Friday Vids

A couple of vids for this week. As promised, one is from the 1985 countdown that played on SiriusXM last week.

“Do You Want Crying” – Katrina and the Waves

One of the areas of music esoterica I pride myself in mastering is knowing minor hits by bands that are widely considered One-Hit Wonders. “Well, actually they had another song that hit the top 20…” You know, that kind of bullshit about one in 50 people appreciate.

So I was freaking floored when I heard this song last weekend. I have no memory of it at all. I was 100% positive that Katrina And The Waves were one of the ultimate One-Hit Wonders. Turns out…this song hit #37, which doesn’t exactly make it a hit, but it did chart. And they had a song that cracked the top 20, “That’s The Way,” in 1989. My world is shook.

More importantly, this is an incredible song. I heard it Saturday morning and was like “Holy shit, this is amazing!” and quickly jotted down a note at a red light to listen to it when I got home. I put on the entire album that it comes from, Katrina and the Waves 2, and it’s a really solid disk. I was doubly blown away when I learned that Katrina and the Waves wrote and first performed the song “Going Down to Liverpool,” a song I know from the wonderful Bangles version. It was different from the Bangles version, but no less delightful.

Still, though, this song is the shit. I’m pissed I didn’t know it back in the day. I could have spent the last 33 years telling people, “Yeah, ‘Walking On Sunshine,’ is a good song, but have you ever heard ‘Do You Want Crying’?”

“Motion Sickness” – Phoebe Bridgers
You can’t always trust everything you read on the Internets, kids.

Last year, while researching the songs on my Favorites of 2017 list, I came across several stories that suggested that any lyrical similarities between Phoebe Bridgers’ “Motion Sickness” and Ryan Adams’ “Outbound Train” were purely coincidental. 2017 ended, I turned my attention to newer music matters, and thus missed several stories earlier this year where Bridgers said that, in fact, “Motion Sickness” was very much about Adams. Apparently after working together in the studio, the pair hooked up for a brief romance. Adams, according to Bridgers, was not thrilled with her accounting of their relationship at first, but eventually admitted to her it was a good song. While I knew most of the lyrics to the song, I had never really caught the line “And you, you were in a band when I was born…” For the record, Adams is 20 years older than Bridgers, so, damn, that line was a little savage.

Anyway, this all popped up because Bridgers made her US, late night TV debut this week on Conan with this lovely rendition of “Motion Sickness.” Unfortunately the Conan vids don’t embed, so please follow the link above.

Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 13

Chart Week: September 7, 1985
Songs: “We Don’t Need Another Hero” – Tina Turner
“Power of Love” – Huey Lewis & The News
“St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” – John Pass
Chart Positions: Numbers three through one.

This edition is a little meta. It’s not about the songs I’ve selected, or even the original countdown. Rather, it’s a celebration of my love of all things countdown and ‘80s music trivia related. I’ve been waiting for this one for awhile!

This week, I ask you not to jump into your time machines and set a course for 1985, but rather 2002. Turns out this countdown was the first legacy American Top 40 I ever heard.

Labor Day weekend of 2002 S and I along with three other couples headed up to Ames, IA to watch a college football game and have a little fun. Much fun was indeed had.

On our drive back to Kansas City on Sunday morning, S was suffering a little. As we approached Des Moines, she demanded that I find a place that had Diet Coke and greasy breakfast food as quick as possible. Which, in 2002, was kind of easier said than done, as we didn’t have smartphones with updated maps that could show us quickly where the nearest Shoney’s or Bob Evans was.

Anyway, we procured some caffeine, eggs, potatoes, and cheese and continued our journey. I decided to slide through the FM dial to see what interesting music I could find. Suddenly I heard Casey Kasem’s voice, in prime, mid–80s form. What was this, some bizarre portal back to the radio of my youth? Or just a station in the middle of Iowa playing 17-year-old radio shows? I got very excited.

Leading into the commercial break before the final four songs of the week, Casey offered a teaser that the top three songs all came from movie soundtracks. Here was the challenge I needed to keep me energized on the road! I quickly thought back to the summer of 1985 and what movies were out then. Back to the Future was the first to come to mind. Hmm, what else was out then that had big songs? I was pretty sure St. Elmo’s Fire had been released by then, but wasn’t 100% sure it had been out long enough for a song from its soundtrack to reach the top three.

