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Posted: 01.02.2003
The grapes of wrath make bitter whines
34-14 you pompous son of a bitch. For the record, most of the jokes you cracked come out of the likes of Stillwater grads and residents -- not the ones from Norman. But I guess easier to assume that all Washingtonians wear flannel, are strung out on heroin, listen to Pearl Jam and sip on Starbucks -- now isn't it? Once again I ask, with feeling -- "got seven"? Didn't. Think. So.

Inviting Oklahoma is OK after all
By John Blanchette
Spokane (Wash.) Spokesman-Review

All right, I've reconsidered.

Sure, at first I hated what the BCS did to the Rose Bowl. I hated that the Big Ten/ Pac-10 marriage had been annulled, that the University of Oklahoma would be Washington State's opponent instead of Iowa or Ohio State. I hated that all the starchy tradition of the Rose Bowl had been sullied by inviting the Joad family to Pasadena.

Upon further review, never mind.

OK is OK by me.

I didn't come around until the other day when I discovered that the great state of Oklahoma -- the bustling city of Wilson, OK, to be precise -- is the proud home of the Chuck Norris Museum.

The Chuck . . . Norris . . . Museum.

So it's not the Louvre or the Smithsonian. You try to capture the culture that is out there to be captured, and in Oklahoma, apparently, it's the culture of Chuck, one of our most beloved and accomplished Hollywood thespians. Once upon a time, his brother, director Aaron Norris, paid tribute to Chuck by saying, "You never have to worry about him overacting."

Unlike, say, a privet hedge.

Of course, Chuck Norris and his museum ("and over here is rare footage of Chuck parting his lips to speak") doesn't have anything to do with the Rose Bowl, except as a way to bash Oklahoma.

And that's what was wrong with the old traditional Rose Bowl. Before, the local favorite -- be it WSU or Washington -- would get matched against a team of stolid sons of the Midwest. They were pretty much impervious to insult. Oh, you might be able to poke fun at Bo Schembechler's Rose Bowl record at Michigan, or make a crack about the game being the biggest event for Iowans next to the squash judging at the state fair.

But it was hard to put your soul into it. You don't just rip on the heart of America.

This year is different. This year, it's Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, and for some reason, Oklahoma virtually begs you to make fun of it. Fans of rival schools in the Big 12 have been doing it for years.

Q: What do they call duct tape in Oklahoma?

A: Chrome!

See? It's easy. You try it.

Look, I'm not suggesting we're all that much superior up here in Washington. We have our foibles, our flaws, our unsightly flat spaces. But we just don't wear that "Kick Me" sign quite as comfortably as Oklahoma does.

And some of it's a bad rap, I'm sure. Take the land. Those of us who had to read "The Grapes of Wrath" in Mr. Whalen's English class and then watch Henry Fonda in the movie will never get those dismal Dust Bowl images out of our heads, but Oklahoma has some spectacular scenery, or so I'm told. Like the Arbuckle Mountains.

Well, they're called mountains in Oklahoma. You know them as curbs.

Think I'm kidding? The highest point in Oklahoma isn't even a mountain. It's a mesa. It comes up to Rainier's kneecaps.

Besides that, it's in New Mexico.

Not that Oklahomans can do anything about the topography. You play the land you're dealt.

But they can pick their leaders, and for the past eight years they've picked as their governor, Frank Keating, whose favorite food is foot. When ex- Seahawks pass catcher Steve Largent abandoned his Tulsa- district Congressional seat to run for the office Keating must give up next year, the governor's wife, Cathy, entered the runoff -- and lost magnificently.

"My hometown, to do this, was very dumb," Keating complained after the election.

This is the same man who once greeted Charlton McIlwain at a Chamber of Commerce forum by saying, "Are you here to serve us?"

McIlwain was the only black man in the room.

Possibly this would be a good time for Gary Locke to press his bets.

Ah, but that's politics, and I got scolded the other day for soiling the sports page with politics.

What about sports?

Well, sure, the Sooners are plenty good at most every game they try, though they had to steal away WSU's coach, Kelvin Sampson, to get good at basketball again. A couple years ago, Bob Stoops steered them to a national championship in football -- the first since Barry Switzer was playing warden in Norman.

And you can't talk Sooners without talking Barrah.

Barrah won three national titles in his day, which is why he was once moved to proclaim, "Other people and teams across the country dream about winning. We invented it."

Of course, the Sooners also invented probation, Brian Bosworth, steroid rage, college cocaine rings, and arming players with Uzis. Eventually, they invented appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs.

If you're scoring at home.

Barrah continued his stellar record of building good citizens with the Dallas Cowboys and OU eventually regained its sanity -- which reminds me: Why is it the University of Oklahoma, but also OU?

Back in Barrah's day, they called it IOU.

