Attention book publishers and book buyers

By T.J. Simers

I wrote a book, beginning with one of my lawyers who made poisoned hamburgers to silence a watch dog so her husband could take some guy out to the desert, cut his manhood off and pour bleach on him.

It was pretty funny when one of the Times’ lawyers tried to bully her.

One of my other lawyers was like the best attorney on the planet, and I know that because that’s what he said about himself in his bio. He had 11 kids, so there were some who believed whatever he said

One of my appeals judges was identified by Erika Jayne from Real Housewives as her husband, Tom Girardi’s mistress. Erika Jayne said Girardi gave my judge $300,000 in misused funds for a beach condo. And my appels judge voted to give me nothing.

The reason I mention all this, I was wondering if any of you could suggest a book publisher. Maybe you have a friend, a former college roommate or some kind of contact in that world. I tried one here in the L.A. area and he said he wasn’t interested in the legal stuff in the book. He wanted a book just on the sports folks I got to know on Page 2.

They are all in the book, of course, a book about Kobe, Phil Jackson, Pete Carroll, John Elway, Junior Seau and Plaschke. I even mentioned F.P. Santangelo, although he hardly figures as a sports figure.

I also wrote about my love affair with the Los Aneles Times, telling a judge, jury and lawyers, “I love the LA Times. Still do.” And while it isn’t much now, it’s still the Los Angeles Times.

But I sued the L.A. Times because the Times hired a managing editor and editor who tried to get rid of me. I won in court three times, and I wrote about that as well as testimony from Tom Lasorda, Joe Torre and Garret Anderson. I had Kobe’s name on a list to testify and our judge said he wasn’t interested in hearing from people who were going to just gush about me. Kobe would have laughed at that.

My judge wasn’t the best, and I write about that. He seemed to have no faith in juries, and how is that for a selling point to get people to serve?

A book agent said he detected no interest in the East Coast about a book featuring notables from the West Coast and a newspaper writer they never read. Ouch! I’d like to see them get close enough to Salma Hayek to be kissed.

My East Coast book agent disappeared faster than Gary Matthews Jr.

Some folks have suggested I go the vanity press route, and I got a feeling that’s a commentary on my ego and coming from my children.

I’m told if a book publisher takes on the book, I would get about 10-14% of what the book costs in royalties, while keeping in mind only 1% to 2% of all the manuscripts submitted to publishers result in a book.

If I self-publish, supposedly I could get 70% of what I sell, but then it would be up to me to find folks to buy the book. If only I had the names of alumni who have cheated when it comes to USC sports, I could print them in the book and it would become a best seller.

They say the average book these days sells only 350 copies; I don’t have that many family members. Probably never had that many readers. Maybe I should just blog the book.

I guess I could start a list of who wants to buy a book, assuring someone like Rob Pelinka anonymity, and convince a publisher there is an audience. But I don’t know how much more disappointment I could take. One more day of reading about the Angels might end me over the edge,

If I were Patrick Soon-Shiong, the owner of the Times, I would buy 350 copies and then burn them.

Maybe I should rewrite the book. and make it more flashy. I don’t know if I could get anyone to read about the lawyer the Times hired who wore a little bell around her ankle so whenever she had to go to the bathroom we would hear her tinkle.

But it’s a thought.

I can’t make this stuff up!

By T.J. Simers

Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong,

OK, Patrick, if I am going to rip your newspaper as I have been doing, I thought I should take a look at it today and write about all the good things your newspaper is doing.

But before I could do that, I got an email about your sports section. And it was both ugly and disturbing.

Your new sports columnist, you know the one who has written but once in the six months that you have been paying him—producing a story about Eagles’ fans a week after the Super Bowl, is scheduled to write Tuesday for the second time. Three days after the fight he’s covering!

I’m told he spent a week with a L.A.-based fighter who is fighting tonight in Las Vegas. I did that twice with Oscar de la Hoya, writing every day that week leading up to his fights and then covering the fight.

You sports editor, Iliana, is apparently trying to keep it a secret that your new columnist will be writing again. There isn’t a single mention of tonight’s fight in your newspaper, no information for your readers, and who better to do that than the guy who has been with one of the fighters for a week?

Online they are calling it the “fight of the year,” but I’ve never heard of these guys. It doesn’t help that the Times doesn’t even mention they are fighting tonight, but I wouldn’t care anyways. But maybe some of your readers do.

