Happy ’14 To You And Yours
Good Luck To The Huskers And Bluejays;
New Rules Needed For New Year Fireworks

My original plan for a column offering in this holiday-dominated week was simply to wish you and those dear to you a happy and healthy New Year (no change in that plan!).  But then came some very late 2013 news developments which seemed to me to be worthy of eleventh-hour 2013 discussion, being of particular interest in the area where most of my weekly readers (bless your hearts!) live:

Of late-2013 news items, an appraisal by The World-Herald’s Tom Shatel of the 2013 performance of the Pelini-coached Cornhuskers was of particular interest to me because it included these words of description of what the Pelini-coached Huskers’ season included:

“…The starting senior quarterback missing most of the season, the offensive line hobbled around and the defense was on training wheels.”

I hasten to add that Shatel did not indicate that he is one of those who would excuse a Cornhusker loss to Georgia in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day.  (Where the Las Vegas betting odds had the Cornhuskers nine point underdogs.)

But I found it interesting that even this continuing Pelini critic acknowledged that the Huskers in 2013 were playing with a team which included a starting quarterback who was a fifth year walk-on who had never lettered before, its best pass receiver hobbled by injuries, so many defensive players out by injury that defensive stars included a red shirt freshman and a true freshman (who, incidentally, was involved in 16 tackles in the Iowa game).

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New Version Of ‘Big Time’
Story For Creighton Bluejays

There was late-breaking World-Herald coverage affecting that other Nebraska-based legendary favorite-team, the Creighton University Bluejays basketball team.

The local focus was heavily on ads promoting the sale of the World-Herald’s book (on sale for $29.95).

There was eleventh-hour year-ending World-Herald focus too on that other athletic team and its band of fanatic followers:  The Creighton University basketball Bluejays and their home Big East Conference opener against Marquette New Year’s Eve.

But a story appeared in the lower-left-hand corner—least conspicuous spot on the front page of the sports section—a story which carried this headline:

“National perception for league not favorable so far.”

The story, written by Steven Pivovar of The World-Herald staff, began:

“A number of national college basketball writers have started singing the same song when it comes to sizing up the Big East’s performance in nonconference play.

“And it’s not flattering.”

The article quoted the man who covers college basketball for NBC Sports as saying:

“Villanova is kind of the favorite by default here, as the Big East has been one of the country’s most disappointing conferences this season.”

Except for Villanova, the leagues teams are 0-12 against teams rates in the Top 25.

It seems to me pretty clear that while prospects for the Big East and Creighton’s membership in the Big East may improve in the future, both the league and the Bluejays’ prospects to go “big time” will involve more than playing an occasional game in Madison Square Garden.

The problem may become more acute for the Jays in the 2014-15 season when their All-America forward, Doug McDermott, and other outstanding senior starters will have graduated.

Please understand that I back the Jays enthusiastically and wish only the best for them.  But they aren’t yet clearly on a well-established “road to big time.”

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Idiotic Policy:  New Year Fireworks
Can Be Exploded, Not Bought In Omaha

Closing thought for today:  Does it make any sense at all to ban the sale of New Year-celebrating fireworks in Omaha but allowing Omahans to discharge such fireworks for three days after purchasing them from fireworks stands from smaller communities outside the Omaha city limits, in cities like Springfield in Sarpy County, for just one example?

Owners of two such stands took this ad in The World-Herald:  “Buy 1, get 3 free!  (Such nonsensical ads are not confined to selling fireworks.)  With all the year-long TV promotion of ads which promotes sales by promising you two free suits if you buy one suit.  Such legal scams must work, or that kind of advertising wouldn’t continue to be promoted successfully.

So you have the idiotic picture of the sale of New Year’s celebratory fireworks not being legal in Omaha, but the discharge of such fireworks is legal in Omaha for a three-day period—presumably, of course, fireworks purchased from dealers in suburban communities just outside the Omaha city limits.

What bugs me is such nonsensical policy puts the profits in the pockets of corporations which have no interest in Omaha except as a place to make money.  What a contrast to the 4th of July fireworks sales, which regularly involve local sponsorship under which profits go not only to the professional suppliers but also to local organizations which can put the money to supporting good local causes.

Also bugging me is the fact that the promoters of the New Year’s fireworks sales seem to take pride in the fact that you can purchase from them what might be called “artillery shell” explosives.

One salesman for such a company told a reporter that some of their New Year’s celebratory products are so loud that a user might want to light a fuse and then run to someplace where he would be sheltered from the sound of the blast.

I suppose this pyrotechnic idiocy has some appeal for fathers and their children, but I fail to see why there is not some public policy established against such explosions at any time and confining safer but still impressive New Year’s pyrotechnics to New Year’s Eve and perhaps until 1:00 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

Incidentally, I plan to ask my City Council representative to pursue some reform of the contradictory policies—buy outside the city limits, explode within the city limits.

If grownups won’t act like grownups on their own, perhaps appropriate legislation could require them to do so.

(I’m not talking about 4th of July fireworks.  They celebrate the signing of a document which played an important role on the road to freedom for Americans and the establishment of the country in which we are blessed to live.)

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Closing With A Laugh:  More Hilarious Headlines



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