It’s midnight and I can’t sleep. So instead of just enjoying the quiet hum of an otherwise bustling house, I think. And you know what “that” leads to... I start out thinking about the birthday party I need to plan for my youngest. Then I remember Thanksgiving hits right before his birthday, so I need to mentally and physically prepare for hosting a day full of brothers, sisters, and in-laws, not to mention nieces and nephews with sticky fingers, loaded diapers and missing parents.
Wilson Post Blogs
The Tennessee Titans clubbed the Carolina Panthers Sunday.
It was impressive, 30 to 3 impressive.
Chris Johnson ran for 130 yards, caught four passes for 44 yards and showed signs of the Chris Johnson Titans fans have been searching for.
Wide receiver Damian Williams continued to earn the starting role he was given Oct. 2. Williams caught five passes for 107 yards with a 41-yard touchdown reception being the highlight.
From the local media coverage Monday, one would surmise the Titans are Super Bowl shoo-ins. Will they ever lose another game?
One publication promoted its columnist’s opinion on Page 1-A and he didn’t even cover the game. It must have been a slow news day.
Hey, it was the Carolina Panthers. Can we chill a little? It’s a team that has two wins this season. It’s a team that came out flat and paid the price. It has happened to the Titans this year. It happens to all but the elite NFL teams. Neither the Titans, nor the Panthers are in that conversation.
But I need more proof that this is a Titans team that has truly seen the light. We will see if that is indeed the case when they play the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday.
Atlanta Coach Mike Smith’s team has taken on his persona. They will bloody your nose. The next move is all yours.
Smitty was a defensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech before Brian Billick saw something in him he liked and took him to the NFL. Smitty was a blue- collar linebacker at East Tennessee State, never played a down in the NFL and doesn’t begin to compare resumes with Titans Hall of Fame player and current coach Mike Munchak.
Smith gives his team chances to win games. Although they lost a tough 26-23 game in overtime Sunday to New Orleans, Smith went for it in overtime on a fourth-and-one from his own 29. It came up short, but too often Smith has punted in those situations against the Saints, only to never see the football again.
“I stand behind our coach, behind our players,’’ Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton said. “I would have done the same thing. If we convert, our offense drives down the field and we score to win the game.’’
You can bet the Titans will get the Falcons’ best shot Sunday. Two 5-4 teams stand at a crossroads in the season. The winner fights to have a respectable season.
The loser, well, 5-5 is just what it appears to be.
If the Titans come up short in Atlanta, it erases all the positive vibes they earned in Carolina. They cannot afford to stay around the .500 mark and hope to catch AFC South leader Houston.
And the playoffs are out of the question unless they win a division that is as bad as it has been ever since Peyton Manning got past his rocky rookie year in Indianapolis.
The Titans last seven games will tell the story of this season. Four of them are on the road. Four of the opponents have winning records. The only punching bag is 0-10 Indianapolis.
They finish up head-to-head with Jacksonville and Houston, two division opponents they lost to earlier.
They can write their own script. They know one game does not a season make.
Dear Ken: When did Lana Turner die and what was the cause of her death?
Born Julia Jean Turner in Wallace, Idaho, she was the daughter of John Virgil Madison Turner, a miner from Hohenwald, Tenn. Her mother moved to Los Angeles when Turner, called Judy by her friends, was 10 and she really was discovered in a café on Sunset Boulevard. The blonde star hit her peak in 1940s and ’50s and among her best films were “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” “Johnny Eager,” “Somewhere I’ll Find You.” “The Bad and the Beautiful,” “Peyton Place” and “Imitation of Life.” She made her last movie in 1991’s “Thwarted” and died of throat cancer in 1995 at age 74.
Dear Ken: Didn’t Robert Redford make a movie where he played a small airplane pilot who put on air shows across the country? What was the title and who else was in the movie?
That was 1975’s “The Great Waldo Pepper” with Redford as Pepper, a biplane pilot who missed out on serving in World War I, so he becomes a barnstormer in the early 1930s and then gets a shot at aviation glory playing a pilot in a WWI film. The cast also includes Bo Svenson, Edward Herrman, Susan Sarandon, Geoffrey Lewis and Margot Kidder.
Dear Ken: Steve Buscemi is amazing in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” as politician-gangster Nucky Thompson. How old is he and what are some of his other credits?
Buscemi, 53, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was a fireman for four years in the early 1980s before he became a professional actor. His movie credits include “Bloodhounds of Broadway,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Barton Fink,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Fargo,” “Escape From L.A.,” “Con Air,” “Ghost World” and “Big Fish.” The actor voluntarily returned to his old New York firehouse the day after 9/11 and worked 12-hour shifts for a week, assisting his former company digging through rubble and searching for missing firefighters.
Dear Ken: What can you tell us about Britt Robertson, who plays a young witch in the new TV show “The Secret Circle”?
