Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nostalgic Artist of the Week... The Deele!, that last post by Dr. Z has completely consumed me these last few days. Meaning, I've probably spent more than 5 hours, or so, on Youtube...treasure hunting for those old-school R&B gems that have faded from memory....and I have to has been the happiest 5 hours for me in recent memory. This said, as I've rediscovered artists, the Artist of the Week was begging for a new designee.

Now, they wouldn't normally I am loathe to give this esteemed title to a "one hit wonder", but, here, an exception is required. You see, if you go back and look at the list I compiled(and Dr. Z's) of the "Slow Jams 85-95", it is a fairly decent list....and while I still give "Shake You Down" the title, this classic deserves and commands note and recognition. Every single school dance played this song for years, and kids everywhere pathetically slow-danced the night away. One is hard pressed to find another single song that dominated that arena the way that this song did for a time...Ladies and gentlemen...and especially...the ladies....I give you The Deele.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Top 5 Favorite Slow Jams

I’m calling a pause on my overrated/underrated/aptly rated post as it is, and has been pointed out, really three posts in one. All three categories deserve more attention and should be covered in later posts. My apologies, in hindsight it was foolish of me to think anyone else would care to or would have the time to tackle all three in one post.
That said, I offer another “music list” post:

Top 5 favorite slow jams from 1985-1995.

I meant to do this list a couple of weeks ago but was sidetracked by other thoughts.

My reasons for choosing 1985-1995 are:

1. Most everyone I know would agree this was the best period for the “slow jam”.
2. The 15-20 songs I thought of and chose my 5 from were all released in this time period.

Further, I’ve wanted to post this because I’m a complete sucker for slow jams…One of the first cassette tapes I ever owned was “Johnny Gill” by Johnny Gill…I still don’t remember how I got it…I was a little kid so I didn’t have money…Anyway, this has been part of my musical appetite for a while. So if right now you’re wondering what a “slow jam” is, this isn’t for you, but if you’re like me…let the apostrophes and slang prepositions start flyin'!

My top five all time slow jams in ascending order:

5. “Rock Witcha” by Bobby Brown – Before Whitney, the rise of Hip-Hop, and an obvious drug problem Bobby Brown released one of the best R&B albums ever made called “Don’t be Cruel”. The two standout slow jams from the album were this selection and a song called “Roni”…I really had a hard time choosing between the two.

4. “Your Body’s Callin’” by R. Kelly – Before trials, reinvention, and urinating on minors R. Kelley released another one of the best albums (12 play) for slow jams the best of which, in my opinion, is inarguably “Your Body’s Callin’”.

3. “My, My, My” by Johnny Gill – Off the aforementioned “Johnny Gill” by Johnny Gill album, this was one of his biggest hits. Not to encourage immoral behavior, but if you find yourself with a lady and in need of a song to get things moving, this song will not fail you. She may laugh at the obvious 90’s R&B vibe to start with, but she’ll stop when she finds herself doing exactly as Johnny commands when the first verse starts…If you can’t tell, Johnny Gill is one of my favorite 90’s R&B men.

2. “Night and Day” by Al B. Sure” – 1988 may be the banner year for R&B. It not only gave us Bobby Brown’s “Don’t be Cruel” but also yielded Al B. Sure’s “In Effect Mode”…Anyway, “Night and Day” is one of those songs that I never turn off…Doesn’t matter where I am, who I’m with, or what kind of mood I’m in…it’s probably one of my favorite 100 songs of all time and maybe would crack the top 60. This was a close second to…

1. “Feenin’” by Jodeci – If I had to pick a favorite R&B act, I love Johnny Gill and Al B. Sure, but Jodeci takes it hands down. As I’ve said before, I could do a top-5 favorite Jodeci songs so it was especially hard to choose which song by them would fall here. “Forever My Lady”, “Come and Talk to Me”…both great songs, but “Feenin’” off of 1993’s “Diary of a Mad Band” is easily my favorite of all the slow jams.

Honorable mentions: “Knockin’ Da Boots” by H-town and “Lady Du Jour” by Johnny Gill.

That’s it…My favorites.

What are yours?


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

(watch this kid this year)

Here's my prediction for the impending baseball season...

