Thursday, February 18, 2010

is my soul prepared

Yesterday's Ash Wednesday post generated some reaction in my email box from a local mom:
I read on your blog about Beth's problem with the public school's attendance policy. I worked with a public school as the attendance secretary, which required entering the tardies, absences and excuses. I was told that the absence or tardy was black or white. You either were or you weren't. The excused or unexcused piece is where the religious holiday allowance would come. In other words, going to the orthodontist in the morning still makes you tardy but it is excused and not held against the child. Most perfect attendance awards do not take into account tardies. When my daughter took part in the Bishop's installation, all three of my children were excused from school -- but they were still absent.
After I had uploaded the blog entry, I watched the beginning of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and noticed that both Guillermo and Cleto Sr. were proudly wearing their ashes on national television. Too bad Joe Biden's priest merely put a thumbprint on the vice-president's forehead instead of a bold cross like Guillermo and Cleto got.

My Facebook friend count dropped by one on Wednesday. A friend from church had posted that she was giving up Facebook for Lent. I didn't realize she was going to deactivate her account.

Fr. Ragan Schriver did not give up Facebook for Lent. He is fairly new to the social networking site and has been adding friends rapidly. It's not surprising to me. Whenever we meet for dinner at Trio Café, it is impossible to walk across Market Square without meeting several people who know Fr. Ragan.

I saw a post on Fr. Ragan's wall that is worth sharing here even though it involves one of my least favorite songs of all time. When I was general manager of the student radio station at George Mason University, it was a running joke how much I hated "King of Pain" by the Police. It was overplayed by the volunteer deejays who picked their own songs.

Someone shared a link to a "King of Pain" parody called "This Time of Forty Days." Obviously the comedy stems from the line "There's a little black spot on your head today." I was amused and will look for more material online from Catholic comedian Nick Alexander. Had I known about it, I could have used his "YMCA" parody a year ago when I sponsored a friend into the church.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

stabba-slabba do

When the lovely Carol Bass invited us to lunch, I thought it might be fun to go someplace that had bones on the menu. Her husband is, of course, the renowned forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass. My wife, our son and I met Dr. and Mrs. Bass at Calhoun's on Bearden Hill. We had a great visit, mostly talking about mutual friends and about my son's experience at college so far.

The talk of college led Dr. Bass to ask if I had seen the Washington Post's favorable review of "Bones of Betrayal." The column was written by a professor at my alma mater, George Mason University. I told him that Jon Jefferson had emailed me a link to it. Jon is the co-author of several books with Dr. Bass.

The mention of Jon's name reminded me of the anecdote that had prompted me to suggest Calhoun's in the first place. Dr. Bass was happy to use the bones from my son's order of ribs to demonstrate how a knife leaves marks during a stabbing.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

very expressive

Several of my dance sponsors were at church this morning. They wanted to know how things went on Thursday night at "Star 102.1's Dancing With the Knoxville Stars." The event had sold out before any of them could get tickets. I promised to let them know when video is available online. I also told them that Richard Bull from Academy Ballroom has expressed an interest in possibly staging an encore performance next month, assuming the details can be worked out.

In the meantime, you can see some outstanding photos posted by Expressive Moments Photography on their blog. I am thinking about buying copies of a picture of me in black tie and a shot of Emily and me in the middle of our routine.

As I alluded in the first paragraph, a number of donations to Children's Hospital came from parishioners of All Saints Catholic Church. In addition to those I mentioned in earlier posts, thanks go to Mary K and Michael, Sandy and John and Susan Hoffman. Hank Stevens from the RCIA team at Sacred Heart Cathedral donated too.

Adrienne Thies Albers was editor of the Broadside when we were both at GMU. She read about my dancing and decided to sponsor me. So did my pal Stephanie, who donated as "Frank's publicist" after I let her come to the dress rehearsal.