Robertson, 21, was born in Charlotte, N.C., and grew up in Chester, S.C. She is the oldest of seven children in her family and was home schooled. She got her first break in the TV movie “Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers,” and played Cara Burns in the movie “Dan in Real Life.” She has a recurring role in the TV series “Swingtown” and starred in the TV movie “The Tenth Circle.” Last year she starred in the CW TV series “Life Unexpected“ and the Disney Channel movie “Avalon High.” In 2012 she stars in the film “The First Time.” Robertson drives a Mercedes C300 and has a pet miniature dachshund named Foster.
Hello, again! Has anyone spotted any of our winter visitors? I've been keeping an eye out for them but have yet to spot any. Please send me an email if you have seen any!
Last week I talked about the types of bird seed available and what our little feathered friends prefer most. Many of you may be wondering about squirrels and how to protect our bird seed from their greedy little paws. There is no quick or simple solution to this problem and many, including our Bird Guru Ray, have found it is easier to just feed them (in a separate area). Feeding them inexpensive cracked corn, ears of dried corn and peanuts in their shells is an easy way to fill them up and prevent them from going after your expensive bird seed. This is the solution Ray gave me a few years ago when I was doing battle with some squirrels of my own. My daughter, Anna, told me to go with Ray’s suggestion. She said they needed to eat as well, and they were “cute.” Therefore, we installed a special squirrel feeder given to her by Kenneth Morgan, who read of her interest in one of Ray’s articles and offered his hand made creation for her enjoyment. It has been one of her favorite and most cherished gifts!
As you most likely know, squirrels are not only very smart but rather agile. They can jump eight feet straight up and 11 feet if jumping off something, like a roof or tree branch. They also love to chew, and anything you put out will likely be chewed and tested. So you need to start with a strong bird feeder, preferably one made out of an indestructible material like Lexan or metal. You can go with a cheaper plastic feeder if it is reinforced with metal around the seed holes/ports.
If possible try to ensure your feeder is more than 10 feet from any jump off point. Using a baffle can be very effective, but be sure it is at least 18 inches in diameter. Anything less and the squirrels will likely be able to maneuver around it. If putting the baffle on a hanging bird feeder, be sure the baffle is just above the feeder and opens down towards the ground. If you use a baffle for a post mounted feeder, be sure the baffle is just below the feeder. The direction of a post mounted feeder is up for debate. It seems it has its benefits both ways, so you may want to try it opening up and down to determine which works best for you. A post mounted feeder away from any “launch zone” and with a proper baffle is one of the best methods to feed our feathered friends! However, if you are like me with lots of trees, I lack an area that is free of a launch zone, so it is easiest to hang the feeders. If you have hanging feeders do not use chain or rope, which is easy for them to climb! Instead use a thick nylon fishing line (with a baffle).
If you have a horizontal line with feeders it is also wise to use a fishing line, but you can add sections of plastic tubing on the line which will spin when the squirrel tries to climb across. Many people will grease or oil their poles or lines, and this can be semi effective for short periods of time. However, it is dangerous not only for the squirrels, but other animals that can get the oil in their hair or feathers and freeze to death in cold temps.
By JOHN L. SLOAN,
It creeps across the prairie at a speed that is deceiving. It is both beautiful and dangerous. Hoar frost is nothing but frozen fog and it can happen in the blink of a frozen eyelid. It started that morning as fog, a dense fog laying over and along the Assiniboine River. Disconcerting but harmless if you wait it out. The sun will burn it off sooner or later. Now, it was something more.
The rustling in the frozen leaves behind me came again. Bear?
I did not have a bear permit and knew how much damage a bear could do to a bow hunter even shot in the heart with a bow. The bear shuffled on, if it was indeed a bear and I believe it was. At last, I could hear it no more. I have killed a few bears, maybe several. I am not unduly afraid of them. However, the bears of the Manitoba prairie have an attitude. They don’t like humans.
I will admit to a mild case of the gollywobbles as I sat back down in the treestand. Truth is I was shaking like a dog trying to pass a peach pit. Damn fog. I hate not being able to see. I hate hoar frost even more. A raven scolded me for interfering in his morning routine. Ravens often follow bears, dining on their leftovers.
Again, something moved to my right. Again, I lifted the bow from the holder and tried to slice the fog. Something was rustling the fallen, frozen birch leaves in the fencerow that split the prairie.
I had driven to Manitoba for this late season bow hunt. I had to stop in Thief River Falls and pick up my new Arctic Cat ATV. They wanted to talk with me about a promotion they had in mind and figured they could save shipping money. Therefore, I had a 3,600 mile roundtrip.
I met the Shebaylo Brothers, Bob and Jeff in Winnipeg and we drove to their hunting camp, actually a nice, three-bedroom house, in the Assiniboine River Valley.
We arrived just at dark, after getting settled, put some steaks on the grill, and kicked back. Since I was not on any real timeline, we slept in the next morning. I got up late, almost daylight and jumped on the ATV to scout some fields from the roads and fence rows. At the edge of one field, I saw a better than average buck. I watched him through binoculars and planned a hunt.
After breakfast, we placed a ladder stand in the fencerow, a 100-yard wide band of birch trees that stood out on the prairie 400 yards from the river. I then spent the morning flinging practice arrows. That afternoon I hunted a stand on the edge of an alfalfa field. I saw several deer but nothing big enough to shoot. With one tag, I get selective.
