Good morning, rock and roll fans. Today we are going to take a fast break from the Doobies, the Steely Dans and you Led Zepplin fans and instead focus on March Madness. No, I’m not talking about trying to get your tax information in order, or figuring out how you’re going to pay all your bills and still afford a summer vacation or wondering how Alan Greenspan is sleeping these days. I’m talking college hoops, and for the easy lovers of this sport, the next three weeks are SuperBowl Sundays. We are heading to the collegiate mountaintop. Simply put, we are climbing the NCAA Stairway to Heaven.
Now yesterday was Selection Sunday as 64 teams were chosen (while a few deserving teams got screwed) for the honor of playing for the national championship on April 6. What lies ahead are fantastic finishes, the joy of victory, the agony of defeat and most importantly, for basketball purists like myself, enough cheerleaders to drive off a battalion of Taliban.
So as a prelim to the Big Dance, Syracuse and the University of Connecticut went at it Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament. Having attended Syracuse for two years (before I was pardoned so I could live in a place were it didn’t go directly from winter to summer,) I still have a fondness for the Orangemen. Well, this was a game for the ages and the ageless, as this epic contest went SIX overtime sessions before Syracuse prevailed. I don’t want to say this game ran long but I’ve seen “Law & Order” marathons that took less time.
Now I realize that many of you don’t give a rat’s behind about sports so let’s move on to the photo highlights. For today’s photo synthesis we journey back to the morning of March 5. Coming off my typical night’s sleep which included dreams of not being able to find my car, not having studied for a test and in the words of Blind Faith, not being able to find my way home, I woke up to the sound of rain. I took a quick look out the window, saw the gray skies and went back to finishing my Jackson Five crossword puzzle.
Minutes later, I glanced outside and saw orange light painting the windows across the street. I quickly threw off my Jonas Brothers pajamas and headed down to West Cliff. On my ride down, the sky was turning a beautiful color, or in the words of George Costanza, “a pinkish hue.” By the time I got to the edge the color was in fade mode and the sun was rising, so I snapped the first two shots in today’s series. Despite missing the predawn pagentry, the morning was, in the words of Kool and the Gang, “Fresh, exciting. She’s so inviting to me.”
I then spent the rest of the day as I normally would, trying to solve the country’s economic problems, working out a mideast peace proposal and wondering what pasta goes best with eggplant parmigiana. And then around sunset time, I headed back down to the cliff to check out the western conference sky. There wasn’t the abundance of clouds I was looking for but what was there looked semi-inviting, so I put on my zoom lens and went to work. The results are photos 4 thru 6. This pick six combination is what you Jeopardy fans (and I know you’re out there) refer to as the Daily Double-sunrise and sunset from the same day. And now let’s meet our returning champion.
Not too much going on in the political humor front as Mr. Political Irony.com has gone on vacation and I haven’t been checking out any monologue action. But here’s one that made the cut. “Here’s a cute story. You know the Obama kids? They got a swing set there on the White House lawn. And here’s the nice thing. This is what you like about Obama. He is a very conscientious guy. Thinks of everything, because the swing set didn’t cost the taxpayers anything. They built the swing set out of old pieces of Dick Cheney’s guard tower.” -David Letterman
So in keeping with our humorous theme, here are a couple of jokes from one of the greats, Milton Berle. A husband and wife were visiting a zoo where the animals were in compounds rather than cages. Unfortunately, the wife leaned over too far at one of the compounds and was grabbed by a giant male gorilla. As the gorilla was carrying her off, the wife cried, “What should I do? What should I do?” The husband said, “Do what you do at home. Tell him you have a headache.”
As part of a fact-finding tour for the jungle animals,a female zebra went to the United States. Seeing a cow, she asked, “What do you do?” The cow said, ‘I give milk.” Then the zebra saw a sheep and asked, “What do you do?” The sheep said, “I grow wool. They take it and make clothes.” A moment later, a stallion ran up. The zebra said, “What do you do?” The stallion said, “Take off that silly housecoat and you’ll find out.”
That’s right, when it comes to Uncle Miltie and jokes, we always take the high road. So that’s our show. In the meantime, think about what you can do to make this planet a better place, enjoy the March skies and get ready for lots of college basketball. As far as my NCAA pick, I’m going to defer to my ex-college basketball correspondent from my SportsTalk radio days, Dr. Michael Schur. Michael, who is the Jay Bilas of Pediatric Anesthesiology, used to call Chapel Hill his home but now hails from lovely Satellite Beach, Florida. I believe it was he who first coined the phrase, “If God isn’t a Tar Heel fan, then why is the sky Carolina blue?”
Anyway, after speaking with Michael over my ham radio on Saturday night, he is picking John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers to take the title. “They’re long, they’re hungry, play suffocating ‘D,’ and most importantly, Hubie Brown used to coach in Memphis.” Now you can see the importance of four years of medical school. And here’s a little secret-Michael has told me that if he and his wife Jody have another child they’re going to name him Tarik Evans. He’d be a diaper dandy.
One final thought on the tournament. Coaches say winning is a habit. I prefer the words of the Doobie Brothers, as in “What were once habits are now vices.” And congratulations go out to my favorite point-guard playing son, Jason, who as a freshman was selected for Honorable Mention honors this season in the Mission Trail Athletic League. It just goes to show what hard work, dedication and New Jersey genes can do for a child. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jonny Flynn fans.