the hoopage has (sort of) begun.

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First — DON’T PANIC.

The NCAA has finally figured out a decent nomenclature for its play-in games, and those games — the First Four — have started.

But if you’ve been doing this for a while, you’ll recall that the play-in games — or First Four, or whatever — never play a part in Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub).

What do I need? An entry, from you, by noon Thursday. Follow these helpful formatting suggestions and you’ll be fine.

We’ll have to do something a little differently this year as well. Mrs. Crappy and I will be on the road on Thursday, and that’s going to make it tough to assemble and post the usually lengthy roundup of our entries. What I will do is make sure I post my entries and those of Mrs. Crappy — if she chooses to participate — here before the games begin. Transparency and all that.

And remember, boys and girls — there isn’t an easier hoops pool out there, and you — yes, you — could win $50 to spend as you please at Piper’s Pub.

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*insert whistling here*

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If the Harlem Globetrotters were a college basketball team, where would they be seeded in the NCAA tournament?

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It’s hard to say. But the record, you have to admit, is pretty solid.

Fortunately, those of us entering Thirteenth Practically Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Piper’s Pub) don’t have to worry about such things. Hell, we don’t even have to worry about coming up with a couple bucks to enter — because it’s free.

What do you have to worry about? Picking a Final Four, two finalists and a champion. And then telling me about it before noon on Thursday. Sure, there are some other details, but it’s really that simple — and there is a $50 gift card at Piper’s Pub for the winner. So if you like, you know, food and beer and stuff like that, you should enter.

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C’mon, people. You know you wanna.

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.