Big 5 contest brings it

Instant classic last night from the Palestra in Philadelphia, with the Quakers of Penn defeating the Wildcats of Villanova, 78-75.

Notable? Yeah, the Wildcats hadn’t lost a Big 5 game in more than six years. Two national championships in that span.

College basketball gets no better than this:playing for city pride. Basketball’s a city game, no? Played in the Cathedral of College Basketball.

Just another Tuesday night in December.

This is why I love Christmastime.

It’s not rocket science…

From Wednesday’s Washington Post: “New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Service Commission voted Tuesday to set a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers, marking the first time a government in the United States has imposed wage rules on ride-hailing companies.”

Concern for the downtrodden this is not.

Government-backed monopolies (is that redundant?) have always supported legal wage increases and price floors in every industry for hundreds of years. Why? Fear of low-wage competition. Competition that, in this case, seems to be doing it cheaper and better than the existing vendors.

This isn’t politics. This is science.

Nevermind the “unruly gig economy,” as described by one “executive director” in the article (apparently no actual economist was available for comment), this is thinly-veiled protectionism. Not of the worker, but of an inefficient industry.

Noting this and stepping away is reason number 5,747 why being a scientist is a million times better than being an activist politician.

Home Alone mystery

Forget the Redskins. They’re toast. The entire DMV has already moved on. So let’s talk about Christmas.

The most burning question on the Internet these days is What did Kevin MacAllister’s dad do for a living that would have him afford that mansion and a trip for nine people to Paris?

Seriously? Have you never seen a John Hughes movie? Everyone is rich, and it’s all a total mystery how anyone affords the way-better-than-what-you’ve-got lifestyle.

Or just chalk it up to the magic of the season.

And don’t question a classic.

‘Skins on Monday Night

Gotta love the parity of the NFL. The good teams aren’t so good and the bad teams aren’t so bad, right? Ditto divisions, and what’s arguably the league’s worst division (the NFC East) now has an interesting playoff race. The Cowboys and Giants this week put pressure on tonight’s participants: the defending champions versus my hometown team. The ‘Skins have generally been disaster in primetime, but the thing is… you never know.

Even the bad teams…

Christmas is coming

Just need to make it through today. And then it’s here. December is upon us, following that cruel calendar trick that brought Thanksgiving to us way too early.

Tomorrow begins for me, among other things, 25 days of watching Christmas-themed movies and TV shows. My general rule is don’t watch anything produced in a year beginning with 2. My one exception? Bad Santa, probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time. I call it “new,” but even that one’s 15 years old now.

When my students and I discussed Christmas movies today not a single one of my 11-year-olds had heard of it.

Thank God.

I don’t hate everything… this movie was great

Months ago I put a movie called Book Club in my Netflix queue. Released in May I had completely forgotten about it until it showed up at my house a few days ago. I figured if First Wives Club was funny this one would be too.

It’s not First Wives Club at all. It’s not man-hating or over-the-top girl power or anything like that. Yeah, the men in the movie are pretty one dimensional, but the women are actually compelling as characters and move the story forward. Plus they’re funny. And no one is taking this too seriously.

Ten of the most well-known actors of the past 40 years or so top the bill (yes, you read that correctly) and everyone hits his or her mark like someone who’s 40 years into a great acting career. Resting on laurels? Not really. There’s a sincerity in each role that goes beyond your average chick flick.

The film is directed by Bill Holderman. Who’s Bill Holderman? Alexa doesn’t even know. Guy doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. He’s gonna be our generation’s Garry Marshall if he can put together movies like this one. He and cowriter Erin Simms bring us quick, witty banter that is worthy of Nora Ephron. Dare I say Ephronian.

There’s a plot in there somewhere. Several actually. But it’s all about the people. Little stories. Their stories. Our stories. And you realize your life isn’t as weird as you thought it was.

Or maybe it is and you’re actually in a movie.

Hope it’s directed by Bill Holderman.

Weak end to weird show

I finally got around to seeing the final season of House of Cards this weekend. This is the show that I used to watch an entire season the first weekend it dropped.

It got weird the last few seasons. Weirder still without Kevin Spacey. And a weak end to an increasingly weak series.

But I just had to see how it ended.

And now I have.

Black Friday

I’ve never been involved in a “Black Friday” sale. I can barely handle shopping on a Tuesday afternoon; I’m not doing it with a bunch of clowns in the middle of the night.

My plan today?

Newspaper, leftovers, sports, repeat.

Actually that’s every day of my life.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.

IHOP brings it with Grinch-themed menu

I have never seen the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Won’t see the new version either, out in theatres now so I’ve heard.

Don’t need to. I’ve seen the 1966 cartoon and nothing could possibly top that.

Green pancakes and green hot chocolate, however, at IHOP? Yes, yes, yes. My take? Two green thumbs up.

And the world just keeps on getting better.