Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Madness 2011: Nature Bracket III, Part Deux

Since I wrote the first post on this year’s NCAA tourney, the following craptacular events have transpired:

1. Blogger, the website I use for this blog, has been working against me. I post things. Then, given my careful eye for detail, I go back into my post to proofread and revise. At this point, the malevolent Blogger formatting demons wreak havoc on what I’ve done, changing alignments, removing hyperlinks, and even re-ordering paragraphs. Bizarre s—t.
2. I tried to navigate the labyrinth that is health care claims and payments. Fail.
3. I attempted to schedule an appointment to get Luke’s passport for our cruise this summer. This required seven phone calls. For real. Finally got it nailed down, but for real… why so difficult?
4. The printer didn’t work. That isn’t all that catastrophic, but it was an annoyance in that, “C’mon, really? What else can go wrong?” kind of way. And by the way: I strongly recommend you NEVER ask that question. Life will provide you with an answer, such as…
5. There’s a claim filed to my insurance for a three-week long hospital stay for Luke. Do you recall blog entries about Luke's agonized three-week stay in the hospital in January? I don’t either. I’m confident we won’t be financially responsible for it, but it’s just something else to keep an eye on.
6. And, the cherry on top of the poo sundae: today, some broad in New York went to several Banks of America in posing as me – using, I might add, a Texas driver’s license with my address on it and my social security number – trying to get cash. She failed, but if you’ve experienced identity theft before, you know that I have spent hours and will continue to spend hours investigating, changing accounts, filing a police report, etc.

What the hell, Universe?

To add to my general pissed offedness and disillusionment, after the first two days – first REAL days, mind you, none of this mamby-pamby “First Four” crap – my Nature Bracket looks like this:

I haven’t seen that many red X’s since that 80s game show “Press Your Luck.”

For real, World. NO MORE WHAMMIES. Seriously.

So, here’s my dilemma about the West, Southwest, and Southeast regions: To post, or not to post? That is the question: Whether 'tis better for the writer to suffer the fault and error of her outrageous picks, or to take keystrokes against this sea of misses, and by opposing, fix them? To halt, to blog no more… (Why yes, I am teaching Hamlet this six weeks. Thanks for noticing.)

I guess the best way to fight back against the past few days’ outrageous (mis)fortunes is to go ahead and blog the good blog. In that spirit I give you… the ultimately futile, but still (hopefully) funny final 75% of my NCAA Nature Bracket!

The West
So let’s break it down: out of 8 winners, I chose 2 correctly. If it’s all the same to you, I’m not going to devote much time to this area, m’kay?

I did choose 1 Duke over 16 Hampton because Duke’s mascot is a Blue Devil. Now, Hampton’s is a Pirate, which is certainly a formidable adversary among the human mascots. BUT what equips pirates with their innate wiliness? DEVILS. Gimme Duke!

You’ve GOT to pick 8 Michigan’s Wolverines over 9 Tennessee’s Volunteers. Wolverines > Altruistic People Performing Services for Free. Duh.

And now, my failures: I went with 12 Memphis over 5 Arizona. Tigers are heavier than and ultimately stronger than wildcats.

I took 13 Oakland’s Bears over 4 Texas’s Longhorns, not just because of my bias against UT, but because I really did think about it. While a longhorn may have a size advantage over the bear, every time I see Bevo on TV, he looks Matthew McConaughey-stoned. Easy pickings for a violent, voracious bear.

Tiger favoritism continues: I took 11 Mizzou over 6 Cincy Bearcats. Another FAIL.

14 Bucknell are BISON, which I thought was cool and would overtake a Huskie. And it would in nature. But in the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.? Not so much.

10 Nittany Lions of Penn State over 7 Temple Owls. Because, duh. That owl is toast.

And finally, I chose 15 N. Colorado’s Bears over 2 SDSU’s Aztecs.

But, as you saw from the largely red lower left-hand corner of my picture, none of that worked. I eventually had N. Colorado’s Bears as the regional champs. But it wasn’t meant to be. I’d spend more time on this region, but some of my best jokes lie ahead.

The Southwest
This was my best region by far… 6/8 first round picks correct, with my only possible Final Four choice remaining. Yippee!

In an illogical move, I picked the Jayhawks of Kansas to best the Boston U. Terriers. Generally speaking, I don’t give birds much of a shot in these imagined nature contests, but a Terrier? REALLY, Boston University? Are there no other regional, indigenous creatures to use? Oh well.

Those Jayhawks, I predict, won’t outlast the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the second round. I picked the Rebs to overtake Illinois’s Illini. Crazy, Yosemite Sam types with guns and tempers would totally take down Native Americans. I’m not saying it’s fair. It’s happened before. Nature ain’t easy. Ask Darwin. Or endangered species.

And OMG, take that, world, because who called a Round-of-32 matchup between Richmond and Morehead State? THIS GIRL. Would a spider bite (courtesy of Richmond’s mascot) take down a 70s/80s R&B group that reps Vanderbilt? Heck yes it would! Are Eagles (MSU) tougher, more awesome birds than Cardinals (Louisville)? Yeppers. So thanks, 12 and 13 seeds, for making at least a tiny part of my bracket not look like it’s hemorrhaging.

