Monday, March 31, 2003

a broken lull. politics and music, just like you like 'em. fresh!

Finally getting most of the tracks from the new Radiohead; no great summations yet, but it's predictably fabulous. Also loving the Bad Plus record - what I've heard thus far of These Are the Vistas is superb modern jazz, a trio doing great things with both their originals and covers ("Smells Like Teen Spirit," you might've heard of it...). As much as I'm enjoying hearing a jazz combo work over Aphex Twin and Nirvana, however, their originals seem to push a lot further future-forward. More detailed write-ups on both later this week.

GeekSlut is now really a blog, and it's moved, so please adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

Paul's already downloaded, heard, and made some judgements of Hail to the Thief, the new (trembling with anticipation) Radiohead album. As always, you should read what he has to say. And, to my profound surprise, we disagree on the new Madonna single.

He's my best friend; I need no more reason. [It helps that we share many of the same obsessions, and that he's cool as fuck, though.] Your brand-spanking-new blog of the week is Stumpy's StainMaster Productions.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Must-read of the day: the ever-stellar Andy Katz on yesterday's upsets of #1 seeds, which help explain why the Madness is "the best three weeks in sports."

And the brackets for this year's Final Four are complete - and they do include a #1 seed, as Texas topped a gutty, gritty Michigan State squad 85-76 in San Antonio to win the South regional and mark the Longhorns' first Final Four appearance in the modern era (their last was in 1947, when only 8 teams were in the tournament - which meant you only had to win one game to make the national semifinals). Texas will take on Syracuse in one semifinal, with Marquette facing Kansas in the other (both on Saturday). If there was any question that the Big 12's become just as much of a basketball conference as a football one, it should be clear now: this is the second year in a row that two Big 12 teams have made the Final Four (it was Kansas and Oklahoma in '02). I like Kansas to win it all; these Jayhawks almost feel like a team of destiny (especially considering what they've achieved without Wayne Simien), and Roy Williams has never won a national championship. Mind you, I won't be suprised if Syracuse wins the title, either - Orange coach Jim Boeheim has also never won it all, and it's hard to deny freshman of the year (really, who else?) Carmelo Anthony anything. Let's go to New Orleans, y'all.

In case you're curious, I currently support Howard Dean in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary. Also: he's the first candidate to give an interview to The Advocate.

Whoa! Jimbo's clean-shaven!

Johnny A Go Go was bit by the prolific bug today: among other things, he reads a lot of magazines, and hasn't been able to masturbate as much as usual lately. His writing is so light and delicious - like meringue - it's a joy to read every day.

Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony being interviewed by CBS's Gus Johnson (after the Orangemen's 63-47 victory over Oklahoma in the East regional final), regarding his mother:

"She wanted me to go to college for a reason, and this is the reason."

I seriously doubt that Carmelo's mother wanted her son to go to college so that he could make it to a Final Four, which means one of two things. Either he's just stupid, and she actually wanted him to get an education (fat chance - he could be a top three lottery pick in the NBA draft), or she actually wanted him to be a diaper dandy for a year to improve his standing in the draft (ka-ching!). Either way, it's sad.

By the way, will any of the #1 seeds make it to New Orleans? I like Texas's chances against Michigan State, but T-to-the-Izzo knows nothing better than how to get his kids to play come March - and the Spartans certainly have momentum on their side. We'll know in a couple hours' time.

Women's tournament note: in Dayton this afternoon, a pair of routs, as Connecticut toppled Boston College 70-49, and then (in a rematch of the 2001 national championship) my Lady Boilers of Purdue spanked Notre Dame 66-47. Purdue and UConn have each won national titles in the last 5 years; they'll meet for a trip to the Final Four Tuesday.

Remember 2 weeks ago, when everyone was upset by the possibility of Arizona and Kentucky meeting in the national semifinals instead of the title game? No worries now, since both Kentucky and 'Zona lost yesterday. Instead, we'll have a Kansas-Marquette matchup - and anyone who foresaw that deserves to win their office pool.

Meanwhile, back in Indiana, the state champs in high school basketball were crowned yesterday. Stumpy's got you covered, and also has some thoughts on the new White Stripes record. There are reasons he's my best friend, people, and these are a few of 'em. Nice to see him taking to blogging like a fish to water, or something.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Well, so much for my bracket - and just about everybody else's. Kentucky's season is over, because Marquette took it to 'em in Minneapolis today to punch their first Final Four ticket since '77, when Al McGuire's boys won it all.

Hell, let's make it must-read number three (I'm still playing catch-up): Danny on romance, and what it feels like for this boy.

And if one's good, two must be better: a must-read from Anthony Easton (who's generally brilliant more often than I breathe) over at Freaky Trigger on the Mozzer, titled Borderline: Morrissey, Mexico, Myth.

YES! YES! YES! Must-read in spades: JBR @ NYLPM on "Point of No Return." Let the Expose revival begin right here, right now!

Wow, Madonna's "American Life" is boring - all heavy proto-electroclash synth squish and a slowly picked acoustic guitar. Completely vapid lyrics. And the less said about her "rapping" the better, trust me. Honestly, sadly, it almost sounds like a parody of what this record would sound like. But it's not.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Three of the four higher seeds made it to the Elite Eight tonight, as #1 seeds Oklahoma and Texas advanced with victories, along with Syracuse (who needed everything Carmelo Anthony had to hold off an impressive Auburn comeback). The surprise? Damn, we've known for years that Tom Izzo gets his teams primed and ready to play come tournament time, but this year, Michigan State's looking especially impressive (considering the way they so badly underachieved during the regular season). The Spartans upset defending national champs Maryland 60-58 (just final) to play another day.

Email from Fly Over Country's Chris, regarding this photo:

"I am on the one in the middle with the floppy fishing hat on, Tim is standing next to me on the right (as you are looking at the pic) and Mike is front on the right."

Goatees: they're not just for gay leathermen anymore. [Of course, that's not what I thought when I saw this today at Fly Over (under the heading "Eagle Rock Loop Pictures"): "Chris is the one with the collar on." *chuckle*]

Midnight has struck for Cinderella, as Butler was defeated by Oklahoma tonight in the East regional in Albany, NY, 65-54. The Sooners' defense was the difference, shutting down the Bulldogs' perimeter game and severely limiting their three-point attempts. Full recap to come. The #1 seeds aren't all through to the Elite Eight just yet, though, as Connecticut is waging a furious comeback in their contest against Texas. Can they pull of the upset - in San Antonio, no less? We shall see.

I read a lot more fiction (books) than I do non-fiction, largely because of the insights I get from fiction - about life, about love, about living. Like this one from Felice Picano's masterpiece, his 1995 novel Like People In History, in which the protagonist has been commissioned to tell his ex-lover's parents, both of whom have Down's syndrome, that their son is dying of AIDS:

"For the briefest of seconds I thought, This is punishment. Matt is getting back at me. That's why he sent me here. Then I reconsidered. No, Matt sent me because it was so hard, too hard for anyone else to do, and because that's what you did for someone you loved."

That last sentence just about sums it all up, I think. History is one of my favorite novels of all time, and that perfectly skewers the reason why. Picano's a genius; check out his recent 2001 novel Onyx as well.

The good news is that razor-sharp lyricist (with that uniquely, vaguely croaky-at-times voice) Warren Zevon has roped in an amazing array of guests for his forthcoming album, including Misters Petty, Dylan, and Springsteen. The bad news is that this'll in all likelihood be his last one - Zevon has inoperable lung cancer. While we wait for the album, instead of "Werewolves of London" (again), why not give his brilliant '87 full-length Sentimental Hygiene a spin? On this record, he used Berry/Buck/Mills (a/k/a the then-members of R.E.M. not named Michael Stipe) as his backing band, and they not only helped Zevon craft a more focused record than he'd done in a while, but played with a surprising bit more grit and "oomph" than fans of the Athens foursome were used to at the time. The lyrics are as erudite as ever, and as an added bonus, Neil Young drops by to toss a killer guitar solo into the title track (which also happens to be my fave Zevon track ever). He's even more underrated than Leonard Cohen, and nearly as good. Start writing the elegies now, 'cause we're gonna miss him more than we realize.

This one's for you, Jody: yesterday morning I went to Hardee's for breakfast. [They have the best fast-food breakfasts - those biscuits! Mmmm.] As always, this particular Hardee's was playing an '80s mix, which, at 1030 in the morning (pre-caffeine, this was even more jarring than would have normally been the case) segued from Adam and the Ants' "Antmusic" straight into "Let Me Be The One" by Exposé. Truly, madly, deeply bizarre.

I swear, get online, find another gay DC blogger. Today's new find: Joe's Take Out. Great design, woofy guy.