The team of Frank & Emily (Framily? Emilank?) also received sponsorships from Jeff and Stacey of Garde Bien Spa Salon, Ryan of and Children's Hospital president Keith Goodwin who says he has two left feet too. My friend Maureen of Fox Chase Farm, made a generous contribution. This fall she is hosting a benefit for Susan G. Komen for the Cure at the Farm. One of the participants is Deb Lamberton of WETA-FM, whose fundraising page is here.

All these donations to East Tennessee Children's Hospital came through my page at My sincere thanks also go to Michelle Clark, Ken & Nancy Cross, Bob and Sylvia Goodyear, Carol Seip, Karen and Buford, Kristen, Liz L, Lori (from the radio station sales team), a very generous morning show listener and from Anonymous, who leaves all those blog comments.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

the homecoming queen's got a gun

George Mason University's homecoming game was televised last Saturday. I watched it, in high definition no less, on Comcast SportsNet MidAtlantic. So why has it taken almost a full week for me to find out that this year's homecoming queen is a dude? There was no mention of it during the telecast. The Washington Post finally had the story today. WTTG-TV and WRC-TV aired reports last night. I got all three links this morning when my daily Google Alert for GMU arrived. I suspect that the mainstream media got their news from Broadside, the weekly student paper.

Reann Ballslee, the queen in question, has previous royalty experience as a drag performer at Freddie's Beach Bar. When not in character, Reann is a popular student named Ryan Allen.

Oddly enough, this is not the first time I've mentioned GMU and drag queens in the same blog post. Please see the last paragraph of my May 18, 2006 entry. It tells you that I knew of the Queen Mary but not that I've also been backstage. The Queen Mary is the same club that Tobias Fünke referenced on the "Arrested Development" rerun I watched yesterday on HDNet.

Tobias would be jealous to know that Maximilliana had me hold his falsies as he dressed as a she. Max has posted video from that night on YouTube. It was part of the infamous Mark & Brian Show football bet punishments.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

mixed marriage

The George Mason at James Madison basketball game seemed like a good thing to put on the TV while my wife and I were relaxing at home yesterday, that is until the Dukes narrowly won in an upset. At least my wife, the JMU alumna, was happy about our schools' rivalry for the first time in five years.

The game was on DirecTV channel 642, which is Comcast SportsNet MidAtlantic. The technicians had some trouble deciding whether or not the broadcast was supposed to be in HD. They switched several times from widescreen to pillars and back. I was hoping to hear the "Mason Nation" jingle during the game. I have read about it but not heard it yet.

The GMU Patriots will be televised again on Thursday night when their away game against the Delaware Blue Hens is on ESPNU. Fans at the game will be entertained by multiple mascots, which might be lucky enough to get some nominal TV coverage. No word if Two Face will be there or not.

Apparently the University of Delaware is a mascot factory. Who knew? In addition to the current YoUDee, the court will be filled with former UD mascot team members who are now working as mascots for professional sports teams. The list includes Screech from the Washington Nationals, Slapshot from the Washington Capitals, Poe from the Baltimore Ravens, Wool E. Bull from the Durham Bulls and Swoop from the Philadelphia Eagles. They should ask Jennaphr Frederick to show up and dance with the mascots like she did a few years ago.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

perpetual light skype upon them

In this Internet era, everyone could benefit from having a Google Alert for their own name. I've had one in my name for a while and I've recently suggested that my wife and kids set up some for themselves. This past January, Stacy McCloud got a laugh when a Google Alert showed her name in my blog post titled "local news anchor on pot."

When I first set up my own Google Alert, I would get a lot of links to pages about the late politician and judge Frank Murphy and to news stories mentioning the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. The famous Michigander turned up recently in a story on George Mason University's History News Network. Sometimes I got news of former NFL player Frank Murphy. Lately there have been even more Frank Murphys turning up on the Alert.

There's a Frank Murphy who is a "streetwise scrum half," whatever that means. In Florida, there's a Frank Murphy who is the president of Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg. A Dr. Frank Murphy is vice-president of the South Carolina Animal Care and Control Association. However it was yet another Frank Murphy who gave me reason to write this post.