...Division winners and playoffs scenarios.

N.L .East

Braves – Now bare with me here…We have an offense that will be and already has been plenty potent enough to compete (people forget we only finished 5 games back last year). The difference this year will be our starting pitching. Whereas we went 2 deep in our rotation last year, we’ve got 3 guys (Glavine, Smoltz, and Hudson) that have been durable, steady, “give them the runs and they’ll win” starters (except for Glavine’s every fourth start rule). Leaving Jair Jurrjens whose looked good so far and, of course, Mike Hampton. Not saying I expect it to happen, but IF Hampton can make just 20 starts this year, we’ve got 4-5 deep solid, not spectacular, rotation which neither the Phillies nor Mets can say…So what about the Phillies and Mets?...No pitching. Everyone forgets that they both fell apart last year only Philly fell apart less than N.Y…All I’m saying is they better not sleep on my Braves cause I think we’ve got at least 2 more division round losses in us.

N.L. Central

Cubs – Yeah, big shock…I know money doesn’t buy rings, but dear God!...If they can’t win with this team, they really are cursed.

Do see the Reds contending right in there with Brewers

N.L. West

D-Backs – I love this team. Young, scrappy with solid pitching that got just close enough to get a taste but not close enough to satiate the hunger…O.k. enough of the feely stuff…If we learned anything from the Beckett-Willis Marlins Championship it’s that young teams with solid pitching that also excel at moving on the bags and producing scoring opportunities always play well down the stretch which is exactly when the inevitable blood bath that is the N.L. west will be decided.

N.L. Wildcard

Dodgers – Conventional wisdom says don’t count the Padres out of the playoff race cause they always find a way in, but I think the Dodgers pitching carries them to the stretch which is precisely where the youngsters and Andruw Jones go to sleep relegating them to the Wild Card as the D-backs small ball themselves into the division crown.

And, no, I'm still not convinced that the Rockies are that good.

A.L. East

Red Sox – Everything in me says the Yanks blow up after the break and take the division, but I’m looking at this lineup and just don’t see too many holes while the Yanks have one glaring deficiency...their pitching, and just like a good front seven in football, pitching wins Championships.

A.L. Central

Tigers – Do I even need to write anything here?...

A.L. West

Mariners – I think adding Bedard will be huge in what I see is the weakest division in baseball. I also think King Felix ascends the throne this year. They’ve got a decent lineup capable of producing runs…I think this division will ultimately be decided by who is less injured and the Angels are just too old not to expect Vlad or somebody very important to go down in mid-summer.

A.L. Wildcard

Indians – Not much to say here, I think they’d take the division if not for the Tigers.



Cubs def. Dodgers in 5
D-backs def. Braves in 4

D-backs def. Cubs in an epic 7 games.

Indians def. Red Sox in 5
Tigers sweep Mariners

Tigers def. Indians in 6

World Series

Tigers def. D-backs in 6.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Thoughts and Musings.

1. Obama and race. We've been hearing for a while now that Obama's campaign represents something in change...that amorphous thing that crops up every 4 years...except when the Dems are the incumbents. Specifically, the idea here is that he is the first "post-racial" candidate. I've touched on race-relations before, so I'm not going to re-hash that whole thought....but there are a few things that need to be said:

A. Obama is anything but a "post-racial" candidate. 90% of African-American voters vote for him, 75% of Hispanic voters vote against him....the only folks split are the Caucasian voters. of two things is true: 1. White voters determine what is and is not "post-racial", and are held to a different standard...or 2. He is very much a racial candidate, by statistical definition.

B. In this whole Rev. Wright fiasco there is one thing that struck me....mainly, that he rolled his grandma under the bus as a racist. Now....she might have said some derogatory things with a racially prejudiced charge...and I would never defend such things. However, in doing so, he equated a statement made 40 years ago to something said in a pulpit some 3 years ago...accusing the U.S. government of creating AIDS for genocidal purposes in the Black Community. Unbelievable....

C. I Think I would like Obama as a person, and he is better than this. As I've written here before, we are in this American experiment together, but to have an honest discussion, we need honest participants.

