Two down, five to go

The lines at the concession stands during the tournament were beastly.

OK, raise your hand if you thought that Rebecca would be the only one of us to head into the Sweet 16 with both of her teams intact. Florida Gulf Coast? Really!? And not far behind in surprises is that Rivers is still in. The Shockers shocked a lot of us by beating Gonzaga, a #1 seed.

Many of us were NOT surprised to see Carolina go down in this round. The Boys in Blue hit a second half wall against the Boys in Bluer. The whole Dean Smith-Kansas-Roy Williams-UNC connection prohibits me from being too upset about the loss. And there are two ACC teams still in the mix, even if it means rooting for, gulp, Miami. I love my son and nephew, so not as hard as it might be otherwise.

Dot received the rudest awakening in this round — she went from two to zero teams in the blink of a 30-second time out.

And several others left us this round: Carl, Elizabeth, Jim (heart-breaking buzzer beater), Joe, Katy (“Yeah, sorry about that, Katy,” I said but did not mean), Lee, Mike B, Robert and the Texas Two Step.

Rebecca has her two teams, and those of us with still one team are: Caroline, The Lapidus Three of Us, Dottie, Dub, Ed, Elaine, Ellie, G&D, Gwynn, Karen, Libbie, Megan, Pierce and Rivers.

For those keeping score, and I know we all do, there are 6 Rhynes (not Rhyne Gulley), 5 Blyths, and 4 Pattersons. Two (Ed & Gwynn) of 4 of the Greatest Generation are left (50%), the Not So Bad Generation has of 6 of 15 (40%) and the Aspiring to Greatness Generation has of 7 of 13 (53%). Come on Middle Agers, let’s step up!!

The next round will feature the following match-ups:

Megan v. Dub
The Lapidus Three of Us v. Rebecca
Gwynn v. Karen
Ed v. G&D (I’m sure there’s a Shakespeare play about this type of thing)
Rebecca v. Pierce
Dottie v. Elaine (a Blyth internecine war)
Rivers v. Ellie
Caroline v. Libbie

So go out there and work real hard Monday through Wednesday so you can watch basketball all day Thursday and Friday.

Cheers to all!


Arizona (6-W)


Christine, Dan & Rowan

Florida (3-S)



Michigan State (3-MW)



Kansas (1-S)



Marquette (3-E)




Duke (2-MW)



LaSalle (13-W)

Gordon & Dell

Miami (2-E)




Indiana (1-E)


Syracuse (4-E)



Ohio St. (2-W)




Michigan (4-S)



Oregon (12-MW)


Florida Gulf Coast (15-S)

Louisville (1-MW)


Wichita St. (9-W)


Round 1 claims families’ first victims

It’s so sad to say goodbye….

The first round of the NCAA tournament is in the books, and while the Midwest region stayed absolutely true to form (no seed over 8 won), the South and the East regions saw some mild upsets and the West region bracket is just broken all to hell. Only 3 of the top 8 seeds made it through.

Brook sends his regrets to those of you who are all washed up after the first round.

And who were the family winners and losers? The first cut was the deepest for Beth, Claire, Brooklyn’s Best, Martie, Mike P, Rhyne and Susan. I’m afraid most of them didn’t have much of a chance from the outset, and only Dell was more thrilled than Mike B that Colorado State beat Beth’s Missouri. (Dell’s first entree into the world of bracketology has picked for the Final Four of Colorado St., Colorado, Iowa St. and UNC).

Those with one team still in the hunt are Carl, Caroline, The Lapidus Three of Us, Elizabeth, Ellie (Georgetown LOST??? LaSalle WON????), G&D, Gwynn, Jim (glass half full or half empty: his two teams played each other. I call glass half full because with Iowa St. winning, we don’t have to look at Notre Dame’s neon green socks/shoes anymore), Joe, Karen, Katy, Lee (Harvard fought fiercely), Libbie, Megan (Hail to the Victors, Mighty….), Mike B, Rivers, Robert & The Texas Two Step.

And then there are the embarrassment of riches folks. They have two teams moving on to the second round: Dot, Dottie, Dub, Ed, Elaine, Pierce (seriously? Minnesota and Oregon, 11 and 12, respectively?) and Rebecca (and I know NONE of you picked Florida Gulf Coast in your bracket).

