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March Madness 2017, Down to Sixteen!

March 20, 2017

The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament has come to a close and the field has been cut to the Sweet Sixteen.  As with the first round of games, there were a couple of surprises (a #1 seed, two #2 seeds, and one #3 seed all lost this round). The biggest surprise?  Villanova (#1 overall seed and the first #1 seed to lose) losing to Wisconsin (#8 seed).  But several close games and several lower seeds moving on.  All in all, a very entertaining weekend of play for college basketball fans.  The Madness continues!

Next up for the Spartans?  No one . . . . until next season!    Go Green!

The upsets in the tournament during the second round this first weekend included:
Villanova (#1) losing to Wisconsin (#8).
Louisville (#2) losing to Michigan (#7).
Duke (#2) losing to South Carolina (#7)
Florida State (#3) losing to Xavier (#11).

The teams remaining (by regional):

East Regional
Baylor (#3)
Florida (#4)
South Carolina (#7)
Wisconsin (#8)

Midwest Regional
Kansas (#1)
Oregon (#3)
Purdue (#4)
Michigan (#7)

South Regional (top four seeds advanced)
North Carolina (#1)
Kentucky (#2)
UCLA (#3)
Butler (#4)

West Regional
Gonzaga (#1)
Arizona (#2)
West Virginia (#4)
Xavier (#11)

March Madness 2017, Down to Thirty-Two!

March 18, 2017

The Spartans win!  The first round of the NCAA Tournament has come to a close and the field has been cut in half.  The first full-day of games had only a couple of surprises and both involved the higher-seeded Big Ten school going down in defeat (Minnesota [#5] and Maryland [#6]).   Day two found only a couple more “upsets” — Dayton (#7) losing to Wichita State and Miami (#8) losing to Michigan State (#9).  Tom Izzo worked his March magic as the Spartans found a way, following a very slugging start, to get the win.

Next up for the Spartans:  a Sunday game in the Tulsa Regional Final where they will face the Jayhawks from Kansas . . . .    Go Green!

The upsets in the tournament this first weekend included:
Minnesota (#5) losing to Middle Tennessee State (#12).
Maryland (#6) losing to Xavier (#11)
SMU (#6) losing to USC (#11)
Dayton (#7) losing to Wichita State (#10)
Miami (#8) losing to Michigan State (#9).

The teams remaining (by regional):

East Regional
Villanova (#1)
Duke (#2)
Baylor (#3)
Florida (#4)
Virginia (#5)
South Carolina (#7)
Wisconsin (#8)
USC (#11)

Midwest Regional
Kansas (#1)
Louisville (#2)
Oregon (#3)
Purdue (#4)
Iowa State (#5)
Michigan (#7)
Michigan State (#9)
Rhode Island (#11)

South Regional
North Carolina (#1)
Kentucky (#2)
UCLA (#3)
Butler (#4)
Cincinnati (#6)
Arkansas (#8)
Wichita State (#10)
Middle Tennessee State (#12)

East Regional
Gonzaga (#1)
Arizona (#2)
Florida State (#3)
West Virginia (#4)
Notre Dame (#5)
St. Mary’s (#7)
Northwestern (#8)
Xavier (#11)


International Holidays for March!

March 2, 2017

Here is an updated list of some selective holidays for March from around the World.

March 1 – Ash Wednesday (Brazil)
March 1 – Sam Il Jul (South Korea)
March 1 – Dia de las Islas Baleares (Spain)
March 1 – Republic Day (Switzerland)
March 6 – Labour Day (Australia)
March 8 – Women’s Day (Russia)
March 12 – Dolapurnima/Doljatra/Holika Dahan/Holi (India)
March 12 – Purim Bank Holiday (Israel)
March 13 – Adelaide Cup Day (Australia [SA])
March 13 – Labour Day (Australia [VIC])
March 13 – Canberra Day (Australia [ACT])
March 13 – Eight Hours Day (Australia [TAS])
March 13 – Holi/Dhuleti (India)
March 13 – Dolapurnima/Doljatra/Holika Dahan/Holi (India)
March 13 – Purim Bank Holiday (Israel)
March 13 – Provincial Anniversary Day (New Zealand)
March 14 – Holi/Dhuleti (India)
March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day (Ireland)
March 19 – St. Joseph’s Day (Switzerland)
March 20 – Vernal Equinox (Japan)
March 20 – Benito Juarez Day (Mexico)
March 20 – Provincial Anniversary Day (New Zealand)
March 20 – St. Joseph’s Day (Spain)
March 21 – Human Rights’ Day (South Africa)
March 22 – Bihar Day (India)
March 22 – Emancipation Day (Puerto Rico)
March 23 – Martyrdom Day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh (India)
March 23 – Death of Sardar Bhagat Singh (India)
March 24 – Truth and Justice Day (Argentina)
March 28 – Gudi Padva/Ugadi/Chetti Chand/21st Navratra (India)
March 29 – Gudi Padva/Ugadi/Chetti Chand/21st Navratra (India)
March 29 – Telugu New Year (India)
March 30 – Sarhul (India)


Necktie of the Month — March 2017!

March 1, 2017

conservativeI’m generally all about color (and bright ones at that) and artsy and creative patterns, but every now and then a good old fashioned “conservative” necktie is just what you are needing (think job interview or the occasional funeral or other “somber” event — not that I always prescribe to or agree with this way of thinking).  This particular necktie embraces the hearty earth tones with a hint of pale blue (the sky?) an would obviously pair best with my brown or beige suit and any number of my brown and beige toned shirts as well (and my ivory and my white shirts, of course) .  I could even make a strong case for my pale blue shirt to compliment this tie — there is just enough blue in the background to be able to make it work quite nicely.  Not that I was worried in the least.  I dare say that I have enough variety in the colors of my shirts to be able to find a match for any necktie in existence.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017!

February 14, 2017

As we reflect on “love” and the important people in our lives, allow me to share one of my favorite poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise,
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints -I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Originally published in Sonnets From the Portuguese in 1850.

How Romantic!

February 8, 2017

In light of the fact that Valentine’s Day is less than a week away, you still have time to prepare this lovely flower and vase for your Valentine . . . happy folding!

Asking the Right Questions!

January 6, 2017

Happy Friday!    It’s amazing what one can discover when one asks the appropriate question(s).  Enjoy!

A man lay sprawled across three entire seats in the posh theater.  When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to the man,
“Sorry, sir, but you’re only allowed one seat.”

The man groaned but did not budge.  The usher became impatient.
“Sir, if you don’t get up from there I’m going to have to call the manager.”

Again the man just groaned, which infuriated the usher who turned and march briskly back up the aisle in search of his manager.  In a few moments, both the usher and the manager returned and stood over the man.  Together the two of them tried repeatedly to move him, but with no success.  Finally, they summoned the police.

The cop surveyed the situation briefly then asked,
“All right buddy, what’s your name?”

“Sam,” the man moaned.

“Where ya from, Sam?”

With pain in his voice, Sam replied,
“the balcony.”


International Holidays for January!

January 3, 2017

As we start 2017, here’s a list of remaining holidays this month from selected countries.

January 1 – New Year’s Day (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United States).
January 2 – New Year’s Day Bank Holiday (Canada, United States)
January 2 – 2nd Day of the New Year (New Zealand)
January 2 – New Year’s Holiday (Russia)
January 2 – Lunes siguiente al Ano Nuevo (Spain)
January 2 – Saint Berchtold’s Day (Switzerland)
January 3 – New Year’s Holiday (New Zealand, Russia)
January 4 – New Year’s Holiday (Russia)
January 5 – New Year’s Holiday (Russia)
January 5 – Epiphany Eve (Sweden)
January 6 – Epiphany (Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland)
January 6 – New Year’s Holiday (Russia)
January 7 – Orthodox Christmas Day (Russia)
January 9 – Coming of Age Day (Japan)
January 14 – Mankara Sankrati / Magh Bihu (India)
January 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Puerto Rico, United States)
January 23 – Provincial Anniversary Day (New Zealand [Wellington])
January 26 – Australia Day (Australia)
January 26 – Republic Day (India)
January 27 – Spring Festival/Chinese New Year’s Eve (China)
January 28 – Spring Festival/Chinese New Year (China, Thailand)
January 28 – Lunar New Year’s Day (Hong Kong)
January 29 – Spring Festival (China)
January 29 – 2nd day of the Lunar New Year (Hong Kong)
January 30 – Spring Festival (China)
January 30 – 3rd day of the Lunar New Year (Hong Kong)
January 30 – Provincial Anniversary Day (New Zealand [Auckland, Nelson])
January 31 – Spring Festival (China)
January 31 – 4th day of the Lunar New Year (Hong Kong)


December 14, 2016

Change is all around us and is a reality of the world . . . but there continues to be great resistance to change by many people.  Whenever I think of change, I’m reminded of a book title (courtesy of — “Change is good . . . you go first!”  Here are few other quotations on the subject of change . . .

“One reason people resist change is because they focus on what they have to give up instead of what they have to gain.” – Rick Godwin

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
― Leo Tolstoy

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
― Nelson Mandela

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”  ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

The “Day of Finnish Music!”

December 8, 2016

Today marks the birthday of Jean Julius Christian Sibelius, Finland’s greatest composer.  Finland has actually celebrated this day as “Flag Day” since 2011 in honor of Sibelius whose music is credited with helping Finland establish its national identity when seeking its independence from Russia (Declaration of Independence was adopted on December 6, 1917).   My first exposure to Sibelius was in band class (during Junior High and High School) where we often performed his work “Finlandia.”    For your listening enjoyment, here is Opus 26, Sibelius’ symphonic poem which was a covert protest against Russian censorship!

“Pay no attention to what the critics say.  A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.”  (Jean Sibelius)