Februaryisms 📅

One-Off Non Series #00 “The Disentangler.”

A commitment to attend a youth basketball game, the schedules grandmotherly texted to us, now holds one last opportunity to attend on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m.

A phone call to Virginia Department of Transportation on February 8, and a neighbor’s phone call to VDOT that same week, ‘pot holes multiplying and deeper by the day,’ brought the gravel loader and grater to Rosemary Road for the first time since July 17, 2023.

An impressively steady and unchanging headache all day today confirms that I am afflicted by a cold but have withstood the evidently harsher version of it, which so many around me seem to be hosting, sneezecasting, muling to and fro.

Eighth and ninth class observations within a three week window happened this morning in the two farthest-from-Shanks buildings; I have managed to put together the 600-word write-ups during each class session, then conference with the teachers while walking back to Shanks together. Five more, Friday, Monday, and Wednesday.

A stop-off at Cburg Kroger today had me carrying home sweet potatoes, garlic paste, and Gatorade, with the first two elevating a sriracha peanut butter broth ramen brewed to tame this blerg.

A side-shed hour standing with the chickens as they free-ranged a bit, turning their time in the sunlight to dust bathing, except for Tiny Honey who chose instead to scratch leaves and pull worms.

A book award committee with an intermediate deadline of March 3, so there is time to get to these last two titles (in the first round) but the first ten have me going to the refrigerator for that Gatorade.

A sighting of yellow flowers across the road near the mailboxes tells us the daffodils have bloomed on February 21 for the second year in a row.

And that sighting is through a today-installed picture window, which replaced the one that inexplicably presented us with an expanding diagonal crack in one pane, lower left to upper right, sometime in early December, after which my brother quipped as chemists do “you do realize that glass only appears stable and is actually in a flow state?”.

An air dancer (guardian) is on a timer near the coop and run, set to intervals of fan-fed animation during daylight, unevenly but more or less for 20 minutes each hour, and this afternoon, despite its flailing or perhaps because of it, high above and circling intently were a trio of turkey vultures and a pair of red-tailed hawks (whose earnestness about actually attacking the chickens we have yet to confirm; today they remained distant).

Along with the daffodils, today bloomed 2024’s first invitation to do an external promotion review this summer; rules of the house, strictly enforced, are no more than two because three last year was one too many and four the year before were two too many.

Chalk Dust Pie – Tournament Pick’em Invitation

It’s March again. For the 19th year in a row, March means it is time to waste 30 minutes daydreaming about NCAA men’s basketball tournament glory by participating in the Earth Wide Moth Tournament Pick’em, Chalk Dust Pie. À la mode! So little has changed: we’re still using Fibonacci scoring with points increasing round by round (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21). You’ll also receive bonus points for upset picks (+1 point for upsets in the first round; +2 for upset picks thereafter). 

Everyone is welcome to join, so pass along the invitation. You still have a few days, but time is running out for scheduling a Zoom consultation with a certified palm reader, asking ChatGPT to weigh in on your picks, or finding a friend in Oklahoma who can talk you out of rooting for the Big 12. 

So, sign up! It’s free to join this year’s group on Yahoo!, Chalk Dust Pie (ID#27652). If you have questions, elbow me with all you’ve got via email at dereknmueller at gmail.com. Invite your friends, deep fakers, frenemies, faux-frenemies, Great Lakes ystĂ€vĂ€s, grimey gritical thinkers, census takers of holy smokes! declining numbers of English majors, good deed-doers, plumbers who fix broken pipes on short notice, grifters, practicers of chiropractic arts, rock lobsters doomed in the display tank at Red Lobster, hummingbird oglers, senses-numbed field researchers, eaters of long-expired birthday cake, people who drink double-dirty martinis but only on the most special of occasions, crawl space verminkin, Nomad internet customer service representatives, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Egoless, impermanent stakes: reputations are made (and quickly forgotten) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em
Group: Chalk Dust Pie (ID# 27652)
“19th annual.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 12, and first tip of the round of 64, sometime around noon EDT on St. Urho’s Day, Thursday, March 16. 🍀

Updated: Traci Gardner takes first place!!

