Month: October 2012

They Get Them Young

What follows is, I hope, my only political post of the season.

I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.

  • Will Rogers

I’ve always thought Republicans were better at coming together as a single party than Democrats. Sure, Republicans have plenty of problems within their party, but come Election Day, the anti-tax millionaires from the big cities and the Bible thumping farmers from the county have a much easier time voting for the same candidates than the various wings of the Democratic party. They may have to hold their nose while they do it, but Republicans are much better staying on message.
For example, over the weekend somehow our girls and our friends’ kids starting talking about politics. I think it was all the signs stuck in everyone’s yards. Anyway, one of the boys said that his grandfather told him if Obama wins, he’s going to cancel Halloween. M. quickly piped up that she wanted Romney to win.
Now I haven’t said much about the election to the girls, except when they ask. And even then, I tend to explain things in the most general of terms. They barely grasp what I’m saying, anyway, so there’s no need to weigh them down with the details of fiscal policies, the candidates’ views on the Middle East, etc. When they ask, I tell them I’m voting for Obama and usually vote for Democrats. But that’s pretty much it.
However, I wasn’t thrilled as M. shouted out her desire for Romney to win over-and-over. I finally suggested that different people have different views on politics, and not everyone likes talking about those differences, so let’s stop talking about it. And no one was canceling Halloween.
That worked for awhile, but eventually the “Obama will cancel Halloween” meme spread through all five kids. C. came rushing up to me, worried, and asked in a pitiful voice, “Are they going to cancel Halloween if Obama wins?”

I’d had enough.

“M., when is Halloween?” I snapped.
“Next week.”
“When is the election?”
“Umm, after that?”
“Yes. The election is AFTER Halloween. No one is canceling Halloween. Stop talking about it.”
I think I may have been a little more forceful than I remember, because all five kids stopped and stared at me for a moment, wondering what was up with the crazy dad. But I think they got my message.
Still, you have to admire how one Republican grandfather pushed at least four kids into being advocates for Romney through one made up story about the next holiday. If he would have said Obama was canceling Christmas, I might have had a harder time setting the kids straight.

Weekend Round Up

Taking a few minutes off from tracking Sandy to catch up on the weekend.


With a deep sigh after a couple very busy weeks, things can start getting back to normal around here.

Last week was parent-teacher conferences/Fall Break at St. P’s. S. attended the sessions with M.’s and C.’s teachers and learned both are doing very well and are delights to have in class but tend to talk too much and not listen when they are instructed to rein in the verbal offerings. As I’m sure you will understand, if you’ve been reading this blog for very long, we were shocked to hear that criticism of our daughters. Talk too much? Really? I’m sure the staff at St. P’s will be thrilled to learn sister #3 may be the biggest talker of them all.

We decided to share our Fall Break with some friends who have boys the same ages as M. and C. and were also on their Fall Break. We spent some time at some sites that are more fun in summer, but still were a nice get-away from home. The kids played and had a great time. We took them to an orchard that had fun fall activities like a petting zoo, pony rides, a mini-corn maze, and a train ride through the grounds. The moms drank some wine and margaritas. The dads put away a lot of beer and watched some football. Short of going to a warm, tropical beach somewhere, it was about as fine a way to spend a Fall Break as I can imagine.


And not to complain about the weather, given what is happening on the East Coast right now, but Mother Nature sure didn’t give us any help over the weekend. Friday we were stuck inside because of chilly rain. We ventured outside long enough to get a small fire going and make s’mores. Saturday it was sunny and dry, but still felt more like mid-November than late October. We took a walk on a beach Sunday morning and braved wind chills below 40. The kids were distracted by finding dead fish, which for some reason was a huge thrill. We could have used the near-80 degree temps we had last Wednesday and Thursday.


