Archive for October, 2010
Just watched the LeBron commercial. Almost makes ya wanna like him.
—the Official Roommate of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun. Cleveland native, Cavaliers fan, former Witness.
As we all probably could have expected, Nike has a LeBron James–centered commercial to kick off the NBA season and the start of the next era in King James’s career. It’s called “Rise.” Here it is.
Let’s get a few things out of the way. The Decision was a dick move. But it wasn’t a dick move because of the spectacle, or because it represents everything wrong about sports in the ESPN era, or because LeBron James is an egomaniac. It was a dick move because it prevented the Cleveland front office from pursuing alternate free agent strategies, and because it ripped the hearts out of Cavaliers fans’ chests. But it didn’t rip fans’ hearts out because LeBron James owed them his loyalty; he just just owed them the courtesy of not being an asshole. So yeah, I wasn’t a big fan of The Decision. I wasn’t a big fan of last week’s “Hater Day,” either, when LeBron re-posted some of the more vitriolic and nasty Twitter messages he’s gotten. LeBron may have some unpleasant stuff cross his path on a daily basis, but a multi-millionaire that plays a kids’ game for a living is going to have a hard time gaining sympathy from a nation of plebs already predisposed to dislike him. It’s just a losing strategy.
One of the more resonant critiques of LeBron has been that he just doesn’t get it. How could he not have known that The Decision would be poorly received? How could he possibly expect us to feel bad for him that he gets some nasty messages on Twitter? Why doesn’t he get it? This attitude is pervasive, especially among the sports commentariat, so it’s no surprise that some writers (like NESN’s Mike Cole) would think that the new Nike commercial is just part of a pattern. Writers like Cole would have you believe that everything you think about LeBron James is valid, and he’s coming after you again. Simple as that.
Problem is, that’s not what this commercial is doing. LeBron’s not settling any scores here. He’s not trying to portray how betrayed he feels. He’s saying “Look in the mirror.”
(A caveat: Cleveland fans need not look in the mirror. Their hatred is justified. If Cleveland wants to hate LeBron forever, they should. I would never begrudge a fan base a valid uh, grudge. I mean, Cliff Lee didn’t treat New York nearly as bad as LeBron treated Cleveland, but I still hate that guy’s guts!)
As Lisa Simpson said, you can’t create a monster and then whine when it stomps on a few buildings. We’re all complicit in the LeBron James hype machine. We can complain about The Decision, but I certainly watched. So did a lot of people. We can complain about ESPN’s non-stop coverage of LeBron James’s free agency over the past two years, but we all watched. And every time there was a Michael Jordan comparison, every time LeBron was referred to as the savior of a star-crossed city, more of our own expectations and projections were heaped onto him. LeBron James looked like a good guy, so he became a good guy. We wanted LeBron James to lift Cleveland out of sports purgatory, so he became the guy that would lift Cleveland out of sports purgatory. The franchise down the road from his hometown was awful enough to win the draft lottery the season before he entered the NBA, so LeBron became the hometown hero.
LeBron James isn’t a hero. LeBron James isn’t a villain. And, like he says in the ad, LeBron James isn’t a role model. I’ve gotten into this a tad before on the blog. I just don’t think we should be holding athletes up as role models. Of course, it’s nice when star athletes are also great people. And of course, we shouldn’t tolerate star athletes behaving like savages. But we also shouldn’t hold them to standards of morality and goodness that we would have a hard time living up to ourselves, simply because they’re on TV more. These are guys that are just like us, except better at sports.
The Decision was a mistake. We all make mistakes. LeBron has a large ego. It’s exceedingly difficult to get ahead in the world of professional sports without one. LeBron appears to have turned his back on his hometown team. I’m sorry that Cleveland’s teams haven’t won a title in half a century. I’m sorry that for seven seasons, the best the Cavaliers could do to play with LeBron were guys like Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao. I’m sorry that the Browns have had some heartbreaking seasons, and have seen teams like the Rams, the Buccaneers, and the Saints win Super Bowls. I’m sorry that Jose Mesa couldn’t close out Game 7. Had any of a number of things far outside of LeBron’s control occurred over the years, it wouldn’t be such a big deal that LeBron left Cleveland, let alone the manner that he left.
