Billy and Jimmy sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”

Two of my favorites teaming up for a creative rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Jimmy’s voice is extremely underrated and Billy’s is still pretty fantastic. That moment when Jimmy is smiling while watching Billy sing is fantastic. He’s thinking what everyone else was: “this is pretty awesome.”

There’s no doubt that Fallon’s fan base has grown exponentially since moving to 11:30 and he continues to deliver. The Tonight Show is suddenly full of new ideas, new bits and new ways to showcase Jimmy’s talents along with that of his guests. I record it every night now and if I miss something, I check it out on YouTube the next day. Kudos to Jimmy Fallon for transforming late night television from casual, “if there’s nothing else on type” to serial viewing, at least for me.

I Can’t Stop Watching This

This is so so so soooo good. I like her version better than the original by James Taylor. There’s so much power in her voice and I hear some Susan Tedeschi in there. Whatever her influences, this is the best “Voice” audition that I’ve seen. A perfect song and a powerful performance that showcases all that she can do in 90 seconds.

81-year old bowls a Perfect Game

This is so great. I love to bowl and I can not even imagine the pressure on these final three rolls. This man has nerves of steel and doesn’t even make it a big thing when he was one strike away. Maybe he’s been close before but my palms would be so sweaty that I don’t know if I would be able to grip the ball.

The great thing about a bowling perfect game is that anyone can do it. You don’t need other people around or an opponent to accomplish such an awesome sports milestone. You just need one amazing game where you are feeling it and can do no wrong.

This 81-year old man did it in league play with everyone there to witness and cheer him on, which makes it even cooler. But anyone can to the lanes right now and accomplish that feat, amateur or pro. Obviously, it is a very, very difficult feat but the point is that anyone can do it, even when you’re in your 80s.

Congrats and I’m glad the lanes posted this fantastic video of his accomplishment.

It’s Tournament and Baseball Time

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This is a tremendous time of year. Spring is almost here (finally) and we’ve got baseball opening day around the corner. I feel like I write about it every year but seeing baseball on TV evokes a feeling that is hard to explain. It signifies so many different positive things. Opening Day can’t come soon enough but before that we’ve got possibly my favorite fortnight of the year –  MARCH MADNESS!

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Conference tournaments are under way which means good basketball every night straight up until Selection Sunday. Teams are fighting for their lives and it usually brings out the best in everyone. Cuse may already be out of the ACC Tournament but that’s not tampering my excitement. The NCAA Tournament is the only one that matters and if the Orange can get hot, another Final Four is not out of the question. Even though we have lost 5 of our last 7, we did win 23 in a row to start of the season, so we are capable of getting hot.

Either way, these next few weeks are going to awesome. Then when the tournament ends, baseball begins. It’s a fantastic time of year!

Dick’s Sporting Goods Nails Another Ad

Around this time last year, Dick’s came out with a tremendous ad that really captured everything that is great about baseball. It was just a sequence of an important in-game moment leading up to a pitch. The only sound was the natural sound on the field. Every baseball fan knows the exact feeling and the ad captures it perfectly. They also made a football version that was equally as effective.

This year, Dick’s has perfectly conveyed another message that I have thought about for some time now – why sports matter. The beauty of it is that sports matters to a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. There’s no denying their importance and this commercial does everything to share that message. It’s a great ad and extremely well done. Who would have thought that Dick’s Sporting Goods would have three of my favorite commercials?

What I’m Listening To

A classic finger-picking song by Fleetwood Mac that I’ve been trying to learn on guitar myself. It’s not easy and when I deconstructed how to play the song, I gained even more appreciation for it – and for Fleetwood Mac in general.

The way his thumb works the bass notes while his fingers pluck the higher strings is captivating. Of course, many other great songs have used this technique but I have a new found respect for Lindsay Buckingham after learning this track. There’s a definite vibe that goes along with the song that always puts me in a good mood.

Kanye does Medley on Late Night with Seth Myers

I still love Kanye’s music and the medley he performed the other night on Late Night with Seth Myers was pretty fantastic. It’s been 10 years since The College Dropout came out and when you put some of his best tracks back-to-back-to-back like that, it’s impressive. Aside from being fun to hear songs that I haven’t heard in some time, it’s also a reminder that he has so many others great songs – ones that weren’t included in the medley like “Gone,” “Through the Wire” and “Family Business.” Those were the first three that came to mind but there’s so many others.