I don’t know if your new columnist has spent the week with the fighter in Las Vegas on your dime, Patrick, but you might want to inquire.

Strange the newspaper would hire a columnist and not have him write, stranger yet hiring a guy with deadline issues.

This used to be the almighty Los Angeles Times, Patrick, and I’m trying my best not to be so negative, but I just opened the Saturday newspaper and there is Bill Plaschke’s Thursday column on the Clippers.

I read it online Friday, but there it is again in Saturday’s newspaper, two days after the game.

I know most everyone doesn’t care about the Clippers, but come on, it’s Los Angeles’ morning newspaper, and getting your No. 1 columnist two days later isn’t exactly “breaking news.”

What is going on here, Patrick. I read your main hockey story, and I can make sacrifices like that, but the writer never got to the final score before the story jumped to B9.

Your hockey writer is too long-winded, beginning her story by telling us, “it has become something of an inside joke among Kings’ fans,” and I couldn’t read any further. Two more paragraphs and still no final score and the game went into overtime and all that matters is who won?

I liked the fact, though, your Angels’ writer wasn’t suffering from jetlag after going all the way to New York with the team and writing about a Yankees’ cook. Grueling or grilling.

She gave us a story on Ohtani on Saturday, and I guess I’m a little surprised why your newspaper isn’t leading the charge to keep Ohtani here.

If the plan is to let him go sign with the Dodgers, fine. But your newspaper treats Anaheim like a desert outpost, and the best player in the game is playing there. You have a Japanese-speaking columnist in Dylan Hernandez on your staff— why not have Hernandez shadow Ohtani and give us coverage no one else can provide?

To show you hard I am trying to be positive, I read a Dan Woike story. I’ll let that sink in.

Woike gave us coverage of the LeBron James new conference, which was covered by all the media in L.A. No harm, no foul, so you can see I can be positive when I hold my nose.

Suicide by Omission

By T.J. Simers

I think the Orange County Register does a great job.

But the newspaper delivered the worst headline I can imagine Tuesday, the top headline in sports and in big letters:: “KINGS GO TO OT.”


It’s 10 a.m. and someone at the Mini Gourmet in Placentia hands me the Register. It’s a great newspaper, all right, but I wouldn’t spend a dollar for it even if I was still on its payroll.

And there’s the headline, the newspaper telling me it has no clue who won the first-round of the hockey playoffs between the Kings and whoever. Now to be honest I don’t really care, but a lot of times I learn things by just reading the headlines and for the one second it takes in life to read a hockey headline, I can do that.

One second dedicated to hockey is about right.

The Kings played beyond the Register’s deadline, and whatever it was, it was too early. That is if the readers count, and they do no not any longer with most newspapers.

They should have just run the headline: “LOOK ON THE INTERNET.”

Why would you tell folks you are so inadequate when it comes to reporting the news when reporting the news is the only reason you are in business?

I checked the LA Times without paying for it, of course, and shockingly the Kings’ story included a final overtime score. And just as shockingly it was written by Helene Elliott. Not surprisingly it took her 146 words to get to the final score, boring even on deadline.

Under the hockey picture in the Register it was noted: “The game was still in progress when this edition went to press.”

Why? I know the answer, scolded so often for taking copy right up to the deadline, dare to be late and the trucks would be delayed delivering the newspaper.

As low as circulation has dropped at most newspapers, I now picture a kid waiting outside the newspaper on his skateboard ready to deliver newspapers throughout Orange County.

Newspapers are in the process of killing themselves, the readers no longer as important as logistics. I have theorized for some time that newspapers have purposely committed suicide, executives convinced the paper will go away and the Internet will rule the world.

We were told that in a sports meeting at the Times more than a decade ago, “newspapers are going to die,” and the executive who said that, died.

Those still living might be right, but it’s so darn aggravating when witnessing a newspaper killing itself. The sports staff at the Times doesn’t respect its own leadership, finding the sports editor without a vision or the guts to give the readers a quality section to read. The assistant sports editor, recommended for hire by the sports editor, is non-existent, the disorganization destroying the department’s remaining morale.

The LA Times is no longer a must read among people who still must read the newspaper to begin their day. Now I just eat my breakfast, or hope a waiter slips me the Register.

And then consult my cellphone to get to the Internet to find out if the Kings or whoever won.

