Bracket and Blog It!

15 Mar

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  March Madness—and Sarah Palin drove me to it!  What you need to understand is that I don’t know a damn thing about basketball (I mean, I’m black, so I KNOW about basketball, but I could care less about hoops in my old age).  I haven’t been to a basketball game in 45 years, not to mention that I pretty much hate all sports.  I’d much rather be attending a Broadway show or reading a book, so if I’ve currently lost myself in basketball madness, then you know I am close to losing my freakin’ mind.

Here’s what happened.  Recently I was going along my merry way—minding my own damn business—when I got a chance to check out the HBO production of Game Change.   I thought I knew what to expect; I thought I was prepared for the horror, but I was wrong.   The picking of Sarah Palin to run for vice president, who would be a heartbeat away from the presidency of a running mate who was 72 years old at the time, turned out to be one of the most reckless, cynical, and arbitrary things that has happened in recent American history.   I was once a fan of McCain’s (war hero and all; you know how much I love “true grit”), and had actually considered voting for him (a black woman voting for a white Republican male, right?—go figure), but I got to see enough behind the curtain of Ms. Palin to send me fleeing to the left before it was too late.  I had no idea that I had only glimpsed a token amount of what the writer, Richard Cohen, calls Palin’s “great talents to deny the truth,” her sheer ignorance about simple foreign affairs, and her petulant, childlike ability to sulk away, shut down, and go into a catatonic state, not to mention her arrogant hard-headedness when she didn’t want to study and absorb what was being taught to make her a viable candidate.   And since Game Change has been endorsed by most of Palin’s top campaign staff as accurate, according to Mr. Cohen, Miss Sarah can’t deny its veracity; she can only accuse them of being disloyal.   That is a very small price for her to pay to have awakened us all to the fact that we escaped a self-absorbed, celebrity seeking, clueless ex-beauty queen, ersatz Born-Again Christian who had heard “God say” she was called to save our country for the “real Americans” through her vice presidency because she “so didn’t want to go back to Alaska.”

Game Change/Movie Trailer (Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin)

“At some point while watching HBO’s absolutely smashing (and terrifying) movie “Game Change.”  It occurred to me that Sarah Palin has ruined America . . . With her selection as John McCain’s running mate, American politics lost its way—and maybe its mind as well . . . Après Palin has come a deluge of dysfunctional presidential candidates (Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum—parenthesis mine).  They do not lie with quite the conviction of Palin, but they are sometimes her match in ignorance.”—Richard Cohen (“Sarah Palin’s Foolishness Ruined U.S. Politics”The Washington Post)


I couldn’t breathe.  I was depressed for days!  And when I thought about sorry-ass John Edwards on the left who had cheated on his cancer-ridden wife all during his campaign, sired a child with his mistress, lied about it, and even campaigned to be President Obama’s vice president until he was exposed (just in time):  I threw up!

Normally, when I am scandalized by things like this—white people acting the fool—I write about something absurd that will make me laugh at the sheer craziness of it all.  So I searched all my news sources and the only thing that was absurd, but not sad, this week (because absurd plus sad usually equals mental illness and isn’t funny to me) was:  mantyhose (a.k.a “brosiery”).

“This is the flagship men’s pantyhose style by Ohio-based Comfilon’s Activeskin Legwear for Men. The company, which has seen a steady increase in sales, uses the tagline, ‘This is NOT your mother’s pantyhose.’” By Vidya Rao (Today)

Oooooookay!?!   What?  WTF!  AAAUUUGGH!

Picture pinned by Eric Xiao Ming/Pinterest

As I went screaming into the night, it was at that exact moment (as it almost always is when one is being seduced) that two junkies saddled up to me and whispered in my ear the “fix” they could provide to break me out of my misery:  “Psst!  We got just what you need, girlfriend—March Madness.”   I put up a struggle—I really did.  But they told me “everybody was doing it,” and the more I fought, the more terms like “seed the field,” “bracketology,” “ratings percentage index,” NCAA, ESPN—to name a few—started sounding a little less foreign to me.  And the more things started making sense, the more I came under the March Madness spell.  Then the coup-de-grace, the hook, the manipulation: One of the junkies told me I could have “diva shoes” for the entire March Madness season if I just played along, and Lord have mercy, I lost my soul.



