Monthly Archives: March 2013

Little kids talk the truth about relationships. Another unique marriage proposal in public. After a night of duds, tonight’s NCAA games will be great.

We start Good News Friday with one of the cutest videos I’ve ever seen. Ostensibly this is a promotional video for a new book called “Get The Guy,” but really it’s just two minutes of little girls talking like grown-ups about relationships.
I’m not buying the book, but this commercial is genius.

Davidson v Marquette

**Well that sucked.
Can’t remember an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 night with three out of four crappy games; only one game was remotely competitive, and that was Ohio State squeaking out a three-point win over Arizona.
Indiana and Miami both completely failed to show up; I was so looking forward to them facing each other on Saturday, except both forgot to play this game first. Kudos to Marquette and Syracuse, both teams played great, but man, what stinkers of games.
Oh well, the good news is (and hey, it’s Good News Friday, so you knew there had to be some good news) is that tonight’s games should be crackling.
Most important to me is the could-be-epic Duke-Michigan State game. I’m feeling pessimistic about my boys’ chances, because the Spartans are so good inside and on the boards, two of Duke’s weaknesses. If Mason Plumlee doesn’t get into foul trouble, and if Ryan Kelly remembers how to shoot, Duke can win.
But I’m not all that confident.

We’ve also got a possibly great Kansas-Michigan game tonight, and we’ve got the best story in sports, the Florida Gulf Coast juggernaut (ha!), playing the big bad boys of their state, the Florida Gators. Man I hope FGCU can keep it going, that would be so great to watch.

So I expect three out of four really good, close games tonight. After Thursday’s debacle, we hoopheads deserve it.

**And finally, you know I’m a huge fan of creative marriage proposals. The ones on the scoreboard at sports events are pretty lame, but this guy found a different way to propose at a basketball game.

Check out her reaction when she turns around, it’s beautiful.

The Supreme Court takes up gay marriage, and I’m feeling confident. The judge who ordered a kid not to say “Bingo.” And Mr. T, playing hockey

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The Supreme Court has waded into the gay marriage debate, finally, this week, and it seems like it’s been confusing for all of them.

Several justices are questioning whether they should even be sitting around talking about the case. Others are able to nail the essence of the argument in just one minute, like when Sonia Sotomoyor asked a lawyer defending California’s anti-gay marriage law (above photo) and the odious Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

A lot of what I’m reading on the Web is skeptical that the Court will strike down DOMA and make gay marriage legal, federally, but I’m feeling confident that they will. The more gay marriage gets discussed at the legal level, the more it becomes clear that these laws are about nothing but bigotry and fear. And since sunlight is the best disinfectant, forcing anti-gay marriage people to defend their position out loud, in public, makes it harder and harder to ignore that bigotry.

So maybe the Supreme Court goes all the way this week and declared DOMA unconstitutional, or maybe the Court just takes a small step in that direction, or no step at all.

This is still progress in my mind. The future is clear, and the momentum cannot be stopped. Allowing gay marriage is the only possible future in this country; it’s just a  question of how long it takes us to get there.

**And now, once again proving that 30 years after “Rocky III” and “The A-Team” made him a star, Mr. T is still a bad-ass.

Check out his performance during a between-periods hockey contest at a Chicago Blackhawks game on Tuesday night. I love the intense look on his face, and how he apologizes for getting the broadcaster’s name wrong halfway through. You go, Mr. T; I pity the fool who would challenge you to a hockey fight.

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**Finally, one thing I love about judges is when they get creative with sentencing. Clearly, even the stuffiest of robes needs to give out a fun punishment, which is clearly what a gavel-owning fella in Covington, Ky. did recently.

Apparently an 18-year-old kid there named Austin Whaley recently decided to burst into a Covington gaming hall and yelled “Bingo!” despite not even being in the game.
As anyone who’s ever been in a Bingo game can attest, this caused quite a stir, and the story says it “alarmed” the elderly game-players and caused a ruckus. (“Can you describe the ruckus, sir?” Never a bad time to reference “The Breakfast Club.”)

