Ryan Welton

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Tag Archives: oklahoma city

How to Play Kenny Rogers’ classic hit, “Lady”

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Kenny Rogers has had many hits, but this is arguably his most beautiful song. It was written by the great Lionel Richie, and it’s super easy to play. It starts with Dm.

That’s D minor. The chord progression is Dm, Gm9/D, C/D — so you’re basically going from D minor to G minor to C with the D in the right hand. Mind you, watch my right hand as I’m playing the intro. You’re not playing a straight Gm triad in the right hand. You’re playing a Bb, D and an A in the right hand — a Gm9 (G, Bb, D, F, A) You’ll just leave out the G and F.

The first chorus is a pretty straight ahead Gm7, Am7, BbM7, Am7, Dsus

After two verses and choruses, you glissando up and down the piano and hit the BIG BIG chorus where Kenny sings, “LADYYYYYYY” — and that’s BbM7, C/Bb, F, C/E, Dm7, F/C and repeat until you get to the end.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard from Kenny Rogers came on an episode of ‘American Idol’ a whole bunch of years ago: Play the notes and sing the lyrics, but emote the words. Pay attention to the story as you’re singing / playing.

SING ALONG! Here are the lyrics to “Lady” by Kenny Rogers

Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor and I love you
You have made me what I am and I am yours
My love, there’s so many ways I want to say “I love you”
Let me hold you in my arms forever more
You have gone and made me such a fool
I’m so lost in your love
And oh, we belong together
Won’t you believe in my song?
Lady, for so many years I thought I’d never find you
You have come into my life and made me whole
Forever, let me wake to see you each and every morning
Let me hear you whisper softly in my ear
In my eyes, I see no one else but you
There’s no other love like our love
And yes, oh yes, I’ll always want you near me
I’ve waited for you for so long
Lady, your love’s the only love I need
And beside me is where I want you to be
‘Cause, my love, there’s somethin’ I want you to know
You’re the love of my life, you’re my lady

One Of OKC’s Neatest Dudes Was Our Wedding Caterer

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Life is getting back to normal after an eventful April, a month highlighted by a wonderful wedding and honeymoon to Canada — the best experiences of my life.

But there’s lots to talk about regarding the wedding itself. As I noted in my last post, it was my first one, ha! The wedding-planning experience, while my first go at it, wasn’t terribly unfamiliar insomuch as it involves a lot of project management. Our first decision was to select a venue, and we chose an all-in-one wedding provider close to our house, ‘Rose Briar’ in northwest Oklahoma City.

The facility is beautiful with both indoor and outdoor ceremony accommodations, and we liked the idea of an all-in-one wedding provider so that we didn’t have to search and search for vendors. My overall review of ‘Rose Briar’ as a wedding provider is pretty simple: if you have a no-frills wedding, they’re solid albeit pretty inflexible and humorless. I can’t imagine a more elaborate wedding with customization being a good fit for them. For us, ‘Rose Briar’ was a-ok, and they executed adequately. It turned out though that we liked their vendors better than we did ‘Rose Briar’ itself, and in this post, I’m going to tell you about one of those vendors: Ned Shadid Sr.

Ned is apparently an Oklahoma City fixture, and we completely understand why. His business is called Ned’s Catering, and he’s been in food service for a long while, having been an on-the-road caterer for a bevy of rock-and-roll bands and country acts. He told us some amazing stories about how awesome some stars are (Jon Bon Jovi) and how not-awesome others are (their band name rhymes with “The Beagles.”)

Ned has this signed photo from the band Chicago in his Oklahoma City office.

Apparently, as part of the whole wedding preparation effort, you get invited to a free lunch where you sample the food for the event.

“Do not threaten me with a good time,” as my friend Patrick is fond of saying.

My understanding is that Rose Briar’s regular caterer flaked out on them, and so Ned was available for us. I’m glad he was! While the food was fantastic, getting to know Ned as part of the pre-wedding food tasting was the real treat. He was also there for the wedding, and he even helped fix my Windsor knot.