At this point, S noticed I was being very quiet and had an intense look on my face while I drove.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

I paused a moment or two, then laughed and said, “I got it! Back to the Future, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome!”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Didn’t you hear? The top three songs on this countdown are all from movie soundtracks! Those are the three movies and the songs are “Power of Love,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero!” I was giddy, grinning and bouncing in my seat, eager for the commercial break to end so I could see if I was right or wrong.

S stared at me for several moments. We had been engaged for a little over four months. If you asked her today, and she was being honest, I bet should would admit that she was reconsidering spending the rest of her life with me at that moment.

When AT40 returned, Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway of Love” checked in at number four. Tension was high, at least with me. I think S was snoozing again in her seat. Sure enough, Tina Turner, Huey Lewis & The News, and John Parr rounded out the top of the countdown. I pumped my fist and looked at S, who rolled her eyes, adjusted in her seat, and tried to go back to sleep.

Brilliance is so often unappreciated.

Again, this was 2002. Had it been a decade later, I likely would have texted my fellow brothers and sisters in music to let them know of my discovery and memory, as I knew they would give this moment the reverence it deserved.

Over the next few years I’d hear an old AT40 here and there, usually while traveling. In the mid–00s a station here in Indy began carrying them briefly. The shows disappeared for a few years before I found them again right around the time L was born, on the station that continues to play them to this day. I’ve spent countless lazy Sunday mornings walking around the house with a tiny radio tuned to 105.7 so I can follow as Casey counts them down.

And S still rolls her eyes at me.

Also worth noting, this was a big week at the bottom of the charts. The following songs debuted on the Hot 100: “Part-Time Lover,” Stevie Wonder; “Miami Vice Theme,” Jan Hammer; and “We Built This City,” Starship. All three songs hit #1 later in the year. Two of them are really shitty. The best new song of the week, though, was Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way.” Sadly it only peaked at #11.

Oh, and you will hear more about this week’s countdown on Friday…

Mo’ Kid Sports

Our kickball seasons came to an official end last night. A season that began with back-to-back rainouts at the same school ended with back-to-back make-up games at that school in 90-degree heat. Not the best bookends.

C’s season wrapped up Friday in pretty glorious fashion. Every girl was locked in and they cruised to a 44–5, run-ruled win. If we had played like that the previous Monday, we just might have had a chance against the team that won our division. C closed the year with a big home run. The head coach’s husband was taking pictures and got a great one of C just after contact, her right foot up in the air, her left several inches off the ground, the ball just about out of the frame as it rocketed to the outfield.

M’s season ended on the same field last night with a doubleheader make up of two rained out games. We began the first game up 9–1, as the season-opener was stopped just as we were ending the first inning. For three weeks our girls had that inning to think about. I’m pretty sure they all expected the day to be two easy wins. And, unfortunately, they played two rather disinterested games. Oh, and it turned out their opponents were pretty good. Despite that 9–1 lead, we dropped the first game 27–20. In the second game, we trailed by three in the last inning but scraped across four runs with two outs to take a lead. Our defense, normally the bright spot on this team, had been suspect all day. And we kicked the ball around the infield long enough to let the tying and winning runs in.

Yep, a team that had lost six regular season games in nine seasons coming in got swept in a doubleheader and finished the year with three losses. Not exactly the way we wanted these girls to end their kickball careers.

After the game M was a little teary. Likely more because she jammed a finger in the last inning than because she was emotional about her kickball days being done. I reminded her how when she was in third grade, she said she absolutely did not want to play in the spring.[1] We told her that she had to at least give it a try. She not only played that spring, but was super excited to play in the fall of her fourth grade year. And never stopped after. I also reminded her that in ten seasons, she had a ton of great memories she would hang on to for years. I don’t know if that helped her, but it made me feel better.

Our weekend was full of sports, too.

L finally got on the soccer field, errrr, pitch with games both Saturday and Sunday. They were two very different experiences.

