Mack’s a class act

Chris Mack left his job as Xavier’s men’s basketball coach a couple of seasons ago, to take over as head coach at Louisville. Many Xavier fans still hold a grudge. I never did, as noted in this blog post of mine.

His tweet a couple of days ago is well worth sharing.

“…how lucky we are to breathe, how lucky we are to have problems, how lucky we are to have one another….”

It’s worth noting that Chris Mack played and was an assistant coach under the tutelage of Skip Prosser, at Xavier and Wake Forest. Skip knew that life was about more than sports (as noted in this blog post).

“Coaching isn’t wins and losses,” Prosser said. “It’s teaching. That’s the reason I got into coaching and the reason I’ve stayed in coaching. I hope that I remain in the business of education.”

Like Kobe Bryant, Skip Prosser left this world too soon, dying of a heart attack in 2007. It’s clear from Chris Mack’s Twitter post that Skip’s life lessons live on.

He used to say, ‘Never delay gratitude.’ That was one of his favorite sayings.

NBA all-star Chris Paul, in this 2017 article

Thanks for sharing, Chris Mack. Thanks for sharing, Skip. Pass it on.

Neil was the real deal

This is devastating news to music nerds and nerdy musicians everywhere. Neil Peart, the drummer for Rush, passed away this week. He redefined rock drumming, but he didn’t let drumming define him. A voracious reader, an author of seven books, an avid cyclist and motorcyclist, a lifelong learner… just an all-around interesting dude. Check out his website for more of his musings.

“The Professor”… photo from NeilPeart.net

The first concert I ever saw was in 1982: Rush at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas. The band I’ve seen in concert more than any other band? Rush! They absolutely crushed it live for 40+ years.

Despite an iconoclastic nature, Peart found musical, and personal, brotherhood with bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. The trio’s bond came alive during performances, which were immersive musical marathons that doubled as communal, spiritual experiences. Shows — of course — featured an extended Peart drum solo, performed with the precision of a surgeon and the creative freedom of a surrealist. But while highly technical, Peart’s playing was always joyous: As any Rush fan will share, air-drumming to 1981’s “Tom Sawyer” can be one of life’s greatest pleasures.

From this NPR tribute by Annie Zaleski

Neil wasn’t just the best rock drummer ever, he also was Rush’s lyricist. Lots of obituaries for him are latching onto the Ayn Rand/sci-fi angle. That’s not a complete picture. Yes, Neil did dedicate Rush’s 2112 album “to the genius of Ayn Rand” but he later said that he’d outgrown that influence. And yes, many of Rush’s song lyrics read like science fiction. But tunes like “Losing It” and “Red Sector A” were a nod to Neil’s love of literature and history. Songs like “Entre Nous” and “Afterimage” have nothing to do with dystopian societies, and everything to do with personal connections and the human condition.

While his drumming spoke volumes, he rarely gave interviews, preferring to let his work stand on its own. As a shy high schooler, Neil’s lyrics spoke to me. As a bookish old man, they still speak to me.

“He was in many ways like an outsider — the guy who was often different from everyone else,” Halper says. “But that was okay with him. He didn’t want to be like everyone else. He just wanted to be Neil.”

From this NPR tribute by Annie Zaleski

Rush’s final studio album was a concept album (no shock there… they had a few). The lyrics on the final song “The Garden” are Neil’s parting words to us.

R.I.P. Neil. Much love and respect.

Good news in the new year

I stumbled across this list-icle a few weeks ago and figured it was worth sharing as we enter 2020. It’s a quick read — a bunch of factoids with good news for the planet we share. One example is below.

Here’s hoping for more good things this year.

We’re #1… and we’ve got the beer belly to prove it!

Cincinnati’s pro football team is abysmal. Our baseball team is dismal. But in spite of that — or perhaps because of it — we’re #1 in another cherished sport: beer drinking!

Smartasset (great name, btw) used 5 factors to rank the cities:

  1. Total number of breweries
  2. Breweries per 100,000 residents
  3. Average number of beers per brewery
  4. Bars per 100,000 residents and
  5. Average price for a pint of domestic beer in each city

Relative affordability and variety make the city a savory option for even the choosiest of beer lovers.

Smartasset.com article

We truly are #blessed when it comes to #beer. I’ll drink to that!

What’s wrong with this picture?

Photo: Patrick Semansky

That’s Dwayne Haskins, the rookie quarterback for the Washington Redskins. The dude with the $14 million contract. He’s celebrating his first win as a starter by taking a selfie with fans. Actually, in the photo above, he’s celebrating his first presumed win. There were still two ticks left on the clock. The Redskins had just intercepted the ball. All they had to do was take a knee… but Haskins was too busy taking a selfie to trot out onto the field for the final play.

The Redskins interim coach (yes, it’s been a bad season) couldn’t track down Haskins. (Maybe he should’ve checked Instagram.) So he had to scramble and send the backup QB onto the field to seal the victory.

After the game, Haskins admitted that he thought the clock ran out on the interception. So maybe we should just chalk it up to the exuberance of youth. But seriously, it was only a three-point game at the time. Keep your head in the game until the game is officially over.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Maybe I’m overthinking it. After all, with just a few seconds left, what could possibly go wrong?

To me, Haskins sideline antics are a symptom of a larger problem in the selfish/selfie world. Instead of being on the field with his teammates to celebrate his first ever win as an NFL starter, Haskins was hamming it up for the camera… “pics or it didn’t happen.”

I see it all the time at concerts too – people (of all ages, this isn’t an “OK Boomer” rant) whipping out their cell phones to capture video of a band’s biggest hit. Here’s an idea: keep your damn phone in your pants and experience that moment with your own eyeballs! Those memories will be much better than some shaky video footage with distorted audio.

But don’t just take it from me, take it from an expert on living life to the fullest:

A bunch of baloney

Here’s a headline that caught my eye yesterday.

The full story is here. Key quote is below:

We can’t have bologna made out of real pork in the U.S. The USDA requires that it be made only with the freshest cow hooves and turkey beaks.

But even legit bologna can be dangerous:

People who smuggle drugs are called “drug mules” so would this smuggler be a “baloney pony”?

Maybe the border wall should be made out of Wonder Bread instead of concrete.

Now if only they could confiscate all those Oscar-Meyer Lunchables, this country would finally be safe.

Scrolling through the Twitter comments about this heinous crime is well worth the time.

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