“Before I was a caterer, I was in the clothing business,” he told me.

Ned even packed Kristi and I a to-go box in case were were still hungry after the event.

During our initial meeting with him, he told us about his latest restaurant venture, “Ned’s Starlite Lounge.” It’s also in northwest Oklahoma City along May Avenue, and it’s got this retro 1960s vibe about it.

“Our Old Fashioneds are killer,” the waitress told me upon first visit.

The decor was straight out of ‘Mad Men,’ even with the playoff hockey and basketball on the big screens. Kristi opted for Ned’s chop house steak special, which I think was a Filet Mignon, and I got the chicken fried steak with poblano reduction. I joked with Kristi that I thought our wedding enchiladas also had Ned’s poblano reduction, and maybe that was just his thing – poblano reduction.

Nevertheless, it was delicious on a chicken fry.

And the Old Fashioned was indeed killer, and oh by the way, priced a lot cheaper than most places.

Not that my Rolodex is teeming with caterers, but I couldn’t recommend Ned more highly. The food was fantastic, both for the wedding and at Ned’s Starlite Lounge — and he’s even a neater guy.

Why I Got Married For The First (And Only) Time At 48

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If you haven’t seen me on my blog or on YouTube the past couple of months, there is a very good reason. I got married.

For the first time.

At 48.

I can’t say that those of you who know me really well would be all that surprised that I got married because I don’t know how many folks really know me all that well. The one person who gets me better than anybody? Well, I married her.

We met the old-fashioned way: the Internet.

We dated for three years.

We lived together for one.

She is beautiful, kind, compassionate, sweet, helpful, optimistic. She is an extraordinary mother, the kind of Mom that all the neighborhood kids flock to. All. She is professionally ambitious and successful. She is understanding, both of what shapes our pasts but also of how we both envision the future. She is tremendously resourceful; with her, I feel like we can accomplish anything we’d like.

She is unfailingly positive and inclusive, setting an example not only for her 10-year-old daughter, Olivia, but for me as well.

She has a wonderful extended family, all of whom I got to know early on. And she likes my people, too.

She got to know my mother before she passed, and Mary Welton wholeheartedly approved of her, not something she granted automatically to anybody. She was a rock for me through the process of Mom’s last days, her passing and all the work that went into her estate (and still is ongoing).

We have traveled together. A lot.

We both love beaches and California and the color teal.

We like the same kinds of foods and both have a very open palate. We both love to cook, but she has a talent for it, while I love to clean. Seriously. It’s kind of perfect.

We both love baseball, one of the first things I learned about her. She also enjoys other sports and rooted for the Cleveland Browns with me all of last fall. We adopted them as “our” team.

Our musical tastes are mostly aligned, too. Movies and TV, too.

We have a similar outlook and temperament. I understand her love languages and she gets mine. We get along amazingly well, and I was beyond excited to propose to her one day before her birthday, October 3, 2018, in hopes of marrying her on what would have been my mother’s 80th birthday on April 12, 2019.

And that’s exactly what we did.

Introducing Ryan and Kristi Welton. (Mr. and Mr., according to the forks we were holding. Works for us, ha!)

More blogs, pics and stories from the wedding and honeymoon coming up! It was important to me to focus the past 60-90 days on the big event, making sure that I focused my attention on the wedding, our trip to Canada and all the home-centric things we both have going on, including for me the eventual sale of two other homes — mine in Norman and Mom’s in Henryetta.

Cheers for now.

Korean, Mexican flavors come together at northwest OKC’s ‘Chigama’

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So, I ain’t gonna lie. I’m beat. Kristi, too. I’m lying in bed as this blog is being crafted.

We’re both super busy at work. We’re both still managing multiple trips per week to the chiropractor after a car wreck in November.

We’re both getting married in April. To each other. There’s a substantial to-do list that goes with that. We’ve got two houses we’re trying to sell, including one that belonged to Mom, and a car settlement in the works and all sorts of side projects and various kiddo-centric to-dos.