2. March Madness. Not much to say other than this annual phenomenon always surprises...and it shouldn't. This year Davidson and Western Kentucky are the 'Cinderellas'... and madness has ensued.

3. Theatre. No...I'm not going to write anything about the proper theatre...though I am due to attend the opera soon, and am viscerally excited. No, this is about celluloid theatre. Namely movies that I have seen recently and had forgotten for a time. First, The Sound of Music was on last night...and wow...what a great movie....they truly do not make'em like that anymore. Then today...I saw Bull Durham ... say what you want about Kevin Costner... and most of it would be accurate...but that movie is darn good. One thing about that guy...he can make a good baseball movie.

4. Illegal immigration and Crime. On March 3 of this year Jamiel Shaw, 17, was shot and killed by an illegal Mexican immigrant in L.A. This Mexican citizen was one day removed from getting out of jail for a felony weapons charge. Shaw was, by most accounts, a decent student...and was college bound, as Rutgers and Stanford were offering football scholarships. So...think about this....a Mexican citizen enters this country illegally, joins a gang, is arrested on a felony weapons charge(we pay the taxes for his stay, by the way), is released...but not to ICE...but on the streets...then murders an American citizen....all because the Mayor of L.A. designated the city as an "sanctuary city". So...they protect Mexican citizens...but not American citizens? Does anyone in L.A. not see the disconnect here? Oh...I forgot to mention that Shaw's mom is in Iraq serving our country.

5. Tiger Woods and "greatness". Woods just lost for the first time in 7 tournaments. He his standards...abysmally...yet, finished on the leader board. Make no mistake....Tiger is poised to do something amazing...historical...unprecedented, these next few years. Folks, when greatness appears, stop...take

6. Democrats as "the party of the people"? I have a few pithy thoughts here:

a. Is it not poetic that the supposed "party of the people" is about to possibly nullify all of the cast primary favor of unelected "superdelegates"...aka party officials? Almost a Homeric tragedy...

b. Why can't Florida Dems hold a freaking election? Seriously....

7. Finally, Music. I see that Dr. Z had a very nice post below...which I will get to in due time. But...I have to say something about the new Allison Krauss and Robert Plant production. To say I was skeptical...would seriously underestimate my feelings at the time. To say that I now am a fan...would egregiously underestimate my feelings. Folks, it is that damn good.

Also, Happy Belated Easter. Christ be with you...that is my prayer.

Underrated - Overrated - Aptly Rated

I awoke Saturday to a crippling hunger as Friday night I replaced what should have been dinner with a couple glasses of red wine. While on my way to get lunch, I had one of those “zen” like moments of musical enjoyment where one hears a song they’ve heard all their life only to have it strike them as though it were the first time they had ever heard it. The song for me last Saturday was “Lady” by Styx.

As undoubtedly comical as that thought alone will be for some who read here, this experience motivated me to go to my local Walmart and purchase their greatest hits. I figured I’d drop $8-$10 essentially to purchase “Lady” which, to those who know me, is a perfectly reasonable price to pay for possession of a song I really love. To my surprise though, I worked my way through the cd and track after track were songs I’d always loved but never knew were by Styx, which got me thinking about…

My most underrated, most overrated, and most aptly rated artists/bands from 1970 until now.

The only criteria for these lists:

1. Must be able to make a thoughtful argument that the artist/band should be more recognized, less recognized, or are justifiably widely recognized.

2. The artist/band must have achieved their zenith since 1970. (ex. Zeppelin released I and II in 1969 but didn’t reach the peak of their relevance until after 1970).

3. We’re talking about people who actually created music…I don’t even consider the Fergie’s of the world to be artists.

My Most Underrated Artists/Bands

Bread – You know if things like melody, harmony, and lyrical intuition mattered to the average music “lover”, Bread would be one of the most notable bands of the 70’s. Instead, they’re “that band that sang ‘Guitar Man’”. (sigh)

America – Everything that I just said about Bread only they’re “that band that sang ‘Horse with No Name’”. An aside, I have a friend from college who gloats that I’ve never beaten him at Trivial Pursuit but that also spent the better part of an afternoon arguing with me that Neil Young wrote and sang “Horse with No Name”…

Styx – No, I am not just on a Styx high. “Best of Times”, “Renegade”, “Babe” – these are all songs that I always loved and never knew were Styx. I just missed these guys somehow, but the harmonies and ultra-cheesy rock piano ballads…I mean, come on…

The Cars – I know they were huge in the 80’s, but they have fallen prey to the 80’s band stigma (as my friend Robbie put it) in that people have forgotten that they wrote some great songs and were a pretty good band just because they happened in the 80’s.