For November, the weather was nice. Cold mornings, warming to 50’s in the day and not the usual, biting north wind. I had expected the same for today. Overnight the mercury had dropped to 16 degrees. There was a skim of ice on the shallow river. It would warm as the sun bathed the brown grasses. But that would be quite a few shivering minutes away. Say 380 minutes. Then add the fog.
Daylight brought the fog that had me shivering in the newly placed ladder stand, 12-feet off the ground and 22-yards from a narrow road through the trees. Rubs and tracks were all around me. I had parked the Arctic Cat 300-yards away and the walk to the stand had warmed me. Now, the fog, turning to hoar frost, and the bear had me shaky.
I tried to cut through the fog and see the source of the rustling. I hoped the bear had not decided to return and check me out. I saw something and then a light breeze swirled the fog just enough to give me one clear look. The bow came up and the string came back. The 125-grain Thunderhead glistened with drops of frost. In one, slow, fluid motion, the single sight pin settled and I opened my fingers. The arrow was gone and I heard a solid thump, hooves pounding and then silence. In those days, I could shoot with the best of them when it came to live game.
Now I really had the gollywobbles!
Instead of waiting my usual 30-40 seconds before getting down, locked in the fog, I just sat in the stand and tried to get some semblance of a normal heartbeat and breathing restored. The facts are these: I had just shot what I thought to be a better than average deer, perhaps even a big deer. The sound of the arrow strike was good. I was locked in ground fog, now hoar frost and could not now even see said ground. I was also cold. It was cold enough I figured the fog was freezing on the trees along the river.
I lowered all the various and sundry equipment to the ground and slowly made my way down the slippery ladder steps. Then I did calisthenics. Since I could not see anything, I gripped the ladder and did 50 deep knee bends then 50 jumping jacks and finished with 25 vertical pushups, warm again at last.
I knew where the Arctic Cat was. I also knew how easy it is to get lost in ground fog on the prairie having done it once. You can lose your way in six easy steps. In hoar frost, you can die.
So I waited and shuffled and stomped my feet. I listened for the bear. I agonized over my shot. I replayed it several times in my mind. It was a good shot. Since I didn’t own a cell phone, I had little choice but to wait.
One single beam. A shaft of sunlight slender as a tendril of fettuccini touched the ground. The sun was out. The fog/frost began to dissipate like your breath on a cold morning. Inch by inch I could see the ground. Then I could see the break of the river with the fog frozen to the tree limbs. I smiled and imagined I was even warmer. Twenty minutes later I see could well enough to start the search.
First, I found the arrow. It was half-buried in the prairie grass and covered in blood. A few feet away, still glistening with frozen fog crystals was a drop of blood the size of a Canadian Looney, (their quarter). I looked out across the grassland. Something was sticking up above the tough grass.
I retrieved the ATV complete with camera and spotting scope tri-pods and various equipment and after four tries got the buck loaded. I was younger, healthy and strong then. I grinned as I thought of the pile of great food in the form of offal, I left for the bear and coyotes and the ravens. Nothing goes to waste on the prairie. The sun shone warmly and I shed some clothes. It was a great day even in the fog.
This memory came to me the other day. The next year, about the same time, I got sick. I came quite close to dying. I have not been back to the Assiniboine Valley but if my health continues to improve, I just may go next year. Bob Shebaylo called 10 days ago and we talked about it. He urged me to plan on it. Crossbows are legal there and I just might have a chance to send and arrow flying across the prairie and let the raven scold me for interfering in his morning routine.
There are some good bucks up there in the fog.
My Manitoba buck after it warmed enough to shed some clothes. That was my last trip up there.
Well, here we are…another week has come and gone! My grandmother use to tell me the older you get the faster time flies. She sure was correct, and the older I get the more I realize that a lot of things she tried to warn me about have come to pass. My grandmother use to feed the birds in her Illinois backyard. She now lives with my parents in Indiana and still insists on feeding them even though she can’t get out into the yard. Now she just cracks her bathroom window and pours seed on the windowsill. She loves watching the little birds rush to eat as soon as she shuts the window.
A friend mentioned I should write about bird seed/grain since fall is here and winter will quickly be upon us. Most of us want to know what is best to stock up on and fill our feeders with. I’m sure Ray has covered this before, but I’ll share with you the different types of seeds and grains for birds. Many species of birds prefer certain types of seeds, so if you want to attract a specific type of bird, put out the seed they prefer.
Have I told you about my new home? Oh, it’s to die for!
It’s about a year old, has heat and air, wall-to-wall carpeting and great acoustics. It’s a little on the small side, but that just means less space to keep clean. Did I mention it has 360 degree views, large windows and a skylight?
Most evenings you can find me in my new home, playing on my phone, flipping through Pottery Barn catalogues and drinking Dunkin’ Doughnuts coffee. And sometimes, if you look closely through the windows, you may even see me ….banging my head …repeatedly…against the walls of my new home.
No worries though – it doesn’t hurt – the walls are made of fake leather.
Oh, wait – did you think I bought a new house? Oh, no – I didn’t buy a new house. I mean, what’s the point, I no longer live in a house.
