Author: DB (Page 1 of 338)

Thursday Playlist

I’m off to the airport around 5:45 AM Friday for my weekend trip to Austin and I’ve got a busy day ahead of me as I prep, so I’ll post this 20-something hours early to avoid either forgetting to send it or messing up the scheduling options in WordPress.

“Alley Light” – Squirrel Flower
Ella Williams’ songs are often slow burners that crest and break near the end. I like how this one is carried by that crunchy guitar riff from start to finish.

“Conductors” – The Rural Alberta Advantage
Every song from this band is just a little better than their last. Which, over time, is a pretty good trend.

“Poor Boy” – Lydia Loveless
Loveless’ newest album dropped last week. Overall, it is really solid, with just enough tracks that crackle like this one to make it worth repeated listens.

“Midnight Sun” – RVG
I discovered this Aussie band back during the dark, early days of the pandemic. The songs on their latest album stretches back to that time as well. This one was inspired by the wild fires that devastated parts of Australia in 2019-20, and how politicians and the political media focused on divisive issues that riled up the electorate rather than address the causes of the disaster that was literally burning the country down. That sounds familiar for some reason…

“God’s Eyes” – Spookyland
The lead singer of RVG reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t make the connection. I woke up from a nap yesterday with this 2016 song in my head and realized it was the one I was trying to come up with. Both singers have that rough, Aussie vocal style that has been around for decades.

“Gimme Something” – LABRYS
You know those moments each day when it feels like our devices are monitoring everything we do and say? Like when you talk about someone and all of a sudden Facebook recommends them as a friend? Or if you mention dog food and start getting ads for dog food even though you don’t own a dog?

Last Sunday I began season two of Reservation Dogs. The next day this song was in my Discovery Weekly playlist. Tuesday night, as I watched episode nine, this song was used in a key moment. I should point out that I was not watching the latest season, season three, but rather season two, which was released a year ago. Kind of wild.

“Lone Star Song” – Grant Lee Buffalo
Somewhat along those same lines, this was in last week’s Discovery playlist. As if Spotify knew I was off to Texas for football and friends this weekend. I remember these guys having a moment during the Alternative Rock Revolution in the early ’90s. I think this and one of their other songs got a fair amount of airplay on KLZR back in Lawrence. Neither of my KU buddies I’m seeing this weekend were as into the alt rock culture as I was, so I don’t think we’ll be driving around listening to this and other forgotten gems from that era. Maybe Devin Neal will have a Tony Sands-like day, though?

“Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns” – Mother Love Bone
Still no word on a rescheduled Pearl Jam show. My buddy who got our tickets checked with his contact and heard there are still plans to reschedule, but no guidance on when. Makes me think it could be spring rather than this fall. Bummer. I’ve kept the Sirius Pearl Jam station in my favorites and heard both this original grunge classic and one of PJ’s takes on it this week.

“If I Can’t Have You” – Bee Gees
I went back and read a few of Tom Breihan’s older The Number Ones recently, including his entry about Yvonne Elliman’s classic from Saturday Night Fever I forgot he didn’t like it nearly as much as I do. I also forgot that in his post he included the Bee Gees’ version of the song, which was originally slated for the movie. He likes it better. Which, I get. It is Imperial Era Bee Gees awesomeness. But it sounds super strange to my ears. Yvonne’s version is my favorite song on that album, so I’m not without bias.

Have a good weekend.

Reader’s Notebook, 9/27/23

I’m not sure why but I’ve struggled to put together blurbs for my most recent books. I’ll bash away for a paragraph or two then realize I’m not really sharing anything interesting other than a basic summation of the plot and give up. After three false starts I’m officially throwing in the towel and offering the briefest of notes about these books and hope that by my next post I’ve shaken this mini-writer’s block.

Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff
The story of a marriage told in two halves, from two perspectives. The first half is about the husband’s upbringing, how he came to marry his wife, what their life was together, and his death. The second covers his wife’s pre-marriage life, the ways she filled in the holes during their marriage, and how she moved on after his passing. Critics and book nerds love Groff. This is the second of her books that I’ve read. While both were far from wastes of time, I can’t say I truly loved either one.