A nice dinner out isn’t a luxury. It’s therapy.

We had wanted to try Chigama, a Korean-Mexican restaurant, in northwest Oklahoma City, for quite awhile. A colleague’s recommendation this week, however, sealed the deal — and we visited tonight.

It’s at Memorial and May, just off the Kilpatrick Turnpike. It’s in a strip with other restaurants, including Wagyu and Metro Diner. The first thing you notice upon entering is the interior design.

It’s colorful, modern and brilliant. The blue and orange-themed insides matched the color scheme of the hometown Oklahoma City Thunder on the television.

Because Kristi and I were already pooped from a January that, this year, lasted 74 days, we took forever to order anything. Our waitress, Sarah, stopped by 6-7 times before we could get it together.

We weren’t lallygagging. Kristi was plotting different foods for us to try (our thing is to split food so we can try more dishes), and I was researching on my phone every cocktail in their alcoholic arsenal.

I settled on the poma jalapeño margarita. It was sweet, and it had a serious kick. I think the glass might have been lined with salt and chili powder.

The lady had sake. Cold, sweet pineapple sake. She likes it; I hate the stuff.

My cocktail was a 10 out of a 10. Terrific beginning to the evening out.

Next course was bao. I thought Kristi was saying, “bowel,” and the funny part was that I didn’t flinch. I was like, “Well, I guess this is happening.”

But it was a steamed bun with goodies inside, namely soft-shell crab and pork belly.

Then came the scallion pancakes.

The sour cream sauce paired perfectly with the side dish. Loved this.

Kristi tells me this is “elote.” I responded, “you mean corn?” She squeezed the lime over it, giving the sweet corn a tangy flavor.

The theme of the night at Chigama was “flavor combos.” At no place we’ve been in Oklahoma City has had as interesting a mix of flavors as Chigama.

Our main course was a couple tacos — a beef steak taco on the left and a sweet-and-spicy shrimp taco on the right. My favorite taco was the shrimp. Kristi’s, too.

We were supposed to dip the tacos in this chili sauce but we forgot.

Oh, well. Not that the tacos needed it.

Last but not least, we ordered some churros. By then, the Thunder were up by 25 over the Heat, and the last big table had paid up for the night.

We had the place to ourselves.

I don’t rave about a restaurant unless I mean it, but Chigama was both a culinary delight and an experiential one. And it cements my love of Korean food or at least Korean-influenced foods, especially given that the late, great Chae had been my favorite Oklahoma City restaurant.

Anyway, give this place a try. High marks. Totally affordable, too. $$ on prices and I’d say 9 out of 10 on food + experience.

My Shazam! My 2 favorite songs of January 2019: J.D. McPherson + Jenny Lewis

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J.D. McPherson and Jenny Lewis

Each tap of my Shazam button brings a new listen, a new discovery — and this month, of all the songs I Shazam’d, I stumbled upon two that led me to musicians whose work I will examine much, much deeper.

One of them is from my home state of Oklahoma.

J.D. McPherson is originally from Broken Arrow by way of Talihina, the latter I’ve visited and the former I’ve lived. Dude’s sound is straight from the 1950s, and when I first heard his tune, “North Side Gal,” I thought it was straight from 1958. Kristi and I heard it while waiting for our grocery pickup at Walmart.

What’s crazy is that it’s wholly possible that his interpretation of “North Side Gal” is the same as mine: northwest Oklahoma City. Sure, for McPherson it could mean Tulsa, but I’m letting my imagination project.

Love the sound. Fantastic production. “North Side Gal” is from 2010:

J.D. McPherson, “North Side Gal”

My second discovery came by way of SiriusXMU, a channel usually reserved for uber-Indie tracks. This song was quite formulaic by nature, but I fell in love with the sound quickly. Just a good, solid pop composition from a 43-year-old woman nonetheless, Jenny Lewis. I emphasize the age (I’m 48) only because I was pleasantly surprised SiriusXMU would include her. We folks over 40 get left out of that mix almost always. Because society.

