On the NBA championship

For the first time, I actually followed the NBA this season.  That was due to my Oklahoma nationalism–that being where I grew up–and getting hooked on the Oklahoma City Thunder, with MVP Kevin Durant and company.

I had always thought the playoffs, which involve a best-of-seven series on every level with days between games, lasted forever.  But now that I had a horse in this race, I found myself drawn in, as the Thunder advanced two levels–each filled with drama, soap-opera intrigue, and thrilling games–until they were beaten by the San Antonio Spurs.  That team just won the championship by decisively beating Lebron James and his superstar team the Miami Heat.  Watching the Thunder play the Spurs for so many games made me appreciate them, and I’m glad they won. [Read more...]

The winners of the Cranach basketball pool. . .

. . .are NOBODY.   No one in our contest predicted that the University of Connecticut would win the NCAA championship.  (UConn also just won the NCAA women’s championship!)  No one predicted the Final Four.  That’s too bad because I worked out a special deal with Warren Buffett that the winner of our little pool would win one BILLION dollars.  I will give honorable mention credit, which unfortunately receives no monetary reward, to those who predicted ONE of the Final Four:  Saddler, Edward Kettner, and Sam P. said that Florida would be in it, and Pete said that Wisconsin would be.   Since Florida was ranked #1 in the final postseason poll while Wisconsin wasn’t even in the top 10 (#15 in the USA Today poll; #12 in the AP), I declare the best guesser to be Pete!  (Oh, and a belated April Fool’s about that billion dollar bit.)

A billion dollars for the perfect NCAA bracket

Warren Buffett offered one BILLION dollars for anyone who successfully predicted the winners of all of the games in the NCAA tournament.  Early upsets–for example, Mercer over Duke–eliminated just about everyone who entered.  Now no one is left standing.  One person, Brad Binder, DID predict the first 36 games, including those upsets, but he wasn’t entered in the contest.  But now he missed Dayton’s upset over Syracuse, so–unless you did really well in your office pool–there is no record of anyone with a perfect bracket.  Maybe next year the BILLION dollars will be yours.

 

Predict the Final Four

It’s time to pay attention to college basketball now that the teams have been announced for the NCAA basketball tournament. [Read more...]

The Russian Olympics

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, get started today.  So far, much of the buzz about the Olympics has been about terrorism fears and complaints about the lack of creature comforts for visitors (undrinkable water, unfinished construction, public toilets without privacy, insects in food, pillows appropriated from hotels for the athletes).

With its legacy of communism, Russian society is not particularly oriented to satisfying consumers, certainly not by the standards of today’s consumer capitalism.  But Russian society tends to be very good, even to a fault, at “security.” [Read more...]

Luther and bowling?

Martin Luther’s influence goes far beyond the theology of the Lutheran Church.  His putting the Gospel and the Word of God at the center was the catalyst for all Protestantism.  But even his theological opponents have accepted his ideas like worship in the vernacular, congregational singing, and vernacular translations of the Bible.  Then there are his cultural contributions:  universal education, standardizing the German language, vocation.  But there are also things he is credited for that are questionable or uncertain, like inventing the Christmas tree.  And there are things that that he is credited for that are just wrong, like writing “Away in the Manger” and being the source of German anti-semitism.  Being a master of language, he is supremely quotable on all kinds of subjects.  But he is also cited as the source of things that he never really said (such as the “Wise Turk” quote).  I have recently learned that Luther is considered one of the inventors of bowling!  [Read more...]


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