Czech, please!

The first of four different posts featuring musings and thoughts about our recent trip to Europe.

I had never contemplated traveling to the Czech Republic before and knew nothing about the city of Prague. At least that was the case before our son, Michael, applied to take 6 hours of credit over there through the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Michael took off on his journey the Friday after he got home from his sophomore year at Mizzou. Chris, Catherine and I set out about a month later to pick him up after his studies were done so we could see a bit of Prague and then set out on a European adventure to a few other cities.

From what I had heard, Prague was a beautiful city. During World War II, Hitler avoided bombing it, apparently having some sliver of compassion in not wanting to destroy its centuries old buildings and cathedrals. Our hotel was in the heart of the city with transportation through its underground system literally right at our doorstep.

Our first venture out after a brief nap at our hotel was to a nearby restaurant where we were joined by one of Michael’s best friends and his family. The meal was excellent and when it came time to ask for the check, we quickly learned we should say ‘bill’ instead.

That became the running joke wherever we went.

We toured the city and it turned out, Michael’s time at the University was also well spent in the city of Prague. He knew his way around, serving as our own personal tour guide.

We visited Prague Castle and made our way up to the highest point in Prague where the city was spread out before us.

Taken from the highest point in Prague

Taken from the highest point in Prague

 

From there we crossed the Charles Bridge before making our way to the Lennon wall – a graffiti filled wall dedicated to the memory of John Lennon who garnered quite a following during the 70s. People would paint tributes to him on the wall and they would quickly be painted over by the ruling elite. This continued until the Czech Republic went free of communist control. Today, the wall continues to be painted over – only it’s more people adding their own messages. Look closely and you can see the Yes logo and my name, which probably got washed out with the first rain that came after I made my mark.

My own tiny contribution to the Lennon wall

My own tiny contribution to the Lennon wall

 

We also visited the Infant of Prague, located in the Mala Strana (I’m not sure if that’s an area or the name of the church) but this tiny statue supposedly has miraculous powers. We all prayed for safe passage for the rest of our journey and since we made it back safe and sound, I’d have to say the Infant was watching over us. Speaking of infants, we also ran across this unusual character in Prague’s Old Townhall Square. He was seeking money but we told him all we had were checks.

Man posing as a baby in Prague's Old Townhall

Man posing as a baby in Prague’s Old Townhall

 

Our trip finished with a gathering of many of Michael’s Mizzou classmates at a public park high on a hill on the outskirts of the city.

The view was magnificent and so was the beginning of our European adventure.

The curious case of DGB

Dorial Green-Beckham’s football career at the University of Missouri-Columbia came to an end this week as head coach Gary Pinkel severed ties with the former number one recruit in the nation.

When any college player is garnering more headlines for off-the-field antics versus on-the-field-heroics, something needs to be done.

The first time DGB got busted for smoking weed in the parking lot of Mizzou’s football stadium it was like, “Really? In the parking lot of the stadium?”

It seemed blatantly stupid.

His second arrest where he just so happened to be in the car with one of his buddies who just so happened to have a pound of smoke in the car it was like, “Okay. This guy is bad news and needs to be protected from his ‘friends’.”

He was never actually charged for anything, he was just an innocent bystander. But like they say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

So last week we all heard that DGB had been indefinitely suspended by Coach Pinkel though the reasons why were not given at the time. Then came the news of his alleged breaking down the door to track down his girlfriend and pushing his girlfriend’s roommate down four steps at 2 in the morning. No charges were filed as the girlfriend’s friend declined to press charges.

But the police report that was filed was less than complimentary.

Coach Pinkel really didn’t have much of a choice. Because this recent news came on top of MU basketball player Zach Price who was dismissed earlier in the week by Coach Haith for ramming his car into his fellow teammates vehicle. Price had the distinction of being arrested twice in one day – and that was on top of the recent report about how the University mishandled the alleged sexual assault of swimmer Sasha Menu Courey.

Bad news comes in threes, right?

I’m sure Mizzou is hoping that’s an end to all of the off-the-field and off-the-court shenanigans.

So what will happen to DGB?

He’s not eligible for the 2014 NFL draft and won’t qualify for the supplemental draft, either. I don’t know if when you’re kicked off a team if you’re eligible to play the next season for whoever is willing to roll the dice – it doesn’t seem fair if that’s the case but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. There are many colleges and universities that I’m sure would be more than willing to forgive and forget Dorial’s problems. After all, he wasn’t charged with anything this time or the last time and even the first time was just a misdemeanor.

If he wanted to, Dorial could bow out of the college scene for the year, work out with a bevy of personal trainers and prepare himself for the 2015 NFL draft where, even if he didn’t play a single down next year, he would probably still have a chance to be a first or second round pick if he performed well in the NFL camps.

And I imagine he would perform quite well – and missing the wear and tear of a season might not be such a bad thing, anyway.

I remember Bryan Burwell talking about DGB back when incident number two occurred and he was saying he needs to get far, far away from his current group of ‘friends’. Apparently, he has a few issues with himself as well and according to reports, he’s going to seek counseling to get things right.

I hope he does.

He’s a gifted athlete.

In this day and age, we’ve come to accept people who have been acquitted of murder to continue making vicious tackles. We agree it’s okay for steroid abusing ballplayers to be awarded multi-million dollar contracts. DGB has seen all of that. He has expressed his public sympathy and admitted his wrong-doing. And I’m sure he’s now looking at what’s next.

Someone will pay for his services. Some college will welcome him with open arms.

He will thrive and probably end up being some Fathead poster hanging on the walls of tons of adoring fans.

I congratulate Coach Pinkel on doing the right thing. But Dorial will move on and re-surface somewhere.

I’m curious to see what happens next.

 

Not on our license plates!

The border war between MU and KU began over slavery issues in 1850. Now that we’re not going to play each other in football or basketball anymore, the war has shifted to the back of our vehicles.

In case you haven’t heard, our elected officials in Jeff City are really earning their pay as Republicans and Democrats alike have joined forces in an effort to keep the dreaded KU Jayhawk off of Missouri license plates.

You may well wonder why anyone would even want a Missouri license plate to have a KU Jayhawk on it in the first place. The combination of Missouri and Jayhawk just doesn’t go together. But apparently, some KU alums who live in the great state of Missouri petitioned the KU alumni association to seek approval to get the plates made.

Since Missouri has no real budgetary problems or important issues that need resolving (like making I-70 a toll highway, raising our academic standards, or addressing our unemployment rate), a bipartisan team of Missouri lawmakers shifted their attention to this brewing battle. Missouri Representative Stephen Webber (D), and Missouri Representative Caleb Jones (R), are leading the charge and have vowed to take this all the way to the Governor’s desk to assure that the only red-headed bird that ever sits on a Missouri license plate will be a Redbird, not some overstuffed-looking creature with a KU on its chest.

As a loyal University of Missouri-Columbia alum, what do I think of all this?

Personally, it reinforces my general impression of politics. Big issues are never resolved. Little issues are brought to the forefront that generally accomplish nothing in the grand scheme of things and show me just how hard our elected officials are working. Like virtually every political ad says, “I’m fighting on your behalf.”

Oh blah, blah, blah and blather, blather, blather.

If a few Missourians want to put a KU Jayhawk on their license plates, more power to them. They are setting their vehicle up to be the target of egging, keying, rear-ending and the driver within to be the subject of much verbal abuse – none of which I would ever condone or consider. But it will happen.

Well, maybe it won’t. Because our hard-working legislature is fighting on our behalf to keep that dreaded bird off of our plates and from ever being more than just a flight of fancy.

Silly, isn’t it?