These days - I just live in my car!
Dear Ken: What can you tell us about Javier Bardem, who was so terrifying in “No Country for Old Men”?
Bardem, 42, was born in Spain’s Canary Islands and comes from a family with a long line of actors. He began acting at 6 and played rugby for his country’s national team as a teenager. For his villainous role in “No Country for Old Men,” he won the best supporting actor and was the first Spanish actor to cop an Oscar. He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his work in “Before Night Falls” and “Biutiful.” He co-starred last year with Julia Roberts in “Eat Pray Love.” Married to actress Penelope Cruz, they have a son less than a year old. Next up Bardem stars as the new James Bond villain.
Dear Ken: On a recent episode of “NCIS,” Mike Franks’ right forefinger was shown cut off. What happened? Did the actor lose it in real life?
Actor Muse Watson did not actually lose his finger. I suspect they simply taped it back and shot the scene at a camera angle so as to make it appear like it was gone. The veteran actor, 62, is famed as the fellow with the hook in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” and is one of many assisting in the restoration of the 1930s art deco Princess Theater in Harriman, Tenn. Watson, a native of Louisiana, has a home in Roane County and got his start at the Oak Ridge Playhouse. Harriman’s Princess Theater is undergoing a major face-lift, via $1.7 million from TVA and a state grant. When completed, the former 900-seat theater will be called the Princess Performing Arts, Education and Conference Center and also be home to Channel 15, a public television channel operated by Roane State Community College and the city.
Dear Ken: Is it true that “The Simpsons” is the longest-running TV series in history?
The animated show is the longest-running scripted TV series, and last month Fox signed everybody back on for two more seasons. Negotiations between the network and the voice actors had been a bitter battle. Cast members had been making a reported $440,000 apiece per episode, and some sources noted that they agreed to a pay cut of approximately 30 percent. Can you say dough? Doh!
Dear Ken: What’s the background on Shelley Conn, who plays the mom on the new sci-fi series “Terra Nova”?
Conn, 34 or 35, was born in London and is of British and Sri Lankan descent and the great niece of 1930s film star Merle Oberon. She played Princess Pondicherry in the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and has worked steadily for the past 10 years in a series of British TV shows, such as “Down to Earth,” “Casualty,” “Mersey Beat,” “Party Animals,” “Raw,” “Strike Back” and “Marchlands.”
By JOHN L. SLOAN
With the muzzle loading season just about to open, this Saturday in fact and it runs through November 18, I started thinking about some things most deer hunters should know. With an archery season full of opportunities mostly under our belts and now all sorts of options with firearms approaching, here are about a dozen little facts about deer all deer hunters should know. These are facts, scientifically based facts, not myths. See how you do.
You know of course, 20-25 percent of twin fawns have different fathers. Maybe that accounts for more than one buck following a doe even if she is with another buck. Sometimes the bucks are together and sometimes they are separated by several seconds or even minutes. Might make you want to hold off on shooting that first buck. Might also make you want to sit very still if you pop that doe. Best deer decoy in the world is a freshly killed doe. But you knew that.
During their entire life, most bucks sire less than five fawns that survive to six months of age. They fall to disease, predators, cars, and of course, hunters. Think about that. Fewer than five fawns per buck make it to a year old. Hard to fathom is it not?
How many spots do you think the average fawn has? Now I don’t know how many fawns some poor grad student somewhere had to count but the average they came up with was 300. Yep, 300 white spots on the average fawn. Why is this important? You may be on Jeopardy some day.
When is a fawn old enough to have a chance against a hungry coyote? Contrary to the belief of many, fawns do have a scent when born. They can be smelled. However, they spend most of their time separated from mom, I suppose to avoid compounding the scent problem. So what happens when a yote or a loose dog comes along? A few days after birth, a fawn can outrun a man. However, it takes a good six weeks to escape a predator.
Know what bio-stimulating means? It means to stimulate life. We hunters refer to it as the rut.
Most of us figure it is the doe that gets things started and she might. However, buck pheromones left at rubs and scrapes and licking branches may be bio stimulating and have a trigger effect on the rut.
See few rubs in your hunting area but know you have a few young bucks? Reason is an area with more mature bucks will have up to 10 times as many rubs as an area with few or no mature bucks. How old is a mature buck? For general purposes, most of us agree anything over 3.5 years is considered mature. Not a lot of them around most places. Therefore, if you see a lot of rubs, you may wish to rethink your hunting strategy. May want to hold out for the old one. Of course, you do know they are much harder to kill. That is how they got mature.
A mature buck will make 85% more scrapes than a yearling and 50% more rubs. However, don’t let lots of scrapes fool you. They are not very valuable in terms of killing a mature buck. Scrapes are badly misunderstood in terms of usage and hunting tactics. They are good for gathering information but don’t amount to much in terms of killing a mature buck.
Bucks of all ages use scrapes and many individual bucks may use the same scrape. However, they are not used as many think. They have little to do with breeding. The doe does not come along, urinate in the scrape and then walk off to later be followed by the buck and bred. She may well urinate in the scrape though I have never seen one do so. But it is not to attract a buck. Scrapes are communal information centers. I like to compare them to message boards at a local store.
