Tuesday, March 31, 2009

XRT Learns Its Lesson

I have railed, in private and on TEH INTERNETS, about the stupidity of having a British band headline the XRT Free Fourth of July Concert, aka the Independence Day concert, aka the day we declared freedom from the British.

After several years of American artists (like Counting Crows, Indigo Girls, Wilco, Moby I think*, John Mayer), last year XRT chose Gomez as the headliner. It must have pained the organizers to see two Texas favorites, Alejandro Escovedo and Old 97’s, thrill the crowd for two hours, which then headed en masse for the exits. I’ve never seen so many people leave before a concert is over.

Pictorial representation of the crowd between Old 97's and Gomez, Petrillo Bandshell, approx. 5pm, 7/4/2008.

Apparently XRT has learned from its mistakes, however blatantly stupid they are: This morning Lin Brehmer announced this year’s headliner: Mr. Buddy Guy!

Yes, Buddy Guy, who was born in Louisiana and resides right here in Chicago, Illinois. Buddy Guy, who plays 20 or so shows every January at the club he owns in the South Loop, Buddy Guy’s Legends. Buddy Guy, a real hometown hero. Take that, limeys.

Now THIS is a man you want headlining a Chicago concert in honor of America.

To celebrate properly, here’s Buddy Guy’s classic from 1991, “My Friend, You Are Absolutely Fucking Correct That I Indeed Have the Blues,” a title shortened by censors and editors down to “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues.”

Click here to play “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues.”

If you prefer Buddy with pictures, here's a Youtube of "Five Long Years."

* I think he played, not I think he's American. He’s from New York NY which despite its worldly feel is technically part of America.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BPK: The Results

Here are the results from the Thursday/Friday games. I was luckier than last year, in that I didn't have any Elite Eight teams already eliminated. But would that help me in the battle against the cat? (Click the links to review the rationale.)
Sweet 16: Man vs. Wild(cat)
MatchupMPF PickQuigley PickActual Winner
Louisville vs. ArizonaLouisvilleArizonaLouisville
Kansas vs. Michigan StateMichigan StateMichigan StateMichigan State
UConn vs. PurdueUConnPurdueUConn
Missouri vs. MemphisMemphis MissouriMissouri
Pittsburgh vs. XavierPittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
Villanova vs. DukeDukeVillanova Villanova
North Carolina vs. GonzagaUNC UNCUNC
Syracuse vs. OklahomaSyracuseSyracuseOklahoma

I got five ... he got five. I failed to beat the cat. Sigh.

As for the next round: I have Michigan St., Duke, UConn and UNC in the Final Four. The cat picks gigantic head (Spartans) over birds, cats (Tigers) over dogs and whatever the hell a Tar Heel is over a nondescript modifier.

Now, to the Big East Battle Royale, Pittsburgh vs. Villanova, Panthers vs. Wildcats. Since both are in the cat family, we had to go back to the source this morning. After direct questioning failed (his blinks and stares were nonconclusive), we went to the toys.

I set out two wiffle balls, identifying the first as Panthers and the second as Wildcats. He walked over and sniffed the Wildcat. TM cheered prematurely. I said, hold on! ... Quigley walked over the Panther, sniffed it, then batted it around. That's a winnah. (This is important because if Pitt beats Nova, I am in a good position to walk away with this.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Return of the Bracket Pickin' Kitty

Good news! I got a little quality time with my furry friend, and we discussed this weekend's Sweet 16 games. So I'm pleased to announce the return of the Bracket Pickin' Kitty!

Oracle Kitty: "I'm back."

One note: in the interest of speed (and my own laziness), I'm not chasing down logos of the teams that didn't make the Sweet 16 last year, so I'll ad lib.

Let's get to it. Here are the Thursday and Friday matchups:


(12)ArizonaThis is the guy they got to replace Lute Olson as coach.

