There’s two theories circulating through the prediction world as to how James “Gonna Blow it Again” Myers has taken a huge lead in the 2006 AEN Football Prediction Race. Neither one of them makes a lick of sense.

After an impressive 8-2 in Week 8, the irrepressible one leads the Swami by three games. After an ugly, ugly 2-8 nightmare, Bob Forrest is licking his wounds and five out, with Jeff Cali six back and still clinging to hope as the second half begins. The Beasley Boys need an oxygen bottle (eight games back) and the pesky guests need a life preserver (nine games out).

There has to be some illogical reason why Myers finds himself in the unfamiliar territory at the top. James “Snake-bit” Myers in the lead? Lock up the women and children because there’s something very wrong with this picture.

Like the “logical” Spock — Star Trek not the weird guy who wrote children’s stories — I decided to use the scientific method to figure out whether or not the world is about to come to an end.

After hacking into the Department of Defense’s supercomputer, I arrived at a conclusion.

It cleared up like a pimple-faced freshman.

How simple!

Normally, Sports Editor Jeff Cali and the Swami would be beating J.M. like a rented goalie. Since we both rely on astrology — thanks to the Reagans — it is imperative that the stars be in alignment when we make our highly sought after picks.

But now, after 76 years, scientists have decided that Pluto isn’t a planet afterall. The tiny, icy orb — beloved by some as a cosmic underdog but scorned by astronomers who considered Pluto too dinky and distant — sits five billion miles out on the edge of nowhere, crying its little frosty heart out. That ain’t right!

Are you kidding me?

Recently, the International Astronomical Union downgraded the ninth rock from the sun in historic new guidelines. Pluto, a planet since 1930, was reclassified because it didn’t meet the new rules, which say a planet not only must orbit the sun and be large enough to assume a nearly round shape, but must “clear the neighborhood around its orbit.” Pluto’s oblong orbit, astronomers note, overlaps Neptune’s, downsizing the solar system to eight planets from the traditional nine.

What really hacks me off is I could have made something out of myself if those Einsteins had figured it out about three decades ago. You see I might have went on to Harvard or Yale. I flunked my ninth-grade science class by one lousy point. One of the question I missed was the total number of planets in our solar system. I checked eight. It was counted wrong since in those prehistoric days it was thought we had nine planets. I was robbed! Who knows where I’d be today if I hadn’t received that F? Oh well, I digress.

Pluto was discovered in 1930 by a Kansas man, Clyde Tombaugh, who was working at an observatory in Arizona. It is so cold even the air can freeze and fall to the ground like snow, reminding me what Philip Sheridan — or was it William Tecumseh Sherman? — said about the Lone Star state. “If I owned Texas and hell, I’d live in hell and rent out Texas.”

Anyway, to make a long story longer, our picks have been selected by the alignment of nine planets. Since Pluto isn’t a planet, our astrological selections have been off.

We will make adjustments and you can expect James “I’ll Never Choke Like a Mule Again” Myers to fold like a cheap tent.

Our guest this week is none other than the Prime Minister himself, John Majors. Maybe John will give me some good luck and lead me back to the top where I belong.

———o———

Hard 9-iron created Oklahoma

Some believe Oklahoma — and the rest of Planet Earth — was created by God. Others believe a cosmic “Big Bang” millions of years ago is the origin. Still others believe the Earth was formed during a round of golf.

Oklahoma will celebrate the state’s centennial in 2007, and I’ve been asked by the governor to provide a concise history of our first century, to describe how we got here from there (Note: Read no further if (A) you’re became irate at a previous Leo Kelley column, (B) you’re easily riled and suffer from high blood pressure or (C) both A and B. If you choose to read on, don’t call me later cryin’ with your complaints!)

Of course, I was flattered by the assignment. It’s tough, if not impossible, to capture Oklahoma’s history in a few paragraphs. One could fill up a set of encyclopedias with just the political corruption that occurred during the past 10 decades. But when a governor nicknamed “Blackjack” gives you an assignment, you do the best you can. Something tells me this will never be required reading for Oklahoma history students, but you never know. (Note: I might josh “Blackjack Brad” Henry and he might be boring but when compared to Ernest Istook, Henry has the personality of Dennis Rodman.)

Please keep in mind that this essay hasn’t been proofed, so there could be some minor debate over its historical accuracy. Since political correctness is the order of the day — wait a minute, let me barf — some descriptions of our illustrious past may have a multiple choice answer.

The story of Oklahoma began at the same time as Earth’s. It was (A) created by God, (B) came about by the so-called “Big Bang” or (C) occurred when the gods were playing a round of golf and Hercules hit a 5-iron when he only needed a wedge (In case you don’t get it, the Earth — in this scenario — was a golf ball back in the day.)

