Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Eve 1-2-3-1-2-3

Sunday, December 31, 2023
We ended the year firmly rooted at home as pestilence visited Casa Contreras just for the fun of it.

Not to worry, Laurie spread some lamb's blood on the front door so we should both be safe.

I'll have to check with Joanne Sabolić to be sure we did that correctly.

New Year's Eve 1-2-3-1-2-3

Grandson Jacob pointed out this numerical oddity for the last day of 2023 about a month ago.

Turns out that he was 100% on point.

Thank God!

After a month of hype and expert analysis, the game is only a day away against the #3 Texas Longhorns.

It has been a long 31 days waiting for the playoffs to start to be sure.

We were not too indisposed
to watch the Rams win another
nail biter against the Giants

Our plan had been to go see this
excellent UW related movie at 4:25 p.m.

We made the wise choice to stay at home and not spread the bubonic plague outside of our house.

I am told that Longhorn beef
makes for excellent carnivore dining

Hmmm . . .

My Final Analysis

I believe that the interior of the Huskies OL will indeed hold up against the vaunted Texas DTs.

I also believe that QB Michael Penix, Jr. and his receiving core will move the ball at will versus the questionable Longhorns DBs.

The big "IF" to my Huskies passing game prediction goes back to how true my statement about the UW OL vs. UT DL turns out to be.

I say it's the Huskies by 1 slim point as usual in a high scoring affair with the Dawgs making big plays on Defense in the Fourth Quarter to win it.


Our goal tonight is to stay awake until 7:00 p.m. which would be midnight in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the start of 2024 in that awesome country.

We believe 87% that we can do it.

Laurie and I hope that everybody enjoys . . .


The End of Christmas and the Start of a New Year is Upon Us

Saturday, December 30, 2023
As the year winds down, the college football bowl lunacy continues to ramp up.

Many of the on-line, so-called "experts" are having a field day roasting the losers of two of the big New Year's Six Bowl Games played on Friday and Saturday.

They want to roast both the Ohio State and Florida State squads after poor showings in their respective games.

They conveniently don't mention how the numerous NFL opt-outs and Transfer Portal entrants disrupted both of these teams as well as many others this bowl season.

We'll start with an Ohio State Buckeyes team that averaged 32.8 points per game in the regular season. Among their defectors were their starting QB and best WR, an All-American slated to be drafted early in next Spring's NFL Draft.


The reference here was to the University of Iowa who was 10-3, thanks to their stout Defense, in the regular season despite only scoring 16.6 points/game.

Missouri Tiger (11-2) - 14
Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2) - 3

The Buckeyes' Head Coach Ryan Day has done a splendid job in my opinion at Ohio State since taking over in 2018 going 56-8.

His success alone is cause for many to take jabs at him after only scoring three points against Missouri.

Then there was today's Orange Bowl between the #6 Georgia Bulldogs (12-1) and the #5 Florida State Seminoles (13-0) . . .


The pre-game reports were that only eight of the 'Noles 22 starters were playing in the game.

The final score further proved my point that the NFL opt-outs and the Transfer Portal simply waters down the bowl season even more.

Florida State had averaged 37.0 point/game before the Orange Bowl debacle.

It's almost time for
"The Granddaddy of Them All!"

It is the #1, 13-0, BIG-10 Champion Michigan Wolverines vs. the #4, 12-1, SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide squaring off in Pasadena, California.

This should be a great rock 'em-sock 'em game!

The cheapest tickets listed on StubHub today for the Rose Bowl go for $626 each.

The Rose Bowl's 1922 construction
and the Rose Bowl in 2022

Michigan's simplicity of uniform
design is something that I like

Then there is the Sugar Bowl played
in New Orleans, Louisiana

It is the #2, 13-0, PAC-12 Champion Washington Huskies vs. the #3, 12-1, BIG-XII Champion Texas Longhorns.

This one should be a barn burner, too.

I'd love to go but I can't

The cheapest tickets listed on StubHub today for the Sugar Bowl go for $148 each.

If they had been that cheap a month ago, I probably would have gone.

I had chores to do today for Laurie.

Taking all of the Christmas ornaments
off the tree was done early

Ornaments were . . .


Laurie is in charge of neatly packing them all away until next year.

We also have large ornaments hanging from our large tree in the front yard that I needed to bring down safely.

It was while doing this task that I discovered . . .

. . . these mushrooms growing in 
the front yard after our recent rains

Edible? Who knows.

On to the NFL . . .

The Los AngelesRams (8-7) at
the New York Giants (5-10)
on Sunday

This is certainly no time for the Rams to stumble on the drive to the playoffs.