I correctly picked the VCU Rams to batter their way past Georgetown’s Hoyas. WOO! And next? Well, I chose St. Peter’s over the Purdue Boilermakers. I’ve asked before: is Purdue’s mascot a train or an alcoholic drink? Who knows. But St. Peter’s mascot is… a Peacock. Would a Peacock win in a confrontation with a train? Unlikely. With a drink? Maybe not. Honestly, I just wanted a chance to surmise peacocks’ odds in natural combat. And no, there’s no way they could beat a ram, so it’s sort of immaterial. But thanks, peacocks, for something different.

Next section pains me: I thought that Seminoles would beat Farmers, even if they’re the Fighting Farmers/Aggies of Texas A&M. With a heavy heart, I chose FSU over my Aggies. With a heavier heart, I watched that sad, sad game. Mehhh. In an illogical pick, I went with ND’s Fighting Irish over the Akron Zips… which are actually Kangaroos. I mean, this isn’t an illogical choice insofar as a regular braket; a 2 seed should overtake a 15. BUT I think a kangaroo would kill a person – even a fighting one – in a natural contest. But like I said in the last post, it was late when I made my picks, and I was distracted by the new Karate Kid movie. Seeing the stuff those kids did, I figure humans can kill anything.

So, finishing the region: Running Rebels take down Jayhawks of Kansas but are bitten and killed by Richmond Spiders. VCU Rams the Peacocks, Seminoles best ND Fighting Irish with their spears and such (and annoying “Tomahock Chop” song or whatever it’s called), but then the Seminoles are “rammed” out of the tourney. Richmond’s Spiders are finally stomped by VCU… who I hope makes an astronomically greater than expected run through the tourney to the final four so that I don’t look like a total idiot in my group.

The Southwest
*Deep breath* Let’s finish this.

Pitt’s Panthers overtake UNC Asheville’s Bulldogs, because that just makes sense in literal and natural senses. I went with the ODU Monarchs (a.k.a. LIONS) over the Butler Bulldogs, but those scrappy Butler kids had something else in mind. Next round, I picked Panthers to fight ODU to the death.

I picked – successfully, woot – K-State’s Wildcats to beat the Utah State Aggies. Hate to pick against Aggies of any kind, but the reality is, wildcats eat people. I saw it in Science Digest Daily… as far as you know. Then, I had the Belmont Bruins to best the Wisconsin Badgers (also lame…), and then outdo K-State, and THEN to go to the Elite Eight. Wasn’t meant to be, but oh well.

Okay, next I chose St. John’s over Gonzaga Bulldogs. St. John’s was actually my chosen National Champion. They are the Red Storm. Now, you may be thinking, “What the heck, Lisa. A red storm? What is THAT?” Well, their mascot that roams the sideline is Johnny the Thunderbird. You can read more about the St. John’s mascot history here if you really want, but listen to what their site says about Johnny the Thunderbird: “the Thunderbird was defined as… a mythological spirit of thunder and lightning believed by some Native Americans to take the shape of a great bird. Boasting feathers as long as a canoe, the legendary thunderbird can generate lightning, thunder and great winds by flapping its wings and blinking its eyes."

So be honest: who in their right mind would want to eff with that? That sounds like some scary s--t to me. Scary s--t that can take down a Bulldog (Gonzaga), a Bruin (UCLA), a Bruin (Belmont… hey! That would have been cool), a Ram (VCU) and a Tiger (Clemson… which lost THE FIRST STINKIN’ GAME OF THE TOURNAMENT. I’m terrible). Wasn’t meant to be, but dang it, I want you to understand my reasoning.

Final pics are easy AND actually played out: BYU’s Cougars ate the Wofford Terriers. (Again with the terriers. Those male and female student athletes must be so ashamed every time they put on anything with “Terriers” on it.) UCLA’s Bruins mauled the Spartans of Michigan State, and the Florida Gators chomped the awesome but ultimately doomed UCSB Gauchos. Yes, Gauchos. They were all, “Don’t cry for me, [I’m from] Argentina,” and the gator was all, “You just got LUNCHED.”

PHEW. Okay. Well, the Nature Bracket 2011 has been blogged. I’ll be honest: this may be the swan song of the Nature Bracket. The ratio of time prepared to time enjoyed was… well who the hell am I kidding, I am too tired to discuss ratios in any intelligent manner. If you can’t bear to live through a tournament without this blog, message me or post a comment. Otherwise, you can revisit links from previous years while playing Luther’s* “One Shining Moment” softly in the background as you read.

(*And you should TOTALLY play Luther Vandross’s. I know Jennifer Hudson is all skinny now and stuff, but her version is not the same. Shame on you, CBS.)

So, in conclusion: in nature, a giant red Native American bird that can generate storms by flapping it wings can thwart ANY OTHER CREATURE it encounters.

Enjoy the weekend and the rest of the tourney!

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