Gulfport pressmen did a fine job and they will be missed

Pressmen are going the way of the typewriter, never to be seen again.

Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I saw the news on social media Wednesday that the pressmen I know will no longer be printing the newspaper in Gulfport beginning Jan. 15.

Their jobs will be outsourced. One of the pressmen is Gary, my next-door neighbor. His wife, Lisa, also works at the paper, from which I retired in March after a long newsroom life in which I was a sportswriter, weekend sports editor, interim copy desk chief, copy editor and slot editor.

I’ve always enjoyed my conversations with Gary and Lisa.

Of all the pressmen, I’ve known Todd the best and the longest.

Todd is a funny guy. He’s a character.  He can grow a beard that makes him look like Santa Claus.

Sometimes he would drive through my neighborhood with his friend Mark, who worked in the camera room, and Todd and Mark would throw empty beer bottles in my front yard.

As a member of the copy desk who checked the paper every night, I would call Todd to tell him whether a page would be re-sent to fix a head bust or factual error.

He would answer, “Johnny B!”

Sometimes I would say, “Uh, I’ve got a remake.”

Todd would say, “You have a comma out of place? Is that why you are re-sending the page?”

We would laugh, although I remember the days from long ago when you could re-send as many pages as you wanted and they would stop the press so that the remade pages would show up in print.

Eventually, it took an act of Congress to stop the press and the only way to expect the remake to get into print would be a web break, something that has nothing to do with the internet.

I re-sent so many pages in my career, I became known as “Captain Remake.”

When I saw the news about the outsourcing, I also thought of Dean and Matt and Rat and Brett and Charlie, friendly guys like Gary and Todd.

One pressman, who will go unnamed, enjoyed writing on the monthly employee birthday list posted in the break room and at the time clocks. What he would do was a merry prank and people got a kick out of it.

For example, he might scratch out the first name of  a reporter with the last name of “Lee” and write “Robert E.” in place of the first name. A guy named Charlie James would be “LeBron.”

I like to think I got along with pressmen because my Dad was one when he was young, or maybe he worked with pressmen. I’m not really sure what his printing job was.

I believe he worked at R.R. Donnelley in Chicago before he fought in World War II.  The company is the world’s largest commercial printer.

Other pressmen I’ve known are Bob, who passed away a few years ago; Stennis, who was a jogger; Brian, a hockey fan from Canada; and Mr. Melancon, whose son attended my high school.

I believe the grandfather of one of my longtime friends, David Lawrence, was a pressman at the paper many decades ago, long before I ever worked there. I think Mr. Bills was David’s grandfather. Bills was not his first name. It was his last name.

Ink is in my blood because of guys like Gary and Todd.

All of them have done a fine job for many years. They will be missed.


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Save the Great Southern Golf Club in Gulfport

The Great Southern Golf Club in Gulfport opened in 1908 as a nine-hole course and expanded to 18 in 1922.

Broadmoor Bureau Chief

Save the Great Southern Golf Club in Gulfport.

Paul Hampton of the Sun Herald reported Tuesday that “the Great Southern Golf Club, the oldest course in Mississippi, could become a housing development if the club that owns the course sells it. But the president of the club and the course superintendent said they want it to remain a golf club.

“They believe most of the stockholders agree.”

You can go right here to read the rest of the story.

