Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sunday Potpourri

I am not a fan of the month of March, outside of the greatness of college basketball. There are no good holidays (St. Patricks Day is not a holiday), the weather absolutely blows, and I spend a good deal of time thinking about sitting down to do my taxes. Did I mention the weather absolutely blows? I've had enough of winter by now, and March likes to finish things off with (as my friend Kurt Schick wrote in college) "A Case of the Winds". A big blow has lurked off the coast for days now, and it finally seems to be abating. Cold plus wind equals misery. Additionally, my travel schedule this week takes me North (Newport RI, Brooklyn NY), which only compounds the weather misery. As a younger man, I prattled on about defined seasons and crisp winter air. Now I just want a condo in Boca.

Returning to the month of March, a few words about college basketball, specifically, my beloved Wahoos.  There is a lot of talk this year about there being no "great teams" in the game, mostly because Duke, UNC, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State, and Villanova--have dropped games during the season that those in know think they should have won. Yet my Hoos just finished a 28-2 regular season with a 17-1 record in the ACC, which is generally considered to be a very talented group of basketball teams. They've been #1 for (what tomorrow will be) four straight polls. They have 10 wins over KenPom Top 50 Teams. Their average margin of victory is nearly 15 pts per game, while scoring only 67.5 ppg.

At the start of the season, they were not ranked in the Top 25 and they were picked by ACC sports writers to finish 6 or 7 in the ACC, a league they won by 4 games.

As I said, I have some travel this week, and one of the places I'll be is in Brooklyn NY at noon Thursday to watch the Hoos in their first ACC tournament game. And each game in the tournament after that. I'm trying to adjust my March/April schedule in a manner that leaves me the option of GOING TO as many NCAA Tournament games as I can. I'm gonna roll with this team as long as they'll have me this year. Enough hoops.

I'm enjoying watching America spin up over the President's plan to raise tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum, especially those "Trump Whisperers" within the Republican Party whose self-appointed job is to translate Trumpian glandularism for the rest of us--and who for two years now have tried to tell us that he is a free-trader and not a protectionist. This has of course, been bullshit all along, and now we have irrefutable evidence of it. You can't be a "free-trader" and then impose blanket tariffs on an import IRRESPECTIVE OF WHAT COUNTRY PRODUCES IT.  I keep waiting for the "this is the last straw" moment to hit Republican apologists who used to know better--and perhaps this is the moment.

I've begun reading again. I mean serious, habitual reading. I've become concerned about the loss of long-term focus that comes from smartphone addiction/use, and so I've banned the phone from my bedroom and kitchen (where important people I should be communicating with seem to be) and I've made a point of sitting down and reading again. I remember twenty years ago being able to veg on the couch for 12 hours reading a book without much other than an occasional break. I fear that skill has declined, and so I'm trying to recapture it. I've dispatched American Warlords and Leonardo da Vinci in the past week, and I think I'll turn my attention on another biography of US Grant later today.

Have a good week.

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