Turns out she was lead singer for a band I had always heard of but never consumed, Rilo Kiley. Fred Armisen is in the video, and if you have his endorsement, I’m in. Love the guitar at the beginning. Sounds very Ryan Adams-like.

Love, love, love this track. This is “She’s Not Me” from 2015:

Jenny Lewis, “She’s Not Me”

A Thanksgiving (car crash) to remember…

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We were heading to dinner, ready to try a new place, new for us. A place called Kwan’s Kitchen was calling, and we were ready for a chance to unwind before the holiday weekend.

As we headed down Memorial Road, past Rockwell Avenue, in Oklahoma City. I was daydreaming into the distance. Like usual. And, no, I wasn’t driving.

Kristi was, and I suddenly heard her scream.

“Bam!”

We had been hit and hit hard in the intersection of Memorial and Rockwell. Kristi somehow managed to wrest control of the vehicle and keep us from flipping. I was 90 percent sure we were headed down the embankment and maybe onto the Kilpatrick Turnpike below.

As the person in the passenger seat, I’d describe it is being on a really bumpy boat ride on the lake. The vehicle was just thrusting about, and the morning after, I was quite sore — more sore than after I finished my half marathons. By a lot. Some of that was compounded by achy hips from a golf outing earlier in the week.

Getting old sucks, folks, haha!

I got out of the vehicle instantly and urged Kristi to get out. See, I watched too many Emergency!-like shows in the 1970s, and I knew that the car always exploded in the aftermath of a wreck.

It didn’t.

Right as I was walking toward the other driver, to whom I was going to ask, “What the ****?,” a gentleman walked up to me and gave me his name and number. He and his wife had seen the whole thing. The other dude ran a red light, a light that had been red for quite a while.

We’re not sure how fast the guy was going, but I immediately got concerned for him and walked up to him, not in anger, but just to make sure he was OK. He was extraordinarily apologetic, which made me immediately conciliatory, and I stood with him as his teenage daughters got out of their Honda Odyssey. For the record, we think he was going 30-40 mph through the intersection.

What struck me is how hard the hit was. It was really hard. Two airbags went off, both on Kristi’s side of the car, and she whacked her head. The hit was so hard, it popped the gear shift out of place in the middle of the front of the vehicle. The hit was so hard that it BENT MY SUBARU FORESTER CAR KEY.

I shit you not. The key must have been against something in my left pocket, but the impact bent it. We got it fixed pretty easily with WD-40 and duct tape, which is how you do it in the South.

How much harder then is an impact at 55, 60, 70 miles per hour or beyond?

If you weren’t a believer in seat belts before, you became one.

If you weren’t a believer in staying hands-free with any device before, you were now.

Oklahoma City Police came out to help, and while they were helpful, I would also note that they’re short. No time for any extra commentary or questions. All business, and that’s understandable and standard. I add that as a word to the wise if you’re ever in an accident: minimize the number of words you speak and maximize their impact.

“Ma’am, do you want an ambulance?” the officer asked Kristi.

“Yes,” I replied, “She does, at least to get checked out.”

“I’m not asking you,” the officer said.

Clap the heck back, why don’t you?! Ha!

My response emanated from the brief conversation I had with the witness, who (it turns out) is a former police officer. He said, “Have the ambulance come over and check you out, even if you don’t think you need it.”

And here’s why.

When you’re in an accident, your body automatically goes into fight-or-flight, meaning the adrenaline is at the max, and while you’d be likely to feel a broken bone, you’re less likely to feel what they call “soft-tissue injuries.” In this case, Kristi had sustained a nasty bump to the head. The paramedics checked her out and held her for a couple minutes for high blood pressure that quickly went down.

We’re both pretty sore today. I’d say that I’m much more sore than I expected to be. Achy like the flu.