I use the word "utterly" far too much. Any other words you think I use too much? Please share.

"Make Luv" by Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham is utterly mindless, floor-filling house-pop trash.

Which of course means it's marvelous (it's good, not DJ Sammy), and virtually assured of going straight in at #1 on the week's UK singles chart.

Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body" is utterly. Perfect. Pop. [For now people, natch.]

My first-round brackets were largely trashed; I went 19-13. But going into last night's games, I still had all of my Elite Eight and Final Four teams in (that's no longer the case, after Pittsburgh lost 77-74 to Marquette). And even though I have Oklahoma in the Elite Eight (losing to Syrcause in the Orangemen's back yard), you've gotta know that tonight I will be cheering loudly for Indiana's own Butler Bulldogs! Pat Forde lays it on a little thick in his piece comparing Butler to the mythical Hickory Huskers of Hoosiers (based on the '54 Milan High School team), but I love the last two lines of his feature:

The Bulldogs' Jimmy Chitwood, Darnell Archey, thought about the comparison for a minute, then nodded.

"We'll take it," he said. "We'll be Milan."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a perfect encapsulation of why March Madness, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, is the greatest sporting event there is, year after year.

Addendum: as much as I love Andy Katz, there's no excuse for his sloppy analysis in his East regional preview. Answering the 'question' "Why Butler will win" with "Why not?" is just plain lazy.

Michael Moore defends his Oscar speech in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, God bless him. But boy, that's not an attractive screen shot. Then again, who said great artists/provocateurs have to be attractive? Whether you agreed with what Moore said or not, at least agree with this: that whether or not you think that was the appropriate forum for his remarks, thank [whoever you want] that the U.S. is a (relatively) free nation where you can speak your mind in such a manner. Especially in this time of the press (by and large) meekly reporting what the Bush administration wants it to, we need more, not fewer, artisans like Michael Moore shouting from the mountaintops.

And if you haven't already, please go see Bowling For Columbine, and do some thinking about our violent, gun-loving culture. To find out if it's still playing in your area, go here and enter your zipcode.

How much must it rock to be Queen Latifah these days? Oscar nominee, costar and coproducer of the #1 movie in the U.S. for the last three weeks (Bringing Down the House), new album (with Missy joints!) on the way... and now here's the first new music we've heard from the Queen in some time, from the House soundtrack, "Better than the Rest." Delightfully, Latifah's singing on it - not that I don't love her as a rapper, but I think I like her even better as a singer (if you've heard "When You're Good To Mama" from Chicago, I'm guessing you agree). "Better" has a ridiculously phat bassline, jazzy horn flourishes, and the Queen La using her instrument superbly all over the track. It's almost-but-not-quite got a neo-soul vibe, like you could imagine Angie Stone cutting it. Is "Better" amazing? No. But it's real nice, smooved-out (but not stupid) r-and-b from a woman who knows. Anyone wonder what a jazz album from Latifah might sound like? Pretty great, I think.

Saw Chicago again yesterday, and was again amazed by the achievement of director Rob Marshall. I love The Pianist, and feel that Roman Polanski did some of the best work of his career on the film, but still would've given the best director Oscar to Marshall. The performances are amazing - Zellweger! Zeta-Jones! Gere! Latifah! Reilly!! The costumes, the sets, the choreography, the script... this is a film which is truly greater than the great sum of its parts, and still my favorite film of 2002. Also viewed Far From Heaven a second time in the past week, and was again left without doubt that Julianne Moore deserved the Oscar for best actress; her performance brought to mind the masters of the form, such as Hepburn, Nicholson, and Streep. Stunning.

The 2002 film list, which I'm thinking is final at this point:
1. Chicago
2. Far From Heaven
3. The Pianist
4. The Hours
5. Y Tu Mama Tambien

And the countdown continues:
+I didn't know Chrisafer has a boyfriend!
+John (a/k/a Redpoy) takes trombone lessons? That is so way cool. I played, and loved the t-bone from 5th through 11th grades (well, I still love it, I just don't play anymore; I think the instrument's either in a closet at my parents' house, or was sold in a garage sale *sniff*). [Page down to the first entry for March 25.]
+Tim, Mike, and Chris of Fly Over Country are presumably all in this photo, but unfortunately I don't know who's who. Help me out, Chris? And since I consider myself a lefty and a blogger, if not a "lefty blogger" per sé, I think the German boycott of U.S. products is just as silly and misguided as Yanks boycotting French produits.
I must also take a moment here to publicly thank Chris for being such a strong supporter of (and, via email, commentor on) this blog. As I see it, part of the "role," as it were, of the 'net - and blogs in particular - is to expose us to differing points of view while showing our commonalities. And Chris and I have both of those in spades. Cheers, brother!
+East West's Choire tells you everything you need to know about this year's Oscar telecast.
+TMFTML tells you everything you need to know about the new album by Black Box Recorder.
+The Tin Man has a webcam. And I'm with BJ - I wanna see him shirtless, too!

Thanks to Mikesosoft for linking this: it's a directory of blogs and diaries from journalists "embedded" with US armed forces in and around Iraq. Many of them are completely fascinating reading - and from a very different angle from many of the talking heads on television news.

My cousin Steve is reporting for NPR (National Public Radio) from Doha, Qatar. Here's a link to his report this morning on NPR's Morning Edition. Steve amazes me; he's such a well-rounded, superb journalist, and seems to handle stuff like this reportage (and that he did from Afghanistan in 2001) so smoothly. He's been sending almost daily emails to his wife from Doha, which she then forwards much of to family members. I'm not posting them here - I don't have permission, and that's not my place - but I can assure you that Steve's missives are eye-opening, providing an unheard perspective with rich detail.

I was supposed to meet up with Steve and his wife last October when I was in D.C. for a bowling tournament; due to timing and schedules, I was unable to, and I regret it. My family's an interesting one - my Dad's the fifth of seven brothers, all of whom are still married (to their first and only wives), and I have 17 first cousins on Dad's side. Most of us (cousins, I mean) aren't particularly close, and there's a wide age gap between the youngest, my baby sis (who's 22), and the oldest (who's in his mid-40s). I'm about in the middle of the age range. Six of the seven brothers (my father included) still live in their home state of Indiana, and I miss our family reunions (I haven't made it to one in 4 years or so). But as it happens, I'm the closest, geographically speaking, to Steve, so hopefully once this bloody war ends and he gets home, sometime (this summer?) I'll make it up to D.C. to see him and his wife.

Now that I'm back - and I mean really back - I'm catching up on the blogsphere. To wit:
+Holden Caufield's Lover asks, "what's in a number?"
+Ernie makes a brief return from his hiatus to caption some photos of himself taken at SXSW.
+Andy (haven't mentioned his blog in too long) muses about class - as in castes, not manners.
+Dogpoet has gorgeous new digs...
+...and Hipster Detritus has been lusciously redesigned.
+There's tons of new downloads up over at Base 58 (including "The Humpty Dance"!).
+Great review (with personal history, as many of the best reviews are) of Aphex Twin's 26 Mixes for Cash at Slap Dee Barnes.
+Jess Harvell absorbs DJ Lance Lockarm's "Lose Yrself Fitter" for New York London Paris Munich.

It's still in its infancy, and likely won't get updated again until Saturday at the earliest, but at least it's happened: Stumpy (a/k/a Jeffy, a/k/a my best friend in the world for nigh on 9 years) finally has his own blog, StainMaster Productions.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

I'm back. Had a brilliantly relaxing 3 days with Jeffy down in Ocracoke, NC. Drank far too much Bacardi Limon on Tuesday, got a bit crispy on the beach (ahh, aloe vera gel kept in the refrigerator!), read a lot, and relaxed intensely. Plus, of course, all that quality time with Jeffy and lots of good photos (coming soon, I hope).

Have you been reading the blogroll in my absence?

Sunday, March 23, 2003

The glass slipper's been placed on Cinderella's foot, and this year, it's the Butler Bulldogs, into the Sweet 16 as a #12 seed. Their performance against Louisville today was masterful. Still love my Boilers, who gave it everything in a 10-point loss to top seed Texas. More on the Sweet 16 Wed/Thurs, in anticipation of the next round of games.

The Oscars - wow! Adrian Brody, Roman Polanski, and Eminem were all major surprise winners (and all were deserving). Steve Martin was brilliantly funny. And Michael Moore fucking rocks. To paraphrase AC/DC, he's got the biggest balls of them all.