We were so busy early Saturday afternoon, and were often out of AT&T tower range, that I put no mental energy into remembering to check on the KU score. Thanks to a text from my brother-in-law, I managed to get connected just in time to follow the repeat of the 2006 last second comeback by Texas. Only without Vince Young and a rather friendly flag this time. I don’t think Texas is all that great, despite all their future NFL players. But KU is definitely playing better than they were two months ago, and are much better than a year ago. There just happen to be nine pretty good teams in the Big 12 right now and that improvement isn’t likely to generate many W’s until the talent gets better and deeper. They’re not good, but they’re not hopeless either.


My weekend buddy is an Indiana born-and-raised Catholic. Although he is an IU alum, he has some love for Notre Dame. He was pretty excited as we watched the Irish knock off Oklahoma Saturday night. There’s still plenty of football to be played, so who knows whether they’ll be able to snag a BCS title spot. But I kept thinking ahead not to the next month, but to next fall. The Notre Dame hype is going to be deafening for the 2013 season. So not only might Notre Dame be back, but so will hating Notre Dame.


Nice win for the Colts Sunday. The first road win for Andrew Luck, a big division road win, and a terrific finish after a pretty ho-hum first three-and-three-quarters quarters. Or however long it was. I’ve tried to watch this season with an eye towards where the talent upgrades need to come over the next couple years. They need to rebuild the defense. They need someone to come in and learn from Reggie Wayne before he is done. But they’ve got to get that offensive line fixed pronto. You can’t build around a franchise quarterback if he’s getting battered the way Luck gets hit. The Tennessee defense is not good, and Luck was still running for his life all day.


So I guess we have to admit Peyton is for real, don’t we?


Speaking of Peyton, do you think he gets upset every time he sees a commercial that has either Drew Brees or Aaron Rogers in it? I wonder if he is especially annoyed by the Brees ones, thinking, “If I wouldn’t have thrown that pick six in the Super Bowl, all those commercials are mine!”


A bit of a Ho-Hum World Series. Pablo Sandoval going Reggie in game one was pretty cool. And the other three games were tense pitchers battles. But sweeps are never all that entertaining for the casual fan with little to no rooting interest.


Commercials I will not miss once the baseball playoffs are over: pretty much none of them. Between the 8 million Samsung commercials each night and the cesspool of political ads, I’m ready to quit watching live TV for awhile. The Direct TV ad with the couple in the bathroom is pretty good, though.


Time to go batten down the hatches before our 50 MPH gusts hit later today. It’s been an early fall in terms of leaves falling. But I’m pretty sure the few leaves we have left will be gone this time Wednesday.

Weekend That Was

I am a horrible parent. Last night, as the Indiana Fever closed out the WNBA championship series, I let my girls sleep. Years from now, when classmates ask them where they were on that glorious night, they’ll dip their heads and mumble, “My dad didn’t wake me up to watch the game or celebrate.”


A terrific weekend, other than that notable failure. One of my 86 sisters-in-law got married, so we had the entire extended clan in town. It was a busy three days, but they were great fun.

It was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception. The girls were very well behaved and loved getting their hair done, watching the ceremony, and throwing down on the dance floor. They were also thrilled to have their two cousins from Denver staying at our home.

Apparently we’ll be doing this again sometime in 2013, as one of my brothers-in-law was recently engaged. The best part of his wedding will be its location: Boston. So I can start warming up my Boston accent. Or wahming up, I should say. S. will be thrilled!


This will likely be another light week here, as it is a short week for M. and C. They had a full day of school today, have half days the next two, then are off Thursday and Friday for Fall Break. We’ll be taking a quick, local trip over the weekend.

Monday Notebook

Shall we kick off the week by catching up on odds and ends that have accumulated? I think we shall.

M. took another step towards big-girlhood a week ago when she got her ears pierced. Our rule has always been there will be no piercings until the girls can take care of them themselves. M. seemed ready for that and after a month of earning them through good behavior, she finally got them. She was super excited, telling her soccer teammates “Something’s going to look different about me the net time you see me! in a sing-song voice at practice one night. She’s been taking good care of her ears and is very proud of her new accessories.

