it’s blutarsky time.

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I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like the wreckage of Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub), in terms of how many people we’re going to honor with a Blutarsky Award here in just a sec.

Chalky picks only work if the higher seeds win, and the higher seeds failed to do that last weekend. Carolina. Duke. The Aforementioned Basketball School Up North. All dumped on their keisters before making the Final Four.

So who might win this thing? No one — not a single TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) contestants correctly picked the Final Four. But nevertheless, there are a few possibilities:

Four plus (Two correct Final Four picks and the possibility for more points):

  • Uncle Crappy (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

Two plus (One correct Final Four pick and the possibility for more points):

  • Socialist Joe
  • Dr. Scooter
  • Breaking Brews
  • Sports Chump
  • Ethel
  • Kelsey
  • The Other Scooter

Four and done (Two correct Final Four picks but no more points possible):

  • Curl Girl Michelle

Two and done (Two correct Final Four picks but no more points possible):

  • Lorenzo
  • HP

Before we move on, boys and girls, I would ask that you recall The Crappy Rule, as outlined in the contest’s initial post a couple weeks back. It says, in part:

If I were to come out on top of my own contest (and believe me, boys and girls, there is very little chance of that happening), the Piper’s gift card would be awarded to the next runner up (although I retain full bragging rights, which I would exercise almost daily until next year’s contest).

So pay attention if you still have points coming — you’re still in this thing.

And then … we have the people who most definitely are not still in this thing. You have managed to achieve the ultimate in college basketball futility … and for that, you deserve an award.

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A Blutarsky Award.

Why does a college basketball pool have an award named for a fictional character from Animal House? For this one line, which perfectly describes your TPAUCNFFC (BTYBPP) performance:

Blutarsky Award winners (No correct Final Four picks and no points):

  • Otimemore
  • Expatpghgirl
  • Aunt Annoyed Angel
  • Kewyson
  • Redbuppy
  • PghRugbyRef
  • Sara Without An H
  • Lunchbox Birdshit
  • Juan

Thank you for playing, Blutarsky people. And good luck to the rest of you.

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spoke too soon.

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Wait — we do suck. And so does Michigan.

riding — and asking — again.

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I shouldn’t be surprised that we’re here again.

“Here” is waiting to see whether the just announced intention by the current White House to kill the Affordable Care Act is going to pick up any steam. “Here” is wondering whether type II diabetes will be classified as a pre-existing condition somewhere down the line. “Here” questioning what I’d do if my insurance provider, suddenly unburdened by the regulations of Obamacare, would subject me to coverage limits.

And, ultimately, “here” is me on my bike later this year, riding in the Pittsburgh edition of the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure and raising money so all of the other “heres” won’t matter.

I’ve talked to you guys about this stuff before, when I did the same ride up near Butler two years ago. At that point, we were in the first year of the Trump presidency and the future of Obamacare was uncertain, to say the least.

That part calmed down a bit — until very recently, anyway — but those worries were replaced by new ones … like the cost of the drugs people with diabetes rely on to manage the disease and, you know, keep us alive.

Back then, I was using injections of Lantus — a brand of insulin — each day as the primary treatment for the disease. I’m now using daily shots of Victoza to do the same thing. It helps — my latest A1C reading was 6.5, which is close to half of what it was when I was diagnosed — but it comes at a cost.

I am so fortunate — for me, that cost is largely borne by my insurance provider. If you’re underinsured, or if you have no insurance at all, you could find yourself on the hook for the full price of a three-pen box of Victoza — and that, boys and girls, costs just under $1,000. And you’d need 12 of those boxes to get you through a full year. Plain old insulin is a bargain by comparison, at $400 per box or roughly $1,200 a year.

Add to that the potential for losing insurance if the ACA goes away. Or being told by your insurance company that your rates are going to double because of your pre-existing condition. Or that we’re going to give you a thousand bucks a year to manage your diabetes, but you’re responsible for everything else after that. If that happens, even people who have good insurance could be in trouble.

The solution is the same now as it is then: Let’s not wait to see what happens in Washington. Let’s get the American Diabetes Association the money it needs to fund research and find a cure. Follow this link to my Tour de Cure page, where I will dazzle you with even more facts and, not coincidentally, you can make a donation. I’m hoping to raise $1,000, and anything you can give — ANYTHING — will be a huge help.

uh-oh.

