three freshmen and two juniors. They have a bell cow in freshman Anthony Davis, who is the national player of the year after two semesters in college.
Although Calipari has seen two previous Final Four schools (Massachusetts, Memphis) he coached have to vacate NCAA Tournament achievements, Calipari has never been charged with any major NCAA rules violations.
By RAY POPE
Don't you just love this weather? I now find the best seat in the house is in my backyard, where you can get lost, just listening to all the birds flirting with each other. Where are the Purple Martins? There was only one male visiting my yard today. On any given day during the spring, there are several wheeling and soaring about in the large hay field behind the house. The pair of Martins that I saw last week must live farther north, because I haven't seen them since. A few years ago, when I went to Canada to spend a few days with my grandsons, there were several places there with active Purple Martin condos. I guess as long as there are flying insects, the Martins will follow.
By JOHN L. SLOAN
Don’t be misled. I can if I want to. Some, upon hearing of my lack of burning desire to turkey hunt may think I don’t know how. In fact, I do. I’m no expert like Wade Bourne or my good friends Alex Rutledge or Eddie Salter. I’m certainly not as good as Carroll, “Big Daddy” Whitener but I know how to kill a gobbler if I want to. The season opened four days ago.
It is hard to get a lot of passion up when you can’t get in your driveway because it is blocked by wild turkeys. When your backyard is full of birds with beards, sitting in the dark waiting for one gobble while still in the tree doesn’t hold much allure. As your truck gets white highlights from the hen sitting on the branch over your driveway, the urge to kill may be high but the desire to hunt is not.
But I can kill a turkey if I want to.
By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
As the final credits rolled for “21 Jump Street,” I was asking my wife how I would appropriately review a film that was less like the original television show and more of a recent comedy filled with sexual jokes, gratuitous violence and language, but the film did entertain.
I will go ahead and point out this movie definitely earned its R rating.
“Jump Street” is loosely based on the late 80s, early 90s television show featuring young-looking police officers sent into local high schools undercover to crack cases among teens and often dispensing a moral lesson or public service announcement afterward.
The film certainly abandons the public service announcement angle opting instead for a recent formula that has brought success to comedies about high school or college-aged characters.
My NCAA Tournament bracket was really bad after the first two rounds. How bad was it? It was so bad that when I tried to feed it to the shredder, the machine rejected it.
While the state of Ohio placed four teams in the tournament field, they are sending all four teams to the Sweet 16. That is playing some hoop.
Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati and Ohio all advanced to the next round.
Tennessee did not fare as well. Far from it.
The Volunteer state had three teams make the field -- Belmont and Vanderbilt from Nashville and the University of Memphis.
Belmont and Memphis were one and done. Vanderbilt bowed out in the second round. Not very impressive.
ESPN college basketball analyst Greg Anthony projected Vanderbilt to make the Final Four. He must have based that pick solely on the Commodores beating Kentucky for the SEC Tournament title.