Monday, December 23, 2019

Working toward failure

Have you ever just sat down to write knowing that you had something to say but no matter what you did, none of it seemed to come out right?

So you typed, and deleted and typed and deleted and it was far from perfection.  The point is, you kept typing. 

What a gentle reminder that I too am not perfect! 

Everyday I set out to be the very best version of myself for my wife, my family, my dogs, my friends, my work and the world around me.  And everyday despite having a plan with the best intentions, invariably I stumble along the way.  Then I feel like a failure and that all the good from the day was wiped away and forgotten! 

But this feeling is all wrong as I know that the pursuit of perfection is a fools dream.  That is not what this is. 

What I am writing about is working hard to be a little bit better than the me of yesterday.  And I expect to fail, because that is how you learn.  I expect to fail today and then try again tomorrow.  My desire is to present the very best version of me everyday even if that is a work on progress. 

I just want to be a difference maker for the people in my life, with the promise that what you get tomorrow will be better than what you get today. I am so grateful that the people in my life are patient because the best is yet to come.

So as I set out to fail today, I am reminded that failing is not failure -- Failure is trying, but just not getting it right (yet) and you just need to keep typing. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

50 Christmas Movies in 50 Days

On November 6th, I watched a Christmas movie.

Ok, it was A Very Brady Christmas, which qualifies as a Christmas movie but not the shining star of this blog by any means.  When it was over, I watched another movie -- this time it was The Christmas Calendar.  The story of a  struggling baker in a small town who receives a handmade Christmas Calendar from a secret admirer and people from the town speculate who it may be.

I have always been a proponent of celebrating each holiday at the proper time.  After Halloween it is acceptable to celebrate Thanksgiving and the Christmas Tree can go up no earlier than Black Friday.  But with our recent move to Minneapolis, and the "holiday-like" crisp temperatures and a bite in the air beginning in early November, I broke my own rule.

So what happened?  I had been filled with so much hostility which had built up from a rough year at work that upon watching a Christmas movie, all all that anger immediately evaporated as soon as boy kissed girl in The Christmas Calendar.  I was filled with joy and hope and began to embody the Christmas Spirit that I just couldn't stop.  I put up the Christmas tree on November 9th and began to buy presents.

And yes, if you were wondering, I was drinking hot chocolate, wearing fuzzy pajama pants and was joined only by two unwilling participants, each with four legs and a tail.  But this is a judge-free zone.

One movie begot the next and the next and the next.  When I realized that I watched the first movie exactly 50 days before Christmas, I joked with my co-workers that I was going to watch 50 Christmas movies in 50 days.  When I made the the initial statement it was purely to generate some laughter.  But, just like being 5 years old and putting milk and cookies out for Santa and hearing reindeer on the rooftops, I started to BELIEVE!  I could really do this.

I devised a plan to watch 50 Christmas movies in 50 days, that would culminate with A Christmas Story on Christmas Day.  And the challenge was born!
Watching one movie a day with a demanding work schedule and a normal life would be utter chaos, so there are times when I binge watch 2 or 3 in a row on a late night flight home from work or on a weekend afternoon.  I don't have a plan for which movies I will watch next; that all depends on Netflix, Hulu and Prime video.  I have just one simple rule -- I can not watch MORE than 50 Christmas movies and I can not watch less than 50 Christmas movies.  It has to be exactly 50, in 50 days.

My main focus has been on the Hallmark Channel genre, not classics or movies that can be portrayed as Christmas movies like Bad Santa or Die Hard.  I want that feel good feeling of a Hallmark movie.  I want to see Candace Cameron Bure as an over worked business woman in the city who is engaged to marry a high powered attorney, but is forced to return to her small hometown where she discovers the true meaning of Christmas and falls in love with a local boy who wears flannel shirts, operates the local cafe and may or may not be widowed with a young daughter.  Or where Erin Karpluk is struggling to get over a break up, but leverages her big city contacts to help a single dad revitalize an old lodge in the mountains where her family spent Christmas as a child and desperately wants to see it renovated (with the help of her general contractor family) just in time for Christmas so her grandfather (with ailing health) can see the project complete and be present for the looming wedding proposal from the grandson of the people who originally built the lodge.