He's a funeral director in Salem, Massachusetts who has started using the Internet to help grieving families. He sets up video streaming to allow far-off relatives to view funeral services online.
The process requires only a single camera, a laptop and an Internet connection. There is a 40-second delay, but viewers are essentially watching the proceedings in "real time" through a link to a secure page or by logging in to a password-protected portion on the Murphy Funeral Home Web site.

The biggest challenge was practical, not philosophical. The church lacks an Internet connection, and Murphy is not ready to take the service wireless — at least not yet. Fortunately, a benevolent neighbor of the church allowed a cable to be run from his router, enabling the broadcast to happen.
As an aside, I thought it funny that the website for the local newspaper in Massachusetts is called

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Thursday, November 20, 2008


The reviews of the new George Mason University mascot are predictably less than enthusiastic. They gave it a human head like New England's Pat Patriot but made it much worse by painting its face green and gold. The new mascot will eventually get an official nickname via a contest. The University briefly referred to it as "The Patriot" in a photo caption, which prompted some rival school bulletin board posters to call it "TP" as in toilet paper. Others have drawn comparisons to William Wallace, the Jolly Green Giant, Jay Leno, the Incredible Hulk, the Demon Deacon and a gangrene victim.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gunston checks out

Gunston, the oft-maligned mascot of George Mason University, is being put out to pasture. He looks like a giant Muppet that's missing a couple of chromosomes. Rather than disappear, he will still represent the University at some events for children.

Although Gunston was far from perfect, I'm worried that I might like his replacement less. The DC Sports Blog and the DCist report that GMU's new mascot will be more human looking. I hope the GMU Patriots don't try to copy the New England Patriots mascot. To me, the creepiest mascots are the ones that have giant human faces. I would prefer an animal mascot, like the ones competing in the Capitol One Mascot Challenge (including UT's Smokey).

When I was a student at Mason, there was no foam-covered mascot. Instead we had a face character. He was an older man who wore colonial garb, which would have been better for a candle-making demonstration in Williamsburg than for rallying a crowd of basketball fans. In subsequent years, the scary-looking Mason Maniak replaced the stately statesman.

Two of my friends have worn the mascot costumes for GMU. I emailed both George and Mike to get their take on the news of the impending change. George started in 1991 as the puffy Patriot. He also wore a gorilla suit and the Green Mask outfit before debuting the Gunston costume. George still works for the University. He went to fix something at President and Mrs. Merten's residence the day after they had attended their first GMU basketball game:
She introduced herself to me and I told her we had met last night. She looked puzzled when I told her we even danced on the court during a time out. When I told her who I was, she ran to the stairs and called out, "Alan, Alan, come here!" She was so excited to find out who I was.
Mike was the last to wear the original Gunston costume and the first to wear the new one. He overlapped with George in 1998 and continued through the school's 2001 NCAA appearance. Mike says:
Gunston was always misunderstood. I was once told that the aim of the athletic department was to appeal to families and kids, but I always thought that as the University's mascot, it should appeal to the students and alumni. It would never fail that at a game I would be asked "what are you?"

Who knows why Mason is making the change. There was talk about this back in 1998 and there will be talk of changing from whatever they chose in the future. Mason is funny like that. It longs for tradition and I think forgets that tradition takes time and stability.

Once I was asked out for Valentine's Day by a couple of sorority girls and went on a date to dinner and a movie with them. The great thing about Gunston was that people forgot that there was a person in there. That's how I knew that I did a good job. I would surf on top of police cars in parades, rollerblade behind vans around Patriot Park and the cops would smirk and shake their heads. Orientation was always fun too. I was the first college guy that hit on many an incoming freshman. I know... kind of impure, but they needed it, Frank... they needed it.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

unequal time

Although the late-night comics would seem to favor the Democratic ticket, I think several of them must secretly hope for a Republican victory. They get much more material from the GOP. Their jokes about McCain and Palin outnumbered their jokes about Obama and Biden 475 to 69 according to the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. The Center's website keeps a tally of the people targeted by some of the TV comedians.