Shocker! Times Finally Gets An Exclusive

By T.J. Simers

The Los Angeles Times scored its biggest exclusive in more than a decade, Sam Farmer telling us in Friday’s Internet posting he’s the only person in the whole wide world who doesn’t belong to the Masters golf club to be allowed inside a storage room.

This is the kind of reporting that separates the Times from newspapers like the Washington Post and New York Times.

Farmer, who broke the Rufus the Wimbledon hawk story a few months ago, reported in great detail his exclusive access to the storage room where they provide green jackets for everyone who is a member in the pretentious club.

On the second day of the Masters haven’t you always wanted to know where they keep the hundreds and hundreds of green jackets the members get when they pay their dues?

Thus, the gripping headline atop Sam’s scoop: “Where are the Masters green jackets stored? Exclusive vault opened for first time.”

If they’ve never opened it, how does everyone get their green jackets? I read Sam’s whole story and he never mentioned that. Where are the editors at the Times?

But beyond that, I only have one question after reading Farmer’s fine account about what the storage room looks like: How did he gain such exclusive access?

Why would a swanky golf course in Georgia throw open its secret doors to a football writer from Los Angeles? Had I asked for entry in my football prime I would have been rejected on suspicion I was casing the place to rob later.

I’m sure there is a line a mile long of legit golf reporters who would like to know if the jackets are folded into boxes or hanging up. Be still my beating heart.

Why Sam? He must have something on those puffed-up blowhards who insist broadcasters call the spectators patrons or they’re no longer allowed to broadcast.

By the way, Sam refers to the “patrons” twice in his story, and now you know why Dwyre never allowed me to cover the Masters. He was always afraid I’d get kicked out of the place, beginning with a column on this whole patrons bunk.

For background Sam gets almost all the big stories in the Times. You can understand why the Times has a football guy covering golf and tennis. He’s good. I can’t remember if Sam was the only journalist to score an exclusive interview with Rufus the Raven, but I know he was the first reporter to give us the precise difference between fluffy tennis balls and balls not-so-fluffy at Wimbledon.

He also shared personal pictures he took of Cooper, Peyton and Eli Manning standing in the hotel they recently purchased aside the golf course where they were playing the British Open. Later he gained access to Peyton’s basement for one of Peyton’s TV shows, a nice exchange of I’ll promote your business venture if you provide me access to all your business ventures.

Nothing wrong with that. I promised Kevin Brown I would rip him on a Monday so long as I could also rip him every other day of the week. He then went out of his way to make it easier for me to do just that.

Maybe Sam promised the powers to be of the storage room that he would write an inane story about people who have built replicas of the Masters in their own backyards. That was a Farmer’s special Thursday. Didn’t see that in the Post or Times, surprisingly Sam not proclaiming it an exclusive.

But he did write a whole ode to Jim Nantz at the Final Four, and then Nantz helped him with his backyard story: Hello friend, let me promote the Masters in your story.

He said he was building a replica of No. 13 at his Nashville home: “There’s something about Augusta and the whole Masters experience,” said Nantz. “It’s visual poetry”

If so, why are readers of the Times being shoved into a secret dingy store room in the back of the Masters’ golf shop for an exclusive looksee at the jackets the snobs wear when they become dues-paying members of a golf club in Georgia?

I think I understand now why Dwyre never sent me to Augusta.

Hey, Mr. Times’ Owner: Your Columnist is Missing

Dear Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of LA Times

I sent you an email on September 15, 2022 volunteering to return as sports columnist for the LA TImes, only asking that you pay my previous salary in the form of a charitable donation to Mattel Children’s Hospital. I would work for nothing.

I thought it a win-win, the Times getting a muckraking columnist to stir the sports waters and bring some life to a deadly dull sports section in exchange for continuing your quest to find the cure for cancer.

I never heard back from you. I’m not sure if you thought I was still in the process of suing the LA Times, but for the record, I won and the hedge fund that was financially responsible for the lawsuit paid my lawyers. We’re still haggling over legal fees, the judge claiming Alden owes more than $3 million, but none of that concerns you or the Times.

Did I mention I never heard back from you with my offer to write for the Times for nothing. What a great advertisement to go with my first column: YOU SAID WHAT HE WROTE WASN’T WORTH TWO CENTS, AND WE AGREE.

I bring this up because I’ve tried reading your sports section, and what was once a mighty newspaper with writers like Mark Heisler, Chris Dufresne, Jim Murray, Richard Hoffer, Rick Reilly, Mike Littwin, Scott Ostler and Mike Downey is void of entertainment most days.