I found out about this new “March Madness” drug at 11:00 a.m. on March 15th (the final day to finalize one’s bracket), and I only had an hour to submit my choices once the junkies clued me in on the wonderment of getting high off bracketology.   I had no idea what to do, but like true junkies, my suppliers said they’d give me this year’s instructions for “free” and walked me through the process.  They said it didn’t matter that I didn’t know my ass from my elbow as far as the basketball teams were concerned, because that really wasn’t necessary to “get high”—I just needed to go with the flow to get hooked.  So I picked teams according to whether I liked the colors of their school (Syracuse), or if I didn’t like their state politics, or if they were an underdog due to extreme economic hardship (Michigan State), or if WW and I ever lived in the state.  With everything chosen and in place, I submitted my NCAA Bracket under the pseudonym, “Big Mama’s Picks,” and then I slid into a catatonic state of basketball euphoria.




BIG MAMA’S PICKS (as of 10:00 p.m. 3/15)

Big Mama’s Champion Pick:  Syracuse University

Why?  Because their school colors match a pair of my favorite shoes!

I am discovering that “sometimes a baby’s got to do what a baby’s got to do” and join in on the fun—especially where new shoes are involved and shattered nerves from movies about monsters almost taking over the White House can be soothed.   Whatever it takes, I say (within reason), and the ability to purchase kick-ass shoes is always a plus.


When I went to Catholic high school in Philadelphia, we just had one coach for football and basketball. He took all of us who turned out and had us run through a forest. The ones who ran into the trees were on the football team.” ~ George Raveling

“When it’s played the way is spozed to be played, basketball happens in the air; flying, floating, elevated above the floor, levitating the way oppressed peoples of this earth imagine themselves in their dreams.” ~ John Edgar Wideman

A special “shout out” to my “March Madness Junkies”:  Jean W. and Kathy P. (thanks for the title, KP)

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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38 responses to “Bracket and Blog It!

  1. totsymae1011

    March 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    Yes, she has ruined American politics. I’d never thought of it in that context, I’d actually been thinking I could run if she could and I know I can’t pronounce a lot of those foreign names and countries. I don’t know enough about what going on in the world to affect a difference either but after Sarah, I thought it to be possible. I mean, why not throw my hat in the ring. At the least, I could land a cool gig on a news station or land a book deal. You know, as long as I got something out of the deal like Sarah, why not?

    • etomczyk

      March 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Hi Totsymae. I hadn’t thought of Sarah Palin “ruining America” either until I read the R. Cohen’s article. And then it hit me–right between the eyes, like a ton of bricks. It is so true! As to throwing one’s hat in the ring and running for the highest office in the land and reaping “rich” rewards, I think of that everytime I get turned down by a publisher and yet Sarah dear has published two books (both written by ghost writers). It makes you want to stand up a holler! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    March 16, 2012 at 5:51 am

    How about writing a book about the staffers who selected Palin as McCain’s running mate? What happened to them afterward: tarred and feathered? Federal Protection Program? Lost at sea?


    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 6:53 am

      Ronnie. I totally agree. I do respect Schmidt who was McCain’s campaign manager. He has publicly come out over and over again and said, “Mea Culpa.” And Wallace (forgot her first name) who was once President Bush’s speech writer(?) and brought on to coach the petulant Sarah Palin, literally did not vote because she was so horrified at Palin’s ineptitude, and burst into tears on the night of the election because she was mortified. All right and good on their part, but I wonder if these people would have been so forthright if the McCain/Palin ticket had won?

      The thing that most destroys me about Palin is that she claims to be a “Christian” and early on in the campaign I watched various sections of the crowd waving racist signs and shouting egregious racist epithets and she ignored them–time and time again. I don’t know what type of God she worships, but that is not my God and it made me very afraid, indeed. It was at that point that I began to realize that this chick was “in it to win it,” but her “real America” didn’t include me or my peeps as part of the “real Americans.” If I had been in her place and someone started shouting disgusting racist comments against any other race in our country, I would have stopped my speech, called the creature out (like one does a misbehaving child) and asked them to cease and desist or leave. Then as a humble “Christian” I would have admitted I just didn’t have the chops to carry the office being thrust upon me at the time. McCain’s choice was cynical and Palin’s acceptance was arrogant. And the rest is history.

