A Heartfelt Ode To Office Basketball Pools

Our diverse country is rarely unified in thought or deed, but this week is an exception:  we can say with supreme confidence that virtually every worker in America is filling out their office’s version of the NCAA Tournament pool.  Our ability, from sea to shining sea, to share in the communal experience of NCAA Tournament wagering has moved me to verse:

An Ode To Office Basketball Pools

IMG_3402The Ides have passed, and now it’s here,

Our annual betting racket

I feel the heat, I must complete

My NCAA bracket.

I’ve studied hard and thought with care. 

And confidence?  I don’t lack it

I know this year I’ll win it clear

Thanks to this perfect bracket!

I’ll fold it neat and keep it near

So success, I can track it

And I’ll peruse whene’er I choose

My pristine tourney bracket!

Then Thursday comes, and upsets, too

And my forehead, I will smack it

As X-outs sprout and teams go out

And mar fore’er my bracket.

By Sunday night I’m crushed and mad

And fit for a strait jacket

My Final Four are all no more

Another failed bracket!

A shining moment, I ne’er had

If it were underground I’d frack it

I’m in the ditch, it’s fit to pitch

Curs’d NCAA bracket!

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Twinkie, Noooooooo!

As a result of a labor dispute, Hostess — the makers of the Twinkie, that joyous, anti-nutritious concoction that has long been a favorite of hefty American children, myself included — is going out of business.

Nooooooo!  It’s bad enough that thousands of workers will lose their jobs, but can it really be that the Twinkie will go the way of the Dodo?  How can a cruel world deprive youngsters of the finger-licking pleasures of cream-filled, yellow sponge-caked goodness, dipped in milk?

I therefore republish the Webner House Ode to a Twinkie, not in celebration, but in sorrow:

O Twinkie!  My Twinkie!

O Twinkie!  My Twinkie!  The noon hour now draws nigh

My morning classes will be done, to you my thoughts do fly

The bell will ring, the rush will start, and we will race to lunch

The crinkled paper bag will ope, on PBJ I’ll munch

But O!  Dessert!  Dessert!

My hungry heart doth beat

For in my sack I soon shall find

A cream-filled sponge cake treat.


O Twinkie!  My Twinkie!  Your sponge cake damp and gold

And filled with tasty frosting, sweet and white and bold

The wrapper tears, my eyes grow wide, the sticky mass I grasp

And clutch to waiting bosom like Cleo and the asp

And so to eat!  To eat!  To eat!

With glass of milk, ice cold

Then lick till clean the bottom square

Of its crumbs, wet and gold.


O Twinkie!  My Twinkie!  My lustrous sack lunch friend

The sight of you gives rise to thoughts of lunch’s happy end

Your taste I crave, and I desire to see you on my plate

I do not mind if you are made of calcium sulfate

Fear not, my friend!  Fear not!  Fear not!

We’ll eat you still with pride

Come Polysorbate 60, hell,

or grim diglyceride!

How Do I Brick Thee?

College basketball is one of my favorite sports.  Often, I’ll watch a game even if one of my favorite teams isn’t playing.

Last night I watched Illinois play Michigan State.  It promised to be a tough game between two teams fighting for the Big Ten lead — but it became an ugly brickfest in which neither team could make a basket.  Illinois finally won by the ridiculous score of 42-41.  The Illini shot less than 33% from the field; the Spartans made fewer than 25% — 25%! — of their attempts.

The absurdly bad shooting got to be comical, and moved me to verse:

How Do I Brick Thee?  (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

How do I brick thee? Let me count the ways.
I brick thee by hurling thee against glass
And failing to make a capable pass
In an offense so far out of phase.

I brick thee on layup and on three-point shot
The efforts I launch all resound with a clang
And each ugly brick leads to coaches’ harangue;
I brick thee ’cause no teammate is hot.

I brick thee with all the pow’r I produce
Though the results be nothing but lame.
I brick thee and bear the fans’ harsh abuse,
With each miss I shrivel in shame,
I brick thee and see my shots leave a bruise,
I wish I was taught how to aim!

Hitting The Big Time With Christmas Card Verse

You known you’ve really made it as a significant poet when some of your verse makes it onto a greeting card.

The reason for this is simple:  there is no better testament to your powers as a wordsmith than knowing that other people, after careful consideration, have concluded that your thoughtful expressions best capture the sentiment they want to convey.

So you can imagine my delight when Webner House reader Angie disclosed today that she has borrowed some of our Webner House doggerel for her family’s holiday card this year.  OK, so the Webner House verse that was used was an ode to a furry Mad Bomber hat, rather than some deeply meaningful thoughts about the holidays, and it was a self-published card, and Angie tweaked it a bit — but so what?  It is still pretty cool.  You can see Angie’s card with the modified verse here.  Angie, you made my day!

Next stop, Hallmark!