An off-duty police officer arrested Whaley and charged him with second-degree disorderly conduct.
The whole thing sounds like a ridiculous waste of the court’s time, which is what Judge Douglas Grothaus clearly felt.

Because he sentenced Whaley to not say the word “Bingo” at all for six months. That’s right, Whaley will be in violation if he says that five-letter word anywhere.

So great. I could just see Austin’s friends taunting him for hours.

I feel a surge of Blue Hen Pride: UD women in the Sweet 16. A musical tribute like you’ve never seen. And a man freed from prison suffers a tragedy

NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL 2012 - JAN 12 - #18 Delaware defeats UNCW 69-37

It’s not often that we graduates of the University of Delaware get to puff out our chests and boast of our athletic prowess in ANY sport, but 2013 has been an embarrassment of riches so far.

First our best quarterback ever, Joe Flacco, leads the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl. And now, capping off a magnificent, never-before-seen-in-our-little state career, the transcendent Elena Delle Donne has led the Blue Hens women’s basketball team to the Sweet 16 for the first time ever.

If you don’t know who Delle Donne is, she’s only one of the top five women’s basketball players in the country, and as I’ve written about her many times on this blog before, it’s a miracle she’s at a non-powerhouse like UD in the first place. But through personal circumstances and incredibly good luck (for UD), she came back to her home state four years ago and has led a remarkable surge to the upper echelon of women’s hoops.

Last year the Blue Hens and the 6-foot-5 Delle Donne (watch VP and Delaware alum Joe Biden gush about her here) won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time, and this year they’re doing even better. Tuesday night before a sold-out crowd at the on-campus arena, the Bob Carpenter Center (which believe me, never sold out for men’s or women’s games before Delle Donne came, even when UD won), the Blue Hens advanced to their first-ever Sweet 16 by beating national powerhouse North Carolina. (Of course as a Duke fan I love it when any UNC team loses, but to have my tiny alma mater beat ’em? So sweet).

It’s beyond any Delaware fan’s wildest dreams to think one of our basketball teams could do this well, and I absolutely know that is is a one-shot deal; Delle Donne fell into Delaware’s lap and we’re never likely to have such a great player or team again.

But hey, for right now, it’s just special to see. Saturday at noon, UD plays Kentucky on ESPN2. For the first time in my life, I’m DVR’ing a Delaware women’s game.

On behalf of all Blue Hen alums, Elena, thanks for putting our school on the map again.


**And now a little musical tribute you’ll either find hilarious, a little disgusting, or both. Count me on the “both” category. I’d love to know how many Simon and Garfunkel records this kid has listened to, and how long he practiced this “song.” Well done, son.

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**Finally today, this is just a terrible case of a bad thing happening after a great thing to a man named David Ranta.

Last week Ranta, 58, was set free after 23 years in prison, where he had been wrongly held after being convicted of a murder he did not commit. After two decades prosecutors finally admitted that the evidence against Ranta didn’t add up, and his 1991 sentence was thrown out.

On his second day of freedom, Ranta suffered a major heart attack and was hospitalized over the weekend.
Fortunately, it appears he’s making a recovery and should be OK. But can you imagine the horrible karma of that; being freed finally after 23 years, getting your life back as a free man, and then two days later almost dying?

Just really not right. Here’s hoping Ranta gets to live out a nice long life after spending so much of it behind bars, unjustly.

A Kansas fan sees his feelings change on Ol’ Roy Williams. And Brian Banks, getting one more shot at glory

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Today’s lead item is written by a guest blogger here on Wide World of Stuff; I’d love to have more if any of you feel motivated to write about something that moves you; drop me a line at sweeterlew@yahoo.com.
Today’s post is written by Matt Roberts, one of my loyal readers who immediately earned my affection when I discovered he had “Dread Pirate” in his email handle (It’s a reference to “The Princess Bride” and the Dread Pirate Roberts, only about the most perfect movie ever). Matt is a big Kansas basketball fan, so I thought he’d be the perfect person to write about the weird relationship Jayhawks fans have with the man they again vanquished on Sunday, former coach Roy Williams. Matt, the floor is yours…