I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say they remember the good old days when they had a clown writing on Page 2 in sports.

Now if you can bring Murray or Dufresne back to life or get any of the other gifted scribes to return to return to work for nothing I would gladly step aside.

I know you are part owner of the Lakers and a little afraid I might poke fun at the bums, but who better to get them going. You think Shaq, Kobe and Phil were successful all by themselves? Every team needs a Smush Parker.

Let’s be honest, I don’t know why you bought the Times. Seems like a loser to me, and I love newspapers.

But you didn’t get rich by being stupid. Your sports editor announced the hiring of Tyler R. Tynes on Halloween, some six months ago. And to date he has written one story, something about the fans from Philadelphia at this last Super Bowl, the editors running the story one week AFTER the Super Bowl.

One story and he’s been on your payroll for six months.

I used to write three columns a week, and so theoretically I would have submitted 66 columns for submission in that time, and while I had one column rejected by the editors on Levitra and spokesman Mike Ditka, I would have had more than 60 columns in that time generating negative email.

The sports editor of your newspaper sent out a tweet on November 29, 2022 congratulating the ghost that is Tyler R. Tynes for being named to Forbes’ under 30 media list of stars.

She also wrote: “We’ve got big things coming from him soon,” on November 29. I guess it was that story on Philadelphia Eagles’ fans that appeared in February.

PATRICK, aren’t you curious why you aren’t getting something out of your media star? I gather you would rather donate money to him than the cancer kids at Mattel’s. The Times used to have an editor who told me it wasn’t the newspaper’s job to help the unfortunate while stopping me from raising money for Mattel.s.

It’s not like I’m asking you to break new ground. You are already paying Tyler R. Tynes to do nothing; is it that big of departure to ask you to pay for the scribblings of a has-been writer with the expectation of not getting much.

How does a newspaper like the LA Times make such a hire and lack the institutional discipline to get something in return? Are you not paying attention to your newspaper, or at the very least the sports news you are giving your readers?

So far. the only thing we know about Tyler R. Tynes is that he is under 30 and has no work ethic, ambition or desire to embrace Los Angeles. And we know your sports editor lacks the ability to make her charges earn their keep.

Come on Patrick, don’t you expect more from your newspaper?

I know I do.

Sincerely, Tj….you can reach me at, or

Boorish Officiating; Winner Sets Horrible Example

By T.J. Simers

Everything has to be black and white. And it’s sickening when taken to extremes.

And before you say so, I know especially when the criticism comes from a white old man.

Bad enough that I’m talking about women’s basketball and most people don’t care. Maybe fewer now the way the NCAA Women’s Championship was officiated.

They staged a game for the masses Sunday, one that had the attached magic to make it mainstream instead of just another girls basketball game. They had Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, hitting four threes early on and from the next zip code. LSU, meanwhile, had the coach who dresses flamboyantly and who wears every emotion on her dynamic, contorted face.

Enter the three referees, all women to complete the feel-good story, and they just wouldn’t shut up.

It was a championship game but they blew their whistles like they had a cousin sitting on the end of the bench who wouldn’t play unless foul trouble sent them in.

They put three fouls on the only player on the court that people who never watch women’s basketball might have heard of—Clark. Who takes out the showstopper at a time when most have tuned in only to watch her?

They should have had Barkley and Samuel L. Jackson courtside riding the officials—-would make a great commercial.

Three of Iowa’s starters had four fouls entering the fourth quarter and LSU’s best player sat on the bench in the second quarter in foul trouble. The referees clearly wanted to be noticed.

They stuck a fourth foul on Clark, the showstopper, at the end of the third quarter when she tossed the ball behind her to join a team huddle. The referee called a technical foul on her, prompting both TV announcers to say no one on either team should have been charged such a foul in a situation like that.

That’s kind of unheard of, the feel-good announcers calling out the refs. They should have demanded their removals; they lost a grip on where they were.

Everyone was wondering if LSU and Iowa were ready for prime time, but it turns out it was the referees who weren’t up to it. The NCAA ought to be embarrassed, squandering such an opportunity to show case their game.

It got so bad at one point that the irritated LSU coach made contact with one of the referees while the game was ongoing and the referee shrugged it off. Couldn’t shrug off Clark’s tossing the ball behind her in a dead ball situation, I guess, but let the LSU coach mug her.

