Dear Jeremy Roenick,
Earlier in the week you attacked fans who call athletes spoiled. You said we could all kiss your ass, and that we were jealous of you.
I don't call you spoiled because you make millions of dollars to play a game. Sports is big business -- there's a lot of money going around in that world and I think players deserve a lot of it. The money is relative. Your bosses make a ton of money and you have the power to force them to share the wealth. Good for you. If a high school principal made $100M, then certainly the teachers should be millionaires, too. But that kind of money doesn't float around the teaching profession, so they all make considerably less. Unfair? Maybe. But players aren't to blame for the fact that people are willing to spend so much money on sports.
So like I said, I don't call you spoiled because you make millions. I do, however, call you spoiled. Not because you squabble over millions, but because you squabble over millions and didn't play
. You think we think you're spoiled because you make money? Please. You're spoiled because you used the game we love so much. You used it. You don't make millions to play a game -- you make millions to play a game for us
. You have pride and desire, and the thing most on your mind when you take a slash to the knees is a determnination to not let your teammates down, but none of that matters without me
. I -- as the fan and customer -- am the single most important thing in your professional life. Without me watching, there is no reason for you playing -- as a paid professional.
Also, you don't want fans in the arenas who think you're spoiled? Athletes in other sports make more money than you. Those sports don't have millions of dollars worth of television contracts because people think they're spoiled. It's not a question of being spoiled. And even if it was, you'd better hope anyone and everyone shows up. You can only make all those millions if people pay to watch.
And as far as me being jealous? I'm not jealous of anyone whose boss just made them a bitch.
How come all the newspapers and websites in the world have all mixed up the Orioles and Red Sox? Baltimore can't be in second, can they? Injuries suck.
Hakim Warrick was one slot away from going to the Nuggets and thus allowing me the opportunity for one glance at one box score to be my only contact with the NBA. Sadly, he and 'Melo are not teammates again.
No Lesson to be Learned
Someday that copy of the Lemonheads Come On Feel
that I pick up but don't buy every single time I go in there won't be at the used CD store anymore. And I don't think I'll kick myself.
It's the Nuts
Current lunacy aside, Risky Business
and Top Gun
are first-rate flicks.
Remember When The X-Men Had To Team Up With Magneto?
Thinking more about the eminent domain ruling. I kind of hope the first person they try and kick out of their home is some right-wing militant nut who really
doesn't want to go. And I hope he wins.
Wow, are you clever
Can sports writers please stop doing that thing where when a guy under-performs, they give you "x million reasons why fans aren't happy" where x = their salary?
So some of us are aware of this eminent domain question that the Supreme Court was looking at. For those unaware, basically the question is do city governments have the right to force individuals to sell their property at fair value to the city for the good of the city. My understanding of things leads me to believe that the law is there so that things like freeways, power facilities, armed forces bases, and even parks can be built (preserved in the last case). And while the bigger-picture/ideological-level argument about how wealthy neighborhoods will never be confronted with this type of problem are valid, I don't want to get into that now. It seems logical that, while unfortunate, if you live in the path of an 800-mile long freeway, you are going to have to move. I know people who have been forced to do so.
But the question the Supreme Court was looking into involves whether a city can force someone off their property -- at fair value -- and then turn around and sell the land to developers
who will, um, develop, and therefore increase the property values and therefore, bring higher property taxes to the city.
I know a woman who has family members who live on the coast in Connecticut. Gorgeous views of the sea. Prime real estate. The home has been in the family for generations. But now the government wants to kick them out and develop condos so rich people can move in. I have always assumed this was a Republican strategy. You know, fuck the people and let the big-time developers make their money. It also seemed like a ridiculous idea. It has nothing to do with the spirit of the eminent domain law.
Except now it does. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that this was legal. And it was the liberal justices: Stevens, Bader-Ginsberg, Souter, and Breyer -- joined by conservative Reagan-appointee Kennedy, who ruled this way.
You fucking traitors.
