Life goes by so fast … You only wanna do what you think is right … Close your eyes and it’s past…

[update: Keith and Shannon started a pool HERE]

I am retiring from the basketball pool.

That’s right, I am breaking up with you.

It’s not you. It’s me. You’re great. And someday you’ll find another person to host your pool, and he will be the luckiest guy ever. But I gotta get on with my life.

Why? Let’s start with a top 11 list. That seems like the sort of thing I’d do:

  1. I live in Texas and thus I don’t have reliable power, which is a basic necessity for running a pool.
  2. JK, I could totally do it. But while you are needing me the most, I will be going to Cancun…so I can be a good dad.
  3. I got COVID and lost the basic senses of taste, smell and humor. Without a sense of humor, how can I do the pool?
  4. It occurred to me that I don’t need to run a pool just to have an excuse to talk about how stupid Keegan is or what a jerkwad Martin Buniva is. I can pick up the phone and call them and tell them any time.
  5. Actually it isn’t me typing this retirement letter. It is a “false flag” operation by ANTIFA. They have disguised themselves as me and they are the REAL ONES TO BLAME!
  6. My therapist told me I am a narcissist, and this pool is an enabler.
  7. The voices in my head told me to kill the boy. And to quit the pool.
  8. My computer was destroyed by Jewish Space Lasers.
  9. I ran out of jokes.
  10. I wouldn’t be able to hand the very real possibility of Texas getting bounced in the first round and Baylor winning the whole thing.
  11. I decided to go out like a boss. Drop the mic. All that stuff.

But I am seriously retired. I enjoyed it, but after a third of a century it is time for me to do something else. It’s been a lot of joy and tears and everything in between. These days it’s about once a year I get the note with an envelope telling me “our check is for one less entry this year. I’m sad to tell you that one of your long time pool entrants passed away this last year”. About 50 times a year, I get an email telling me how much fun my pool is. Again, there is joy and there is sadness, and everything in between.

Some of the most memorable moments are the 2003 Horns in the Final Four, the 2008 Horns v Memphis Regional Final, the Butler vs Duke championship game, the Villanova vs UNC Championship game, a kid named God Shamgod and another named Kevin Pitsnoggle, the quote contest that was 40 songs from each of the 40 years I had been alive, my sister winning last place, my son winning fourth place, and getting dozens of roses from Robert Dies. My least favorite moment was a gut punch from LSU in the Elite Eight.

A final thought for those who get all their life coaching from me. If you haven’t watched Ted Lasso, watch it. No series starts out more un-watchable but completely redeems itself quite like Ted Lasso. In Episode 8 over a game of darts, there is a great scene where Ted tells a story that revolves around a quote (“Be curious, not judgmental.”) You’d have to watch all 8 episodes leading up to the quote to fully appreciate the context and understand, but if you don’t watch it, just know that life is better if we ask each other questions and try to get to know each other. I wonder how many conflicts could be resolved or lessened if everyone tried harder to understand each other.

(That and a quarter won’t buy you anything at Starbucks.)

I love you all. Take care.


from the mailbox:

Fro- Let me introduce myself – I am the woof behind “Eva, a dog”.I came in 4th!  That’s so much better than my owner ever does (well, I call him my “owner”, but we all know who really runs the household). I realize that the 2020 Fro Pool will always have a Roger Maris-like asterisk because not a single game was played, but even so, I’m so proud!  I’m sorry that I had to play against Daisy, but I’m sure that she feels that if she had to lose it would be better to lose to her fellow canines. Now that I have a taste for the Pool, I certainly plan on being a regular participant in future.I say that I did much better than my owner ever does, but that’s not saying very much because I know he’s quite stupid. For instance, every day since I’ve been a puppy he’s asked me the same question ten times: “Who’s a good dog then? Who’s a good dog?” He must be really stupid not to know the answer by now!

Thank you again for giving us all so much laughter and light relief. Please say hello to your family and give a good woof to Daisy.Well, it’s time for today’s Doctor Who. Take care.

Eva, a dog.

Every Dog has its day!

In an epic battle of most-loved things that could only be made better if we added Moms, Apple Pie, Veterans and Jesus, Dogs won 6-2 over America. Getting Dogs right were

  • Alexa Anderson
  • Leonidas Brown
  • Eva, a dog
  • Jeff McInnis
  • Davis Rushing
  • Tyler Wheeler

And those who chose America to win:

  • Kevin Lockley
  • Shea Thomas

Which means Kevin Lockley misses out on the top spot and our winner is… Leonidas Brown! Good job. I have no idea who you are and I suspect that is a fake name.