A little different process than when I got my ear pierced 24 years ago. I went on a Friday night when my parents were out of town. Whether it was because I was a guy and they didn’t think it would last or they just forgot, the girls at the mall who put the ring in failed to tell me to leave it in for six weeks. So the next morning when I went off to work my shift at Taco Bell, I took it out as dictated by corporate policy. Image my surprise that night when I couldn’t get t back in! That led to an embarrassing trip back to the mall when I had to explain to a different girl that no one told me to keep it in. “We’ll of course you do, everyone knows that,” was her response. Clearly not EVERYbody knew.

M.’s soccer season ended this weekend. After slowly improving over the year, they finally got their first win two weeks ago in their final regular season game, then won a scrimmage the next week. Saturday they won their first round tournament game 5-0, although M. missed that game because of a church commitment. She made it for the second round game. They played incredibly well, but were going against a team that had a bye in the morning. It showed as the fast, scorers on M.’s team ran out of energy in the fourth quarter and they lost 3-1. They dominated the first half but could only manage one goal despite controlling the ball the entire half. It was a lot of fun watching them get better each week. Even M., who was still very passive mid-season, became a much better defender late in the season. She actually controlled the ball a few times Saturday and did a great job staying between the ball and the goal.

Some horrible news forward to me by a college chum. They’re trying to year down the dorm I spent two years in at KU. How dare they! Although as another friend said, given how crappy it was 23 years ago, can you imagine what a hole it must be today?

Of course the Colts crashed back to earth in New York this week. And I’ve kind of given up trying to figure out the NFL. My picks suck every week.

I likely wrapped up my high school football coverage last week by watching good ‘ol ECHS get pounded. They gave up an 83-yard TD on the opening kickoff and never got closer than that again. Sectionals start this week. We have a wedding this weekend and then will be out-of-town next week. So unless we have some major surprises and four teams are playing for sectional championships, I likely won’t work again until early November when girls basketball begins.

I covered six games this year, with one rainout thrown in. I saw two great games, one fair game, and three blowouts. I saw a 95 yard kickoff return, a screen pass that went for 83 yards, an 80 yard TD run, a 19-point comeback, two games won on fourth-and-goal, and a double overtime game. I also covered a soccer sectional final in there. A pretty good way to spend fall Friday nights.

The baseball playoffs have been crazy entertaining so far. My pick for World Series champ, Cincinnati is gone, and my AL champ, the Yankees, are down 2-0. I sure know baseball.

Favorite sports-related Tweet of the weekend, from “Ken Tremendous aka Parks & Rec’s Michael Schur:

If any person made me as upset, as often, as sports, I would totally not be friends with that person.

Much truth there.

I have a bad habit of leaving things on the DVR for ages if I don’t watch them immediately. All summer I had avoided watching the final three episodes of Community as I wanted to watch them together like they were broadcast. I finally knocked them out last week. Such a great ending to the season, and I loved how they framed the last episode so it could serve as the series finale if NBC never gets around to putting it back on the air. I’ve liked how Modern Family has kicked off this season, but I’d still put Community behind only Parks & Recreation as best comedy on TV.

I’m way behind on Louie, too, and knocked out four episodes one night last week. The Ikea episode was fantastically cringe-worthy. And I loved the piano lesson (I think the same half hour): “I have crabs but I don’t know if you gave them to me or I gave them to you. So ‘Fuck you!’ or ‘I’m sorry’.

Finally, I have not updated you on my beer brewing. My Octoberfest went into bottles about a month ago and we’ve been drinking it for a couple weeks. It turned out great! I love Sam Adams’ Octoberfest but I have to admit I like mine better. Sometime this week or next Ill be brewing a holiday ale that should be ready in early December.