There is no reason for this, except some rich fuck of a developer wants to put up some obnoxious condo unit or office building, and some hack politician wants the lobby money and higher taxes they won't get from the poor, working-class peasants currently living on thnat pristine land. God forbid someone making less than six figures has a nice corner of the world to call their own, you fucking robed Judases. I don't suppose Bush is going to hail this decision as one of activist liberal judges, is he? And if he does, then fuck the five of you for aligning me with that morally corrupt asshat.
I am looking forward to you guys reenacting the jus primae noctis
, though. At least that way we won't be fooled with illusions of equality the symbolic rape tries to hide behind and we can get down to the real stuff. Congratulations! Now bend the fuck over!
Went to the Viper Room last night to see a band called Little Barrie. We were on the guest list because a friend of a friend works for their US label, but having seen them once for free I'd pay to see them again. They play a rock-funk-blues mixed sound, and usually I find bands of this genre to be dull, but these guys rocked. The guitar player -- a tiny little guy named Barrie -- is incredible. He kind of looks like a cross between Martin Short, Rob Lowe, and Thom Yorke, and he has that twitchy get-me-out-of-my-skin thing that Thom Yorke has going on. All while wailing away on the axe, man!
The album does not do them justice, but check them out here
If You're Feeling Sinister then Dig Me Out
Went to Amoeba yesterday with the intention to "just browse." Yeah. Right. I ended up purchasing Belle & Sebastian's E.P. collection Push Bar Man to Open Old Wounds
and Sleater-Kinney's latest album, The Woods
. I know, I know -- I'm sort of cheating on the B&S but I haven't been listening to them long enough to have accumulated their excellent E.P.s over the years. As for the Sleater-Kinney: seriously, just go and get it. I have always liked their stuff, but I really, really, really like this one.
If I was a Latin American revolutionary, I would be a Lappinista.
La-Di-Da-Dee, We Likes To Party
Went to a wedding this weekend in Reading, PA. I'm good friends with both the bride and groom, and I know both of their families and most of their college friends. The service was by a gazebo behind a castle. Sounds posh, right? But it was all very tasteful and nothing over the top or opulant. Some highlights (other than the "I do" part):
- I did a reading, sans
microphone. I like being the center of attention.
- The groom cried during his vows. Wuss.
- A friend got his ass kicked by the bride's uncle. It was a jokey wrestling match but a legitimate ass-kicking that involved a mule kick.
- I bought a great painting from another guest. My first art purchase ever.
- Flip Cup tournament at the reception.
- We went through a few kegs at the post-reception party.
- Advice: Stay at a Sheraton. Greatest beds and pillows ever.
- Same guy who got mule kicked also got lost for 3 hours in the hotel and ended up sleeping in his car.
Took the red-eye Friday night, a two-hour nap Saturday morning, wedding, reception, post-party until 3am, brunch at 11 on Sunday and then back to LA that evening. I am beat.
Even Jesus Would Pre-Emptively Kick the Shit Out of L. Ron Hubbard For The Crap He Started
From an article about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' engagement:"The twosome otherwise known as TomKat have been the target of rampant speculation over whether their coupling is contrived ever since they went public with their relationship in April.""The twosome otherwise known as TomKat..."?
Huh? Is it really necessary to clarify who they're talking about? Tom What and Katie Who? I don't know who -- oh! TomKat! Well, why didn't you just say so!? What, am I going to be confused without the nickname? I understand the concept of Tom Cruise, and I am aware of Katie Holmes, but... now that they're a couple I can't comprehend it! My mind isn't able to process this. I mean, in high school I wasn't able to fully grasp all the implications of "3.14159265....." but then teacher told me about "pi" and to keep the number to 3.14 and then I was at least able to have some basic frame of reference on it. But Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, geez, how am I supposed to reconcile that? Oh, TomKat. Got it. Why didn't you say so, Euclid?