There have been several movies that I started, end up fast forwarding, or not finishing because the premise was so campy or just awful.  Movies like A Very Nutty Christmas where a Nutcracker soldier comes to life to help Melissa Joan Hart with her bakery were not the best cinema had to offer.  Needless to say, you won't find A Very Nutty Christmas on the list.  Only movies I watched beginning to end make the final list.

Do I have a favorite so far?  I have included IMDB links for the ones in my list that I would recommend.  I enjoyed Dear SantaThe Engagement ClauseChristmas With A View and Christmas Pen Pals but I was especially touched by Christmas Lodge,

I am a relatively smart guy, so I am entirely aware that every Hallmark movie has the same premise.  And I know that within the first 5 minutes that girl will meet boy who she will fall in love with, and either be kissed or engaged in the last 5 minutes of the movie.  So why watch?  Because in that last 5 minutes, where the main characters are able to overcome tragedy or diversity just in time for Christmas, I am filled with so much joy and happiness that it is all worth it.  I want to take that Christmas sprint and spread it to everyone in my life.  I want to remember the reason for the season.  I want to smile and feel the warmth of Lord.  Then I want to have that same feeling stay with me the entire year.

So with 20 days left until Christmas, I have 20 Christmas movies left to watch.  I will continue to update this list until the Sons a bitches! Bumpuses (dogs) run through the house and steal the Christmas turkey, forcing the Parker family to have Chinese food on Christmas Day.  And until then, the Christmas spirit will fill my heart and I hope that it does the same for you.

(updated December 26th)
  1. A Very Brady Christmas
  2. The Christmas Calendar
  3. The Spirit of Christmas
  4. Christmas in the Smokies
  5. A Holiday Engagement
  6. Christmas Inheritance
  7. The March Sisters at Christmas
  8. Christmas in the Heartland
  9. Naughty and Nice
  10. Christmas Crush
  11. Dear Santa
  12. Christmas With A View
  13. Let It Snow
  14. My Santa
  15. The Engagement Clause 
  16. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  17. Christmas Perfection
  18. Girlfriends of Christmas Past
  19. A Cinderella Christmas
  20. Falling for Christmas (Snowcapped Christmas)
  21. Christmas Miracle
  22. Holly Star
  23. A Christmas in Vermont
  24. Holiday Road Trip
  25. A Very Merry Toy Store
  26. Christmas Pen Pals
  27. Coming Home for Christmas
  28. Christmas Lodge
  29. Switched for Christmas
  30. Christmas Crush
  31. The Princess Switch
  32. The Family Stone
  33. A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
  34. The Rooftop Christmas Tree
  35. The Perfect Gift
  36.  Hitched for the Holidays
  37.  Love Actually
  38.  Holly's Holiday
  39.  Snow
  40.  Christmas Grace
  41.  No Sleep 'Til Christmas
  42.  Back to Christmas
  43.  Holiday in Handcuffs
  44.  A Gift Wrapped Christmas
  45.  Christmas Around the Corner
  46.  Christmas Comes To Willow Creek
  47.  My Santa
  48.  The Christmas Project
  49.  It's a Wonderful Life (on a 50's style movie theatre big screen)
  50. A Christmas Story
Bonus Films on Christmas Day
  • Christmas With the Kranks
  • The Grinch (2018)
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Friday, July 26, 2019

10 Years after John Hughes Death, here are his Top 10 Films

When I read recently that on August 6, it will have been 10 years since John Hughes passed away of a heart attack, I just shook my head in disbelief.  He was only 59.

Maybe John Hughes didn't create award winning films, but for people of a certain age, he wrote films that impacted our lives like no one else.  Films about middle class teens in middle America.  Young boys crushed on Molly Ringwald and teen girls gushed over Emilio Estevez.  We were inspired to seize the day by Ferris Bueller and wondered if it was possible to create a woman like Kelly LeBrock.

Hughes did spread his wings to movies that featured feel good actors like John Candy, but his early teen based films weren't just his bread and butter, they were his jam. 

For the decade from 1983 to 1993, Hughes wrote nearly two dozen films.  Let's celebrate the anniversary of his passing by looking back at this writer's opinion of his top 10 pictures.

10. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Christmas is all about tradition and nothing says holiday spirit more than Chevy Chase trying to orchestrate the perfect family gathering.  In the best of the "Vacation" movies, Clark W. Griswold goes on the best 30 second rant ever about his boss being, among other things, "a dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, fat-ass, worm-headed sack of monkey sh!t."  It is priceless and helps to earn Christmas Vacation a spot on the rankings.

9. Mr. Mom

While the premise of this movie would not play well in today's politically correct climate, for 1983 this was comedy at its finest.  Michael Keaton losing his job and turning into a stay at home mom is filled with endless laughter, proving that being a mom really is a full time job especially when you think that feeding chili to a baby is appropriate.

8. Pretty in Pink

Best friend who is in love with a girl, tries to persuade said girl from not falling in love with the rich kid who is influenced by his rich friend that she is not worthy because she is poor.  It doesn't sound like much on paper, but add Andrew McCarthy as rich kid, James Spader as his friend, Molly Ringwald as the girl and John Crier as her friend and you have an '80s gem.  You really do feel bad for Duckie and his bolo tie not getting the girl, but when Blane stands up to Steff at the dance and defends Andie's honor all set to If You Leave, the feel good part of the movie feels really good.

7. Home Alone

Once you suspend your disbelief that an 8 year old could possibly be left home alone over Christmas vacation, and then that he could defend his home against professional burglars by drawing up a battle plan, you can't help but love this John Hughes film.  Arguably one of the handful of Christmas movies that you don't mind watching ever December on loop while you roast the duck and trim the trimmings.  The cameo from John Candy is part of the solid working relationship that Hughes had with Candy in which we see him in a number of his films.

6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Likely a movie that you have forgotten about for 30 years, Planes Trains and Automobiles is a classic slapstick comedy featuring Steve Martin and John Candy in their prime.  The scene where they are cuddling in bed accidentally and Candy's hand is "between two pillows" is priceless. As Thanksgiving becomes the forgotten holiday with the mass marketing of Christmas, let's not forget John Hughes film about a man who just wants to get home but must do so with a shower curtain salesman full of surprises.

5. Sixteen Candles

You could argue that John Hughes made Molly Ringwald's career.  In Sixteen Candles she plays the girl in love with the senior boy who doesn't know she exists, all while everyone has forgotten that it is her birthday amidst her sister's wedding planning.  The humor can be a little sophomoric at times with a drunk Long Duk Dong and Ringwald giving her panties to geeky Anthony Michael Hall so he can prove his popularity.  But when dreamy Jake is standing in front of the sports car in his sweater vest at the end waiting for Samantha, you get the cheesy moment that you've been waiting for.

4. Weird Science

Anthony Micheal Hall and make a girl on their computer.  But not just any girl, but the gorgeous Kelly LeBrock.  Then she comes alive.  But this story is really about two geeky teens who gain the confidence they lacked before Lisa awakens it from them.  Battling an overbearing older brother and a mutant biker gang that crashes their party, unpopular Gary and Wyatt live out the dream of every young boy to have a beautiful older woman in her panties appear from thin air.  John Hughes gives us 94 minutes of silliness that we just can't get enough of in this underdog, coming of age film.

But not just any

3. Some Kind of Wonderful

Keith (Eric Stoltz) thinks he wants to date Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson) the most popular girl in school.  What he doesn't realize is that his best friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) is really the one for him as she secretly pines for him the entire film.  Stoltz believes that just getting a date with the popular girl will change his life.  Will Stoltz pick the long haired prom queen or the short haired tom boy best friend?  Before he can decide, Keith must battle the secret plot from Amanda's ex boyfriend to take him down.  Most of Hughes other films are pure comedy but Some Kind of Wonderful is a more drama which shows his versatility.

2. The Breakfast Club

Shermer High School.  Shermer, Illinois.  Five kids from different walks of life are all stuck in Saturday detention staring the brat back of 1985.  This John Hughes film works on so many levels, but most of all because no matter who you are, you can identify with certain traits of every character.  While their labels are the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess and the criminal, they prove that they are all under similar pressures as teens in the north Chicago suburbs.  Hughes passion for the climax in the final scene is no better than bad boy Judd Nelson walking across the field and pumping his fist as Brian reads the letter to Mr. Vernon telling him that he can see them as whoever he wants.

Honorable Mentions

Before we get to the top spot, here are a couple of films that just slipped out of the top 10.

