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)