Saturday, April 2, 2016

Double Dribble

Here We Go

I'm not sure if you're still supposed to call it "March Madness" now that April has arrived, but let's not quibble. The culmination of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament begins tonight with semifinal games pitting Villanova against Oklahoma and North Carolina against Syracuse.

I've made no secret of the fact that last weekend's Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games didn't exactly
go my way.

Iowa State and Gonzaga lost in the Sweet Sixteen, and Notre Dame lost in the Elite Eight. That means I'm down to just one Catholic institution for whom to root. All of the secular schools I like are done now, and the ones that are left are among the institutions I usually enjoy rooting against.

I'll be rooting for the Villanova Wildcats in part because they're a Catholic institution, in part because they crushed the hopes of the hated Kansas Jayhawks last weekend, and in part because they're more or less a "local" school for my best friend, who lives near Philadelphia.

Of course, the only reason I pay much attention to college basketball is because it helps pass the time until Opening Day of Baseball Season.


Yes, promised, I waited to say anything more about the UC Irvine Anteaters until their season concluded, so as to avoid jinxing them.

The 'Eaters reached the finals of the Tournament, an impressive feat considering that they had to play on their opponent's home floor in every round.

Although their season ended Tuesday night with
a 73-67 defeat at the hands of the Columbia Lions, they had a fine season overall and have every reason to hold their snouts high...

"'Eater Pride Worldwide!"
There you go...

One More Day

Stadium scoreboard upgrade
Speaking of Opening Day, my beloved Kansas City Royals open their defense of the World Series Championship at Kauffman Stadium tomorrow night against the New York Mets, the team they defeated in five games to win the title. Big fun!

The game will be featured on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball telecast, and will offer a rematch of the World Series Game 5 starting pitchers...

Teenage Soundproofing

From the droll comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

When British-American band Fleetwood Mac went into the studio in February of 1976, they were looking to record a successful follow-up to their 1975 album Fleetwood Mac, which had spent more than a year on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, including more than nine months in the Top 10. It reached No. 1 on the chart on September 4, 1976.

Even under the best of circumstances, musical artists often find it extraordinarily difficult to reproduce that sort of popular success, and these were hardly the best of circumstances. Everyone in the group at that time was involved in considerable emotional turmoil, including divorce, infidelity, and substance abuse. Somehow, despite all of that, they managed to not only follow up their previous success, but to vastly exceed it.

Rumours was the album the group produced, and it became an immediate sensation, dominating radio airplay for more than a year after its release. Stories about the tumultuous personal lives of the band's members certainly had something to do with the record's success. All of its songs were viewed through the lens of the band members' romantic entanglements. It was great drama.

On April 2, 1977 Rumours reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. It stayed in that spot for two weeks, then was replaced for five weeks by The Eagles' Hotel California album. It resumed the top spot on May 21 and held it for 27 of the next 28 weeks. It was, in short, a cultural phenomenon.

Rumours received the Album of the Year Grammy Award in 1978, and went on to sell more than 40 million copies. It is currently No. 8 on the list of best-selling albums of all time.

For all of that success, though, the album produced just one Billboard No. 1 single, "Dreams." It would be the band's only No. 1 single in their long and hugely successful career. Even today, that seems odd to me.

Today's send-off is the 2013 remaster of the original album track. Enjoy...

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