      Thanks for stopping by. Always appreciate it!

  3. hotlyspiced

    March 16, 2012 at 5:55 am

    The state of your politicians is very sad but rest assured, things are no better here in Australia! It’s tragic when you can only vote between the lesser of two evils. xx

    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 6:57 am

      CharlieLouie: I know. . .that’s why I agree with Richard Cohen’s article. As Americans I think there are so many things that need course-correcting to continue to make our governing model work for us. We need healthy parties on both sides, but calling forth candidates who are “not meant for prime time” does not cut it.

  4. becomingcliche

    March 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I like your system of choosing teams. I’d like to pick the one with the cuddliest mascot, please.

    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

      BC: You know, I should have done it via the mascot system. Next time I’ll put some more thought into it. Or maybe, I should just continue to pull my choices out of the hat because I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about. My friends are ROTF with laughter at this blog post. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. imagesbytdashfield

    March 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I will never evah rock any pair of Nikes with heels. That is just stoopid! But I will confess to cracking up some friends doing my Palin imitation when I comb my hair just right. “I can see Russia from my front porch!”

    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      TD: I’ll confess to you and you alone: I would never evah rock a pair of Nike heels either! Aren’t they the ugliest things you’ve seen in awhile? When my friends told me about them, I fell out with laughter. But it made for a good story, right?

      Take care and thanks so much for stopping by. Have you posted any great pictures of spring yet? I’ll be stopping by.

      • imagesbytdashfield

        March 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm

        Oh my dear friend you must stop by over here! New goodies galore. And to be honest, when I saw those high heeled Nikes I immediately thought “bet those (knockoffs) will be at the flea market being sold soon if not already!”

  6. Sondra Smith

    March 16, 2012 at 11:59 am

    You really hit the nail on the head once again!

    Republican Party saw an opportunity to exploit the Christian Community. I believe that Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, was the first to openly call himself a born again Christian. The Republican Party saw their opening. They did their homework and realized that they could use this to their advantage to help get their candidates elected. What has ensued is that the Christian Community has begun behaving more like Philistines with addenda’s that they were never meant to carry. There is a reason that God warned us to live in this world but not to be apart of it…. The Christian Community is starting to have an odor and I am not sure it is a pleasing one…I am a Christian, and I will continue to pray for the Church to come back to what we were called to do, to love one another, to be an example of Jesus’ love.

    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Sondra: Well said, my dear–well said! And personally, I’m not interested in living in a country where the rights of all of its citizens are not respected. I know what it feels like as an African-American to have been enslaved, pushed aside, kept out, and stomped upon. I would never want that to happen to another human being–ever. I left the church in protest against those who claim to know God, who claim to be called by God to govern, and who claim that our country is divided up into the “we’s” and the “they’s”. We are one “pluralistic” country, with many religions (including the right not to believe anything), and what makes us great is the ability to all get along while living in a land of freedom to worship who we want and as we want (or not) and engage in the pursuit of happiness just so long as it doesn’t bring harm to my “neighbor.” That’s what I want for me and my children–that is what I want for my “neighbors” (my fellow Americans). In the same vein, we as citizens deserve to have leaders that are not idiots. I don’t think any one party has the answer so we need leaders who can work together to balance this all out (foreign affairs, economic crisis, domestic affairs, global warming, etc.) At this point, the Republican party needs to tell all the kids to go home and take a nap and let the grown-ups come out to play.

      Thanks for your comment. It’s right on!

  7. Sondra Smith

    March 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    and I forgot to let you know that I pick teams based on their costumes too! I totally agree with your choice of Syracuse going to the end….Go Orange!!!

    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Yeh, I’m beginning to see why people are hooked on this thing. Yeah, Syracuse!!

  8. Elyse

    March 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you for sending me back over here (I am way, way behind on reading blogs). This is a fabulous post.