The league L is in partners with a couple neighboring leagues to make sure we have enough teams at the U12-U16 levels. And our first opponent was a true club team. These girls had been playing together for several years and were, the head coach and I were guessing, the product of a tryout process rather than a blind, random generation of kids like our roster was. We hung in for the first 10 minutes or so, but it got real ugly after that. We lost something like 10–1. We gave up two penalty kicks because of handballs in the box. We probably should have given up two more but our ref didn’t seem super interested in calling anything that wasn’t blatantly obvious.

It didn’t help that our opponents were huge compared to ours. They all had to be early 2007 birthdays, and were tall and thick, where our team was full of late 2008 girls who are either short or have cross country bodies. It really looked like we were in the wrong league, both in terms of talent and size. Oh, and we were missing four girls, so we had zero subs. And one of our players took a shot in the nose and had to sit out for several minutes until it stopped bleeding.

For the first time since she started playing, L looked totally outclassed. It took her a long time to figure out how to get and keep possession. And then she would dribble into the teeth of the defense and get surrounded by three girls who were all 5’4” and thick. She did set up our only goal by taking a ball deep down the side and crossing it. But for the most part she was humbled.

Sunday we played a team that looked only slightly smaller than Saturday’s opponents. Again it was a very even first 10–15 minutes until they broke through with a couple goals. We pulled one back when L made a good run, got completely wiped out inside the box, everyone stopped waiting for a whistle that never came, and one of our other girls pounced on the loose ball and put it in.

The second half was another story. I don’t know what happened, because we mostly let the girls sit and hydrate to recover from the heat at halftime, but we absolutely dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half. The head coach and I got all over L for giving up on a ball right in front of us because a bigger defender was chasing it down, too. She got pissed, charged down the field and stole the ball back. Moments later, she pulled a Roberto Baggio, collecting a ball deep in the defensive end and dribbling straight up the field before ripping one by the goalie. Really, these goals should not happen at this level. I think the defense was just tired. Their goalie then scored on herself and we were tied.[2]

L got another goal to put us ahead, and missed two dead easy chances that literally made me fall over in disbelief. She looked like she belonged Sunday. We got a fifth goal late when their goalie gifted us another and we got out with a 5–3 win. The mood of the girls was like 1000% better than Saturday, shockingly. One girl, Saturday, kept saying, “What’s the point? Why are we even trying?” I was going to start calling her Lucy from the Peanuts because of her attitude. After Sunday’s game she had a big grin on her face and I asked her, “Isn’t it better when you don’t give up hope and keep playing?”

Because of other sports, I hadn’t been able to be around the entire team until this weekend. I’m not sure how good we’ll be, since we’re so young and small, but I really like a bunch of the girls. We have a few who are super athletic and a little stubborn, and refuse to give up if a bigger girl takes the ball away. We have three girls who work really well with L, and they could become difficult to stop once they learn how to play together. One of those girls can slide all over the field and cover any position while making fantastic passes to her teammates. And a bunch of them have fun personalities. We have one girl who complains a lot. At halftime she was complaining about how hot it was and how she hated running. Our smallest girl, who is this tiny thing with glasses and braces but is also really good, said in her little voice, “Don’t you run track, though?” Not everyone heard it but I busted out laughing, “Dang, O! You just roasted her!” and the whole team lost it. O sat there with a proud, sheepish grin on her face.

C also ran Saturday afternoon. We kind of hate this race because A) it’s huge; I think every school in the area is invited and B) it is always in the afternoon so the runners at the high school that hosts can run in their meet in the morning. So we’re always out in the open and it is usually hot. Saturday was just nasty hot and humid.

Except for the elite runners, who cruised to wins, everyone was having a really hard time. In C’s race, all St. P’s runners were on the verge of tears and barely able to stand at the end. She finished 18th with about the same time she ran last year. S and I had to walk with her, helping her along, until we could get her to shade after she finished. She was the fourth St. P’s runner and the third in her grade. Now that kickball is done I’m hoping a little extra training will push her up a few spots in the next few meets.