The other reason you need to get checked out by the ambulance at a wreck is for insurance documentation. In fact, at every step, if you have symptoms of anything after a wreck, you need to get checked out. What makes the whole process feel very shady is that average folks like us often err on the side of not bothering people.

“I’ll be fine. Don’t bother the doctor or paramedic!”

“It’s just a bump!”

In the hard, cold, real world, that just translates to, “not really hurt,” even if that’s not true.

It’s enough to make a person pretty jaded — or get that law degree and chase a few ambulances!

However, we’re lucky. We lived. No broken bones. A big pain in the ass, figuratively and literally, but aside from some paperwork and administrative headaches the next few weeks, all good.

And the other guy and his family lived. And he has insurance, too. Thank the good Lord. I can’t tell you how little sympathy I have for anybody who’s driving without insurance. Driving is a privilege, not a right.

Later over dinner, watching the Thunder game, I told Kristi, “Hey, it was another first for us. Our first car wreck together.”

“How romantic,” she responded.

We both agreed though: we’ll never forget this Thanksgiving! It could have been oh, so much worse.

Runner’s Diary: So, I didn’t quite run 10 miles this week

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It’s evident what stretching before a run will do for you. Better recovery, fewer aches and improved runs.

My goal this week was 10 miles for the week, up from 7.35 the week before. I didn’t quite get there, but I did up my total.

8.84 miles

So, my long run for Sunday was 4.20 miles, a totally average run for me two years ago.

Weather conditions were nearly perfect: started at about 49 degrees with sunshine and a very light Oklahoma breeze. If anything was negative about the conditions, it would be the angle of thesun right now. It’s right in your eyes during the early-to-mid-morning hours.

For the second week in a row, I earned my miles across three runs, one gym run, one neighborhood run and one long neighborhood run.

The first neighborhood did feature some resistance as soon-to-be 10-year-old Olivia tan with me tugging to my running shirt as if I were a horse.

I’m still taking way too many walking breaks for my taste, but I’m moving — and for any of you out there looking to start a fitness program that involves running, moving is the point.

We’ll try for 10 cumulative miles this week.

Happy running!

Runner’s Routine: The podcasts I listen to while running

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My Bose Soundsport bluetooth headphones are pissing me off. The button somehow got stuck, and I can’t get it back to normal. Wearing these has become a part of the running ritual; they’re the first headphones that will stay in my ear no matter how greasy I get.

Argh!

It depends on the day as to what I listen to, too. I have a running playlist that I’ll detail sometime, a mix of songs from today and way back in the 1980s, back when dinosaurs roamed the planet.

Sometimes, especially on calm Sunday mornings, I’ll listen to NPR’s Morning Edition, or in this case, Weekend Edition. If I’m running by 9 a.m. or so, I’ll tune it to KQED in San Francisco and listen to the West Coast feed. This is a fantastic way to get caught up on news and to consume a high caliber of news, to boot.

Because I’m a YouTube Premium member, I can listen to videos while using my running app in the foreground.

Or I listen to podcasts. And that’s what I thought I’d write about today – the 11 podcasts that are currently in my rotation. For what it’s worth, I am subscribed to the West Wing Weekly podcast, but Kristi and I are only in the middle of Season Three, and I had never watched the series serially like this. For example, I’ve seen Season 3, Episode 9 a billion times. It’s the ‘Bartlet For America’ episode where Leo McGarry eloquently describes the appeal of Scotch while at the same time eloquently describing the hell of addiction. To me, this is the best scene in the history of the show.

Anyway, I digress. I don’t listen to West Wing Weekly yet because it’s something I’d like to share with Kristi once we both finish the series, serially.

But here’s what I do listen to:

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The Gary Vee Audio Experience. Gary Vaynerchuk is pretty hit-or-miss for me these days as I think his schtick has become routine. His insight into usable tactics for social media is still insightful, and he remains one of the best motivators for workaholics on the planet, encouraging us to keep hustling. When he hits, he slugs it out of the park. After six years of listening to the man, however, I know when to tune in and when to tune out. If you’re in marketing or are interested in digital anything, he’s a must-listen.