Back Wednesday or Thursday. Have a good week.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Had lunch yesterday with Jenn at a sports bar – she wanted a salad, I of course wanted to watch hoops – and we had the jarring, and somewhat disturbing experience of watching 3 different basketball games simultaneously with coverage of U.S. forces brutally bombing Baghdad. It was a queasy sensation, watching something on television – which always makes things seem slightly unreal – in which I understood that people, innocent people, were dying. And at the same time, enjoying and being excited about college basketball, which at a time like this seems awfully immaterial (but at the same time so necessary, so as to allow me not to think so much about the horrors going on in Iraq).

I've played with my blogroll (gosh, that sounds dirty) and updated the usual suspects today. Most of my current reading is actually current re-reading; have just had the urge to re-read a couple of favorites (though I think McCauley's The Easy Way Out, his second novel, holds up better than Affection; I re-read Out in between sidebar updates, which is why it never showed up over there).

As if my blogging hasn't been limited enough lately, I'll be out of town and sans 'net the first half of next week. Stumpy's comin' to town for a vacation, so I'm taking one, too. He's been my best friend in the universe for nigh on 9 years, and I'm pumped; he arrives this evening. We'll be staying at Blackbeard's Lodge for 3 days, doing some drinking at Howard's Pub (open 365.25 days a year!), shopping at Village Craftsmen - all in lovely Ocracoke, North Carolina. I need some R&R, and this is going to hit the spot perfectly. And sometime next week, I'm thrilled that I'm going to help Stump start his own blog! Finally, the rest of the world (or at least, the blogsphere) will get to discover what I've know for years: that Stumpy is the king. of. rawk. Watch this space...

He's a college hoops fan. We have eerilly similar tastes in music (at least, through the '90s). He's appallingly witty. And he's yet another member of that cabal I refer to as the gay D.C. blogger mafia. He's Chrisafer, and his blah, blah, black sheep is this week's Blog of the Week.

It's official: my favorite team in this year's Dance has been - and not 'cause they're from my home state, but for all the reasons discussed in this article - IUPUI.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Zach de la Rocha and DJ Shadow have recorded an anti-war tune, and it's as good as (if not better than) you'd expect. It's titled "March of Death."

For those of you looking for recaps of tournament games, check out Condredge's Acolytes. I just don't have the energy Steve does (especially after last weekend). Plus, I'm watching and enjoying the games first.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

God bless our troops fighting Bush's dirty war.

Paying attention to March Madness - here on the hardwood, not in Iraq - helps make dealing with the war a little easier. That whole "spoonful of sugar" idea in play. Of course, something else to (potentially) take one's mind off the war is the Oscars, which are Sunday. My predix are coming soon; in the meantime, check out this must-see of the day: note that Calista fucking Flockhart gets a front-row seat, only because of just who she's fucking.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Update: If CBS does go wall-to-wall war, ESPN/ESPN2 will have it (at least first round games) covered.

It's funny - funny-weird more than any other variant - with this whole war thing going on, I really don't have the impulse nor energy to blog much of late. I know, I never finished my March Madness preview. As a consolation, here's my bracket. My projected final: Kentucky 79, Syracuse 71. To lift my spirits, I've been listening to Simply Red's brand-new, likely top 10 (UK) single "Sunrise" - sure, it's not that creative, and is somewhat cheesy (and Mick Hucknall's voice is sounding awfully thin), but it's very "up," and is rooted in a huge chunk of Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go For That." I can be very uncool sometimes.

Today's must-read, obviously, should be coverage of the impending war on Iraq. You know which news sites you prefer, so pick your own. But after you've done that, read this excellent piece from by Tom Farrey on what was could do to the 2004 Athens Olympics.

As you may have heard, Colorado (and the Denver-Boulder metroplex particularly) is getting inundated with snow. I'm so jealous. Here's an on-the-scene report via email from Gaz:

Boulder, CO 10:10am [CST]

Going on about 36 consecutive hours of snow here. Some areas in the high country have gotten up to 7 feet of snow already. The news is reporting about 2 1/2 feet in Denver and surrounding metro areas, and Boulder is pretty close to that. The snow doesn't look quite as deep as that because of the high moisture content; it's a lot of wet heavy snow.

I'm home from work, logged in. The office is pretty much closed as the dept of transportation has requested only essential traffic out there. Good day to be trapped at home. I think it's time for another bagel.

DIA [Denver International Airport] is closed now. No flights in or out. [His girlfriend] was supposed to fly in to DIA at about 4pm today, but she called at 5:30am this morning when that flight was already cancelled. She scrambled to get another one scheduled for tomorrow and got booked for a late flight into Colorado Springs. The latest on the news is that there is a tear in that pointy canvas roof at DIA, closing parts of the terminal.

The news just reported this is the second biggest storm in Denver history, topped only by a 4-foot blizzard in 1913.

Gotta go...the bagel just popped out of the toaster.

Addendum: the snow's affecting NCAA tournament teams, too - just ask the Catamounts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I'm rooting for UNC-Asheville on Friday.

ESPN's Andy Katz reports that negotiations appear nearly complete to move all Thurs/Fri first-round tournament games from CBS to ESPN and ESPN2 in the event that CBS goes to 24/7 war coverage, considering the President has said that Wednesday night is his "deadline" for Iraq. Watch this space.

I know, to anyone who knows my job it seems bizarre, but I answered the questions honestly, and my job apparently rates a "level 2" at I sit at a desk and do social work, surrounded by women. Who knew it was all so butch?

Monday, March 17, 2003

Bush's speech was well-delivered claptrap. Notable that in his "message to the Iraqi people" segment, the very first thing he pointed out (in "warning," i.e. "don't you dare do this!") was that (I'm paraphrasing) "the oil wells are the property of the Iraqi people." But this UNJUST WAR isn't about oil, is it, Dubya? No, of course not. It's about our "sovereignity." And not remotely about the guy "who tried to kill [his] Daddy." Right?

The President of the United States is playing an incredibly high-stakes game of poker in the Middle East, and he's using our troops as chips. I have friends over there right now. If they don't come back alive, their blood is on Bush's hands. Period.

Ladies and gentlemen, Bob as a part of Justin's body...

"You are Justin's neck, hard to resist and looking for trouble."
What Justin Body Part Are You?

As I understand the would-be genre, the Global Communications mix of “Natural High” (by Warp 69) is the epitome of Balearic. Relaxing without being snoozy, wave after wave of bliss and crashing against your shores, the perfect comedown-cum-chillout. Ambient music can now be abandoned as an art form; there’s no topping this.

”With mingled sensations of pride and sympathy, Will put his hand on the bony complications of Harry’s thin, pale knee.”
- Michael Cunningham, Flesh and Blood, p. 305

I've decided that my "gut-check" bracket IS my bracket this year; I'm really happy with it. Thus, I'm going to spread the wealth throughout the week, rather than post it all at once. Plus, frankly, I need a couple of hours to not think about hoops.

As it would happen, that shouldn't be difficult, as it looks like we're going to war this week. The dumbass - I mean, President Bush - is addressing the nation in about 5 minutes. Reax once he's done.

Proof that good things happen to good people, and that blogs - yes, blogs - can bring people (in this case, back) together: Danny. Yay!

Sunday, March 16, 2003

If anyone knows of any gay blogs with a lot of sexual content (such as bj's, or what used to be gaydatingblog, et cetera), please let me know.

In case you're just looking for other queer blogs in general, I've added the GLBT blog/journal portal to the blogroll.

By furlongs, the single search item that leads more people to this blog than any other is Panjabi MC, or his single "Mundian to Bach Ke." That pleases me immensely.

UPDATE on the (potential) BYU mess - and those damned pods, which seem to be doing more harm than good. I rescind my earlier comments; the selection committee does appear to be pretty stupid.

First things first: as always, is the place to go for March Madness coverage. Their NCAA tournament page is up.

I think the selection committee's one major gaffe was taking Auburn over Boston College. Apart from that, sure, I could quibble with some seedings (Texas and Oklahoma, but not Kansas, as #1 seeds?) - and will quibble with them using location as a factor pitting Kentucky and Arizona, easily the best two teams heading into the Dance, in a potential national semifinal - but by and large, I think the committee did very well this year. [As for the argument for/against Alabama, who I didn't think would get in, I'll say this: everyone was adamant that Gonzaga should get an at-large bid due to their mightily impressive non-conference schedule (which included losses to Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, and Stanford). Well, you live by the sword... 'Bama played the #1-ranked schedule this season. So even at 19-11 and with a sub-.500 SEC record, I can see why they're in.]

Every year, I do what I call a "gut reaction" bracket" on Selection Sunday night. Some of these picks will change before noon (EST) on Thursday, but this is what I feel right now, knowing what I know (and don't). [Note: this isn't all-inclusive; if I skip a game, assume the higher seed wins it.]