MPF analysis: Arizona was lucky to make it this far (and yes I did pick them to get to this round), but Louisville has too much talent. This looks to be a blowout.

Quigley: Cardinals are birds...boo. I'm going with the Wildcats.

(3)Kansas vs.
(2)Michigan State
MPF analysis: I am surprised by the young Kansas team, who has performed better than I thought. I expect a good battle from a veteran Spartan team with lots of inside strength.

Quigley: Birds vs. gigantic head man. No way I'm picking the birds...Spartans for me.


This guy is kinda....husky.



MPF analysis: Although Purdue won the Big Ten tournament, I don't think they've faced a team as tough and deep as UConn. Hasheem Thabeet is an absolute monster on defense.

Quigley: Huskies vs. Boilermakers. Dogs vs. another gigantic head man. What is with the big heads in the Big Ten? Well, anything is better than a dog: Purdue.

Wildcats, Tigers .... same cat family.


MPF analysis: Just like last year, Memphis cruised through a super-soft conference schedule and is trying to make a deep run in the tourney. Missouri is back in the Sweet 16 after the Quin Snyder years.

Quigley: Now this is my kind of matchup ... Tigers and more Tigers! The only downside is kitties will have to lose. (MPF note: Okay, this is seriously how we decided this one. I said, Quigley, do you want Missouri or Memphis? He looked up at me. I said, Missouri? He kept looking at me. I said, Memphis? He wandered away. So...) Mizzou Tigers.




MPF analysis: I don't know much about Xavier from the A-10, but Pittsburgh has a great inside-out combination in Sam Young and Dejuan Blair. They beat UConn twice.

Quigley: Panthers vs. Musketeers. Sorry mustache man ... I'm sticking with my kitties.

Consider this a warning for anyone who picks Pittsburgh...

(2)DukeDuke, Dick ... close enough.

MPF analysis: Yet another Big East-tested team in the Sweet 16, facing off against Coach K and his latest band of scrappy Dukies.

Quigley: Wildcats vs. Blue Devils. I am a black-and-white devil, and that's close, but c'mon. I can't pick against Wildcats!


(1)North Carolina



'Zaga, Zima ... close enough.

MPF analysis: Most people's pick for national champ, UNC features Tyler Hansborough and a hopefully healthy Ty Lawson. Balanced, deep and experienced. Gonzaga has floppy-haired sharpshooters from the Pacific Northwest (I'm assuming so at least).

Quigley: Tar Heels vs. Bulldogs. Don't know what a Tar Heel is ... my paws are white. But I can't pick a dog, my sworn enemy. So Tar Heel it is.


Yeah, that's Herbie. Nebraska Oklahoma whatever. I'm lazy.

MPF analysis: Oklahoma stormed through the Big XII behind stud Blake Griffin, but he has battled injuries. This year's 'Cuse team survived that incredible six overtime game and is a heckuva lot of fun to watch.

Quigley: Orangemen vs. Sooners. Hmmm. Don't know what a Sooner is. Sooner than what? I like colors, and I like to chase round balls down the hallway, so let's go with the big orange thing.

The Bracket Pickin' Kitty has spoken! Enjoy the games, and check back on Saturday to see how he did.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Time to Hang It Up, Fella

I was thumbing through the alumni notes for my undergraduate alma mater and saw something unusual. The alumni notes are not the first thing I read--in fact, this edition is dated "Fall 2008." But one of the first items, in the section for graduates of the 1930s, was this:

David Twombley FA'36, GR'68, Urbandale, IA, is now retired.

Holy hell I hope so! It's only been 72 years since he got his bachelor's degree! Is this what we, the Social-Security-paying-into generation, have to look forward to?

Who to Root Against

The tournament starts up again tomorrow, so let's check out where we're at.

Believe it or not, I'm still in the running for the thirty bucks that goes to the winner of my pool. That is the beauty of playing smaller pools, I guess: fewer people means higher odds of actually finishing first. But because there have been so few upsets this year, I need everything to go my way, and the people ahead of me to fail.

