As I Like It!

As I Like It! December 12




DECEMBER 12, 2016egg-edited


“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.” Dave Barry





It used to be a family tradition to play Gin Rummy during Thanksgiving. My Dad was a world class card player and passed all of that DNA to my younger brother, Steve. I am my mother’s son. My Dad was 5’9’ and weighed 145 when he played basketball and football in college. My mother was taller by several inches, and she always had to fight with her weight. I was 6′ and weighed 205 in the 9th grade. All I got from Dad was small hands.

One of the realities—among many—that I’ve had to face is that I don’t need to play Gin Rummy. For years, Steve and I would play, and, without exception, he would beat my brains out. We’re talking about schnitzel upon schnitzel, and not only would he clobber me, but he’d also rub it in. Finally, he told me that I had a fatal flaw in my game and really shouldn’t play anyone for money. I took his advice, but I couldn’t help but ponder the vagaries of genetics and how cruel fate could be.

Sports came hard for me. I was a decent hitter in baseball until Bob Ragan discovered the curve ball, and a better than average boxer until I met a Native American tight end from Delta State named Paul Hightower. Football was my sport, and I managed to play by just being big, slow, and clumsy, but big for my day. If I’d inherited Dad’s DNA, I’d have hit the curve ball, whipped Paul Hightower, and played SEC Football. Well, at least I would have had a chance.

Oh well. Looking on the brighter side of genetics, I didn’t get Dad’s hair gene either, but Steve did, and he has to wear the “monk’s tonsure” hair style. Every cloud has a silver lining.














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Early in the first quarter of 2017, Front Porch Press, LLC will release my latest book, The Queen’s Captain. This is my first attempt at a historical novel and, hopefully, will be the first in a series chronicling the Ransom family. The Queen’s Captain is set in 1710 during Queen Anne’s War and follows the adventures of Miles Ransom from hero in war to plantation owner in colonial South Carolina.

The manuscript is in final edit and we’re hoping for a February release date. As usual, I’ll offer signed first editions prior to publication, and the “how to order” details will be announced in this space once we have a firm publication date.



The bowl season has been announced and play will begin next weekend. Most of the games will only appeal to the fans of the competing schools and local corporate sponsors. Clista’s son David was excited that Mississippi State would be playing Ohio U, his daughter’s alma mater, and offered to buy us tickets since Elizabeth lives in St. Petersburg.

It was a generous gesture, but MSU will be playing Miami of Ohio, not Ohio University, which is located in Athens, Ohio. One would think that after writing four years of tuition checks, David would know the difference.

Outside of the National playoffs, there are only a couple of bowl games of much interest. The general consensus holds that overall, the SEC is having a down year and the conference will have a chance to restore some of its claim to being the best. Tennessee will square off against Nebraska in Nashville’s Music City Bowl on Dec. 30, and LSU will take on Louisville in Orlando’s Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

The bookies have made both Tennessee and LSU slight favorites, but have picked Oklahoma over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. If the SEC can sweep these games it will be difficult to make a case for a down year. Personally, I think Auburn will be at full strength when they face Oklahoma, and not only will their defense dominate, but the Pettway-led offense will run all over the Sooners. This officially puts the kiss of death on the SEC.

7 replies »

  1. Tom, so disappointed that you continually leave Kentucky out of your college football blogs when discussing SEC football. Yeah, they are not and never will be the cream of the crop in the SEC, but they are playing in a bowl representing the conference on New Year’s Eve. Come on man…give them their due!

  2. I’m not sure which publication mislead on the OU vs Miami thing, but either way, I’ll still buy the tickets!

  3. Steve and I shared a front row cubicle when in the investment banking bidness. During a lull one day he asked if I played gin and I eagerly replied yes. We scheduled a game a night or two later at his house. The monetary stakes were not as high as those of hubris. We began and at first night’s end Steve had been dusted, smoked, overrun, humiliated and whupped. I left with a small amount of cash and strutted home a winner. To this day I am not sure if the cards fell my way or a subtle hustle was perfected by Steve. We played nine or ten more times and I never came close to winning and never strutted again. We must have a similar flaw in our gin games. Your Daddy taught him well.

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