I don’t fully understand what Kanye is going through that has led to his long-winded rants about breaking down barriers and entering the fashion world. But I do know that the guy is a genius when it comes to creating and producing music. He’s obviously really passionate about fashion but I just hope he doesn’t give up music completely. Seth spoke about that grittiness he displayed on “Last Call,” one of my favorite tracks from The College Dropout. I don’t think he’s lost that just yet and as long as he feels slighted, I’m sure that he will continue to produce. Ten years from now, I just hope it’s another medley of songs and not fashion lines.

Cuse Loses Two in a Row

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Could there have been two better games to start the Duke/Cuse rivalry in the ACC? Both were INTENSE games that came down to the final minute and we’re decided by controversial calls/non-calls. As a basketball fan, they were fantastic theater. As a Cuse fan, they were stressful to say the least.

The history of the programs and coaches were enough to make this new rivalry an intriguing one but after these first two conference games, I expect every time these two teams play to be legendary. Thanks to the ACC tournament, it’s likely that Cuse and Duke will meet again for a rubber game and of course there’s a possibility that they can play each other in the NCAA Tournament.

Having said all of that, last night’s offensive foul call against C.J. Fair in the final minute was a horrendous call. It decided the game and Hood was clearly still moving his feet into the position when he and Fair made contact. If anything, it should have been a blocking foul sending Fair to the line for a potential game-winning free throw.

Boeheim saw how terrible the call was and freaked out, received two technicals and got thrown out of the game. I love that Boeheim got that upset because that was a HUGE call but obviously there’s still a chance that we can win if his technicals don’t give them 4 free throws. So, the future Hall of Famer has received some criticism for costing the Orange a chance to win.

I don’ t see it that way though. Yes, we could have fouled, hoped they missed one and hit a three to tie. But the game was over when that call was made. This was a big game and Boeheim’s reaction felt totally warranted given what had just played out on the court.

So Syracuse has lost two in a row and now we’ve got to turnaround and play Maryland on the road Monday night, then Virginia on the road on Saturday. The perfect regular season was an unrealistic dream but I still held out hope nonetheless. Now I’m relieved that we lost on Wednesday to BC because receiving your first loss in the fashion that we did on Saturday would have been heartbreaking.

Even with both of those losses, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects that we will still be the #1 team in the country. That would be nice but now that the Duke games are done and we are no longer undefeated, it’s time to focus on the postseason. I hope we learn from these losses, become better and gain the extra motivation needed to win the ACC tournament and then follow that up with another Final Four.

Brian Williams is Rapping Again

Brilliant. I’m so glad that Jimmy Fallon hasn’t changed the content of his show at all since taking over The Tonight Show. For his first week, he has just been bringing out his best bits to show new viewers what he is all about. A great idea for sure and as a fan for a while now, I really appreciate the tour de force that he has delivered.  We got an evolution of dance, a hashtag bit, a Brian Williams rapping bit and a game of charades  all in the firs three days. Not to mention some pretty entertaining interview and musical performances. These first three shows have been fantastic and his audience should continue to grow.

The Power of Good Storytelling

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I don’t care about ice dancing. I don’t know anything about the sport and I certainly don’t understand the scoring. Despite these facts, I am enthralled with the ice dancing competition in this year’s winter olympics and there’s only one reason for that – good storytelling.

NBC is smart. They get it. The winter olympics are filled with obscure sports and hard to understand rules. So how they get people interested? Tell them a story. Make us understand where these people came from, how hard they trained, and how difficult what they’re doing actually is.

Enter Meryl Davis and Charlie White. The duo has been skating together for 17 years and they earned the silver medal at the Olympics in 2010. Their arch rivals, a Canadian duo, beat them out in Vancouver. Both pairs train at the same facility in Michigan and even share a coach. After learning all of this, how could I not watch and see what happened.

Adding to the drama is that a 90 second routine will decide their fate after years and years of preparation. That’s a lot of pressure. Couple that with the superbly produced interviews and packages that aired both during olympic primetime coverage and on NBC news, and there’s no way I’m missing it.

Today, Davis and White, set a world record with their score in the long program and they became the first Americans to earn the gold medal in ice dancing. I’m thrilled that I got to watch it and I’m equally thrilled for Davis and White.

That’s the power of good storytelling. It made me seriously invested in an event that I have no history with and that I still know very little about. A compelling story can have a lasting impact and incite positive change. My unexpected interest in ice dancing is an important reminder of that fact.