And also, Tom Cruise is so disgustingly famous from his mediocre work that you can just say "Tom" and people know who you are referring to. Tom! It's not like "Shaq" where there's only one gigantic motherfucker named Shaquille. There are tons of Toms. Tons of famous ones, too. Heck -- Tom Hanks and Tom Brady are pretty popular people. But Mary fucking Hart (please retire) vomits up the name "Tom" and everyone knows "Cruise."
Hey, remember when Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan had their Grammys taken away? Who? Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, otherwise known as Milli Vanilli
. And do you think Michael Chicklis was a good choice for Benjamin Grimm? Who? Benjamin Grimm, otherwise known as The Thing from the Fantastic Four
. See how that works? In no way does "otherwise known as TomKat" fit the rules.
I'm so pissed I can't just turn off a crappy Tom Cruise flick to stay the hell away from that freak. Aren't there comets coming you need to kill yourself to hitch a ride on?
The Coast Of Arizona Is Lovely
I've experienced three decent-sized earthquakes and two minor ones since I've been in California. I'm sure native Californians and transplants who have been here a lot more years than I have would classify them as three minor earthquakes and two that were weaker than a semi-truck's rumble, but it's all relative. Laugh at me if you will, but I routinely went to school in six-feet of snow. My mom forced me to play outside in blizzards because "the sun was still shining."
. I can deal. So I'm sticking with three decent- and two minor-sized 'quakes.
My attitude towards eathquakes is fairly cavalier. A smile comes across my face and my adrenaline kicks in and I hold on for the ride. Like Mother Nature's roller coaster. Part of this is because, as referred to, I haven't experienced a serious tumbler. (Do they call them tumblers? I don't know.) Another part is that I don't own; I rent. My house is on a hill -- a very steep hill -- and theoretically it could fall down the 45-degree incline during the most basic of 'quakes. Hell, I sleep with one eye open and ready to bolt out the door in case the house starts sliding just because
Yesterday was one of the "decent-sized" (my classification, not the geographical people's) earthquakes. It was all very exciting until I thought, well, I don't own the home, but all my shit is in that home
Suddenly they aren't as much fun.
The Watching of the Film
I finally saw The Passion of the Christ
last night. God bless Netflix for affording me the opportunity to watch crap I can't be bothered to go out and see in the theater. (Speaking of which, I look forward to seeing The Revenge of the Sith
It's a terrible movie.
There was no tension or dramatic intrigue anywhere in the film. The only interesting characters were Pontius Pilate and Mary. Everyone else was flat and boring. This is supposedly the most intense series of moments of Jesus' life -- but the film offers no context as to help the viewer understand them. Now I knew everything going into the film, having been raised Catholic. To me the most interesting moment of Jesus' life is in the garden when Judas betrays him. He is alone. He is terrified. It's a very moving moment -- even if you don't believe Jesus was God, dramatically speaking a man understanding death is approaching and struggling with it is fascinating. Like the end of Glory
. It's the stuff great films and plays are made of. But The Passion begins at this moment. And the rest of the film is anti-climactic.
Pilate and Mary were interesting. Gibson gives us an understanding (true or not, I don't know) that Pilate sees no reason to condemn Jesus, yet is under intense political pressures from Caesar in Rome to keep his territory in order -- as well as from his wife who believes Jesus to be a holy man. There are no consequences stemming from this last point, but still, at least in Pilate we have a character with real motivations and a complicated dilemma. And Mary (the mother, not Magdalene) was interesting because it's easy to empathize with a mother watching her son get the shit kicked out of him. This human struggle is all-too-common. Look at the dead US soldiers' mothers.
But again, we know nothing about Jesus except he gets all kinds of beat up. And Judas? Why did he do it? For money, sure, but WHY? There is no psychological understanding of him as we get with Pilate and, to an extent, Mary.
They basically took what should be the last 15 minutes or so of a film and spread it out over 2 hours. There is nothing compelling about it. It doesn't help you to understand Jesus any better.
