March 20, 2011



Awesome first weekend of basketball, despite the fact that Michigan State was eliminated on the first day for the first time in three years. (And, yes, I felt a little like this kid when they lost. Not because they deserved to win, but because they could have been so much better this season).

Anywho, a look at our leader board tells us that it's still pretty close. Here's the top ten:

01. Chase (50 pts)
02. Mark (47)
T-03. Will (46)
T-03. Jared (46)
T-05. Jack (44)
T-05. Tim (44)
07. Zach (43)
08. Tony (42)
T-09. Joe (41)
T-09. Sean (41)

Just for the heck of it, let's take a look at how many Sweet 16 teams each person still has left, along with their final four picks. An asterisks next to his or her national champion:

Chase — 11 (Kentucky*, San Diego State, Kansas, Kansas State)
Mark - 9 (Ohio State, Connecticut, Kansas*, Pittsburgh)
Will - 9 (Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas*, Pittsburgh)
Jared - 9 (Ohio State, San Diego State, Purdue*, Pittsburgh)
Jack - 10 (Ohio State*, Connecticut, Kansas, BYU)
Tim - 9 (Syracuse*, Duke*, Purdue, Wisconsin)
Tony - 7 (North Carolina, Texas, Purdue, Pittsburgh*)
Joe - 8 (Ohio State*, Connecticut, St. John's, Notre Dame)
Zach - 8 (Ohio State, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh*)
Sean - 10 (Ohio State*, Duke, Kansas, Pittsburgh)

As you can see, Butler's win over Pitt basically ruined everyone's final four. Only one person in the top ten (and, indeed, only one person in the whole pool) still has all four final four teams left.

But I won't brag.

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March 18, 2011

Third Round Roundup


At the end of the second round we now have a pretty tight leader board forming. Here's the Top 10:

01. Mark
02. Chase
03. Tony
04. Will
05. Jared
06. Zach
07. Tim
08. Drew
09. Joe
10. Jack

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March 14, 2011




It's March again, and you know what this means: No, not spring or nice weather (at least, not for those of us that live in the Midwest... not quite).

No. Actually, I'm talking about brackets. College basketball, of course.

This year, we here on The Sad Bear are doing something for it, and we want you readers to challenge us.

This isn't because we think we're smarter than you. In fact, most of us probably aren't. I, for example, am picking that team wearing green to go to the Sweet Sixteen despite the fact that Sparty has had a terrible, underachieving season this year and can't hang on to the damn basketball. Chase is working on the misguided notion that Kentucky is going to beat Ohio State and go to the final four. I'm sure Mark has been dreaming about Arizona winning the the national championship even before he found out that they were a No. 5 seed.

In other words, we're mostly homers. But we still like basketball (most of us) and even when our team gets upset in the first round we still love watching every single game.

So, if you think you can beat us, join our group on the NCAA's "official bracket challenge" (trademark, probably). Even if you don't think you can beat us (you probably will) and know nothing about basketball (really, you have a good chance), you're invited.

Send me an email at jackhitts [at] gmail [dot] com by Tuesday and I will officially invite you to the group.

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March 8, 2011


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "(I'm) Stranded"
Artist: The Saints

Stumbled across some "No Thanks!" tracks the other day, and this one hit the spot. Something about Aussies and loud music just feels so right.

Song: "Can't Seem To Make You Mine"
Artist: The Seeds

Analysis can only harm The Seeds. So I'll just say that while in New York, I saw a man that looked like Peter Manto, and love of this song is the greatest connection that he and I share.

Song: "Everyone's s VIP to Someone"
Artist: Great Ceasar

Song: "Underground Sound" and more
Artist: Adventures in Stereo

The stone-washed female harmonic vocal styles here prompt an immediate comparison to those of fellow Glaswegian Frances McKee of the Vaselines. But Adventures in Stereo deals in a different kind of rawness -- the right angles and minimalist appeal of the Vaselines wash away into a pillowy aural landscape where Pet Sounds instrumentals meet the Wall of Sound. I haven't heard the whole album yet, but the sampling leads me to expect something that shares inspiration with projects like Elephant Six's Major Organ and the Adding Machine, while drawing on the listenability of 60s psychedelia. Note: This YouTube clip features several tracks (in order I assume) from their self-titled album debut, starting with track one, "Underground Sound".

Song: “99 Luftbaloons"
Artist: Nena

Song: "Big In Japan"
Artist: Tom Waits

It's one of Tom Waits's catchier songs. What's with the paintings in the youtube slideshow?

Song: "Blue Eyes"
Artist: Destroyer

"I sent a message in a bottle to the press. It said, 'Don't be ashamed or disgusted with yourselves...'"

I'll try to make this my last Destroyer post for a bit. I read that he's touring with the eight-piece band with whom he recorded the album. So that should be, you know, awesome.

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March 6, 2011

It's raining here.

Since the beginning of the week, I've dipped into the writings of men such as Clifton Daniel, James Reston and Tom Wicker. Introduced to this cadre largely from the works of Gay Talese, I've found myself browsing many of their pieces, and those of other prominent 1930s writers, on seemingly ancient newspaper fronts. The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Charles Lindbergh landing, etc.

It's become a sort of rewarding form of catharsis I'd never forecast for myself -- looking back through these old accounts, beyond the curtain of new journalism and into the industry's rich history. The details in some of these stories have left me speechless. Literally, without speech. In many ways, this silly "discovery" is almost as exciting as my most recent accomplishment, having made my way through all nine seasons of The X-Files (see: brilliant).

I decided to begin today with a newspaper (I say this with full transparency: I normally wallow in bed on the weekends until around noon). I didn't anticipate it to become a three-hour experience, but, in hindsight, it was completely worthwhile. If you're interested, I'd suggest giving these a read:

* Talk Doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns to Drug Therapy
* Discovered: The Happiest Man in America
* Hairnets, Yes; Fried Foods, No
* Off the Catwalk, the Battle for Hermès
* For the Brewers’ Axford, It’s Closing Time
* Fan Helps Game Designers Open Doors in Virtual World
* Now Just a Muggle, With Song and Dance
* The Billionaire Who Is Planning His 125th Birthday
* Nightshade Is Growing Like Weeds

I've omitted the good stories I've read so far today about the conflict in Libya. It would appear that much of their coverage has been updated online since press time yesterday evening.

It's raining here, and it couldn't be better.

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