Reading

I finished my latest book over a week ago but hadn’t found the time to write about it yet. I sat down to do it this morning, not yet looking at the calendar. When I was at the bank later at saw the date, I realized there was some part of me that had intentionally held off on writing this entry until today. My mom was born on October 10, 1951. I don’t normally dedicate posts to people, but I think this one was clearly written with her somewhere in my mind.

11/22/63 – Stephen King

Stephen King and I go way back. Back to before I even thought about reading his books. My mom was a huge fan of his and she bought each of his books the moment she could get her hands on them. Our bookshelves always had a large section dedicated to him. She told me many times that his books weren’t appropriate for kids, but once I was old enough, she would help me figure out which ones to read first.

Which didn’t sound super exciting to me, to be honest. I was never a big scary story fan so I filed all his books under the “I’ll Never Read Those” tag.

That, obviously, changed. In college a roommate was slowly working his way through the uncut edition of The Stand. Every now and then I’d pick it up, read some of the blurbs on the back cover, flip through a few pages, and slowly got interested in the story. When I went home that summer (1992? 1993? I’m not sure which.) I grabbed my mom’s original edition of The Stand and got to work. When I was done with it I picked up The Shining and did my best to repeat what my mom had done 15 years earlier: read it in one night.

I was hooked. I don’t think I read anything but King books that summer, and continued to work my way through his catalog over the next couple years. I never got into his darkest books like Cujo which were written during his cocaine days. But I did knock out most of his books.

Along the way I got through the first three editions of The Dark Tower and soon I was in the same boat that older King fans had been in for years: waiting for volume four. Eventually it arrived, my mom and I took turns reading it, and we began the wait for volume five.

During that wait my mom died in a car accident and King was nearly killed after being struck by a car. His recovery was long and difficult, and he admitted be might not be able to finish the series, let alone write again. I wondered if I would want to read the rest of the series if he did finish it, so closely was his writing tied to my memories of my mother.

He found his muse and cranked out the last three entries in the series, promising before he was done that he would retire from writing when volume seven was published. Perfect, I thought. How could he have any more stories in his head, anyway?

That retirement lasted about five minutes and he has continued his prolific publishing schedule over the last decade. I read his first post-Dark Tower book, The Cell, but thought it was half-assed and boring. If he wasn’t going to retire from writing, I was going to retire from reading his new books.

When 11/22/63 hit the shelves last year, I was intrigued by the concept, a time traveler from the modern age going back to stop the Kennedy assassination, but not really interested in reading it. Then I saw several positive reviews for it. I heard from a couple friends who had read it who enjoyed it. Eventually I relented and put it on my reading list, and finally knocked it out last week.

It’s good. It’s entertaining. It’s exciting. There is a nice Dark Tower-ish twist at the end. But if you’ve read most of King’s books, you won’t find a whole lot new here. Just a solid story about bouncing around different ages through time-space portals centered around one of the biggest moments in American history.

Since 11/22/63‘s release, King has published an eighth volume for the Dark Tower. Maybe I’m not done with him after all.

Starting Over

Some game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. First there was the result, a fantastic Colts comeback – they trailed 21-3 at halftime and looked awful in the first half – that ended on a missed Green Bay field goal that secured the 30-27 win. There was Reggie Wayne’s epic performance, catching every ball that was anywhere near him. There was Andrew Luck engineering a fantastic drive for the winning touchdown. There was the Colts defense, who righted the ship and made some big plays in the fourth quarter.1

Two bigger things were going on, too.

There was the emotional baggage that came when coach Chuck Pagano announced earlier in the week that he was undergoing cancer treatment and would probably not coach again this year. Despite his brief time in Indy, it’s clear he and the players have a strong connection. It’s a bit corny to say it, but there’s little doubt the Colts were playing a little harder Sunday for their coach. I loved it when defensive tackle Ricardo Mathews, following a Dwight Freeney sack in the fourth quarter, jumped up-and-down like a little kid who could not believe what was under the Christmas tree. There are many emotions in football, but there was a rawness to what the Colts were demonstrating Sunday that was fantastic to see. Well, unless you’re a Packers fan I suppose.

There was a third level, too, that I don’t think is getting much attention. Forgive me for using this term, but Sunday was a perfect storm of emotions that went beyond just beating a Super Bowl contender or playing for an ailing coach. It felt like a massive catharsis for the organization and its fans who have had a rough 18 months or so.

From the moment Mike Caldwell called his inexplicable timeout in the waning seconds of the AFC Wild Card game against the Jets two seasons ago, not much has gone right for the Colts. Sure, they got the number one pick and landed Andrew Luck. But a lot of pain went into getting that pick.

As easy as the end of the Peyton Manning era was outwardly, it was in reality much more difficult. Even fans who had come to terms with the change still had sore feelings about the loss of the city’s sports icon. Even those who believed taking Luck and building for the future was the smart move couldn’t help but wonder how the team would be playing with a healthy-ish Peyton under center.

Sunday that all got taken care of. The comeback, winning for Chuck, Reggie proving he still has it and Andrew showing he indeed has it. That all got mixed together, and in the release at the end of the game, grabbed all the angst from the last 18 months and blasted it away.

That may sound silly to some of you who didn’t see the game, or don’t live in Indy. But believe me, it feels much like it did after Joseph Addai rumbled into the end zone in the 2007 AFC title game and put the Colts in the Super Bowl. There’s a feeling of joyful relief around the city. It is obviously very different, as the Colts are a long way from even thinking about the Super Bowl. But something changed Sunday, when the final seconds ticked off the clock. The new era has officially begun and everyone is onboard and looking forward to the future.


  1. They also looked awful on a couple drives in the fourth quarter, and were lucky a) the offense bailed them out and b) Green Bay ran out of time. 

Farewell To The Season

I’ve always loved the final day of the baseball season.1 Anyone can go to Opening Day, but it takes a real fan to go to Closing Day when your team is 25 games out and has been since Father’s Day.

When the end of the season rolls around, I often think of a year in the late 90s, probably 1998, when a group of us planned to go to the Royals’ final home game. It was a mid-week game – they would go on the road for their final three games – and a few of us wanted to spend one more night at The K before it closed for the winter. But there was a torrential rainstorm that night. We went to the park, waited for awhile in the parking lot, but eventually the game was called before it even started. Those few of us who sat and waited, chugging beers in steamed up cars while we listened to the radio for final word on the game’s status, felt like we were paying a tribute to the baseball gods. A thanks for those chilly nights in April and May, those steamy summer afternoons, and that sense of community that other sports can’t quite match.

Bart Giamatti got it right when he wrote:

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.

Our hearts weren’t broken. Our team had sucked for months rather than pulling one of those traditional September swoons that Giamatti’s beloved Red Sox were famous for. And we had football to entertain us, with college basketball right around the corner. But he was right in that we all felt a sense of emptiness as the lights went off until April.


Where there was cautious optimism a year ago, this off-season just feels like it will be a bad one for the Royals. Last year, there was the hope they might snag a decent arm or two, maybe move a prospect for another piece, and while contention was probably out of the question for 2012, certainly having meaningful games after the All-Star Break was in play. And it was all supposed to be a springboard for 2013, which really would be a year of contention, finally.

But 2012 sucked. Hosmer sucked. After a decent start Moustakas sucked. Hochevar sucked. Sanchez was a complete disaster. Frenchy sucked. Chen sucked. Soria, Paulino, and Duffy made sacrifices to the UCL Gods. And, of course, Wil Meyers never got called up. The season was over by June, just like every season but one since 1994.

Alex Gordon shined. Sal Perez came back in June and did some wonderful things. Alcides Escobar was a surprise at the plate and still great in the field. Jeremy Guthrie was an inspired pick-up. But those four could not erase the stink of the rest of the roster.

