D.C. sports train rolls on

Gotta love a night in which my local pro hockey team (that would be the Washington Capitals) puts up a great win on the road and my local pro basketball team (that would be the Washington Wizards) is playing a Pacific Time Zone opponent so weak I can file this story even before the game’s over!

The Madness has arrived

It took a week and a half and about 50-some games but the NCAA Tournament found its mojo this weekend, producing the magic to which we’ve become accustomed each March.

Let me for a moment brag and report that my beleaguered bracket, so miserable looking after last weekend, produced not one but two teams in the Final Four. Okay, they were both #1 seeds, but we all know that strategy is hardly a lock.

Looking to next weekend, I am filled with anticipation.

Dear Lord, give us a Carolina-Carolina final, please. Or at least Gonzaga-Oregon. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a geographically-amusing finale.

After March Madness I like an Amusing April.

Midnight madness

There was a time, in my youth, in which I’d have appreciated basketball games beginning at nearly 11:00 and ending long after midnight.

Actually, I still do appreciate such.

Just… not… the next… morning.

Guh.

Red no more

A page-one story in Sunday’s Washington Post describes Virginia as a “purple state.”

I live here… it’s about as purple as the Jolly Green Giant.

The way I’d describe Virginia is a red state with an embarrassing blotch of dark blue at the top, and unfortunately that blotch blotches out the lower 95 percent of the commonwealth where real Virginians (read: real Americans) live. The blue blotch is where Beltway types and various overpaid government employees and contractors live alongside five or six of us who’ve actually traveled through flyover country.

This was one of the many things I didn’t realize before moving here but discovered quickly upon crossing the blue border into enemy territory.

Trouble is the government types are spreading like locusts across the state.

The real part of the state.

Dear Lord, please don’t let us become another Maryland.

Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

chuck-berry_0

If I’m ever so fortunate to have a front-page story about my death in The Washington Post, please do not let the headline read: “Exuding the dangerous appeal of rock music.”

Huh?

How about “Rock God passes to other side of mortality,” or something like that. It’s difficult to sum up deities in so few words.

Perhaps no one described the life of Charles Anderson Berry better than John Lennon, who once opined, “If you tried to give rock-and-roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’”

There are literally thousands of other musicians of much greater caliber and renown than I who have called Chuck Berry this and that and the patient zero of rock and the man who got them started, etc., etc. Let me add no more. The thing I have said for years is that if I could go back in time and perform with any musician, living or dead, any band, any act, any setting, I would choose Chuck Berry in about 1956. Getting to play piano with Chuck Berry singing and playing guitar. That’s my dream gig.

I should have included Chuck Berry on my Mount Rushmore of persons born in 1926 who’ve been at their current gigs for waaayyy longer than anyone might have thought (see “Royal birthday”). Chuck was still performing as of very recently, and in fact will have a new album released posthumously later this year.

And through the magic of recorded sound, of course, the Man will never really be gone, right?

Gods have a way of doing that.

You heard it here first

First snowstorm of the year on March 14? Thanks for proving me right, Mother Nature.

About a year and a half ago I posted on this site my theory that a year is not 365 days but more like 367 or 368, and that we’ve gotten off track to the point that we’re now off by several months. It’s actually only December or January right now, so you may still have some more winter to go. You can read the entire text here.

Love being right all the time.

March is now here

Brackets are out, snow is in the forecast… yes, March is really here.

And was that me watching the end of the Rockets-Cavs game last night? Scoreboard watching?

Don’t look now but my hometown Wizards are but two games out of first.

This is why we keep on living.

Late nights

Both of my local pro teams are on western road trips these days, making for late nights of TV watching and consequently grumpy mornings.

Tough break? No. I considerate it good practice for several weekends of late night college basketball games, starting…

Now!

Robert Osborne, 1932-2017

The modern world has so few truly classy people left among its ranks, and Monday it lost one of the classiest: Robert Osborne.

Himself an actor and then author, Osborne will be remembered best for his role as presenter on Turner Classic Movies, the cable channel somehow still popular in an era in which one can view pretty much any movie at any time on any device. Why would anyone wait to see a movie on TCM instead?

Robert Osborne.

Like hearing your name pronounced by a great sports broadcaster or perhaps by St. Peter, you wanted your movie introduced by Robert Osborne. Sort of a cross between Dick Clark, Robert Redford, and Vin Scully, Osborne brought warmth, good looks, geniality, and an encyclopedic knowledge of films to audiences on TCM for more than two decades. One of his finest hours came in 2015 at the 20th anniversary of TCM, a retrospective at which I marveled and subsequently chronicled here.

In 2014 Mr. Osborne said in a New York Times interview that he was often approached by strangers who told him he got them through tough times. The movies were an escape for them, just as they had been in the ’30s and ’40s. Perhaps movies have always been an escape for us, there when we need them and still there when we don’t.

And thanks to the many, many hours he spent recording what he did best, Mr. Osborne, though no longer presenting live, is still there when we need him.