It got worse. LSU won, and with 10 seconds to go and winning by 13 LSU’s Angel Reese tried to get into Clark’s face to mock her. She began with the universal basketball signal of covering her face to mean I can’t see you. Clark has used the same motion albeit a motion usually directed at the crowd. But she has used it—during the game.

Reese did it in the spirit of horrendously bad sportsmanship, and then just couldn’t stop there. She held her up her hand to show Clark where she would be wearing the championship ring. It’s not Clark’s fault she is the most dynamic performer in women’s basketball, but that’s how LSU treated her.

Reese was classless, but I know as a parent I would have been embarrassed while getting ready to celebrate.

Then the tweets started rolling in: It’s all right when Clark does it, but when the black girl does it, she’s wrong.”

It has nothing to do with color. Clark’s arrogance, including waving off any attempt to cover South Carolina in the semis, was too much, too. But it’s endearing in the heat of battle for some. Besides the next time Clark plays defense will be her first in a game.

But Reese was doing what she did to denigrate a great player whom she had just beaten. It was childish and proved nothing beyond kudos to Clark for not losing her cool.

White or black? It has no place in this discussion. If Reese had just taken a flyby Clark, maybe no one notices. But she turned it into a spectacle, and then added the bling topper. A great show for young girls everywhere wondering how they should celebrate a grand championship. STICK IT INTO THE FACE OF THE LOSER.

I know this, they learned something from watching Clark handle devastating defeat.

And I know what the response will be, sure the white girl was great but the black girl who won gets ripped. The Black and White of it, she deserves it.

Dodger Parking Lot Attendant Doing Well

By T.J. Simers

I just watched the morning news on TV and learned it will cost $30 to park at Dodger Stadium this season, $27 if I alert the snipers and let the Dodgers know ahead of time I will be coming. Ah, the Parking Lot Attendant is alive and well.

The Screaming Meanie in me tells me the Dodgers are ripping off folks again, and that’s just fine with the folks.

I made a big deal out of the Dodgers raising parking prices to $15 back when Frank and Jamie McCourt owned the Dodgers and it might have cost the Tipper Gore Lady her job. She was the Dodgers top PR fall guy at the time, trying to blunt the criticism directed at the McCourts. She had worked in the White House prior to her fling with Dodger Stadium.

The Tipper Gore Lady really was a good egg, terrific at her job, but how do you defend the McCourts? I attended their divorce confrontation in court and watched a guy representing Jamie, who used to stand before the Supreme Court, flounder.

The price to park at Dodger Stadium has steadily increased, and the media has never told us if that is Frank McCourt’s doing or the Dodgers’ owners.

Dodger preferred parking, which is parking within the inner circle and a less likely place to be mugged, is $40 in advance or $50 at the gate. For a single game. I had free media parking when I attended Dodger Stadium because the LA Times was offering so much free coverage/advertising on the Dodgers.

When Frank McCourt sold the Dodgers he held onto the parking lots because they are such money makers and knowing Dodger fans are such hopeless romantics they would spend whatever to go, park and moon over their heroes.

You can just imagine the calculations going off in the head of Frank McCourt right now, a sellout for opening day and 16,000 parking spaces being grabbed by the faithful at $27, $30, $40 or $50 a piece of asphalt. Enough to keep him in starched white shirts for another season, and that’s just from one game.

The media no longer makes much a fuss about fans getting ripped off because the media isn’t much of anything anymore in Los Angeles. That’s why I get my news on TV.

I have no idea what Dodger tickets cost, a beer, hot dog or whatever. I presume most fans agree to take out a second mortgage if going to a Dodger game.

There’s also Anaheim, of course, and the Angels are charging $20 to park because I guess there isn’t as big of demand to park in Anaheim. I’d be more likely to spend $30 to go see Trout & Ohtani before going to Dodger Stadium to be reminded there is no Scully & Lasorda.

Angry Arte Moreno rode a wave of popularity after lowering beer prices; where are those prices now and my criticism remains the same: He should have lowered the price on water, maybe even sodas.

. I understand the Dodgers didn’t spend a lot of money this offseason, so I wonder if this qualifies as grand larceny. After all, the Dodgers still have to pay Trevor Bauer $22.5 million and who better to pay it than the suckers paying so much to watch a dying sport.

I know your dad used to take you to the ballpark, but come on, he never got ripped off like you are today.