The second round is about to start — literally, in just a few minutes — and I wish everyone luck (except for Katy, because as much as I love the “hometown” VCU Rams, daggone it, I want to win this thing!).


Carl Mississippi (12-W)
Caroline Arizona (6-W)
Christine, Dan & Rowan Florida (3-S)
Dot Butler (6-E) San Diego State (7-W)
Dottie Michigan State (3-MW) Gonzaga (1-W)
Dub Kansas (1-S) Creighton (7-MW)
Ed Marquette (3-E) St. Louis (4-MW)
Elaine Memphis (6-MW) Duke (2-MW)
Elizabeth Illinois (7-E)
Ellie LaSalle (13-W)
Gordon & Dell Miami (2-E)
Gwynn Indiana (1-E)
Jim Iowa St. (10-W)
Joe UNC (8-S)
Karen Syracuse (4-E)
Katy VCU (5-S)
Lee Harvard (14-MW)
Libbie Ohio St. (2-W)
Megan Michigan (4-S)
Mike B Colorado St. (8-MW)
Mike P
Pierce Minnesota (11-S) Oregon (12-MW)
Rebecca Florida Gulf Coast (15-S) Louisville (1-MW)
Rivers Wichita St. (9-W)
Robert Cal (12-E)
Sarah & Kiran Temple (9-E)

Brackets & Breakdowns

The Not-So-Annual, Occasionally Witty, Begrudgingly Expected, And Never To Be Missed (Insert Dual Meaning on THAT Word) Rhyne-Blyth-Patterson-Plus NCAA March Madness Mad House

Beth South Dakota (13-S) Missouri (9-MW) 22
Carl Mississippi (12-W) Davidson (14-E) 26
Caroline Arizona (6-W) UNLV (5-E) 11
Christine, Dan & Rowan Florida (3-S) Oklahoma St. (5-MW) 8
Claire New Mexico (3-W) Colorado (10-E) 13
Daniel & Honor St. Mary’s (11-MW) Southern (16-W) 27
Dot Butler (6-E) San Diego State (7-W) 13
Dottie Michigan State (3-MW) Gonzaga (1-W) 4
Dub Kansas (1-S) Creighton (7-MW) 8
Ed Marquette (3-E) St. Louis (4-MW) 7
Elaine Memphis (6-MW) Duke (2-MW) 8
Elizabeth Wisconsin (5-W) Illinois (7-E) 12
Ellie Georgetown (2-S) Boise St./LaSalle (13-W) 15
Gordon & Dell Miami (2-E) Oklahoma (10-S) 12
Gwynn Western Kentucky (16-S) Indiana (1-E) 17
Jim Iowa St. (10-W) Notre Dame (7-W) 17
Joe UNC (8-S) N.C. State (8-E) 16
Karen Syracuse (4-E) Northwestern State (14-S) 18
Katy VCU (5-S) Cincinnati (10-MW) 15
Lee Harvard (14-MW) Kansas St. (4-W) 18
Libbie Ohio St. (2-W) Pittsburgh (8-W) 10
Martie Bucknell (11-E) Pacific (15-E) 26
Megan James Madison (16-E) Michigan (4-S) 20
Mike B UCLA (6-S) Colorado St. (8-MW) 14
Mike P N.C. A&T (16-MW) Akron (12-S) 28
Pierce Minnesota (11-S) Oregon (12-MW) 23
Rebecca Florida Gulf Coast (15-S) Louisville (1-MW) 16
Rhyne New Mexico St. (13-MW) Albany (15-MW) 28
Rivers Wichita St. (9-W) Villanova (9-S) 18
Robert Cal (12-E) Iona (15-W) 27
Sarah & Kiran Temple (9-E) Valparaiso (14-MW) 23
Susan Belmont (11-W) Montana (13-E) 24

So, how did the Feline Final Four do? I’d say if you’re Dottie, Ed, The Lapidus Three of Us, Dub and Elaine the cats know where it’s at. These folks all have the lowest seed total of us all — Dottie with an astounding total of 4! She and Dub have two of the #1 seeds, Gonzaga and Kansas, respectively — and remember when Gonzaga used to be the Cinderella of these annual shindigs? Gwynn and Rebecca own the other #1 seeds — Indiana and Louisville — and it is quite possible that Rebecca would rather have two losing play-in teams than to have to root for Louisville.