Hoop Hollerin’ – Tournament Pick’em Invitation

It’s time again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em – 18th annual-ish. Just like whatever year it was when we did this last, we’re using Fibonacci scoring (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21), and going with modest upset bonuses, +1 point for upsets in the first round, +2 for upset picks after that. Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the most steady-handed dart flingers of all time. There’s no time time for consulting with your local misfortune teller, ordering new bifocals, staring into the sun (never advisable) while wondering about the rate at which your bracket will wither if you choose that team you kind of love.

Sign up! Free, free, FREE, yes, free to you: join this year’s group on Yahoo!, Hoop Hollerin (ID#37368). If you have questions, elbow me with all you’ve got via email at dereknmueller at gmail.com. Invite your friends, frenemies, faux-frenemies, Canadian compadres, social media snobs, wishful critical thinkers, mentors, interim interim interim associate provosts, outrageous sentiment analysts, multicolor kitchen molds, too-long-didn’t-readers, spendthrifts who subscribe to more than three streaming media services, people who can’t ever seem to find the goat yogurt at Kroger, friends of Appalachian folk artists, empirical phenomenologists, people who say they train on a bike but who haven’t trained on a bike in over a month, candy-sneaking flexitarians, Ypsilanti tattoo artists, grandchildren who had a stomach bug last night, attic vermin, septic tank replacement companies in Montgomery County, Va., who will not return a phone call, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Nonscopic stakes: reputations are made (and quickly forgotten) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em
Group: Hoop Hollerin’ (ID# 37368)
“18th annual-ish.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 13, and first tip of the round of 64, sometime around noon EDT on Thursday, March 17. 🍀

Step Back, Again

In basketball parlance, the step back is a move, not a method. If there is “research,” it is immediate—nothing protracted in the decision to make the move. I have never heard anyone refer to practiced, foreseeable basketball actions as methods. Instead: for individuals, moves, techniques, tendencies, styles; for teams, systems, plays, schemes. The step back introduces sufficient space for a shooter to send one up unobstructed (or with reduced interference from a defender who, because of the step, is now a step away). The step back creates a clearing.

For this step back to be effective, one judges by the space it established—usually a small, quickly opened space. Was it sufficient? And was it quickly enough calculated and executed to become indefensible? I want to be careful in suggesting that this step back compares neatly to the other step back. We do not on the hardwoods, say, in a pick-up game, wish to be running with anyone who noodles on, ish-talking about “did you see my step back method?” No. Time we shoot for new teams.

NULL’s Best Guess – Tournament Pick’em Invitation

It’s time again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em – 17th annual-ish. Just like whatever year it was when we did this last, we’re using Fibonacci scoring (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21), and going with modest upset bonuses, +1 point for upsets in the first round, +2 for upset picks after that. Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the most steady-handed dart flingers of all time. There’s no time time for consulting with your local misfortune teller, ordering new eyeglasses, staring into the sun (never advisable) while wondering about the rate at which your bracket will wither if you choose that team you kind of love.

Sign up! Free, free, FREE, yes, free to you: join this year’s group on Yahoo!, NULL’s Best Guess (ID#29676). If you have questions, elbow me with all you’ve got via email at dereknmueller at gmail.com. Invite your friends, frenemies, faux-frenemies, Canadian compadres, social media snobs, wishful critical thinkers, mentors, interim interim interim associate provosts, outrageous sentiment analysts, multicolor kitchen molds, too-long-didn’t-readers, spendthrifts who subscribe to more than three streaming media services, people who can’t ever seem to find the goat yogurt at Kroger, friends of Appalachian folk artists, people who say they train on a bike but who haven’t trained on a bike in over a month, candy-sneaking flexitarians, Ypsilanti tattoo artists, grandchildren dancing to the baby shark video, snail racers, assessment Jedi, the miscreant living in the upstairs apartment who does floor+ceiling thumping Jazzercise in the six a.m. hour every god-blessed day including Daylight Saving Time spring ahead day, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Giant stakes: reputations are made (and quickly forgotten) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em
Group: NULL’s Best Guess (ID# 29676)
“17th annual-ish.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 14, and first tip of the round of 64, sometime around noon EDT on Thursday, March 18.

