Spring cleaning#8217; of the mind By Cal Bryant 03/28/2007 As the calendar flipped to another season last week, I saw it as the perfect time to get a few things off my chest. So, without further ado,

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2007

As the calendar flipped to another season last week, I saw it as the perfect time to get a few things off my chest.

So, without further ado, here’s a “spring cleaning” of the mind.

How did your NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket fare this year? Currently, I’m at the top of the heap in the News-Herald’s office pool (not that we’d gamble or anything like that). If Florida and Ohio State advance to the championship game, then I’ve captured the prize.

I was surprised by UNC’s loss to Georgetown. Actually, I predicted ‘Carolina would fall to Texas in the third round. After the ‘Heels got by Michigan State (not Texas) during that portion of the bracket, I was thinking maybe ‘Carolina had a shot at the Final Four. However, over the final seven-to-eight minutes against Georgetown, the ‘Heels couldn’t hit the Atlantic Ocean from the Kitty Hawk Pier, squandered a 10-point lead and lost in overtime.

As for the Final Four, Ohio State and Florida, despite a few tournament bumps along the way, were the best bets. Georgetown and UCLA were the darkhorses in this 64-team race. I still think it will be the Gators vs. the Buckeyes in next Monday’s finale. Will this mark the first time the same two teams played for a Division I national championship in the same year in two different sports?

I couldn’t believe my ears during this past Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was announced that immediately after the race that the track would be completely torn-up and a new one installed before the next Cup event at “Thunder Valley.” Wonder if the new concrete will send Tony Stewart into another tirade like he had with the track officials at Las Vegas? There he had some unkind things to say about Ahoskie native Chris Powell, the track manager at Vegas. Chris, if you’re reading this, know that I’ve got your back.

I see where the price of gas is inching up once again. Wasn’t it just a month ago that the price at the pumps was flirting with two bucks a gallon? On Tuesday it was up to $2.58 and experts say it will reach $3 a gallon by the summer. If you’re like me – PPP (a poor, pitiful pacifist) – then you must be thinking a securing a second job just to keep up with the rising price of oil.

While on the subject of skyrocketing prices, why is it a big &uot;no-no&uot; for Americans to purchase cheaper pharmaceuticals from Canada while at the same time our countrymen (and women) are losing their jobs by the hundreds of thousands to cheaper labor markets overseas? As far as I’m concerned, it’s the old &uot;double whammy&uot; standard – it’s okay for American-based businesses to ship their products elsewhere for completion, but don’t dare try to take money from the heavily laden pockets of HMO’s and the pharmaceutical industry. After all, they’re the ones with enough clout (a fancy word for tons of cash) to control the political process in Washington.

This just in – on Sunday, Randy Whitaker will announce his resignation as head baseball coach at Bertie High School to take a position as manager of one of the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league teams. Ironically, Sunday is April Fools Day.

Did you hear recently about the young school student that brought a rock of crack cocaine to school for Show-and-Tell? The child said he found it in the kitchen and innocently thought it was something used for cooking. I sure would like to see the recipes his parents are using.

There was also national news reports about the ever-increasing violence among students. What’s up with this?

I can identify the root of this ever-growing problem. It’s a sign of the times. All these &uot;soccer moms&uot; do not have time to feed their kids a hearty breakfast. For them it’s a case of getting the kids up at the last possible second, offering them a banana or perhaps a bran muffin for breakfast and then whisking them off to school. By the time they arrive to start the school day, the kids are mad because they didn’t get a good breakfast.

Whatever happened to the good-old days when moms got up, slapped some lard into a huge frying pan, plopped in a pound or two of bacon and then a dozen eggs. Top that off with hot, buttered (real butter, not that low-fat junk) toast covered with jelly (not some fancy-dancy fruit spread). When you wash that all down with a tall glass of ice cold chocolate milk then all you want to do at school is sit and learn. You’re too bloated to commit acts of violence.

As a sidebar to this, if these soccer moms will start putting some real food into their kid’s book bags to take for lunch, then there’s no room for guns or drugs!