By the way, why are the Dodgers passing out Freddie Freeman bobbleheads on April Fools instead of Trevor Bauer bobbleheads? Or, a bobblehead of the fool who made the decision to sign Bauer?

I would argue baseball is no longer America’s pastime, so slow now and boring, thus the move to the pitch clock to speed up the game for people who no longer have the attention span to watch. For the most part, the game is tedious after being exposed to so many other exciting sports events.

I’d rather watch South Carolina women’s basketball versus Iowa’s Caitlin Clark Friday night than the Dodgers’ second game of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Preferred parking right in front of my TV.

As Competitors Go—Bisheff Was The Best

By T.J. Simers

I did not agree with a word written by Register sports columnist Steve Bisheff.

But every budding sport writer should study and emulate Bisheff, who was the consummate pros pro.

I hear he died Wednesday and I only wish he could have written his own obit giving me the chance to critique it before he left us. What a wonderful argument that would have made.

I read his final column at the Orange County Register written years ago only because one of his colleagues referred to it so much in his tribute to Bisheff. He covered it all, as Bisheff noted, and what a career it was.

He had a fantastic feel for sports history and was a solid reporter writing as a columnist. And he had lots and lots of opinions giving him the ammunition to survive for more than 40 years as a noted voice in southern California.

He wrote about the Chargers and so did I, but our paths never crossed on the beat. He worked at the Register as did I, but he had retired by the time I made my brief appearance at the newspaper.

But we collided so many times on the same sports stories while I was at the LA Times, and he was a giant. He wasn’t my idea of what a sports columnist should be, and I certainly wasn’t his. But that’s what made the profession so great for so many years, writers offering differing viewpoints with clashing styles and willing to almost come to blows to defend their approaches.

I would never have gone to dinner with Bish, although it would have been a way to make sure I knew where he was and not have to worry about him beating me on a story. He was a super newspaperman.

Bish gave it everything he had when writing a sports column, and while I would have cut 12 inches out of most of his work, he would have scoffed at that. He was after all, a staunch believer in telling the story, the whole story no matter how boring I might have considered it,

He wrote often like a serious sports fan, and while some might consider him old school because of that, that was a mighty fine school. He cared, he showed up in person to learn more about what he was writing and then offered an educated opinion.

He was also a USC fan, and so he had his faults.

But he might have been the most timeliest columnist in southern California, and I wish he was here to tell me if “most timeliest” makes any sense. But I know this, if USC won a big game, readers woke up knowing they would learn more by reading Bish.

Too often now we get columnists rifting from home about things wandering around in their own heads rather than seeing up close and personal what is happening in the sports world. If it just happened, Bish would have something to say about it. He was dependable; newspapers no longer are and I wonder if Bish might have finally agreed with me on something?

I never met his family as Bish and I were really competitors and that’s how it worked for the most part in our profession. But I’m sure it’s an outstanding and loving family knowing how solid he was as a pro and a competitor.

I’m also sure he left them a million great memories to relive, so many written words to ponder again and maybe even Pete Carroll’s explanation why he didn’t have Regie Bush on the field on fourth down against Texas.

I’d like to see how Bish, the USC honk, handled that, and you know what I’m really saying: The sports world was a better place with Bisheff in it.

Another Malibu at Mandalay

By T.J. Simers

I’m sitting in the Mandalay Bay sports book with my daughter.

As mouthy as she can be, the attraction is really the daughter, the two of us getting together almost 20 years here to be the first 48 games of March Madness. The daughter picks Grand Canyon, I take Gonzaga and so you can see a fther’s jo of educating never stops.

We spend four days together, point spreads, fried lunch, Malibu and Coke and because we wager, they give us four comp nights to use next year, Mandalay Bay making sure we will return to make our annual donation. Isn’t America great?

I prefer to think the casino folks just love to bring father and daughters together rather than using this as some sort of cheap trick to get into my 401K.

They even have a nice guy named mike, who runs the sports book and who makes sure we enjoy losing. I get the impression Mike would do this for anyone.

The big deal, of course, is spending such time with the daughter, who has never been arrested. I’m such a proud father.

She’s accomplished a few other things as well. She’s still employed and still single. She thinks we’re here to bet, but I thought this would be the place to troll for a husband, maybe find a guy who likes to gamble, drink and hang out with her dad in the future.

By the way, I highly recommend having daughters,, especially the ones who grow up and agree to spend four days with you every year in Vegas. How many parents get the chance to just hang with their kids when their kids are almost 50? It’s living the life.