I have sentimental reasons for the Great Southern, a scenic spot that offers beach views, to remain a golf course instead of becoming a housing development.
My parents bought a house at 221 Venetian Gardens in 1964, and the house, which survived Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is right next to the course. The back yard is the seventh hole, a par 3.
When we were junior high and high school students, my brother Mike and I would sneak on the course before twilight to play three holes before the club pro, Charlie Webb, would try to chase us down in his European sports car.
Ol’ Charlie never caught us. We would hide on the back porch as he looked for us.
Other times, Mike and I would play football on Saturday afternoons with our friends on the fairway of the second hole and we would get irritated when golfers delayed our game as they hit chip shots to the green.
I’ve got other memories. The Mary Mills Classic was an LPGA Tour stop named for the Gulfport golf star, and we would watch some of the best players in the world try to birdie the seventh hole.
My most memorable moment living next to the course was the summer afternoon I heard a booming voice as I was watching a major-league baseball telecast in the living room.
I recognized the voice. It was distinctive.
I ran outside, and the man with the booming voice was in a foursome that included Gulfport attorney Boyce Holleman. Holleman’s group was putting on the seventh green and his partner was Dizzy Dean. Yes, that Dizzy Dean.
As he was walking off the green, I got Dizzy’s autograph and to this day I’m amazed I got to meet him in our back yard.
We lived near College Park, a neighborhood known for streets named after famous golfers because the area is close to the course. Palmer Drive. Demaret Drive. Middlecoff Drive. Ford Street. Sarazen Drive. Snead Street.
I stopped living at home in 1976, and years later, a fence was built to keep young rubes from sneaking on the course.
I take pride in believing that the fence was probably built because of what we did as teens.

 The Sun Herald reported that “the almost 130-acre site and clubhouse is listed by broker Lenny Sawyer for $9,750,000. The sale brochure pitches it as prime beachfront land for residential redevelopment with the highest beachfront elevations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

A potential buyer is interested is making the course a residential area and the club’s stockholders are considering the buyer’s offer.

The stockholders will likely have a vote in January on the offer.

Please, save the course.

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Tweeters bash Ole Miss coach Matt Luke

Ole Miss coach Matt Luke addresses the media after the loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. TWITTER

Broadmoor  Bureau Chief

Football fans are going to Twitter to bash Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke with one game to go in the Rebels season, the Thanksgiving Night finale against Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl in Starkville.

These fans are making fun of Luke and hoping the game will be his last in a role he took on after coach Hugh Freeze was fired this summer for a “pattern of personal misconduct.”

I’m a Luke fan who has followed his career since he was a young high school pup in Gulfport, Mississippi, my hometown, but the anti-Luke tweets coming in after the Ole Miss loss to Texas A&M on Saturday night in Oxford are entertaining because of their creative wordplay.

Shirley Temples, 14 putters, shopping cart, buffet, 4th date, Best Buy, T-shirts?

Though I don’t get all the references in those jokes, they sound good.


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LSU’s Derrius Guice cracks wise after wet win

ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams interviews LSU running back Derrius Guice on Saturday. TWITTER

Broadmoor Bureau Chief

LSU running back Derrius Guice was hilarious in his interview with ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams after the Tigers beat the Tennessee Vols 30-10 in Knoxville on Saturday night.

“His teeth are chattering now,” Williams said as she stood next to Guice.

It sounded like Guice said, “Look like I’m on crack.”

But before the Tigers left Neyland Stadium, hit by a torrential rainstorm at the start of the second half, Guice posted this tweet to his 50,000 followers.

Uh, OK.

I’ll let you figure you if he said “it feels like my teeth are about to crack.”

Check out this six-second clip.

Guice was just warming up in the wet and the cold.

“We came out of halftime knowing the weather conditions. We came out more ready than them in their own stadium,” he said.

When Williams asked Guice about playing in bad weather, he said, “What am going to tell the coach? ‘Oh, I don’t want to play because it’s too cold?’

“You just gotta man up and go.”

Guice gave his Twitter followers a funny update at 9:50 p.m.


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Arkansas loss entertains Twitter Nation

A tweeter unveiled the Arkansas Razorsloth on Saturday.

Broadmoor Bureau Chief

The University of Arkansas football team was trending on Twitter on Saturday after the Mississippi State Bulldogs rallied to beat the Razorbacks 28-21 in Fayetteville.

Nick Fitzgerald threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Deddrick Thomas with 17 seconds left to give the Bulldogs the victory and make Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema the Southeastern Conference’s new fall guy just days after Butch Jones lost his job with the Tennessee Vols.

Bielema as the new fall guy is a meme from SEC Country.

I imagine Sun Herald sportswriter James Jones believes Bielema, aka Vic Tayback, will have a full-time job serving chili at Mel’s Diner next year. The Tayback reference is James’ work of genius.

