Along with most of you other other crazily optimistic fans, I watched the Hogs play Rutgers last weekend. The Rutgers game gave many of us the feeling of, "uh oh, here we go again." But the Hogs rebounded and gave A&M a decent game with a revitalized Brandon Allen leading the Hogs to a 45-33 loss that didn’t feel too much like a loss. It was certainly better than last year’s 58-10 debacle. Now, we move on to Florida with a glimmer of hope.

I have been watching Hog games since I was a kid growing up in Fordyce, when the games were only rarely televised. Most of the time, we listened to Bud Campbell, Big Sam Smith, Dave Woodman and then eventually Paul Eells. Most notable was the big shootout in 1969 when No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Arkansas were playing for a mythical national championship.

They were all there: Billy Graham, President Richard Nixon, Frank Broyles and Darrell Royal. They were probably the most famous people in the land that week. Of course, we all know how it ended. We lost in the fourth quarter and I remember being depressed for weeks, or maybe just days. But it was painful.

Losing to Rutgers was not nearly as painful as that somber December 6, but last season and the way this one appears to be shaping up is long-term agony for win-hungry Razorbacks and their fans.

Razorback sports are more of a religion than a sport. We worship the Hogs and all that surrounds them, whether it is football, basketball, baseball, track or whatever we might be playing at the time.

We equate our state pride with how the Hogs are doing in any particular sport. And we have done quite well over the years in a variety of sports. But now a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the football program and the jury is still out on Mike Anderson’s round ball program.

But more importantly, the University is getting hammered for its recent financial bungles and its inept handling of a couple of key dismissals and an appearance before a legislative auditing committee. That’s not over.

So, while we worry about the next game, let us focus on making sure we are turning out quality graduates at all our state schools. Your tax dollars pay for the academic side while television and other gratuities fund the big time sports. In the meantime, get out and support your Maumelle Hornets, UCA Bears and now the Hendrix Warriors. I predict their records will surpass the Hogs’ this year.

"No problem" is a big problem with me

I was watching my all-time favorite TV show, CBS Sunday Morning, and was reminded of one my pet peeves. That is when restaurant servers tell me "no problem" when a simple "you’re welcome" would suffice and be more appropriate. Here’s an excerpt from Bill Flanagan’s report on this annoying trend:

"Thank you for stopping your car in the rain to help me change a flat tire."

"No problem." Appropriate.

"Thank you for lending me ten thousand dollars to stop the bank from foreclosing on my house."

"No problem." Gracious.

"Thank you for giving me your kidney."

"No problem." Classy.

That’s what "No problem" is for! It’s a graceful way of telling someone you’ve gone out of your way to help, not to feel indebted.

But if you work in a doughnut shop and a customer thanks you for selling him a coffee, don’t say, "No problem." He’s paying for the coffee!

Just say, "You’re welcome.

My feeling exactly! When a server tells me "no problem," I want to say, I KNOW IT’S NOT A PROBLEM! IT’S A SIMPLE REQUEST! I’M PAYING YOU!

You get the point. Please make it stop.

I’m still not ready to dive in

I listened to a good portion of the audio of the Maumelle Bond Task Force meeting posted by Alderman Preston Lewis. You can access it on his Facebook page. And I know he goes to a lot of trouble to put it up.

Many of the reasons discussed why we "need" the new $9 million plus facility seem to relate to convenience. "Our seniors don’t’ have a place for therapy." "We have to drive a distance to swim laps and then drive back." "We need a place for our swim team." And so forth.

The cost to construct and maintain the facility is astronomical and will serve a small part of the community. Mayor Mike Watson said the city of Paragould had built such a facility with a one-cent sales tax and a half-cent tax to maintain and he stated they are having "trouble" keeping up with the expenses.

I really don’t think the aquatic center is going to gain much traction once the Maumelle citizens start to understand the debt burden. The huge expense to build it and the monstrous cost to maintain it will, I believe, derail it before it really gets going. But there’s much more to come on this. I’m looking into the financial implications and will write more on that next week. I don’t want to be a naysayer, but I also don’t want to commit to a big debt for something that most of us don’t want or can afford.

See you on the Boulevard.

Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore