All right, voters, here’s what’s on tap for the month of April, courtesy of TokyoSand at politicalcharge.org. If you live in any of these states, be sure and mark your calendars. Then go do what is your right to do. And while we’re on the subject, look into whether your state is doing anything to deny anyone their right to vote, and make some noise over it. Thanks very much. Larry
What better way to protect our democracy than to encourage folks to participate in it? (Well, that and expanding voting rights, of course.) One of the ways we can do that is by sharing the information about elections that are happening year-round! Turnout drops by A LOT in what is called “off-cycle” elections, and historically,…
On this date, March 25, in 1947, Reginald Kenneth Dwight was welcomed into the world, in Pinner, Middlesex, England.
He would grow up to become my rock and roll idol.
Elton. Hercules. John.
In case any of you forgot, let me remind you of this man’s accomplishments in the music world, courtesy of eltonjohn.com:
Elton has achieved 1 diamond, 32 platinum or multi-platinum, and 21 gold albums, over 70 Top 40 hits, and he has sold more than 300 million records worldwide. He holds the record for the biggest selling single of all time, Candle In The Wind 1997, which sold over 33 million copies. Since launching his first tour in 1970, Elton has over 4,000 performances in more than 80 countries to his credit.
Elton is the most successful solo male in the history of the American charts and the third most successful artist overall, behind only Madonna and the Beatles. He has logged 67 Hot 100 entries between 1970 and 2000, including nine No. 1s and 27 top 10s. He achieved seven #1 albums in the three-and-a-half-year period from 1972 to 1975 — a period of concentrated success surpassed only by the Beatles.
Not bad, right? The guy’s had an absolutely awesome career. He’s an immensely talented musician and composer, and he knows how to put on a terrific show. I’ve had the great pleasure of seeing him in concert four times – once alongside Billy Joel – and he’s never failed to deliver.
(I do wish, though, I had seen him earlier in his career, performing in all those outrageous wardrobes and doing handstands on the piano. That must have been spectacular.)
Of course, he’s received a few awards and honors along the way. Again, from eltonjohn.com:
Besides his knighthood, Elton’s landmark awards include Best British Male Artist BRIT Award, 1991; Songwriters Hall of Fame (with Bernie Taupin), 1992; Officer of Arts & Letters (France) 1993; induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1994; Polar Music Prize, 1995; MusiCares Person of the Year, 2000; Kennedy Center Honor, 2004; Billboard Magazine Legend of Live Award, 2006; Songwriters Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Award (with Bernie Taupin), 2013; BRITs Icon Award, 2013; Rockefeller Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, 2013 and the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative Leadership Award, 2013. In 2002, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Royal Academy of Music and in 2004 he became a Fellow of the British Academy of Songwriters and Composers.
Elton has won 13 Ivor Novello Awards between 1973 and 2001, been nominated for a Grammy Award 11 times (winning in 1986, 1991, 1994, 1997 and 2000), and received the Grammy Legend Award in 2001. Three of his albums have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, including his 1970 eponymous album. Elton has 4 Oscar Award nominations (winning in 1995 and 2020), and a Tony Award (with 4 nominations) for Best Original Score for Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aidain 2000.
Now, at 75, Elton remains part of the current music scene. His latest album, The Lockdown Sessions, includes collaborations with contemporary artists like Dua Lipa, Charlie Puth, Brandi Carlile and Lil Nas X. And he continues his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, no longer on hold due to COVID, on into 2023.
Add to that a happy home life with husband David Furnish and sons Elijah and Zachary, and his continued work with numerous charities like the Elton John Aids Foundation, and it’s clear this guy is not slowing down at 75. Good for him; I wish him all the best.
Happy Birthday, Sir Elton! From the first time I heard you (way back when), I’ve been a big fan. You and your longtime lyricist, Bernie Taupin, have provided a remarkable soundtrack for my life, and I thank you.
In the midst of all the soul-crushing, mind-pummeling news to which we’re daily subjected, allow me to offer this distraction:
NCAA championship basketball, more affectionately known as March Madness. 🏀 🏆
Now usually, I only keep up with college hoops as it relates to my alma mater, Baylor University. (2021 Men’s National Champion!) But when it comes time for March Madness, it’s hard to not get caught up in the excitement, the unpredictability, the mass hysteria that accompanies this tournament every year.
Speaking of madness, here’s a fun fact:
The tournament always starts on Thursday. On the day before, more vasectomies are performed in the U.S. than on any other day of the year.
Yeah. You heard me right.
Presumably, because it allows guys to stay home a couple of days to recover, giving them a good excuse to watch hoops all day.
Whatever, my fellow dudes. Remember, though, that works only once. (Or should, anyway 😳) You’re much bigger basketball fans than me. And I’m okay with that.
Anyway, back to the games. Yes, my Baylor Bears have already been eliminated from the competition – curse you, Tar Heels! – but that doesn’t mean I’m no longer interested. There are still some compelling storylines to follow. Such as:
Coach K’s Last Dance
Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, more commonly known as Coach K (thank goodness), has amassed the most victories of any men’s college hoops coach, going for number 1200 Sunday against Michigan State, in his final season of a legendary career spanning 47 years, 42 of them at Duke. That career includes five national championships and twelve Final Four appearances, the latter of which ties a record.
Naturally, many people would like nothing more than to see Coach K savor the sweet taste of one last triumph as he rides off into the sunset. And yes, that would be a fitting end to a superb career.
But then, what about…
The Cinderella Story
There’s one every year. The team that comes out of nowhere, from a school most of us have never heard of, and single-handedly screws up everybody’s bracket. (If you don’t know what I mean by that, this is clearly not your sport.) But once they show up, they immediately build a nationwide following; people root for them to go as far as they can, maybe even (😱) all the way!!
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s University, from Jersey City, New Jersey.
Seeded 15th in the East Regional tournament, they announced their presence spectacularly, shocking Number 2 seed, and perennial powerhouse, University of Kentucky, with an 85-79 overtime victory.
Anybody who saw that coming should have bought a lottery ticket.
The Peacocks then followed that up with an 70-60 win over Murray State, another Kentucky school. (The whole state of Kentucky must hate these guys by now.) Mind you, Murray State came into this game on a 21-game winning streak. No problem for the Peacocks.
The win put Saint Peter’s in the Sweet Sixteen, making them only the third 15-seed team to ever do that. They now await the winner of the Purdue-Texas match.
And if you think this team feels at all intimidated by the bigger schools in its way, I offer the following, soon-to-be-immortal quote from Saint Peter’s head coach, Shaheen Holloway:
“I’m going to say this. It’s going to come off a little crazy. I got guys from New Jersey and New York City. You think we’re scared of anything? You think we’re worried about guys trying to muscle us and tough us out?”
Yeah, attitude!!! In…your…FACE!!
How can you not get behind that, I ask you?
Anyway, I think it’s still worth watching. Maybe now, you will, too. It’s a real good distraction.
Maybe even from a healing vasectomy; I’ll never know.
Oh, and I can still root for the Baylor Women’s team. Go, Lady Bears!
This is a brilliant bit of satire, and a well-deserved indictment of our sorry excuse for a United States Congress. A pathetic lot, indeed. Laugh through your grimace. Larry
Looks like the US Senate has finally agreed to throw aside partisan politics and solve some important issues. After years of mindless squabbling for partisan advantage, they have come together to deliver a victory to the American way of life. Hunger? Latest estimates claim that 17,000,000 American children go hungry every day. Nope. Gun violence? […]