She's Having a Baby

Kevin Bacon becomes overwhelmed with the commitments of marriage and then freaks out when his wife Ally Sheedy becomes pregnant.  100% feel good.

Uncle Buck

John Candy as a clueless, unemployed bachelor babysits for his brother's kids (who include Macaulay Culkin) when a last minute family emergency arises.   Disaster looms in every scene but Candy proves he is parent material, in his own special way.

1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Bueller.  Bueller.  Bueller.  Three teens skip school and have the time of their lives in Chicago, all in a single day.  While Ferris embodies the term carpe diem, Cameron is so risk adverse and conservative that he can never loosen up and enjoy life.  Hughes best film reminds us to stop and smell the roses, even if it means being absent from school 9 times.  9 times?  9 times.  Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a timeless classic that still holds up today and deserves to be at the top of our list.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A Life Less Ordinary

All I ever wanted was to lead a life less ordinary and running took me there.

Realizing that a comeback is highly unlikely due to medical concerns, it is time to admit that my competitive running career is over. Having not raced a marathon since December 2016, I was able to qualify for Boston in my last competitive effort. But that was a long time ago.

Some people say that going out on top is the goal of every athlete. It’s just that I wasn’t ready to hang it up when that time came, and I struggled for a long time once it was gone. I felt like less of a person because I could no longer do, what I was made to do. When you are vastly known for being successful at something, the second it is gone you just don’t feel like yourself and the depression quickly ensues.

But after much introspection, I have come to be grateful that I was able to do it in the first place. Which is maybe why it has taken me so long to actually write these words and admit to myself that it’s over.

And if I can't be great at it, then I don't want to ruin it. It’s too important to me.”

Racing at a highly competitive level totally changed my life; it gave me confidence as a man that I lacked in my younger days. I learned that with hard work, you can accomplish great things well beyond your abilities. Good enough was never good enough for me and I had an insatiable hunger for competition.

It’s not who is the best. It’s who can take the most pain.” - Steve Prefontaine.

I was going to push myself to breaking point and then back off ever so slightly and remain there for as long as I could. And for the longest time, this meant track Tuesday, hill beat downs on Wednesday, tempo Thursday, race Saturday and long run Sunday. Then repeat to the tune of 4,000 miles a year for a decade. I was obsessed with the pursuit of my own glory.

A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.” - Steve Prefontaine.

My mantra was that I will do today what you won’t so that I can do tomorrow what you can’t.
In reality, I wasn’t doing anything super human. I was just an ordinary person in pursuit of the extraordinary. I didn’t have any special talents. But I thrived on being dismissed or overlooked and used that to fuel my passion. And so I took a small amount of talent and turned it into 82 career wins and 189 podium (top 3) finishes in 400 races.

I believe my personal crowning achievement was running sub 3 (hours) at all three US marathon majors as that is the most coveted distance for most runners. This was important to me because I was able to do it (well) on the biggest stage(s) in the country.
  • 2009 Boston: 2:56:17
  • 2011 New York 2:54:44
  • 2013 Chicago 2:49:12 (at age 38)

When I first qualified for Boston in 2007, my parents were there in Green Bay to see me cross the finish line. Then a few months later when I ran Boston for the first time, they were there again. That was something special to this only child to make his parents proud of him.

But being competitive at all distances was what I thought made me unique. Accomplishing my own success standard of going sub 3-4-5 was always my goal. This is a sub 3 hour marathon, a sub 4 hour 50km and a sub 5 minute mile which I accomplished with a slash line of 2:43/3:53/4:57.

It was in 2011 that I realized that this was not about my own glory, but about His. Which is why if you saw me winning a race, it was just like the picture above where I was pointing to the Heavens to give praise to the reason I was able to do it all. I became humble.

In the years that followed, I devoted my life to running and giving back to the running community through volunteer work. My life was running, but it brought me so much joy to pass that on to others. Even simple things that shouting encouragement to others who were finishing their race was so important to me. Giving back was the reason I served on the HTC board, as a race director and started the Rocket City Marathon Pace Team. I will never forget pacing 3:40 in the 2010 marathon helping others realize their dreams, all while I was running on dead legs having realized my own dream of 2:43:40 just six days earlier at CIM marathon in Sacramento.