So let's figure out who to root for (or more importantly, AGAINST) in the next round of the NCAA tournament. Remember: there's thirty bucks on the line, and we all know what thirty bucks buys.

Or this.

Matchup: Louisville vs. Arizona
My Pick: Louisville
Rooting For: Arizona. Unlikely to happen, but a Louisville loss knocks out "Reigning Champ" 's national champ pick. That would obviously deny her a ton of points, and create an easier path for Michigan State to the Final Four where they belong.

Matchup: Kansas vs. Michigan State
My Pick: Michigan State
Rooting For: Michigan State. They are a Final Four team. Need the points.

Matchup: UConn vs. Purdue
My Pick: UConn
Rooting For: UConn. They are a Final Four team. Need the points.

Matchup: Missouri vs. Memphis
My Pick: Memphis
Rooting For: Missouri. The second place player, "Bracket Ninja," picked Memphis as a national champ. I need them/him to go down as quickly as possible.

Matchup: Pittsburgh vs. Xavier
My Pick: Pittsburgh
Rooting For: a good game. I just want Duke to advance. I suppose Xavier would be an easier opponent for the Dukies (see below).

Matchup: Villanova vs. Duke
My Pick: Duke
Rooting For: Duke. They are a Final Four team, but also because I have a side wager that very well may boil down to this game. My worthy opponent (aka blog co-author) picked Nova to win it all.

Matchup: North Carolina vs. Gonzaga
My Pick: UNC
Rooting For: UNC. My national champs.

Matchup: Syracuse vs. Oklahoma
My Pick: Syracuse
Rooting For: Cuse. Reigning Champ picked Oklahoma all the way to the finals.

I'll touch base with the Bracket Pickin' Kitty to see if he's interested in a return engagement. He's currently napping on the couch, but I think I can get a word with him later. If so, look for a return of the spooky Oracle kitty picture.

We don't have a webcam here at TMMPF.com, but a real-time picture of the Bracket Pickin' Kitty would look something like this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Bracket Sucks

The tournament starts tomorrow (wrote this last night, posted today). I already hate my bracket.

First of all, allow me my Al Bundy moment. Every year I try to recapture the glory of 1991, when I picked 15 of the Sweet 16, 8 of 8, 4 of the Final Four and the two teams in the championship (picked the wrong winner ... I think the teams were Duke and UNLV, can never remember who won/who I picked). Over the years I have come close ... oh, OK fine I've hardly ever come close. Hell, the novice I advised will probably do better than I.

Yoda makes his champion pick known.

I'm a believer in a Bracket Of Integrity, a term popularized in 2008 by two guys both named Mike who have a radio/TV show. I realize it's all guessing anyway, but if I had it to do all over again*, this is what I woulda done:

Pay more attention to injury reports. I'm not revealing who my national champion pick is (OK, it's the same as the president and everyone else in the country), but oh by the way the point guard has an ouchie toe. There's enough talent on the team to survive without him for a game, maybe two, but ultimately his lack of health, even if he plays, will catch up to the Tar Heels.

Actually look where teams are playing. I've learned from football and previous March Madnei that travelling across the country wears on even the most talented athletes. East Coasters in California, West Coasters in the East, anybody from this side of the Mississippi in Boise--it's a recipe for disaster. Someone on this list is going down: Utah or Arizona State in Miami; Marquette, Xavier or Florida State in Boise; UCLA in Philly.

If you want to mock my bracket, it's right here ... as long as you're willing to reveal your own for mocking.

Boy my overlapping passions of sport and music make this so much fun.

Finally, one question: Finley, how far do you have Binghamton going? And can you find Binghamton on a map?