Second place goes to Jeff McInnis. With the winnings that come with this ($0), he will double his lifetime gambling winnings.

Kevin still got third place. That’s what you get for betting on America. Aside from leading the world in Coronavirus, we are as much of a has been as Notre Dame football, Indiana basketball and Hugh Ramsey’s love life.

Fourth place goes to Eva, a dog. In case you haven’t figured it out, she is a dog. Of course she picked Dogs to win. Eva is hoping to use her winnings to finally retire and spend her days taking naps, walks and sitting in Jonathan’s lap. This will be a big change from her pre-retirement days.

Fifth place goes to Davis Rushing who advised all of his clients in January to “short everything except Amazon, health care and sanitizer makers”. He now owns the world.

The last big money winner is Nick Aryaud who won despite having Coronavirus in the Final Four. I respect is final picks of Poker of Bacon for sure but that didn’t make him a lot of points. He managed to pick up a lot of points in the middle rounds to get sixth place.

Last place goes to Morgan Wheeler. Morgan gets a refund on the entry fee for getting last. The players right above Morgan are Money Aggie, both of my kids and Josh – this is like a who’s who of my favorite people on the planet. But their taste in things doesn’t jive with everyone else’s (to be fair, my kids took Daisy, our dog, to win it all. And Money Aggie had the 1-seeded Longhorns taking an early exit)

Well, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed it. Everything sucks right now but this was fun. I guess it’s back to Tiger King for me tonight. See you next year.

I lay awake and strap myself in the bed

America vs Astros and Golf vs Dogs

Clashes of Titans

Maybe the greatest Final Four of all time.

In the first game, America beat Astros 7-4. The only 4 that picked the Astros were 4 of their hardest core fans: Hugh, Dunkin, Collin and Travis Teichelman. The Astros have had some tough losses over the years. The Mets loss. Getting swept in the World Series by the White Sox. The HR by Pujols that is still in orbit. And of course losing Game 7 to the Nationals and then becoming Public Enemy #1 with the sign stealing scandal. Well, here is another blow to the Astros. Make me want to put a bullet proof vest on and shoot myself in the head.

But America is having a great week. It beat the Astros, our President’s TV ratings for his Coronavirus press conferences are better than the season finale of the Bachelor (that’s awesome!!) and …. well… that’s about all the good going on in America these days. Oh, and we have the Tiger King. That’s it.

In the other game, Dogs beat Golf 8-4. The 4 hard core golfers Scott Anderson, Jon Moore, Kevin Lockley and Tracey McFadden all lost that one. Of course Eva (a dog) voted for Dogs. John Wheeler and Davis Rushing who both wish they were Naughty Dawgs in high school voted for dogs.

Current Standings are updated. Leonidas can win if Dogs win on Friday night. Kevin Lockley can pick up 6 points and move into a tie if America wins. Who will win? Those naughty little dogs or the greatest country of all time? We will see.

In my experience with ButtFaces, you are one.

Golf beat the Mountains 9-6 which put a 2 seed in the Final Four. In retrospect, Root Beer probably didn’t deserve the 1 seed in that region, and golf did. Either way, The Mountains, which seem like they have been around forever are no longer around. Which makes me think of some of my favorite mountain stories:

  • There was the time I ran to the top of Strawberry Hill, but sorta tumbled down. I guess that was a hill and not a mountain
  • There was my first grown up hike with Elliot in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was worried whether he’d be ok. He did better than I did.
  • A rainy day in the cabin with Cameron Moates, pontificating over all of life’s problems and solutions (it turns out they were the same)
  • The time a 5-yr old Elliot saw a bear and said “Daddy, I see a bear” and I mockingly came back with “ooo, is it a big scary bear?” Then I went outside and saw a bear that stood 100 feet tall ready to eat my Elliot in one bite and I calmly(?) told Elliot to slooooowly walk into the cabin.

Good times.

Then dogs beat poker 12-9. Dogs and poker? There hasn’t been that much fun of a combination since the Pawnee / Eagleton Unity Concert.