Fleetwood Mac – I know they were and are big…I just don’t think they’ve ever been as appreciated as they should be…They probably never will be.

Alice in Chains – In my opinion, easily the most talented of the Seattle bands. They put out 5 great albums before succumbing to the usual trappings of rock stardom and were never fully appreciated. I know very few people around my age that didn’t like them, but still, every time I hear Nirvana or Kurt Cobain thrown around as “King of the Seattle movement” it makes me cringe.

Travis – If you love Brit-pop rock…You should love Travis. They’re one of these enigmatic bands to me in that I know loads of people that, by their usual tastes, should absolutely love them but don’t own any of their albums. They’ve released 5 remarkable albums which is more than most bands ever do. Still though, if I could have any band’s career, it would probably be theirs because they’re just big enough to make a ton of money and play to big crowds yet small enough to still live life on their own terms. As in, I’ve three of their albums, have been a fan for almost a decade, and probably couldn’t pick one of them out of a lineup.

David Gray - In my opinion, the best lyricist of my generation. Most people disagree. Most people have never really sat down and listened to him. I say David Gray and they think “Babylon” which could not be a poorer representation of his talent. His ability to say what you feel in a better way than you yourself is rare and should be celebrated. Songs like “Shine”, “Lead Me Upstairs”, “Gutters Full of Rain”, “As I’m Leaving”, “Falling Down the Mountainside”…I really could name about 20 more.

Hall and Oates – Like The Cars…Huge in the 80’s but hindered by the 80’s stigma…They were two soulful white guys who wrote a ton of great songs. I’m firmly convinced that everyone is a Hall and Oates fan…Only there are those of us who admit it and those who don’t.

The Black Crowes – A band that’s overlooked a lot because of their characterization as gritty, southern rockers. ..Which they are and is exactly my point…They’ve consistently done what no one else has consistently done since Skynard’s plane crash.

My Most Overrated Bands/Artists

Nirvana - Treated as rock royalty when really at best they were mediocre musicians who rode the credibility coat tails of their Seattle counterparts. (Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, etc…)

Green Day - Proof that all one has to do to get Rolling Stone in your corner is write an album criticizing any or all of the following: Republicans, Christians, or any other idea rooted in thoughtful moral consideration.

The Clash – I actually like the Clash. I just don’t think they should be as celebrated as they are. Other than that, I’ve nothing much to say about them.

The Sex Pistols – Proof that ignorant, unjustifiably angry people will always choose to listen to other ignorant, unjustifiably angry people, regardless of musical ability, instead of educating themselves to the point that they realize they’ve no reason to be so angry.

The Ramones – These guys just sucked. I’ve never understood the appeal. They’re just BAD musicians.

Note: I don’t hate punk, just bad musicians who were famous for being bad musicians.

My Most Aptly Rated Bands/Artists

Led Zeppelin - Every bit as legendary as they should be.

Boston – There’s a reason their debut album held the record for such a long time (“it’s been such a long time…”). For most of my teen years I criticized them as being overrated…then I listened to them.

U2 – Over the last twenty-seven years or so, these guys have earned their status as legends. I think history will prove them as such.

Guns and Roses – Easily the best hard rock band in an era dominated by hard rock bands. I have no doubt that one day I’ll come home from work to hear “My Michelle” blasting from my son’s room…and commence worrying about him much like I’m sure my dad worried the first time he came home to the sound of me wood-shedding to his Zeppelin cd’s.

Pearl Jam – I may be a little biased here, but in terms of rock “movements”, I think the Seattle scene was huge, and PJ is the best of the few bands from that movement to consistently put out good music over an extended period of time. Now, of course, I’m sick of the whole political rock schtick that has replaced what was once the 90’s best band, but I believe they can and will eventually get it back at which time history will judge them as one of the greats.