While out of town over the the weekend, I saw a political yard sign that attempted to make a joke about Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney. It shows Cheney with pit-bullish lipstick and says that Palin would be "more of the same." I disagree. Palin shot a moose, Cheney shot a lawyer.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

mass, public, interpersonal

One of my former professors from George Mason University was in town over the weekend. Dan Rainey was the faculty adviser for WGMU radio during the time I was station manager. In addition, he taught at least three of the 300 and 400 level communication classes I took. When I mentioned it over lunch on Saturday, Dan joked that every time he turned around, there I was.

Although he still does some teaching (now at SMU), Dan's day job is at the National Mediation Board where he is Director of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Dan has been interested in conflict resolution for a long time. In a previous job, he spoke about the representation of Arabs in American media. At lunch, Dan told us a little about Irish political murals. He said we should try to get to DC this summer when some well-known muralists will be in town for an art show.

We talked a little bit about some of my former classmates who were also Dan's students. I mentioned that Debby Girvan had run for mayor of Fredericksburg. Unfortunately she didn't win.

Another topic, albeit brief, was radio and the changes the business has undergone in DC and elsewhere. I forgot to show Dan the picture of a WGMU satin jacket that my daughter saw in a thrift shop. She thought it was tacky funny enough to buy it for less than a dollar. The name "Sportiette" is stitched on the front. I hung it in a closet with a blue WAVA satin jacket and a purple Carpenters satin jacket with the name "Kevin" stitched on the front. I'm ready for Halloween.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

impossible things happening everyday

The news out of Fairfax this week was unsettling. George Mason Patriots coach Jim Larranaga was being courted by his alma mater, Providence College. I heard about it yesterday when I called Michael Litos, author of "Cinderella: Inside the Rise of Mid-Major College Basketball," to arrange today's podcast interview. I was relieved to hear today that Larranaga accepted a contract extension to stay at GMU.

In the 11 minute mp3 file, we talk about Coach L, the CAA and mid-major basketball in general. I told Michael about Best Week Ever poking fun at Larranaga over his speech before this year's Notre Dame game. While you're listening, take a look at Michael's CAA blog and the current stories about Larranaga on the Washington Post and New York Times sites.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

one and done

"If it weren't for bad luck, there would be no luck at all." That's what one of the announcers said about GMU with sixteen minutes left in tonight's debacle in Denver. The George Mason Patriots couldn't keep pace with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Many of their shots found the rim but not the basket. The game was so lopsided that CBS bailed out and switched to the Cal State Fullerton game.

The NCAA is offering live streaming video of all the tournament games over the Internet. When I was researching the links for my March 10th post, I saw that fans had to register in advance for the video feed. Thinking that there was a pretty good chance Mason's games would be on regular TV, I had not registered for the stream. I stuck with CBS for a little while tonight, hoping they would switch back to the GMU game on my HD screen. Nope. By the look of the scoreboard at the top of the screen, they weren't going to be returning any time soon. At halftime, I checked the March Madness on Demand website to see if maybe I could still register. After all, I was ready to root for my alma mater, even though the game started so late. I took a nice long nap today and I put on my GMU sweatshirt.

To my surprise, the website had a button that said I could watch without registering. The video player looked great on my computer. Unfortunately the Patriots did not. The second half was just as bad as the first. Game over, tournament over, 68-50. What did I expect on Holy Thursday?

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Monday, March 10, 2008

final sixty-four

The George Mason Patriots earned their way back to the NCAA men's basketball tournament with a 68-59 victory over the William and Mary Tribe tonight. The win came in the championship game of the CAA Tournament in Richmond. This means that I will now be interested in the Selection Sunday seeds and that I will be watching GMU play in the tournament. Not that I'm superstitious but I think I will wear the same GMU sweatshirt that I wore to watch the CAA tournament during that first round NCAA game. Since I have three different ones, let me remind myself that it was the green one with the gold stitched lettering. I'm not the only one in eager anticipation. One of the fans in the stands at tonight's game held up a sign that read: "George Mason is this year's George Mason!"