About ten years ago, minutes after his Kansas team lost the National Championship game to Syracuse, Bonnie Bernstein of CBS asked KU coach Roy Williams about his level of interest in the recently opened North Carolina job. A direct quote from his response was on t-shirts the very next day in Lawrence, Kansas: “I could give a s— about North Carolina”.
It was jarring to hear that kind of language from Ol’ Roy, but it also fit, given that everyone knew how much he loved his players.  The vast majority of KU fans loved Roy and all the winning he brought to Kansas in his 15 years.
Just the seventh coach in 105 years of Jayhawk basketball, we thought Roy would stick around, like he did three years before when the North Carolina job last came available.

A week later, that optimism turned to dread and bitterness, as Roy headed home to his alma mater.  KU grad Dean Smith urged him to return to Chapel Hill, making the loss hurt even more.  How could the guy who grew up down the road from Lawrence and played on KU’s 1952 National Championship team engineer the departure of our beloved coach?

In hindsight, it appears Coach Smith was only looking out for the good of his alma mater.

A few days later, when Bill Self was announced as the new head coach at Kansas, not many Jayhawk fans thought too highly of the move. We had memories of playing his brutish Illinois team in the 2001 Sweet Sixteen. Kansas always played an up-tempo, fun style of basketball.  How could we adjust to this new, plodding system? Pretty easily, it turns out.  Bill Self preaches tough man-to-man defense, but he has shown a willingness to adjust style of play to his personnel. His teams may not play at the breakneck speed of the Williams era, but entertainment still abounds. Winning helps.

While Roy Williams maintained a remarkable 80.5 win percentage in his ten years at Kansas, Bill Self has won 83.8 percent of his team’s games through almost ten full seasons. Of those ten years, KU won the Big 12 championship in all but his first season, when they finished second and made the Elite Eight.  North Carolina won two NCAA titles in that time.  Kansas won one and made the final last year.

Even with the two titles at UNC, you would be hard pressed to find a Kansas fan who wishes Roy stayed in Lawrence ten years ago. The bitterness has mostly dissipated, thanks in large part to Bill Self’s 3-0 record against Roy, all in the NCAA tournament.  Instead of the boos and harsh words you could expect in years past, ask a KU fan what they think about Roy now, and you will probably get a Cheshire cat grin and some words about how Bill Self is the greatest.

Personally, I will always love Ol’ Roy. He coached my favorite team from the time I was in 4th grade through my college years. His teams always brought me great joy, and they continue to do so today. Especially when they lose to the Jayhawks.

brian-banks1**Finally today, “60 Minutes” did a terrific piece on former high school football star and NFL hopeful Brian Banks, who I wrote about last year. Banks was imprisoned for five years on a false rape charge, and since getting out he’s tried to re-start what was a once-promising career.
What I’ve always found admirable about Banks was his total lack of bitterness about his past. I really hope he makes the NFL this year; if anyone deserves a break, it’s this kid.

Please take a minute and watch the “60 Minutes” piece here.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50143485n

Pink puts on an awesome concert. Duke wins ugly, Fla. Gulf Coast is beautiful, and other Madness thoughts. And a breathtaking video from the Anti-Defamation League

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Saturday night found me and the fiance at Izod Center in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, and right off the top I must tell you that the concert was my idea.

Despite being among only 25 percent of the total crowd there Saturday, Pink does have some men fans, me among them. I think she’s fierce and bad-ass but also a great songwriter and as I soon found out, a hell of a live performer.

The 2-hour extravaganza she put on may not have been the best live music show I’ve ever seen, but it’s up there. First of all, the acrobatics were insane. Pink probably soared through the air through half the songs, and the encore had to be seen to be believed; I embedded this video below (skip to the :30 mark for the good stuff) from her recent concert in Montreal to show it; basically she was hooked up to wires and flew all the way around the arena while singing “So What.” It was literally a “Holy Shit” moment for the crowd when she soared all the way to the upper deck, and everyone’s phones were out filming the cool stunt. (Fiance’s comment: “She clearly wanted to be a circus performer as a little kid and then realized she could sing.”)

