Sunday, February 16, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 02/15/20: The Maryland Connection, Zags Sail to Victory, Frost and Lawson Episodes

1.  Yeah. Yeah. I get it. That stretch of Baltimore Ave./Rt 1 that runs through College Park, MD is aesthetically brutal, the traffic is frequently snarled, and it contributes mightily to the comments I've read or have heard telling me that, as a college town, College Park is "an armpit", that's it's "America's ugliest college town".

But I liked College Park. A lot.

Every time I drove to College Park to worship at St. Andrews or to walk on the Paint Branch Trail or to eat and have a cup of coffee at Bagel Place, among other things I enjoyed in College Park, my affection for the place grew.

Now that I live in Kellogg, within myself I've adopted the Maryland Terrapins (the Terps) men's basketball team as the home team I left behind -- with feelings very similar to the ones I have for both the men's and women's Oregon Ducks basketball teams.

So, when the Terps play on television, I love to tune in and, this year, I've enjoyed watching the Terps mature over the course of the season and play their way, for now, to the top of the Big Ten Conference standings.

Today the Terps traveled to East Lansing to play Michigan State. Earlier in the season, thanks to conference losses on the road to Penn State, Iowa, and Wisconsin, basketball fans, especially Terp fans, started to wonder if the Terps were too soft to win away from College Park.

Well, in the last month, Maryland has won three road games in a row and they hoped to make it four in the hostile environment of MSU's Breslin Center.

Maryland raced out in front of Michigan State in the first half by as many as fifteen points, but sagged as the half was closing and took an eight point lead into halftime. In the second half, Michigan State tightened its defense and Maryland's offense became stagnant. Slowly and surely, the Spartans steadily closed Maryland's lead, overtook the Terps, and siezed a seven point lead with 3:25 to play on an Aaron Henry jumper.

Then the tide turned.

Jalen Smith hit a three point shot, closing the gap to four points and, in the game's final 3:25, MSU never scored again.

The Terps' Anthony Cowans, however, did.

And how.

He calmly hit three straight three point shots and two free throws, scoring Maryland's last eleven points and led Maryland on a late game surge that secured the Terps a 67-60 victory, keeping the Terps atop the Big 10 conference.

I'm not very demonstrative or vocal during basketball games, but if huge smiles were noise, the joyous grin on my face at the end of this tilt would have been a roar and my celebration would have frightened old Charly.  But, I was quiet, happy -- actually, kind of emotionally moved --, and proud that Maryland, whom I like to call my old neighborhood school, clamped down on the Spartans late, worked their way out of their second half funk, and won this very challenging game in East Lansing.

2. The last ten to fourteen days have been trying for Christy and Everett. Everett's been battling health problems and Christy has gotten run down because Everett has had restless nights and Christy has taken him to several appointments in Kellogg and Coeur d'Alene over the last week and a half or so.

I asked Christy's permission to join them to watch tonight's Gonzaga game against Pepperdine and was happy that they felt well enough and rested enough to have me over.

Everett's doing better. I could tell that upon entering the house.  Christy reviewed Everett's treatment plan with me and reported that they are seeing positive results.

The basketball game was kind of a ragged affair. Pepperdine is a far inferior team compared to Gonzaga. To stay in this game, they had to run time off the clock with long possessions and play hounding, ugly defense. Pepperdine's approach kept the game close for a half as Gonzaga only led by four at halftime.

Gonzaga was getting Pepperdine's best effort, but it wouldn't be long before Gonzaga's superior shooting and defense would take over the game and, in the second half, Gonzaga opened up a double digit lead that they never surrendered and sailed to victory, 89-77.

3. I continue to try out my experiment of staying up past midnight with Charly, feeding her a little bit and taking her out back before I go to bed, and hoping she will go four hours or so without whimpering and that I can sleep until around four and then until about eight o'clock.

By the way, I'm also seeing if it helps Charly to come to bed with me. Charly used to come into the bedroom and express her wish to sleep on my bed, but that ended a few months ago. I've gotten it in my head, however, that even though she no longer shuffles on her own to the bedroom, that during the night she doesn't like being alone in the living room. So, now I'm carrying her into my bedroom and seeing how she does sleeping next to me.

So far, it's worked pretty well.

You might remember that on Friday night, on A Touch of Frost, I loved watching Detective Inspector Jack Frost (David Jason) working with fellow inspector Maureen Lawson (Sally Dexter) who was on temporary loan to the Denton police station. I did a little digging and discovered that Frost and Lawson had worked together in a couple of episodes about eight seasons back from the episode I watched on Friday.

So, tonight, I went back to Season 3, Episode 4. This case Frost and Lawson worked on was a tough one to solve and the episode's story line was made more complicated by Lawson's involvement in a separate and simpler burglary case involving two women living together. In wrapping up the case, Maureen Lawson and one of the women who'd been burgled were attracted to each other and began to see each other for meals or drinks out. In other words, Maureen Lawson and this woman crossed the line separating a police officer and a crime victim and became a bit involved with each other.
I won't disclose how Lawson's lapse in professional judgment worked out, but having this plot line developing along with the larger story of a bottle factory heist and subsequent attempts having been made on the life of the factory's owner significantly deepened the power of the entire episode.

It was past midnight when I went back another season to watch Frost and Lawson in the first episode they worked together in, but after about 20 minutes or so, I could no longer stay awake, picked up Charly, and we went to bed. I'll finish that episode as soon as possible.

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