This is why they call it March Madness

Were you surprised?

Did you watch any college basketball this season? It’s been chaos from the word go, and this weekend was no different. Living to see the day a 16 seed beat a one was good enough to call it a great weekend (especially when that 16 seed was from the America East conference!), but put a dozen other upsets and my old friends from Syracuse the mix, and the weekend hits epic status.

Still can’t get over the Orange, the team that didn’t even deserve to be in the tournament.

Bluebloods pulling off upsets is just par for the course anymore.

Tourney begins among other things

It’s always football season in D.C.

Even among March Madness, Spring Training, Champions League games, and cherry blossoms, it’s always football season here.

Yesterday D.C. fans were treated to the first public visit/commentary from Alex Smith, new quarterback of our local football team (that would be the politically-incorrectly-named Redskins). Other deals and signings dotted the news this week as well, making us forget that there’s, you know, Madness out there to see. (Upstate New York still going strong, by the way, with Buffalo’s upset win over Arizona last night.)

It’s not all seashells and balloons coming out of Ashburn, though, remember. Those balloons come with a price. A story in my local Loudoun Times-Mirror (a weekly rag I’m liking more and more) reminds us Loudouners of the price we pay for Skinsmania. The story points to the financial burdens placed upon the City of Richmond, hosts of Redskins training camp, and how it adversely affects Richmond taxpayers. Lest one think this is simply a Richmond problem… “Loudoun drinks burgundy-and-gold Kool-Aid too.”


“As part of an unusual eight-year marketing deal [signed] in 2012, Loudoun’s supervisors agreed to pay $2 million to the NFL team, which practices and has its headquarters in Ashburn. In exchange, the county received “marketing assets” (their italics) that brand Loudoun as the corporate home of the Redskins in on-air mentions, advertisements and news releases, and on the backdrop that appears behind speakers at the team’s news conferences.

“The county also received special access to events at Redskins’ practice facility in Ashburn, pregame field passes, club-level game tickets and the use, one game a year, of a FedEx Field premium suite, which county officials used to entertain business leaders and prospects.”

Must be nice.

And I’m still waiting for my invitation to the premium suite.

It’s (already) on

March Madness is already here. I used to think the play-in games were kind of a waste, but I’ve taken a greater liking to them in recent years. Last night I was treated to victories from teams (sort of) representing my new and old homes. Yeah, Redford isn’t really that close to where I am now and Olean, New York, isn’t that close to Binghamton, but you get the idea. Still felt good, especially, to see the Bonnies win. Let’s see if upstate New York can make it two for two tonight with a win from the Syracuse Orange.

Disclaimer: This blog does not condone Syracuse being in the tournament in the first place. But we’ll take it. 

This is the new fad

You read it in The Washington Post. You read it in the Costco members magazine. You heard about it from @moconnelljr. The latest yuppie status. It’s not driving a Prius or drinking raw water.It’s chicken farming.

You know… chickens. Like, having chickens cooped up in your backyard. Literally cooped up in your yard. Or closet or whatever you can afford in the city.

According to the Post chicken men are ponying up big-city money for their hobby. Unlike farmers of yesterday or modern authentics, status farmers pamper their birds and don’t mind sharing what spend. Then put it on social media so everyone knows how hip you are.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to try to jump in on the next crazy fad.

This blog now has a friend

Nothing makes you feel stupider than taking that online Jeopardy! test. But you knew that, because you were following @moconnelljr, my new Twitter handle. Yep, I’ve entered the world of Twitter. (Seven or eight years after everyone else did.) I’ll still be posting here Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but for your daily (or hourly) fix of all things MOC, check out this thing called the Twitter.

See ya there!

Jeopardy! test tonight

It’s that time of year. The day when I start out feeling pretty smart, then end it feeling not so much. No, not for my NCAA Tournament bracket… it’s time for the online Jeopardy! contestant test!

Why do I subject myself to this?

Well, you never know.

It’s not to late to sign up.. head here and join me tonight in feeling silly.