I guess all of this is to say, I’m over being mad at LeBron. The most effective image in that whole ad, and one that I think should be the main takeaway for all of us, is LeBron tearing up the gym with a front loader. I think we should clear the decks and start over. I don’t mean looking past The Decision; that’s part of LeBron’s legacy forever. I mean start over in terms of our expectations and perceptions. LeBron James isn’t a savior. He isn’t a hero, and he isn’t a villain. He’s neither a goat nor the GOAT. He’s just a basketball player.
Tough dilemma for your favorite blogger, folks. On the one hand, you’ve got a new episode of Gossip Girl. On the other, you’ve got my beloved Geeeeeeeeeeeeeee-men squaring off against the hated Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Fortunately, kickoff was around 8:30, and Elisha was victimized by two straight tipped-ball interceptions, so I didn’t feel too bad about watching GG and flipping back to the game during commercials. After all, you, my precious readers, haven’t had a Gossip Girl diary in a long time! And I love you people! Let’s get to it.
:00 Good thing the Giants started the game with two interceptions and are down 10–0. Makes me feel better about watching Gossip Girl instead.
:01 I feel like a lot of people like these Blair dream sequences, but I can’t stand them.
:02 God, Serena gets around. Who is this guy, just some dude that lives in her building?
Blair to Serena, the morning after: “Yesterday’s dress with today’s shame all over it.” Your dream sequences may be lame, but your lines are divine.
:04 Nate suggested breakfast at Tom’s. Does he mean Monk’s?
Haha! How could Juliet possibly get caught at the same prison as Nate’s dad? That seems like the exact type of thing she would never do, if she’s actually the Machiavellian schemer we’re to believe she is.
:05 Classic GG. The last guy Serena sleeps with turns out to be her new professor. It was either that, or he would have been Lily’s new business partner, or Rufus’s manager. I should have known, right?
:10 Jenny to Blair: “I’m not looking to destabilize your social order.” Of course you are, Jenny! And you might fool some people with this contrite, humble façade, but I know better. You’re the worst.
:12 What are the odds that Jenny and Juliet eliminate each other’s maps for keeps? Is that too much to ask?
Blair to Serena, upon learning that Serena is sleeping with her new professor: “Cab guy? What are the odds?” One could do worse than have Blair Waldorf as an audience stand-in.
:14 B’s minion: Nothing could be more fun than bottle blonde recon. Are Blair’s writers feeding lines to her flunkies?
:16 Chuck to Dan, after being asked to leave the Humphrey residence: “How can I argue with big brother. I’ll just take these blueprints Lily left for me, and let you get back to your Hemingway complex.” Swoon.
:25 I like Dan, but his fondness for Jenny is a huge character flaw.
:26 I can’t wait for Juliet’s love for Nate to lead to her undoing. Of course, that won’t happen. No, they’ll put her in a few moderately redeeming situations, and her brother will be cast in stark relief as the ultimate villain, and we’ll be forced to sympathize with Juliet. I CAN wait for that.
:28 I’m a big Tim Gunn guy.
:30 Chuck to Dan, wrt Dan’s murder-suicide suggestion: “So dramatic. You should be a writer.” Best character on TV!
:33 So, how about that local sports breasts?
:35 How come Lily never asks “Serena, how come you always dress like a whore?”
Or “Why are you such a disappointment to me?”
B to Penelope: “This isn’t Congress. Accomplish something!” A seemingly timely but secretly evergreen topical joke!
:37 Tim Gunn, offering a second interview! What a guy!
:38 Prison Ben to Juliet, after jacking up the Captain: “Did you get my message?” This guy is wicked badass. Like, how did he send a text message from prison?
:46 Dan is right about Blair being right! Jenny should go back to Hudson!
Lily to Serena: “I know you would move back to classes more your speed eventually.” A shame this is just a reverse psychology scheme, and not lily actually calling her daughter out for being a wayward tart.
The Captain got beat with a dictionary. That’s kinda funny.
:49 Good thing I missed that long Dez Bryant punt return for a touchdown.
:54 Serena is putting off a relationship with the guy she just slept with in order to impress her mother? Way to take one for the team.
:55 Chuck to Blair, on a possible détente: “If we keep going, we’ll both wind up dead. And I like myself too much to let that happen.”
Nice to see Chuck and Blair recognizing that they probably broke up for completely wacky and improbable reasons.
:57 No no no no. There will be NO sympathy for Juliet. I don’t care how much she cries!
