NCAA Basketball Second Round Open Thread

By request.

Schedule, if I understand correctly, here.

Long Read: “Death on Derby Day in N.H.”

We’re getting the coldest snap of the winter so far right now (just in time to frost the daffodil buds!), so it seemed like a good time to share this. From the Boston Globe, a cautionary tale about the dangers of even small-scale climate shifts and the unconscious assumption that humanity has turned the whole world into an adventure park:

LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE, N.H. — Temperatures were in the single digits and a light snow was blowing as the sun rose over Meredith Bay, but the carnival atmosphere was already well underway on the frozen waters of Lake Winnipesaukee. Bob houses dotted the ice, filled with fishermen dropping their first lines of the derby, as thousands of spectators streamed onto the lake, gawking at the scene, surveying the catches, and visiting the many food vendors selling out of trucks parked out there with them.

It was Saturday, Feb. 11, opening day of the 38th annual Great Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby, a giant ice fishing competition that draws upward of 10,000 people to the state’s largest lake.

Everything looked postcard-perfect. But looks can be deceiving.

Down in Concord, where the state’s Fish and Game Department is headquartered, Colonel Kevin Jordan was worried. He’s the chief of law enforcement for a department whose mission includes search and rescue work, and he already had teams in place all around the lake, patrolling on snowmobiles and ATVs and trucks, doing their usual job of checking fishing licenses and making sure everyone was behaving.

But that wasn’t what had him uneasy that morning. It was the weather. He always worries about derby weekend, with so many people on the ice, but this year was different. It was, he knew, the “perfect storm of conditions for a disaster.”

It had been warm that Wednesday, a high of 47 degrees, and stretches of the lake had been open water. Then it got cold for a few days, enough to form a light layer of ice in those spots. And then came the real kicker — it had snowed just enough to cover those thin areas.

The ice in Meredith Bay, where the derby is headquartered, was plenty thick. It was the rest of the 28-mile-long lake he was worried about. The usual advisories had gone out, from his department and the derby organizers, warning people to use caution on the ice and never assume it is safe.

People would go through the ice. He knew that. It happens every year. Trucks. Snowmobiles. ATVs. Typically, people can get themselves out or rescuers can get to them in time.

What he did not know, what no one knew, was that Saturday morning was the beginning of the worst day in the history of Lake Winnipesaukee…

When the human body is plunged into icy water, it reacts quickly and severely. “For lack of a better term, the body freaks out,” said Dr. Stuart Harris, chief of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Wilderness Medicine. “You get this dumping of adrenaline that causes your heart rate to go up, your blood pressure to go up, and most importantly, it triggers an involuntary gasping where you’re taking deep breaths involuntarily. If the head goes underwater, you can drown almost immediately.”

If you can survive the initial gasping and get breathing under control while keeping your head above water, then you have about 10 minutes of meaningful movement — to swim, to grasp things, to try to pull yourself up on the ice. After that, the ability to self-rescue diminishes rapidly. If you can’t get onto the ice in those 10 minutes, or at least secure yourself to some means of flotation, you have about an hour before multisystem organ failure and death.

“If you don’t have someone coming to rescue you right away,” Harris said, “or you
haven’t made preparations beforehand to keep from getting into trouble, it is unlikely that you’re going to get out alive.”…

Saturday Morning Open Thread: #NotAllPatsPlayers

(Nick Anderson via

From NYMag, “‘I Don’t Feel Welcome in That House’: At Least 6 Patriots Plan to Skip Visit With Trump“:

Just five days out from the Super Bowl, the number of New England Patriots who have declared their intention to skip the team’s celebratory visit to the White House has jumped to six. So much for the Patriots being Trump’s team.

The first two players to say they’d sit out the White House reception did so shortly after the win. And both tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty made it clear that Trump was the reason why. Asked if he was concerned about the response from Trump-supporting Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Bennett said he wasn’t “worried at all.”

The four players who have since joined Bennett and McCourty have given a range of reasons…

Then there’s Chris Long, the only white Patriots player to publicly announce his plans to skip the White House. The defensive end, who publicly spoke out in favor of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his national-anthem protest earlier this year, wrote on Twitter that he’s “skipping” the visit…

At this rate, Tom Brady might have to go see his pal all alone.

I’d expect President-Asterisk Smallgloves to throw a tantrum and cancel the whole event, but I don’t think he can bear to skip a chance to be on the teevee hugging even a C-list celebrity Tom Brady. Maybe he’ll ask Tom to bring Mrs. Brady (who, since she seems to be the smarter one in that relationship, would no doubt find herself ‘busy with other commitments’).

Apart from jeering the opposition, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Open Thread: Sportsball After the Event

Look, if I’m the one who jinxed last night’s game, I’m sorry. Believe me — it’s no fun being a non-fan in a championship-addled city, even in cities where the average sports fan doesn’t represent every worst Masshole characteristic…

And while we’re discussing #OurFailedMedia, the Boston Globe may have inadvertently killed a few of their elderly snowbird subscribers today…

One to ponder

For forty four and half states, that is the most important thing to think about tonight.

For the other 5.5 states and their diaspora, we’ll process that point in a couple of days.

Overtime Open Thread: Which One of You Jinxed Things?

You know what you did! And you know what to do…

Super Bowl Open Thread



Here’s cheering your team, Raven!

Token political content for the rest of us:

Serial plagiarist Ben Domenech:

On Sunday, President Trump will continue one of President Obama’s Super Bowl traditions: a televised pregame interview, in this case with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. While Mr. Trump is rarely one to shun the cameras, on this day I hope he will reconsider, and give the nation an opportunity to enjoy the game free of his presence.

Andrew Breitbart, whose namesake publication was an important factor in the election of Mr. Trump, was fond of saying that American politics is downstream from culture. Yet in the early days of the Trump era, it seems clear that the reverse is true. From television to comedy to sports, politics surrounds and engulfs us, leaving us no space to gather as citizens without giving a thought to it.

American culture today is infected with politics to a degree that it hurts our ability to share cultural moments and experiences with people who have different views. The problem isn’t the CNN “breaking news” headlines that increase blood pressure for the political addicts among us. It is that it is now impossible to consume media without the constant encroachment of political divisiveness and partisan tribalism…