Thursday, April 10, 2014

Almost

Friends, if you didn't watch the NCAA men's basketball championship game or just don't care about sports, you wouldn't know that the University of Kentucky Wildcats went down in defeat to the University of Wisconsin Huskies by a scant six points.  Analysis is futile at this point, but let's just say that a number of things that plagued the Kentucky team earlier in the season made an untimely return, and UConn played a VERY good game and deserved to win.

And since my last entry, my beloved Cincinnati Reds have won only three games.  They've played three series so far, three games each, and that's not a good average to this point.  A week and a half does not make a season, of course, but it may foretell some eventual patterns that emerge as the long baseball season unfolds.  There are people that say the baseball season is too long, but I feel that it's the appropriate length.  A person wiser than myself once wrote that each team will win a third of their 162 game schedule, and they'll definitely lose a third of them, too.  It's the remainder of the games that will define success or failure.  Worth remembering that the Los Angeles Dodgers were in LAST place in their division in June last year, and came back to run away with their division at season's end.

Another season is dwindling fast---the traditional network television season.  I believe I have noted here that my wife and I only watch a handful of programs.  And there used to be a pretty predictable pattern of new episodes vs. reruns, but now, with cable shows starting their seasons in April and mid-season replacements airing new episodes, all bets are off.  One mid-season startup, "Intelligence," had its "season finale" almost two weeks ago.  Two others that we're watching, "Believe" and "Crisis," are chugging along through three or four new episodes apiece, but there are already reports that they'll both be cancelled due to low ratings.  So we've found it's probably not wise to get too invested in new programs, because invariably the ones we like don't seem to attract enough viewers to stay on the air.

I keep thinking that I want the "a la carte" approach to cable TV, pick the specific channels I want to watch and pay only for those.  But once in a while a channel we don't watch much comes through with something worthwhile.  For instance, the rebooted "Cosmos" airs on Fox on Sunday nights and again on National Geographic on Monday night.  I record the Monday night replay, after midnight, so that we don't tie up our cable box when multiple shows that we like are on (ironic, isn't is, that we watch relatively few shows and that there are a couple of nights per week where two are on simultaneously?).

I also keep thinking that I should simply do away with cable TV altogether, but cobbling together the requisite alternatives (Hulu, MLBTV and perhaps Netflix) presents some challenges.  And that leaves many live sporting events out completely, like Kentucky football and basketball.  But I continue to explore that alternative.

I'm in my second week off work, in between the end of one job and the start of a new one (I got word yesterday that I passed the background check with flying colors, so I've apparently covered my tracks sufficiently, as I told a friend upon hearing the news) and continue to stay busy.  Today I'm attending an educational session at an organization dedicated to assisting the disadvantaged in securing employment.  Also still have a few yard projects to attend to,  and mowed the lawn for the first time this spring yesterday.  One more tidbit on lawn care:  I did what the experts have always said I should, used up all of the gas in my lawn mower before putting it away for the winter.  I filled it up with fresh gas yesterday, and it started on the first pull.  So if you have doubts, the experts are right on that count.

Speaking of gas, the speculators apparently aren't even motivated by current events when their actions drive pump prices sharply upward.  There was a time not so long ago that a report of unrest in some Middle East country would cause a spike in prices.  Now, no news is needed to elicit a price hike.  Thanks a lot, guys!


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