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Marketing School. Neil Patel and Eric Siu are two of the preeminent experts on digital marketing with an emphasis on SEO. Their podcasts are always super short, as in less than ten minutes each, but there’s always value. To me, SEO is the most important discipline in content for brands, news organizations and even bloggers. Patel’s SEO Analyzer tool is a must-use for anybody wanting to compare their website to the competition. This podcast is a no-brainer for marketing geeks.

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Hit Parade. This is a podcast from Slate about pop music, the pop music charts and trivia associated with it. The last episode I listened to was about the BeeGees, and it was like listening to a documentary history of the vocal group. The production was brilliant, and the nuggets of information were meaty enough for the music nerd while being palatable to the neophyte.

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Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter. I’ve been a fan of Brian’s since his TV Newser days, and I followed him and David Carr after the New York Times movie came out. I had also read Carr’s “Night Of The Gun.” As both a fan of Brian’s and a newsie, I find Reliable Sources to be a must-listen to keep up with media trends and to get a pretty fair analysis of how we’re doing as an industry. For example, this week he had on Frank Sesno, who was pretty critical of the coverage from mainstream media types during the Brett Kavanaugh proceedings.

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The Tim Ferriss Show. I believe Ferriss came to fame via the ‘4-hour’ books: “4-Hour Work Week,” “4-Hour Body,” etc. Ferriss is a prolific accomplisher of things (what does that mean? it just feels like it’s the right way to describe him), and he has fascinating life hacks that are super practical. For example, Ferriss turned me on to a mushroom coffee that has become a go-to for me on days where I didn’t get the best sleep the night before. His interview with Terry Crews, in my opinion, is the best podcast interview I’ve ever listened to both because of him and Crews.

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The Life Coach School. Brooke Castillo is the host. I know she’s a Texan, and I suspect she probably knows Brene Brown. In fact, I might have stumbled onto Brooke because of Brene, especially after I read “Daring Greatly,” which I think is a must-read for anybody in management. The gist of that book is how to use vulnerability as an asset both as a giver and a taker, a speaker and a listener. Brooke’s podcast is hit-or-miss for me, but when she’s speaking about a topic that’s pertinent to my life, I find her to be on point. When I decide to listen to her, I’m never disappointed, and the content is what you’d expect from a life coach — so it’s not for everybody although it wouldn’t kill you to listen to it.

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WTF with Marc Maron. His was the first podcast I ever downloaded. Maron is a stand-up comic who interviews people a couple times a week for his podcast, which happens to be one of the biggest on the planet. I love his monologues more than his interviews primarily because I like him more than a lot of his guests. For interviews, you can’t beat Howard Stern. Best on the planet. But Maron ain’t shabby. Even still, Maron’s podcasts are worth it even only to listen to the monologues at the beginning of each episode.

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YouTube Creators Hub. A guy named Dusty Porter teaches creators how to use YouTube to grow businesses or at least grow audiences. He interviews successful creators and even has a Patreon where you can get access to a group of people who supposedly can help you grow your channel. It hasn’t helped me at all, not one iota. Once you listen to about 10-15 of his episodes, you glean about as much as will be useful to you. The themes are all the same: develop niche content, post consistently, “it’s a lot of work,” and more. But, IMHO, this is still the best YouTube creators podcast out there. After listening to 50-60 episodes, for me, at this point, it’s hit or miss. I’d love more of a deep dive into tactics that successful channels leverage.

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Mitchell Talks. My friend and colleague Scott Mitchell visits with journalists (my friends and colleagues Aaron Brilbeck and Grant Hermes) and newsmakers about issues of the day here in Oklahoma. It’s a smart look at politics in the Sooner State with no political bent. Scott is an equal-opportunity political analyst and is particularly effective at pointing out the most ridiculous parts of the political machine. I should point out that I might contribute some music to Scott’s podcasts. Woot!