In the Midwest, obviously Kentucky's the team to beat. Hell, in the whole damn thing. They'll roll over IUPUI and Oregon in their first two games. But in Minneapolis, I say they'll meet this year's Cinderella, #12 seed Weber State. These Wildcats have won 17 in a row and are one of only three teams this year in D-I to run the table in their conference (the others being Pennsylvania and - oh, hi! - the 'Cats of Kentucky). Wisconsin's a soft #5, and Dayton's a softer #4 than you think. In the bottom half of the Midwest bracket is the hardest game to pick in the opening round: Missouri vs. Southern Illinois. Quinn Snyder knows how to get his boys to peak at just the right time, and their run in the Big 12 tournament was gorgeous. But SIU's been here before, too - both were Sweet 16 teams last year. Mizzou advances in a tight one, going on to face (and beat) Patriot League champ Holy Cross, one of the most underrated teams in the nation, who I think'll topple a shocked Marquette. Indiana-Alabama is a fascinating matchup, and not just because Mike Davis was an assistant with 'Bama before moving north. The Crimson Tide have all but collapsed since they received the #1 AP ranking two days before 2003 began. I don't see that changing; IU's a tournament-tested team (remember last year?) and could conceivably get crimson (and cream)-hot and go on another tear. I don't think they will, but they'll advance to the second round and white-hot Pittsburgh. I love this team, I love Brevin Knight, and they should've had the #1 seed in the East. As it is, they'll have to make do with an Elite Eight appearance before falling to Kentucky.

How jubilant must Texas be right about now? Not only do they get a #1, but win two games and they get to play the in San Antonio for the South regional. That'll be the difference. Yes, T.J. Ford is a mack daddy, but place them somewhere else and I'd likely have them losing to Jim Calhoun's fabulous Connecticut squad. [With LSU coming off their win over Florida and close game with Kentucky in the SEC tournament, I anticipate they'll take care of business in the first round - which unfortunately means taking care of my Purdue Boilermakers, a #9 who probably deserve no better.]

STOP PRESS! This just in, via email from my best bud Stumpy:
[Andy] Katz just said the committee fucked up and put BYU in a regional that, if they advance to the elite eight, would be played on a Sunday. That's a Mormon no-no. They're looking at switching them with Weber State, meaning BYU would play Wisconsin and Weber State would play Connecticut. Do you think Weber State would agree to that? Which team would you rather play? [I think that fucks Weber State - UConn's a Sweet 16 team right now, period. BYU's one-and-done, period.]

Katz also said that the NCAA got confused by the pod system (not sure of his source) when they put Kentucky in the Midwest. He said something about how Nashville would normally feed into the South (old school, y'all) and that would put them on the opposite side of 'Zona. Not sure how they can get confused...they placed the pods in the regionals themselves. [I'm rolling my eyes.]

In light of this new info, I'm temporarily suspending the rest of my predix until it's all sorted out. More tomorrow as soon as I'm able, y'all.

I'm still working on my first bracket; more later this evening.

The Sooners had a tight one en route to their third consecutive Big 12 tournament title; after opening things up in the second half, Illinois didn't, beating Ohio State 72-59 to win their first Big Ten tournament. And now we just wait.

Minutes till the Selection Sunday show on CBS: 28. And counting.

Oklahoma 49, Missouri 47, final.

"You are Justin's abs, chiseled and firm, you are sexy and mysterious."
What Justin Body Part Are You?

My predix for the final two games: Oklahoma will top Missouri and nab a #1 seed for the Big 12 (I still feel that the last one should go to Pittsburgh, not Kansas), while in Chicago, Illinois will end Ohio State's last-gasp run and move up to a #3 seed with their first Big Ten tournament title.

Duke 84, NC State 77, final. The Blue Devils probably just played themselves into a #3 seed.

Kentucky, to the surprise of absolutely no one, beat Mississippi State 64-57 to win the SEC championship (just final). The 'Cats have now won 22 in a row, including 19 games against conference opponents. Who's gonna bet against 'em right now? I know I'm not. Because of, not in spite of, their early-season rockiness, KY's looking more and more like a true team of destiny. And coming off of last year's ugly season, how could you give coach of the year to anyone but Tubby Smith?

In the ACC title tilt, NC State and Duke are playing a spectacular game. Duke is up by 3 with 27 seconds left. Even if they don't pull this one out, NC State clearly deserves to be part of the field of 65 now. Fuck the bubble.

Oh, no! In this morning's edition of Bracketology, Joe Lunardi (who knows more about these things than we do, and has the paycheck from ESPN to prove it) has the Boilers in that awful 8-9 first-rounder - which of course means, win that and run into the top-seed buzzsaw. Worse yet, he has has potentially meeting Kentucky. I just want a 7 seed; is that so much to ask? [Sadly, it probably is.]

Oh, no! Lawyers need love-or-something-like-it, too. [Link via The Green[e]house Effect.]

A good read on this holiest of high holy days, Selection Sunday: Jeff Cooper on the good that can come from small schools making the move to D-I (and making the NCAAs doesn't hurt - using the school at which he's a professor, IUPUI, as the case-in-point).

Using Jimbo's taxonomy, I believe I'm a dorky geek (i.e. a geek with dork undertones, not the other way around).

Did Chrisafer's blog turn into a comedy blog when I was looking the other way?! Yet another pants-wettingly funny post, this one on the Irish and potatoes (well, Chris and potatoes).

As you can likely tell, I'm catching up on my back blogreading today. And there's a lot of it, especially considering that addaboy's been very prolific of late.

On a completely unrelated note (save for the NYC angle), I've decided that I'm just going to accept the fact that I honestly like former U.S. #1 (and new U.K. #2) "All I Have," by Jennifer Lopez featuring L.L. Cool J. Deal.

I know it's only mid-March and all, but I'm increasingly thinking that we all need to just accept the fact that 50 Cent's "In Da Club" is going to be the song that ate 2003, the all-conquering colossus akin to "Hot In Herre" last year - the major difference, of course, being "Club"'s indestructable beat. I believe the word you're looking for is "blazing."

Thanks to Toddo for bringing to my attention cool relax, a DC blogger (yet another member of the gay DC blogger mafia!) who's got a nice, soft touch with his writing. As if that weren't enough, his blog is (intentionally or not) named after a great Jon B. record. You mean to tell me you don't remember Jon B.?!

Please note how ridiculously hot SoBlo is in this photo. That is all.

Placebo's new single, "The Bitter End," is just as rockin' than much of their previous material, and just as ace (think "Every You Every Me," with a slightly more delectably sinister edge). Lead singer Brian Molko's voice is one of the most distinctive in music these days, and it's criminal that he's so unknown in the U.S. Their cover of T.Rex's "20th Century Boy" from the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack is gorgeous. Molko's vox takes me away to somewhere rainy and works me over relentlessly for an entire Sunday.

I haven't noted in a while how fucking excellent t.A.T.u.'s "All The Things She Said" is. Listen to it really loud, and bathe in the brill Trevor Horn production (and the girls' poorly phonetic English).

We all knew it was coming - even Lavin himself has known - but that doesn't make the news of Steve Lavin's impending unemployment any less unfortunate. He can rest assured, however, that he'll land on his feet. Just think: maybe he could replace his replacement...

In last night's late games, 24-8 Utah State punched their third dance ticket in four years, defeating Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo 57-54 to win the Big West championship, while a jumper with 5.7 seconds left propelled Colorado State to a 62-61 stunner over UNLV to take the Mountain West. Today's league championship games are listed below.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

I want the Kronos Quartet's 25 Years boxed set SO FUCKING BADLY. Any regular reader out there have an extra $100 lying around? [If you're looking for something more affordable, there's always Kronos Quartet Released 1985-1995.] They've been to classical music (and particularly string quartets, always my favorite ensemble in the genre) for a quarter-century as Nickel Creek are now to bluegrass: constantly pushing the form, writing their own rulebook, committing all sorts of blissful, gorgeous transgressions. Kronos are utterly, completely brilliant, and nearly single-handedly interested me in classical music (have you heard Arvo Part's Litany? Oh, my God, indeed), those geniuses. [For those wondering, what reeled me in was their '96 Howl, U.S.A.]

Addendum: Here's the Kronos website - bold, blocky type is very cool.

Remember when Rolling Stone was worth a damn? The reviews, the reportage, the articles? Well, they haven't entirely raped and pillaged what RS used to be, and here's a good example: today's must-read, from their new issue: Peter Wilkinson on the fire at the Station [Current death toll: 99. May you all rest in peace.]

I never knew before that if you hold down your "alt" key and type "0233" you get this: é. Johnny taught me that; he knows ASCII languages and is much smarter than I am.

Sashay! Chanté!