Simon and Garfunkel – “I hear the drizzle of the rain, like a melody it falls…” If you can’t listen to “Kathy’s Song” (my personal favorite) or any of their other many, many great songs and not be drawn to some strong emotion, you’re dead inside…Now, if you cry profusely and writhe about on the floor upon hearing any part of a particular of their songs…You’ve issues.

The Bee Gees – Scoff if you must, but they achieved their notoriety for being an extremely talented dance music band which is precisely what they were.

Dave Mathews Band – I know it’s too soon for it to be cool to admit that you liked them, but they were the best group of musicians to have gained the kind of notoriety that they did since the 70’s, and they wrote some very intriguing stuff accomplishing what few others have…Creating music that both the “top 40” listener and the hyper-critical musician could enjoy.

Note 1: These are my MOST overrated/underrated/aptly rated, not my ONLY overrated/underrated/aptly rated.

Note 2: The lack of presence of more ethnic artists is not due to any racial bias. Rather, I tried to focus more on rock/pop-rock artists and feel that the R&B, Soul, and Hip-hop genres deserve their own lists.


Monday, March 17, 2008

The little team that could...and still could...

For those that don’t follow college basketball too closely, something of such an improbable nature happened this weekend that I wanted to write about it but was also surprised that no one had yet done so.

This past weekend my beloved Georgia Bulldawgs entered their conference tournament in last place in the conference boasting an atrocious conference record of 4-12…and won the whole freakin thing.

Round one –Thursday night, they beat Ole Miss in an overtime nail-biter.

Round two – Their second round game against Kentucky, scheduled for Friday night, was rescheduled, seemingly by the hand of God, for Saturday morning setting them up to not only play a game in which they were a complete underdog, but also put them in a situation where a win buys them a second game against an even better team later Saturday night. They won…How? A freshman guard that doesn’t start and averages just over 4 points per game hits a turn around three with someone’s hand in his face and very little time left, once again, in overtime.

Round three – After having already played one game on saturday afternoon, they play a Miss. State team saturday night that had a better record than any other western division team and beat them in a game that was decided by fewer than 5 points and one in which had State been able to make anything in the closing 2 minutes, they win and I’m not writing this right now.

The Championship game – They draw an Arkansas team that was absolutely lights out the night before, establish an early lead, surrender early lead, and pull away at the end not only winning the SEC Championship but also getting a punched ticket to the DANCE!


1. What makes this scenario even more absurd is the production that put them over the top in all four games was from guys that couldn’t do anything all year…They get in the conference tourney and all of the sudden Terrence Woodbury turns into about a 60% three point shooter, Albert Jackson develops and milks a little hook shot finally doing something to take advantage of his size, and Billy Humphrey and Corey Butler start drawing charges and making things happen in the clutch?!!!!!....Really?

2. The sweetest thing about this is the fact that you have a senior point guard (Sundiata Gaines) who has absolutely played his heart out and a coach (Dennis Felton) who was hired to clean the program up and has done so often at the expense of winning (i.e. the Mercer and Brown incidents) and they not only are pulled from depths of a wasted year (in Gaines’ case, a wasted last year) but are also Dancing!...How awesome is that? Two class acts winning in the end…I thought that sort of thing only happens in movies…

3. I’ve said it at least 35 times over this weekend, but I firmly believe this was a turning point for this program. The kids that are coming back next year, which is most of them, will show up to camp knowing that if they put it together they can beat anybody in the conference, and that goes a long way.

4. I’ve been fortunate to watch my Dawgs win two SEC championships in football over the last 8 years, but if you had told me that I’d see them win a conference title in basketball, I probably would have given you the blank-face (as I’ve been told it is) before betting you $100 that it wouldn’t happen before I turn forty (in 13 years), and it just happened.

5. This is why I love sports…because you never know. Sure 99% of the time we assume the outcome and are correct, but there’s always a Boise St. fiesta bowl, or a Sid Bream, or a David Tyree catching a ball against his helmet in the biggest moment of his career, or a Valparaiso, or a Jim Valvano, or a ’99 Ryder Cup team out there…and now, there’s the 2008 SEC Champion Georgia Bulldawgs.