The Fearsome Foursome of my youth . . .

Left to Right are DT Merlin Olsen (HOF), DE David "Deacon"Jones (HOF), DT Rosie Grier and DE Lamar Lundy.

. . . would NEVER have gone for
these color rush uniforms

As tough as the Fearsome Foursome was, they were not the meanest athletes in the Los Angeles of my youth.

That honor went to brushback
pitcher par excellence Don Drysdale

Any batter daring to dig in at the plate against him better have had extensive health insurance.

Those were the days . . .

Saturday, December 30, 2023

A Net Surfing Friday

Friday, December 29, 2023
Today was mostly about rest and recuperation after our action packed three days in San Diego.

After writing two blog posts dealing with our activities on Wednesday and Thursday, I sat back to see what was happening on the net.

It turns out that Washington and Texas
are playing against each other on Monday

They will meet in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year's Day.

Who knew?

A big game I'm guessing, but not the only collegiate football news on the net by any means.

The non-USA Top 20 College
Football Rankings were announced

These rankings include university teams from three countries, eight from Mexico, seven from Canada and five from Japan.

I have never seen Canadian or Japanese college teams in action but can attest to the high quality of Mexican collegiate football after our Europe Warriors games against the UNAM Pumas and the University of Chihuahua Águilas a few years ago.

This Sugar Bowl game is
getting a lot of net play

I wonder what the big deal is?

The Pop Tarts Bowl Trophy is

The Kansas State Wildcats (9-4) devoured the North Carolina State Wolfpack (9-4), 28-19, to take home the hardware.

I wonder how much the job will pay for the person in charge of replacing and, perhaps eating, the Pop Tarts atop the trophy every few days?

Apparently Alaska Airlines is
all in on the Washington Huskies

2023 Wasabi Fenway Bowl
Boston College (7-6) - 23
Southern Methodist University (11-3) - 14

The state of Oregon wouldn't
root for the Huskies even if we
were playing Nazi Germany

It looks like the statistical
battle will center on the
UW Defense vs. the Texas Offense

Looks like the Huskies have
the edge in Head Coaching

I'm liking the Huskies apparent
edge in the passing game match-up

Again with the state of Oregon's
severe anger issues

What did the Huskies ever do to irritate the state of New Mexico?


I am led to believe that the Rose Bowl
will be of interest on Monday

The Rose Bowl matches up the #1 Michigan Wolverines (13-0) and the #4 Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1).

As you may know, Michigan fans love to watch Ohio State fans wallowing in despair.

Friday then was a GREAT day
for the Wolverines Nation as the
Buckeyes lost in the Cotton Bowl


But Michigan fans found it to be pretty funny nonetheless.

So did I.

On to the NFL . . .

After the Los AngelesRams big win
over the Saints last weekend . . .

. . . they made two key acquisitions
in signing this Long Snapper . . .

. . . and reactivating LB Les Richter

As a Rams fan I take these two roster moves as signs that the organization is making a serious push for the playoffs.

A MUST win game on Sunday
in New Jersey to keep the
Rams playoff drive alive

Who would have thought that
the Rams might make the playoffs
when the 2023 season began

Certainly, not I.

I still say that this is Rams Head Coach
Sean McVay's best ever coaching job

Yes, better than what he did in leading the Rams to two Super Bowls.

Now for the net's fun, food news . . .

100% TRUE!

How much for two tacos?

200% True

I guess we'll watch this game if
there are no new Hallmark movies
playing that evening


Friday, December 29, 2023

One Final Day in San Diego Visiting Three Universities

Thursday, December 28, 2023

The long drive home from San Diego would have to wait until we first visited three of the local university campuses.

We started with the Catholic university which our son Andrew attended as a Freshman.

Home of the Toreros

USD has a beautiful church on campus,
The Immaculata Parish

Of course the church had
a beautiful blue dome

The Most Reverend
Charles Francis Buddy
who was the Founder of USD
still has the Christmas Spirit

Let's go inside and take a look

Blue is the color symbolizing
the Blessed Virgin Mary, a.k.a.,
The Immaculata

Nice blue cupola

A stain glass window
painting a nearby wall

St. Joseph and Jesus, I suspect

On to the USD Football Stadium
and the rest of the athletic facilities

Inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion
home to USD basketball and volleyball

Among the USD Hall of Fame we found . . .

. . . a QB who played in the NFL . . .

. . . a school record setting QB . . .

. . . and a WR who was in the NFL too

One more view of the football field

USD had a solid football tradition

The USD baseball field . . .

. . . with a nice press box and
home stands

A Father/Son moment
captured by grandson Jacob

We left USD via their
multi-purpose practice field

Looks like an unexploded bomb
fell through this church's roof

At least that's what it looked like to me.