I was there in the delivery room when she made her first appearance and I have to say it’s been a wonderful relationship ever since. She makes good money so she gives great Christmas presents and uses her own money to be on Grand Canyon.

Can you say the same about your daughter? Look at her? Where did you go wrong?

As for the March Madness experience in Vegas, are you telling me work is better than this. The thrill of Thursday’s opening tip at 9:15 in the morning is still with me—-not nearly as much as some guy from San Diego State being allowed to shoot free throws while the game has ended and covering the 5 1/2 point spread.

There was some guy here screaming to call the FBI and investigate, figuring the fix was in. I immediately told the daughter to ask him if he was available for dinner?

I highly recommend trying this experience, having a daughter and going to Vegas. Right now she is screaming “Izzo,” bless her heart, and I don’t have the meanness in me to tell her the shrimp isn’t playing. I just figure it’s time to cut off the Malibu—-here at 9:30.

Key to Marriage: Staying Alive

By T.J. Simers

We were scheduled to fly to New York and then train into Washington D.C. to celebrate 50 years of marriage, but we ran into a problem: We’ve gotten too old.

We both turned 72 recently, and I don’t know if you know this, but they affix a target to your back at that point making it easier for muggers and others to prey on senior citizens like my wife

We talked about it, and I didn’t think it would be a good look just for me to go and celebrate.

We drove to Arizona to be with the kids and grandkids. She told our daughters no parties, knowing who would have to clean up and wash the dishes, and I know how tired I am after 50 years of marriage, so I understood.

When we arrived in Arizona, the son-in-law told us to get in the car. He carries a gun, you know, and I thought this was how it was going to end after making so much fun of him for being a Grocery Store Bagger.

I was right, too, the lug driving us to a church, and I don’t know how many times I’ve been told if I go in there, I’ll be struck dead.

We entered a side door leading into a church hall to find our kids and grandkids cheering for us. I know it’s harder for us to walk these days but a standing ovation for walking into the room without falling was a bit much.

But that’s all who was there, the kids and grandkids. I guess Plaschke couldn’t make it.

They had one table in the middle of the room all decorated, and pictures of the wife and I around the room, some blown up, I presume, to check if the young people pictured were really my wife and I some 50 years ago. I could see now why I had fallen for her.

This was going to be a party, a party only for the people who would not have been here had I not picked up the wife more than five decades ago.

The most important thing to stay married 50 years, of course, is stay alive. I had gone into the Army as a draftee during the Vietnam era and had come so close to fighting in Vietnam, whatever that distance is between Fort Ord, Ca and Vietnam.

I had fallen asleep at the wheel, waking up while running over those little metal reflectors in the grass to separate highways. And remained alive. I had interviewed Jeff Kent countless times, Barry Bonds as well and remained alive. I had eaten a tuna casserole made by my mother-in-law, and I can’t swear that’s what killed my father-in-law, he did die.

I was explaining this to the Grocery Store Bagger. Nineteen years ago, we ran his picture in the Times standing next to my daughter, who was in a wedding dress. Twelve years after the picture ran, the Times’ lawyers on behalf of the Times’ top two editors, complained to a jury that my son-in-law’s picture had been in the newspaper.

Amazingly, he’ still in the picture, and I’m not complaining because we have four outstanding granddaughters. One of them had us hold up “bride” and “groom” signs while she quizzed us about who was the best kisser? I held up “groom,” and she held up “bride,” and it was so many years ago how is anyone supposed to remember?

We were quizzed about the price of gas in 1972 when we were married (34 cents a gallon), won the not-so-newly-wed game over the bagger and daughter and then they played our favorite song from our courting days. Too mushy to repeat here.

Then our 17-year-old surprised us by announcing she had gone online that morning and had been anointed a minister so she could marry us again. That was before the minister put on a dirty dancing exhibition for the entire family, and I guess it won’t be long before she goes off to college and pays for it by appearing at a local strip joint, billed as the “Rev.”

We all danced some more, the music getting louder and louder and I even stood up on occasion and wiggled. We cut a cake together, sat down again thank heavens and listened to one of our daughters read a poem she had written. Good stuff.

It was the perfect party with the perfect partygoers and the perfect companion.

Now when the bagger and daughter celebrate their 50th, my wife will be 103 and I hope she brings the whole family and stops by the cemetery for a visit.