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The Weekend Desk Report

Natasha Julius is holed up in a mountain retreat reading Alberto Gonzales' e-mails and has left us minions on the Weekend Desk in charge. Our immediate focus is the Final Four. We're in seventh-place in the Beachwood Inn's pool, but believe we win it all if UCLA beats Georgetown in the championship.

The Weekend Desk is also keeping an eye on last-minute news out of spring training. Check out the first installment of The Cubs Factor for a look at what will go wrong for the North Siders this season. (We hope to begin a similar Sox feature this week.)

We're also keeping an eye on who will be forced to resign first: Gonzales or Chicago police chief Phil Cline. If only it could be Frank Kruesi. ("CTA 'Hell' To Begin Monday")

And it's entirely possible that by the end of the weekend Tribune Co. will be under new ownership. We kind of hope the L.A. guys pull this one out, just out of spite. Plus, Sam Zell strikes us as the kind of guy who will dismantle large chunks of the newsroom before dismantling large parts of the Cubs (starting with Jim Hendry), and that's entirely backwards.

Week in Review
* CSI: Boston. More than a feeling.

* Yoga Booty Ballet. Wouldn't it be nice to have a firm, sculpted booty?

* Wal-Mart's Spin Zone. Originating here in Chicago.

* What Kind of Town Is Chicago? We asked a man on the street.

* The Media Week That Was: Camp Obama can't handle the truth - and neither can Phil Cline.

* Claudia. Such a fraught threesome strikes her as reason for life itself, down to the danger of losing everything.

Bracket Boggle
Wherein the last names of the starting five players of each Final Four team are used as the template for a two-minute word-building spree based on the popular board game. Teams are evaluated based on total word count and longest word constructed in the allotted time. No provisions are made for disparity in total number of letters - hey, it's not our fault they recruited guys with short last names. Here are the results:

#1 Florida vs. #2 UCLA
Florida total letters: 30
Florida words formed: 17
Longest word: GREENER, 7 letters

UCLA total letters: 34
UCLA words formed: 20
UCLA longest word: UNFLAPPABLE, 11 letters

Florida has a big handicap in this match-up. Their roster is completely devoid of S's. Without this vital add-on, it's impossible to milk shorter words for their plural forms. Still, the defending champs faired well and produced such spirited terms as REFORM, BUMPER, WEED and GROPE.

UCLA, on the other hand, lacks the equally important auxiliary letters R and D. Without them, simple verb forms lack their participles and adjectives languish without hope of intensification. This makes their narrow total word haul victory all the more remarkable. Add to that evocative phrasing like HUMBLE, COLLISION, OUST and FASTEST and you have all the makings of an upset. UNFLAPPABLE, indeed.

Pick: UCLA

#1 Ohio State vs. #2 Georgetown
Ohio State total letters: 27
Ohio State words formed: 18
Ohio State longest word: COLORISTS, 9 letters

Georgetown total letters: 30
Georgetown words formed: 25
Longest word: Tie between GREASIEST and ENGINEERS, both with 9 letters

Ohio State may have the most sought-after big man in the college game, but there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do with ODEN. Basically, you get DONE and then you're, well, done. And so are the Buckeyes.

Pick: Georgetown

See this year's full Beachwood Brackets for the nation's best and most successful March Madness analysis.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Waiting for your pledge.


Posted on March 31, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Should Talk More About Racism.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Hologram Arcade Machines.

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