battered brackets.

I put a spell on you...

I put a spell on you…

We’re a few hours away from the resumption of the NCAA tournament, so now would be a good time to take a quick look at how we’re all faring in the Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought to you by Bocktown).

We can’t do official standings, because we don’t start awarding points until we have a Final Four, but we can take a look at we’re all faring in general — and how many of us are screwed by the collapse of the upper seeds in the East and South regions (thanks for nothing, Virginia and Iowa State).

All four picks remain (Yinz are sittin’ pretty):

  • Father Spoon
  • Bluzdude
  • Calipanthergrl
  • Saylor

Three teams left, plus intact title games and champions (Definitely still alive):

  • Uncle Crappy
  • AAA
  • Curl Girl Michelle
  • SportsChump
  • Jaci Dean
  • Burgh Baby
  • Kewyson
  • PghRugbyRef
  • Tom Bickert
  • Abby
  • OTimemore
  • Scooter

Three teams plus your champions remain (Not time to panic):

  • Work Kelly
  • Starts with Dish
  • Jim H.
  • Joe
  • Michael Fulk
  • Jenny Lee
  • Neilson
  • Jason Cercone
  • Jenn Strang
  • Birdshit

Both title-game teams plus champion remain (Probably not a winner, but not a loser either):

  • Ethel
  • Adam


It’s hard to know for sure, but the folks that remain are in danger of receiving the dreaded Blutarsky Award.

Two teams plus pick for champion:

  • Fred
  • Dana
  • Casey
  • Hoyle
  • Matt
  • Enzo82

Two teams left, but no title game participants:

  • Hellohahanarf
  • AJ
  • Juan

The team you picked to win it all is all that’s left:

  • Daria

The games get started again in a little while. Good luck, yinz guys.

numbers don’t lie.


I gather from the dearth of Tenth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought to you by Bocktown) entries that we’re having trouble coming up with the kind of quality picks that would warrant a $50 Bocktown gift card.

The pressure’s on. I get it. And I’m also here to help.

In one of my professional capacities, I spend a little bit of time each week checking out, the stats blog run by Nate Silver and his staff of fellow geniuses. Sure, when it comes down to it, these folks are simply calculating probabilities of everything from presidential politics to this year’s snowfall in Boston. But they do so with stunning levels of consistency and accuracy, so when they release a bracket that shows the probability of victory for each team in the tournament, it’s maybe worth taking a look at what they have to say about March Madness.

And once you’re done with your analysis, get your TAUCNFFC entry ready to go. Remember: It’s free, it’s easy and the winner gets a $50 Bocktown gift card.

on repeat.

In 2010, Mrs. Crappy and I ventured to Ohio for a terrific Groundhog weekend.

When we returned, our street looked like this:


This weekend, I am venturing to Ohio — Mrs. Crappy has to work — for what I hope will be a terrific Groundhog weekend.

Check out what could be happening when I return on Sunday:


So. OK then.


johnny (part one).

So how was your Mother’s Day?

Mine? Great, thanks. I spent it playing with sewage water, lead and 76-year-old toilet wax.

This began while Mrs. Crappy was getting ready for work this morning; as she summoned me to the upstairs bathroom, I knew immediately that my plans for the day — mostly stuff in the yard — were about to be altered.


She was right to be concerned about seeing water seeping from around the base of the toilet, especially when considering its age; a plumber we had in not long after we bought the house in 2008 noticed the stamp in its tank reading “1938” — the same year the house was built, meaning that was the one and only toilet that’s ever called that bathroom home.


After a little online research, I settled on a suitable replacement. After some further research, I felt confident that I could get through the process of removing the old toilet and replacing it with a new one. Off to Home Depot to grab the new one, a new supply line and a few other little things I’d need.

How’d it go? At first, great. Drained all the water. Dug through the corrosion and removed the nut from one side of the bowl. And then I started to do the same thing on the other side. I dug. And I dug. And I dug. And when I got through 76 years’ worth of toilet gunk, I was met with a nut that would not budge.

This required another trip to Home Depot, for a can of WD-40 to break the nut (a trip that will guarantee that I find the can of WD-40 we already owned before the day is over). I eventually got that one off too — by stripping off the top of the bolt — and was met with a bigger problem: a flange that was buried in a 76-year-old wax ring that didn’t want to budge.


More digging, which revealed another problem: a flange that wasn’t bolted to the floor. Instead, it was held in place lead wings that are attached to … something. But by the time I got to this point, Mrs. Crappy had arrived home with a new flange that I may or may not use. Oh, and also a pizza. My patience had been tested enough, and with the exception of hauling the old toilet out to the curb after we ate, I had had enough for today.

What’s left? If there’s a wood surface under the current flange, I’ll remove it and use the new one. If there’s tile under there instead, I’m going to need further consultation with someone at Home Depot who knows more about this than I do. Once that gets done, dropping the new one in place will seem easy by comparison.


In the meantime — anyone have a need for a 1938-vintage toilet? It’s free to a good home.

lost hoppertunity.

I had my Kentucky Derby horse. And it would have been perfect.

A beer-related name. Trained by Bob Baffert, who is my guy. And he would have worn the silks of co-owner Michael Pegram — a big MP, which, by the way, ARE MY INITIALS AS WELL.

Hoppertunity would have been a solid choice too, opening betting after the announcement of post positions at 6-1. But after he limped through a practice run on Thursday, Baffert withdrew him from the race.

And left me without my most simpatico Derby choice ever.


That’s OK, though. Perhaps this is the right year to Dance With Fate instead.

warmed up?

It’s finally here — the start of the Ninth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown).

That’s good news, in and of itself. The better news? If you haven’t yet entered, you have until noon Eastern today to get your picks to me. Email, Twitter, FB, skywriting — any method you can think of will be fine.

Circumstances will force another change to our normally scheduled program. Because I’m shooting a beer show this afternoon, I won’t be able to post the full roundup of entries until late tonight or tomorrow morning. Rest assured: This will leave me even more time to screw up someone’s picks (but yeah, I have yours).

The work thing also means I won’t be able to follow Ohio State’s first-round game against Dayton. So if someone could live-tweet that for me, that would be really cool.

Enjoy the hoops, boys and girls, and good luck to everyone.