Boom! Change No One Would Have Seen Coming

October 18, 2008

Some morning, I’m going to be sitting bleary eyed on the couch, easing myself from sleep, and ESPN is going to greet me with news of the death of John Madden. When that sad day comes, there will be an outpouring of grief from several generations of American males which will rival the global mourning that followed the death of Princess Di.

I have told Paloma this and she shakes her head skeptically. However, guys my age have fathers who watched Madden at the start of his coaching career. We might even remember watching his final few Raiders’ teams before he became an announcer. My nephew and his friends play his signature video game incessantly (I have avoided it for fear I would quit my job to devote time to mastering it).

Madden is like a crazy, yet good natured, uncle to us all – which makes his crazy uncle eccentricities part of his charm – and the man who introduced us to the wonder of the turducken.

The man’s grassroots appeal makes me wonder why, if the Republicans had to nominate an old, white guy, they didn’t consider John Madden. Imagine him drawing up foreign policy using a telestrator or sending Brett Favre to be a special envoy to the Middle East. He could pull in some of the salary cap experts that NFL teams employ for his economic team.

And I’ve believed for years that if W was serious about catching bin Laden, he’d have assigned the task to the NFL.

Of course, Madden would need to have Al Michaels riding shogun as VP to keep John focused and on track (and to handle formal affairs or events which require air travel).

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin could squeeze Al Davis out of his ownership of the Oakland Raiders, move the team to Wasila, and – once Alaska secedes – the NFL would fulfill its goal of having a team outside the US. It would yield a staggering amount of cash in merchandising.

Certainly enough cash to bailout the world.

Tears For Fears – Change

Fishbone – Change

John Waite – Change

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Change Of Heart

Is It Possible To Put A Hit On Some Fish?

September 22, 2008

The fish reside in a small tank; no more than five gallons, and the entire set-up was a gift from Paloma several years ago. We’ve gone through several generations of fish, the population fluctuating and currently a trio.

Now, Paloma – ever the trooper – has actually been the one who has taken responsibility for their care. A couple of times, she’s lost one while cleaning the tank. She takes each untimely death quite personally (I on the other hand, while sympathetic to the animals, shake it off more easily as they don’t have names).

The other morning she crumbled some food into their tank and, staring down into their home, declared “I’d almost rather see you dead than see you live like this.” The fact that she delivered this assessment with a sigh added to the ichthyological melodrama.

She looked at me. I looked at her. Then, I burst into laughter and she followed suit.

The fish have no names and, at best, they’re ability to entertain is minimal. But, neither of us has the heart to send them to a watery grave, either.

If only Jean Reno lived next door.

Instead of fish songs or songs about assassins, I was inspired by JB at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ who recently lamented that “1983 was not one of pop’s grander years.” So, I followed the link he had posted to a chart from this week in 1983 to see if it lived up/down to his assessment.

As music was a relatively new obsession to me at the time, I likely view the hits of the time with a bit less discrimination and considerably more nostalgia, though there was some fairly dire stuff. But, I thought that I’d post a quartet of tracks that I’d consider highlights a quarter century later.

Def Leppard – Foolin’
1983 was the year that folks who didn’t read Circus likely discovered Def Leppard – Pyromania was truly a phenomenon. The band was big with the metal kids I knew, but Def Leppard was hardly metal in a dungeons and dragons, we’re so evil way. Oh, they could be silly in their own fashion, but they also were musical toffee.

Elvis Costello- Everyday I Write The Book
I don’t think I’d ever heard Elvis Costello until I came across Everyday I Write The Book on 97X in the early autumn of ’83. I feel horrible to admit it but as much as I respect his work, Elvis isn’t someone I listen to as often as I feel I should. I’m not sure why. But, I did love this song from the outset and it’s still one of my favorites of his.

Talking Heads – Burning Down The House
In high school, my good friend Chris was a major fan of the Heads. Burning Down The House was the first time I ever heard them on the radio and, perhaps because one of our friends was a bit of a pyromaniac, we all loved the song. Of course, the atmospheric video (brought to us via WTBS’ Night Flights as MTV wasn’t available to us, yet) sealed the deal.

Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Q102, the most popular Top 40 station within reception, was playing Sweet Dreams heavily by the time I heard it on American Top 40 (which didn’t seem to happen very often with new artists). Nonetheless, this sounded so different to my ears – none of the female singers I’d heard or was listening to possessed the Arctic cool of Annie Lennox. Eurythmics, visually and musically, were one of the most exotic things I’d ever come across.

They’ve always seemed a bit underrated to me. Dave Stewart was a fantastic architect of sound and the perfect foil for Annie. To me, their catalog is similar to Blondie’s – ambitious, drawing on a lot of diverse musical influences, and, at their best moments, pretty classic stuff.

How Are You Going To Keep Them Sedated In The ‘burbs Once They’ve Groped Elizabeth Perkins?

July 2, 2008

Apparently, AMC has been showing ‘80s movies on Mondays and I happened to catch Big the other night. I think it might have been Tom Hanks’ first major success, yes? For those who have never seen it, Hanks stars as Josh Baskin (or, rather the adult version), a twelve-year old who wakes up one morning twenty years older.

But what happened after he returns to his twelve-year old self at the end? I mean, he’s gone from just discovering girls to moving to the dirty city, living on his own, working for a living and hooking up with Elizabeth Perkins and back. That’s some major culture shock. Is he simply going to go back to algebra and little league?

To paraphrase the infinitely wise The Dude from The Big Lebowski, how are you going to keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Karl Hungus? Or, in this case, how are you going to keep them sedated in the ‘burbs once they’ve groped Elizabeth Perkins?

Personally, I fear that if I was to return to junior high, having the knowledge and experience I now possess…it wouldn’t end well. I suspect I would be like Godzilla on a bender in Tokyo.

Would I make a move on Mrs. Wilson, my seventh grade teacher who introduced our class to Christopher Cross (apparently, I am contractually obligated to mention Christopher Cross in every post). Would I be more apt to game the system (knowing it, indeed, could, be gamed) Would I take up smoking at a younger age? Would I be hanging out in pool halls with the local toughs not content with the wonderfully mundane things that used to occupy my time?

I do know, had we met at thirteen, how I would have felt about Paloma at that age. I’ve seen photographs – that smile and feathered hair (at least before she discovered punk rock) – and I know that I’d have been smitten.

Of course, given what I know now, I would have probably been a bad influence.

Bikini Kill – Jigsaw Youth

Fishbone – Fight The Youth

Moonpools & Caterpillars – Colossal Youth

Polara – Scorched Youth Policy