Tomorrow, the last four automatic bids go out.
+NC State and Duke will tip off at 1pm (ESPN) for the ACC crown. NC State's off the bubble, by the way. Any questions after their win over Wake today? Didn't think so.
+Also commencing at 1pm (CBS) is the SEC championship, which sees Kentucky going for their 22nd "W" in a row against Mississippi State.
+I think Kansas lost their #1 seed by losing to Missouri today; Oklahoma could pick it up by topping Quinn's kids in the Big 12 title tilt (3pm, ESPN).
+And as always, the Big Ten will be the finale to Championship Week, and as almost always, there's a surprise in the final (remember Iowa's four wins/four days rush to the crown two years ago?). This year, it's Ohio State, playing for their NCAA lives and taking on a very battle-tested Illinois team (330pm, CBS).

For the record, IF Oklahoma wins tomorrow, I say the #1 seeds go to Kentucky (#1 overall, assuming they win - and maybe even if they don't), Arizona, OK, and Pittsburgh. Kansas blew it today, Texas blew it Friday, Wake blew it today, and Marquette blew it Thursday. If OK loses to MO, Kansas gets the fourth top seed by default. And yes, thanks to losses by UAB, USC, and Temple today, the Charmed sisters of the mid-majors ("the power of three will set us free...": Gonzaga, SIU, and Butler) are, and should be, in.

Let's go around the horn and hit all of today's completed conference championship games:
+As mentioned earlier, Louisville took the C-USA crown, and suddenly are looking more like they were a month ago, and less like they were 2 weeks ago. A #4 seed, perhaps?
+They're dancing in Burlington tonight, as Vermont gets the America East bid and will be dancing come Thursday or Friday - and impressively, they won on Boston's home court.
+Hampton won't be dancing a third straight year, as South Carolina State came back from a 26-6 deficit to win the MEAC 72-67; it's SC State's first trip to the dance since '00.
+USC's surprising Pac-10 run didn't get them a dance ticket, as they were topped by suddenly surging Oregon 74-66. With the two Lukes running the show, these Ducks, despite losing 5 of their last 9 in the regular season, could be a sleeper in the NCAAs.
+Dayton looked very good beating a tenacious (and NIT-bound) Temple team at home to take the A-10 title 79-72. Another #4 seed? Could they go as high as a #3? [Don't bet on it.]
+The last time Central Michigan went dancing, they were led by Dan Majerle. Yeah, it's been since 1987, but the Chippewas changed that tonight, toppling last year's Cinderella, Kent State, 77-67 in the MAC championship.
+Enjoy that play-in game, fellas: Texas Southern improved to 18-12 after defeating Alcorn State in the SWAC title tip.
+Brevin Knight wasn't about to lose in the Big East championship a third time - so he did what he does best, which is everything. Tonight that even included what he doesn't do best, free throws (he went 5 of 6 from the charity stripe), as he helped lead Pittsburgh to their first Big East tournament title, whalloping Connecticut 74-56 at MSG.
+How happy is Tulsa about Fresno State's troubles? Because of those, they got the WAC's top seed - and were already slated to host the tournament. They made the most of it, winning 75-64 over Nevada to get their conference's bid tonight.

Before I take off: Louisville just won a very hard-fought Conference USA championship game, 83-78 over a tenacious UAB squad, and Gonzaga, Butler, and Southern Illinois all breathed sighs of relief. Meanwhile, Vermont toppled Boston U. 56-55 to take the America East crown, raising the number of first-time dancin' schools to 8.

It's about time to spend the bulk of my day road/tripping with dear Chas, which will include a ride on this (it's all about the fairies - er, ferries). In my absence, I leave you with the trusty ESPN college basketball scoreboard and the assurance that I'll return later this evening to update you on all the action (if you think we won't be listening to ESPN Radio on our trip, you must be straight trippin', boo). Enjoy the games.

But Nate, I like "Wham! Rap"! [I like "Wham! Rap '86" even more.] Yeah, the lyrics to the new Beasties track kinda suck, but I've never been a huge fan of their lyrics to start with. And the music's pretty damn fun & cool (even if I am the lone voice in the blogsphere feeling this... but it's not as good as Ratt. Unfortunately, this is not Ratt. Ratt without Stephen Pearcy is not Ratt. Got it? [You with me, Paul?]).

Conferences handing out dance cards today (all times Eastern):
+America East (Vermont vs. Boston, ESPN, on now)
+C-USA (Louisville vs. UAB, CBS, on now)
+MEAC (S. Carolina St. vs. Hampton, ESPN2, on now)
+Pac-10 (Oregon vs. USC, CBS, 6pm)
+A-10 (Temple vs. Dayton, ESPN, 6pm)
+MAC (Central Michigan vs. Kent State, ESPN2, 7pm)
+Big East (UConn vs. Pittsburgh, ESPN, 8pm)
+WAC (Nevada vs. Tulsa, ESPN2, 9pm)
+Mountain West (Colorado St. vs. UNLV, ESPN, 10pm)
+Big West (Cal Poly vs. Utah St., ESPN, midnight)

In addition, the SEC, ACC, Big 12, and Big Ten play their semis today, with championship games (and automatic bids) tomorrow, all as the appetizer to the selection shows tomorrow night. CBS unveils the brackets starting at 6pm. After you've got the teams written in, switch to ESPN for Bracketology 101 from 7-9pm.

The Madness is almost upon us...

Oh, look, the Pacers won. They're my team, and I love 'em, but pardon me if I'm underwhelmed.

It's Saturday, which in my corner of the blogsphere often means blogroll (etc.) update day. This Saturday's no different: new hitlist, albums, and (belated, sorry) blog of the week: for me, when it comes to blogs, 9 times out of 10 it's not about the content, it's about the writing. And few bloggers out there can touch the beauty and grace of Danny's writing, especially when it comes to daily life. Doesn't hurt that he's cute, as well, of course, but that's not why I read him daily, or why you should either. This week's blog of the week (change your bookmarks, he's moved to his own domain, folks) is dannyisms.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Well, I guess Syracuse didn't really want that top seed, either. [Beware of UConn in the dance, folks - this team reminds me a lot of Indiana last year. Not only do they have the talent, but they're playing for their coach. That's quite a motivation; I think they could potentially be an Elite Eight team.]

Update: Kasib Powell (triple-double) and Andre Emmett (30 points) were brilliant in the mammoth Texas Tech victory ... and the upsets just keep on coming.

If Temple has a favorite time of year, it's definitely March - because the spring thaw always seems to heat up the Owls. They proved it again tonight, taking down Xavier 63-57.

And then there's UNC, another die-or-die-trying team going for the gold. After finishing up the regular ACC season topping Duke, tonight they toppled Maryland 84-72.

...and the potential #1 seeds just keep on falling, y'all. First Marquette, then Florida, and now Texas, who were stunned (and just downright outplayed) by Texas Tech tonight, 92-81. The Red Raiders advance to the Big 12 semis, where they'll meet the winner of the OK-CO game. Good on yer, Knight.

...and yet another potential upset alert, as a fearless UNC squad is leading Maryland 72-61 with 3:08 left.

I'll be damned if this hasn't been the best Championship Week since - hell if I know when it's been this good. So let's enjoy it while we can.

Funniest blogpost I've read all week: The Tin Man takes on The First.

Those rumours about me are fiercely untrue. To wit:
+I have no "X."
+I prefer "makin' love" to "havin' sex."
+You will in all likelihood not find me "in da club."

Has there been a more gorgeously r-and-b-cum-pop confection in recent memory than Brandy & Monica's "The Boy Is Mine"? The harpsichord is perfect, the vocals are perfect, and the lyrics are perfectly suited to the song's babydivas. Mmm, like Breyer's peach ice cream.

Go Red Raiders! After that utterly astonishingly dominating first-half performance, I'm nearly ready to argue them into the big dance based on that alone. Let's see if they can finish it out.

I just discovered this excellent piece on Mary Margaret O'Hara from Perfect Sound Forever while listening to her '88 single "Body's In Trouble," an utterly genius record of her swooping, wandering vocals accompanied by time-out-of-mind (or mind-out-of-time) instrumentation that's just kind of there to augment her, push O'Hara along a bit, perhaps. Find her one and only album, Miss America, at any cost (Koch USA reissued it in '96). Download it. Do whatever you need, but get it. "Body's" is just one of its highlights. More proof that in many ways, no nation gives us (the world) classic iconoclastic women (see also: Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang) like Canada. O, Canada!

I’m repeatedly struck by the grace under pressure of Michael Cunningham’s fiction. I have yet to read The Hours; I don’t want to commit to purchasing it until I’ve read it once, first. I’ve read most of his other novels, however, and they’re grand. The utmost of them is his 1995 masterpiece Flesh and Blood, a travel through 50+ years, from Greece to the U.S., from hetero to homo, male to female, all held together by the tenacious threads of Cunningham’s prose, such as this sentence:

”Mary was assembling a rabbit-shaped Easter cake according to the instructions in a magazine, cutting ears and a tail from a layer of yellow cake round and placidly innocent as a nursery moon.”

