Hot Mascot-on-Mascot Action

I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more basketball.

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Yep, sounds like a classic case of March Madness. I’m taking today and tomorrow off from work to binge-watch some college hoops. Setting up 2 TVs and 2 laptops in the living room so I can tune in to all the action (if only I could clone my eyeballs). And yes, I filled out a bracket for the office pool… my entry fee is my annual donation to someone who knows a lot more about the teams than I do. Yesterday one of my kid’s friends said he picked a bracket based on the mascots. And my friend Mookie suggested that the NCAA should have a separate tourney that features mascot battles ala MTV’s old Celebrity Death Match show. I love that idea. I’d certainly tune in to see these:

Stephen F. Austin vs. Utah = a Lumberjack against a Ute. Manifest Destiny all over again.

VCU vs. Ohio State: A Ram headbutting a tree nut (Buckeye)… classic Nutcracker scenario

Iowa State vs. UAB: a real danger (a Cyclone) against an imaginary one (a Blazer/Dragon).

San Diego State vs. St. Johns: The Aztec is no match for a Red Storm (aka smallpox)

Xavier vs. Ole Miss: a classic case of culture clash as a chivalrous Musketeer takes on a redneck Rebel.

Wichita State vs. Indiana: “Shocker” and “Hoosier” both sound like punchlines to knock-knock jokes.

Notre Dame vs. Northeastern: Just a few days after St. Patty’s, I think the Fighting Irish leprechaun might still be fighting a hangover, so this pot o’ gold goes to the Husky (hair of the dog).

Coastal Carolina vs. Wisconsin: A Chanticleer? (Honey) Badger don’t care.

Northern Iowa vs. Wyoming. A Panther is tough, but a Cowboy has more weapons.

Providence vs. Dayton: A Friar or a Flyer? Get some serious prayer or get some serious air? Advantage Dayton.

Villanova vs. Lafayette: Wildcat vs. Leopard in the mother of all catfights.

The best mascot name of the tournament, hands down, is UC-Irvine, home of the Anteaters.

anteater

Enjoy the madness!

Luck o’ the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy your kegs and eggs, and your green beer, and your Irish whiskey… hmm, there seems to be a common theme of drinking. Who’d a thunk it?

Below is video of the Google Doodle of the day. A few observations  about it:

  1. Having two left-handed musicians in the same band is rarer than a four-leaf clover.
  2. They all look like South Park characters.
  3. Sure, they have a bodhran in the band, but where’s the penny whistle?

 

 

We like both kinds of music: Country AND Western

There’s the bro-country music that gets played on commercial radio stations (pickup truck + six-pack of beer + girl in shorts = Top 10 Hit), and then there’s real country music. Jim Lauderdale is the real deal. His new album I’m A Song is fantastic, right up there with the best stuff from George Jones, Merle Haggard and other real country artists.

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Check out these two tracks from the album.

Things that make you go “Hmm…”

If Arsenio Hall grew another foot, he’d be Dwight Howard.

arsenio-hall-emotional-tears-12-years-a-slave Dwight-Howard-Acuvue

Kinda makes you go “Hmm…”

Dwight-Howard

Like a Pearl who’s a swine

Bruce Pearl is a great basketball coach. He’s also a cheater.

He cheated at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

He cheated at Tennessee and got slapped with a 3-year “show cause” penalty, one of the stiffest sanctions the NCAA can levy on a coach. Tennessee fired him, but he got a lovely parting gift of $948, 728. Then during the 3 years of his “punishment” he landed a cushy job as an ESPN analyst, and then was hired by Auburn before his 3 years were even up, to the tune of $2.2 million a year. Rough life, eh?

This NBC sports article is a fascinating read, and the title says it all: “If you win, there’s always another job.” 

When a coach cheats, he doesn’t really suffer. Yet if his cheating results in sanctions for the school, the players are really the ones who are punished.

Let’s hope that for every cheater like Bruce Pearl, there are 10 coaches like Providence’s Ed Cooley, who gave this fantastic speech to his team after they suffered a heartbreaking loss to potential #1 seed Villanova in the semifinals of the Big East conference tournament.

