On Wednesday, Pauline Phillips, the woman behind the “Dear Abby” advice column, passed away at the age of 94 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Phillips wrote the column under the pen name “Abigail Van Buren,” which she passed on to her daughter along with the column in 2002. Phillips, whose twin sister, Eppie Lederer, also became an advice columnist under the name Ann Landers, started writing columns at the age of 37 after growing frustrated with the local newspaper’s advice columnist. For over four decades, Phillips advised readers on the proper etiquette for almost any situation, from what to wear to a black-tie dinner to how to deal with unruly relatives to whether or not a spouse is cheating on you.
As a lifelong tomboy, I have very poor etiquette (seriously I just mastered which side of the plate the fork and knife go on), so I have learned a thing or two from “Abby.” I sometimes think of creating a similar advice column for KSR, in which I would help you guys tackle the stickiest of Big Blue situations, such as: what to do when you have to go to a friend’s wedding on the same day as a football/basketball game; how to treat hardcore Louisville fans that won’t shut up at a party; or how to incorporate Kentucky gear into a business casual setting. Leave some more Big Blue conundrums for me in the comments section, and maybe I’ll be inspired to start “Dear Mrs. Tyler” next week.
News and views, shall we?
– The big news of the day (besides Manti Te’o) was Mark Stoops’ appearance on the radio show, which you can listen to here. Stoops said his first forty-five days as head coach have been “wild,” but that he’s more excited than ever for spring practice to start. When asked if he thought it was possible to “win big” at UK, a hot topic of discussion around these parts the past year, Stoops asked “why not?” and pointed to Kentucky’s strong fan base and administration, the upcoming renovations to Commonwealth Stadium, and ability to recruit on a higher level, something that’s already coming into fruition with the commitment of four-star Za’Darius Smith and others. Stoops said the buzz in the fan base has been a pleasant surprise so far, and that will help the program be able to recruit these high-level athletes. Proof? How impressed the recruits that visited last weekend were by the eRupption Zone’s signs and chants.
– Stoops shied away from Charlie Strong-esque declarations that the Cats would beat the Cards next season, but did say that team will come out and compete for every game, and that “Louisville is high on our list.” In fact, not even next year’s daunting schedule could get Stoops down: “It’s something else, but let’s go!”
– The base of Stoops’ program is recruiting. One guy who could come in and have an immediate impact is Trinity 4-star DE Jason Hatcher. Hatcher is currently committed to USC (recruited by Tee Martin, natch), but visited Kentucky this past weekend and is also entertaining an offer from Louisville. Many believe Hatcher is a long shot for the Cats, but we’re hearing that it might not be that far-fetched. Sources tell Matt that Kentucky is in “very good” shape with Hatcher and he could very well end up in Lexington. If he does, watch out folks. Not only would it be a statement commitment for Stoops and the Cats, it would also strengthen the currently weak relationship between UK and Trinity, one of the state’s most talented programs.
– That relationship is one that Stoops intends to work on, starting Friday. Stoops told Matt that he and Neal Brown will be touring the Commonwealth’s high schools, shaking hands and getting to know some of the major schools’ staffs. Coach, if you stop in Danville (which you should…Title Town, helloooo), be sure to go to Burke’s Bakery and get some doughnut holes. Neal will know what I’m talking about.
– We didn’t get many personal details about our new coach, but we did discover he likes Toby Keith, who, according to a KSR reader, owns horses in Central Kentucky and whose money is managed by one of the regulars at Wheeler’s. PLEASE let it be Johnny Gold Chains.
– I see you in your WWMKGD shirt and Team NF bracelet on Ellen, Josh Hopkins:
– Julius Randle is back with another blog entry on USA Today’s high school website, in which he talks about dealing with his injury and his recruitment. Randle doesn’t mention the Cats often, but he did have this great quote about his relationship with Cal: ”He checks on me and checks on my mom, but I think the main reason we click is because we have similar mindsets. We’re both go-getters. We battle. We compete. I love that about him.” We love that you love that about him.
– Speaking of Kentucky recruits, if you want to see Dakari Johnson play Andrew Wiggins, you’re in luck. Johnson’s Monteverde Academy will play Wiggins’ Huntington Prep on March 3rd in the Red State Blue State Series in Freedom Hall. Tickets will go on sale Monday through Ticketmaster. Click here for more information.
– Can you believe it’s January and it’s taken this long for us to get to basketball news in a night post? The Cats head to Auburn on Friday for Saturday night’s matchup against the Tigers, who lost a double-overtime thriller at Arkansas on Tuesday. We’ll have plenty of previews for the game on the site Friday, but Auburn is currently 8-8 overall and 2-1 in the SEC, a record that may not seem impressive, but the Cats can’t afford to overlook anyone, especially the Tigers. Auburn is going all out for the sold-out game, planning an “Orange Out,” which brings to mind this Cal quote from last season: “It’s going to be sold out, white out, blue out, black out, whatever they’ve got going down there. It’s the game, so we’re going to walk in and they’re going to play their best.”
– UK Hoops absolutely dominated Mississippi State Thursday night at Memorial, 100-47. Matthew Mitchell’s squad is ranked fifth in the country and is playing the best basketball the program has ever seen. The girls, whose motto this season is “40 Minutes,” play a high-tempo brand of basketball that is not only hard to beat, but fun to watch. Last year’s run to the the Elite Eight was thrilling, but with the way the ladies are playing right now, an even better postseason finish is within reach. Whatever happens with the men’s squad this season happens, but hopefully if things do end prematurely, we’ll have the ladies to cheer for well into March and April. You go, girls.
– Congrats to Rajon Rondo, who was voted to the Eastern Conference All-Star team, along with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Garnett. Sorry Rondo, I’m more interested in Melo and KG together on the same team. I’m sure it would never happen, but if the marketing gurus at Honey Nut Cheerios found a way to sponsor the East Conference team, it would be the best thing ever.
– Coach Cal needs your help in the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge. Vote for him in the South Region. The coach’s charity with the most votes will receive $100,000.
– Finally, as you know, one of KSR’s favorite callers, Rose, attended the Kentucky/Texas A&M game on Saturday thanks to Big Blue Nation Cares, a group that provides UK football and basketball game tickets for deserving fans. Larry Vaught interviewed Rose on camera before the game to get her thoughts on how things are in West Liberty and what it meant for her and her husband, Chub, to come to the game. In typical Rose fashion, it is awesome and definitely deserves a click over, if only for this line: “Well, you know, there’s the lovers and there’s the haters. You’ve always got that wherever you go. And some people think I’m too country, but I’m just Rose.” Never change, Rose. Never. And we will totally make that “KSR Girls Only” event happen in Nashville this March.
See you in the morning.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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