Bracketology

The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
28 March 2015

I. Five Out of Eight Ain’t Bad

The soon-to-be presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson – who is a brilliant doctor – has called President Obama a psychopath. I wonder if that supposed condition has anything to do with him having just five of the eight remaining teams in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament left on his bracket.image

Then again, I have just five left on mine as well…so what does that say about me?

II. Cruz-ing

The official Republican circuit – or circus, depending on your perspective – has begun with the formal entry of Sen. Ted Cruz into the presidential race. Who’s going to make their Final Four? My way too early prediction is Bush, Walker, Paul and Cruz.

Can’t wait to hear how Cruz likes the Obamacare he has had to sign up for now that his wife has left her job, the same Obamacare he was shutting down the government for. Isn’t it funny how in 2008 Republicans said first-term Sen. Barack Obama didn’t have enough experience to be president, but now first-term Republican senators Cruz and Rubio and Paul are all (or shortly to be) in the race?

III. Trump Card

Donald Trump, who’s also considering a White House run, shared his concern about Sen. Cruz’s birth in Alberta, Canada and his eligibility for the presidency – and I was so glad he did. Otherwise I would have been forced to think that all his talk about President Obama’s birth certificate was because Obama was born in Kenya.

IV. Born Again

The 700 Club host Pat Robertson said he wishes Ronald Reagan could come back from the dead, since “the current president” has so many shortcomings. Aside from making Reagan so much more like Jesus than anyone (except for the fact that Jesus was no politician), his return to the scene would be at the age of 109 were he to be inaugurated on January 20th, 2017. Wasn’t he already experiencing memory issues at 80? Really, Pat?

V. #Black Votes Matter

I try my hardest to stay away from purchasing the ultra-conservative New York Post – although it remahins one of the best newspapers in the country for sports – but I will run into an occasional online article, such as the piece written by Robert George the other day for which the headline read “Black votes matter: Will GOP ever figure that out?”

My guess, in the short term at least, is no. Given that the first page of the Republican playbook has read “diss Obama” for six and a half years, it would be hard to do an about face, given that their presidential candidates have been among the main people running this play. Were I looking to assist them like Cliff Paul, I would point out that Brown Votes matter too…and so every time you try to build a fence on the border and kick Latinos out, you’re losing more Latino votes…which are growing in numbers in each election. You’ll figure out what I mean when Texas turns purple from red.

VI. No Love Lost

It’s really no controversy when Kevin Love – still not really in the mix with the Cleveland Cavaliers – calls former UCLA teammate Russell Westbrook the MVP over current teammate LeBron James. He’s entitled to his opinion.

With that said, here’s another prediction: Love will leave the Cavs for the Lakers next year, joining Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo. Kobe will then immediately announce that next year will not be his last.

VII. Traveling Violation

Would the people on New York’s 36 LTD bus that pay $117 for a monthly Metrocard be upset to see 25 people – adults, not fun-loving teenaged fare beaters – walk in the back door without paying at a crowded stop?

47 Again

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The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
15 March 2015

I. Lucky Number

If you’re a Republican or are about to become one (for some unknown or unexplainable reason), I would advise you to refrain from playing 47 in the lottery. That’s probably not your lucky number.

You will remember back in 2012 when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke of the 47 percent of the population that wouldn’t take personal responsibility, and how it wasn’t his job to worry about them. Of course he went on to lose with 47 percent of the vote. Now this year 47 Senate Republicans thought it wise to sign off on a condescending open letter to the leadership of Iran which essentially said to disregard President Obama (who, according to the Constitution, is to be in charge of the nation’s foreign policy) and anything he says, since they will be in office for years and, in some cases, decades longer than he will.

Perhaps the first order of business should be to make certain, in their next elections, that that does not turn out to be the case. As for those signers who may have designs on the presidency – such as Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio – such wanton disregard for the office of the presidency should permanently disqualify them from consideration.

II. America’s Mayor?

So Rudy Giuliani, another former Republican presidential candidate, says Darren Wilson should be commended for shooting Mike Brown. Wow. The concept of commendation for taking a life is interesting, to say the least, but considering the source, maybe not unsurprising.

By September 10th, 2001, virtually everyone in and around the entire city of New York couldn’t wait for Giuliani’s final term to conclude just under four months later. My young son once commented on how I booed the TV screen every time Rudy was shown in a box seat at Yankee Stadium. And then 9/11 happened. He parlayed his good crisis management over a few weeks into being dubbed “America’s Mayor,” largely by outsiders. But many within the city never forgot the horrible job he did during so much of the first seven years and eight months. This is another example of that Rudy, who has clearly outlived his usefulness.

III. There Will Never Be A…

One unexpected consequence of the SAE N-word fraternity song at the University of Oklahoma was that a prize African-American football recruit backed away from his plan to attend Oklahoma. I wonder what Sooner fans, used to success in the Big 12 conference and nationally as well, would think if all of the people SAE sang of as “N-words” chose to take their football and basketball talents elsewhere.

IV. Fantasy Island

Had I not basically said I do not watch every NFL game while I was saying “I do” to my wife, I might be going crazy over the New York Jets’ 46-year Super Bowl drought (though at least they remain undefeated). But for all those going crazy, they’ve taken some big steps to make it back there by re-signing former Jets Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to man the cornerback positions. Just as in any sport, defense wins rings – and in my opinion, having lockdown cornerbacks is the key to having a first class defensive team. Revis Island be fun to watch again.

V. The Nutty Professor

What was definitely fun to watch was the instant classic San Antonio Spurs-Cleveland Cavaliers overtime thriller, which featured that unreal 57 point performance by Kyrie Irving. Could that be a June preview, Spurs vs. LeBron’s team for the third year in a row? It certainly is a very real possibility for the Cavs, given that there is a much easier pathway for them than for the Spurs to emerge yet again from the minefield that is the western conference.

