Archive for August, 2008

SEC football is back

August 29, 2008

The autumn is nearing, school kids are miserable again, and SEC football is ready to resume its reign as king of college football. Last night was the first night of 2008 gridiron action and for anybody who cares, here’s what transpired:

South Carolina 34, North Carolina State 0: This game was not quite as boring as its score. Mercifully, since being more boring that the score would’ve been narcolepsy inducing. Early drama insued as Tommy Beecher, USC’s starting quarterback, appeared to spend the first three quarters shaving points. Beecher spent most of the game either flat on his back after being leveled or throwing the ball to no one in particular. He missed open receivers, he held the ball too long, he floated passes into coverage, and generally played QB with all the aptitude of the “exceptional” folk from There’s Something About Mary.

Fortunately for the Gamecock faithful, NC State’s entire team might have been shaving points, save for their running back A. Brown, who had 101 yards. Yes, he has a first name, and no, I don’t care what it is.  NC State gave the game’s deciding play when backup QB Daniel Evans tried to hit a low snap with his foot, instead turning the ball over at his own 12 and setting up the back-breaking first USC touchdown. I know Evans threw the ball like a soccer player, but come on! A little help, there, Pele?

This game didn’t yield much, but we did learn that NC State would struggle with a good high school team, that South Carolina has a very good defense and an offense which is very much a work in progress, and that Chris Smelley, who played well in relief of the poor unfortunately Tommy Beecher, will probably be playing next week against Vandy. Speaking of whom…

Vanderbilt 34, Miami of Ohio 13: Since I don’t get ESPNU, I didn’t see this game. Still, Vandy has so little respect that they were a four point underdog in this game. Yes, it was on the road, yes, they’re Vandy, but MAC talent is not equal to (or even close to equal to) SEC talent. The Commodores led 17-3 after the first quarter and never looked back. Chris Nickson, who has had as many demises and returns as Richard Nixon, ran for 166 yards and two scores and threw for another TD. Probably the most electric play of the game was Vandy DB D.J. Moore returning a punt from his own 8 to the Vandy 1, where he was just deprived of a touchdown. Still, 91 yards gets you a mention on my blog, D.J.

A full slate of games will be played on Saturday, before my ‘Cats tee it up at Louisville on Sunday. As of now, the SEC is 2-0 and pretty much dominated both games. That said, a few more interesting games would be nice– hopefully we get those soon.

Joe

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The one exception to the “Louisville hypothesis”

August 27, 2008

My wife posted recently unveiling her theory that while the city of Louisville is a charming and lovely place, it’s otherwise caring inhabitants are somehow transformed into a gang of rabid mongoloids by public events. There’s only one thing I’ve ever been to which really could disspell any part of this theory–

We saw Buddy Miller at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville back around early 2005. Buddy is one of my all-time favorites. He’s living proof that “country” and “redneck” don’t have to be synonymous, that music can have a spiritual component and still be a heck of a lot of fun, and that being great is no guarantee of being famous.

The crowd at Headliners in Louisville were somehow brought into line by Buddy. No, he didn’t whip the fans into a frenzy ala Springsteen (with about 200 or so people there, that would’ve been difficult). He didn’t lecture or cajole, he just did what he does– play gorgeous songs smoothly and solefully, and hammer out gut-busting guitar leads. 

I remember Buddy called on his keyboard player, ordained minister Phil Madiera, to marry the drummer and his now-wife that night in Louisville. Whether this was an on-going gag on the tour or a one-night thing, I’m not totally sure. But I tend to think the latter– Buddy ended this bit by playing a spine-tingling ballad called “That’s How Strong My Love Is” and dedicating it to the two of them.

He rolled through “Hole in My Head”, played a Hank Williams cover and led off his encore with a ten-times-better-than-Dylan version of “When I Paint My Masterpiece”.

Somehow, Miller struck a nerve with that one. It seemed to say that sometimes the crowd doesn’t care, or show up, and sometimes the sound sucks, and sometimes the weather is lousy and sometimes you’ve had more Taco Bell than any sane person should, but when the stage lights go on, it’s another night, another chance to paint that elusive masterpiece. And even if nobody sees it, if you really do paint it, you feel it. And damn if that isn’t a holy and wonderful thing. One that even a Louisville crowd couldn’t interfere with.