:59 Um, what the hell is going on with this show?!
I might have dramatically misunderestimated how many books I have. It took me forever to write this up!
A quick note on Shelved. I don’t want this to be a futile exercise in pointless navel-gazery. So if you actually make it to the end of this thing, and you see a book you like, or a book you hate, or I said something you want to challenge me on, please leave some comments! I would love to have a nice little conversation!
Also, a quick note about the picture for this post: it doesn’t necessarily reflect the order in which I wrote about these books. As you can see, the books at the front are rather precariously piled on top of one another. If you can believe it, they used to be even more precariously perched. Someone stomped by in the hallway a week and a half ago, and all those books toppled onto the floor, so I took advantage of the opportunity pile them in a slightly less perilous way.
Preacher: Gone to Texas, Until the End of the World, Proud Americans, Ancient History, Dixie Fried, War in the Sun, Salvation, All Hell’s A-Coming, Alamo
What can I say about Preacher? It’s one of the best comic book series you’ll ever read. (Diehards will recall my discussion of Preacher from my post on the Watchmen movie.) One of the problems with comic books, unfortunately, is the sheer volume of pages involved in telling a story. I think Preacher, from front to back, holds up well as great American literature. However, comma, it’s nearly impossible to recommend it as something to read, perhaps for a book club, because reading the whole series requires procuring nine different books. Your best bet is to borrow them from a friend. Ahem.
The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, Dream Country, Season of Mists, A Game of You, Fables and Reflections, Brief Lives, Worlds’ End, The Kindly Ones
Pretty much ditto. What Preacher does for America, The Sandman does for every myth, fable, religion, and bit of folklore you’ve ever heard about. The fortunate thing is, if your local public library has any comic books in stock, they’ll probably have this one.
Civil War: Front Line
Both of these were gifts from my buddy Miles. Thanks, pal!
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Klay by Michael Chabon
Chabon is a good writer; I’ve enjoyed a lot of his other stuff. Even this book! But for whatever reason, I’ve picked it up three different times, and I’ve never been able to finish it. Who knows.
The Name of War: King Philip’s War and the Origins of American Identity by Jill Lepore
Excellent book about the war between the Wampanoag Indians and the Massachusetts Bay colonists in 1675. You can probably guess that the colonists won, but Lepore does a pretty good job of establishing how King Philip’s War set the stage for Americans’ future treatment of the continent’s indigenous people. And get this: I read this book for a non-English class, and I liked it! Imagine!
The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
Ah, now we’re getting into the portion of the bookshelf filled with books that I read and liked in college but felt that I should probably read again because I might not have been paying close attention. Augie March is one that I absolutely loved in school, but maybe it’s just because I was relatively young, and Augie is a charismatic character. Maybe, as more of a grownup, I’ll like it less? Or more? I’ll find out one of these days, probably.
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Viking Portable Library: Anton Chekhov
They told me way back when that Chekhov was one of the master short story writers, so when I was interested in writing fiction way back in the day, I figured it would be a good idea to check him out. (Get that pun?)
Obedience by Will Lavender
This was an interesting little psychological suspense thriller that I read for book club last year. I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying it, but if you ever come across it and have a week of reading to kill, go for it!
The Foucault Reader
I remember junior year, I was responsible for reading some Foucault for class, and I had an assignment over spring break. So there I was, at my little table at a coffe shop in Paris, enjoying my café au lait, reading Foucault, thinking I was part of the great Enlightenment tradition. Of course, I was reading Discipline and Punish, not this book, but that one is in a box in my mother’s garage and not on my bookshelf. So.
Keats and Italy: A History of the Keats-Shelley House in Italy
Mommy got this for me after a trip to Italy a few years ago. I don’t know if she knew that Keats was my favorite Romantic poet, but here we are!
Cut Time: An Education at the Fights by Carlo Rotella
Carlo Rotella is the Official Thesis Adviser of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun. However, it’s been a while since I graduated, and he’s no longer grading my papers, so you know this is a clean and unbiased analysis: he’s a great writer! The writer who romanticizes the brutality that happens in the boxing ring is an archetype, a cliche these days. But Rotella does it with grace, but without the schmaltzy reverence that lesser boxing writers often fall back on. Although that’s not quite fair. He’s not a boxing writer. He’s a writer who can write about anything, and this book happens to be about boxing.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Yada yada yada. They make you cite things according to MLA style sometimes.