  1. Back then third graders could not play until the spring season, and then only on mixed teams with fourth graders.  ↩
  2. Speaking of things that shouldn’t happen at this level, goalies should not kick the ball backwards over their heads into their own goals.  ↩

Reader’s Notebook, 9/17/18

A couple NYC trip books.

The Secret of Golf – Joe Posnanski
Joe has moved to a Patreon model for his online writing. As much as I love him, I feel like I’m already subscribed to about a dozen content services that I’m paying for each month, so I have not become a supporter of his site. Yet. I was looking for a quick read for the trip, came across this, and figured I’d buy one of his books to support him.

This is a bit of an odd book. It’s not completely a biography of Tom Watson or Jack Nicklaus, but it is centered on their battle at the 1977 British Open. Still, roughly half the book is about Watson’s life and career, all the way up to his narrow and heartbreaking second-place finish at the 2009 British Open. For a guy who was my favorite golfer growing up – by default since he was the only big pro golfer at the time from Kansas City – I was surprised at how little I knew about his life.

I had read several accountings of the ’77 Open before, so those sections were largely review.

My favorite part of the book was seeing how Watson and Nicklaus became great friends over the years, how Nicklaus played a key role in Watson turning his personal life around, and how hard Nicklaus was rooting for Watson at the ’09 Open. All that fits into the mythology of what golf is supposed to be about.

It wasn’t Posnanski’s best book but it was good enough to keep me interested on our trip.

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us – Hanif Abdurraqib
I had been working through this book of essays for a few weeks and finished it on our flight home. It is a collection of Abdurraqib’s various works, both published and personal, over the past decade. He writes about music, culture, and society. His musical tastes range far and wide, so some of the more obscure rappers or emo artists he covered were people I had never heard of before. But I did enjoy how he turned those essays into personal stories of finding community with strangers through art.

His pieces about his life were the ones that struck me most. Especially those written about 9/11 and the era immediately after. As one of the only African American students on the campus of a small, liberal arts school in Ohio, and a Muslim with a strange name no less, he became a source of perverse interest after the attacks. There were whispers any time he entered a room. As a soccer player, he had struck up a friendship with a member of the school’s women’s team. After 9/11, she began putting distance between them. After Christmas break that year, she never spoke to him again. He doesn’t cast blame or request pity, but rather lays these stories out coldly with an understanding of why people looked at him differently than others.

Abdurraqib is one of the brightest young music and culture writers I’ve come across. He writes without fear of sharing what is deeply personal, potentially embarrassing, knowing that is how his readers can understand just how much the art he studies has moved him.

Friday Playlist

Today is our 60 day warranty inspection, so I’ve got folks through the house. Thus, just a quick playlist for this week.

“Missing U” – Robyn. It’s always good to have new Robyn jams.

“Poison” – David Nance Group. Some good, old fashioned, dirty rock ’n’ roll from Omaha, NE.

“Christmas Down Under” – Phosphorescent. Despite the title, this song is appropriate for play in mid-September. And the new Phosphorescent album is shaping up to be a hell of a disk. 

“Wake Up” – Chastity Brown. I’m not sure anyone else makes music quite like Chastity Brown, a blend of Americana, folk, country, and blues. This song is not typical of the rest of her music. I listened to much of her album once and no other song was like this, by far the most radio-friendly tune among them. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, because I didn’t like most of her other songs. But this one, it’s nice.

Kid Sports

Once again, that bitch Mother Nature has been playing havoc with our family sports schedule. I’ve lost track of how many practices, games, and other events have been wiped out over the past month. Seriously, it didn’t rain here for like six weeks, then, as soon as fall practices started, we began getting multiple downpours each week right around the time a kid was supposed to be doing something.

Here’s where we stand now.

M’s kickball team will not defend their City championship. They won their first two games – another game was stopped after one inning because of rain with them up 9–1 – before they ran into a buzzsaw. We had heard St L had been practicing four nights a week to come after our girls. We weren’t super concerned at first, because we had never had trouble with them. But we also heard they had a bunch of soccer players that had not played since fifth grade that were coming back for one final run at City.

And, damn, those chicks were good.