Lesser observations on The Passion of the Christ
that may be re-hashed, but now that I saw it first-hand I must comment on:
- The whole anti-Semitism thing. Well, I suppose to do a movie like this you need to have some Jews as the bad guys. Jesus pissed them off. Makes sense. But is it really necessary to insert the devil among them -- thus equating Jews to Satan? I mean, the Romans ultimately had the power to kill him or not, AND they violently enslaved large parts of the known world, AND they were polytheists: but no devil? Imagine if "Roots" insinuated that all white people are the devil.
- Also, they get the most stereotypically-looking Jewish actors out there to play the angry mob, and then a very Christian-looking actor for Jesus? Jesus was Jewish, too, right? I want to see the film where Jesus is also a stereotype: has curly hair, a big nose, and says "oy" all the time. With Mary nagging him constantly.
- The Aramaic dialgue. I actually liked it.
Which is more annoying:
1) The addition of -gate at the end of every single controversy
2) The combination of celebrity couple names to form an uber-name?
I just saw something that referred to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as TomKat. And you have the whole Bennifer thing, and I once heard Brangelina used in a sentence. The sports nickname/pop culture trend of using a letter followed by the first syllable of the second word is incredibly annoying (i.e. A-Rod, C-Webb, J-Lo), but I think it's just barely third behind the two aforementioned trends.
Maybe terrorists don't hate freedom, but instead just hate Extra! That's a plausible explanation for Plane Crash-gate
A Return to Normalcy
A suicide bomber in northern Iraq killed 22 people today. It's nice to know that with the Jackson trial over, we're returning to the mundane of the common-place everyday.
Ok, Sure, He Was Acquitted But....
So I'm watching coverage of the Michael Jackson trial, and the reporter is talking about the instructions the jurists received. She holds up a stack of papers clipped together and comments on how in-depth, dense and physically huge the instructions are. She says it is "literally a book."
Which reminded me of a pet peeve I momentarily forgot. The incorrect use of the word "literally." People use it to signify that they aren't using hyperbole and do in fact mean to attribute whatever lofty descriptions or features to the thing they are referencing.
Except half the time all they are doing is resorting to hyperbole, or at least referring to something that could be
. I remember watching a football game last year and the dumbass ex-player-turned-commentator said, "that was the hardest hit I have ever seen. He literally took his head off with that tackle."
Uh....? Literally? Is that the ball carriers head rolling on the 37-yard-line, still in the helmet? Oops, no, just the ball from when he fumbled.
Which brings me to the jury instructions the reporter had. Literally a book? Is that paperwork profesionally bound and published? No. You downloaded it from the Internet. It is not literally a book.
Though you literally wasted an hour of my life with your incoherent babble. Thanks.
Worst Job Ever
Watching the Michael Jackson pre-verdict show now. If my job was to be a reporter covering this trial and who knew every detail of the case, I would shoot myself in the head.
Why I Like My Boss
Him: Kevin? What do you call people who were in fraternities? Frats?
Me: Frats? For individuals? No.
Him: What's that word... (thinks)
Him: No. It's like...
Him: No... You know, people who are middle-aged but still act that way. They're called aging...
It's the antithesis of Swimming With Sharks. Awesome.
And for the record, he was looking for "Frat boy." I should have figured that out right away, but then it wouldn't have been funny.
A Pretty Sweet List
My "right-now" Top 10 bands, and my "right-now" favorite song by them. In vague, but not set-in-stone, order:
Pixies: Monkey Gone to Heaven
Beatles: A Hard Days Night / Norwegian Wood (What? Like you could pick just one. Shut up.)
R.E.M.: Radio Free Europe
Velvet Underground: There She Goes Again
Radiohead: No Surprises
Bob Dylan: Tangled Up in Blue
Public Enemy: Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
Minutemen: History Lesson, Pt. II
Pavement: Silence Kit
Sonic Youth: Kool Thing
I got a computer virus on my computer at work recently. It took the IT guy two days to go through it all, and then he decided I needed a whole new hard drive. Seems I got a pretty sweet virus. Or viruses. I think there were 11 of them. Super. But that's why there hasn't been any posting recently. I couldn't use the Internet.