I've left out a lot of stuff here. The airport in Oklahoma City is, of course, named after Will Rogers, Oklahoma's No. 1 native son. That he died in a plane crash apparently didn't register on the local irony meter.

Oklahoma gave us the parking meter and the McDonald's drive-thru window. There's an oil well on the grounds of the state capitol.

Beaver, Okla., is the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World. It gave us Pretty Boy Floyd and Belle Starr. Yes, yes, it gave us plenty of dignitaries and heroes, too -- Walter Cronkite, Mickey Mantle, Geronimo, Woody Guthrie.

But it also gave us Hanson. Hanson.

And now it threatens to turn the Rose Bowl into the Dust Bowl.

Well, fine by me. It's just too bad the game isn't in Norman instead of Pasadena.

I can't believe I'm going to miss the Chuck Norris Museum.

(Thanks to Robbie for passing this along, originally published in the Daily Oklahoman.)

Hey boy take a look at me...let me dirty up your mind...

Congrats on the Sooner's victory over those cry babies. I can't say I'm rooting for the Bucs though. I'd like to see Sapp on the receiving end of the crap he dishes out. Other than that I've got nothing against Tampa Bay (in fact, I miss the old stadium).

¤ ¤ credit: Hondo | 01.02.03 at 06:27 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I suck on starbucks!

still love me? ;)

¤ ¤ credit: gnome-girl | 01.02.03 at 06:35 PM | link--this ¤ ¤


¤ ¤ credit: dwbridges | 01.02.03 at 07:08 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Uh - calm down hun - its not like they are in contention for the national championship. They only beat washington.

big deal

¤ ¤ credit: Texas | 01.02.03 at 07:30 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Please don't call me "hun". Ever. Thank you! :-)

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.02.03 at 07:43 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Yeah and you guys only beat Louisiana State. Yet you see Simms and Mack jumpin up and down like it meant something.

¤ ¤ credit: jewdez | 01.02.03 at 07:53 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

I hate that writer, too. He took a side swipe at Iowa. Doesn't he know that we only grow corn in Iowa, not squash? ;) Also, if Iowa is the heart of America, isn't Oklahoma also? Aren't they both in what both coasts call "fly-over territory"?

Actually anyone can write a piece like that, quite a few do, but none who write like that keep their job. Trash talking will catch up to you.

¤ ¤ credit: Bill | 01.03.03 at 12:45 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

As a native Oklahoman, and a Seattle, Washington transplant, I would like to take a moment to point out that the Cougars are made fun of like the f*@#ing OSU Cowboys in the REAL Washingtonian city of Seattle. Us Seattleites (that sounds like 'satellites'... mmmm, cold medicine -- but I digress) make fun of the country-bumkin Stillwater-esque hicks who have sex with farm animals on the other side of the Cascades. The author of that article is only angry b/c he lives in SPOKANE for goodness sakes!

So, from an impartial Wassu/OU person, I say congrats to your Sooners! They played well. Truly. I was glad for you when they won; WState looked like shit on that field. Don't let half-wit NON-Washingtonians taint your view of the rest of us who live here. *G*

< runs downstairs for more DayQuil >

¤ ¤ credit: Susan | 01.03.03 at 04:39 PM | link--this ¤ ¤


An apology? I don't think so.

By the way...

John Blanchette is an award-winning sports columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at johnbl@spokesman.com or by phone at (509) 459-5509. If that's a long-distance call for you, you can use (800) 789-0029, ext. 5509

As for the Will Rogers comments & the Big XII Representation in the Rose Bowl - sorry Cougars...

"We can't all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."
Will Rogers

¤ ¤ credit: steph | 01.03.03 at 05:39 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Love that quote Steph!

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.03.03 at 06:21 PM | link--this ¤ ¤

Actually, some of the article was pretty funny. The poor Wazzu people knew they were doomed, and had to try to make fun of the great state of Oklahoma to try and save a little face. Too bad an OK paper didn't write a retalitory article poking fun of Washington, similar to the annual exchanges between the papers of the universities of Oklahoma and texass.
And, lets not forget, the University and great football tradition aside, there are good reasons why we no longer live in Oklahoma.

¤ ¤ credit: | 01.04.03 at 12:45 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Oops, forgot to take credit for the previous post.

¤ ¤ credit: Cap'nSwanky | 01.04.03 at 12:46 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Oh I'd live in Norman from September - December each year and wouldn't mind it a bit. But then I'm coming back to Flor-eee-da for the rest of the calendar year!

¤ ¤ credit: robyn | 01.04.03 at 12:47 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

Norman is a great town. Now, if I could just pick it up and drop it on top of say, Boulder (aka the People's Socialist Republic of Boulder), I'd have the ideal place to live.

¤ ¤ credit: Cap'nSwanky | 01.04.03 at 01:17 AM | link--this ¤ ¤

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