The Englightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything

In these most excellent days of wall-to-wall college basketball (you can take the boy out of North Carolina, but. . . ), conversation in my immediate social circle tends to revolve around hoops. Unfortunately, I have friends who really don’t care all that much about the road to the Final Four, and that causes some undue friction. They just don’t understand the magic — the thrill of watching a field of 64 get whittled down to 16 in a weekend, then down to 4 in another, and then in the climactic Final Four, down to that “one shining moment” (a song that is, objectively, the corniest schlock ever written, but somehow the lyrics “it’s more than a contest / it’s more than a race” do ring true).

Fortunately, I found a book that can bridge the gap between those who love hoops and those who don’t: The Enlightened Bracketlogist: The Final Four of Everything. Yes, everything — so, on page 88, you’ll find a bracket of 64 talk show hosts, divided up into “regionals” (late-night, morning, daytime, and hard-news), with first-round matchups like Johnny Carson vs. Dick Cavett, Conan O’Brien vs. Jon Stewart, and Larry King vs. Charlie Rose. For each bracket, an expert plays out the field an offers commentary on the matchups and the winners chosen to advance. In the talk show host bracket, the expert is Bill Carter, the TV industry correspondent for the New York Times. Mo Rocca does the “Political Hot Buttons” bracket.

Other brackets include “Rednecks” (matching up the likes of Britney Spears, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bocephus), “Sins Against the Language” (dangling modifiers, spellcheck errors, semicolon abuse), “Alt-country songs” (championship matchup of Whiskeytown’s “Angels are Messengers from God” vs. Lucinda Williams’ “Changed the Locks”), “Conspiracy Theories” (lunar landings faked vs. Kennedys killed Marilyn Monroe in the first round!), and “Political Hot Buttons” (Final Four: gay marriage, gun control, abortion, border security). There are literally 100 brackets guaranteed to keep your non-basketball-watching friends and loved ones busy while you get your hoops on — go buy this today.

Enjoy March Madness!

(thanks to my Raleigh homeboy David Menconi for the heads up on this excellent book)

Beer: the best beverage in the world

Beer: The Best Beverage in the World” — as lectures go, that seems like a pretty good draw. I’ll let you read the description of the talk itself (which does look quite interesting), but I love the speaker’s bio: Charlie Bamforth, Ph.D., D.Sc. is Chair of the Department of Food Science & Technology and Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting & Brewing Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

There are lots of “students” of “malting & brewing sciences” on college campuses today, so I’m guessing Dr. Bamforth is a pretty popular professor on campus.

I'm not at SXSW, but the Shiners are on me

Yeah, I’m not in Austin this year. Between a speaking commitment here in the Bay Area tomorrow and a wedding-related commitment on Saturday, the schedule just didn’t work. Sigh.

Never fear, though — there are plenty of good folks from Yahoo. Be sure to hook up with the MyBlogLog guys, or the Yahoo! Developer Network team — Kent Brewster, Jason Levitt (who moderated this panel), and Dan Theurer. If you see any of them, tell them I said the Shiner is on me. Or just show up at Yahoo! BarTab and cut out the middleman.

See you in Austin next year!

This DST thing could get (at least a little) ugly

Some people (like Paul Kedrosky) are calling the DST time change the “real Y2K,” and thinking about the characteristics of the change, I would tend to agree. Fundamentally, computers don’t like irregularity, and this change is not algorithmically pretty. The Wikipedia page on DST explains it like this:

Starting in 2007, most of the United States and Canada observe DST from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, shifting clocks typically at 02:00 local time. The 2007 U.S. change was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005; previously, from 1987 through 2006, the start and end dates were the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October, and Congress retains the right to go back to the previous dates once an energy consumption study is done.

The interesting thing to me about this is that Y2K happened only once, yet depending on the whims of the Congress, it sounds like this could happen a few times. This sounds like a problem one would be tempted to solve with some hard-coding or at least deferring a solid solution, and that’s never good.

I’m not forecasting doomsday or anything (see my earlier post, “The Y2K that wasn’t“), but judging from all the wackiness I’ve already experienced with my Treo and my corporate mail, we could be in for a few bumps in the road. Stay tuned.

Update: 7:50pm: after upgrading my Good (mobile corporate email) software of my Treo 650 with the patch to deal with DST, it turns out that my firmware needs to be upgraded to deal with that software update. Ugh. Looks like I’m going to be doing a firmware update on the Treo — the equivalent of open-heart surgery. If I fall off the grid, you’ll know why.