“…a layer of yellow cake round and placidly innocent as a nursery moon.” !!! Not only is that writing so clear, so deft as to nearly render everyone else irrelevant, it’s so poetically visual. You see the cake. You think of cake. I’m also reminded of the ultimate in “nursery moon,” the book Goodnight Moon, which I read pathologically up until age 7 or so.

A good soundtrack for Flesh and Blood: Everything but the Girl’s “Good Cop Bad Cop.”

Well, it's interesting: Beyonce Knowles has recorded an answer-record-of-sorts to 50 Cent's monstrous smash "In Da Club" (with the same title). It can't fail in that it steals Dre's genius production. But all Beyonce seems to be doing is getting all Jigga-matic, talking about her fabulous life. At least her voice is easier on the ears than 50's.

I loathe the Nuge, but I love ZZ Top. And Kenny Wayne Shepherd playing with Double Trouble certainly won't be hard on the ears. So I'll probably go. I mean, c'mon, everyone needs to see ZZ once, right?

Congratulations to Sam Houston State, OT winners over Stephen F. Austin 69-66 (just final) to take the Southland title and with it, their first bid to the dance in school history. Speaking of, USA Today had a good article today about this year's rash of first-time dancers in the NCAAs. It's why they play the games - and it's why we love 'em. IT'S AWESOME, BAY-BEE! Damned right.

BIG day in NCAA conference tournament action. The stories thus far:
+Holy Cross wins the Patriot championship, 74-62 over American. I tell ya, they could be a very good bracket-busting pick, depending on the way the brackets break...
+No #1 seed for Florida this year, SEC losers to LSU. {by the way, LSU? So in the dance.]
+No #3, or likely, #4 seed for Wisconsin, upset in their first Big Ten tournament game by Ohio State, suddenly looking a little dangerous.
+NC State wasn't thinking about seeding; they were just trying to get off the bubble, and likely did so with their 17th win of the season over GA Tech in the ACC.
+Don't call it an upset, but Mizzou took down OK State in the Big 12 on a tremendous buzzer-beater.
+Basically everyone else who should've won, did. Except, um, my Boilermakers, who didn't help their seeding any with a 54-42 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarters.

[How's that, Chris? My anniversary gift to you and Ang is, well, this.]

Oh, it's Friday, what the hell: a double must-read today. This one from swish cottage, a harrowing tale of what can happen if your debts go unpaid. In South Africa. In the early '90s. Guess what? You go to prison.

Today's must-read is actually from yesterday's Virginian-Pilot, our fine local paper. As part of their series of articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ACC, Ed Miller writes about a time when black players had to go elsewhere to play college basketball. Superb reportage and writing; even if you don't care about basketball nor the ACC (and I'm certainly no ACC fan - Big Ten, baby!), you should read this article.

Eww. I just made the mistake of downloading Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" He's normally an artist I respect - last year's "I Miss My Friend" was heartbreaking - and I was curious to hear "Forgotten," as it's racing up the Billboard country singles chart at un unheard-of rate (already #9 in just its third week). Unfortunately, my worst fears are realized; this song is as jingoistic and blindly flag-waving as Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." or any of Charlie Daniels/Hank Jr.'s "patriotic" anthems. I practically expected to hear Worley use a word such as "towelhead" by the time I was halfway through the song. This isn't "Courtesy of the Red White & Blue" or "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly" - those were well-written songs with sincerity and a deft touch behind them. "Forgotten" is the worst imaginable kind of "patriotic" hokum. Disappointing and appalling.

My bad; the MEAC and SWAC championship games are tomorrow. But today we crown champs in the Patriot League (watch out for Holy Cross - assuming they win on their home court, they could be a serious sleeper in the dance) and the Southland.

And how dumb is K-State's Pervis Pasco?

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Blogger fatigue today, sorry. Here's the NCAA conference tournament scoreboard (highlights: Arizona and Marquette lose, Texas Tech and Indiana win). Here are the new Billboard charts (50 Cent #1 in everything). And to your left is the blogroll, and my archives. Enjoy. Back to our regularly scheduled programming within a day or two.

Speaking of JBR, today's must-read is her musical reminisces of her childhood, and is stellar, stellar writing.

Fuckin' A! technicolor is back! Awwright! [Thanks to the ever-lovely JBR for the tip-off.]

Dancing after last night: Wagner from the NEC, and the Big Sky's Weber State. Beware the latter, bracketeers: they've not only won 17 in a row, but along with Kentucky and Penn, ran the table in their conference - and could be exceedingly dangerous.

No conference tournament championship games tonight; the SWAC and MEAC, among others, are Friday, with most of the majors either Saturday or Sunday.

Days till Selection Sunday: 3.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Must-read: Marcello on brit/pop-life. Fucking genius. Time for bed.

Well, THIS is certainly interesting - or should I say could be interesting - and more-than-a-bit unexpected... (from

Sean "P. Diddy" Combs will perform his first dance track, "Let's Get Ill," in tandem with vocalist Kelis on March 19 at the second DanceStar awards, to be handed out at Miami Beach's Lummus Park. Diddy's appearance is a precursor to the summer Bad Boy release of a full-length album of dance music, inspired by visits to Spanish dance music hotbed Ibiza. According to a spokesperson, the set features collaborations with Deep Dish, Felix da Housecat, and Nellie Hooper, among others.

Nice to see that a few musicians have the balls to stand up and be counted as anti-war - and I mean doing more than monetary contributions and signing petitions (though those are important, too). John Mellencamp did it, and now the Beastie Boys have now recorded an anti-war song available for free download from their website. It's the first new Beasties material in 4 years, as well (since Hello Nasty) - and it's awfully good. Hope for a brand-new full-length later this year, y'all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Ladies and gentlemen, your tax dollars hard at work (by the U.S. House of Representatives, natch). [Link via bj.]

Say hello to Western Kentucky... again, winners of the Sun Belt after topping Middle Tennessee State 64-52 tonight. And not only did UW-M get their first dance card punched this evening, so did IUPUI (that's Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis), champions of the Mid-Con, who beat Valparaiso by a deuce, 66-64.

DEE-fense! That's how the 'Nova women won tonight, that's how UMW beat Butler, and it's what's being played in the Mid-Con (IUPUI leading Valpo 30-28) and Sun Belt (Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State tied at 23) tournament championships, both of which are at halftime.

It wasn't even a game tonight in the Horizon League championship game, as Wisconsin-Milwaukee shot out to a 14-0 lead over Butler and never looked back. UWM won the game 69-52, topping the Bulldogs for their first D-I tournament bid ever (that makes three first-timers, for those keeping score at home, even if you're alone). Butler should get an at-large bid, but with Gonzaga and Southern Illinois fellow mid-majors on the bubble, will the selection committee take three such teams? They should, but whether they will or not is another matter entirely.

Update: here's the Associated Press account of UConn's historic win.

at last, as promised:

Best singles of all-time, 1970-2002**
1971: “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” Rod Stewart
runner-up: “Theme from Shaft,” Isaac Hayes
runner-up: “What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye
1972: “Girl You Need a Change of Mind,” Eddie Kendricks
runner-up: “Do You Want To Dance?,” Bette Midler
runner-up: “Walk on the Wild Side,” Lou Reed
1973: “That Lady (Part 1),” Isley Brothers
runner-up: “Abandoned Luncheonette,” Daryl Hall John Oates
runner-up: “Let’s Get It On,” Marvin Gaye
runner-up: “Personality Crisis,” New York Dolls
1974: “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe,” Barry White
runner-up: “Help Me,” Joni Mitchell
runner-up: “Jazzman,” Carole King
1975: “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything,” Barry White
runner-up: “Magic,” Pilot
runner-up: “I’m Not In Love,” 10cc
runner-up: “Walk This Way,” Aerosmith
1976: “Lowdown,” Boz Scaggs
runner-up: “Let the Music Play,” Barry White
runner-up: “Moonlight Feels Right,” Starbuck
runner-up: “Lonely Boy,” Andrew Gold
1977: “God Save the Queen,” Sex Pistols
runner-up: “Peg,” Steely Dan
runner-up: “Aja,” Steely Dan*
runner-up: “The Killing Of Georgie (Part I and II),” Rod Stewart
runner-up: “Lovely Day,” Bill Withers
1978: “When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You,” Marvin Gaye*
runner-up: “FM (No Static At All),” Steely Dan
runner-up: “Last Dance,” Donna Summer
runner-up: “You Belong To Me,” Carly Simon
1979: “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick,” Ian Dury and the Blockheads
runner-up: “Good Times,” Chic
runner-up: “Broken English,” Marianne Faithfull
1980: “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Joy Division
runner-up: “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Jones
1981: “”Your Imagination,” Daryl Hall John Oates
runner-up: “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” Daryl Hall John Oates
1982: “Easy For You To Say,” Linda Ronstadt
runner-up: “Poison Arrow,” ABC
1983: “Sexual Healing,” Marvin Gaye
runner-up: “That Girl,” Stevie Wonder
1984: “How Soon Is Now?,” the Smiths
runner-up: “I Would Die 4 U,” Prince and the Revolution
runner-up: “The Glamorous Life,” Sheila E.
1985: “Sun City,” Artists United Against Apartheid
runner-up: “Slave to the Rhythm,” Grace Jones
runner-up: “Into the Groove,” Madonna
1986: “Kiss,” Prince
runner-up: “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” the Smiths
runner-up: “Experiment IV,” Kate Bush
1987: “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” the Smiths
runner-up: “The Pleasure Principle,” Janet Jackson
runner-up: “U Got The Look,” Prince
runner-up: “Strings of the Strings of Life,” Rythim Is Rythim
1988: “Bring the Noise,” Public Enemy
runner-up: “Teenage Riot,” Sonic Youth
runner-up: “Left to My Own Devices,” Pet Shop Boys
runner-up: “Welcome to the Jungle,” Guns ‘N Roses
1989: “Fight the Power,” Public Enemy
runner-up: “Disintegration,” the Cure*
runner-up: “Keep On Movin’,” Soul II Soul
1990: “Vogue,” Madonna
runner-up: “Drive That Fast,” Kitchens of Distinction
runner-up: “de-luxe,” Lush
1991: “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” Geto Boys
runner-up: “Unfinished Sympathy,” Massive Attack
runner-up: “Only Shallow,” My Bloody Valentine
runner-up: “Romantic,” Karyn White
1992: “Sexy M.F.,” Prince and the New Power Generation
runner-up: “Erotica (Masters at Work Underground Club Mix),” Madonna
1993: “Outside Your Door,” Me’Shell Ndegéocello
runner-up: “Jazz (We’ve Got),” A Tribe Called Quest*
1994: “The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get,” Morrissey
runner-up: “Flava In Ya Ear (The Bad Boy Remix),” Craig Mack featuring
the Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Rampage and L.L. Cool J
runner-up: “burn (from Natural Born Killers),” nine inch nails
1995: “Soul Searchin’ (I Wanna Know If It’s Mine) (from Higher Learning),” Me’Shell Ndegéocello
runner-up: “Creep,” TLC
runner-up: “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By
(Puff Daddy Remix),” Method Man featuring Mary J. Blige
1996: “Born Slippy (NUXX),” Underworld
runner-up: “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder),” Maxwell
runner-up: “Funkorama,” Redman
1997: “It’s All About the Benjamins (Remix),” Puff Daddy and the Family featuring
the Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Kim and the LOX
runner-up: “Bachelorette,” Björk
runner-up: “Runaway,” Nuyorican Soul featuring India
1998: “Music Sounds Better With You,” Stardust
runner-up: “Are You That Somebody? (from Dr. Doolittle),” Aaliyah
1999: “You Get What You Give,” New Radicals
runner-up: “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay (Thunderpuss 2000 Club Mix),”
Whitney Houston
runner-up: “Race For The Prize,” Flaming Lips
2000: “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” D’Angelo
runner-up: “B.O.B.,” Outkast
runner-up: “Tempermental (Wamdue Project Remix),” Everything But The Girl
2001: “One More Time,” Daft Punk
runner-up: “Get Ur Freak On,” Missy Elliot
runner-up: “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow,” the Soggy Bottom Boys
runner-up: “Bootylicious,” Destiny’s Child
2002: “Work It,” Missy Elliot
runner-up: “Angel Boy,” Tim McGraw

*Okay, it wasn’t actually a single. It’s my list. Deal.
**I wasn’t actually born until December of 1970, so I can't possibly remember that year's singles.

HUGE! the biggest story in college basketball tonight isn't a scandal, nor is it anything to do with the men's game. the connecticut lady huskies' streak of 70 consecutive wins - the longest ever in women's ncaa play, and the second-longest in ncaa history (behind ucla's 88) ended tonight as uconn was stunned by villanova in the big east tournament championship, 52-48. 'nova's defense was stifling, and they nailed free-throw after free-throw when it counted down the stretch. congratulations, lady wildcats.

and don't feel too bad for uconn. whatcha wanna bet they don't lose again this season, and make it a second consecutive ncaa women's basketball championship now?

must-read of the day: johnny's vaguely disturbing story of getting hit on at pottery barn. hilarious.

for another perspective on the madness, steve smith over at condredge's acolytes is updating you on all the automatic bids as well.

finished that best-single-of-each-year project yesterday, and then of course left the disk which it's on at the office. it'll be posted later today.

four more schools got their dancin' shoes on last night by virtue of winning their conference tournament championships, and three went as expected, giving added hope to bubble teams across the country (as did georgia's self-imposed withdrawal).
+unc-wilmington makes a return trip (remember their shocking upset of usc last year?) after taking the caa. america, time to say "hello" again to caa player of the year brett blizzard.
+manhattan has been one of my sleeper picks for a good month now. apparently, head coach bobby gonzalez agrees:
"We're a dangerous opponent in the first round,'' he said. "Mark it down. No predictions. Mark it down.''
I love coaches willing to make ballsy statements like that. and he's right. they took care of business in the maac tournament, have a 23-6 mark, and are dancing for the first time since '95. pencil 'em in as a 14th seed, and 3rd seeds, beware; I don't think you're ready for their jelly.
+in case there were any of you still doubting, creighton is in. they should be a five seed, but as we all know, the committee has trouble with seeding (see: gonzaga last year). southern illinois, meanwhile, is hoping not too many people watched them get blown out in the mvc championship game and are still crossing their fingers towards sunday.
+speaking of the 'zags, oops! time for gonzaga to sweat just a little bit, as they lost the wcc final to fiesty upstarts san diego, in for the first time since '87. the 'zags have got a very dance-worthy profile, which means minnesota's probably sweating a little more right now.

three more teams will be celebrating tonight - and at least one more will have a very nervous next five days - as the horizon (butler should already be in, but learned last year that nothing's certain for a mid-major without an automatic bid - and don't think wisconsin-milwaukee's not thinking of that, as well), mid-con (I'm rooting for valpo, of course, but am thrilled that no matter what, another indiana team makes the field tonight, as their opponent is iupui [indiana-purdue indianapolis], gunning for the first appearance in the madness ever), and sun belt (time for western kentucky to deliver on all that early-season promise; middle tennessee state hopes to be the derailers) all play their conference championship games this evening. can you feel the madness spreading? my brackets are primed and ready to go, as am I.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

must-download of the day: john mellencamp's website has a free download of his reworking of woody guthrie's "from baltimore to washington," with new lyrics about the prez and his dirty little war. it's from john's forthcoming album (tentatively set for may), which is largely a collection of folk, blues, and country covers. if "to washington" is any indication, it should be superb.

of course I'm overanalyzing and putting too much thought into it - that's what I do - but before day's end I hope to have my favorite album and single of each year (since my birth) up. while you wait, read through the lists (and some of the extraneous comments) over at ilx; they're worth it.

and as always happens, make that two must-reads for today: you've gotta read chrisafer's kfc stories. (almost) pants-wettingly funny.

roger avary is a writer, director, and producer, and has been involved in the films pulp fiction, killing zoe, and last year's the rules of attraction, amongst others. and he has his own blog! not only is it fascinating reading, it's essential if you're interested in the way the film biz moves and shakes. let's just call his entire blog today's must-read. [thanks to keithers for the link.]

paul loves ratt! who knew?
[confidential to paul: I always thought "way cool jr." and "lay it down" were pretty rockin', too.]

addendum: I've changed the second song listed above (after "way cool jr.") three times since the original post, and you know why? 'cause ratt were an awfully good fuckin' band, harnessing the poppy charm of metallic (metal-ish?) hard rock with excellent hooks, riffs, and stephen pearcy's personality - he was always one of the few hair farmers who screamed "star!" (along side folks like jon bon jovi and poison's bret michaels and c.c. deville). so I'm coming out of the closet as a ratt fan. deal. recommended, alongside the classic out of the cellar, is their hits collection, ratt & roll 8191, which really has nary a dud. chewy hooks and melodies, solos for the air guitarist in you, and great sing-along choruses.