Amidst the success, there was much failure along the way. There were times when I pushed too hard and my body pushed back. Maybe this was because I was always seeking greatness and I tried things that were well beyond my ability. This included the 335 mile 7 day Pinhoti Trail Adventure Run with Rob Youngren. After reaching the AL/GA state line and completing 172 miles, my body said no more as I was running on bloody stumps for feet. Some might say this was a great accomplishment. I saw it as failure. But I had tremendous respect for Rob went on to finish all 335 miles and set the standard for all who will follow.

I like to think that it was my ability to get knocked down, and immediately get back up again that made my running special. But once I was diagnosed with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, it became more and more difficult to get back up. I managed to race New York Marathon while having 3 surgeries during my training. Eventually the doctors suggested more aggressive means to keep the virus at bay, which included weekly interferon injections which in essence killed my ability to run at that level.

I didn’t want to retire. I thought that I could continue racing at that level forever. After all, I was able to finish Mountain Mist in 4:24 after tearing the meniscus in my knee. I was able to race just 8 weeks after knee surgery and win McKay Hollow Madness. I felt invincible. But I really was just human. And I don’t think it was until I was able to walk away from it, that I realized all that I have accomplished. I know that I did not appreciate it in the moment. I took it for granted.

So it is ironic that something as small as a rare virus on my vocal cords would put an end to my competitive racing career and not a devastating over use injury. And in the 2 years that followed I still felt that a comeback was possible. Look at Tiger Woods; as a fellow 43 year old, he just accomplished what no one else thought possible. I don’t have Tiger’s talent, but we both know how much hard work it takes to return to the summit once you’ve been knocked off. My body will just not allow me to push it to the limits that it once did. It is likely (though impossible to prove) that I pushed too hard, which took its toll on me and may have weakened my immune system to the point where it can’t beat this virus.

Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” – Leo Buscaglia

I am tremendously thankful for all that running brought me and hope that others are thankful for all that I brought to it. I tried to pass along every bit of knowledge I was bestowed with from my coaches, onto others. Pay it forward.

If I impacted just one person’s life through running, then it was all worth it. One day I hope to have the words “difference maker” etched on my tombstone.

So now my focus will be more on adventure running, thru hiking long distances. I have to say that running across the Grand Canyon and back and setting the fastest known time on the 40 mile Greenstone Ridge Trail with my Dad waiting for me at the end are some of my fondest memories. I always loved being in the woods, and slow long distance is one thing my body will allow me to do. I have always enjoyed seeing things that can only be experienced afoot and am thankful that these two feet can still carry me there.

As the tattoo on my right side reads, the less I have, the more I gain. off the beaten path I reign.

And that is where you will find me, should you happen to be looking. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Championship of the Best Power Ballad of All Time Tournament

When I first came up with the concept to determine the best power ballad of all time two years ago, I had no idea how much work this would be.  It seemed so simple!  Come up with a list, seed the entries and play it through to the end.  But to make this meaningful, it required countless hours of research listening to hundreds of songs to even come up with a list based on a criteria that I had to develop. Arriving that the 64 songs that were deemed worthy was a tremendous step forward.  

Beyond that, it was not difficult to group songs as to whether they should be 1-4, 5-8, 9-12 or 13-16 seeds.  But to comb through lyrics to figure out what the bracket names should be and which entries should be in which brackets took a weekend.  Then to make sure that artists did not have too many seeds in a single bracket was more effort.  Even once I settled on bracket, I decided to walk away from it for a few days to clear my head.  Then I came back to it and made adjustments before publishing.  

This series of blog entries has been very satisfying to write.  Just like my cereal blog, it allowed me to remember something that was meaningful from my younger years.  In the case of music, I would argue that people are most impressionable from preteen to high school graduation.  For me, the music from this era is still my jam and will be for life just like Booker T & the M G 's - Green Onions is for my dad.  This was always about the journey, no pun intended!  


The final match up features the #1 seed, Survivor - The Search Is Over out of the Full of Regret region against the #4 seed, 4 Chicago - Look Away, out of the Love Hurts region. 

Here is one final sound clip from each song.

If you need a reminder of how we got here, the entire tournament bracket with results are below. 


I am sorry Chicago.  I found someone else.  So for you, I guess it's over, baby.  It's really over baby, whoa.  But don't worry.  If we see you walking by, and the tears are in your eyes, we will just look away.