Besides the acrobatics, she had a terrific cast of backup singers, dancers and musicians, and Pink herself was really sweet with the crowd. Of course, it was a little disturbing to see how many 10-year-old girls were there listening to Pink singing proudly about being a slut and using the F word liberally, but hey, the parents knew what they were in for.

It was a wonderful show done by a performer who gives you your money’s worth, and I highly recommend her tour if it’s in your area.

**I saw this on Sunday and it really struck me as very clever and altogether sad. The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights bigotry and hate all over the country, has put together this video showing what the world may have been like without hate crimes against now-famous people. See what may have become of Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Matthew Shepard.

Haunting, brilliant idea, and a video I won’t soon forget.

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**Finally today, some thoughts on the weekend of Madness at the NCAA Tournament, where once again a No. 1 seed fell in the opening week and people were shocked, though I don’t know why, and a little school in Fla. showed us how much fun sports can be:

— Florida Gulf Coast. I mean, what can I say? What an incredible story. A school few had heard of on Friday afternoon is suddenly the talk of the sports world, after becoming the first No. 15 seed to ever reach the Sweet 16. They shocked Georgetown Friday night, then, when most No.15’s falter after having their one “magical” game, they came back and did it again Sunday night, beating San Diego State.
The way the Eagles play is just so much fun to watch; alley-ooping and hitting 3’s and just playing with such verve, such joy. All because a bunch of unrecruited kids went to a small school, bought into what their coach Andy Enfield was selling, and worked their butts off.

I hope they keep winning. They’re too much fun to stop now.

— And my Duke boys had me sweating late into the night Sunday with a difficult, defensively dominated win over Creighton. The final was 66-50 but it was much closer throughout. Both offenses were pretty poor, but Duke’s defense was terrific. The refs called every foul on both teams, to a ridiculous degree, but the Blue Devils survived and now get to play Michigan State in the Sweet 16. The Spartans are my second favorite college hoops team, so I hate this matchup, but it should be a great game.

— Yes, Gonzaga lost, but really, it’s not that much of a shock. The Zags had a great year but didn’t face as much tough competition as others did, so when Wichita State battled them and hit more big shots at the end Saturday night, they crumbled a bit. The Zags may not have ever been worthy of a 1 seed, but it still was a fabulous game by Wichita State.
— This is what I love about the tournament: Because of all the upsets, La Salle or Wichita State will be in a regional final. Crazy.
— Since I was going to be at the Pink concert Sat. night I chose to DVR one game to watch later, and because Butler almost always plays great tournament games, I picked Butler-Marquette. Good choice. It was the game of the day Saturday, beautifully hard-fought and close down to the wire.

Man, those teams are evenly matched. And now they’ll be rivals in the new Big East. Should be terrific.

Whew. I’m exhausted from all that hoops. Can’t wait till Thursday night when it starts all over again.

Harvard’s shocking upset caps a great day of hoops. A kid asks Kate Upton to the prom, and she says maybe. And a man proposes to his anchorwoman girlfriend on live TV

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We begin Good News Friday with the glorious news of a huge upset in the NCAA Tournament Thursday.
In case you didn’t stay up late and missed it, after a day of near-titanic upsets that didn’t happen, the scrappy kids from Harvard, a No.14 seed, beat powerful New Mexico, a No. 3 seed, Thursday night just before midnight.

They didn’t do it with anything fancy, no tricks or incredibly unusual plays. Just a solid, well-coached team beating a powerhouse who thought they could just walk in and roll over the “smart kids.”

It was a wonderful topper to a pretty good first day of Madness, of which I imbibed about 9 hours of.
Some quickie thoughts on a fun Day 1 of the Tournament:
— As great as I feel for Harvard, you have to bleed a little for the kids from Davidson and from Southern. Davidson, a 14 seed that’s a mid-major fixture at the NCAAs, was up six points against No.3 Marquette with a minute to go, and lost by a point, 59-58. The Wildcats made only one mistake and it killed them.