Next stop . . .

Home of the Aztecs

Sort of.

We were actually headed to the Aztecs new, off campus football stadium located in the same general spot as the recently razed Jack Murphy (a.k.a., Qualcomm) Stadium,

Snapdragon Stadium can
seat 35,000 football fans


As one might suspect,
it is a good looking facility

What the . . .

Purple and Gold meet
Red and Black

Jacob took this photo
of items in line

A statue of Jack Murphy himself

He was a sportswriter for the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper who was instrumental in getting the original stadium built back in 1967.

The San Diego Chargers were the new stadiums only tenants that year. In 1968, Major League Baseball granted San Diego an expansion National League franchise, the Padres, who played there as well.

The Jack Murphy statue has him
holding a spiral notebook and pencil
as any good newsman would carry

The old football stadium seating at
the long ago, SDSU on campus
Aztec Bowl

When SDSU decided to build a new indoor sports facility, Viejas Arena, in 1997, they set it in the Aztec Bowl. In order to not part completely with tradition, SDSU opted to not tear down the parts of the Aztec Bowl not in the Viejas Arena footprint.

Moving on . . .

What visit to San Diego would be
complete without a stop in Old Town?

The boys were ready to ride

Still a lot of Christmas in the air

Nativity Scene

BIG Magi statues

I liked the Christmas tree
decorated simply with just
red bows

We had to check this store out

Dia de los Muertos
theme to the MAX!

Mexican flavored wreath

Goofy boys

I haven't had a taco all week

The Virgin of Guadalupe
was a MUST!

Checking out a model of the
Old Town's layout in the 1860s

Is that even possible?

What the dining room in an 1860s
Old Town Inn looked like

Tobacco, Wine & Liquors

I was game to explore this shop.

They have "SEGARS"

Jacob did not like the aroma of all
of this tobacco at all

Hey, what's that up on the ledge?

Why it IS indeed a Cuban flag!

Michael knew the owner of the store
as both of them are Civil War Reenactors
Is his beard holding his book?

Santa really needs to still be relaxing
at a beach resort only a few days after
his annual global Christmas ordeal
Google eyes are AWESOME!

Another reminder of my need
for Mexican food in the near future

Next to the Old Town's Jail/Sweat Box

We were on the move once again . . .

University of California, San Diego
Home of the Tritons

And also the home to the
excellent Birch Aquarium

Jacob is fascinated by everything that is Oceanography related. 

Thus we would wisely spend our final hours in San Diego visiting an aquarium on the UCSD campus to further nurture Jacob's most worthwhile interest.

Jacob was super excited

Quite honestly, I was too as all of these creatures fascinate me as well.

Of course, a potential Great White Shark
attack would get one back on land
quickly methinks

Brainless Wonders?

Up close and personal with
this big jellyfish

Strange, brainless creatures

Michael and Jacob discussing
the sea life in this aquarium

There are actually so many
different forms of sea life on display

UCSD's colors are blur and gold

The Lionfish's spines are highly toxic
If we each stay on our own side of the glass, no one should get hurt.

What an incredible setting
for the Birch Aquarium

Getting brave as he touches the
tail of a huge, man eating shark

OK, it wasn't huge or a man eater but it was a shark.

Aye, a great setting indeed!

Not sure what he is touching
here but it was slimy

The penguin exhibit was a

Truly funny animals

Only inches away, I like them

Well, this certainly hurt my image
of the cute penguin species

Jacob vs. Great White Sharks
is a common theme at all of
the aquariums that we visit

Well, I think

What is that orange life form?

Green means it's safe, correct?

A Sea Horse sighting was
well worth the visit all by itself

We all left the Birch Aquarium a tad smarter.

Jacob's resolve to someday make Oceanography his college major was now even stronger.


From the Birch Aquarium, we decided to make one more short stop in Newport Beach to visit Loren and Sandy Brucker at their home for just a few moments.

They were both doing well which was good to see.

Near the Newport Pier

After visiting with the Loren and Sandy, we stopped for pizza and walked by this statue of Ben Carlson who lost his life in the performance of his duty back  in 2014 while successfully rescuing a distressed swimmer.

He is the only Newport Beach Lifeguard to die in the performance of his duty in the now 101 year history of this vitally important organization. 

Another good day of physical fitness!

I believe that all three of us had a really good time on our last road trip of 2023. I know I did.

P.S., our Christmas present to Jacob of that purple Washington Huskies jacket was a BIG hit!

During our three day road trip, he only took it off to sleep at night. GO DAWGS!