It's one more random than 10!
The Cubs clinched the best record in the National League this week. The timing is so perfect you would think they planned this century-long World Series drought.
I am on an e-mail list with a bunch of the crew from the Vegas trips, and the Cubs have been a frequent topic of conversation the last few months. As you can imagine, given their mishaps over the years, it’s easy for Cubs fans to be pessimistic. There is, however, a fine line between pessimism and psychotic nihilism, when every positive indicator is just one more deceptive illusion masking some imminent Cub-ian collapse.
Our resident Cubs Nietzsche this year was Sugar Ray, he of the MILF Hunter T-shirt and commando approach to undergarments. He joined forces with Double Down, he of the Dow Jones blackjack swings and an actual Milwaukee Brewers fan (yes, they exist in the wild). They began with the Negative Nancy stuff in the first month, predicting with Shakespearean foreboding that the Cubs' first two series against the Brewers—they went 2-4—would have dire consequences at the end of the season. Keep in mind, this was in May.
Double-Down more or less stuck to that line of reasoning, but Sugar Ray continued to dump on everything Cubs-related. Every small mishap was a grand tragedy, every triumph tempered by some polyp of negativity. What’s worse is that Sugar Ray—a self-proclaimed Cubs fan— justified his endless stream of doom and gloom as being “realistic,” even as the Cubs went on to win more games than anyone else in the National League and had strong stats in every major stat category. All season we asked what more a Cubs fan could ask for.
Tickle finally had enough. “Sugar Ray,” he wrote, “you are banned from watching the playoffs with me.” Others joined in: Hawkeye, Pancake Z, Veetz, Smoke...none of them would allow Sugar Ray to watch the Cubs playoff games with them. Tickle threatened to board up Sugar Ray’s house for the month of October so he couldn’t come out.
A couple weeks ago Sugar Ray mentioned he got a Garmin, one of those car GPS things. He was raving about how it could suggest restaurants and all the other cool features.
“Maybe you can program it to show all the places where you are forbidden from watching the Cubs,” I wrote.
So go Cubbies, and long live rock....
1) “Rock Star,” Everclear. I don’t want to be a loser, I don’t want to be an almost was. Despite being positive about the Cubs, there is no question that their other shoe is shaped like the Sword of Damocles, ready to drop on the nearest Cub about to make a key catch in foul territory or trying to close out a championship series against serial-cobag Steve Garvey. I am excited, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared.
2) “Hey Jude,” The Beatles. In my book, “Let It Be” just edges this out as McCartney’s best composition. However, this by far has the best na na na's in rock history.
3) “The Seer’s Tower,” Sufjan Stevens. From the album Illinois. I was surprised that he didn't record a song called, “O Steve Bartman, Whither Go Our Hopes for Joy in Wrigleyville (and a Triumphant Trumpet of Ha Ha Ha's for the South Side Sox Fans).” That's a little joke for you Sufjan fans.
4) “Any Colour You Like,” Pink Floyd. Johnny Rotten said it best on his t-shirt: I hate Pink Floyd. Without the presence of a bong and laser light show (or at least a lava lamp and black velvet Dark Side of the Moon poster), I don’t see the point. If it’s not “Wish You Were Here” or the admittedly awesome instrumental “One of These Days,” I’m skipping.
5) “What the Snowman Learned About Love,” Stars. The snowman learned that, while wearing a condom did protect him from PTDs (Precipitation Transmitted Diseases), the insulating power of the latex melted his snowballs. Yes, it wouldn’t be a Friday for me without a dick joke. Awesome user-created YouTube video for this song.
6) “Look for Me (I’ll Be Around),” Neko Case. She could sing about anything and make it sound like the most beautiful yet haunted thing in the universe. With her voice and her approach, she’d turn the Lucky Charms theme into a twangy epic about how the quest for one’s lucky charms are really about the failed dreams of youth and how we placate ourselves on life's marshmallows, sweet distractions that ultimately leave us feeling empty. How’s that for a toy surprise?
7) “London’s Burning,” The Clash. The gurgling anger in Strummer’s throat makes this song. The link is one of those "misheard lyrics" videos, and it's pretty funny considering I've heard this song 1000 times and still don't know all the words.
8) “To Here Knows When,” My Bloody Valentine. Pink Floyd for the Pitchfork set. I have tried, really, to get the “genius” of this album. In fact, after P-Fork claimed it as the greatest album of the 90s, I picked it up for 99 cents in a CD club bargain sale. It’s creative, it’s different, it’s beautiful in spots, but it fucking bores me to tears. This track sounds like five minutes of a great song malfunctioning in my tape deck.
9) “Innocent Bones,” Iron & Wine. The male Neko Case, who can make anything sound delicate and wispy with his whispered singing. He would turn a close loss in fantasy football into a bittersweet tale of realizing that, in God’s fantasy football league, we can never score enough points to overcome our mortality. Even if you draft well.
10) “Blitzkrieg Bop,” The Ramones. Hey, ho, let's go! pumps me up so much, I could run through a wall. A thin Styrofoam wall, but a wall nonetheless.
11) “Ask,” The Smiths. What better way to head into the weekend than a Smiths song in which Morrissey almost sounds happy. When you grade that on a curve, that equals pure bliss for most of us.
Have a great weekend, and if you happen to be sitting along the first- or third-base lines at Wrigley in the next month, let those foul balls go!