Joe

While I’m at it… or how I learned to love the negativity

August 26, 2008

I’ve tried to keep the blog positive, but I’m getting an unbelivable number of hits off of my Dylan bashing. So to continue briefly in that vein before reverting to my usual sunshinyness…

I hate “Rolling Stone” magazine. Can’t stand it. I asked for a subscription for some unknown reason. Oh wait, I know the reason. They put all of those special issues out, ranking the rock and roll immortals, interviewing the ghost of rock and roll past, and made me think “Hmmmm, this could be interesting.” But it wasn’t. I am tempted to defer any hand in the selection of future gifts, because I know Julie could’ve chosen better had I just left her alone.

The articles are boring and are devoted to irrelevant “hot talent” or are continued political rants. And let me say, I’m liberal and I’m sick of “Rolling Stone”. Look, I’ll probably end up out there voting for Barack. But if you put him on the cover again, I may lose my brain. I get it. Barack gets a white hat and McCain gets a black one. I understand. Honest. So just stop already.

As far as any editorial content aside from Barack-fest, “RS” has nothing substantive to offer. It’s all a ball of slick advertising and marketing. I could’ve probably learned more about music by reading the Sunday paper instead.

So don’t make the mistake I did. Don’t ask for a subscription. And spouses of people who ask for subscriptions– don’t be nice and humor them. Tell them how stupid they’re being. It’s for their own good.

Joe

And on the other hand… Bob Dylan

August 24, 2008

This weekend in late August 2008 was a watershed mark. As a longtime devotee/insane nut of Bob Dylan, concert #16 has finally convinced me that the game is up. King Bob is the great guy who made all those wonderful albums. The guy who tromps around stage with a dead-weight band and no interest in the audience is just a guy named Bob.

I saw Dylan last night at Horseshoe Casino outside Louisville. In fairness to Bob, I should probably note that this might have been a good show. I’m not 110% sure. As soon as we got seated and the show opened, the people behind us started shouting back and forth at each other incessantly. This was joined by the people on Julie’s left, who also decided it was a fine time for a high volume conversation. If they ever wanted to ease up, they just went for beer and stood in front of us for about 30 seconds while everybody got their change and sorted out who wanted what and how many. This was earth shattering stuff. “HOW MANY SONGS DO YOU THINK HE’LL PLAY?” Well, what the Hell does it matter, I wondered, if you’re not listening to them. There was one guy on my right who was there to hear the show. Of course, there were two yuppies on his right who were talking all night as well. I haven’t even gotten into the dancing girl three rows in front, who not only has to hop around while Dylan croaks through “Ain’t Talkin”, but has to perodically swing her arms about as well.

Into this maelstorm of humanity came terrific indifference from Bob Dylan. He still aligns himself on the right side of the stage, with his keyboard pointing more at the rest of the band than at anyone or anything else. He doesn’t talk, hell, he doesn’t even look out there too terribly often. And then the clunkers came. “Stuck Inside of Mobile” AGAIN. “Highway 61” AGAIN. “Honest With Me” AGAIN. If you come to a Bob Dylan concert in 2008, you could be forgiven for leaving thinking that Dylan recorded a couple of albums in the ’60s and a couple more in the last few years and that was it. That’s all he seems to remember.

And actually I can remember 110%. The show just wasn’t that good. Bob has no concept of pacing these days, if he ever did. “In case “Make You Feel My Love” didn’t render everyone comatose, let’s follow it with a badly sung “I Don’t Believe You””, you can almost feel him thinking. Time continues to assail his voice more and more. He’s croaky, he drops parts of lines, he screws with the rhythm of his singing, falling way behind or ahead of the band just to keep himself awake.

And I’m not sure anybody notices. I probably wouldn’t have five years ago. For the vast majority of folks, people go to a Bob Dylan concert to see Bob Dylan. Not to hear him, not to experience any sort of musical conncetion. But I’m done watching him desecrate his outstanding back pages to provide fodder for the curious.

I still love Bob Dylan. His albums range from horrific to wonderful, but there’s more of the latter than the former. His songwriting is unparalleled, and his book, “Chronicles” was a fantastic surprise to me. But Bob Dylan live musician, as of this time in 2008, is a dead as if the famous motorcycle crash in 1966 had finished him off. Could he be re-born, live musician wise? Sure, it’s happened before. But something has got to give, if so.

Joe

Bruuuuuuuce

August 22, 2008

So yes, it was incredible. I’ve been thinking a lot about something Bruce himself said when inducting Dylan into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Something about how Dylan freed your mind the way Elvis freed your body. Maybe he does, but I’m thinking Bruce almost frees the soul. The preacher-rap thing he does during “Mary’s Place” really didn’t feel out of place. This isn’t a rock and roll show. This is musical uplifting and affirmation. It’s three hours of great music, but it’s also three hours of hope, three hours of faith in the redemption of humankind, and three hours of bridging the chasm that exists between every person and every other person. It was also a hell of a lot of fun. I could say more, but why? If you haven’t seen him, see him. If you’ve seen him, see him again. And if you were there, feel blessed and share the word.

