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  • A Strange Week: The weirdness of the NCAA Tournament's first two rounds

    An overview of this past week in the NCAA.
      Hopefully you're reading this standing up, allowing the resulting couch sores from four days of nearly uninterrupted basketball to heal. Those sores are disgusting, my friend, but I don't blame you for your obsession over this tournament. It's been entertaining without being necessarily fantastic. Engaging, but not groundbreaking. If I were, in the parlance of the season, going to place this opening week of games in a bracket amongst other week ones over the years, I'd say it was a solid four, but playing in the Southern region. A good one, but there have been better.
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  • Two Days in March: Or, the least productive work week of the year

    Ways to respond to your boss when he/she questions you watching the game during your work hours.
      On Thursday or Friday of this week, your employer might say something like this. It might not be these exact words and your name might not be Johnson, but this could happen: "Hey, you! Johnson! Get back to work! What in Sam hell are you doing? I was supposed to have the report on the Johnson (no relation) account three hours ago. Why do you have three computer monitors on your desk? And why are all of those screens playing different basketball games? And why do you have those highlighted bracket things all over the walls? And is that a keg of beer on ice in the corner of your office? You trying to get fired or something?"
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  • The Year Football Broke: The past season was at once tragic, intriguing and exciting. Thank God it's over.

    Looking back on an interesting football season.
      I woke on Sunday morning realizing that this day would be the last full day of football until sometime next September. Sure, there was the Super Bowl, but it's just not the same. Another season had slipped by. Soon, Sundays would be occupied by the chores that had been swept aside over the course of the past four months. It's usually a sad sensation when football season ends. Hell, some have said that the conclusion of the NFL season may have contributed to Hunter S. Thompson's decision to blow out his brains. Weirdly, I didn't care that the season had come to an end. When the Giants kicked that field goal, I turned off the TV and wondered if I'd even bother watching the Super Bowl this year. I will, of course, but I did ponder the thought.
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  • The Underrated Genius of Danny Barnes

    A Texas-bred, Seattle-based banjo and guitar player initially known as the front man of the Bad Livers.
      You have been hearing plenty about the surging and expanding world of Americana music in this paper and most every other music publication this side of Tiger Beat and how bands like Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers and, hell, even our own Larry and His Flask are changing our conception of traditional music. A strong argument could be made that Danny Barnes - a Texas-bred, Seattle-based banjo and guitar player initially known as the front man of the Bad Livers - was one of the original musicians to pretzel Americana sounds into new ground. With the Bad Livers and as a solo artist, Barnes blended rootsy, acoustic sounds with alt-country, rock and even some funk to create a style unique to his name.
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  • The Science of Slickness: How and why road crews keep you safe in the snow

    The procedures and chemical reactions that give our icy roads traction.
      If you've ever bitched about being stuck behind the snowplow or the gravel truck, you should get that attitude of yours in check and realize that these people are trying to keep you alive and your vehicle intact. Most of us acknowledge that, but few of us know exactly how these street scientists are keeping us safe. Magnesium Chloride Now that sounds scientific! That is what's called a chemical compound, y'all, and it's what both the city of Bend and the Oregon Department of Transportation spray before, during and after snowstorms. City of Bend Street Supervisor Kevin Ramsey says that while most of the country is still throwing down a salt-based de-icer, Bend has long favored magnesium chloride MgCl2(H2O), for its effective, yet less-corrosive qualities. In short, that means that it isn't going to mess up your car (or your streets and wildlife) quite as much.
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