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West Of Everest. This one is from another colleague, Lee Benson. He and his brother, Grant, talk Oklahoma Sooners football – and they take a real deep dive into each game. This is an hour’s worth of content that will greatly appeal to the diehard Sooners fan. I haven’t listened to this one yet during the offseason. I think that will be the trick to appealing, long-term, year-round to folks.

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And last but not least, Why Today Doesn’t Suck. This is the daily segment on The Ticket 1310 in Dallas where Bob & Dan Radio hand it off to The Hardline. This is what they call in the radio business, “crosstalk.” And as they do this, they talk birthdays and death days and born on this day, now dead. Listeners (P1s, especially) write in with their birthday wishes and ask for various drops to be played, and it’s heavy on the language and rituals of those who have listened to The Ticket for years. During my tenure in Dallas, I was a P1 practically from Day 1, and I’m thankful beyond thankful that this is available to me via the magical power of my phone.

I know there are hundreds of other podcasts I’ll never have time to listen to that are worth an audit. I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Speak to me, people, and let me know what you listen to while you run!

Cover photo credit: Nicola

Ryan Welton is a digital communicator, marketer and journalist who loves to run and write songs. He thinks that’ll be the focus of this blog from here forward. He can be found at YouTube.com/ryanweltonmusic and on Twitter @ryanwelton.

OU 28, Army 21: Mike Stoops’ defense doesn’t look any better on radio either

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When I was 10 or 11 years old, I used to hide away in my room and listen to the radio.

My first memories were listening to WLS radio at night when the AM gods and frequencies allowed, and I listened to a lot of sports. I remembered listening to the 1980 Gator Bowl between Pittsburgh and South Carolina, and I listened to the 1980 Holiday Bowl between SMU and BYU, a veritable shootout by the standards of the day, a 46-45, Cougars win.

And I listened to the Orange Bowl that year, a 24-7 win for the Oklahoma Sooners over the Florida State Seminoles.

I wasn’t being deceptive about it, but Dad didn’t watch sports, and back in those days, parents controlled the remotes. This was the year before Mom and Dad bought me a TV, I believe, so I was huddled in bed with my transistor listening to John Brooks call the game for Oklahoma, his “Jiminy Christmas” the signal that good had come to the Sooners.

Some 38 years later, I’m at it again, listening to Oklahoma football on the radio, a 28-21 overtime nail-biter over the Army Black Knights. The very capable Toby Rowland was on the call, and it was a delight to hear in lieu of a $50 pay-per-view bill. The reason we have a PPV game every year is because of the Big 12 and its contracts with the networks.

They don’t have to do this, but they do — and I think it’s fan extortion. I didn’t buy it, even though I love both the Oklahoma Sooners and the Army Black Knights. CBS Sports Network shows all of Army’s games, so I started following Jeff Monken’s bunch a couple of years ago and kind of fell in love with their style and effort.

They sure as heck didn’t disappoint tonight.

Neither did the radio broadcast. Toby Rowland, Teddy Lehman, Gabe Ikard, Coach Merv Johnson and the highly under-recognized Chris Plank are fantastic. One of my News 9 colleagues, Michael Dean, makes an appearance on these broadcasts, too. Radio is still a glorious medium because it is theatre of the imagination.

But there was no imagining the nightmare that was the Army option game against an unprepared, undisciplined Oklahoma defense. Mike Stoops’ bunch can’t stop a competent passing team, and they can’t stop a competent running team. They need an opponent to stop themselves, truly.

At some point, repeating the same effort and mistakes over and over and over, game after game after game is insanity.

Or Coach Stoops has compromising photos of former President David Boren.

Something.

Coaches often respond to criticism by saying things like, “Geez, I didn’t know I had to teach college ball players how to tackle.”

And I say, “That’s exactly what you should be doing.”

If it were me, I’d obsess over why they weren’t tackling and then work with each player ad nauseam until they figured it out. There would be laps or stair runs for missed tackles, too. Whatever you can get away with in 2018.

But shame on us for saying anything about the obvious, right?