Judas 62 – Charles Cumming
I read the first book in Cumming’s Box 88 series earlier this year, focused on a British agent in a super-secret, US-UK intelligence agency. This second edition flips between an effort to sneak a biological weapons scientist out of early 1990s Russia before other countries can snatch him up and the modern effort to root out the Russian agent that is killing Russians like that scientist who have been hiding in the west for decades. A good espionage thriller.

Pappyland – Wright Thompson
A multi-layered history, about bourbon in general, Pappy Van Winkle in particular, the men behind Pappy, Kentucky and the South, and Thompson’s relationship with his dad and his own approaching fatherhood. Since it is Thompson, it is gloriously written, even in the moments he lays it on a little thick. Also got me drinking bourbon after a break. Not Pappy, though. I’m just fine with the cheaper stuff that comes from the same buildings.

Tuesday Links

I’ve been informed that our internet will disappear sometime this morning as Xfinity “works to improve the quality of the network” in our area. I think that’s code for finding a way to charge us more. Of course, they’ve said this like three times in the past week and it always ends up getting delayed. However, I saw their trucks scuttling around the neighborhood this morning so it might be legit today.

Even though it’s been just a week since my last links post, I’ll go ahead and share some more before the internet juice disappears.

I’ve written about the Oakland A’s move to Las Vegas before. In a long line of dishonest and dirty negotiations between teams and cities, it sets a new level for dishonesty and dirt. Tim Keown breaks down the process, and actually gets the A’s owner on record. I do love the Oakland mayor going off on the A’s management.

“To say we were nowhere is BS,” Mayor Thao says. “To say there was no proposal is total BS. Let’s be very clear: we did have a proposal. But maybe it wasn’t a proposal John Fisher could afford.”

Oakland vs. the A’s: The inside story of how it all went south (to Las Vegas)

A pretty cool story about the summer pickup games at UCLA where NBA and college players come together to shake off the rust before the training for their next seasons officially begins.

Why NBA players keep flocking to a hot gym at UCLA: Inside the Rico Hines runs

Joey Votto is a baseball treasure, an outlier from the stereotypical ballplayer in so many ways.[1] He likely took his last home at bats for the Reds Sunday, although he insists he wants to keep playing and there is always a chance he could wind up on the Reds next year.

Still, his career is certainly winding down. He just shared this pretty great post describing what it was like to ride buses as a minor leaguer. You genuinely have to be totally bought-into the dream of making the majors to put up with this.

I dream of standing on the field in packed stadiums, being interviewed, bright lights, signing big contracts, and accepting awards. These grand dreams were a stark contrast to my current reality. Because although I was trying my best, nothing seemed to be going right on the field. Joining the minor leagues was nothing like I expected. I thought I would perform better, move faster up the ranks, and have more fun with my teammates. Instead, it was isolating, unglamorous, and humbling. I felt like a fool.

A Bus Ride

Finally, this make me laugh super hard. Llamas are kind of awesome.

Llama Is Brought to a Wedding Dressed as a Groomsman and Steals the Show

  1. Another outlier, Sean Doolittle, just announced his retirement this week, too.  ↩

Weekend Notes

HS Football

Cathedral went down to Lexington, KY to play last year’s Kentucky 5A state champs. The Irish got an early lead, weathered their normal letdown, built the lead again, then held on for a nine-point win. Probably their best, most complete win of the season, from what I could judge by listening. They travel to Cincinnati next week.

The big news of the week was that the season finale against Center Grove has been moved to Butler’s stadium. CG fans are still bitching about having to play on natural grass two years ago, so this may have been purely a move to shut them up rather than play in a bigger stadium on a better field.

College Football

I had a very good day Saturday. I watched college football for at least 11.5 hours, almost uninterrupted.

I started with a little of Fox’s pregame show, something I never do, just because they were at UC for the Oklahoma-Cincinnati game. I talked to M Thursday and she told me some of her guy friends were going to go to bed mid-afternoon Friday, sleep until about midnight, then get up, go to bars until they closed at 2:00, hang out and drink until the official line for seats started at 5:00, then find a way to power through until the show started at 11:00. I haven’t heard how successful they were.

OU-UC was my first game of the day. Because it was another perfect day here, I watched on the outside TV. The Bearcats hung in all day, but are just dreadful in the red zone and couldn’t capitalize on multiple scoring chances. Oklahoma looks super talented, especially on defense, but something feels off about them still. They are good but don’t seem like a great team. Or at least not right now. I probably just jinxed KU into a 56–17 loss next month. The Sooners were good enough to earn a 20–6 win.