So, they’re dancing, and they‘ve drawn Xavier in the first round…Thoughts?

And if they beat Xavier they’ll likely get Purdue…Thoughts?

And if they were to beat Purdue, they’d likely get Duke in the sweet sixteen…Thoughts?


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I love this game!

So, I completely destroyed my ankle playing tennis last week which prompted me to take two and a half days off from work (Yes, it’s that bad). I spent that time doing what a sub-thirty year old male does when he’s off work and principally immobile...I watched ESPN, the weekly showing of “The Godfather” I and II on AMC, and played an absurd amount of “March Madness ‘08”. Much like Peter from “Office Space”… “I did nothing, and it was everything I always thought it could be”.

Anyway, perhaps the most intriguing thing I watched during that whole time was an NBA classic films spot chronicling Jordan’s 63-point game in the Garden against the Celtics in the ’86 playoffs.

Now, facts of interest:

1. This was just Jordan’s second year in the league, and he sat out most of the year with a broken foot that doctors advised him to rest through the end of the season and offseason. So, he did this while recovering from an injury.

2. That Celtics team is easily one of the top three best teams in the history of the NBA. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Danny Ainge, Dennis Johnson, and an aging Bill Walton. In fact, they were so good that they won that game in overtime. Which leads me to…

3. The Celtics swept Chicago in that series. SWEPT Chicago in that series…If that’s not a testament to the fact that a superstar scorer does not guarantee wins in basketball, I don’t know what does.

4. Larry Bird was quoted after the game as saying “…I think that was God disguised as Michael Jordan”…Larry freakin’ Bird!...That’s not exactly Craig Ehlo saying that. That’s Larry Bird, inarguably one of the top ten, probably top five, best players ever, and Jordan so demoralized anyone put in his path that night that the only way Bird could describe it was to say that it was like watching God play a basketball game against humans.

Now, my point in all this is that I’m very excited about the NBA playoffs for the first time since the ’98 finals, and that was due to being able to watch Jordan in what we all knew would be his last and that one of my favorite players of all time, John Stockton, had a shot to win a ring.

Why am I so excited?...

1. Because I’ve run through every possible first round matchup in the West and I would refuse to bet on a single one of them…And that’s the first round!...Not that there won’t be favorites, but, as Golden State reminded us last year, the West is just that deep.

2. Because watching that clip of Jordan’s 63-point game made me think that today’s equivalent would be Kobe or Lebron dropping that kind of performance on the Spurs (who will eventually go down as one of the ten best teams ever) or Celtics, respectively…AND THAT TOTALLY COULD HAPPEN!…I don’t know maybe I’m just jonesin for baseball more than I realize, but I can’t shake the feeling that one of those guys is going to assume the throne during this year’s playoffs just like Jordan did that year which, just like Jordan, may not translate to a title run… yet (I do realize that Kobe has three rings, but everyone knows that never happens without Shaq in his prime).

3. Because the thought of having a Lakers v. Celtics finals matchup excites me. You’ve got Kobe and Gasol, a dominating, prima-donna superstar and a weird Canadian that should not be as good as he is, going against Allen, Pierce, and Garnett, three sincere, legitimate stars that all suddenly find themselves resurrecting a great franchise after having to waste most of their collective prime on bad teams (sorry T).

This is going to be good because you don’t know what’s going to happen...What if the Celtics draw Cleveland in the second round of the East playoffs and Lebron decides to drop 63 on them in game two at the Garden?...Have you noticed what he's been doing to his opponents lately?...That could really happen!…I’m excited.


Thanks for nothing, Andy...

I started playing tennis about a month ago. I've got a friend who plays, and we average about three nights a week on the court (until I suffered a severe ankle sprain which I am currently nursing). Tennis is a sport I've always had an appreciation for but never followed closely or paid too much attention to with football, baseball, basketball, and golf consuming what attention is left over from Christ, work, music, and my girlfriend. However, as with anything, the more I play the game and the more I improve at it, the more I want to follow it. I even watched a couple sets from a match in Dubai last week between two eastern European guys with names I had neither heard nor could pronounce.