Reunions and comebacks, no matter the specific circumstances, tend to be disappointing. For example, when meeting up with an old girlfriend/boyfriend, things tend to be a little awkward and stilted; and even if/when you slide back into familiarity, it's not as familiar as it once was. Something is slightly off, and the space between the old and the new -- no matter how tiny -- is heightened and made to see mmuch larger because you are dealing with such an intimate subject. Compare this to meeting someone you vaguely knew much earlier in life. Your sense of this person may be so completely and utterly different than what it once was, yet it will seem more "normal" than the "oh-you-haven-t-changed" nature of a lunch with an ex- where the change is only slight.
We, as a people, tend to wax nostolgic about things we once loved but have run their due course. These things in our pasts become highly idealized and idolized and, in reminding ourselves of all the good we conveniently forget all the bad. And then when we have these comebacks and reunions, they often seem out-of-place and inherently are unable to live up to our expectations. To wit: the new Star Wars movies. I haven't seen the third one yet, but the first two were so dreadfully bad and unwatchable that the third one would have to be Casablanca
for me to forgive George Lucas. But who do we have to blame? George Lucas for making, in my mind, an inferior product? Or me (we, the consers) who for years speculated about and pined for those first three chapters. We asked for it.
And this leads me to the concert I saw last night.
Part of their legendary status is that they quit at the right time. They weren't around long enough for a slow descent to irrelevance (I'm looking at you, Mick Jagger) and, while Trompe le Monde
is a good album, it shows signs of decline. In a vacuum it's good, relative to Surfer Rosa
, it isn't.
I wasn't into the Pixies when they were around the first time, but I did get into them a few years later. They quickly became my favorite band (behind the Beatles, but in truth I would pick Pixies albums to take to a deserted island before Beatles albums; and slightly ahead of R.E.M. - speaking of slow descents to irrelevancy). I saw R.E.M. on their Monster
tour, and so the chances of seeing my top 2 bands in concert were slim to none... slim walking out the door when a crazed fan snuck into it's house and stabbed him before Mrs. Harrison could scare the attacker off...
And then Frank Black and Kim Deal kissed and made up and Coachella happened and they were touring.
And we come to last night. I shrugged off my cloak of sarcasm and jaded-ness and became a kid on Christmas morning. But then I started thinking of Star Wars and I began worrying. What if they suck? What if they suck
? And then the four band members strolled on stage to the roar of the masses and launched into "Alec Eiffel". Okay. A Trompe le Monde
song. I worried a little more as I began thinking of the second Star Wars movie. But then they ripped through song after song, a juggernaut of sound the likes of which Phil Spector only wishes he could have produced. Frank Black's trademark whisper-to-scream heightened the tension and energy of the band, the songs and the audience and if you weren't looking you'd never know the lead singer was a short fat man. Kim Deal's half-a-beat off back-up vocals were as sexy/sweet as I remember. I don't know how Joey Santiago gets such noise from a single guitar, but he does. And David Lovering kept the band tight with his drumming and hammed it up on La La Love You
It was fantastic. It was incredible. There was no awkwardness or disappointment because the band played just how we remember them. They weren't slightly off to highlight the awareness of how off they were. Nothing was stilted or slow. They simply rocked. But where do they go from here? Do they record a new album? Will the new stuff suck? With one exception (the fantastic Teenager of the Year
Frank Black's post-Pixies stuff hasn't excited me, and the Breeders last album isn't very good, so can Frank and Kim (and Joey and David) make a worthwhile album? I don't know. I don't care. Because I saw the fucking Pixies live and they were amazing
Follow the Money
And now comes the reaction to the public acknowledgement of Deep Throat. G. Gordon Liddy is calling it a "breach of ethics" in the law enforcement field. Really, the guy who orchestrated the Watergate break-in is all pissy about it? Shocking.
King George III apparently was also angered over George Washington's and Thomas Jefferson's blatant breach of colony ethics.