You may find an active scrape, one worked by several individuals, male and female, any time of the year. When I was fooling around with mock scrapes, I often started them during spring turkey season and I used nothing but my own urine. It worked well on several scrapes as long as I had the right location and a good licking branch hanging down.
Human urine works every bit as well as the most expensive bottled product. It is a lot cheaper, easier to carry and easier to refill. No, I’m not kidding. It is about all I have used for over 25 years.
The problem with keying on a scrape to try to kill a buck is that 85% of all scraping activity occurs at night. If we are to be legal, we do not hunt at night.
I might as well drop a little more factual info on you in regards to scrapes. There is no such thing as a scrape line. At least, not as we think of one. You may find scrapes in a line but most of the time; they are made by several different bucks and tended by several different bucks.
The old thinking that one buck came along and made a line of scrapes is myth. Of course, you know does make scrapes, too.
I’m sure you also know that antlers can grow up to one inch a day during formation. In addition, if you get a piece of a pedicel imbedded in another part of the body, an antler may form there, too. The pedicel is the base upon which the antler grows.
All of this is fact, hard, proven fact. It may or may not help you but it sure will not hurt you to know it. There are a lot of myths in deer hunting. Many of them started by someone with something to sell.
Remember, our muzzle-loading season opens Saturday, Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 18. No break this year. The limit is three does per day and one buck per day, no more than three for the
I hope you all survived Halloween and all the “Trick-or-Treaters” who came to visit. This year my daughter was a witch and my son decided to be Spiderman. Halloween ranks second on their list of favorite holidays. (Christmas is hard to knock out of first place!) They love to dress up and of course the candy, candy, candy! I could personally do without all the extra candy in the house because it calls my name when no one else is around…
Speaking of calls, I’ve decided to write this week about bird talk or in other words, what a birds call sounds like in English. I’m always impressed when I am birding with Ray because he can hear a call and tell me what type of bird we are looking for. Ray calls this “birding by ear.” Please keep in mind that all of these can be “translated” in several ways. The books and our Bird Guru, Ray, make it seem very easy to pick up on, but I can assure you it takes an open mind and a bit of imagination to pull the English out of a call, so I wish you all luck and hope that you will find this useful.
Dear Ken: What is Dick Van Dyke up to these days?
Van Dyke, who was born in West Plains, Mo., and grew up in Danville, Ill., turns 86 in December. Earlier this year he co-starred on the stage with his brother, Jerry, in “The Sunshine Boys,” and he has a singing group, The Vantastix. “I’m always announcing my retirement. I'm still not retired,” says the man with four Emmys, a Grammy and a Tony. He exercises daily, is proud of his four kids: Chris, Barry, Stacy and Carrie Beth. And he has a girlfriend about 45 years less his age. Of his classic “Dick Van Dyke Show,” he says, “It was just a party for five years. There was so much creativity. I never had so much fun.” Earlier this year he released his autobiography, “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business.” TV Land recently began airing his 1961-1966 TV series at 6 p.m. weekdays as the show celebrates its 50th anniversary. “During those five years, the happiest ever, we were like otters at play. Carl (Reiner) chose to wrap it while we were on top. Who does that today? And how many 50-year-old shows still get this much attention?” he said. The sitcom revolved around Rob Petrie (Van Dyke), a comedy writer for the fictional “The Alan Brady Show,” and his life at home with wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) and his life at the office with his wacky coworkers Sally (Rose Marie) and Buddy (Morey Amsterdam). Carl Reiner was the creator, head writer and producer for the series.
Dear Ken: Why is Christopher Meloni no longer on “Law & Order: SVU”?
Somewhere in history, who knows when, it became clear that ‘Enough-would NEVER be- Enough.’ It probably started between Cleopatra and Marc Antony’s demise at the Battle of Actium and they knew death was not far off that Cleo turned to Mark and said,
“Why didn’t you bring more than two spears? Now we are staring death in the face”
“Maybe if you would have packed more”
‘Maybe if you would have bought more”
“If you can tell me where I can buy more than two at a time, I’ll do it. Until then, shut up and fight!”
And so the Big, Bulk, Budget Club was born. Where the diapers come in packs of 800, canned corn is purchased by the gross, and you can get your tires rotated while picking out an engagement ring.
The mysterious vanishing act that is Titans running back Chris Johnson continues to escape logic. How does the one-time fastest running back in the NFL change from a thoroughbred into a Clydesdale? Johnson has no burst, no acceleration – even on those rare occasions when he finds himself in space.
Cynics claim Johnson’s wallet is slowing him down. I guess lugging $53.5 million around would get tiresome. Former Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth took his money and ran. Johnson took his money and he can’t run, at least the way he did two years ago.
Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck played at Seattle with former Alabama running back Shaun Alexander. Alexander was headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He peaked in 2005 when he ran for 1,880 yards. The Seahawks rewarded him with an 8-year, $62 million contract. It was guaranteed for $15.1 million, and the team paid him $15 million in the first year of the new contract. At the time, it made Alexander the NFL’s highest paid running back.
