Thursday, September 28, 2006

Typical me, typical me

25 million reasons to want to be alive

I got an email yesterday from Brian, asking if I had any intention to chime in on the Terrell Owens saga in the blogosphere. The truth is, I have sent off a piece to popmatters and am waiting to hear back from them. If I don't hear anything by tomorrow EOD or I get a negative response, then I will just paste it up here and on TS for some weekend reading. As I said in my response to Brian, I was not really sure what my reaction would be to the news about T.O. I have never been shy about my dislike for Owens (especially Owens, the showboat) and I truly believe that the best case for all parties involved--from the media to the fans, to T.O.--would be to just ignore the guy, and everything he does. But realistically I know that isnt going to happen. I started my popmatters piece thinking it would be a rip-job on Owens and his publicist for not having the audacity to at least be honest about what happened that led to a 911-call from Owens' publicist (whose job is to keep Owens out of headlines involving things like drug overdoses, police reports, and hospitals.) I mean, she had "25 Million reasons" not to pick up that phone to call, to turn her own phrase around. There is really only ONE reason to call the police in that situation: you think someone's life is in danger. And when that someone reports he is trying to hurt himself, delirious or not, there are some issues there. Anyway, I changed my opinion on how I feel about T.O. in this circumstance, while I was writing, because on a personal level I could empathize, and I think we often lose touch of the fact that athletes are human-beings. Some of them just aren't very good ones. I speak about this more coherently in the piece I submitted so I will either link to it, or post it within the next few days. Update: the piece is in the Sports Editor's hands at Popmatters, so until I get a definitive YES or NO it won't be posted here.

Lanes Merge Ahead (or Some Thoughts on Old Konine)

Listen. Next time I say to anyone, "I am going to live with my parents for a few weeks between moving, and commute 90 minutes to work each way, while I work for 10 hours a day, and then go home eat, take care of my dog, plan my move, and try to apply for grad school..." just take me out back and bitch-smack me.

I mean seriously. Just brutalize me. I deserve it. I can't be waking up 75 minutes before the sun, any longer. It's not good for my sleeping habits--I just cannot get to sleep before midnight, never have, never will--and it has totally exacerbated my coffee intake habits. I tried to watch a baseball game last night and couldn't stop focusing on my hearts strange rhythmic beating. I felt like I was on a bad pill. And then I realized I was watching National League baseball, and one is wont to bore oneself so terribly doing such things, that it isn't unusual to find oneself meditating on one's own heartbeat. Truth be told, I am actually kind of hoping for the Phillies to make the play-offs...if only because it will be tremendously entertaining to watch my father try to repress the urge to root for--and ultimately berate--the team that, in his younger years, got him so worked up, he threw a radio out of his window when they folded during a pennant race.

Here's a quick (well, long) tidbit on my dad: it doesnt matter whose fault it really is when his team (Jets, Red Sox, Phils, whomever...) starts to mess up. It is always the manager or coaches fault. Last night there are men on first and second, one out, and Jeff Konine comes up. (I mean, this is Jeff Konine, if the guy can't bunt, you don't have any use for him anymore. Kids at an Orioles game this year called to him during batting practice once, and asked "hey coach, can you get some of the players to sign for us?" That's no joke.) So I say, "they should bunt here." and my dad gives me a wave of the hand" if Konine can contact, he can drive in a run." Now I am not a big fan of the bunt to push the runner over but A) this is National League baseball and B) Did I mention it was Jeff Konine hitting? Well Konine dribbles into the predictable double-play to end the inning and my dad hisses: "great job Manuel." Now, given the situation there are really two people you can blame for the circumstance that had just occured. And while Charlie Manuel is somewhere on the totem-pole of idiotic managers between Grady Little and Ron Gardenhire--he really cannot be blamed for Jeff Konine grounding into a DP there (unless of course you think Konine should have bunted, but we have established, already my father wanted the stick in Konine's hands.) So the two people you can blame are Jeff Konine (because he sucks) and ("Stand") Pat Gillick (because he decided to hand the Yankees one of the 15 or 20 best hitters in the game, along with a legitimate 5th starter for...uhm, well...So anyways, I mention this to Peter, who bristles and responds: "this team wouldn't be in the position they are in (by this, I suppose, he meant scrapping for a wild-card in the sloppy National League) if Abreu was still a Phillie." Ahh, the grand logic of it all. The Phillies troubles aren't ("Stand") Pat Gillick's fault for giving away Abreu and declaring to his fanbase that the Phillies had no chance of being a playoff team this year or next. No, the Phillies troubles are all to be blamed on Charlie Manuel, for...well, for...being in the dugout while Jeff Konine dribbled into a DP, of course. Nevermind that Abreu would look a little better than Konine in that 5-hole right now.