Maybe the Royals were just saying the polite thing, but the news that they fully intended to bring Luke Hochevar back in 2013 nuked the off-season for me before it even began. Wasting money on a waste-of-talent like him, after seeing over-and-over that he can not figure it out, is a sure sign that there is no hope for the franchise with the current front office.

The might surprise us and news will come soon that they will not offer Hochevar arbitration, making him a free agent. But I’m not holding my breath. And I expect the news that he has been resigned to be the first step in a bad off-season, which will bleed into another lost season in 2013.

It may not break your heart, but baseball can piss you off.


The fantastic second-half performance by the Oakland A’s just rubs salt in the wounds of Royals fans. The A’s gave up on the 2012 season a year ago, trading their two best pitchers for a bunch of prospects. They signed a bunch of has-beens and never-weres to fill out their roster. In July they were well off the pace, as expected. Then they turned it around. Despite still being five games out with nine to play, they kept fighting and, amazingly, not only clinched a playoff spot but grabbed the AL West crown yesterday. So a team that was basically booting 2012, and probably ’13 and ’14, wins 94 games and a division title while the team loaded with young talent that was in position to sign a difference maker a year ago could manage only 72 wins in the weakest division in baseball.

It’s clear that Billy Beane and Dayton Moore are playing completely different games.

OK, baseball does break your heart. And then stomps on it.


My late-season bitterness caused me to miss a couple great races and some great stories. One is the smack-down between those arguing about who the AL MVP should be. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown, something that had not been done since 1967. Mike Trout, after spending April in AAA, came up to have one of the best rookie seasons ever. By several advanced statistics, Trout had the better year, and was right there with Cabrera in all the traditional stats.

For the last month there’s been a pissing contest amongst baseball analysts about which player was most deserving of the MVP award. Some say winning the Triple Crown should make it a no-brainer for Cabrera. Others cling to the stats that show that Trout has a bigger effect on each game. This morning I heard two different radio hosts going on-and-on about how Cabrera “carried his team in August and September” to a division title. They didn’t mention how Trout’s Angels won one more game than the Tigers, but had the bad luck of playing in the AL West instead of the AL Central.

I don’t know that there’s a right answer, as each player had a season for the ages. And this is the kind of argument that makes sports great. But I think it is indicative of what’s wrong with the age we live in: the middle ground in discussions has been torn away. You’re either for something or against it. You can’t be nuanced in your support or aversion to something. You have to dig a trench, stick your head in the sand, and demean those who disagree with you. This is true in discussions like Miggy vs. Trout, who deserves a number one seed in the NCAA tournament, what kind of smartphone you use, and politics. Especially politics.

I used to love debating things like this. But we’ve forgotten how to debate and discuss and go straight to lobbing bombs at people with different points-of-view. We’re not happy unless we can divide everyone into clearly defined camps of winners and losers, with no space between those sides.


OK, some quick playoff picks. After I look and see how this new playoff system works.

Coin Flip Games

Texas over Baltimore
St. Louis over Atlanta

Divisional Series

Cincinnati over San Francisco
Washington over St. Louis

Detroit over Oakland
New York over Texas

League Championship Series

Cincinnati over Washington
New York over Detroit

World Series

Cincinnati over New York


  1. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about that at some point in the last nine years. Probably multiple times. 

4

Birthday time in our home again. Today L. leaves the easy ways of three-year-oldom behind for the hard-knocks world that is being four.

She’s pretty excited.

So who is little L. today? She’s a piece of work, I tell you. She has always had a spark about her that delights pretty much everyone she runs into. There’s a glimmer in her eye, an ease with adults, a desire to report on what’s happening around her, and her ever-present grin that seem to endear her to everyone. At the risk of sounding like one of those parents, I’ve lost track of how many friends of ours say things like, “I love that kid!” or “She’s so awesome!” or “She is just great, isn’t she?” when they see her in action.