ratt's greatest singles (not mentioned above, or by paul):
+"wanted man" (has always sounded slightly sinister to me - it's those guitar chords at the beginning of each verse, I think. back in '84, I liked this better than "round and round")
+"round and round" (duh!)
+"dance" (simple and to-the-point, like great rock singles are)
+"you're in love" (not a ballad, but an underhanded compliment)

r.i.p., guitarist robbin crosby (he passed away from complications from aids last year). lead singer pearcy's reportedly shopping a tell-all akin to motley crue's the dirt, and heaven knows (like the motley boys) he's got the stories to tell.

another surprise in the uk chart today is the debut at #35 by the first ever top 40 single for cradle of filth, "babalon a.d." now, black-death metal isn't normally my thing, even remotely, but this is a refreshing blast of rancor and bile, the kind of true metal that shows slipknot for the pussies they actually are. reminds me a bit of pitchshifter without the electronics, or godflesh without the glacial tempos.

more proof that, sometimes, the brits have better taste than the yanks: new at #38 in today's new uk singles chart are would-you-believe-it? the bangles with "something that you said," and here's the real surprise - it's gorgeous. a gently shuffling, but not wimpy, pop-rocker, with susanna hoffs sounding as lovely as ever, and - staying true to themselves - a mini-guitar solo (that's a mini-solo, not a solo played on a mini-guitar). deserving of mass airplay over here in the states, as well, which means it'll get soundly ignored, which is a shame.

saw bowling for columbine last night with chas. very, very good film - I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but it's one of the greatest documentaries I've ever seen, and if you have any interest in the way the u.s. is such a gun-happy nation (or the whole matter of gun violence), go! go! go! if there's any justice, michael moore will win the oscar for best doc - but knowing the academy, he'll probably lose to another film about either a) holocaust survivors, or b) the vietnamese. how great will his acceptance speech be if moore does win? mmm...

in other conference tournament action:
+butler and wisconsin-milwaukee did what they were supposed to do in the horizon league semis, both advancing to tuesday night's championship, to be played at butler's beloved hinkle fieldhouse.
+unc-wilmington isn't a bubble team - it's win or go home (or to the nit) - but they advanced to today's caa semis, where they'll take on delaware.
+manhattan, one of the best mid-majors this year, tips it up with niagra this afternoon in the maac semis.
+top seed valparaiso plays chicago state in the quarters of the mid-con tournament today.
+wagner's in the semis of the nec tournament, where they battle quinnipiac this afternoon.
+in the patriot league, top seed holy cross (at-large! at-large!) gets bucknell in the semis, today at 5.
+western kentucky advanced to tomorrow's sun belt semis, but co-top seed louisiana-lafayette was upset last night by denver.
+and finally, gonzaga - who need their automatic bid this year like they maybe haven't in a while - have a midnight date with st. mary's in the wcc semifinals.

in case you missed the mondo day in college hoops and don't have time for all the highlights on sportscenter, andy katz has you covered with his wrap-up.

lyric of the day:
"I've got a face that's made for violence and porn."
- marilyn manson, "disposable teens"

...and then there were five, as penn made it into the dance last night by virtue of their 69-52 win over cornell. the quakers have won 14 in a row, y'all, and could go as high as a 13th (or maybe even 12th?) seed - potential problems for their first-round opponent.

here's the story from on east tennessee state's dance bid. meant to post both of these last night, but had to defrag my hard drive, which of course took about 5 hours.

in his "100 things," I just learned that marty can't ride a bike, either. that makes him the first person I've ever - um, not quite met, but you know what I mean - who shares this with me. brotherman!

Saturday, March 08, 2003

they're celebrating in johnson city, tennessee tonight as east tennessee state earned their berth in the field of 65 this evening, topping tennessee-chattanooga 97-90 to take the socon (a/k/a southern conference) title.

and within an hour or so we could have a fifth team booking their trip to the dance, as the only conference without a tournament, the ivy league, could crown their champ tonight. if pennsylvania wins their contest against cornell tonight, they'll lock up the ivy title (even with one more game to go, tuesday at princeton), and with it an invitation to the dance. now has stories up on the winners in today's first three conference tournament championships: troy state, unc-asheville (expect them, with a 14-16 mark, in the tuesday night play-in game), and austin peay (whose return to the ncaas means we get to hear the greatest chant in all of college sports: "let's go peay [pronounced 'pee']!").

you have no idea how many endorphins are zinging about my body right now...

the next set of invites goes out on monday, when four more conference tournaments crown their champs: the caa (colonial athletic), the maac (metro atlantic athletic - I pronounce it "maaaac," like a braying goat), the mvc (missouri valley), and the wcc (west coast). for your viewing pleasure, all of monday night's games will be on espn, save for the caa, which is on espn2.

and the governors of austin peay are the third team in, courtesy of a 63-57 victory over tennessee tech in the ohio valley conference championship. this is the governors' first trip to the dance since '96. and will any team have a better nickname/mascot - the governors?!

linkin park's "somewhere I belong" succeeds where most fail - they've actually got a genuine rap-rock hybrid (even if on this single the rap content is mostly limited to a few scratches), and their dual-singer call-and-response thing works, as well. but it's certainly no "hurt" or "what we do."

kentucky hasn't lost yet in 2003, has won 20 games in a row, and made it a perfect 16-0 in the sec today, winning at florida, 69-67. right now, I'd take these wildcats over those from the pac-10.

say hello to unc-asheville, the second consecutive school today to win their conference tournament championship and make the dance for the first time, ever. unca were winners over radford in the big south, 85-71.

ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you troy state, the first team to punch their ticket to the 2003 ncaa men's division one college basketball tournament. they just defeated central florida 80-69 in the atlantic sun tournament championship to get their first ever trip to the big dance - and let me tell you, this will not be an easy first-round opponent. tsu is very capable of getting as high as a 14th seed, with a 26-5 mark and an rpi of 71 - not to mention that they're hot like fire, coming in to the dance winners of 14 of their last 15.

next ticket to be punched will be from the big south, where unc-asheville and radford, both major upsetters last night, are on the hardwood right now (live on espn2). in fact, you could do worse than to simply set up camp in front of the deuce all day - at 4pm (est), it's the ohio valley championship game pitting tennessee tech against austin peay, followed by the southern title tip, in which tennessee-chattanooga takes on east tennessee state (who upset college of charleston last night - yep, they are '03's ball state! enjoy that nit game, kids).

oh yes, it's the most wonderful time of the year... can't you just hear andy williams? there's the big dance, and preceding it there's championship week, and then there's everything else.

marty at mental fog box has posted his best singles of '03 so far, and damned if he doesn't nail 'em. and what he says about "what we do" is much more succinct than what I said. nice.

must-read: not that I love seeming like a corporate shill, but in case you missed it in magazine form (sarah michelle gellar cover), entertainment weekly published a really fine profile of sonic youth last week as part of their "the greats" series profiling "popular culture's modern masters." can't really argue with that, can you?

lyric of the (20th) century:
"guess who's back in the motha------' house/with two big tig ol' bitties fa yo' mouth"
- da brat, "heartbreaker (remix)" (mariah carey)

Thursday, March 06, 2003

today's must-see: the largest plane in the world, stuck. over an interstate. in the city of my residence. and cars were still able to drive underneath it! glorious photo.

the bizarre case of the st. bonaventure quitters just gets potentially weirder...

from's weekly singles charts roundup:
"The Modern Rock Tracks chart is also home to an unlikely entry from a veteran country artist. Johnny Cash's version of Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt' debuts this week at No. 34 on the tally, marking his first-ever entry there. The track debuted last week on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart at No. 56, but falls off the 60-postion chart this week."
and the hits just keep on coming...

addendum: johnny cash has a top 5 album on the country chart. in 2003. 'nuff said.

I've got a sister coming to visit for the next two days, so blogging may be greatly reduced. in the meantime, check the blogroll, enjoy the archives, and give new radicals' maybe you've been brainwashed too a couple spins. that is all.

today's must-read: a superb story from the virginian-pilot (my excellent local newspaper) about spring training, as seen through the eyes of two men in very different positions.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

why does blogger keep fucking with my sidebar-cum-template? has anyone else had problems publishing?

he's getting a ph.d in pure mathematics, which means he's likely smarter than you. he's completely obsessed with rugby. he's a personal friend of jimbo. and he's part of the d.c. metro-area blogger mafia.

ladies and germs, I give you corey, a/k/a mathgeek, and his confluence of nescience, this week's blog of the week.

well, that was interesting. what's with the time limit, though? I was going to post the wkrp in cincinnati theme (by steve carlisle, I know, no sane person knows that), which I love and have an mp3 of, but I ran out of time. so you got what you got, which is what I gave. you get what you give, I guess. now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

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