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March Madness or Minnelli’s birthday?

“What is the most important event that happens in March?”That was the heading on an e-mail I received recently from the news editor at my office. The first thought that popped into my head was the spring shoe sale at Victoria’s Secret, but it wasn’t on the list of multiple-choice answers.A) The Ides of MarchB) The beginning of SpringC) The swallows return to CapistranoD) Liza Minnelli’s birthdayE) NCAA TourneyClearly, the answer was Liza Minnelli’s birthday, but I wasn’t sure exactly what the date was.Reading further, it turns out the correct answer was the NCAA Tourney and I was instructed to return my brackets and $5 to participate in the office pool.”First of all, I don’t know what an ‘NCAA Tourney’ is,” I wrote back. “And what the hell is a ‘bracket’? It sounds like something that holds up the shelf on my wall …”Apparently the NCAA is a college basketball tournament, also known as “March Madness”; and a bracket is your choice of teams in the pool.However, nobody had any clue as to when Liza Minnelli’s birthday was …So I deleted the e-mail.But when husband-head came home, the issue came up again.”By the way, you’re a huge UConn fan,” husband-head announced with a smile as he gave me a kiss.”Yukon?” I grimaced. “Like Yukon Jack, the whiskey? Yuk, I think not.”Husband-head shook his head and laughed.”No, like the University of Connecticut,” he explained. “That’s the team I drew in the pool. You also like Boston College.”I did not like it one bit because I knew he was going to ask me for money.”You’re in that basketball pool thing, aren’t you?” I accused. “For God’s sake, we just got through months of fantasy football pools! Besides, you don’t even LIKE basketball!””It’s fun,” was his only explanation. “Can I have $20?”But husband-head is not the only one. Millions of people around the country have entered office pools for the tournament and employers are reportedly losing billions of dollars in productivity while workers check out the status of the games online during office hours.The next day, husband-head called up laughing from work. He had been on the NCAA March Madness On Demand Web site where they were showing free live video streams of the games.”I’m number 28,407 of 169,830 people waiting to get in to the site,” he said excitedly. “Everyone is watching this!”I tried to calculate what the unemployment rate might be in the next few months …”You have to check it out,” husband-head continued, as if reading my mind. “They’ve even got a ‘boss button’ while you’re looking at the video so you don’t get caught watching at work!”It seems you can be watching the games at your computer online, but should the boss come by, you can simply click on this button and it immediately turns the screen into a spread sheet. The porn sites would be wise to install such a button …A few days later, husband-head came home from work – again with a big smile on his face – and whispered softly in my ear.”Sweet 16,” he cooed.”No, friggin’ 45,” I corrected him. “And for your information, 16 will get you 20, you dirty old man.””I mean, our teams are in the Sweet 16 in the tournament,” he explained.This did not sound like basketball to me.”Then it gets down to the ‘Elite 8’ and the ‘Final 4,'” he went on. “Isn’t this fun?”In my opinion, the $20 would have been better spent towards the shoe sale at Victoria’s Secret …Thankfully, the March Madness craze will be over soon and God knows what they will think of to bet on next.And for those of you who were wondering – Liza Minnelli’s birthday was on March 12.Heidi Rice is a staff writer for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.


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