“I see a lot of similarity,’’ Hasselbeck said Sunday. “Just in terms of when you’re so successful and you produce in such a major way with Fantasy Football and all of that stuff and people are just expecting it to happen.’’
Alexander broke his foot three weeks into the 2006 season. It began a decline that escalated when Alexander fractured a wrist and suffered a sprained knee and ankle in 2007. He was cut in April of 2008 and the Redskins cut him after four games and 11 carries that year and he was out of the league, just three years after having his best season.
“It’s hard to be that elite all the time, so people got on him real quick, real easy,’’ Hasselbeck said of Alexander. “He probably got a little too much credit when things were good and definitely got too much blame when things were bad.’’
Fans at LP Field and those watching on flatscreens across the country see a different Chris Johnson. The boo-birds are in full throat. When asked, Johnson denies losing a step. He claims to be the same runner he was when he piled up 2,006 yards two seasons ago.
He averaged 125.4 yards a game in 2009. It dropped to 85.2 yards a game last season and is now averaging 43.1 yards a game -- 2.8 yards per carry. That, my friends, is pedestrian. That’s a mule crashing the Kentucky Derby field.
Even if he came back out of shape, Johnson has had seven games to get his mojo back. He may be regressing, as the Colts came into the game ranked second to last in run defense. New Orleans piled up 557 yards and 62 points a week before the Colts arrived at LP Field.
And, Johnson was shown up Sunday by Colts quarterback Curtis Painter, who lumbered 79 yards on just seven runs for his life. Johnson managed 34 yards on 14 carries.
“It’s something we have to get going if we want to continue to win and make the playoffs. Our goal is to win the Super Bowl,’’ Johnson said.
To use one of former NFL coach Jim Mora’s legendary rants: Playoffs? You’re talking about playoffs? Playoffs?
Mora faced reality. I’m not sure Chris Johnson has.
I hope all of you are enjoying this fall weather. Our birds are making preparations for winter, so I thought it might be a good time to share with you some ideas for making bird treats for our feathered friends during the cooler months. Many different types of treats can be made at home for little money versus store bought treats which can be very costly! My children love to help make a few of these and they get so excited when the birds come to enjoy their creations.
One of the feeders I use in the winter was made by my husband out of an 8” piece of log. He drilled half-inch-to-one-inch holes into the log and added a small eye-hook to hang it with. My kids and I fill the holes with peanut butter and unsalted nuts. This is a huge hit with the woodpeckers. My kids also love to hunt for pine cones in the fall. We fill in the cracks with peanut butter and roll them in bird seed. Be sure to hang the pine cones with some strong string or fishing line otherwise the squirrels will run off with your treat!
While searching online, I found a recipe for “edible glue” which consists of 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup water, and 3 tbsp. corn syrup (add package of plain Knox gelatin for extra holding power if you need it). To this you can add 4 cups of whatever your birds like most…unsalted nuts, raisins/fruit, bird seed, sunflower seeds, berries from your bushes, etc. You can form it into a shape or make squares to put in your suet feeders.
You can also buy lard from your local grocery, melt it and add peanut butter, bread crumbs, bird seed and dried fruit. Then pour the mixture into an empty plastic cup. (Be sure to punch a small hole in the bottom of your cup and put a string through it so you can hang it when you are done.) If the lard is too soft you can add cornstarch, flour or gelatin to firm it up. This one works best in the mid-to-late winter as warmer temps can make it very messy!
An easy way to make a garland is by using a thread or yarn with a needle and stringing bread, orange quarters, thick apple slices, cranberries, raisins, bananas, banana peppers, chili peppers or whatever else you can find. You can hang this garland on trees, shrubs, decks, etc. (Chili peppers will not harm the birds and may actually deter your squirrels. Birds do not have the taste receptors we have, therefore the “heat” from the peppers does not bother them.)
If you are like me I often times have left over rice, beans, or pasta from dinner, as well as bread or crackers that have gone stale. Spread the pasta, rice and beans out on the ground below the feeders for an occasional treat, and crumbling up the bread and crackers will make them last longer. Be sure that the rice is well cooked, because uncooked rice will swell in the bird’s bellies and can make them very ill. If you make popcorn that is unsalted you can also throw that out. Please be sure that whatever you give to our feathered friends contains little to NO salt!
I would like to again wish our friend and mentor, Ray, a speedy recovery. We all wish you well and look forward to the day you can return to writing your articles. Until then, I would like to thank all of you for your patience and I hope that I have provided you with some useful information.
By Karen Franklin
Since writing my last column, I’ve been asked quite a bit if we went anywhere for Fall break.
And the answer is yes, and it didn‘t involve any camping gear!
Instead, we went to Chicago. The trip was filled with museums, the zoo, shopping Miracle mile, and bike rides on Lake Michigan. It was perfect, except…. that due to the fact the trip was planned at the last minute, (by me) we decided to drive.
And that meant 7 hours, 20 minutes, 42 seconds, in the car…with our children.
Dear Ken: How old is Gene Wilder, and what happened to the boy who played Charlie Bucket with him in the original “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”?