Near the beginning of the game, our home phone rang. Of course, not everyone reads my blog and would know that I was watching the game. Since the DirecTV box is connected to a phone line, they can offer a caller ID feature. The name and number of incoming callers is displayed on my TV screen. As we watched Mason take an early lead, the caller ID said "incoming call from Geo Mason Univ." and gave a (703) number. Huh? The voice on the phone said they were calling from the university's Phonathon. I remember volunteering for the annual fundraiser when I was a GMU student myself, calling unsuspecting alumni at their homes. I told the young lady that I was trying to watch the basketball game. She asked who was winning. I told her that Mason had scored the first two baskets. At that point she said her good-byes and hung up. It was the most painless solicitation call ever. We didn't even get to the part where I have to say no.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

knowing what the world is about

The book I'm currently reading put me in the mood to watch some college basketball today. Specifically, I wanted to see the CAA tournament game between George Mason and Northeastern. In case you didn't know, GMU is my alma mater. The book is called "Cinderella: Inside the Rise of Mid-Major College Basketball." It's mostly about the 2005-2006 CAA season and Mason's trip to the Final Four. I'm working on getting an interview with the author for an upcoming podcast.

Prior to the game, I was a little worried for the Patriots because of their recent loss to the Huskies in the regular season. Northeastern had to beat my wife's school (JMU) last night in order to face my school tonight. There was no need for concern. Mason held a comfortable lead throughout the game, winning 63-52. They play UNC Wilmington tomorrow at approximately 5:30 p.m. The winner of that game gets to play in the CAA championship game on Monday night.

In the time since Mason's Final Four appearance, the pep band has evolved into the Green Machine, led by Doc Nix. I read in the alumni magazine that the band's string section started as a joke. The violins got a fair amount of TV time on CN8, which the announcers predictably referred to as "the ocho."

The pregame hosts interviewed Lakers scout Kevin Grevey who said he was also there to look for players for the minor league Defenders. They let him get in a plug for his restaurant in Falls Church too. The play-by-play announcers said there was "lots of ball pressure," whatever that means. I'm sure they meant in the game, not at the restaurant.

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Friday, February 22, 2008


A young couple with whom I share a GMU connection are having a blessed event. They sent me the good news via email with a screen grab attached. Here's what they wrote, with hyperlinks added by me:
Ok, so we’re having another baby in July and found out last week that it’s a boy. Woo hoo. So imagine my surprise when, while researching about the bris ceremony and trying to find a mohel in Knoxville, you show up in the search results. Go figure.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

you've got to rearrange

When my friend Anja Reinke was elected to the Burbank City Council, it was a big deal to me. However she isn't the first of my friends to get involved in politics. One of my classmates from George Mason University has served on the Fredericksburg City Council for four years.

Debby Girvan recently announced that she is running for mayor of Fredericksburg against the incumbent. Her campaign must be making some waves. Debby jokingly says her "worst fear" came true today. She became a political cartoon.

The newspaper may have missed an earlier opportunity for a caricature of Debby and the mayor. About two years ago, he playfully dunked her at the opening of a city swimming pool. Here's hoping that she figuratively dunks him when the polls close on May 6th.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

domo arigato

When Rockapella performed at George Mason University in December, I wanted to go but couldn't. My sister did and used the opportunity to buy a Christmas gift for my wife and me. She got us the group's "Live in Japan" CD and had it autographed. I called her today to get some help deciphering the inscriptions.

I had thought that one of the singers had written "L.T.N.J." What could that mean? N.J. is the abbreviation for New Jersey but what about L.T.? Lawrence Taylor? Are they Giants fans? I looked up a list of cities in New Jersey. Perhaps it was an unexplained reference to Liberty Township. My sister said I was way off track. What I thought was a J is actually an S and the message was "Long Time No See." I might have known that if I wasn't too cheap to pay for text messages.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

here they come a-caroling

If it were possible to be in two places at once, one of me would show up at George Mason University on December 8 to see Rockapella in concert. They will do two Christmas shows at the Center for the Arts that day. I received a flyer from my alma mater advertising the shows. The photo on the flyer was the first picture I had seen of the group since Elliott Kerman left. Elliott is the third member to retire in the time that I've been a fan.

