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9:38 pm EST        19°F (-7°C) in Windsor, WI

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Somebody in the front office of the Detroit Lions finally came to his senses this past Monday. Steve Mariucci was fired after two-plus dismal seasons as the head coach, over which time he compiled a 15-28 record; he got the ax after leading the Lions as far as a 4-7 record through the first 11 games of this season. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron, who was once the head coach of the Chicago Bears, takes the reins for the last five games.

Mariucci certainly had to go — no question about it — but he should have been only one part of a much larger house-cleaning. I can’t think of any other franchise in all of professional sports, much less the NFL, that would give a five-year contract extension to a general manager who has gone .250 (in this case, 16-48) during his career like Matt Millen has. That fucking asshole should have gotten canned two years ago after calling then-Kansas City Chiefs (and ex-Lions) wide receiver Johnnie Morton a “faggot” in the tunnel after a Lions loss to the Chiefs, but as I’ve mentioned here before, a double standard for bigotry (in terms of racism vs. homophobia) is alive and well in professional sports.

Frankly, if I were NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, I would threaten to revoke the Lions’ franchise unless William Clay Ford were forced to sell the team; they have been the laughingstock of the league since Ford purchased the team in 1964. The entire franchise is a joke, from Ford all the way down.

I ended up doing basically nothing from Sunday night until Tuesday afternoon because of issues with the weather that I mentioned here in my last update. On Sunday afternoon, I was headed west across Nebraska on Interstate 80; the weather in the eastern third of the state wasn’t all that bad, but just after I passed the U.S. Highway 81 exit in York, I saw what looked like fog up ahead. My truck has an outdoor-temperature sensor located somewhere under the hood, the reading from which can be displayed on the dashboard LED display; I kept an eye to that as I drove into the fog. The air temperature plummeted from 54°F (12°C) to 43°F (6°C) in the distance of less than two miles (roughly 3 km) as I entered into the fog cloud!

Almost instantly after that, I ran into a hard rain being driven by 40-45 mph (roughly 65-70 km/h) winds that shifted between westerly and northwesterly; this made it real fun to drive. A look at my fuel gauge near Kearney told me that after filling up in Lincoln, I had burned nearly 40 gallons (151 L) of fuel to go a mere 125 miles (200 km) — yes, I am not making this up, the wind was enough to cut my usual fuel economy in half! (Ordinarily, on flat ground at a constant 65 mph (105 km/h), the truck averages roughly 6.4 MPG, 2.7 km/L, or 36.8 L/100 km, whichever fuel-economy unit floats your boat.)

Not very long after I passed Kearney, the rain began to change into sleet, and it wasn’t much longer after that point that it turned into full-fledged snow. The stiff winds combined with the snow to reduce visibility to near zero over much of central Nebraska. I got pretty lucky; not even 1½ hours after I got through the Lexington-Cozad-Gothenburg corridor and arrived at my delivery in North Platte, the Nebraska State Patrol shut down 60 miles (97 km) of I-80 from North Platte to Lexington, as well as the parallel stretch of U.S. Highway 30 between those same towns. (As conditions got even worse, the closures were eventually extended another 115 miles (185 km) east to York; these closures persisted until Tuesday morning.)

The closure of I-80 in Nebraska wasn’t even the most dramatic highway closure caused by this incredibly strong storm. The state highway patrols of Colorado and Kansas combined to shut down a whopping 415 miles (668 km) of Interstate 70 between Aurora, CO and Salina, KS, and they also shut down substantial stretches of U.S. Highways 24 and 40 over the High Plains. As the storm progressed to the north through the day Monday, I am told that the South Dakota Highway Patrol had to close a long stretch of Interstate 90 as well, although I am not aware of the details of that.

What with the holiday season upcoming here, the crying and whining from the “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” about “liberal secularists” “taking Christ out of Christmas” seems to have returned to a fever pitch. I don’t have the time tonight, but in a future update to come soon, I will prove that they are — what else? — lying and claiming “victim” status like they always do.

That said, nighty night.