I wish they could both win, but we have more dog lovers than poker lovers. Before we say goodbye to poker, let me leave you with some of my favorite poker memories (one of which involves a dog):

  • Coining the phrase about Jayson Baird “Pulling a Baird” which was a nicer way to say metaphorically stepping in a pile of sh!t and then later that night he left the garage to relieve himself and literally stepped in a pile of dog sh!t
  • Cameron betting us over poker that White Settlement, TX was named after a guy whose surname was “White.” It was not. It was a reference to lack of Native Americans in the city. I won $5.00
  • Leffler thinking he won a pot that he didn’t
  • The other time Leffler thought he won a pot that he didn’t.

So we have our FInal Four. We will stray from the standard Saturday/Monday format and play the Final Four Wednesday / Friday. So see you in three days.

Current Standings Updated. Kevin Lockley had the most impressive performance this round getting 3 of 4 right. Well done, Kevin! Only a few people are able to still win the pool, but anybody can win the Quotation Contest. Good luck to you

I thank God for my life and for the stars and stripes. May freedom forever fly; let it ring. Salute the ones who died, the ones that give their lives …so we don’t have to sacrifice… all the things we loooooove…

Two games today and we have half of the Final Four set. First was an epic battle between Bacon and America. America prevailed 8-5. You gotta hand it to Bacon. Nobody expected this 13-see to make it this far and upsetting America would be pretty unbelievable. We invented pizza and gave birth to Jesus remember? We invented the internet, perfected capitalism, introduced deodorant to Europe as part of the Marshall Plan and created The Office and Idol. IKR? Bacon does have that awesome Bacon & Maple Donut at River Oaks Donuts. But it wasn’t enough to be beat the land of the free. So our first Final Four team is a 1-seed.

In the other game, another 1 seed won but this one was much closer with Astros 9 to Beatles 8. Everytime the Beatles were gonna play a song from the White Album, Carlos Correa banged on the trash can and Altuve knew a good song was coming. And so the Beatles get disposed of in the same manner as the Dodgers in ’17, the Yankees like every year and the Rangers more often than not. With some good ol fashion cheating. God Bless America and God Bless the Houston Astros.

And God Bless you. I hope you are taking care of yourself and staying healthy. Maybe this will cheer you up.

Current Standings updated. Leonidas is still in front w Dunkin right behind. Some people including Eva (a dog), McInnis, Ron Weaver and Travis Teichelman are slowly moving up.

Take care, see you tomorrow.

Gratitude is celebration everyone is invited to.

The Mountains beat Root Beer 9-3 which means 22 people had neither of them even playing in this game. My little league teams love to sing “Chicken Fried” and change the lyrics to “You know I like my chicken fried. Root Beer on a Friday night.” Root beer and Friday night practice under the lights at Wallin Field is perfected only by getting an ice cream afterwards. But Root Beer is done in this here tournament.

Golf beat Rolling Stones 14-9. Personally, I think Golf and Poker are headed for a massive showdown mainly because the demographic of this pool are type of people that love them some golf and poker. Goodbye Rolling Stones. Dunkin picked the stones and now he is like a stone rolling down the hill. Eva, a dog, picked the Stones. Being sorta British herself she was clinging to the last bit of Britishness left in the pool. Well, I guess you could say golf is British too. They did invent it and all. Ok, we’ll let them have golf. But America still gets to claim both pizza and Jesus as their own. They can have golf though. They can have golf, stranded prepositions and sticky toffee pudding. I still think Jesus and pizza beat that lot.

Dogs (in general) beat Daisy, my dog (specifically) which is understandable since “Dogs” includes Daisy. So even a vote for Dogs is also a vote for Daisy. The only people voting for Dasiy were me, my kids and two of my nephews. Sorry Daisy. But hanging out backstage with the Stones while everyone else is still playing will be fun. Those guys can party.

Poker beat Nolan Ryan 17-7. Travis Teichelman took Nolan Ryan. This is the second time he’s gotten beaten by poker. The first was Rodney Martin’s bachelor party when I took all of Travis’s money. Woo-Hoo!

So the Elite Eight is set and Leonidas is killing everyone. Morgan Wheeler has locked up last place. Attawaytogo, Morgan. You got last place the only year that you win no money for last place. Can you say LOSER?!?!

Elise comes in second to last (or “first winner”)

It’s Regional Finals now…two games tomorrow.

