The past several days in the Washington, D.C., area, temperatures have hit the mid-to-upper 70s with nary a cloud in the sky. This weekend, cars sat in lines up to a mile long to enter the national parks at Great Falls, where throngs gathered to soak in the rays and marvel at the snowpacked and rain-swollen Potomac rushing mightily over, around and through huge rock formations.
My beloved Cleveland Indians have won 11 games now in spring training under new manager Manny Acta (remember him?) and look actually to want to start the season playing to win, a marked contrast from the Eric Wedge years. (Hope does indeed spring eternal.) The Cavaliers have won 11 of 12, are closing in on their second straight year with home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, and are about to resign all-star center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Fans are excitedly speculating on the next moves of football genius Mike Holmgren and his team as they remake the roster of the Browns.
While we’re on the subject, there is talk of “floating realignment,” in which baseball teams could choose to switch divisions based on geography, payroll and other considerations. I’m all for this as long as Cleveland gets to be in a division every year along with Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Washington and Baltimore.
In other sports news, the entire civilized world seems to be in a tizzy about number one seed Kansas being upset by Northern Iowa in the NCAA basketball tournament. I have to admit that I didn’t even know either team was in the tournament, although I might have suspected Kansas. There is talk of “March Madness” being expanded to 96 teams in the near future. I’m all for this as long as 11 teams from the Big Ten (including my alma mater Michigan) get automatic bids. This will only work, of course, as long as the Big Ten doesn’t also further expand, as another rumor would have it. (Speaking of which, shouldn’t there be some sort of truth-in-advertising claim against a conference that calls itself the Big Ten but has 11 teams?)
Burger King is planning to go the McDonald’s route and raise the price of its double cheeseburger to $1.19, while continuing to sell a “BK Dollar Double”—a double cheeseburger minus one slice of cheese—for $1. This is a real crime against cheeseburger lovers everywhere. (Which includes everybody, right?)
The other day, I went to my daughter’s Phi Beta Kappa induction—the inaugural chapter at James Madison University—and the class of inductees consisted of 95 women and 29 men. What do you think that says about the future of male leadership in a country where, as of 2008, 58 percent of college enrollees were already female?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that government bailouts of big banks are “unconscionable.” I think he had better find out who the impostor was who was writing checks and guarantees for Bear Stearns and AIG (short for “Awash in Government”) back in 2008.
I’m not going to get into the whole Sandra Bullock-Jesse James marriage mess, other than to say: 1) what might one expect from a husband with the same name and reputation as a famous outlaw and 2) didn’t “tattooed ladies” used to be confined to the circus and carnivals? Nor am I going to comment further on Tiger Woods other than to note that the World’s Greatest Golfer is continuing to prove that he is a “Master” when it comes to commanding the world’s attention, on his terms.
Those are the big news items as I see it today. Did I leave anything out?