2. my sweater
3. have I brushed my teeth
4. is the car washed
I'm a 60-year-old white guy who grew up around wealth that has come and gone and come and gone and come and gone again... and I'm surrounded by 400 relatives, all of whom tell stories well and most of whom sleep horribly. It is a curse on the 400. You toss and turn and stare at the ceiling. If you're lucky, you fall asleep an hour before you:
1. get up for school
2. get up for work
3. nurse your child
4. care for your aging parent
Alexis has a hard time comprehending my belief in "it's all gonna work out" - especially since I and my family have experienced our share of tragedy.
"I wish I had your confidence."
"I wish I had your ability to sniff out bullshit."
"Pay attention. It's all you got to do."
We lay in bed watching Russian soldiers pounce on Kiev. A woman and her three kids are in a bomb shelter under a train station. The woman nurses a baby - bare breast and nipple - while she whispers to Anderson Cooper. It's 3:59 am in Kiev. Refugees are strewn about the concrete floor. Most of them are sleeping. The woman tells us that her husband is above ground fighting the Russians.
"I fear that he (Putin) is capable of killing them," Alexis says, invoking her ability to sniff out motive.
"Nah.... the Russians will come to their senses," I say, speaking out of my ass.
There is a 40-mile long brigade of Russian troops, tanks and artillery traveling toward Kiev, where old women make Molotov cocktails in back yard sheds. CNN reporters rove around the Ukraine stumbling on dead soldiers and hand grenades. Retired General Wesley Clark and Alexis think similarly -
"Very soon we could have a huge humanitarian crisis on our hands," Clark says. "If Russian soldiers overrun Kiev, they will encounter people - five thousand, ten thousand, 50,000 or more - who believe in democracy and are willing to fight for it.
"The Russians will either gather these people into prisons... or they'll shoot them on the spot. This situation is coming. How will we respond?"
I sincerely hope that retired General Wesley Clark and my wife Alexis are wrong. I hope against hope... for no other reason than that's all I know. White, athletic, smart (and obviously not humble). Truth, hope, kindness, a bright future. This is what I believe in... that and copious worry.
.... I went to the wake of Bob Shinkan today. He was the baseball coach at Munster High School for 36 years. He grew up around the corner from where I type to you. Shink has been fighting cancer for quite some time.
"We'd be driving to his treatment in the morning and I'd say to him - 'can't we listen to some music?' He'd say 'no, we're listening to Jimmy.'"
Shink would go to Community Hospital, get a jolt of chemo, then go to Munster High and teach math. In the car, he'd listen to my stupid show. On the days that I knew he had treatment, I would stand a little taller, say a little less stupid stuff.
Hundreds of people filed through the lines at the funeral home run by Kevin Kish, with whom I went for eight years to St. Thomas More and four years at Munster High. Maybe you grew up in a community like this... where your high school has the same baseball coach for two generations and when you die your childhood chum lays you out. It's a good feeling, most of the time. But I'm not feeling too many good feelings right now. It was sad to say goodbye to Shink. It's sad to think that Gen. Wesley Clark and my wife might be right.
... I went to Griffith High School in the morning. We're doing some video there and I got to walk through the school with my daughter Jeanie and Ben Tomera, our video guy. I picked up a Griffith Panthers golf shirt, which I will wear with pride, and a coffee cup that I'll use on the morning show.
.... A guy named MX called in. He was adamant that our president Joe Biden caused the Russian invasion.
"Who do you side with. Biden or Putin?"
It's a chilling phone call, not because it's one man in the middle of America so pissed about things that he'll flirt with favoring the Russian over the American... but because there are a lot of MXes. And they are really really angry. I want to understand their anger. I want to know what their issues are. But it's tough to get past siding with a Russian madman. This is America... and we have fucked up America.
.... Alexis has asked me to move to another room - "you're really pounding on your keyboard tonight. It's too loud. I'm trying to watch the Ukraine."
I oblige. I'm sitting in one of the several guest rooms. We have a big house. We are fortunate people. We should really downsize, but if you sell your big house right now for a ton of money... you gotta turn around and buy a smaller house for a ton of money. Housing prices are up 20% year over year. And they were up close to that the year before. If you're a young couple looking to buy your first house, heaven help you.
... I interviewed Don Fisher, the voice of Indiana University basketball. They beat Minnesota last night, so Don was happy. Don will be courtside this Saturday for IU at Purdue. I will not be there. My dad and his wife Kalli will sit in our press seats. I got a couple other seats, but those were spoken for a long time ago. Dan Repay, the head of the Little Calumet River commission, asked me to find him a couple IU-Purdue tickets for Saturday at Mackey.
"It's the toughest ticket in America, tougher than the Masters," I texted him.
"Everyone has a price."
I'll watch the game from my living room, switching back and forth from the action of war to the action of basketball. My dad will say hi to Don before the game. They'll talk, then Purdue kick the living shit out of IU. I hope very much that this week Russia comes to its senses and calls off the massacre that Alexis and General Wesley Clark sense is coming. The second thing I hope for with all my might is that Purdue beats IU. My buddy Shink, who got laid out today by Kevin Kish, would wish that too.
.... I also interviewed Hammond Central boys basketball coach Larry Moore Jr. His Wolves were winning 50-40 over Valparaiso in a game we televised on Friday. I laid in the living room with my fingers crossed. Then Valpo came out in the fourth quarter and hit a three. Then hit another three and another three. Next thing you know Hammond Central was down by six points and poor Larry Moore Jr. had to come on the TV/radio with me Monday morning and explain what happened.
Have no pity for Larry. He graduates two seniors from a team that is loaded. Larry and I analyzed three of the sectionals which are going on this week. There will be some amazing basketball played around the Calumet Region this week... and my TV and radio stations will broadcast a dozen games. Sign up for $5.99 a month. If enough of you do that, I can say whatever I want whenever I want. I'll own the network on which I speak. That's free speech and don't let anyone tell you any different.
.... That's all for now. I want to hang out in bed next to the hot Mexican chick from downtown Gary. She's a lot stronger and more perceptive than I am. With tanks running over "people who look like me" - in real time - I could use that strength