Al Stewart: The year of the cat

So I’m listening to this song and wondering, when is the year of the cat in the Chinese zodiac?

Turns out in China, that year doesn’t exist, because (according to Wikipedia):

Legends relating to the order of the Chinese zodiac often include stories as to why the cat was not included among the twelve (symbolic animals). Because the Rat tricked the cat into missing the banquet with the Jade Emperor, the cat was not included and thus began the antipathy between cats and Rats.

OK, but somewhere in all of this, doesn’t the cheese stand alone? I may be mixing up my legends here.

Fun with maps

Since I’m on a “let’s play with U.S. maps kick,” here are a couple of fun ones circulating on the intertubes.

We know that Americans know nothing about where other countries are. Give them a map of the world with countries not marked, and they’ll put Syria in Australia.

So it’s good to know that others in the world have no idea where anything is. Like this Aussie who was given a map of the United States and asked to mark where the states were:


Good to know our most recognizable states are “Alaska,” “Hawaii,” “Washington,” “Wait, no Cailfornia,” “Texas, this is definitely Texas” and “Florida, aka penis gun freakyland.” But I love this guy’s concept of Virginia, all in the wrong places.

Another look at America is based on industry. What industry owns your state?


So I’ve had the pleasure of living in Health, Real Estate, Energy, Finance and Manufacturing.

And finally, let’s fit the U.S. in another continent:


Wow, Africa is a lot bigger than I expected.

(Maps courtesy of Know More at the Washington Post)

Louisville Cardinals rule Rupp Arena

Louisville Cardinals athletic logo

Louisville Cardinals athletic logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NCAA Men’s Division 1 basketball championship goes into full dribble today as the round of 64 commences. Of course, I’m rooting for Louisville to go all the way. But some folks in Kentucky don’t feel the same way:

“You know how last year they said they hoped we’d win after they lost? UK fans don’t hope they win,” Kentucky fan Roby Thompson said, glumly, as he watched the Cardinals practice. “I don’t even hope they have a good practice today, to tell you the truth.”

And that’s why the Wildcats’ fans suck. Their team wasn’t that great this year, either. They were the No. 1 seed in the NIT tournament and got knocked out of the first round. Coming of the previous year’s national championship, that’s like the Mount Everest of suck.

The rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville is college basketball’s equivalent of a civil war. Only 70 miles separate the two schools, but they may as well be worlds apart for their pedigrees and locales. Kentucky is the winningest program in NCAA history, and its eight national titles second only to UCLA. Even with two national titles, Louisville will never be mistaken for a true hoops blue blood.

Kentucky’s campus is in the picturesque hill country, while Louisville sprawls across several blocks downtown.

OK, first of all, if it’s a Civil War, UofL is the Union and UK is the Confederacy. (Although there is an annoying monument to the confederacy in the middle of the road going through the Louisville campus. But there’s also a civil rights monument on Cardinal Boulevard, so it sort of evens out.)

I live six blocks from the UofL campus. I’ve been to the UK campus. UK is in Lexington, it’s not out in the woods. And Louisville isn’t the grand megalopolis that UK fans pretend it is. But UofL does have amazing athletic facilities. It’s too bad the men aren’t playing at the Yum Center, because that’s an NBA quality arena.

wbbbThe UofL women (pictured above) are there for the first round of their tournament, which begins Sunday. (Nice arena, huh?). In college basketball, the UofL women have the third highest attendance in the country behind Baylor and Connecticut. They’re a five seed in the Midwest Region this year.

But there is something rewarding about the men’s team going into Rupp Arena (the Wildcats’ home court) for their first round matchup. Winning there would just twist the knife a little more. And winning the entire tournament (Louisville is the No. 1 seed overall) would be like a chainsaw on the UK psyche.

(For a local look at the UofL men’s team go to