Upon us all a little rain must fall….Just a little rain…

The Longhorns blew their early lead and fell to bacon 17-13. Although the people that love the Longhorns really really love the Longhorns, unfortunately they could each cast only one vote. And anybody that doesn’t love the Longhorns hates them. So do people really love bacon or just hate the Longhorns? We will see in the next round. Goodbye Vince Young. Goodbye Ron Weaver, Earl Campbell, Kevin Durant, Shea Morenz and John The Porter. You had your glory days but now they are over.

The #2 seed America beat Queso by the slimmest of margins 12-11. This is unfair to have this matchup in any round other than the championship game. It’s like Duke-Kentucky in East Regional Final when they should have matched up two rounds later. Well, queso, we still love you. You with your taco meat mixed in, sometimes with your guacamole in too. We even like the kind mom makes that’s just Velveeta and Ro-tel. Maybe next year.

The Astros beat Led Zeppelin 12-9 and it makes me wonder (ok, pause for a second and just think about those last three words….wanted to make sure you didn’t miss the joke) why there is less hate for Astros than Longhorns. Probably just because this pool isn’t full of Yankees fans the way it is full of Aggies. It I had my druthers, I’d take the Yankees fans over the Gomers.

In another close one, the Beatles beat Smoked Pork Ribs 10-9. Man I love my ribs. Set the smoker to 225. Smoke it with just rub on it for 3 hours, then two hours covered in foil and apple juice then one hour with Fro’s Homemade BBQ Sauce smothered all over it. Let it sit for 30 minutes on the counter in butchers paper then boom: the best ribs this side of the Mississippi. Hell, they’re the best ribs on the other side of the Mississippi, too. But unfortunately the regional appeal of pork ribs is no match for the international appeal of the Beatles.

Current Standings updated. Leonidas Brown passed Dunkin getting 3 of the 4 games right. Leonidas has a very solid bracket with her lone achilles heal being that she took The Beach to the Final Four. Dunkin was similarly bullish on The Beach but it was his love of queso and pork ribs that did him in today.

Four more games tomorrow.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: democracy simply doesn’t work

In case you can’t find the results on ESPN and you’re too lazy to write down the results, I created this so you can see where the tournament stands.

We are down to the Sweet Sixteen. I didn’t bother with the famous Scenario Report partially due to lazy but also because I think the real excitement here is who wins the tournament (Queso is looking unbeatable) and who wins the pool is of secondary importance (unless you’re Michael Dunkin hanging onto the glory of the only good thing that’s ever happened to him which is winning this pool.)

So there are 8 games in this round, 4 of which will be played today. The Longhorns have already tipped off against bacon and look to win like the #1 seed should. Will be back with an update when that game ends.

Until then…

I got 99 donuts cuz a b!+(h ate one

Dogs beat GenXers in what looks like an upset (8 vs 1 seed) but really both were seeded wrong. I mean dogs are just the best. Dogs are like the Kentucky of this pool; GenXers are like the Indiana. Not the Indiana from the 80s, like Indiana now.

Daisy Friou beat Melinda Friou 24-8. I don’t think that is a dig at Melinda as much as it is just a lot of love for Daisy. Melinda should know that three grandkids and one son (who shall not be named) all voted for Daisy. Only her favorite grankid, Travis, voted for her. I like my mom but she doesn’t hop in my lap and snuggle at night while I eat ice cream and watch Schitt’s Creek on Netflix.

I was one of 6 people that voted for Van Halen but then again, I used to play Panama on my jambox and play guitar on my tennis racket over and over and over when I was in 5th grade. It was at the same time that I was a big Nolan Ryan fan, but Nolan Ryan never dated Valerie Bertinelli.

Poker beat comfy jeans 24-7 to finish the second round. That’s a 2, 3, 4 and 8 seed in the Awesome Region. Almost chalk. The F-Yeah Region have a 1, 2, 6 and 13 seed (Bacon should never have been a 13 seed). The High-Five Region has a 1, 3, 4 and 10 seed (another pork product in pork ribs). And finally, the Kickin-A Region has a 1, 2, 4 and 6 seed – the region closest to chalk.

There will be no games played while the teams travel to their Regional Tournaments. We will pick this back up on Thursday with the Sweet Sixteen. Games will be shown on The Ocho.

Current Standings updated. Dunkin, the BSD, is in first place. He must know a lot about a lot of things.