We were up by five or six runs after two innings but then got blasted. We narrowly avoided getting run-ruled after six innings and scored enough in the 7th to only lost by 16. It really wasn’t that close, though. We’ve never played a team that could kick like St L’s. Every girl through their entire lineup could absolutely blast the ball. Even their tiny girls who looked more like 6th graders could boot it. Our lineup is good, but also has several holes in it and we just couldn’t keep up.

That was a bit of a bummer, but I thought it was a good sign that all our girls recognized they got beat by a better team and came to terms with the loss pretty quickly. My memory might be a little off, but I believe this was only the sixth regular season loss these girls have had in nine seasons of kickball. And only their fourth regular season loss when playing against same-aged girls. Pretty impressive.

A night later we had an exciting one-run win over another one of our big rivals. I missed this game running the other two sisters around.

M’s team has a double header on the schedule for next Monday. Those will, likely, be the last two games this group ever plays together.

C’s team won their first three games and had their biggest game of the year Monday night against St. S, a long-time nemesis for her class. They were undefeated too, but where we were scoring between 20–30 runs a game, St. S had scored over 50 runs in all five of their games. Before we started, I joked with our coach that if we could just hold them to 30 and kick well ourselves, we had a chance.

Things got off to a bad start when three of our girls went to St. S instead of our field. Two of them caught their error quick and arrived before the game started, but the third girl rolled in in the second inning.

We somehow held them scoreless in the first, scored three in our half, and were up 5–2 after two. Then came the proverbial “bad inning”: we gave up 12 runs, eight after getting two outs. We dropped two balls in the outfield, bobbled a bunch of balls in the infield, and were on the wrong side of a close call at first.

We never got back in it and lost by 15. So no City for C’s team. She’s had a steady, if unspectacular season. Girls don’t kick it to the suicide spot as much as they did when they were younger, so she’s made a lot fewer plays than she did a year ago. But she still generally makes them when the ball is kicked her way. And I always laugh when another team tries to run on her and she races some girl down from 50 feet away. Her kicking has been hot-and-cold, like always. She has a few home runs. She’s also booted some deep balls that have been caught. Such is life in sixth grade. She has scored from first on kicks to shallow center a couple times. Once she almost ran down a teammate who was a base ahead of her when they were both coming home. She was giggling the whole time.

St. P’s will send at least one team to City this season. Our 7th graders are undefeated and two games ahead of everyone with one to play. And L’s classmates are still undefeated, although they have two tough games this week against teams that each have one loss. I’ve been giving L grief all season about “What if they go to City without you?” She always looks like she’s filled with mixed emotions when I ask.

Cross country has suffered from the weather, too. The first meet of the year was cancelled Labor Day weekend because of heavy thunderstorms. While S and I were in New York, C ran and finished in 10th place. It was her fourth fastest time ever, which was pretty good considering she’s barely practiced because of kickball and the weather. A friend sent a picture of her just after she finished and she looked like she was going to throw up. Then last week’s meet was wiped out because of heavy rains. I’m kind of anxious for kickball to get wrapped up so she can have a couple weeks of good training before the City meet in early October.

And L’s soccer season has yet to begin. She was supposed to play two games the weekend before Labor Day, but as all teams had just started practicing that week, both were postponed until October. Then last week the fields were flooded. So this Saturday will be her first game of the year. I’m counting on tornadoes or a blizzard or some other crazy weather to keep them from playing.

Weekend O’ Football

It was a full weekend of football for at least some parts of our family this weekend. Here’s a breakdown.

Friday was a big local high school game. Cathedral, where our girls will go, was playing their biggest Catholic school rival, Bishop Chatard. BC has the most state titles in Indiana history. Cathedral is second. I believe Cathedral leads the stat in total wins and championship appearances, though. Or something like that. They play in different classes – Cathedral is roughly twice the size of BC – and Cathedral also draws from a much larger area, so they generally dominate the rivalry. St. P’s sends roughly equal numbers to each school, so Friday at St. P’s was a spirit wear day where kids got to wear the gear from their favorite high school. Apparently the halls were filled with trash talk throughout the day.