Ulysses by James Joyce
What can one say about Ulysses? It’s a pretty good book. This particular copy, I bought in preparation for writing this story.
Juggling for the Complete Klutz by John Cassidy and B.C. Rimbeaux
For a while, I would try to pick up juggling at some point every year. It was always this book that inspired me. I obviously never actually wound up doing it.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Sharing the Dream by Dominic Pulera
Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century by John A. Farrell
Tip O’Neill, as you obviously know, was a longtime Speaker of the House, a nemesis of Reagan, and a BC guy, so I’ve been meaning to get around to reading this bio. However, comma, now that this has come out, I might have to put Tip on the back burner again.
Bass Guitar for Dummies
Brick City Renaissance: The Decline of Newark in the Novels of Philip Roth by Tim Czerwienski
Back during senior year, they asked me to submit an electronic copy of my thesis to the Honors Program, so they could put it online on the library website for posterity. Regular readers of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun know that I never did that. Which is a shame. I wonder if they’ll still accept it?
Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski
I love this place, so I figure I should read one of the man’s books, right?
Spirit of Adventure: Eagle Scouts and the Making of America’s Future by Alvin Townley
Townley goes out and talks to a bunch of really admirable and high-achieving Eagle Scouts. Maybe I’ll make it into the second edition? Eh?
Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself by David Lipsky
During the Infinite Jest book tour, Rolling Stone sent David Lipsky to tag along with David Foster Wallace for a few days, to get an inside look at America’s Newest Literary Genius. The story never got published, so after Wallace’s death, Lipsky more or less turned the raw transcripts into this book. Anyone familiar with Wallace’s oeuvre will recognize and appreciate the worldview that he expresses here, although it’s interesting to see it in such a vestigial, off-the-cuff form.
Hemingway and Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers
This was a gift from the former Official Girlfriend of Dangerous, Dirty, and Unfun (I’ll get another one, I promise!) It basically goes through a series of great writers, and gives recipes for their favorite real-life drinks, or drinks that figured heavily in their books. It’s one of the most-used books on this shelf.
Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck
When my brother was a freshman in high school (I think? Maybe he was a sophomore?) the family took a trip to San Francisco. While we were there, we drove down the coast to Monterey. Since my brother was reading Of Mice and Men at the time, we thought it would be a good idea to visit the John Steinbeck Museum. My dad is great for a lot of reasons, and one of them is his willingness to indulge his (and mine) insatiable desire to buy books. We went home with a stack of Steinbeck novels, including this one, which became my favorite. A lot of kids read books and get caught up in fantasies about how they wish they could be Sal Paradise, or Jay Gatsby, or the aforementioned Augie March. I always wanted to be like Danny and his fellow paisanos, just hanging around, scratching and surviving, enjoying a jug of wine when we happened to come across one. Sometimes it still seems like a good life.
500 Beers by Zak Avery
Another gift. This one has very pretty pictures!
Girl With Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace
This is apparently one of DFW’s not-so-critically acclaimed short story collections. Maybe I just love a lot of things, but I thought most of the stories were really good. Sort of how you can listen to “I Want You” and hear the beginnings of “Always,” you read “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way” and hear the beginnings of Infinite Jest. At least, I think you can.
Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan
This is a fun read. I suppose I liked it more than other people because a) it’s set in Boston and 2) Chuck Hogan is a BC grad. Ben Affleck turned this book into The Town, which was an excellent flick.
The Power Broker by Robert Caro
Huuuuuuuuge book. Another one that I start a lot and never wind up finishing. But this time, it’s because the book is so damn big. This is one that I really need to get around to reading.
Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity by David Foster Wallace
Hey, a theme! Books that I haven’t finished! I have another legitimate excuse, though. This is a book about the concept of infinity throughout the history of philosophy and mathematics. When we’re talking about Plato or Zeno’s paradox, I can more or less follow. But even though DFW shows incredible facility in walking a know-nothing through the subject matter, once the book gets into the stuff beyond calculus, I just couldn’t through it! I can’t be held responsible! It’s math!
Nine Stories by JD Salinger
I hate The Catcher in the Rye (so much so that I don’t even own it), but I love this book. The Glass family is far more compelling than a whiny, feckless weenie like Holden Caufield.
The Dictionary of Bullshit
various issues of Boston College Magazine
This magazine is very well-edited.