And Southern, a tiny school in Louisiana, came thisclose to being the first No. 16 seed to beat a No.1 seed, taking Gonzaga to the wire before falling by six. Southern tied the game at 56 with three minutes to go and upset-lovers like me were going nuts. But the Jaguars just couldn’t quite get it done, and were understandably devastated afterwards.(Here’s a great story from the NYT about what life as a No. 16 seed is like)

— It’s only the first day of the tournament, and I’m already sick of the Charles Barkley/Alec Baldwin Capital One commercials. Good Lord CBS and TNT run those things every timeout, it seemed.
— Thursday night near the end of Louisville’s beatdown of N.C. A&T these guys a few stools away from me started whooping and hollering and screaming “yes” and “no!” in the final minute of a 30-point blowout. Of course, they had money on the game, and only cared about covering the point spread or the over/under or some idiotic thing like that.

Call me a prude or a purist or whatever, but I hate, hate, hate people who watch sports games just because they bet on them. Totally ruins the fan experience to me, if that’s the ONLY reason you care.

— Watching the Tournament at a bar has lots of advantages, but one definite disadvantage is I don’t get to hear the announcers, so I didn’t get to hear Bill Raftery yell “Onions!” all day. I love me some Raftery. Just found out he’s doing the best game of the day on Saturday, VCU vs. Michigan, at 12:15 p.m. Both those teams looked very impressive Thursday.

**This was just the cutest thing. A local television news anchorwoman in Huntsville, Ala. named Jillian Pavlica was reading the news when her teleprompter told her there was some “Breaking News” to report.

Little did she know as she started reading that “she” was about to become the subject of the breaking news, as her boyfriend had planned to propose live on the air.

Pretty awesome.

**Finally, young Jake Davidson needed a date to the prom. So he made this video asking gorgeous supermodel Kate Upton if she’d go with him. It’s hilarious and self-effacing and was just cute enough to work; Upton saw it after it went viral and she said she’d check her schedule but would definitely like to go.
Even better, after watching Jake’s video above, check out this clip from the “Today” show Thursday where Kate Upton called in and talked to Jake while he was being interviewed; so sweet.

This Miami Heat win streak is nuts, and I don’t even care about the NBA. A man refuses to share ice cream with his woman. And the NYPD, “heroically” fighting pot

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Today, the Madness truly begins. These next two days are sports nirvana for me, as I plan to watch hour after hour of college hoops at one of the many fine watering holes here in New York City. If you hear on the news reports of a man thrown out of a bar for screaming too loud for a 14 seed to upset a 3, you’ll know it’s just me happy my Davidson over Marquette pick has come through. Enjoy the madness…

I care very little about the NBA mostly, except at playoff time and in those rare years my Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets, of course) are any good, like this year.

But I have to say, this Miami Heat 24-game winning streak has captured my attention like nothing else in pro hoops the last 10 years. I find myself checking NBA.com every day to see if they kept it going, not because I love the Heat (though I have gotten over hatred of LeBron over “The Decision”, and Miami does employ my all-time favorite Dukie, Shane Battier) but because a streak that goes on this long is just so improbable in pro sports.

I don’t care how good you are, and clearly the Heat are the NBA’s best: In a long 82-game season, filled with long road trips to Cleveland and Detroit and Milwaukee, every team is going to lose once in a while. It’s just inevitable; your top players have a bad night, the bench guys can’t bail you out, and the opposition and their fans are fired up to take down the champs.

And yet every time it’s looked like the Heat were going to tumble, they somehow pull the rabbit out of the hat. Wednesday night at Cleveland was their most Doug Hennig-esque trick yet (look him up, kids, he was a famous magician in the 1980s).

The Heat were playing in Cleveland, which of course still has all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings toward LeBron, and despite the Cavs playing without its top two stars, they amazingly led the Heat by 27 points in the third quarter.

Pretty much an insurmountable lead in 95 percent of NBA games. But because this streak has magical powers now, apparently, Miami came back and won.
They’ve now won 24 straight games, nine short of the all-time record.

It’s hard to not root this streak, or at least not be in awe of it. And oh yeah, this happened during the game, too; I hope this guy enjoyed his few minutes of fame.