    But I think that Sarah Palin makes me want to play football, not basketball. I want to hit my head against hard stuff, repeatedly.


    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Elyse. You and me both, Baby. . .you and me both!

  9. aFrankAngle

    March 16, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Using shoes & colors to make March Madness picks is as good as anything else. Meanwhile, you actually made the decision yourself to watch Game Change? You, of sound mind and body, intentionally watched that movie? What’s wrong with you girl? Did you accidentally have a collision with the stupid stick? Ok … time for a cure. Repeat after me.

    I, E-Tom, …. regardless of the presence or absence of bling ….. do solemnly swear, ….. that any article, tv show, movie, radio talk show about Sarah Palin …… is a waste of my time and energy …. as well as an insult to my intelligence …. because she is a nincompoop. … I also pledge …. that if I ever waiver …. I will read the following post ….

    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

      LOL! Frank, you’re too much. I do try and avoid most of the crap that is generated around that woman, but I knew Game Change would be a chance to see what made Miss Sarah tick, especially as illustrated by the people who had chosen her and once supported her. It really is a story that will generate endless Poli-Sci discussions for generations to come, and it gave me chills. I am well-read enough to know that Sarah Palin is a true “nincumpoop” as you illustrate in your blog, but up until “Game Change,” I thought she was harmless. I don’t think that anymore. I’ve already had to erase a comment from a “hater” on my blog who thinks this woman walks on water and will not stand for her flawed character to be challenged, no matter how accurate the assessment. Unfortunately, the person was a “Christian” and I am sure Jesus is weeping that portions of his Church could be so ignorant of the “nincumpoops” claiming the presidency in his name.

      Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure. I left a comment on your blog. Loved it. ET

      • aFrankAngle

        March 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

        Look how much time you took on this response. Recite the pledge again … but this time in the presence of WW!

      • etomczyk

        March 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm

        Stop it! You’re making me laugh, Frank. Okay, I’ll settle down and go check out my “bracket” (this is funny coming from my mouth on so many levels). By the way, WW thinks a lot like you about the nincumpoop lady. Have a great weekend.

      • Elyse

        March 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

        But the problem is lots of people don’t pay attention when they vote for the nincompoop. I think people need to be reminded, maybe twice during an election year, that she is a brainless idiot. Perhaps we can get Paul Revere to deliver the next one!

  10. Lindy Lee

    March 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Snap, snap, snap on all counts– another excellent post, a real winner…

    • etomczyk

      March 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Thanks Lindy. Can you believe those horrible shoes or the mantyhose? Yikes! Have a great weekend.

      P.S Loved your poem on grief.

      • Lindy Lee

        March 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm

        Have a hard enough time keeping balanced without challenging luck; haven’t worn pantyhose in about 100 years; the man likes the thigh-hi’s but on these legs cannot figure out why (snap!!!)…

      • etomczyk

        March 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm

        Oh, Lindy, only you could make a statement about pantyhose poetic! 🙂

  11. composerinthegarden

    March 18, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    We watched Game Change last week and for once did not fall asleep on the couch halfway through. I’m still thinking about it.

    “Because their school colors match a pair of my favorite shoes!” As good a reason as any! I do love basketball though; both of my brothers played in high school (one was MVP) and I have always thought of it as a game of finesse rather than brute strength. Best basketball story? My husband and I were playing a gig in Norfolk VA while a women’s college basketball tournament was in town. We had a lively dance floor filled with incredibly tall toned beautiful women dancing all night – a sight I will never forget 🙂

    • etomczyk

      March 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Hi Lynn. I can’t stop thinking about Game Change either. I actually felt sorry for Sarah Palin at one point during the story. Once when I first started out in my music career, I was asked to take over the rehearsal of my first professional gig (I was on tour with an opera company) and teach the chorus members of La Boheme the choral sections of the first act. The conductor had no reason to believe I couldn’t do what he had asked while he went to lunch, but I knew I couldn’t. Because you see, I had puffed up my music experience. Being able to sing and being able to conduct (as you know) are two different things. The singers knew instantly that I was full of sh*t, and I will never forget that mortification. It taught me a very valuable lesson: be who you are at the level you are–no more or no less, and never, ever be afraid to say, “I’m sorry, but I’m not capable of doing what you’ve asked at the moment–see me in ten years or so.” When Sarah Palin crawled into a ball on the floor when she knew she was in over her head, I really felt for her. But then once she started doubling down in that stupidity and couldn’t admit she was in over her head, that is when I lost all patience for her. And I really don’t have grace for people who say that “God told them to become president” without them manifesting the brain power or the talent for leadership.