* Even though technically I COULD do it over again, I don't believe in multiple brackets. Besides, changing your answer is death, because then you kick yourself when your original pick pulls out the victory.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Party With Paddy

I can't believe it's here already, but Saturday is St. Patrick's Day (Chicago Observed), which means the annual downtown parade. I moved to Chicago in 1999, which means my first parade was probably 2000. Which means this year is the tenth anniversary. Which means we're partying hard, people. Hopefully no cats will get sick this year, so I'll be live and in person for this year's parade.

Quigley feeling his Irish.

Here's the deal. If you are a FOB (friend o' the blog) you know where we live. If you want to caravan downtown with us, be here before 10:30. If you want to start your day with a "MPF Special,"* come over a little earlier, about 10am. The parade starts at noon. We're leaving at 10:30 to get a decent spot on the parade route. Afterwards we're going to our traditional post-parade lunch spot, so have a good breakfast and/or a MPF Special*. After lunch we head back up north for unspecified activities and frivolity. No one knows what will occur. Maybe you'll steal a cop's hat. But I can tell you this, to paraphrase a recently viewed dumb movie: There Will Be Beer. Oh, and keep your eye out for any molesting Irish rabbits.

What, you think I was speaking figuratively?

More info on the city's website here. My favorite part of this site was that it recommended the parade for "multicultural Chicago enthusiasts." I guess that's one way to describe me.

Finally: Longtime readers know my distrust of monarchy. However there is one day in the year I will acknowledge a royal authority, and so bow down to honor your 2009 St. Patrick's Day Queen.

* --my co-author loves it.**
**--that's not dirty. Other guests can have one too.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Nation’s FM Radio Surrenders, Agrees to Play U2 All Day Tuesday

WASHINGTON (AP) – Program directors for America’s FM radio stations agreed late Sunday to turn over the airwaves on Tuesday to superstar band U2, which apparently has a new album coming out.

“It is important to let the people know about this record, and the best way is to play U2 nonstop (Tuesday),” said Adam Stevenson, president of the National Radio Directors Association (NRDA), in a press conference this morning. “I guess the Fray and Clapton and Sheryl Crow will have to wait until Wednesday.”

Lead singer Bono declares victory over all other bands.

The all-day assault has been dubbed “U2sday” by the NRDA and Interscope Records, the band’s record label.

“We’re very excited to play The Horizon Line, the latest five-star effort from U2,” mumbled Jeffery Walhlberg, program director for WHFD in Hartford, Conn., shuffling the papers in his hand.

“I don’t even see what the big deal is,” he continued. “They aren’t even American, they are from Dublin Irel—” before being physically dragged off the stage by a representative of Interscope.

Stacey Alberts of Bozeman, Mont., hears something about "boots" playing incessantly.
The decision to acquiesce came just before midnight Eastern time on Sunday, allowing for a 24-hour publicity blitz on Monday.

“We recognize the outcome is a difficult one for many of our loyal listeners,” said Carolyne Dipesto, music director for alternative punk station WBZZ in Burlington, Vt. “However, it was best for the interests of the nation. Besides, these guys rock.”

Classic rock stations went a step further, announcing “U2-fer Tuesdays” on their stations.

“We’ll be here all day, playing rock blocks of your favorite … well, of U2 at least,” declared disc jockey Bobby Steele of K-Rock (KRQK-FM) in Wichita, Kans. “If you hear a one-fer of, ah, anybody, I guess, be the third caller on the Rock Line and you’ll win a prize from our Rock Vault. Probably a copy of that new U2 CD.”

In a related move, the nation’s four largest wireless carriers announced a gesture of solidarity with the FM radio stations. Sprint-Nextel, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and AT&T said that on Tuesday, all text messages with the words “you,” “ewe,” “too” or “to” must be rendered as the single character “U” or “2.”

Exempted from the pact were the nation’s AM radio operators. In a prepared statement, they said were happy to provide a safe haven for America's radio listeners from the U2 onslaught, and that they would have traffic and weather together next after a word from their sponsors.