**Next today, I thought this was pretty funny. Former NBA star Chris Webber, and the man all Knicks fans love forever, Isiah Thomas, used their analysis skills to explain how this fan at a recent game refused to share his ice cream with his lady friend. Pretty funny…

**Finally, yet another disturbing story about the ridiculousness of America’s war on marijuana, perhaps the stupidest “war” ever fought in U.S. history.

A recent report discovered that the NYPD spent one million hours making 440,000 marijuana possession arrests in the last 10 years.

Think about that for a minute: Think how much better and more effectively those 1 million hours could’ve been spent. Think about the REAL crimes that could’ve been prevented, or investigated, if officers weren’t arresting people for the victimless, mostly harmless crime of smoking pot.

Just ridiculous. The only upside is this story also says that Andrew Cuomo is talking about reforming New York’s drug laws, and decriminalizing marijuana in small amounts.

Wish the rest of the country would do the same.

One man fights back beautifully against Westboro Baptist Church. The strangest international event I’ve ever heard of. And the joy of lunatic sports radio callers

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Sometimes, when coming up against an individual or group so despicable, so hostile, and so just downright evil, you have to respond with a smile.

“Kill ’em with kindness,” I believe the expression goes. My former partner on the high school sports beat at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Buddy Shacklette and I, would always say that to each other when a high school coach would give us crap about one thing or another. After a while it got to be a joke between us, as the more angry the coach got, the happier and kinder we got.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all unfortunately heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, the “religious” group that pickets military funerals, puts forth hate-filled messages to gay people, and in most other ways make complete asses of themselves in public.

Well, a man named Aaron Jackson decided to get some sweet revenge and tweak the hate-mongers as well. Jackson, a 31-year-old community college dropout, noticed there was a house for sale across the street from Westboro Baptist’s main headquarters in Topeka, Kan.

So he bought it and decided to paint the house completely in the colors of the gay pride flag (that’s the house in progress, above.)

“We’re going to take the negative attention and try to spin it into something positive,” said Jackson’s friend and roommate, Davis Hammet. “Instead of millions of children around the world getting this hate message, they’re going to see this message of compassion and love.”

I love it. You go, Aaron Jackson. I’d love to see the look on the face of Fred Phelps (Westboro’s leader) when he leaves in the morning and has to see that every day.

**And now, in honor of March Madness (one more day till my favorite day of the year!), we present a lunatic sports radio caller from Kentucky, who blames liberal socialism for the Wildcats not making the NCAA Tournament. Yep, that’s it. For you WFAN old-timers like me, this guy makes Jerome from Brooklyn seem sane…

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**Finally today, this has to be the most bizarre and random international sporting event ever. For the past 50 years, the people of Liberal, Kansas and Olney, England have held an annual race on International Pancake Day (what, you didn’t know there was an International Pancake Day? March 13, baby. This is what you get from this blog, all kinds of useless info.)

According to this fascinating and weird story I heard on NPR’s “Only a Game” radio show, back in 15th century England, a woman was busy making pancakes out of those foods when she realized it was time for church.

“She heard the church bells ringing and dashed off to church realizing that she was late,” an organizer of the event said. “Well, she still had her pancake in her hand, and ran all the way to the church like that.”

In Olney, a town of about 6,000, this whole running-with-pancakes thing kind of caught on, and they started to have a race each year, requiring the women of the town to run while holding pancakes in frying pans. In 1950, a resident of Liberal named RJ Leete read about Olney’s racing tradition in Time Magazine, and well, the rest is Aunt Jemima history.

So yeah, every year women in both towns run as fast as they can for three blocks wearing  a headscarf and apron, and, of course, carrying a pancake in a skillet. And no, they’re not required to flip the pancakes while they’re actually running, though they do have to flip them once before they start, and again after crossing the finish line, just to prove they still have them.

The race happens in both towns, and then afterwards the townspeople in both places meet to compare times and see who won.

I love this so much. I might just have to go to Liberal, Kansas one day to see it. (the whole town basically shuts down every March 13th for the race).

At the very least, you gotta figure you’ll get a delicious breakfast out of the trip.