For Survivor, this was not an easy outcome to determine.  Look Away put up a tough fight till I came to my senses, through some miracle of fate.  You should have known from the start.  
The Search Is Over.  How can I convince you what you see is real?  You were with me all the while as the best power ballad of all time. 


Survivor - The Search Is Over


My next project will be to rank the 10 best John Hughes movies of all time!  Stay tuned.  

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Final 4 Results Best Power Ballad of All Time Tournament


And then there were 4.  The final 4.  The survivors, if you will, of a tournament to determine the best power ballad of all time.  If you have come this far, then you have no choice but to stick around until Monday when the winner will be declared.

For the first few rounds of the tournament, winners have been crowned based on many factors, including the passion of the lead singer and the memories that they may stir from a time long ago.  The lyrics have also come into play, as they literally have been part of the story telling.  But that was then.

When this tournament was envisioned, it really was about the "punch" of the love ballad.  Those few seconds of a song which after a slow, fervent build up leads into a guitar riff or drum smash climax of the chorus.  Some may call this the climax of a song, but regardless of your definition, you know it when you hear it.  So why not go by what you hear to determine the final match up?  Your wish is granted.

The committee spent hundred of hours listening to the songs in each of these match ups from beginning to end.  But when it was decision time, they focused on the following clips.  They could neither confirm nor deny if the videos played any role or were considered whatsoever in the outcomes, but when Steve Perry looks directly into the camera at the end of the Faithfully clip, they almost had a come apart.  

The results will be at the bottom of the blog, but for now, watch these short video clips to see for yourself that the outcomes are how they were meant to be.


1 Survivor - The Search Is Over vs. 4 Chicago - Look Away 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Elite 8 Results Best Power Ballad of All Time Tournament

Do Anything For You region

1 Chicago - You're the Inspiration vs. 2 Mike Reno w/Ann Wilson - Almost Paradise
  • For Chicago, you want to have you hear me saying that you could advance to the final 4.  Trust me, no one needs you more than I to move on since I made you the top seed in the bracket.  But when the results of each category were totaled up, it just wasn't enough.  With Mike Reno and Ann Wilson, all these dreams I save for a rainy day, they're finally coming true, so I'll share them all with you that Almost Paradise has defeated You're the Inspiration and will represent the Do Anything For you Region in the final 4.  

Full of Regret region 

1 Survivor - The Search Is Over vs. 7 Eric Carmen - Hungry Eyes
  • I want to hold you so hear me out Eric Carmen.  You weren't the traditional power ballad, so now did I take you by surprise that you made it this far into the tournament?  One look at you and I can't disguise that you just couldn't topple the top seed in the bracket. The Search Is Over must feel like it is taking on the world, but that is just your style as it truly embodies what it means to be a power ballad.  Survivor will represent the Full of Regret region in the final 4 with a resounding defeat of Hungry Eyes.

Lost Without You region 

1 Journey - Faithfully vs. 3 Loverboy - Heaven In Your Eyes 
  • In the Lost Without You region, It took some time to find the light and now I realize, that this was one of the most difficult match ups to determine an outcome.  With Heaven In Your Eyes  I know what my heart's been lookin for and what I am feeling inside, but with Faithfully, I get the joy of rediscovering you.  On final analysis, it's something that we just can't hide that Journey will move on to the final 4. 

Love Hurts region 

4 Chicago - Look Away vs. 3 REO Speedwagon - Can't Fight This Feeling 
  • This entire tournament, I've been keeping you in sight REO Speedwagon.  I really wanted to advance Can't Fight This Feeling into the finals as I've been running around in circles in my mind with this decision.  And just when I thought that I'm getting closer than I ever thought I might, I actually could fight this feeling.  Trust me, it's gotta be this wayDon't look at me, I don't want you to see me this way as I advance Look Away into the final 4 as the champion of the Love Hurts region.  

Final 4


2 Mike Reno w/Ann Wilson - Almost Paradise vs. 1 Survivor - The Search Is Over
1 Journey - Faithfully vs. 4 Chicago - Look Away 

This tournament has been anything but predictable.  We had tremendous double digit upsets in the early rounds and even some top seeds getting knocked out before anyone estimated.  But what we are left with is nothing short of two blockbuster match ups of true heavyweights in the realm of power ballads.  