Here are the MSU-Arkansas tweets I found worth sharing.

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What does Subway Reuben have to do with Bill Haley?

The Subway Reuben is back for a limited time. The restaurant chain introduced its version in 2016.

Broadmoor Bureau Chief

What does the Subway Reuben have to do with Bill Haley’s “Rock Around The Clock?”

Why use one of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time as the soundtrack for a TV commercial promoting Subway’s take on a classic American sandwich?

If you haven’t seen the commercial, here’s an abbreviated clip.

“Rock Around The Clock” signifies the rise of rock and roll in the 1950s, when English Teddy Boys were rioting and American teens were dancing in theaters because of the movie “Blackboard Jungle,” the tale of high school delinquents that opens with Haley’s song. I doubt the student thugs were rocking with a Reuben sandwich after trying to switch-blade their new teacher.

You can get a Rock and Roll Reuben, not at Subway but at Southway Pizzeria and Delia in Lewiston, Idaho. A customer described it as “a fantastic experience” featuring “fresh cuts of corned beef with little to no unwanted fat.”

The Subway Reuben shown in the commercial looks disgusting, and the food in TV ads is supposed to be tempting.

The Subway version of rye bread, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing is nothing I would associate with 1950s diners, which are part of the visuals in the ad.

I’d prefer a big cheeseburger and a large chocolate malt. That’s what I associate with a diner. You know, Mel’s in the TV show “Alice” and Arnold’s/Al’s Drive-In in “Happy Days,” which used “Rock Around The Clock” as its theme song in its first season.

Since the Subway Reuben appears to be a wreck of a sandwich, I wish Haley’s 1954 hit was never associated with the ad.

Somebody needs to do a parody of the ad. This would be in the late Frank Zappa’s wheelhouse. The leader of the Mothers  of Invention came up with such 1960s albums as “Cruising with Ruben and the Jets,” “Lumpy Gravy” and “Uncle Meat.”

I imagine a Zappa cover of The Hombres’ “Let It All Hang Out” as a Subway parody in which lyrics would be revised and sung in the style of “Ruben and the Jets” doo wop.

Nobody knows what the Subway Reuben is all about,
It’s too much, man,
Let weasels rip my flesh,

Cook up  a Burnt Weeny Sandwich,
Let it all hang out

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Never met Fats, but I found his New Orleans home

This is how one side of Fats Domino's New Orleans home looked in July 2013, the last time I visited his old neighborhood. JOHN E. BIALAS

Broadmoor Bureau Chief

The first time I saw Fats Domino’s New Orleans house was in 1974, when I was the editor and publisher of Boogie, a rock-music fanzine I printed at home.

I was 22 and fascinated with Fats for all he had done for rock and roll, and I hoped to show my appreciation. I had an ambitious plan: An interview with Fats at his home, just 75 miles from where I lived in Gulfport, Mississippi.

It would be a coup for Boogie and the envy of other fanzine editors and publishers nationwide. I figured I could get access.

I knew my way around New Orleans, where I would go shopping for records,  and on one of my many trips, I had the good fortune of meeting a collector who gave me directions to Fats’ home.

Fats lived off St. Claude Avenue, about a block north of Puglia’s grocery, a Lower 9th Ward landmark bulldozed many years later.

It was the middle of a sunny summer afternoon, one in which I scored a slew  of 44-cent bargain  bin albums at the Canal Street Woolworth’s, when I saw Fats’ home.

It was a big old pink and white split-level place at Caffin Avenue and Marais Street.

I thought about stopping and knocking on the door. Didn’t do it. Too timid.

Fats probably wasn’t there anyway. Maybe he was out of town, playing Las Vegas. Hell, he had more than 70 concerts at the Flamingo in 1974.

I got his 9th Ward address  and when I got home, I wrote him a letter on my custom-made yellow and black Boogie stationary. The letter was an interview request.

The interview never happened.  It was a fantasy and the reality was  my letter went unanswered.






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