The first Rockapella concert I ever saw was one of Sean Altman's last shows with the group. His replacement, Kevin Wright, had already been selected and was watching from the wings to learn everything he could. The most recent Rockapella concert I attended was three and a half years ago in Atlanta. George Baldi had recently replaced Barry Carl as the bass singer.

Sean, Barry and Elliott will reunite next August to sing under the name XRP (ex-Rockapella?) at an event called A Cappellastock in Ogden, Utah. I would love to be there, if only I could be in two places at once.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

scientific faith

A friend thought of my reference to an essay about Creationism and Catholics after hearing a recent lecture at my alma mater. Bill Gavin, a religion teacher at Bishop Ireton High School, spoke to the Catholic Campus Ministry at George Mason University this past Thursday. The topic of his talk was "The Catholic Contribution to Western Civilization." His high school students deliver presentations on the societal contributions of famous Catholics almost every day of the semester.

I listened to the podcast of Gavin's speech and appreciated his remark that faith and reason are not on a collision course. He cites famous scientists like Francis Collins of the Human Genome Project, who thinks of God as the greatest scientist. The Christian world view encouraged scientific discovery. Jesuit priests who were also scientists wanted to understand the natural laws created by God. Gavin mentions a priest who pitched the big bang theory to Einstein.

Throughout history, the Catholic Church initiated many things that we now take for granted like universities and hospitals. I didn't know that the some of the first clocks were created by monks. Before finishing, Gavin segued to Catholic contributions to the arts, economics, politics, and literature. The list of famous Catholics is impressive. I wonder if he could work Batman's faith into his next lecture.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

who is President Rushmore?

George Mason University made it to the big time last year when the men's basketball team reached the Final Four. Further glory was bestowed upon my alma mater tonight when the following answer appeared on "Jeopardy!" during their College Championship: "A 7-foot statue of this colonial statesman overlooks the campus of GMU, the university named for him." Appropriately, the answer was in the category "Big Men on Campus."

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

caught up in the Internet

This morning at 3:00 a.m Central Time, several people from Wisconsin ended up at my site after searching for information about a Frank Murphy who beat somebody up in the third grade. Of course I never delivered a smackdown in the third or any other grade. My son tells me that there is a scene in the movie "I, Robot" that may have prompted the flurry of web activity. I should watch it one of these days.

A list of predictions from 1900 has been making the rounds on the Internet this past week. Some of the items seem too accurate to be true. I expected to find a debunking of the list at but did not.

Another site making the news is It tracks leatherback sea turtles as they swim to the Galapagos Islands to lay their eggs.

As I read more about the tragedy at Virginia Tech, I stumbled across a cartoon that moved me. It shows the mascots of other Virginia universities consoling the Virginia Tech Hokie. A larger version of the drawing can be found at When seen side by side with the other mascots, it is apparent that my alma mater needs to update theirs.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

free Masons

Last year at this time, America was crazy about George Mason University, my alma mater. I had a pretty severe case of Final Four Fever myself. Blogger Frank Strovel was kind enough to send me the link to an interesting four-part article titled "George Mason: One Year Later." It tells what happened to GMU's three best players after they graduated. Meanwhile, Jim Larranaga is coaching an all-star game in Atlanta tonight as part of Final Four weekend.

This year's Final Four includes one of the other DC area Georges, Georgetown University. I guess I could root for them, seeing as they're a Catholic school and all. I'm not sure but I think the only Georgetown alum I ever knew is Joe Kelliher, who is now some medium-to-big-shot in the government.

After living in Burbank for ten years, it would make sense that I know a couple of people who graduated from UCLA. One of them, former Burbank mayor Michael Hastings, is on my list of LinkedIn connections.