Later on, the immortal Tom Gordon blew a save giving up 17 balls on 26 pitches. The guy gets paid millions to come in for the ninth inning during close games, to, y'know, not blow it. Well he blew it. How did Pete respond? "Nice work, Manuel!"

A Defining and Profound Moment With a New Album

Well it wasn't Bonnie "Prince" Billy's new album that moved me most from the collection of CDs I purchased most recently. The Letting Go is good, but chalk this up as a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I just really can't say much more about the album then our friends over at pitchfork. It is, indeed, "cozy," and it is more standardly composed than his typical stuff. If it has any brethren in his previous catalog, it would probably be SuperWolf but the female vocals add a sense of celtic mysticism that is suprisingly pleasant with the otherwise rock-influenced sound. It's good, but I am not sure I have given it enough listening. Hopefully, it will grow on me. For now, I am not going to tell you to "go out and get it, immediately!" It's not for instance..

Destroyer's Rubies, which is the best album I have purchased since Sufjan Stevens' last. The thing is, in case I haven't made it abundantly clear, I am not a music writer. I don't understand the intricacies of music the way I comprehend the minutae of sports. But I know what I like and don't like, though I cannot say why sometimes (it just pleases me to hear some stuff, and doesn't please me to hear most) but since I have made a concerted effort to care about music the way that I care about sports, books (and to a lesser extent, films) I have had very few moments where music transcends simple pleasures and morphs into an experience of mind-blowing proportions. I realize it has become a bit passe to refer to specific songs, books, or movies as "mind-blowing" or worse, "life-altering." I don't know if I am just incapable of feeling this strongly about music, or if it is more simple: I hear music so often, and music is much more prolific (but not profound) an influence on my every day life than books and films. I mean, music is on at work, music is on in the car, music is on the stereo when drinking a beer and reading a book, music is on at Target...So I am constantly processing, and often enjoying (see Tapes n Tapes, or Calexico) some very fine music. But I rarely need to pause from it, and go "wow...." the way I have with, say, Ulysses or The Book of David or If On a Winter's Night, a Traveller or White Noise or...on, and on. Well this morning I did have that experience.

It was about 6:20 a.m. and I was plowing East on Rt. 78 (where a disturbing amount of profound shit has been coming to me, as of late) and the sky ahead was a perfect mix of autumn purples and pinks, and I was just digging on my Phillipsburg Deli Coffee, enjoying the fifth or six time through Rubies when I had a moment. I was perfectly at peace with the fact that I was up ridiculosuly early, driving for 90 minutes to sit in a cubicle and do mind-numbing work (when I am not sneaking away to work on blog-posts.) I realized that for all of the imperfections of Dan Bejars voice, and for all of the texture of musical sounds, and lyrical references in the album, there was an essential theme that wasn't very different than the theme of my own life, at this point and time. He is truly grappling with who he is, and how to define himself (artist or con-artist) and he is stuck in this meta-literature critique of who he is and wants to be, but is terrified of being insignificant, or worse, only being significant because he is something different and new. I am not really at the point in my life where I can fret my own significance, but I can relate to his fear of selling himself short to try to write and produce stuff that illicits immediate accolades. The fact remains, trends die fast and hard. Good sustainable art needs to be honest, and needs to be prudent to more than a small self-appointed elite. For Bejar the crowd to fear is the "precious American Underground" (see, aforementioned For me, right now, it is the people who will soon be dissecting each piece of my best writing collected over the past 5-10 years, and wittled down to a "Sample Portfolio." I have submitted the first portfolio this morning, and it is comprised of alot of work that might not suit the MFA crowd (maybe because it sucks, and maybe because it just isn't what they are looking for) but it is stuff I am proud of. And that's the most I can ask for from myself. As for being pertinent and sustainable...well, for the time being, let's just leave that to Bejar. Much like my father's penchant for Manager-hating, Destroyer's Rubies is as vital today as it was yesterday, and will be just as vital, or more-so, tomorrow.


Post a Comment

<< Home