 

I’m very handy in the kitchen

A couple of weeks ago, I accidentally dropped our handheld kitchen mixer onto the floor, thus ending its useful life (please don’t charge me with involuntary appliance-slaughter).

Yesterday my wife wanted to make a recipe that required a mixer. Problem? No siree! Check out this beauty:

mixer

 

Better yet, I can use this same device to give my wife that Jacuzzi bathtub she’s always wanted – I’ll just put some duct tape on the trigger.

As Red Green says, “if the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

Too old to rock… and roll the dice

You know you’re getting old when the “alternative” bands you grew up listening to are now playing casino ballrooms:

pixies aic concert

 

The Pixies and Alice In Chains are both playing at the local casino this summer. The same casino that features a “Super Seniors Slot Tournament” every Wednesday!

pixies slot

 

What’s a guy to do when he’s too old to rock out anymore, but too young to qualify for the Senior Slot tourney?

Of course, perhaps the reason that both bands are playing a casino (besides being 20 years removed from their ‘hit’ songs) is the fact that both are missing key members. To me, the Pixies without Kim Deal ain’t the Pixies, and AIC without Layne Staley is very sad in more ways than one.

 

And now, a message from a real writer

I met Tim Condron my freshman year of college, waaaaaay back before electricity was invented. We were fellow Communications majors, so we had a lot of the same arduous intro classes (“Video 101: How to turn on a TV set”). Tim’s one of the nicest gents you could ever hope to meet. He also happens to have a wealth of creative ideas, and sports a black belt in creative writing.

Tim’s father died young. He passed away when Tim was in college, from Hepatitis C that he contracted while working as a firefighter/paramedic and attending to an overdose victim. (No good deed goes unpunished.) You can read more about that here – Tim’s story starts on page 44. In a video production class we both took in college, Tim created a tribute video to his father, featuring still photos of his dad and family, with Steve Goodman’s “My Old Man” as the soundtrack.  To this day, it remains one of the most powerful and moving videos I’ve ever seen. Whereas the video that Tim and I created based on Bruce Springsteen’s “Darlington County” is better left to the Betamax dustbin of ancient history.

Tim almost died young too. A year ago he had what Fred G. Sanford would call “The Big One.”

fred sanford

But thanks to the miracles of modern science, he survived. And he’s created a website about life’s “second takes.” You can read Tim’s story about his near-death experience here, but below is an excerpt:

I’m on a mission to make a difference. To live a purposeful life, full of purposeful work, embracing purposeful relationships, and leaving this world a little better than it was on March 7, 2014.

 My journey is ongoing. It will never end. I must continue my search for meaning. This is not simply living in the moment. It’s living with a reason, living purposefully, living to make a difference. Living to be more than just another guy who some people knew but who passed away with all his ideas undeveloped, his passions unexplored, his words unspoken, his purpose undiscovered, his dreams unfulfilled, his fate left to people and circumstances that mattered not.

Godspeed, TC! Here’s some travelin’ music for your journey…

Dancing with the… ???

A new season of “Dancing with the Stars” premiers Monday.  ABC claims it’s Season 20 but it feels more like Season 4,192. At this point, they are obviously scraping the bottom of the pseudo-celebrity barrel to get contestants. It might be time to change the name of the series to:

  • “Dancing with People You Might Vaguely Have Heard of Before”
  • “Dancing with Anyone Who Has a Pulse and an Aggressive Agent”
  • “Dancing with Those Who Have Already Used Up Their 15 Minutes of Fame”
  • “Dancing with People from Page 62 of People Magazine” 
  • “Dancing with the D-List”
  • “Dancing with The Thighmaster Lady & Friends”

 

Don’t Look Back in Anger

Noel Gallagher is the Don Rickles of modern rock music. In a recent interview in Rolling Stonehe manages to insult pretty much everyone (except Bono) and everything (except the banjo). I get the sense that his tongue is firmly in his cheek for most of the barbs. And I found this quote very poignant: “You can’t stay playing a Les Paul through a Marshall stack forever.”