Pizza-football marriage is no more

Last week we heard that Papa John’s pizza–the ubiquitous sponsor of NFL football–would no longer be affiliated with said sports league. Both parties seemed to agree the parting was mutual, and for once actually I believed that old line. Each entity has become too toxic to also carry the toxins of the other. Race, politics, head injuries, money… nobody wants to be involved with all that. First mistake made by John Schnatter (that’s “Papa”) was opening his mouth at all about the tenuous connection between NFL anthem protests and slumping pizza sales. (I think this exacerbated the situation and put Papa John’s in the undesirable position of unofficial pizza of Skinheads and, well, undesirables.)

It all started with slow pizza sales.

Anyone ever think that it might just be their pizza is bad?

This date is for memories and politics

The date March 2 means only one thing for me. This was the day, 12 years ago, that I lost my best friend for all eternity, Joe Sullivan, killed in an automobile accident at the age of 23. I’ve talked or written about this event a thousand times, and I’ve described how I’ve felt over the past dozen years just as many. I’ve often wondered (maybe you’ve wondered too) when I’d be able to say I’ve come to peace with it. Not over it, of course, for one could never be “over” such a thing… just at peace with it.

Nope. Never. I’m just as mad about it today as I was in 2006. More mad probably. I think of everything I would have told Joe or done with Joe. Ballgames, movies, life events. Nope. None of that. Missed every single one.

There’s a saying in the theatre that says the show must go on. Life goes on too. You know what else goes on? Silly ideas from politicians. I continue with this post, changing its macabre tone to a lighter one thinking this is what Joe would have wanted.

You are no doubt familiar with the controversy involving Delta Airlines and the State of Georgia. That the Georgia legislature would end its sweetheart with Delta if the airline stopped giving discount airfares to NRA members. (These things are never about politics or “gun rights” or anything like that… they’re about money.) Seems as though this has come to bear. Following public pressure upon Delta (and every single American business) to cut ties with the NRA or to stake out new, more anti-gun political stances (by the way I’m completely fine with this), the airline giant cut its affiliation with the NRA. What followed was the passing of a new tax measure ending the lucrative tax break Delta (and other airlines) were receiving from the state. (“Leveling the playing field” no doubt… ha!)

So with Delta at odds with the State of Georgia and faced with losing a big chunk of the estimated $38 million in yearly tax breaks airlines were once receiving, other states started chomping at the bit. My own governor, a certain Dr. Northam, tweeted at Delta (that’s how you do it these days): Hey @delta–Virginia is for lovers and airline hubs. You’re welcome here any time. Let me translate: We’ll give you some of our taxpayers’ money!!!

Come on, Doc. You don’t want to appear desperate.

With news like this, who needs fiction?

I’d love to talk to you about this one, Joe.

Wizards up, Beacats not so much

My hometown Washington Wizards keep rolling along (nice road win against the Bucks last night), though in my original hometown things don’t look so good. What else is new?

The 2017-2018 basketball season ended last night for the Binghamton Bearcats with a loss to instate rival Albany. The loss locked up a last-place finish in the America East Conference and closed the Bearcats out of the conference tournament. (There are nine teams and the top eight make it. Talk about insulting.)

For a further discussion… head here.

Wizards keep rolling

Talk around Washington these days centers on one question: Are the Wizards actually better off without John Wall?

It seems preposterous. Wall’s their best player. He’s an all-star. A Wall-star. The face of the franchise.

But he’s been out the past 12 games with an injured knee, during which time the Wiz are 9-3. That includes wins over Cleveland, OKC, and Toronto. (The Raptors, by the way, have the best record in the Eastern Conference.) One of those losses was an overtime loss to Boston, previous owners of the best record in the east. (I know, I know, it’s the Eastern Conference, but still.) The Wizards have found some February magic without their Wall-star, last night beating the Philadelphia 76ers, who’d come into the game winners of seven in a row. It would be a cliché to say they’re “playing like a team” without their star, but, well, yeah.

The Wizards have four of their next five games at home before a month-long final push to the playoffs. Sometime in there Wall is going to come back, and one hopes the magic is still there.

The phrase we’re using is “everybody eats.”

Grab a fork, John.