My point, I'm getting into tennis hardcore, and I just saw a headline that not only disrupts my newfound interest in the game but also my overall philosophy for international sports which basically is that I first always want "the Amercian" to win, and if there is no viable American competitor, I'll pull for a Brit (especially in tennis, they need to win Wimbledon), then an Irishman (Scot or Welshman), then a German or an Eastern/Nor-Euro, then an Italian, then an Asian, then a Spaniard, and then a Frenchman in which case there is nothing but Frenchman left and I can't imagine that being a sport I would care about.

Anyway, my point is that my main criterion for choosing whom to support in international sports are based on patriotism. That said, what is the biggest patriotism-fueled sports event in the world?...The Olympics, of course.

Well, Andy Roddick just announced he's skipping the Olympics to gear up for the U.S. Open.

I understand that he wants to win the Open because he's an American and it's the only major he stands a chance in right now, and that the Olympics aren't as big a factor in Tennis as, say, javelin throwing, but still, this pisses me off.

Represent your country, Andy!

Set aside your carreer for pride in your country every four years. That's like three times in the average career.

This also bothers me because there are major athletes that take immense pride in representing our great country in the Olympics. Take Lebron James, for instance. He's arguably the biggest athlete in this country right now, and I've heard him equate his desire to win Olympic gold for America to his desire to win an NBA championship for Cleveland, which he's very passionate about.

There's always been something that bugged me about Roddick. I just could never put my finger on it. Well, now I have a reason.

Say, who's the top Brit in tennis right now?


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Shame On You, Barack Obama!"

The CDC has just released its yearly report, and the STD infection rate is, again, accelerated and disturbing. Reading the piece on the CNN website, however, I was completely distracted by the accompanying photo. Does anyone else feel like Team Clinton might be behind this one?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

This week's headlines from the "You don't say!" category.

Nobel winner: Hillary Clinton's 'silly' Irish peace claims

- You mean First Ladies don't broker international peace agreements...and never have? You dont say...

Hampton injured in second spring start

- Mike Hampton is hurt? What...?

Private Eye Accused of Spying on Targets

- A Private Eye actually is stealthy? No...

Rice, Abbas Urge Resumption of Talks

- Palestinians shell 2 Israeli cities...then, murder 7 teenage seminary students...Israel gets pissed and threatens action....and Abbas wants to talk. Really...?


- You mean there actually is an axis of evil? Seriously...?

And, Finally.....Record snowfalls mean big meltdown

-Snow melts? Huh...?

Monday, March 3, 2008

On Flatulence and Faithfulness

I’ve been thinking a lot about a conversation Herodotus and I had during Blog Summit 2008 in Savannah. We were discussing women, relationships, and such when I revealed what, to him, was an astonishing revelation. I told him that I had yet to fart in front of my girlfriend. He responded with the question “Then how do you know if the relationship is real or not?”. I, then, revealed that passing gas is something I’ve always tried to avoid regardless of the length and depth of the relationship in question, and his response birthed an internal conversation I’ve been having over the last few weeks. One that has culminated with the following:

If the emotional oil to the engine of relationship is humility, and humility toward someone is only attained through true vulnerability to the same, how could I have ever counted a relationship real without ever compromising myself to the point of even something so menial, and often comical, as timely flatulence?

Further, if vulnerability is the springboard for true spiritual/emotional growth with someone and spiritual/emotional growth the only real way to ensure the longevity of a relationship, how could I have ever expected to openly seek the face of God with a woman through prayer, confession, etc...if I lack the stones to even gas her every now and then?

So I realized the irony in that we close ourselves off in order to avoid being vulnerable to the emotional loss of being left by someone we love while vulnerability is the most needful quality if one hopes to avoid such a loss.

I guess no one ever said it would be fair or easy.


'Crime and Punishment' or 'How the West Was Won'?

The following is a video of A Russian rock band playing 'Sweet Home Alabama'...with the Red Army Choir(Hat tip: NRO). It is a passable rendition of the song, but I find the mere idea of the thing as the most interesting aspect here. We tend to forget how the world has changed over these last 18 years...which, in historical/chronological terms is almost nothing. Nevertheless, a change has come...and speaks to possible future changes. What do these next years hold?