M was very excited to go, because a bunch of classmates were going to be there. It was her first high school football game hangout, OMIGOD! So I carted her, a friend, and L to the game.[1] The only issue was that we were in the early stages of our 48-hour rain event. When we got to the stadium, it was raining in torrents. It had actually started pouring right after school. Then I asked the girls if it was still raining this hard at game time would they still want to go. They responded with a quick “YES!” so that was that and we got thoroughly soaked just walking into the stadium. It was raining so hard that even the artificial turf surface was filling with large puddles in low spots. It was an utterly miserable night.

Fortunately, it stopped raining suddenly late in the first quarter. It drizzled a few more times, but the heavy rains held off again until after the game.

Unfortunately for the first time in quite awhile, BC was clearly the better team. Cathedral was kind of lucky to even be in it late before a last-gasp drive fell short. It was the first win for BC in the rivalry in six years. I’m sure there is no trash talking in the St. P’s halls today. M had a really good time. She has several friends at BC and ran into them at halftime. She was warned not to go over to their student section, because she would be greeted with chants of “YOU DON’T GO HERE!” because of her Cathedral shirt, which she thought was great. And she mocked some friends on Instagram afterward, so I think she’s prepared for her high school years and some of her best friends going to BC.

Saturday it poured here pretty much all day. We have a drainage area in our front yard that filled as high as we’ve ever seen it.[2] So why not lay around and watch college ball all day? I flipped around a lot; I’m still getting used to where our channels are on Comcast, plus trying to figure out what second-tier sports channels we had on Uverse that we no longer have. But I kept my remote thumbs busy.

The big game, of course, was the epic clash in Mt. Pleasant, MI between Kansas and Central Michigan. Coming off the loss last week to Nichols State, there was not much reason for optimism. It was more a question of how much we would lose by and if that lose would force the firing of head coach David Beaty.

Little did I know that Central Michigan might be the only D1 school that is shittier than KU. It helped that top recruit Pooka Williams was finally eligible and ran all over the Central Michigan defense. I fully expect to hear soon that Pooka never should have been cleared, we forfeit the win, and he never plays another down at KU.

But for one afternoon, KU fans around the world could revel in not only a win over a D1 school, but a road win no less! The first in nine seasons. This was no joke, people. America sat up and noticed. The CBS crew gave props to the Jayhawks after the Georgia-South Carolina game. ESPN chose the win as their “Mayhem Moment” as the fine Clemson-Texas A&M game closed. Things might finally be happening for KU football!!!!

Well, we’ll see about that. I think the most likely outcome for the season remains one win, although I don’t think this week’s opponent, Rutgers, isn’t all that great either. It seems like Beaty is a good guy who is trying to do the right thing. The problem is just bigger than him, and he was woefully unprepared to tackle it. This should serve as a nice pre-parting gift for him. An acknowledgement that he took the mess that Charlie Weis left and worked his ass off to try to get it turned around. Pooka Williams, and some of the other young guys Beaty has brought in the past two years, will be the stars when the next coach squeezes out a 6–6 season and goes to some shitty, December 21st bowl game.

Sunday Andrew Luck finally returned. We were in the midst of some house projects right at 1:00 kickoff time, so when I turned the game on it was just in time to see Luck about get his head knocked off. Yep, Colts are back to normal, doing their best collective effort to get the franchise player killed.

However, the bigger football event of the day was M cheering at her first CYO game. We had to make a trek about 45 minutes south to go stand in the persistent drizzle and chilly breezes so she and her classmates could root on the 7th–8th grade team. The cheer squad’s new uniforms are not in yet, so they wore their gym clothes for the game. I would have approved of them being given a pass until the uniforms come in, but the girls seemed excited about getting out there and getting the fans and team pumped up.

I had never been to a CYO football game before, so had no idea what the rules were, how long the game lasted, etc. It didn’t help that the host school’s scoreboard was not working because it got a little wet.

I quickly learned, though, that CYO football games are quick. They wrapped things up in exactly an hour, which is about as long as I wanted to be outside. There are no kickoffs, either. After a score the opposing team takes over at the 5, which seems a little deep. The field had goalposts but I never saw a PAT or field goal attempt, so not sure if both teams lacked kickers or the coaches just weren’t interested in kicking in the slop.