Should it happen, the Cavs will need to have a real Big 3 a la the Heat, the Doc Rivers Celtics, etc., not a Big 2 and Buddy Love as opposed to Kevin. Should it happen, Spurs in six.

VI. Life

I have just attended the funeral of Deacon Frank Warren, an heroic man in his community who was, to me, somewhat reminiscent of my father – even before I learned that they shared the same birthday. Then when his son spoke of how his father was so strong he thought his dad could beat Chief Jay Strongbow and Andre the Giant, it took me back to so many Saturday nights at midnight with my father watching the Chief tomahawk chop his way out of horrific WWF predicaments, along with the mild disappointment of seeing the brother S.D. Jones consistently finding a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in his matches.

But there was another similarity between the two, that of their love of the New York Mets. I don’t how how Mr. Warren came to the Mets; my dad adopted them after the Dodgers (for whom he retained a soft spot in his heart until his death) moved to Los Angeles. Once on the scene, he took the Mets as his own and took me to many a game…which brings me to the day some three or four years ago when Mr. Warren’s daughter told me of an extra ticket to a Met game the following day, and asked if I would like to go. Naturally I said yes, and off we went – Mr. Warren and his brother, both then over ninety years of age; his daughter, and me. Being there with the two older gentlemen – big fans each – so reminded me of the film “Life,” in which Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence’s wrongly imprisoned characters finally escape as old men and attend a game at Yankee Stadium.

Here’s hoping these two guys meet up and look down together on their Mets at Citi Field.

VII. 42

I’m certain both of these men were big fans of Jackie Robinson. With the baseball season fast approaching, get the young people in your life a copy of my new children’s book, “Jackie Robinson and the Negro Leagues,” so they can get a sense of why these men and so many others had reason to admire him. You can visit Amazon through this link to do just that:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/150040876X/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1425774910&sr=8-1&keywords=jackie+robinson+and+the+negro+leagues&pi=AC_SY200_QL40&dpPl=1&dpID=41bm%2By5hckL&ref=plSrch

Weekend of Anniversaries

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The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
9 March 2015

I. Bridge Over Troubled Water

Fifty years ago, in 1965, people in Selma, Alabama were beaten, tear gassed, and worse as they sought to cross the Edmund Pettis Bridge in a march for the right to vote. This year the poll tax and “how many bubbles in a bar of soap?” have been replaced by Voter ID laws, a fact brought home brilliantly by President Obama in his masterful speech Saturday on the bridge.

Given what our ancestors went through just to have the right to vote, and given the KKK – the ISIS of American history – was distributing flyers in Selma yesterday, even if I knew nothing about any candidate I would vote for Batgirl and Mickey Mouse before I would miss out on going to the polls.

II. Scandal

Too bad the real life stories in Ferguson/Staten Island/Oakland/Cleveland and so many other places haven’t turned out like last week’s taken from the headlines episode of Scandal.

III. Couldn’t Make It

I don’t care if Benjamin Netanyahu was going to read the Bible from front to back or the Torah from back to front, John Boehner was wrong in inviting him to speak before Congress, essentially for a campaign photo-op in Israel and the undermining of Presidential foreign policy here in Congress – and the 50-some members that stayed home were in the right.

By the way, it’s not as if the Prime Minister has our interests at heart…or has a track record of correct Middle East analysis, for that matter.

IV. Who Let The Dogs Out?

Wish I had a picture of the woman in Penn Station that bumped into a woman who was walking with a seeing eye dog. She excused herself, but it still almost made me want to ask “which of you need this dog more?” #OnlyinNYC

V. Kicking It

Not sure if this is necessarily the case, but you’ve got to believe James Harden – who is having a monster season – didn’t exactly help his chances to win the NBA MVP by kicking LeBron James in his private area (despite the fact that King James may have thrown in a little flop). With that said, my three quarters of the way in guess is that the award will go to the Oklahoma Thunder’s Russell Westbrook – if they make the playoffs.

If they don’t, it probably goes to Golden State’s Steph Curry, fast becoming one of the most fun players to watch in all of sports, as shown against the Clippers:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2015/03/08/watch-steph-curry-make-a-amazing-move-in-warriors-clippers-game/

If you don’t know, now you know.

VI. Rooting for the Underdog

It occurred to me while passing Yankee Stadium the other day – in the midst of continuing to walk on snow and ice as we have for weeks on end – that in one welcome month, they will be playing baseball there, and we will have almost forgotten this brutal weather.

When the Bronx Bombers take the field they will, in the eyes of many, be in a bit of an unusual position, that of an underdog in terms of their playoff chances. And within their collective status, due to the hype of the media, there is an individual who is quickly assuming underdog status: Alex Rodriguez.

In light of all of the negativity surrounding his return from suspension, here’s hoping A-Rod comes back strong and shuts a few people up for a while.

VII. Another Anniversary

March 8th marked the 44th anniversary of the night a young boy’s sports hero – Muhammad Ali – was fighting to regain his heavyweight championship in The Fight of the Century against Smokin’ Joe Frazier. The fight was to start somewhere around 10:00 p.m., and the only problem was that the young boy’s parents had him on an 8:30 bedtime. What was the boy who couldn’t bear waiting until morning to learn the outcome to do?

Fortunately he – along with probably thousands of like-minded young kids – had a little portable radio which he kept under the covers in order to hear the round by round summaries on the all-news stations. Unfortunately he was disappointed to hear that Ali was knocked down in the 15th round and – his optimistic hopes notwithstanding – was the loser on this night. But fortunately there would be many more winning nights for the Greatest, the-then once and future champion.