CNN disgustingly sympathizes with convicted rapists. The coolest attendee of every NCAA Tournament school. And another awesome replica buzzer-beater

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This photo has nothing to do with anything except that I just think it’s hilarious. It’s the Saint Louis Billikens mascot riding the subway in Brooklyn after the Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn the other day. The woman next to him is such a true New Yorker: She doesn’t even look up. I’m sure she sees three weirder sights every day.

If you haven’t been following the rape trial of two teenage football stars in Steubenville, Ohio, it’s been fascinating to watch.

Most of the particulars are sadly familiar: Small town that has very little to look forward to except Friday night football games; a high school with a great tradition of winning and a community treating the players like gods led to those teenaged boys thinking they could do anything, and get away with anything.

So last summer two of them, Ma’lik Richmond and Trent Mays, decided that it was OK to take a drunk and mostly passed out 16-year-old girl who was at a party they were at, take her clothes off, and rape her. As some of their friends watched and, even more disgustingly, took photos while hooting and hollering.

Courageously, the girl and her family decided to press charges, and after a week-long trial filled with despicable testimony details from the victim herself and other witnesses, the judge found Richmond and Mays guilty, and sentenced them to one year (for Richmond) and two years (for Mays, because he got an extra year for taking pictures of the victim and distributing them) in prison.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports has done an outstanding job covering the trial; I urge you to read his column here on the outcome and what effect this trial had on Steubenville.

But I also wanted to point out the below clip on CNN, and how a once-proud news channel continues to sink even lower. Listen to Candy Crowley and the CNN reporter Poppy Harlow talk about what a terrible burden this conviction will be for the two boys, and how awful it is that they’ll have this stigma for the rest of their lives. Harlow practically tears up in sympathy for Mays and Richmond!

Crowley, for God’s sakes, even asked concerningly about the “lasting effect” the rape conviction will have on them.

Hey Candy, how about the lasting effect on the VICTIM??? How about the nightmares and horrors that she’s undergone over the past several months, and the nightmares that surely lie ahead? How about spending a few minutes talking about her trauma, and her future?

Just despicable. CNN ought to be ashamed of themselves, if they’re capable of shame anymore.

**Next, a little lighter story. One of my favorite parts of the first few days of the NCAA Tournament is when CBS shows us the “school profiles” with facts about Southeast Missouri State or Northwest Louisiana or whereever the heck the school that’s playing is from. And my favorite random fact is always the “famous alumni” section.

Well, the good folks at SI.com have already done CBS’ work for them, compiling this awesome list of 68 celebrities who attended each of this year’s Tournament schools. Check out the whole list here:
My favorite random ones” have to be Robert Guillaume of “Benson” fame going to Saint Louis University, Madonna going to University of Michigan (she never graduated, shockingly), and the great actor/director Penny Marshall went to New Mexico.

Who knew Laverne was a Lobo? I love this stuff.

**Finally today, remember that Michigan high school team from last week that basically re-created the famous Christian Laettner/Grant Hill 1992 shot for Duke that beat Kentucky? Well, a girls high school team has re-enacted another famous March Madness moment; Middletown Mercy High of Connecticut used the exact same play Valparaiso did in 1998 to win an NCAA Tournament game over Ole Miss.

Check out the amazing shot by Maria Weselyj to lift Middletown Mercy to the title; what makes it even sweeter is that Mercy has lost in the state title game the previous three years.

And of course, here’s the play that inspired it, from Bryce Drew and Valpo.

I’m here to help with your March Madness pool (I hope). And the man who literally couldn’t live without his wife

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I watch way more college basketball than the average person. Maybe more than is healthy, but I love, love, love it.
Which is why I think the first two days of the NCAA Tournament should be declared national holidays, and we should all get it off while sitting at a bar eating and drinking with our heads on a swivel, watching all the action.

But since the government hasn’t yet declared that, I’ll just have to be happy watching it all for you.
Since I know you’re all in bracket office pools, let me give the lowdown on which upsets I think you should pick, which to stay away from, and who’s going to the Final Four. (The selection committee did a really good this year, except for screwing over Oregon (terrible to get a No. 12 seed) and Miami (absolutely should’ve been a No. 1 over Kansas).

