This and That

Bruford, the Book: I’m reading Bill Bruford: The Autobiography and enjoying it tremendously. If you are a prog nerd like me, then I don’t need to explain to you who Bill Bruford is. For those unfamiliar with the man, he’s a truly brilliant drummer, and the only person to have played with three of the major progressive rock bands of the 70s (Yes, King Crimson and Genesis). He writes like he drums: pushing the narrative along, with interesting diversions into places you don’t expect him to go. Rather than crafting the usual linear rock narrative, his book is structured around a chapter for each of the 18 questions that he has gotten most bored of answering over the years, including such gems as “How Do You Get That Fantastic Sound?”, “Do You Still See Any Of The Old Guys?” and “What’s It Like to Work With Robert Fripp?” (Fripp’s my alltime favorite musician, so I probably would have embarrassed myself by asking Bruford that question had I interviewed him during my music critic days). Surprisingly, some of the best chapters in the book don’t provide biographical information about Bruford’s dealings with famous folk on famous albums, but rather on his post-prog career in jazz and on the business of music. The chapter called “Is It Difficult With a Family?” is a little masterpiece in and of itself, and his ability to balance a single marriage and child-rearing with his brilliant musical career fills me with admiration and awe. He’s a great drummer, a great writer, and a great man. Worth a read, for sure.

Meanwhile, Down in the Rain Forest: Marcia and Katelin are in Costa Rica this week having a jolly good time being warm and doing girly girl stuff. I’d love to be with them, of course, but thought it impolitic to take such a trip a mere three months into a new job, so let them go handle Central America on their own. They’ve been sending me daily e-mail updates on their adventures, which included a zip-line tour in the rainforest canopy, and a hiking tour through Manuel Antonio National Park, where they saw (and I quote their list verbatim):

– 4 three-toed sloths
– 1 two-toed sloth
– 2 scarlet macaws
– 1 white-tailed dear
– 3 red-eyed frogs (with white spots)
– 2 agouti
– 1 toucan
– 2 green parrots
– 1 wax-tailed tree hopper
– 2 iguanas
– 1 Jesus Christ lizard
– a troupe of howler monkeys
– a couple of white-faced monkeys

Katelin’s favorite animal is the three-toed (or fingered) sloth, so basically the whole purpose of this trip was to allow her to see one (or more) of them in their natural habitat, so mission accomplished, apparently, in that regard. I’m glad they’ve had a lovely trip thus far.

Go Saints: Well, it was a noble effort by Siena, but Louisville prevailed in the end. The parallels from that game and the UAlbany-UConn game of four years ago were uncanny: the serious underdog takes a second-half lead, but then just can’t quite hang with the Big East titan it was trying to take down. Bravo to the Saints, though, for really cementing themselves on the list of alpha mid-major programs by knocking off a Big 10 team in the first round to validate their first-round defeat of an SEC team last year.

In Other Hoops News: I didn’t have a great first couple of rounds in my NCAA tournament pick ’em, but I’ve still got six of my final eight in play, and all of my final four: Louisville, Memphis, Villanova and Gonzaga. I’ve got Memphis beating Villanova for the national championship, so we’ll see how that plays out. While most bracket junkies are applauding the selection committee for their acuity this year as the final 16 feature all four 1, 2 and 3 seeds (along with two 4’s, a 5 and a 12), I read it a different way: this year there were only four at-large mid-major teams, the lowest number in years, so the teams that all those top seeds were beating were often middling Big Six conference teams, not regular season champs or at-large teams from mid-major conferences. I think the results would have been different if instead of giving (say) the always-over-rated Big 10 conference an absurd seven bids, they put in some powerhouse mid majors who stumbled in their conference tourneys and didn’t get automatic bids (St. Mary’s and San Diego State, for instance) in their place instead. Had they done so, I suspect the tops of the brackets might not be so tidy.

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