It’s one more random than 10!
This weekend is the shittiest weekend of the year: the first weekend after the end of football season. I feel a sports void only football can fill. As much as I like the NBA, college basketball, and baseball, football by far has the best ease-of-following to entertainment ratio. Baseball is like trying to keep up with a soap that you could only possibly watch all the time if you were unemployed. You miss a week and come back and there’s some dipshit from Triple-A starting because the starter landed on the 60-day disabled list when he accidentally got grapefruit juice in his eye. With basketball, while it’s fun to watch, you can pretty much coast until playoff/tournament time before you really have to pay attention. With football, I can watch a game on Sunday and maybe Monday, read a little on the Web on Tuesday, and I feel like I could step in as a guest house for Partdon the Interruption. “Tony, I am positive Peyton Manning will never throw again. In fact, I have it on good authority from the Internet that he can’t even feel his penis when he masturbates. How is he going to grip a football?”
Onto the tunes:
1) “Bad Reputation,” Thin Lizzy. Speaking of Mannings, you can pretty much use Eli Manning and the Giants's last two Super Bowls to explain what the hell happened to the econmy. In 2007-08, the last great football dynasty was on its way to unprecedented success, a 17-0 season that needed just one win over Manning the Lesser to achieve the best football season in NFL history. It was led by the most prolific offense in history, with a coach who wasn’t above cheating to get results and a pretty boy QB who traded supermodel girlfriends like cheesecake futures. Instead, the rails came off bus before anyone knew what happened. Tom Brady was outplayed by Eli Manning, a player who the series The League once referred to as “that goddamned mouthbreating dummy.”
After that happened, the NFL was complete chaos. Nothing made any sense anymore. Teams won without being able to run or play defense. The Arizona Cardinals made the Super Bowl, a sure sign of the collapse of civilization. The formerly robust Patriots couldn’t win a playoff game, let alone a Super Bowl. And the most buzzed about quarterback in the league was better at genuflecting and avoiding non-marital coitus than throwing a screen pass without skipping the ball off the turf.
In the meantime, Eli Manning took a beating despite his success. No one really believed in him. Even this year, as his numbers were crazy—he threw for the sixth-highest season total in history—he was like the Dow. Sure, he was up, but it seemed like only the 1% of fantasy football players who owned him were benefiting while the other 99% of us were missing the games because we ditched cable to save money. He wins again, and still everyone thinks not only that it’s a fluke, like Anthony Michael Hall having sex at the end of Sixteen Candles, but that we’re never going to get back to the era of great, reliable dynasties and that we should be thankful things don’t suck more. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eli Manning, America’s quarterback.
2) “Fade to Black,” Metallica. A song about suicide for those non-sports fans who just waded through 500 words about football. The irony of this song is that these days Metallica does make me want to kill myself, at least the part of myself that once said, “I really like their new direction” when the black album came out.
3) “Muzzle of Bees,” Wilco. I really hate to say this, but I like the idea of Wilco better than Wilco’s music. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is the only album of theirs I really love. Jeff Tweedy is really creative, they have a lot of soul, etc., but at the end of the day I’d rather hear Uncle Tupelo or the first Son Volt album.
4) “Six Months in a Leaky Boat,” Tim Finn, Bic Runga, and Dave Dobbyn. A great live version of the Split Enz classic that's sadly not on the YouTubes, but here's Tim and Neil Finn. I really want to go to New Zealand before I die, but I’m fucking terrified of the flight. I do okay when it’s just a few hours in the air, but I can’t sleep on planes, and after 20-some hours in the air I guarantee I’d be seeing a gremlin Tebowing out on the wing. God help me if I had been born 100 years ago and adrift in a leaky boat. I’d be the panicky idiot who gets eaten by the first week at sea. OH HEAVENS, IS THAT A SHARK? Nevermind, it was just some kelp. I do apologize for the false alarm. Say, why are you sprinkling sat on my leg?
5) “Have You Fed the Fish Today,” Badly Drawn Boy. That’s what would happen when the scraps of me were thrown overvboard. I love singing this song even though I really have no idea what it means. Is it about taking responsibility every day? What if I just buy one of those self-feeders for the aquarium and check back in a week? Does that mean I’m a bad fish parent, like giving my kid a box of Cookie Crisp and a half-gallon of milk and telling her daddy needs to sleep for a couple more hours?
6) “Pass the Mic,” Beastie Boys. This song is 20 years old. How is that possible? Jesus Christ, at this rate I won’t make it to theatrical release of The Hobbit, let alone New Zealand.
7) “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others,” The Smiths. My daughter falls into this category. Libby is off the charts in terms of height. A cashier recently thought she was seven. She’s three-and-a-half. Part of me is loving the basketball domination potential of this growth. I’d love to see her be unstoppable in the paint and back her way into a full-ride scholarship. But I also don’t want her to be freak tall either. That’s a rough road for girls. So I’m hoping Division 1 shooting guard or small forward size.
8) “Boys Don’t Cry,” The Cure. Still, it will be hard for me not to live vicariously through Libby if she winds up being good at basketball, because I have always wished I was good at the game. Instead I have been a terrible hoops player my whole life. My friend Tom reminded me of an event from junior high that illustrates the gap between this ambition and ability. We used to play basketball at recess (when we weren’t playing D&D). At the time, I lived in the DC area and Patrick Ewing was playing ball at Georgetown. One day, for reasons unknown, I decided to charge the net to see if I could dunk. I sprinted toward the hoop (sans ball), yelled “EWING” and jumped as high as I could. Instead of the rim, I got both hands about halfway up the net. Now, our playground was just a parking lot, and the hoops were positioned by the parking blocks that bordered the lot. I swung on the net until I was almost horizontal. I then let go. I fell and the small of my back hit the parking block. I still don’t know how I wasn’t paralyzed, and every time Tom brings this up, he says he thought I was paralyzed because of the thud I made when I landed. Anyway, it will take a lot for me not to pushing Libby to dunk, because I’d still risk a shattered backbone if I thought I could jam that rock home.
9) “I Believe in a Thing Called Love,” The Darkness. They randomly showed up in a Super Bowl commercial, and I laughed that they must be paying their rehab bills, but lo and behold, they are back with a new album. I was completely sucked into this song when it came out, using irony as a thin camouflage for what is my occasionally horrible taste in music. I’m not making that mistake twice. What’s that? Am I air guitaring this right now? Why would you ask such a silly question, of course…wait, I can’t type during the solo.
10) “SWLABR,” Cream. Clapton gets all the press, and of course he’s amazing. I, however, dig Cream for Ginger Baker, both because he played the drums so well and because he often did so while wearing a cape.
11) “The Humpty Dance,” Digital Underground. Great hip-hop track? Or greatest hip-hop track? Either way, even an unabashed Darkness love like myself loves shaking my booty to this.
Have a great weekend.