If anyone happens to see me tomorrow, I'll be wearing my Final Four t-shirt from last year.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

close the humidor

The announcers on ESPN tonight explained it well. All season long, the George Mason Patriots have been the hunted. Every opponent tried extra hard to defeat a Final Four team (even though three of last year's starters had graduated). During the CAA tournament, the Patriots were once again the hunters. I was happy to discover that a channel on my cable system was carrying the tournament. I went to bed early and missed Friday night's game but I was able to watch live as 6th seeded GMU upset the number 3 seed Hofstra on Saturday. I recorded Sunday's game and tried to watch it after I got home last night, but only made it to halftime before I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

Mason basketball isn't as big a news story as it was last year. This morning around 9:00 a.m., I realized that I still had not yet heard if GMU was able to maintain their big lead or if number 2 seed ODU had come back to win. I hadn't gotten any emails from my fellow GMU alumni, which made me wonder if the news was not good. I resisted the urge to open a USA Today sports page sitting within reach and I didn't go to a headline website that I usually read daily. After lunch, I enjoyed the heck out of the rest of the game as the Patriots overthrew the Monarchs to advance to tonight's championship game. One more Mason victory would mean another trip to the big dance. A loss would probably mean the end of the season, although an NIT appearance wouldn't be completely ruled out.

One of my son's classmates came over to watch tonight's game with us. Things were looking good as the Patriots maintained a lead over the number 1 seed through most of the game but VCU didn't give up and ended up winning in the last two minutes. During the season I had come to accept that Mason probably would not return to the NCAA tournament but I got my hopes up this weekend. It was fun while it lasted.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

holding out

The cast of "Heroes" was supposed to be interviewed on "Larry King Live" on Friday night. I set the TiVo only to discover on Saturday morning that the "Heroes" cast had been bumped for more coverage of Anna Nicole Smith. I'll try to remember to periodically check the CNN listings to see if they get rescheduled. Tonight's episode of "Heroes" was another good one. I liked the way Claire used her superpower to deal with the situation at her house. Twice.

I can't remember the last time I watched "Larry King Live." Radio host Laura Ingraham does a funny segment that makes me want to watch Larry more often but there's almost always something else on that I want to watch and/or record instead. The feature on Laura's show is called "Guess the Guest." She plays sound clips of King's questions and lets her listeners guess who Larry was interviewing. Unfortunately our local affiliate airs only two hours of Laura's three hour show so I usually miss it.

The topic of superheroes turns up in the most unusual places. A friend remembered my post about religious affiliations of superheroes and sent along a link to a podcast for me to share. On February 15, Monsignor Bill Parent spoke about superhero films to the Catholic Campus Ministries group at George Mason University. He points out the Christ-like figures in "The Matrix," "Spider-Man," "Superman Returns" and "Batman Begins." I'm listening to it as I type this. Holy Christological analogies, Batman!

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Friday, December 08, 2006

rush party

TiVo alert! This week's episode of a popular network TV series is set in Knoxville! And I'm not talking about a rerun of that famous episode of "The Simpsons." On Sunday night, the detectives of "Cold Case" head south to "delve into the country music world." (If you do actually set your TiVo, pad it with an extra hour in the Eastern and Central time zones to allow for the overrun of the Broncos/Chargers and/or the Bills/Jets games.) The TiVo listing says that the character of Scotty is reluctant to visit here. It doesn't say anything about Lilly being reluctant, so let's assume that she is eager to see all that K-town has to offer. At first, I thought there must be a mistake in the listings. It seemed unlikely that the detectives would investigate country music in Knoxville, unless the story took place back in days before the country music industry migrated west to Nashville. The TV Guide listing makes a little more sense. It says that the episode's murder happened in 2000 and that the detectives go to both Knoxville and Nashville. I don't recall hearing about "Cold Case" filming on location in Knoxville but I can hope that they at least use some stock footage of the Sunsphere, which is not a wig shop.

TiVo alert #2: "Hardball with Chris Matthews" will be recording a show from the campus of The Final Four's George Mason University on December 14. The program is not about basketball however. Instead Robert DeNiro will be there to discuss his new movie about the CIA, "The Good Shepherd."

TiVo alert #3: The Brian Setzer Orchestra will be on the "Rachael Ray Show" on December 18 or 19. Speaking of the BSO, did anybody make it to their concert in Nashville last night? I just watched a brief video of the Orchestra playing the "Peter Gunn Theme" with special guest Duane Eddy at the Ryman.