Joe

Setlist

Out In The Street 
Radio Nowhere 
No Surrender 
Lonesome Day 
Spirit In The Night 
Good Rockin’ Tonight [Tour Premiere—first since 1980]
Growin’ Up 
I’m Going Down 
Held Up Without A Gun 
Loose Ends 
Youngstown 
Murder Incorporated 
She’sThe One                                                                                                                                                The Promised Land 
Mary’s Place 
I’m On Fire 
The Rising 
Last To Die 
Long Walk Home 
Badlands 

Girls In Their Summer Clothes 
Thunder Road                                                                                            Born To Run 
I Fought The Law [Tour Premiere]
Rosalita 
American Land 
Dancing In The Dark

It’s Boss Time!

August 21, 2008

Today’s brief post is just a note that Julie and I will be checking out the greatest little bar band on earth tonight and Bruce Springsteen and his E-Streeters will be rocking the Sommet Center or whatever Nashville has renamed it in the last three days. I envy Bruce for many reasons, one of which is that he has the energy to put in a high-intensity three hour show and I’m doing well to get three good hours of work in a day… and I’m half his age and sitting in a desk chair to do it.

Will report more tomorrow, likely in a sleep impaired state.

Joe

Another internet phenomenon

August 18, 2008

Sorry it’s been so long, but it’s been busy times here in BG. Also, how does one follow Jesco? Well, I may have found the answer.

Before the Internet, there was television. And television news was ruled by good looking people with apparently solid hygene, excellent language skills, and the ability to at least _seem_ intelligent.

But the internet, ah the Internet.

Meet Kige Ramsey. Kige hails from the metropolis of Russellville, Kentucky, and lacks, well, pretty much all of the things mentioned above. But he has a camera and an internet connection that allows him to share his “takes” with the world at large. Many love him, many hate him, but there is, in my opinion, no equivalent of Kige.

While sports is his usual focus, he’s really in his element when discussing other burning social issues. Such as:

Nicole Richie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88DX45Ex9yE

Acne (or as Kige renders it in his broken semi-English, “acme”):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6IgOAT6cm0&feature=related

School supplies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfLynpXHhyA

Making the perfect pizza roll:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh0Df5OzDM0

Enjoy it. Try not to bash your head on sharp objects TOO hard after watching.

Joe

In praise of a great mountain dancer

August 12, 2008

Sometimes, there are works of art that capture a culture’s imagination and change people’s lives. And even more rarely, those works of art center around a middle-aged man who dances on the roof of doghouses, and is described by his wife as being three people in one– Elvis, Jesse, and Jesco.

This is one of those times. While I know that many of you, hopefully most or nearly all of you have seen this, if you haven’t, you just plain need to. You are about to embark on the story of Jesco White, the dancin’ outlaw and pride of Boone County, West Virginia. Jesco is proof that truth is inexplicably stranger than fiction. I recommend that you seek out the full movie, as well as the 30 minutes of bonus features, and possibly even the lesser second movie. All are entirely worth your while. Just remember who sent you. And enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M35r1Q4c88I

Joe

1,000 reasons to say thanks

August 8, 2008

Today, I have eclipsed the 1,000 views mark for the blog. Thanks to everybody for reading. I hope you’ve gotten some entertainment out of the whole ordeal. It’s been a bit dry in the idea well lately, but I’m hopeful that the next post will be a memorable one.

Just wanted to say thanks to the readership.

Joe

I guess the FBI wasn’t available

August 6, 2008

In case you missed it, Reginald Peterson on Jacksonville, FL, was recently arrested on a charge of making false 911 calls. Peterson allegedly called 911 because his local Subway restaurant had failed to include sauce on the spicy Italian sandwich as he had requested. Yes, you read that correctly.

Even more astounding, Peterson allegedly called back a second time, complaining that the police had not arrived quickly enough at the scene of his alleged crime.

According to the Associates Press, workers at Subway indicated that Peterson had acted belligerently while his sandwich was being prepared, and that when he left to call the police, the workers locked him out of the store.

I would like to offer some sort of substantive commentary, but I’m just lost for words. On some level, this reminds me of the Letcher County case when I was a child where a man allegedly cut off his father’s head with a chainsaw after he his breakfast had been served cold.

I like my food as much as the next person, but come on. Let’s all try to unclench a bit!

Joe