Wednesday, April 19, 2017
For the second time in 3 years, a small child has won our ESPN tournament challenge group. In 2015 it was Nat, Hailey triumphs in 2017, with her newborn sister in fourth. My sister-in-law Mrs. Bates finished second. You will see your beloved hero, me, in 5th place with my real, actual bracket. That seems good, but I finished 5th among 5 of us who picked North Carolina to win it all. And I would have been even worse had I not mistakenly picked Kentucky to beat Wichita State in the second round. Mrs. Poop was the highest finisher among those who didn't pick North Carolina. Nevertheless she remains our only 2-time champion. But with this crop of young talent we have in our group, she likely won't be alone for long.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
The clever clue writers for Jeopardy! like the internet attention when Alex Trebek recites song lyrics, particularly rap and hip hop songs, which is why the show recently featured a category called "90s R&B hitmakers." Alex read the lyrics, contestants had to provide the performer of the song from which the lyrics came.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Usually the internet is a place where a diverse marketplace of ideas comes together creating a robust, thoughtful, intellectual discourse. Just kidding, of course, but I was surprised at how overwhelming the reaction was in favor of United Airlines passenger David Dao. Yes, I agree that United's policies are foolish and unfair. Yes, I agree the airline, if it really needed the seats for its own employees, should have offered a far more generous "bump" incentive than $800. And yes I sympathize with anyone who buys a ticket, boards a plane and is then kicked off the flight against his or he will. I think we're all in agreement up until now. But once the airline makes it clear the Dr. Dao has to leave the plane, that the flight will not take off with on it, that he will be "re-accomodated," Dr. Dao has to behave like a human being and walk off the flight. All the terrible things that happened to him after that, the smashing of the nose on the armrest, the two embarrassing videos (one with shirt pulled up, one with incoherent ramblings and a bloody nose), the crush of media attention, the disclosure of his previous arrest and the embarrassing personal details all come back to his decision to force security to drag him off the plane. Because he could have avoided these unfortunate circumstances just by behaving like an adult, I think a lot of the blame falls on him.
Syracuse basketball fans are in for several more years of rude condescension and unbending adherence to a system that every opponent knows is coming. That's because Jim Boeheim knifed his most loyal assistant in the back and then stepped over his grave. Mike Hopkins waited patiently for Boeheim to retire, and when the old man finally announced he would coach for only 3 more years, 2 years ago, Hopkins was named the coach in waiting. But suddenly, a few days after the end to a disappointing season, Mike Hopkins accepted the job to be the head coach at Washington. Almost as suddenly, Syracuse offered a new contract to Jim Boeheim, which he happily accepted. While everyone is saying the right things, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Hopkins would not have left if he was 100% sure he was getting the job after next season as promised. For whatever reason, he must have felt there was at least some chance he was going to get screwed so he took a head coaching job while he could get one. Clearly, Boeheim still wanted to coach, and Hopkins knew it. Boeheim, it seems, did nothing to try to keep Hopkins, offering nothing in the way of assurances he would get the job, and he certainly wouldn't do something as noble as retiring immediately, so instead Syracuse lost its head coach in waiting and is stuck with several (many) more years of the Jim Boeheim era.