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

speaking of sports

So far no good for the teams I follow. Knoxville Catholic High School's undefeated football season fell apart in the fourth quarter of last night's playoff game. George Mason University raised their Final Four banner this afternoon but lost the basketball game that followed. My sister's husband went to the game and sent the photos you see below. Maybe the Washington Redskins can break this fan's losing streak tomorrow when they start Jason Campbell at quarterback. At least the New York Mets will not lose this weekend.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

sports night

The Mets are struggling in the ninth inning as I write this. It looks like the Cardinals will even up the NLCS after a great Mets win on Thursday night. Tonight the Mets could have used some of those terrific defensive plays from last night. Hey, did you notice the signs at Shea Stadium for

I guess I'm a bigger sports fan than I realized. Since 7:30 p.m. I have been flipping between an exciting high school football game and the Mets playoff game. I left the downstairs TiVo tuned to CSS and the upstairs TiVo tuned to Fox. A couple of times I was able to rewind to see a home run or a touchdown that I would have otherwise missed. At 11:00, I flipped between the three network affiliates to see their coverage of the football game I had just watched between the top two local high school teams. Both Catholic and Fulton were undefeated going into tonight's game. KCHS won the game, 27 - 14.

If I'm still awake at 12:30, college basketball gets added to the mix, as I told you yesterday. I will probably just go to bed and save my Mason Madness viewing for tomorrow.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

advice for life

Can you possibly stand another post about the Final Four's George Mason University? Thursday morning's USA Today had a great article about my alma mater's basketball team as they prepare for Friday night's Midnight Madness, which will be televised on ESPNU. Three of Mason's regular season games will be on TV.

Coach Jim Larranaga is ready for another season. He recently spoke to a group of students at the Catholic Campus Ministry during one of their Thursday Night Suppers. Coach L talked about the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels of the game. Larranaga has a philosophy that can be condensed to three words: attitude, commitment and class. It's worth downloading the podcast of the speech (right click here) and spending some time with it.

There was a non-basketball story worth sharing in
Wednesday's USA Today. The article has some easy tips to trim a couple hundred calories a day from your meals and snacks.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006

more Mason madness

There is no doubt that the national media has embraced George Mason University's Cinderella story in the NCAA Tournament. Tomorrow morning both "Good Morning America" and "Today" are scheduled to have live cameras on campus. One will be inside the Johnson Center, the other outside at the statue of George Mason. And of course, Kevin & Bean interviewed me this morning on KROQ.

Two of my friends are traveling to Indianapolis for the game(s). Coincidentally they both served time as the George Mason basketball mascot. My friend George was the Mason Maniak and was succeeded by my friend Mike, who was Gunston. I first met George while I was working at WAVA. At the time he was Prince Willie, the mascot for the (then) Prince William Yankees, a minor league baseball franchise now known as the Potomac Nationals. Since hanging up the giant mascot heads, George has been doing a weekly sports show on WGMU, the campus radio station. Oddly enough, I didn't meet Mike until he moved to Knoxville a couple of years ago. It would be fun to see the two of them compete in the Celebrity Mascot Games, which are held in Orlando but it would be more convenient for me if the games were held in nearby Mascot, Tennessee (get it?).

After last Friday's successful viewing party, the Mason alumni in the Knoxville area will once again gather at Bailey's Sports Grille to cheer for GMU. I'll be there right after the Einstein Simplified performance at The Comedy Zone. Who would have ever thought that the Patriots would still be playing basketball in April back when I committed to performing in the improv show? My wife has a Knoxville Choral Society performance that night too.

I've been exchanging emails with several college friends to share the Final Four excitement. We're all happy that our team has made it this far and rooting for them to win it all. Some of us are even praying for a GMU victory. Today's last words come from my favorite GMU professor, who was also my faculty advisor. He writes:

I did look through your site - you are a prolific bastard, I'll say that. I loved the sweatshirt story.

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