Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Louisville 85, Duke 63

The March Madness continues.

(click to enlarge)

I’m pulling your leg (an Americanism meaning I’m just kidding). The people in the photo are not at a basketball game, although they could be, and some of them might rather be.

Let me identify as many of them as I can for you.

First row (left to right):
Nancy Reagan (widow of President Ronald Reagan), Rosalynn Carter, President Jimmy Carter, Laura Bush (wife of President George W. Bush), President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton.

Second row (left to right):
Unidentified person, Edwin Schlossberg, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (daughter of President John F. Kennedy), Barbara Bush (wife of President George Herbert Walker Bush), Susan Ford Bales (daughter of President Gerald R. Ford), Unidentified person.

Third row (left to right):
Headless wonder, Semi-headless wonder, Hemidemisemi-headless wonder, Maria Shriver Schwartzenegger (niece of President John F. Kennedy), Tricia Nixon Cox (daughter of President Richard M. Nixon), Edward Cox.

Without performing additional research, can you identify the occasion for which this auspicious group had gathered?

Here’s a clue:

(click to enlarge)

For non-U.S. readers, the term March Madness refers to the single-elimination Division I college basketball tournaments performed each spring in the United States. Sixty-eight teams are slowly whittled down to thirty-two, then to a round called the Sweet Sixteen, a round called the Elite Eight, and a round called the Final Four. This year the Final Four round will be played in Atlanta this weekend.

The two winners of the Final Four round (the national semi-finals) will then play each other for bragging rights all year long until March Madness rolls around again. An indication that Madness is the correct term is that the last two rounds are played in April.

This year’s Final Four teams match-ups are the University of Louisville (Kentucky) vs. Wichita State (Kansas), and Syracuse University (New York) vs. the University of Michigan (Michigan).

And for those who are still wondering, the auspicious group in the first photograph were gathered for the funeral of Lady Bird Johnson, widow of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, in July 2007. She was 94 at the time of her death. The photo of her in the field of wildflowers was taken in 1990.


  1. I would guess that most of your U.S. readers, at least, would be old enough to have recognized her picture. As for basketball or any other sport, I'm as ignorant as a newborn kitten.

  2. Hey rhymeswithplague,

    Pulling your leg is a common term. Go on, pull the other one :)

    I'm very aware of the college basketball tournaments. Thank you for those photos. And shall we add that basketball was invented by a Canadian. James Naismith in 1891.

    Kind wishes to you, my friend, Gary from "Vancouver" :)

  3. As klahanie says, pulling your leg is something I'm familiar with, as it were.

    Sad to say, I recognised neither the occasion or Lady Bird, but then it has been an awfully long time since she crossed my consciousness.

    So the March Madness become the April Fools?

  4. Thank you, Snowbrush, klahanie/Gary, and Shooting Parrots/Ian, for your comments.

    Snow, I don't know why sports mania grips the male half of our population so tightly, but it has one branch of my family tightly in its grip.

    k/Gary, thanks for your historical note about the origin of basketball, eh?

    SP/Ian, you are exactly right!

  5. I was engaged to an American chap once. He referred to 'just yanking your chain'. Perhaps that's where the term 'Yankee' came from?

    Just pulling your leg.

    I liked the flowers.

  6. "He referred to 'just yanking your chain'. Perhaps that's where the term 'Yankee' came from?"

    I wouldn't know, but I do know that if you went into a Southern US bar, and called everyone a Yankee, you might get beaten up unless your accent convinced them that you didn't know any better. During the Civil War, it was the Yankee North against the Confederate, so white people from the South still don't like that word, and, in America, they would see it as incorrect.