      I’m having so much fun with this “bracket” thing. Everybody that knows me is rolling over in hysterics. Of course, I have yet to actually watch a game. Ha! Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure.

      • composerinthegarden

        March 18, 2012 at 7:59 pm

        Eleanor, I had the same feelings regarding Sarah Palin. I felt sorry for her more than once, since all of us have probably had more than one experience where we found ourselves “over our heads” – on the other hand, it was appalling that it was all about deciding how to deal with it, as in “go for the actress thing.” The movie made its point so strongly in eliciting our feelings of empathy while challenging our notions of appropriate action. Wow – no wonder I keep thinking about the movie as well as the historical events and all of those conflicting feelings and perceptions.

        As far as the opera experience goes, I’m with you there. Grace is knowing when to quietly withdraw 🙂

      • aFrankAngle

        March 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

        Just letting you know that I’m watching. Stop thinking about it the two reasons: 1) Sarah Palin is not worth the energy required to fire your neurons, and 2) Sarah Palin is not worth the energy required to fire your neurons.

        So … you must do the following: Say 10 pledges (aloud) while staring at your self in the mirror.

      • etomczyk

        March 19, 2012 at 12:19 am

        Frank A: I have been very, very good! You know that I answer all comments. Can I help it if I get asked a direct question about the Sarah Palin portion of the blog I wrote by one of my most loyal readers. It would be rude not to answer. But I have not in any way, shape, form, or fashion brought up the subject of Miss Thang on my own accord. So there! 🙂

      • aFrankAngle

        March 19, 2012 at 12:22 am

        I know you are like me, thus answer all comments. Just letting you know Ima Watchin’ …. and WW is a laughin’.

  12. talesfromthemotherland

    March 20, 2012 at 1:33 am

    As always, love what you have to say. So (thrill of thrills) I’ve tagged you with the Good Apple Award, for your blog. Go check out the details and then I’m looking forward to reading your responses.. if you’re game. Nice work Eleanor!

    • etomczyk

      March 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Dawn: Thanks so much for thinking of me and tagging me for the Good Apple Award. I really appreciate your support and that you take the time to read my blog and to write such gracious comments. I have read the details of the award, and although the multiple questions are intriguing, due to the constraints on my time, I will have to graciously abstain.

      All the best. Eleanor

  13. talesfromthemotherland

    March 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I understand, say no more. These awards are a mixed bag sometimes. I have a few “blog friends” who passed and aren’t taking the award, so to speak… for similar reasons. I was tempted, but then found some of the questions worth the time. I read your blog because I like it, and I say only what I mean in my comments. I’ve shared your link with a lot of friends, because I like your humor and take on things… as I often lean the same way. I don’t think I could pull of Big Mama, but then you couldn’t pull off crazy red headed gal… probably. I wouldn’t put it past you! All the best to you as well, Dawn

  14. ceciliag

    March 22, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Where have you been all my blog life! Even your comments on comments are a riot! And i love a woman who answers her comments, plus someone needs to get word to Sarah Palin about her hair (I mean really) and the shoulder pads, i know this is shallow of me but i am a farmgirl, appearances count..!! Tell that to my cow! I am from NZ, live in illinois and run a small sustainable farm out on the plains, with no TV, and no radio and no newspaper so i am going to join your site so that i can keep abreast of things.. c

    • etomczyk

      March 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Cecilia: I know your blog. I’ve checked it out a couple of times and although I’m a city-girl through and through, I love to garden and have a great appreciation of the great outdoors just so long as I don’t have to camp in it! 🙂 Seriously though, it sounds as if you have an awesome life and in another lifetime, I think I’d like to be you. All the best and thanks for stopping by.


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