In one big way she reminds me of myself more than either of her sisters do. When I was little I was often more comfortable talking to adults than kids my age. I think it came from having young parents, still in college, and spending a lot of my early years being around them and their friends. If my parents had people over, I thought it was my job to entertain them. I remember when I was about L.’s age, my parents would find me across the courtyard, hanging out with the couple they palled around with. They didn’t have kids, but they had a dog, a toy machine gun, and I liked talking to them. Why not hang out with them?

One of my favorite L. moments was over a year ago. I saw our old neighbor leaning down in her garden, but couldn’t see what she was looking at. After a few moments she broke into laughter. I walked around the corner and saw L. standing there, telling her who knows what. That was when she was still two. That kind of sums up her personality.

Another story from last weekend. C. and her buddy next door got into some serious trouble involving nail polish and their hair. The neighbor mom and I were trying not to lose it on them when L. walked in between us, shrugged her shoulders, raised her hands palms-up, and said, “I knew they was going to get in trouble.” We nearly lost it again, this time with laughter rather than anger.

She’s just a funny kid. She’s all third-born, always ready to say or do something to entertain whoever is around her. It’s hard being the third sister, when your siblings are getting to do fun stuff like Brownies and soccer and birthday parties for classmates. I think it’s gotten a little harder this year with an eight-year-old and a six-year-old moving in next door. There’s not a third sister to match up with, but L. hangs in there and makes sure she’s a part of the fun. Much like her maternal grandfather and aunt she shares a middle name with, there’s no such thing as a stranger when L. is around.

Quien Es Más Macho

Sometimes the most important questions do not get asked. Or at least they’re asked by the wrong people, never get answered, and fade away.

Yesterday, as I knocked out dishes and laundry, I listened to the American Top 40 rerun of the week. It was from September 1985. Good times for me, back then. In my first month of high school, the Royals had just caught and passed the Angels and were on their way to two more comebacks in October.1 We were also about to move into a house, the first of my life after 14 years in apartments, duplexes, etc. I think I was drinking a lot of Cherry Coke, too, which had just hit the market.

More importantly, though, there was a certain television show that had captured my imagination, along with that of the nation. A couple stylish cops from Miami who drove fast cars and tried to battle the local drug kingpins. As important as Crockett and Tubbs2 were to the fall of 1985, so was their soundtrack, headlined by a Czech electronic artist named Jan Hammer.

The biggest mover on yesterday’s countdown was the “Miami Vice Theme”, which jumped 13 spots to 21 in its second week in the Top 40. There was probably no hotter point in the Miami Vice craze than late September/early October 1985.

Which got me thinking about another artist similar to Jan Hammer, Harold Faltermeyer. Most famous for “Axel F,” his synthesizer-driven theme for Beverly Hills Cop, Faltermeyer was another central European artist (German in his case) that used the exploding possibilities of electronic music to hit the American charts.

So, after all that, I was left with a simple question: who was better: Jan Hammer or Harold Faltermeyer?

Hammer, who worked with tons of people as a session musician in the 1970s, didn’t do much else after he stopped doing the music for Vice in the late 80s. He does get bonus points for keytar use, though!

Faltermeyer handled the themes for two other huge movies: Fletch and Top Gun. He also did the music for a couple other movies. He got his start with Giorgio Moroder, helping the legendary Italian artist with the music for Midnight Express and to produce music for Donna Summer. Faltermeyer also worked with Laura Branigan, Billy Idol, Pet Shop Boys, and Bonnie Tyler, among others.

You could spend hours going back-and-forth between the Miami Vice Theme and Axel F, attempting to decide which was better. But when it comes to overall body of work, Harold Faltermeyer was much better than Jan Hammer.


  1. Also the last Royals postseason appearance. 
  2. I have two old iPod nanos that are on their last battery legs. One is white, one is black. Their names are Crockett and Tubbs. 

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