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What I did: Post a pic of Cookie the kitten reaching up between the slats of our coffee table and playfully grabbing at my dinner.

What I expected: A whole bunch of AWWWW SHE’S SOOOOO CUUUUTE comments.

What I got instead: A fairly judgemental discussion of my dinner choice, which happened to be Spaghettios.

First: One serving of Spaghettios with Meatballs has 31 grams of carbs, about half of my limit for a meal.

Second: Y’all can bite me. I will always have Spaghettios in the house.

Third: I am certain the Judgey McFood people who commented on my dinner have their own skeletons in their pantries, whether it’s something left over from childhood or a bad habit left over from college days. So let’s hear it: What’s your culinary guilty pleasure?

Finally: I found this as I was looking for a Spaghettios pic to serve as the new header on my Facebook profile. Think there’s no way I’d try making a Spaghettios pizza? You. Are. Mistaken.

a day.

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This is the only photo I took during the day today. (And Mrs. Crappy won’t be happy to see this one.)

It wasn’t for a lack of opportunities. On the surface, this was an amazing day, mostly because Mrs. Crappy had a rare Sunday off and I was able to spend the entire day with her: outdoor yoga, outdoor lunch, pool time and a party on the Mon Wharf with friends, cold beer and a few of our favorite food trucks.

But life is rarely that simple, right?

I know I’m not the only person who got really angry yesterday as I took in everything that happened in Virginia (I’m confident that I’m not betraying any standards of journalism ethics when I say I find white supremacists of any variety abhorrent). And although Mrs. Crappy and I had a terrific night by a backyard campfire last night, I woke up under the same dark clouds I allowed to build the day before.

And when I let those clouds to gather, they tend to hang around. I can’t say my shitty mood this morning was responsible for everything that happened today, but I think it’s probably tough to separate all of these things from the negative energy I was oozing this morning:

  • Charlie knocking over a giant cup of cold brew coffee — full of sticky half and half — on the living room floor.
  • Noticing a mouse that seemed to be in distress lying in our driveway.
  • Noticing that the mouse had died in the same spot by the time we returned.
  • Sort of losing my wallet as we tried to depart for the pool.
  • Mrs. Crappy getting stung on the toe by a bee as we walked back to our umbrella after our first dip in the pool.

Was any of this a direct consequence of my shitty mood this morning? No. But:

Ashley, one of my two favorite yoga teachers, has been touching on the four yamas in the last month; they’re at the start of Patanjali’s eight limbs of the broader Yoga, and they serve as a guide for ethical conduct for those following the yogic path. The fourth yama is Brahmacharya, literally, behavior that leads to Brahman, or the highest divinity. Patanjali’s definition of Brahmacharya is pretty narrow and pretty specific to his time: Celibacy.

Yes, that’s since been reinterpreted. Ashley has talked about tailoring our actions towards the divine — definitely a goal worth pursuing. But an interpretation that is perhaps more accessible is this: The right use of energy.

And wow, that goes a long way towards explaining how today unfolded. I am a news guy; I was that way before I chose this as a profession. I’ll never be able to step away completely from what I see, read and cover — it’s part of who I am, and it always will be. And this weekend was tough. I’m a veteran and I think I’m pretty patriotic … and seeing this garbage happen in my country is deeply offensive, to the point where it feels like a physical wound.

But here’s the thing: it feels that way because I let it feel that way. When something like this happens — and, I’m afraid, it’s going to happen a lot in the next couple years — I’m always going to feel the way I felt this weekend, at least initially. After that impulse, though, I can control my reaction … and I didn’t do that today.

Not at first, anyway. When Kelly got stung, she shouted — and that sort of snapped me out of all of the other crap that had been cluttering my brain all day. We got her some ice (thanks to the kids at the Avonworth pool for their help) and pretty quickly she felt better enough to take a nap in the warm, late afternoon sun.

I knew later that my mental clouds had passed, when I realized that I had to walk back to my car to grab my regular glasses that I forgot to bring to the wharf party. If I’m in a bad mood, that’s the kind of dumb little thing that can spoil a day for me; this afternoon, it did not. I recognized that I was in a cool space, among friends, and the walk back to the parking garage was insignificant.

I need to find that more, because that’s the right use of energy.

I’m now at home. I’ve had a stunning bottle of beer.

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I’ve hung out a bit with my cat.

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And, thankfully, I didn’t let at shitty start to the day — and all of the weirdness that followed — get in the way of a great Sunday.