The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul
Remember when this happened? That’s where I got this book!
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
Hoo boy. This one was a doozy to get through.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Remember in the Intro, when I said that two of my three favorite books were written by women? This is one of them! If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably already had this recommended to you. It’s my go-to answer whenever someone asks “Do you know of any good books to read?” So good, my book club read it twice!
It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider
Boston, Insight Guides
This Is Water by David Foster Wallace
There’s a whole post coming up about this, when the David Foster Wallace Fortnight continues.
Accordion Crimes by Annie Proulx
And then this is my third favorite book. If I ever recommended The Secret History to you, and you said, “But I already read that, because you told me to,” then I undoubtedly said “So read Accordion Crimes!” It’s a book about the immigrant experience in America, told through the eyes of a small green accordion. Probably the most amazing thing you’ll learn here is that no matter culture you come from, there’s probably a tradition of accordion music. Weird.
The Pine Barrens by John McPhee
John McPhee is like the Stan Musial of writing. Other writers get more attention, get interviewed more, sell more books. Then you read a book as whimsical and melodious as The Pine Barrens (about as mundane a topic as the pine wilderness of central and southern New Jersey), and you realize “Wait a sec, this guy is a 20-time All Star, and he led the league in OPS seven times!”
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Excellent, excellent book. For one thing, it takes place in Jersey. For another, the story is told almost entirely through the lens of comic book and sci fi references. I mean, the narrator referred to himself as The Watcher!
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Crisis on Infinite Earths was DC Universe–altering miniseries, published in 1985, that was meant to clean up 50 years of continuity muddled by all manner of time travelers, alternate universes, and retcons. Kind of like Armageddon 2001. Or Zero Hour. Or Infinite Crisis. Or Final Crisis.
The Dark Knight Returns
It’s one of the best comic book stories out there for a reason. Just read it.
Beer: Tap into the Art and Science of Brewing by Charles Bamforth
Another gift, this time from my brother and his wife. This one is published by Oxford University Press, so it’s a little more than just pretty pictures. It’s in the queue, worry not.
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
I loved this book when I read it in college. I probably still love it now. It’s popular to criticize Foer as a twee sentimentalist, but he’s capable of evoking strong emotions in a very earnest way. It got kinda dusty in the room a couple times when I read this one!
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Like Romeo and Juliet, This Side of Paradise is the kind of book you need to read when you’re a kid. Which is a shame, since given the choice of any novel in Scott Fitzgerald’s oeuvre, there are ones that are better written than this one. Obviously. But still, This Side of Paradise was good, even though it really helps to be Amory Blaine’s age when you read about his exploits.
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
There’s a lot of writers like James Baldwin. Folks that are universally accepted as great, but sometimes slip through the cracks of your American literature education. (You could probably name half a dozen such writers without really thinking too hard.) But I took a lesbian/gay/bisexual history class in college, and we talked about this book, a haunting and heartbreaking story of young lovers in France, so I picked it up. It’s wicked short, and well-worth your time.
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
A hefty chunk of my aforementioned thesis was based on this book. At the fore, it’s the story of Swede Levov, a local Newark legend who inherits his father’s glove factory, marries Miss New Jersey, buys a sweet house in the suburbs, and proceeds to see his life fall apart. It’s also about the rise and fall of the city of Newark, which is convenient, since that’s also pretty much what the thesis was about. If you’re from Jersey, you should read this. Also, if you like good, but grim, books.
The Gay Talese Reader
Gay Talese, as you’re all probably aware, is one of the masters of long form narrative non-fiction, and one of the first practitioners of what they call the new journalism. (Of course, it’s not so new any more, but it’s called what it’s called.) This book is a collection of profiles Talese wrote over the course of his career, including Muhammed Ali, George Plimpton, and the much ballyhooed “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.” For obvious reasons, I’m partial to “The Silent Season of the Hero,” his treatment of a retired Joe Dimaggio. This book was a gift from a friend, who put a very kind and very complimentary inscription on the front cover. I dunno if she’s a reader, but she’s getting married this week. Good luck, and congratulations!
White Noise by Don DeLillo
Very mixed feelings about this one.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Atonement is one in a very long series of books that my book club chose to read, with the hope that we would then all go and see the movie. It never seems to work out.