It’d be 1,000 times more acceptable if Mike Stoops showed any kind of emotion that evoked a little empathy, but he doesn’t. Thank God his crew finally got inspired in overtime, or any chance at a playoff in 2018 would be over.

Probably.

College football is a funny thing. A loss to Army might not have done the trick. Even though the Black Knights were a 30.5-point underdog, Army is actually good. They won a bowl game last year in exciting fashion, a 42-35 win over San Diego State. in which the Black Knights won with a 2-point conversion before a game-clinching interception return for a touchdown provided the final margin.

Army is disciplined, focused and prepared. Every game.

Oklahoma’s offense has long been the same way while the defense has been a step behind for years. The Sooners defense is like that co-worker who puts in a half-effort but turns it on, maybe, when the boss yells or when it’s crunch time, doing just enough to not get fired when you really just wish they would show up to work drunk out of their minds so the powers who be would have no choice but to make a move.

Nobody aspires to be a micro-manager, but this is an Oklahoma defense that begs for micro-management. If Mike doesn’t want to do it, let Ruffin McNeill or Calvin Thibodeaux handle it.

I’ll say this though: I don’t hate Mike Stoops; I just don’t think his defense is ever prepared well. Like ever ever.

It is what it is.

He’s a ******** of a coach, but he’s our *********.

The craziest part of this is that I didn’t have to see one second of the game to figure this out. Great radio will do that.

Tonight was a real treat.

We’ll live to curse Mike Stoops another day.

Who steps up for the Oklahoma Sooners now that Rodney Anderson is out?

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The speculation turned to reality Sunday night, and it was just about the worst news imaginable for the No. 5-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Rodney Anderson had been ruled out for the year, officially.

You see the quotes from Lincoln Riley, shared by Eddie Radosevich, right there: “We’re heartbroken for him. He’s overcome so much in his career, and if anybody can do it again, it’s Rodney.”

Dude broke his leg in 2015.

Broke a vertebra before the season in 2016.

Got falsely accused of rape last year in the midst of his best season as a Sooner.

If anybody is deserving of a little bit of luck to befall him, it’s Rodney Anderson. He was a huge part of Oklahoma’s playoff run last season, and he was going to be the key cog in Oklahoma’s run this season.

What now?

It appears we’l get a steady diet of Trey Sermon, Marcelias Sutton and T.J. Pledger. Here’s what we know about each:

Trey Sermon is a sophomore out of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia. Last year, he ran for 744 on 121 carries, catching 16 balls for 139 yards. In all, he’s scored eight times in two seasons, seven of those last year. He has bursts of speed but is mostly what I’d call a strong back. He brings the muscle at 6’0″, 224 pounds. He is not afraid of contact.

Of course, I say that and then watch this video. Sermon brings the video game jukes! Here’s two looks at a touchdown he scored against Florida Atlantic:

Marcelias Sutton is a senior out of La Grange, North Carolina, by way of Lackawanna College. Last year, the 5’9″ 192-pound back touched the ball only 22 times for 130 yards, with an additional 32 yards on three catches. So far this year, he’s touched the ball nine times for 71 yards and two TDs. He scored twice last year as well. My perception of Sutton is that he’s a little quicker to the hole, a finesse back for first down whereas Sermon might be the guy you depend on to get one yard when your football life depends on it.

Here’s Sutton scoring against UCLA on Saturday, showing nice balance and a super low center of gravity.

Then there’s T.J. Pledger, the 5’9″ 200-pound freshman from Pacoima, California. He’s the future of the Oklahoma backfield, and that future was here already. In two games, he’s rushed 14 times for 83 yards. No catches out of the backfield yet, and no scores. Yet.

To me, he looks the most like Rodney Anderson. It’s no knock on Sermon or Sutton, but I just have a hunch that if we’re looking for a guy who’s the most like Rodney Anderson to step into this role, my money is on Pledger. Watch this big gain against the Bruins last week, how quick he is to the hole and appears to have break-away speed.

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