St. P’s won fairly easily. I have no idea what the score was, though. Because, you now, the scoreboard wasn’t working. Their best offensive play seemed to be moving everyone to one sideline after the snap, then having the guy with the ball cut all the way back to the other side and then race up the sideline. That worked for 40+ yard gains like four times.

Also, CYO football seems to be kind of shitty. I say this as someone whose mom made him stop playing football after fifth grade when I would have had to start playing tackle, so I don’t have a lot of personal experience. But, man, these kids couldn’t run, catch, throw, block, or really do much other than run into each other.

After the game, the St. P’s coach told his players to go thank the cheerleaders and give them high fives. I began muttering, to the other parents of cheerleaders who were huddled around me, “Nope, no touching of the cheerleaders. Just stay away from them…” Yep, we’re getting to that age where I’m starting to worry about idiot boys touching my daughters.

Sunday night I stayed up to watch the Chicago-Green Bay game. If you stayed up, too, you know that was one that we will never forget. Aaron Rodgers doing something to his knee in the first half and leaving the game on a cart only to come back in the second half and lead a furious comeback that ended with a 75-yard, game-winning throw to Randall Cobb. The dude is amazing. And we’re going to find out in a couple hours his ACL is shot or something and his season is over, right? The NFL is terrible.

  1. C was supposed to go with a friend she had gone home with.  ↩
  2. At 8:00 Monday morning there is still a significant amount of water in it.  ↩

Music Reads for Rainy Weekend Days

A few very good music links to share. Apologies as a couple of these are slightly out-of-date with the change in seasons. Good reads regardless.

First, investigative journalism at its finest.

Taylor Swift and Bryan Adams’ Duet of “Summer of ’69” Reopens One of Music’s Great Historical Mysteries: Is This Song About the Sex Position?

Next, isn’t it funny how if a song is good or great, it is easy to overlook logical inconsistencies within its lyrics? But if a song sucks, you pounce on those mismatched details quickly.

John Gonzalez broke down DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s classic “Summertime” and found that it, shockingly, may not have been a completely accurate description of a typical summer day in Philly. I laughed, I clapped, I may have even cried a little as I read this.

I Know It’s Been 27 Years, but I Have Some Notes on DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”

Finally, who better than Chuck Klosterman to rank all 131 of Van Halen’s songs in order of quality? This is great, and had me listening to some VH as I read through it Friday. I would make a few different choices – “Panama” is my #1 – but in general I agree with his sympathetic view of the Van Hagar years and his praise for Diver Down. And while I find his choice as worst VH song ever to be a little harsh – I’ve always liked that one even recognizing its many weaknesses – I do love his justification for why it is there.

All 131 Van Halen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best Only time will tell if they stand the test of time.

Friday Playlist

Well, as I check this morning, it looks like Spotify and WordPress are cooperating, so I’ll give the old Friday Playlist thing a shot. Which is good because I have a ton of great music that I need to make sure you’re paying attention to. Apologies if this (likely) breaks again by the time you get around to listening.

“Stay Down“ / “Me & My Dog” – boygenius. Off the EP by this indie rock super group that features Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. “Stay Down” takes what I love about Baker’s music and fills in all the little nooks and crannies with brilliance from her two partners. It is a great, great song. Bridgers takes the lead on “Me & My Dog.” It sounds like what Wilson Phillips would have sounded like had they been ‘10s indie rock instead of late 80s/early 90s adult contemporary. And that’s a good thing.

“I Wanna Know” – Rosali. Is it just a coincidence that this song has a very War on Drugs-like vibe to it and Rosali Middleman is also from Philadelphia? TWOD’s Charlie Hall plays drums on this track, but that has nothing to do with the guitar atmospherics, which take off and soar in a way that would make Adam Granduciel proud.

“Loading Zones” – Kurt Vile. Speaking of Philly and TWOD, founding member and now solo star Vile is back with a new song. It’s pretty good!

“Untitled (LA)” Swearin’. Dude, another Philly band! Although I believe they may be based in LA now. Anyway, Allison Crutchfield has reunited the band she was in before she struck out on her own. For the first time since I’ve been listening to her music, she’s done something that matches her sister’s (Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee) output. This song will get your blood pumpin’.