And oh yeah, my Duke boys got stuck in the toughest bracket.

Still, I’d ask you to please forget that most of my upsets from last year didn’t pan out (except I DID have Ohio beating Michigan), and that I only got 1 of the Final Four right last year.

This has been a crazy season in college hoops, with upsets and surprises galore. The tourney should be no different.

This year, trust me, take these to the bank (a piggy bank, probably):

First-round upsets I feel confident you should pick:
No. 11 Belmont over No. 6 Arizona
(Belmont’s got great shooters and Arizona’s on a downswing);
No. 13 South Dakota St. over Michigan (Wolverines have lost 2 straight, and S.D. State is a veteran team with a great player in Nate Wolters);
No. 14 Davidson over No. 3 Marquette (Davidson hasn’t lost since mid-January and is a tournament veteran; they won’t be scared of Marquette).
No. 12 Oregon over No. 5 Oklahoma State: (Ducks got royally screwed with seeding, and though OK State is good, Oregon’s better).

First-round upsets I’m not picking but wouldn’t be surprised if they happen:
No. 11 Bucknell over No. 6 Butler (
Bucknell’s really good and have a giant-killing rep in the NCAAs)
No. 11 Middle Tenn. State over No. 6 Memphis: (Lot of people question MTSU being in, this would be an emphatic rebuttal)
No. 13 Montana over No. 4 Syracuse: Just have a feeling about this game; Syracuse was very erratic this season and could be ripe for the taking.

Surprise Sweet 16 teams:
— North Carolina: It kills me as a Duke fan to pick the Heels, but they’ll beat Kansas in the third round.
— Butler: I guess not so much of a surprise, but I like them over either Marquette or Davidson, if they survive Bucknell)
Best first-round games to watch:
— Akron vs. VCU:
Two really fun teams to watch, up and down, great defense, really good stuff.
— Temple-N.C. State: I have no idea what to expect from State, because I’ve watched a lot of their games. This could be a 20-point blowout either way, or a great game.
— UNC-Villanova: Two teams playing great going into the tournament.

My Final Four picks:

EAST: Michigan State (I hate to pick against Duke, but the draw is too tough. And Louisville is overrated)
WEST: Ohio State (almost by default, this region is really weak and I don’t think Gonzaga is ready for a Final 4 run)
SOUTH: Georgetown (Kansas will lose early, and I don’t like anyone better than the Hoyas here)
EAST: Miami (Should’ve been a 1 seed, and I think they take down Indiana in a classic Elite 8 game to reach the Final 4)
NATIONAL CHAMP: Miami (pictured above). Best, most experienced team, with a guard named Shane Larkin who, if you haven’t heard of him yet, you will very soon.

Good luck jumping into the pool, everyone! Can’t wait till Thursday.

deadcouple.forblog

**So this story sounds made up, like a Hollywood fairy tale done by Tim Burton or something (hat tip to my future mother in law for the heads-up on this story). In Cambridge,  N.Y., a burgh I have been in several times, an 89-year-old woman named Gwen Hendrickson (above, left) died last month.

Gwen was married to Norman Hendrickson for 65 years, and when she died, he was naturally heartbroken.
So heartbroken that on the day of Gwen’s funeral, Norman was found unresponsive in the back of the limo when it arrived at the funeral home.

According to this story, Norm had a “do not resuscitate” order on file, and so he was allowed to pass away at the funeral home, while mourners came in to pay their respects to Gwen.

Norm and Gwen’s daughters asked the funeral home director if they could put Norm in a box in the room where Gwen’s funeral would take place.

And then the kids posted a sign on the front door of the funeral home, saying “Surprise, it’s a double header!”
“Those who knew Norm say he also appreciated a good bargain.”

I can’t decide if that was a sweet gesture by the kids or a really bizarre one. At the very least, it was courteous to the mourners, who now no longer had to schlep back there for Norm’s funeral.
But still … that’s kind of creepy, isn’t it?