A Sporting/Gaming View

Last year, I saw no college basketball games, but came within one game of winning this NCAA March Madness basketball pool of my friend Mary’s that I participate in, not for money, but for the “glory”. I picked Illinois to win it all, but they came up just short. One gets more points as the rounds progress.

This year, having seen half of one game, I participated again. After the first round, I was actually in the lead, picking 23 of 32 games, but faltered badly in the second round, selecting only 5 of 16. Ohio State, the team I picked to lose the final game, was eliminated in this round.

After this past weekend, which eliminated Duke and Connecticut, two of my other Final Four picks, I find myself 21 points off the lead. The good news for me is that everyone in front of me has topped out; all of their teams have been eliminated. So the winner will either be current leader Ray, if both UCLA and Florida lose on Saturday, five-year-old Michael if Florida sweeps, or me. I can win if UCLA wins on Saturday and Monday, regardless of how Florida fares against George Mason. Now, if Florida wins and UCLA loses on Saturday, I’ll finish dead last.

Go, UCLA! And, what the heck, at least on Saturday: Go, George Mason! (ASP, are you rooting for your new hometown team?) Who the heck was George Mason, anyway? He’s the fellow pictured above.
Major League Baseball also starts this weekend. I was one of those people who actually watched some of the World Baseball Classic. I figured the Dominicans or Venezuelans would win. (Japan beat Cuba, 10-6.) Something not quite right about the format, though. Korea beats Japan twice, yet they both end up in a semifinal game, where Korea loses. Not quite right.

I love baseball. With a minute to go and 20 points down, a basketball game is over, a football game is over. In baseball, a team can be 20 runs down in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, and two strikes on the batter, and theoretically, at least, could still win the game. Unlikely to be sure, but still possible. Baseball is about hope. George Carlin knows that.
I was watching JEOPARDY! a week or two ago, and a woman won with $600. When the announcer announced her as returning champion, he obviously stifled a giggle when he noted her score. She came in third place that night, which means she got $1000. So, she fared better monetarily on night two than night one. Of course, the win allowed her to play on the second night.

And speaking of JEOPARDY!, I got an e-mail that read: LOOKING FOR CONTESTANTS AND WE’D LOVE TO HAVE LIBRARIANS AND LIBRARY LOVERS TRY OUT — PLEASE GO TO: WWW.JEOPARDYTRYOUTS.COM. Since someone asked: no, I cannot go on again. People who were on the original show with Art Fleming can go on the current show, with Alex Trebek. In fact, there was a woman who won $60 and a set of encyclopedias 35 years ago, but won $20,000 this go-round.

Recycle Cell Phones- Revitalize Lives

I realize now that I should have mentioned this sooner. Initially, I thought it would be of interest only to people locally, but I’ve come to rethink that.

The Mission Committee of my church held three sessions about domestic violence during the adult education hour in January. It discussed the Equinox Domestic Violence Services program that are being offered. They were, many have indicated, very moving sessions. The question that followed though is, “What can I DO about it?”

One piece of the Mission Committee’s effort in working with Equinox is to participate in a cell phone drive, for which I am the Donation Coordinator.

Most people purchase or otherwise receive new cell phones. What should one do with the old ones? One really cannot simply toss them away, for all sorts of environmental reasons. Equinox can take some of the phones and have them reprogrammed for use as 911 emergency phones for the people it aids. What kinds of cellphones? Doesn’t matter! The ones that cannot be reprogrammed can be sent to a recycler to raise funds for the program.

The Committee is hoping that individuals will not only bring their personal phones, but that they will ask if their places of business might be willing to allow collections of unused cell phones.

If you’re local, please note that cell phones will be collected in a box located in the Assembly Hall of First Presbyterian Church. For more information, e-mail me, or leave a message on my blog reply section. I have a flier I can e-mail you.

Now, if you live far away, you may consider taking on a similar path. Cell phone collections are being used to aid Katrina victims and many other worthy causes. Just don’t pitch tyour old cell phones in the trash, please.

Weird Thought Wednesday

(Title stolen from this person.)

Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, died yesterday, I heard late last night. Of course, he was one of the folks involved in Iran Contra. But Bush 41 pardoned him just before Bill Clinton took office.

I woke up with the strangest thought: Weinberger was in charge of our invasion of Grenada in 1983; they don’t make wars like that anymore, do they? Oh, that they did.

Beatle Beat

On the cover of May/June 2006 AARP Magazine is one Paul McCartney. “Paul is 64. And, yes. We still need him. Rolling Stone writer Anthony DeCurtis explores the joys, fears, feuds, and enormously enduring talents of Sir Paul McCartney
Plus: “Pick your favorite McCartney song” poll, McCartney Years interactive timeline, Paul-themed quiz and crossword.” Paul turns 64 in June. (Does the biggest Macca fan I know want the magazine, or does he have his own copy?) Paul looks closer to 64 on the cover of the magazine than on the front page of the link.

Of course, John is dead, but some folks wanting to communicate with him anyway are having a broadcast seance on April 24 for only $9.95 per household. What a bargain!

Lefty has some Beatles-related questions for me, and you.
And in other music news: Paul Simon. Brian Eno. “Surprise”. May 9. Simon on SNL that week.

Why High School Musical (?!) is the Number 1 album in the land.

Tosy’s Top 10 Musicals

English Prof is looking for a few good war songs.


When Greg put me on his sidebar (if he had one), he said that I had “good stuff on race in America (he’s one of those black people, you know)”. The first part I thought was very kind, and the second I found so funny that I almost did a spit take. I should add that I know Greg from his blogging, so I knew where he was coming from.

I haven’t mentioned race all month, I don’t believe, though I’ve been thinking about it for a few reasons, some of which will require their own posts.

One item is this story in England about “black” and “white” twin baby girls. Their parents are both of mixed race. I just read about in JET. The magazine noted: “Often, people don’t believe Kian [the darker child] is my baby, which can be quite upsetting at times,” said the mother.

Another is the television show on FX called “Black.White.”, not coincidentally adjacent to the babies’ story in JET. I was REALLY nervous about this program. Blackface? Whiteface? But the makeup is effective, some better than others. The theme, by the show’s co-producer Ice Cube, is good.

Someone asked if the show was provocative, interesting, hokey. The answer is yes.

I’m as frustrated with the white guy, Bruno, as the black guy, Brian, is with his Pollyanic world view.

I thought Renee, the black woman, was naive or in denial, if she thought that what the long-haired guy in the bar wasn’t speaking some truth. He noted some of the black kids thought that excelling in school was not a desirable thing. (“Acting white” was the term I heard years ago.)

Certainly, the most touching character so far has been Rose, the white girl who, in makeup, joined a rap poetry session. Her palpable frustration about living a lie with these very honest poets was not only touching, but great television.

So far I’ve seen two episodes of the limited series that ends April 12, and have recorded a third.

So, I’m talking about these two stories and I get into this minor verbal tussle with someone who suggested that class is the real determining factor in how people’s lives will fare.

I don’t necessarily disagree in some respects, but the point I was making was that people make decisions about people based on race, long before they’ve sized up someone’s socio-economic status.

When black people are together trying to describe a non-present white male, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s the white dude with brown hair.”

At least in my presence, when a group of white people are discussing an absent black man that not everybody knows, they’ll often say, “He’s the black gentleman with…” and name some feature about his clothing or hair or family situation. Often, they’ll look at me to ascertain whether it was OK to identify another person by race, or have they stepped into Politically Incorrect land. Well, no, it’s fine, I nod.

People see race/color. People who claim that they don’t see race make me nervous. It’s like saying you don’t see hair color or gender. It’s out there. It’s OK to recognize it.

Black people, when describing an absent black person, often describes skin color, “the light-skinned guy.”

Solving racism will not come by pretending we all look the same.
Gay Prof has been thinking about race. So has Thom (Mar 23).
Indeed, much of the country has been focused on the immigration bill in Congress; the House bill, at least the one that existed yesterday morning, seems both xenophobic and impractical. Even W doesn’t appear to support that position. The Senate appears disinclined to criminalize priests who feed illegal immigrants, I just read.

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