“17 Days – A Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version” – Prince. This is my favorite Prince B-side, so I absolutely love this demo version. This is the sound of a genius at work.

“Alibi” – Low Tide. This is some Top Shelf, Grade A modern shoegaze from Australia.

So About That Golf You Mentioned…

Ty! What’d you shoot today?
Oh, I don’t keep score, Judge.
Oh well, how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
By height.

Yep, first round of golf in something like 11 years, and only second round in 15 years.

It went about as you would expect. I picked my ball up on three holes, so I did not finish with an official score. It would have been well above 100 had I completed my scorecard, though. Hell, it was above 100 anyway.

I was the tallest member of our foursome, though.

We played at the Montclair Golf Club in Montclair, NJ. They have four nine-hole loops you can choose from, based on how busy each one is. Our host, K, is a member and he hooked us up with caddies and a fourth that he plays with often. K and the fourth are both really solid players and spent much of their rounds well away from me.

I was busy blasting it from side-to-side, duck hooking on one hole, power slicing on the next. Or taking four shots to chip onto the green from about 25 feet.[1] I was playing with loaner clubs,[2] but let’s be honest: they could have put me in thousands of dollars worth of gear and it would not have mattered.

I did have a few highlights. My caddy was kind of a dud, but the guy who was doubling up on K and the 4th’s bags was a green-reading savant. He had a lilting Caribbean accent and braids halfway down his back. He was also about 5’7” so looked kind of silly with bags slung over both arms. But he knew those greens. As each player lined up a putt, he’d grab the flag, point at a spot to aim at, and give you a speed. On the fourth hole I had a 35-foot putt that had a big left-to-right break in it. He pointed at a dead spot well away from the line I would have chosen and told me to hit it firm. Moments later the longest putt I’ve ever hit rolled into the cup. I pumped my fist, my playing partners cheered me, and then pointed at the caddy. “Nice read!” He threw his arms up in the air and said, “THAT’S WHAT I DO!!!”

Good times.

I also hit a 25’ putt and left three putts that were between 20–40 feet less than two inches from the hole. All credit to the caddy, although I was rolling it ok.

The rest of my clubs though…yeeeesh. I did go to a local driving range twice last week to hit real balls instead of the practice balls L and I had been hitting in the yard. Thursday I felt really good about my swing. But, of course, as a high handicapper who hadn’t played in over a decade, there’s a big difference between hitting ball after ball from a mat and getting into a rhythm vs. going out to a nice course that has lots of rough, elevation changes, etc.

Back when I played a fair amount of golf, I was notorious for hitting an absolutely terrible shot and then hitting a nice recovery shot. There were elements of that Sunday, although it often took 2–3 terrible shots before I could find the good shot.

My best hole was the fifth, a long par four that doglegs to the right. Instead of hitting a severe slice off the tee, I absolutely crushed a slight fade that went right at 300 yards and landed dead center in the fairway. It was on this hole that I rolled in my 25’ putt. However, in between my best drive of the day and that putt were four terrible shots.

Oh well.

I lost six or seven balls – I kind of lost track – most in an brutal stretch around the turn. My final lost ball of the was a big, majestic slice that easily cleared a stand of trees that protected a parkway that ran by the course. We all strained our ears and clearly heard my ball bouncing off pavement in the midst of traffic. Always drive quickly and carefully near golf courses, folks.

It was a gorgeous course, not terribly long but with lots of changes in elevation to challenge players on a normal day. Throw in ground that was completely saturated from all the recent rain in that area and the course was even more challenging. It was also a bitch to walk. My calves are still sore because each step meant your feet sank an inch or two into the soft turf. It was by far the nicest course I’ve ever played. Although that’s not really saying much as I specialized in crappy muni courses back when I used to play.

Regardless of the results, to was fun to get out and play again. I’m going to continue to hit balls for awhile and try to get my swing together, and then see if I can round up a friend or two to get out and play again before the fall season ends.

  1. In me defense from deep rough on a steep incline.  ↩
  2. Mid-range Callaways.  ↩