Needed: self-frying potatoes

Question: How many many projects at a 4th and 5th grade science fair will involve using a potato as a battery?

Hypothesis: Three of approximately 45 projects will involve using a potato as a battery.

Experiment: Stuff hands in jacket pockets and slowly walk along 15 cafeteria tables worth of science projects, nodding respectfully and smiling indulgently at eager elementary students. Make mental note of electric potatoes.

Observation: Apparently a lot of kids are also interested in the electricity-producing properties of lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, carrots, peaches and apples.

Conclusion: There are only so many voltage veggie and fizzy fruit projects one woman can handle in one night.

And so, yeah, that’s where I’ve been this evening and why (among other reasons) I’m writing this during half-time of the first third-round games.

But what was there to say about the first two rounds? Oh, I don’t know. How about, with the exception of UNC and Wisconsin, if any Rhyne-Patterson-Blyth had anything to do with any of the schools in the Big Dance, it was as good as the Kiss of Death going in to the Sweet Sixteen.

Arkansas. Duke. Maryland. Vermont. Virginia. Virginia Tech. Wake Forest. Done.Done. Done. Done. Done. Done. And done.

The ACC? Let’s just pretend that that didn’t happen. I mean, who woulda thunk that only one of the nine teams from the league would still be alive. Call it the Atlantic Choke Conference.

The first round was fairly free of upsets, but there were just enough to keep it interesting.  We lost only a few people, including our newly minted double-digit dude: Dell Parker. We also lost Elaine, Jim, the Northerners, Rebecca and Sarah.

Dub, Elizabeth, the Grandest Generation, Kiran, Mike B. and Rivers all coasted in to the second round with both teams intact.

Name Round 1
elizabeth Villanova 1-e UCLA 3-s
rivers Iowa State 5-mw UNC 1-s
dan Arizona 2-w
dub West Virginia 4-w Purdue 4-mw
kiran Oregon 3-mw St. Mary’s 7-w
gwynn/dot/lee Michigan State 9-mw Kentucky 2-s
carl Kansas 1-mw
susan Baylor 3-e
gordon South Carolina 7-e
libby Duke 2-e
caroline Florida State 3-w
ellie Florida 4-e
mike b USC 11-e Virginia 5-e
robert Gonzaga 1-w
claire Arkansas 8-s
karen Louisville 2-mw
megan Wisconsin 8-e
marty Butler 4-s
rhyne Wichita State 10-s
christine Notre Dame 5-w
simon, revi, cora, rowan Rhode Island 11-mw
beth Michigan 7-mw
dottie Northwestern 8-w
joe Cincinnati 6-s
daniel, honor, katie
mike Xavier 11-w
pierce Middle Tennessee 12-s

The second round was ruthless, though, when our first #1 seed was bounced by my Badgers. Number 2 seeds Duke and Louisville crashed and burned, as did No. 3 seed Florida State.

As a result, we lost Caroline, Christine, Claire, Dottie, Joe, Karen, Libby, Rhyne, the Tiny Generation, and Pierce.

Dub is dominating with both of his teams still alive and kicking. The other 14 folks still fighting are Beth, Carl, Dan, Elizabeth, Ellie, Gordon, the Greatest, Kiran, Marty, Megan, Mike P., Rivers, Robert and Susan

Name Round 2
elizabeth UCLA 3-s
rivers UNC 1-s
dan Arizona 2-w
dub West Virginia 4-w Purdue 4-mw
kiran Oregon 3-mw
gwynn/dot/lee Kentucky 2-s
carl Kansas 1-mw
susan Baylor 3-e
gordon South Carolina 7-e
ellie Florida 4-e
mike b
robert Gonzaga 1-w
megan Wisconsin 8-e
marty Butler 4-s
beth Michigan 7-mw
mike Xavier 11-w

For those keeping family tabs, that means there are 6 Pattersons, 5 Rhynes ,3 Blyths and the Greatest.

But at this point, speaking of the Greatest, I do have some sad news to share. You may not have known it, but Gwynn has been battling leukemia for the past several years. With regular chemo cocktails, and an occasional blood transfusion, she somehow maintained her energy and charm. Unfortunately, the meds had become less and less effective over the past few months. Now, the leukemia is not responding to any medication.

Gwynn is now in hospice care in a facility connected to a hospital in Richmond. Her sons and their wives are staying by her bedside and talking to her, even though she cannot communicate. I just got a message from her daughter-in-law saying that a music therapist came in and asked what kind of music Gwynn liked. They ended up having a Sound of Music concert there in her room.

She really enjoyed you all, and she had a lot of fun with this silly family tournament thing. In fact, she wrote me just last week to say she was happy to still be included in our nonsense and hoping that her last blood transfusion came from a basketball player.

We will keep you posted on her progress. Her son says that they are planning on a small graveside service, and a reception at a later date.

Hug each other extra tight tonight.


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