91

Illustration from Tom Lavoie, Sr., given as a gift to graduating seniors on the 1991 Beal City Aggies (19-6), Class D Michigan State Quarterfinalists.

While I’m already on that 1991 flight path (x-referencing this FB post), here’s one more scraplet of mid-Michigan memorabilia, a drawing by my hs coach’s dad, Tom Lavoie, Sr. He’d created a series of these for seniors that year, I think. My variation, shown here somehow held on for years from place to place, but eventually it succumbed to the dankness of whatever dark basement tuck-away it was temporarily stored in. I took a photo of it before I pitched it (5-6 years ago?) and then just a couple of weeks ago, reflecting on that 90-91 season, I looked up the photo and retraced it in Procreate. I mean, why forget when you can remember? In particular, I remember Tom Lavoie, Sr., as oftentimes nearby, especially for those winter break practices, which he showed up to during the holidays, joining the workout session by arming himself with football blocking pads, and fouling us as we took turns doing power-ups (could be it was only the bigs who endured this; I don’t quite remember). Possibly sounds worse than it was; it added just a little bit extra to the already-demanding exertions of again and again picking up a ball from the floor, willing it to the upper outer corner of the backboard. I assume this kind of thing–being fouled over and over by football pads–explains the band-aids, dazed-headedness, aching elbows and knees, bloody sock, and lost shoe shown here. We were always taught, if you’re gonna foul, then foul (later at Park, Coach English, too, doubled-down on this defensive philosophy: spend your fouls well, wisely; you only get a few of them to give!). Google gave me a phone number, so I tried calling Tom Lavoie, Sr., this morning, left a message of gratitude on the answering machine for the drawing, for caring enough to show up as he did for us–and, too, for the difference made by his son, who died at too young an age (53) in 2011. 🏀

Added: Tom Sr. returned my call; we chatted for 30 mins about a lot of it remembering basketball, the drawings he made for players at Beal City and also for the women’s programs at Alpena HS, the former BCHS players he still hears from, and also about how–coincidentally–he graduated from Michigan State Normal School before it was EMU, studying Phys Ed and finishing in Ypsi in 1956. Mentioned, too, the anecdote about how he and Tom (his son, my hs coach) had gone to a Dick Baumgartner shooting camp in Indiana and were astonished to learn that the diameter of the rim is twice the diameter of a basketball, and facing much disbelief about that, Baumgartner would have to climb a ladder and show it to be true (empirical evidence being observable and all)…and how he had to do that same thing when he shared that lesson in later years at Alpena.

Triangles Are Tricky – Tournament Pick’em Invitation

Time again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em – 16th annual. Like last year, we’re using Fibonacci scoring (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21), continuing with the upset bonuses, +2 points for upsets in the first two rounds, +1 for upset picks after that. Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the surest, most over-confident pickers of all time. There’s no time time for consulting with your local hedgehog farmer, warming the oven to make a pizza on a pizza steel much less a pizza stone, staring into the sun (never advisable) while wondering about the rate at which your bracket will melt if you choose that team you kind of love.

Sign up! Free, free, FREE, yes, freee to you: join this year’s group on Yahoo!, Triangles Are Tricky (ID#97347). If you have questions, elbow me with all you’ve got via email at dereknmueller at gmail.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, faux-frenemies, freegans, Canadian compadres, Facebook abandoners, wishful critical thinkers, mentors, interim interim interim associate provosts, sentiment analyists, green kitchen molds, too-long-didn’t-readers, members of Relationshoppers Anonymous, people who can’t find the nutritional yeast at Kroger, neighbors of Appalachian permaculturists, people who say they train on a bike but who haven’t trained on a bike in over a month, flexitarians, Blacksburg tattoo artists, grandchildren at the frozen yogurt place, honey badger whisperers, assessment ninjas, members of the band practicing on the upper quad now that the weather is nicer, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Giant stakes: reputations are made (or treated to eternal lessons in impermanence) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em
Group: Triangles Are Tricky (ID# 97347)
“16th annual.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 17, and first tip of the round of 64, whatever time that is EDT on Thursday, March 21.