The next 500 million years or so are a little hazy. But the story picks back up in 1803, when Napoleon Bonaparte — his credit cards maxed out — sold the 827,987-square-mile Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million —$875,000 after taxes. Just think, we could be speaking French with a redneck accent and be afraid of our own shadow if things had worked out.

The United States didn’t need the land, but President Thomas Jefferson was looking for a remote location to banish his pugnacious — and ugly as homemade soap — mother-in-law.

Later, Jefferson sent Jerry Lewis and Dick Clark on the Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the vast region, which included present Oklahoma.

“There’s an area of land that’s shaped like a frying pan!” Lewis e-mailed Jefferson, obviously referring to Oklahoma. “I wouldn’t even send my mother-in-law to this Great American Desert. Well, maybe for a decade or two. This place will never be another Las Vegas!” Note: Lewis fancied himself a comedian.

One night, in between Lewis’ stale jokes, the pair heard a mysterious drum beat.

“The beat is catchy, but you can’t dance to it,” Clark told Jefferson via his cell phone. “We haven’t seen a saloon since we left Fort Smith. It’s the first time Lewis has been sober since he was in the second grade. I can honestly say I like him better when he’s drunk. By the way, I have an idea for a weekly TV program. I call it American Bandstand. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”

Instead of sending his mother-in-law, Jefferson began a government tradition. Since the land that became Oklahoma was described as worthless, the president decided it would make a wonderful Indian Territory. The government — led by President Andrew Jackson — traded the prime hunting and agricultural territory in the southeastern United States of the Five Tribes for the Great American Desert.

For the next 75 years, officials — after finding the Oklahoma land better than reported — (A) schemed to steal the tribal lands, (B) negotiated with tribal leaders in a fair manner or (C) there is no C.

The beginning of the end for the tribes came in 1889. when the so-called Unassigned Lands were opened to non-Indians by the ludicrous, lame-brained land run. We earned our cherished nickname, Sooners, in honor of (A) cheaters who sneaked in early to stake their claims or (B) the football team at Norman.

In 1907, the final nail was driven into the coffin as Indian and Oklahoma territories were merged into the state of Oklahoma. It is believed that Thomas Jefferson’s mother-in-law was living in Uncle Jonas’ rent house on Nov. 16, 1907. I’m sure the tribes can’t wait to celebrate the 100th anniversary of when they’re lands were taken away.

That only gets us to statehood. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough space left to describe Oklahoma’s colorful history during the past century. It would take a book just to document the imprisonment of our governors, senators and other elected officials.

During the century, we’ve named an airport after one of our most colorful and distinguished characters who was killed — in a plane crash.

How things change! One-hundred years ago, Oklahoma was so religious that you couldn’t drink, smoke or curse without some religious fanatic chastising you. You could only play around with your wife on Tuesdays.

Today, our state survives on gambling money. We smoke, drink, dip and cuss more than any other state and we like our women seven days a week. Like Las Vegas, what goes on here, stays here.

John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” in 1940 depicted us as low-down, scroungy Okies, the most derogatory term of the 20th century. But we showed him. A few years ago, some genius decided we should be proud to be Okies. Go figure.

Why don’t we get any respect?

A national report in 2000 determined that Okies were the poorest, dumbest, most unhealthy individuals in the nation. Sure, the Sooner State might not be the Ninth Wonder of the World, but have they been to Arkansas? The governor lives in a mobile home. We may have a governor nicknamed “Blackjack,” but he at least lives in a mansion.

Yes, Oklahoma may not be “heaven on earth,” but to rednecks like the Kelleys, it is greater than any other place on the planet! The Sooner State may only be 100 years old, but it has a more colorful history than the other 49 states put together.

Correction: I’ve just been informed that the Lewis and Clark expedition was led by a Capt. Meriweather Clark and 2Lt. William Clark. Unfortunately, that might affect the credibility of my history.

Only in Oklahoma would education — after all our good teachers, the union tells us, have left the state — be funded by gambling, smoking, dipping and drinking. We can only hope our rednecks never give up their vices. If that should happen, God forbid, we’ll all starve to death.

For those of you who chose to read this brief history, forget everything you have just read. Let me assure you that I will always be proud to be a redneck Okie. I just can’t help but poke a little fun at the ludicrous, outrageous things that have occurred in our state. Nevertheless, I’ve been around the world (thanks to all-expenses-paid tours from Uncle Sam) and nothing, including Hawaii, is as beautiful as the red dirt of Oklahoma.

However, even the most loyal Okie has to admit that the last century has been a barrel of laughs. Historians will be scratching their heads in 2107, when the state celebrates its bicentennial. I would love to read about the shenanigans in Oklahoma during the next century.

God bless all you redneck Okies!

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