Wilder is 78 and retired. “I don’t like show business, I realized,” he said a few years ago. “I like show, but I don’t like the business.” Child actor Peter Ostrum, 53, became a veterinarian and practices in Glenfield, N.Y. Earlier this month Warner Home Video released a limited and numbered “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition” as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo that features a 144-page production book reprint filled with production photos and notes, and archival letters. Sweet premiums include a retro Wonka Bar-shaped tin box with scented pencils and eraser.
Dear Ken: I think I just spotted Garrett Morris in a new TV series, “2 Broke Girls.” Am I right?
Yep. That is Morris, 74, one of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players of “Saturday Night Live” fame. Born in New Orleans, he was raised by his Baptist preacher grandfather and sang in the church choir. Later he trained at the Juilliard School of Music and turned professional performing with the Harry Belafonte singers. Before his “SNL” days, he was featured in several Broadway musicals. Like baseball, life has been berra berra good to he.
Dear Ken: I remember a fantasy Western with Tony Randall playing all sort of characters. Can you help me find the title?
That is a marvelous gift from Randall from 1964 as he portrayed Dr. Lao, the abominable snowman, Merlin the magician, Apollonius of Tyana, Pan, a giant serpent and Medusa. His co-stars were Barbara Eden, Arthur McConnell and Noah Beery Jr.
Dear Ken: Please share some background on Shenae Grimes of “90210.”
Grimes, who turns 22 this week, was born in Toronto, Canada, and previously starred in the TV series “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” She did a comedic cameo in “Scream 4.” A huge fan of the original “Beverly Hills 90210,” the actress was in a music video for the band Our Lady Peace in their single, “All You Did Was Save My Life.”
My children have very different personalities. The oldest is kind, considerate, extremely unorganized and forgiving to a fault. Some of these traits he inherited from his mama. The youngest is cautious, focused, type A and if he’s wronged, he holds a grudge. Proof of this was when he played baseball this summer. A little boy from an opposing team ran on the field. My child turned to me and said,
“That’s the boy who took the ball away from me when I played soccer!”
He then walked past the kid, stared him down and gave him the universal sign for, ‘I’m watching you.’
This may not seem like a big deal if Jackson wasn’t referring to the 1 season he played soccer when he was 3!
He inherited these traits, especially the grudge thing, from his dad. My husband still talks about a friend from elementary school who tore his Bo Derek poster and even though he hasn’t seen this person in more than 30 years he insists that kid should be punished.
It’s those differences that can make my children the worst of enemies or the best of friends.
Last year, one of our cats died. Before we buried her, my husband asked the boys if they wanted to say anything. My oldest stood, fighting back tears and said, “I’m not going to cry. She’s in a better place. She shouldn’t have to suffer.” My husband then asked our youngest if he would like to say something. To which he replied, “Yeah. Can you throw me the ball? Baseball practice starts in like an hour.”
Dear Ken: What year did Jimmy Stewart die and how old was he? How many military flights did he make during WWII?
The kind, soft-spoken Hollywood legend died from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 89 in 1997. A national treasure and one of the top male movie stars of all time, Stewart was a patriot. Drafted into the Army in 1940, he failed to meet weight limits and was rejected. Then he worked out with an MGM trainer to gain weight and enlisted as a private in March 1941 and soon began pilot training with the United States Army Air Corps. Stewart flew 20 missions into Nazi-occupied Europe. After the war, of which experiences he rarely discussed, he continued to serve in the United States Air Force Reserve. One of Stewart’s two sons, Ronald, was killed in action in 1969 at age 24 while serving in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. Stewart’s father, who operated a hardware store, served in the Spanish-American War and WWII. Fans of this ordinary hero would enjoy the Jimmy Stewart Museum in his hometown of Indiana, Pa.
Dear Ken: I just saw the Brad Pitt movie “Money Ball,” with Robin Wright. Where have I seen this actress before?
You may remember Wright, 45, a native of Dallas, Texas, as Kelly Capwell Conrad on “Santa Barbara” in the 1980s. But she’s made a lot of movies since and starred as Tom Hanks’ girlfriend, Jenny, in “Forrest Gump.” Among her other film credits are “Message in a Bottle,“ “Beowulf,” “Toys,” “The Princess Bride” and “Unbreakable.” She next appears in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” in December. Once married to Sean Penn, she has two children by her ex.
Dear Ken: What’s Lee Majors of “Big Valley” and “Six Million Dollar Man” fame up to these days?
Majors, 72, who was born Harvey Lee Yeary in Michigan and grew up in Middlesboro, Ky., continues to act. He co-starred in the 2007-2009 TV series “The Game” and has been doing the voice of Gen. Abernathy on the cartoon series “G.I. Joe: Renegades.” He teams with Shirley Jones to play the parents of actor Garret Dillahunt’s Burt character in the Fox sitcom “Raising Hope.” Seen in the summer flick “Jerusalem Countdown,” Majors portrays Tom Barkley in the upcoming “Big Valley” feature film and co-stars in the movie “Love Letters in the Sand.”
Dear Ken: Where is the actress who plays Penny on “The Big Band Theory” from?