Take a look at that photo right there. That’s the receipt from my grocery trip this afternoon. See the total? Your eyes are most definitely not deceiving you, dearest reader: that’s $32 ON THE NOSEY! And it’s not like I bought 32 $1 cans of tuna or something. This was a standard grocery trip. Some items for dinner for the week, supplies for lunch, a couple bottles of club soda, and a Snapple, because I was thirsty. And I hit $32 exactly!
Could you do that if you tried? I was buying A LOT of items by weight. Cold cuts. Bananas. Apples. Grapes. Tomatoes. Imagine how many things have to right in order to hit an even dollar amount. If there were a deal on spaghetti sauce, I would have bought two jars instead of one. If the plum tomatoes weren’t so small, I would have bought two instead of three. If I went shopping yesterday instead of today, I would have bought five bananas instead of four. The permutations are nearly endless! Log your amazement in comments.
Witness this recent offering from Domino’s.
This is part of the ad campaign where real Domino’s customers talk about how awful the pizza is, and then Domino’s make a big deal about changing their recipes and whatnot. I actually like these ads. I think it’s a bold strategy, and I think it’s a little refreshing to have some candor when it comes to the products that are advertised to us every day. And the new pizza is alright.
But this one is reeeeeeally stretching my suspension of disbelief. I mean, are we meant to believe that Domino’s was conducting a focus group in the middle of a field on a dairy farm in Wisconsin? If we’re to believe that, then the sense of surprise and incredulity we see conveyed on the faces of the focus group members has to be staged. Sure, nobody expects the walls of the room they’re sitting in to suddenly move aside, exposing those inside to whatever elements are outside said room. But when you walk up to a fake room trailer in the middle of a field at a dairy farm, I feel like you’re prepared for some type of shenanigan.
There’s another possibility, though. That these folks started off in a regular building, or a regular-looking building, where one would expect pizza focus groups to take place, and then were transported whatever distance to the field at the dairy farm. This is even more problematic than the first possibility. The type of person that can walk into a room, go through a focus group, get towed (or airlifted) to the middle of a field at a dairy farm, and not sense that something is amiss and walk out or at least demand some answers about why the whole damn room is moving, well, I don’t think I can trust pizza-eating feedback from that type of person.
In short, what the hell is going on in this commercial?
So after coming home to my empty apartment, I pulled the cork out of a one-third-full bottle of wine, (which I planned to drink fringe-style, without a glass) and tossed said cork onto the counter, where it proceeded to bounce once and land right in an empty glass votive candle holder that I had recently washed so I could put it in an autumn seasonal decoration on my shelf, prompting me to think, if only for a split second, “Should I make a game out of bouncing this cork, seeing how many times in a row I can make it into the votive candle holder?”
I was a little late to the party with the whole indie music thing, precious readers, but I’ve been learning a lot the last few years. For instance, I know that you’d be better off pissing on Jeff Buckley’s ashes than saying that Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Mangum has a crummy voice. Hoo boy! The reactions I’ve gotten from folks in the know when I’ve verbalized what I thought was, you know, an empirically observable fact have been fierce! I mean, no one would bat an eye if you said Hendrix sings “All Along the Watchtower” better than Dylan does. So what’s the big deal, if I say that Matt Pond PA’s cover of “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” sounds prettier than the original? Jeff Mangum has a crummy voice!
However, comma, the dude can write. I’m talking poetry. Lyrical miracles. So the songs have to be contended with! And yeah yeah yeah, I get it, the voice is a part of it, it goes along with the lyrics, I get it. But sometimes, I like to hear beautiful words in a beautiful way. So, in that spirit, here’s a pretty girl singing a prettier song, “Two-Headed Boy Part 2.”
Happy Saturday, precious readers. It’s a beautiful day here in the Hub of the Universe, which is tough, because there’s also a lot of college football on the teevee. Whether you decide to stay in, or go outside and play, you should still watch this great Lou Holtz pep talk. Trust me, it’ll make your day!
I’ve got another busy week ahead of me, so in order to make some progress on the second installment of Shelved, I’m going to eschew the Gossip Girl diary tonight. I know, I know. What’s the point of coming to this stupid blog for jerks if there’s not going to be a GG diary? I don’t know the answer to that question, treasured readers! I’m sure you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me. In the meantime, I forget if I’ve shown this to you all. It’s actually not that important, since if I had my druthers, I’d post it every day. Here you go: my favorite thing on the Internet.
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