This is too big to ignore

Canceling major conferences, assemblies, and sporting events for fear of the coronavirus outbreak is one thing, but when they get rid of… studio audiences for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!?

Whoa.

These are the smart people, right?

Makes you think.

The Cap’n is still #1

This past Saturday was National Cereal Day.

(Every day around my house is National Cereal Day.)

To celebrate, our friends at CNN rank-ordered some of our favorite childhood breakfast cereals according to sugar content, following criteria established by the government’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.

(Yup. That’s a thing.)

Number one worst offender for sugar?

That would be…

Ye ol’ Cap’n Crunch!

Still #1 after all these years.

Outside the bubble

The America East Conference Tournament begins tomorrow, and for the second time in three years does not include my Binghamton Bearcats. There are nine teams in the league, and only the top eight make the postseason tournament.

Only eight out of the top nine.

That’s just insulting.

Can’t we even, like, flip a coin with the eighth-place team or something?

Rock-paper-scissors?

Mascot dance-off?!

Anything!!!

I’m around for it

March 2 is not a happy anniversary for me.

It was this day, 14 years ago, that I lost my best friend for all eternity, Joe Sullivan, in an automobile accident.

He was 23.

Neil Peart has said that time is a great healer. But you’ve just got to be around to let it happen.

I’ve been around. I’ve been around for 14 years.

I’ve never really come to accept Joe’s death or anything like that, but I’ve had some good times in those 14 years.

Definitely had some good times.

And most importantly, I’ve been around.

The “E” stands for entertainment

Tonight my kid’s school is having a fundraiser at our local Chuck E. Cheese’s.

I’ve been going to Chuck E. Cheese’s for over 30 years, and I still think it’s one of the most fun places on Earth. (The “E” stands for entertainment. No joke.)

Of course, it’s more fun if you’re a kid.

Why?

Because it’s the place where a kid can be a kid?

No.

Because when you’re a kid…

it’s free.

If you live long enough, you see it more than once

I love seeing Goliath knocked down a peg.

Alabama, the Patriots, cable TV.

Duke basketball.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest take down the #7 Blue Devils last night, not only for the moment itself but for the nostalgia it sparked in yours truly. It was a dozen years ago (can it be that long?) I saw Wake Forest take down #2 Duke on its home court, prompting the only storm-the-court frenzy I’ve ever been involved in personally.

Yeah, most of the players in last night’s game were six years old at the time.

But I’m still cool.

John Pizzarelli comes to town

It’s always dangerous to see someone do what you do, especially if that person does it way better and more successfully than you do it.

Watching John Pizzarelli play the Great American Songbook is such a danger, though one well worth the risk.

I had the opportunity last night–no, yesterday afternoon– to see John Pizzarelli and his trio, a King Cole-esque confab of piano, guitar, and bass, play at the Keystone Korner Baltimore, a relatively new “jazz restaurant and bar” in Charm City’s Inner Harbor. Five o’clock start time on a Sunday, no doubt to accommodate a senior crowd and guys with little kids. Well, one guy who wanted to be home in time to tuck his kid into bed. “Good afternoon,” is something a jazz musician never says, quipped Pizzarelli at the top of the show, though once the lights were up on stage it didn’t matter if it was five o’clock, ’round midnight, or a-quarter to three. It was showtime, and damn it was a show.

John Pizzarelli is one of the last links to the true American Songbook, a book popularized by Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and a 94-year-old guitarist who taught young John everything he knows. That would be “Bucky” Pizzarelli, John’s dad, patriarch of the Pizzarelli clan and of, one might say, jazz guitar itself. John makes reference to his dad often in his set, sometimes with reverence and sometimes with humor. Sometimes with both.

The set list included the usual array of standards and ballads and showtunes, nothing you haven’t heard before but maybe haven’t heard in a while. Of course there was “How High the Moon” and “Honeysuckle Rose” and, surprise, a thoughtful rendition of “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught,” from South Pacific. This is, apparently, a cut from a forthcoming album John produced and on which he plays, set to hit shelves and cyberspace later this week. It’s called American Standard. The artist? One James Taylor. Because eventually everybody covers the Great American Songbook.

Thanks for coming our way, John Pizzarelli. And to the folks at Keystone Korner… keep swingin’.

This is what passes for a problem ’round these parts

Front-page headline from yesterday’s LoudounNow, the weekly rag distributed in my adopted hometown: “Loudoun Leaders Target Lower Housing Costs as Top Priority.”

Sometimes you just don’t even know where to start.

And yes, you know you’re living in a wealthy area when a top priority is to make property less valuable.

First, the word “cost.” Housing “costs” are going to be lower? Our “leaders” somehow possess the ability to lower the means of production. Might as well lower the sea levels while we’re at it too.

I suppose what Loudoun “leaders” seek to do is lower the prices of homes in the county. The people who sell houses are just setting the prices way to high, and apparently tricking people into paying them.

I’m reminded of the old Yogi Berra line, probably the most beautiful of all Yogi-isms: It’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore.

To address this issue, county supervisors have created what they call the “Unmet Housing Needs Strategic Plan.” (I swear I am not making this up.) Agencies involved in the planning of this plan include the Department of Family Services, the Loudoun Human Services network, the Commission on Aging, and the Disability Services Board. (Yeah, I’m just scanning the article for names of agencies.) It reminds me of Will Rogers once said: I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.)

Short version of the story: property around here has just become too valuable, and we’ve got to do something about it. Where everyone else in the world is trying to make his property better, we might try the opposite. I guess shutting down that Silver Line should be our first priority because you know what? That’s only going to make it worse. I mean better. No… worse. I’m not really sure anymore.

Coming next week: a list of items I think are too expensive that I want my county legislature to magically reduce the price of.