Kaley Cuoco, 25, was born in Camarillo, Calif. A topnotch tennis player, she co-starred in the previous TV series, “8 Simple Rules,” “Charmed,” “Monster Allergy” and “6Teen,” and provided the voice of Brandy in “Brandy & Mr. Whiskers.” She will star as Stacy Peterson opposite Rob Lowe next year in the Lifetime TV movie “The Drew Peterson Story.”
By JOHN L. SLOAN
It was a good summer. Hot but not so dry they could not find water. Browse was plentiful and nutritious. On the occasional cool, foggy mornings, they grazed late in the fields. Bucks still in velvet, joined fawns, does and even turkeys enjoying the taste of autumn and the dew on the grasses. In the afternoon, the does and fawns browsed and bedded in the field edges, fleeing only when approached too close. Summer was good and they entered the early fall fat and sleek.
As the first hints of the coming frosts and freezes tinged the mornings, the acorns began to fall. The trees, mostly red oak were scattered but the nuts were big and nutritious and they fed heavily on them. The odd persimmon held a bounty of fruit and they fed on those.
The velvet was now gone from their antlers and they played and sparred often as they moved in their bachelor groups. The does and fawns, now minus most of their spots, fed more widely separated. The does no longer had to watch every move the fawns made and the naturally curious female fawns began to be less trusting and now inherited some of the wariness of their brothers.
The deer moved through woods, tasting the fresh-fallen maple leaves, gold preferred over red and filled their paunches with greenbriar and honey suckle when they could not find acorns. They began to stay more in the woods while the turkeys still made their morning trips to the fields.
Now came the time of parting. The bachelor groups broke up and the dominant bucks began to range farther, not only in their summer territories but also into new territories. That meant crossing more roads and not always making it safely across. It meant sometimes not so friendly encounters with other bucks. Not serious fighting yet however, behavior that is certainly more aggressive.
As the golden days of October, punctuated by brisk mornings and cold evenings began to change, so did the woods. Mother Nature began to change her clothes from summer to winter dress and so changed the deer herd.
I leave tomorrow for the long anticipated elk hunt in Colorado. Were I not going to the mountains, you can bet I would be somewhere in the deer woods here in Wilson County.
This is the most beautiful time of the year to be in the hardwoods. For we who call ourselves hunters, it may also be the most productive. Late October is my time of year.
We are three to four weeks ahead of the peak of our deer rut. The dynamics of the deer herd have changed. The bucks are at a time that I consider better than the rut. I call it the looking/seeking phase. The bucks are not yet actively chasing does but they are looking for them. They want to know where they will be and more importantly, they want to know where the older, more mature does will be. Those does will come into estrous first.
The smart hunter also wants to know this and now is the time he is most likely to have a chance at the not yet wary mature buck. Often it will be one has never seen before.
Once the guns begin to sound, the bucks will get sneaky and extra smart. Now…right now, is the time to ambush the calm, moving buck and on many days, mid-morning is the prime time to do just that.
Were I not chasing elk through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, you can bet that every morning around 10, I would still be in my treestand or in a good ground blind.
If that is, I still had any interest in killing a mature whitetail buck. So good luck to you, I have a plane to catch.
UPDATE -- Colorado trip canceled
In last week’s column, I wrote about my upcoming trip to Colorado to hunt elk. I have had to cancel that hunt. As bad as I hate to admit it, I am not physically able to handle that type of hunt.
I made the decision last week after a deer hunt here one morning. It was not a special hunt. So far this year I have killed three deer and gotten along just fine.
However, one day last week, after a couple hours in the stand, I climbed down and decided to take a short walk and just look around. It was nothing strenuous but I found I had to lie down for a few minutes before walking back to the truck.
That told me I have no business fooling around in the mountains chasing elk.
So, the Middle Tennessee deer had better watch out. I am getting serious about now.
Contact the author John L. Sloan at:
By JOHN L. SLOAN
A Memory -- He is 75 yards out in the big meadow. He has been in the almost dry wallow for ten minutes with his harem of nearly a dozen cows gathered close by. I have tried everything from challenging bugles to plaintive cow calls. He has ignored them all with equal disdain. I cannot shoot 75-yards with the 65-pound Jennings. The camera clicks as he gathers his ladies and heads for Steamboat Springs.
Memories of an elk hunt.
I am going again. I am returning to the mountains. It won’t be long now and I’ll board the plane for Durango, Colorado. I’ll be met at the airport by Bo Pitman, a friend of many years with access to over 7,000 acres of private ranch that is loaded with elk. Robert Pitman, Bo’s father, age 75, will join us. He has not elk hunted in several years, either. Quite likely this will be his last hunt, too. Mostly he is just going for the company. Truth told, so am I.
Bo’s land is just outside Mancos, CO, halfway between Durango and Cortez. It is beautiful country. Robert, and I, despite various ages and infirmities believe we can handle it. The terrain and altitude are moderate and we are shooting rifles. For me, it will be aged and favorite Parker-Hale .308 with 150 grain, Winchester Supreme, silver tips or the venerable savage Model 99 with 165 grain ballistic tips. They are both tack drivers, plenty big enough for elk and I am ready.