Wabi Sobby – Tournament Pick’em Invitation

Time again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em – 15th annual. Same as last year, we’re using Fibonacci scoring (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21), continuing with the upset bonuses, +2 points for upsets in the first two rounds, +1 for upset picks after that. Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the surest, most over-confident pickers of all time. Take a sip of homebrew kombucha to quell any nerves. There’s no time time for calling your mortgage appraiser, warming the oven to make a pizza, gazing into your half-empty crystal glassware for clues about what tomorrow never wanted to hold.

Sign up! Free, free, FREE, yes, freee to you: join this year’s group on Yahoo!, Wabi Sobby (ID#43578). If you have questions, elbow me with all you’ve got via email at dereknmueller at gmail.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, faux-frenemies, Canadian compadres, Facebook abandoners, wishful critical thinkers, mentors, interim interim interim associate provosts, sentiment analyists, old fashioned pulse takers, motor scooter drivers who have parked illegally in the contact zone, members of Relationshoppers Anonymous, elementary school cohorts, neighbors of Appalachian permaculturists, people who say they do yoga but who haven’t done yoga in a week, distractable sabbaticaleurs, avant-garde tattoo artists, grandparents at the frozen yogurt place, weasel whisperers, assessment specialists, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Giant stakes: reputations are made (or treated to eternal lessons in impermanence) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em
Group: Wabi Sobby (ID# 43578)
“15th annual.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 11, and first tip of the round of 64, whatever time that is EDT on Thursday, March 15.

Clankucopia

Time again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em – 14th annual. Same as last year, we’re using Fibonacci scoring (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21), though there are upset bonuses, +2 points for upsets in the first two rounds, +1 for upset picks after that. Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the surest, most over-confident pickers of all time. Take a sip of whiskey to quell your anxiety. Then get on with it. There’s no time time for calling your bank teller, reading your heart of palms, gazing into your crystal ping pong ball for hints about what the future doesn’t hold.

Sign up! Free, free, FREE to you: join this year’s group on Yahoo!, Clankucopia (ID#59134). If you have questions, elbow me as hard as you can in the sternum with an email at dereknmueller at gmail.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, faux-frenemies, Canadian compadres, Facebook friends, advisees, mentors, interim interim provosts, sentiment engineers, nouveau artists of the contact zone, members of BoredAF Anonymous, grad school cohorts, children of long conners, bracketoricians, distractable sabbaticaleurs, phonies, discount tattoo artists, grandparents at the bus stop, snakes in a can on a plane, Portland edibles dealers, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Giant stakes: reputations are made (and ground to what’s finer than such a fine-ground dust it’s invisible) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em
Group: Clankucopia (ID# 59134)
“14th annual.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 12, and first tip of the round of 64, whatever time that is EDT on Thursday, March 16.

Dissoi Bracketologoi

Time for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men’s basketball tournament pick’em – 13th annual. Like last year, we’re using Fibonacci scoring (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21). Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the surest, most over-confident pickers of all time. There’s no time for worrying your picks, no time for calling your fortune teller, reading your horoscope, or consulting your constellations. Sign up! Free, free, FREE to you: join this year’s group on Yahoo!,
Dissoi Bracketologoi (ID#46007)
. If you have questions, elbow me as hard as you can in the sternum with an email at dmueller at earthwidemoth.com (I’m on research leave; it will take me three weeks to respond). Invite your friends, frienemies, faux-frenemies, square dance partners, Facebook friends, advisees, mentors, bots, posthuman malingerers, artists of the contact zone, hystericists, children of the corn hole ringers, bracketoricians, Jimmie Johns addicts, discount tattoo artists, grandparents at the bus stop, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Pride-ish stakes: reputations are made (and ground to coarse dust) right here.


Yahoo! Tournament Pick’em

Group: Dissoi Bracketologoi (ID# 46007)
“13th annual.”

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 13, and sometime (I’m checking) EDT on March 17.