Some nights, one just is not meant to get to Tulsa

Several weeks ago, I had a flight to Tulsa cancel on me about an hour before departure, due to an odd combination of weather and runway construction at the Tulsa airport.

I tried to get on a later flight (full, unfortunately), and ultimately wound up not going (flights with available seats the next day would not have gotten me to the funeral I wanted to get to).

Interestingly, the flight I tried to get on later that night wound up going out late, then diverting overnight to DFW (nearly two hours after leaving IAH). I suspect this was also due to weather conditions at Tulsa and the runway contruction project, although it could also have been for mechanical reasons. Here are a couple of screenshots I grabbed from tracking that flight:

Screenshot_2014-02-01-12-50-58 Screenshot_2014-02-01-12-53-31

What is interesting about this is that apparently the next day’s DFW-TUL flight was created as a bookable flight on United.com. As I was playing around with the United website, that DFW-TUL flight was coming up as a flight I could purchase, and as a flight I could redeem award miles for. Ultimately, it wound up going out too late the next day for me to have made the funeral, but that was once looking like an interesting option had I been able to get myself to DFW early in the day (until its departure time slipped).

Regardless, I found it interesting that the continuation (DFW-TUL) turned out to be bookable.

Scott Chaffin, RIP

News came today that my friend Scott Chaffin had passed, another victim of that damn lung cancer.

Scott Chaffin (photo courtesy of a Facebook friend of his)

Scott Chaffin (photo courtesy of a FB friend of his)

Like a bunch of people, I first ran across Scott via his awesome blog, The Fat Guy.

We became real-life friends in not much time at all. Scott was one of those guys who managed to cheer up everything and everyone when he turned up, and despite being the guy responsible for that, making YOU feel like the most important person in the room.

More than that, he was just a character, in the best sense of the word — and a well-read, fellow Cowboys fan with a great ear for Texas music and a love of tech geekery.

I have no idea why he took such a liking to me, but like so many of his friends, I was much the better for it. I am really going to miss him.

Confusion about who is paying the bills

Various media in Houston report that the Houston Housing Authority has implemented a new smoke-free policy in the public housing it oversees.

At least one resident of the public housing is upset (and a little confused):

“That’s not good, that’s not good at all,” said Georgiane Daniels. “You have lost your freedom. You pay the bills you should be able to do what you want.”

Umm, yes, but when someone else helps pay the bills for the public housing, then sometimes that generosity comes with strings.

A strange “gotcha” from Mitchell Schnurman

This is a strange twitter “gotcha” from Mitchell Schnurman, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News:

Of course, Obamacare represents interference with markets, large government (not small), and patronage (the “Navigator” program is not subject to much in the way of oversight, or even much in the way of minimal qualifications for the job — in other words, it’s a great way to provide jobs to those who support the President and his party, Chicago-machine-style).

Texas conservatives looking to provide SOME guidance as to what qualifications/training a “navigator” should possess have not exactly become anti-market, big-government zealots — and Schnurman’s insinuation that they are being hypocritical or contradictory is just silly.

Of course, Schnurman has a history of being silly (perhaps even biased) when it comes to politics (scroll down to “Houston is role model for pensions” — the column is no longer available, but it was intended as a boost to Bill White way back when). Maybe Schnurman should stick to business.

Some thoughts on Biggio, Bagwell, PEDs, the Hall of Fame, and a forgetful Chron columnist…

… posted over at blogHOUSTON.

The current baseball Hall of Fame voting system is kind of a joke. As an example, Houston isn’t even properly represented by writers who LIVE IN and COVER Houston! Nor are MLB.com writers part of the mix (even though Alyson Footer has long been a great baseball analyst for MLB.com).

Biggio will eventually get in. Bagwell deserves to, but it may not happen under the current system.

Personally, I like Dan Le Batard’s maneuver. Open the process up a bit more — that cannot possibly be worse than the clown show we have at the moment.

UPDATE: The Le Batard story has a Houston Chronicle angle, and that angle doesn’t make the Chron‘s pitiful little baseball/soccer scribe Jesus Ortiz look too good. This may be the only time you ever see me linking Olbermann, but he’s spot on with this!

Hasn’t the UT problem been too much PR and not enough coaching?

After a somewhat haphazard process in which many fantastic names (Saban! Gruden! Harbaugh! Tomlin!) were floated, the UT football program has finally settled on their guy: Charlie Strong, who was an excellent defensive cooordinator at Florida, and a head coach who rebuilt Louisville into a national program in a few years.

By most accounts, UT is getting a football-focused guy who loves the Xs and Os, is a strong recruiter, and who doesn’t have a lot of use for the media or PR side of things.

If I were a UT fan, that would sound pretty good to me after the last few years of a CEO head coach who excelled at PR/media/booster relations, but seemingly lost the ability to assemble good staff (crucial to a CEO-style coach) and to evaluate talent (the last two Heisman winners had interest in UT that wasn’t mutual). As a Sooner fan, I think it’s a change that will make UT more formidable (which is good for the conference and ultimately good for OU, so bring it!).

Still, there is column space to fill in old media, and already we are seeing articles wondering about the new coach’s “sizzle” or putting him down because he’s apparently not much interested in playing media games. Here are links to a couple of the genre:

It’s fair to say the media and PR responsibilities at UT will be more intense than they were at Louisville (although they are pretty crazy about college football in Florida, so he has seen that side of things), and wealthy UT boosters like to be part of the club. One suspects that part of the new responsibilities of UT’s abrasive new Athletics Director may well be keeping some of those boosters happy (THAT might be the bigger story at UT, since Steve Patterson may not have the right temperament for that task), which is probably the better arrangement anyway. But I suspect a coach who’s enjoyed the success on the field that Strong has will be able to handle the relatively tame Texas sports media.

Concerns about recruiting are perhaps more legitimate. Strong didn’t recruit Texas strongly at Louisville or Florida, partly because of all the Florida talent at his disposal. But Louisville’s turnaround under Strong would not have occurred if the guy couldn’t judge talent and get it to his place. It may take him some time to figure out Texas recruiting, but my bet is he’s a smart enough football guy that his staff will have some good Texas recruiters on it. And UT should be able to get an audience with most kids if it wants to. So having a coach who can judge talent and whether it fits his schemes (or whether the schemes should be adjusted) could prove to be an advantage — again, let’s recall that two guys named Manziel and Winston didn’t interest Mr. Recruiter, Mack Brown.

Oh, and there’s actually a pretty good example of a guy having a bit of success coming into the Big 12 after being defensive coordinator at Florida and not really having ties to Texas high school football: His name is Bob Stoops. He’s managed to recruit Texas pretty well. He’s also much more terse with media than they like (and much more so than Barry Switzer, who was and still is buds with all media it seems). It’s worked out okay.

I suspect it’s going to work out okay for UT, despite journo concerns about “sizzle.” Winning = Sizzle. I’m a Sooner fan, so that’s about all the “happy” UT talk I can muster with regard to Longhorn Nation. Ultimately, when UT is strong, it’s good for the conference (no offense to Tech and K-State and Baylor and OSU, but national outlets don’t get nearly so excited when you are the standard bearers and UT/OU are struggling to stay among the Top 20). Plus I also think it pushes Stoopsy a bit. So here’s hoping this pushes the entire conference to be better (ESPECIALLY after this past season, which saw too much bad football in the Big 12).