Chicago came in with 7 entries to the tournament and managed to make it into the final 4 with their 4 seed, Look Away, representing the Love Hurts region.  Some thought that Loverboy would rise from the Lost Without You Region, but Steve Perry mixing in lyrics about a circus and clowns prevailed.  So the right side of the bracket is set where Journey will take on Chicago.  

Mike Reno did manage to make it into the final 4 with his solo effort, paired with Ann Wilson from Heart.  He proved that Almost Paradise embodied the spirit of the Do Anything For You Region.  They will take on Survivor, who really has breezed through the Full of Regret region.  

No matter the outcome of the final 4, we are bound to have a championship battle what will be one for the ages.  Follow along next weekend as the final 2 will be announced. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Sweet 16 Results Best Power Ballad of All Time Tournament

Do Anything For You region

1 Chicago - You're the Inspiration vs. 13 Cinderella - Don't Know What You've Got
  • Cinderella has had a tremendous run in the tournament, upsetting both a 4 seed and then a 5 seed to earn their way into the sweet 16. You should know that it ain't easy to get back to the tournament, but every Cinderella story eventually comes to any end.  And I know (And I know) that You're the Inspiration from Chicago moves on to the elite 8 with their defeat of Cinderella. 
  • For all of the rest of time Aerosmith will know that they put up a good fight, but the repetitiveness of I Don't Want to Miss a Thing contributed to their ultimate demise.  Mike Reno and Ann Wilson are not just knocking on heaven's door, they are also knocking on the door of the elite 8 with this win.  How could I have known that Almost Paradise would move on?  Because it is my tournament.
1 Chicago - You're the Inspiration vs. 2 Mike Reno w/Ann Wilson - Almost Paradise

Full of Regret region 

1 Survivor - The Search Is Over vs.  4 Bryan Adams - Heaven 
  • Oh thinkin' about all our younger yearsHeaven definitely takes me back to 7th grade school dances at Kingsford Junior High.  But as terrifying and fond those memories are, that's over now and so is the tournament for Bryan Adams.  Survivor is asking themselves can we last forever, will we fall apart but the answers will not be known until the elite 8. 
14 REO Speedwagon - Keep On Loving You vs. 7 Eric Carmen - Hungry Eyes
  • And I meant, every word I said, when I said that REO Speedwagon put up a valiant effort as a 14 seed in this match up.  It should be clear that it's the only thing I want to do is to create intriguing match ups in this tournament, but Keep On Loving You is not part of the end game.  One look at you and I can't disguise that Hungry Eyes moves on to face Survivor for the right to move on to the final 4. 

Lost Without You region 

1 Journey - Faithfully vs. 4 Warrant - Heaven
  • Results in this tournament ain't always what it's s'posed to be but that is why the games are played.  In this case, wheels go 'round and 'round and Faithfully will move on to the next 'round.  For Heaven, now the lights are going out and Warrant goes home.   
  • We've been livin' on the edge where only the strong survive in this tournament.  Can't you see I'm finding it hard to decide the winner in this battle? But all it takes to make me realize who should win is that Loverboy... I need you to stayHeaven In Your Eyes defeats We Can Last Forever and moves on to face the top seeded Faithfully.

Love Hurts region 

1 Air Supply - All Out of Love vs. 4 Chicago - Look Away
  • I know you were right believing for so long that All Out of Love deserved to be a top seed in the region but it can't be too late to say that I was so wrong.  Look Away takes down Air Supply.  That's how it had to be. Yeah, that's how it had to be
  • For Sister Christian oh the time as come, and you know that you're not going to advance into the elite 8.  And even as I wander, I'm keeping Can't Fight This Feeling in sight as a strong possibility to make the final 4 out of the Love hurts region.  REO Speedwagon defeats Night Ranger as they remember what they started fighting for

Other Tournament Notes

The elite 8 features a strong balance of songs on both sides of the bracket.  Is it really anyone's guess as to who will survive or is it only Survivor who can survive? Is Eric Carmen Hungry enough as the lowest remaining seed?  Will Chicago be able to match up against Chicago in the finals, or does Loverboy have something to say about that?  All of these questions will be answered over the next few days as the elite 8 will become the final 4.