But don’t fret Rebecca, because I could hear a groan from Jacksonville all the way up here when Elaine realized she’d received Duke as her pick. While Rhynes and Pattersons would be pleased to be on the side of the evil, the Blyths lose their cotton-picking minds over these guys. Stay strong, Elaine. We all need you to organize everyone else’s funeral.

Joe is showing he is truly a member of this family — and he has to because there ain’t nary a dancer from Texas in this here ball — by waltzing off with North Carolina AND North Carolina State.  Now, all we have to do is convince him that vinegared pork is better than sweet-slathered brisket.

The Rhynes took it hard on the 16 seeds. Mike P, Brooklyn’s Best, Gwynn and, um, that would be me, have all the teams that are hoping against hope to be the first 16s in history to knock off a #1 seed. (Repeat: Mike P,  I don’t think Rebecca will be upset if that history maker is North Carolina A&T.)

The Texas Two-Step of Sarah and Kiran have the most holy combo of Temple and Valparaiso. The Coast-to-Coast award goes to Martie who has Bucknell and Pacific. While G&D have the Opposites Attract pair of Oklahoma and Miami. Claire shows she’s a western girl, not an East Coast one by taking New Mexico and Colorado. And the Close to Home award goes to Ellie, who has Georgetown.

Lots of our alma maters (and current schools) are represented here: UNC, Duke, N.C. State, Western Kentucky, Wisconsin, Colorado, James Madison and others I’m sure I’ve missed. And, of course, there’s Haaaahhh-vaaahhhd.

The last play-in game was being played as I posted this, but the full schedule ramps up tomorrow. With our smartphones, tablets, computers and cable, we have no excuse for missing a single moment of a single game. A high school play, birthday party, school fundraiser, board meeting and soccer games notwithstanding.

Good luck!

(P.S. Comments are a MUST!!)

And this is how it starts

Hello All!!

It’s been a while. A long while. Since 2009, I believe. Long enough for all of you to have grown, matured, changed, and, in the process, become supremely uninterested in what I have to say.

But I’m no Once-A-Pope Benedict whose name you’ll only remember when eating out for breakfast. Nope, not I. Because when you’re Virginia’s “most visible defender of the Freedom of Information Act and other manifestations of transparency in public life” (thanks, Gwynn; the check for your public relations work is in the mail), well the only thing that can keep you down is a 200-pound bag of Chee-toes, an orangey, cheese-dusted cross I am willing to bear. (But, while we’re on it, did I ever in a million years think I would grow up to be a FOIA geek? I mean, movie star, the next Nina Totenburg, yeah, sure. But FOIA? Take ya boots off in da FOIA before ya drip all over da rug, youse.)

ANYway, so yeah, I’m back and maybe not better than ever, but at least passing for decent.

Considering we all keep getting hitched and procreating and all, there are more of us to consider here in 2013 than there were in 2009. There were 37 total, which meant that, as in the past, I had to double some folks up. Since they’re newlyweds, or about to be newlyweds, and still believe in that ridiculous, I mean, sweet notion that two are as one, Sarah and Kiran are paired up, as are Daniel and Honor. And because my tiny little brain cannot fathom that I know my first cousin thrice removed, I have kept Rowan in the loving arms of his mother and father for the Lapidus Three of Us. Finally, because Dell imagines that he will be Gordon one day, D and G will be a team, too.

River, Jinx, Brook & Julep (reclining) shilling for Mac
River, Jinx, Brook & Julep (reclining) shilling for Mac

Alas, the ever present and sometimes cantankerous Cat Commissioners from years past have passed on to that great Fur Ball in the Sky. Our family grieved Sidney’s and Tiny’s passing by, you know, getting four new cats. (One more and we will officially be the crazy people at the end of the street with five cats.) The Final Four Felines  are now doing the officiating and they’ve picked some real winners (and losers) for us all.

So, without further ado, may I present the 13th Not-So-Annual, Occasionally Witty, Begrudgingly Expected, And Never To Be Missed (Insert Dual Meaning on THAT Word) Rhyne-Blyth-Patterson-Plus NCAA March Madness Mad House.

Click here for the brackets and breakdowns.