Then it was over to the BYU-KU game. The Jayhawks had been favored by between 8.5 and 10 points all week, which seemed crazy. They had struggled against a bad team last week while BYU won at Arkansas. I listened to a couple preview pods and both insisted that KU was a bad matchup across the field for BYU, and expected a comfortable Kansas win. I still didn’t trust them.

Naturally KU covered, winning by 11.

Not that it was that easy. Sure, KU got a scoop-and-score on BYU’s second snap of the game. But the Cougars led by one at halftime and KU’s offense seemed to be struggling. KU dropped a sure pick-six on the first snap of the second half, which seemed ominous. Until Kenny Logan snatched a pick-six two plays later. Then the offense took over. It wasn’t spectacular. Just solid, physical, ball-control offense with a couple beautiful touchdown passes to Luke Grimm mixed in.

Take out a couple bad, untimely penalties and this game is a blowout, so lots to feel good about.

As much as last week’s winning ugly game at Nevada, I think this game really showed the improvement of the program. They won a game by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. KU rushed for 221 yards while holding BYU to nine yards on the ground. For years that was the biggest personnel issue with the Kansas roster: both lines sucked so they couldn’t protect their quarterback or control the game on defense. That once or twice a year things came together and the team was still in the game late, it was inevitable failure on the lines that sealed their fate. There’s a long way to go, and the competition gets much tougher this week. But as much of the credit as Jalon Daniels, Devin Neal, Daniel Hishaw, Logan, and Cobee Bryant get, it is the two lines that truly demonstrate how much KU has improved.

Being 4–0 in consecutive seasons for the first time in over 100 years is pretty dope.

Oh, and the bigger deal is that I am traveling to Austin to watch the #24 Jayhawks take on the #3 Longhorns next Saturday. Really looking forward to standing in the 90+ degree heat for four hours. No, really, I am. It will be my first KU football game in 13 years, plus I’m seeing guys I haven’t seen in six and 20 years. I’ll take potential heatstroke and sunburn in exchange.

Seconds after the KU game ended S walked in the house with the dinner she had picked up for us. I scarfed down my burger then headed back outside for the evening games.

I watched half an hour of Oregon State-Washington State before flipping to the night’s marquee game, Ohio State-Notre Dame. That was quite a contest. I’m not really sure why Ryan Day was so worried about what Lou Holtz said about his team. No one cares what that crazy old man says. And I’m not sure how the Notre Dame coaching staff can let their team play the final two plays of the game with only ten men on the field. If they struggle through a very rough stretch in their schedule the next three weeks, that decision may become even more significant.

It was getting a little chilly so I moved back inside during the fourth quarter of OSU-ND. Being back on cable meant I could happily rotate between games. I watched a little of everything that was on, without really settling anywhere. Penn State looked pretty impressive. When I was watching USC they were doing usual dumb USC stuff, although it seems like they figured things out late. I ended the night by watching the overtime periods between Akron and Indiana. Akron should have won in regulation, but missed a short field goal as time expired. Eventually the Hoosiers pulled it out in the fourth OT. Inspiring stuff from the Hoosiers.

NFL Sunday

I did not watch nearly as much football on Sunday. I would truly be a sicko if I had tried to sit through another full day.

I flipped on the Colts-Ravens game midway through the second quarter and was surprised that the Colts were only down seven. Anthony Richardson was the most notable of several key players who were sitting out the visit to Baltimore.

The Colts carved out a 10–7 lead at the break and trailed by just one when they set up to receive a punt with under three minutes remaining in the game.

That’s when all hell broke loose. The next 45 minutes of real time covered about 11 minutes of football time. And it was all gloriously stupid. The Colts would make a terrible play, then the Ravens would match it. Then the Colts would say, “OK, we REALLY don’t want to win,” and do something dumber. Only for the Ravens to say, “Not so fast!” and top them again. But then the Colts would make an amazing play and seem to have the game in hand, only for the Ravens to step up with their own amazing play. The CBS announcers were incredulous, shouting about the crazy things each team was doing.

This went on for the last 2:30 of regulation and almost all of overtime until Matt Gay hit his fourth field goal greater than 50 yards in the game to steal the win for the Colts.

Just an amazing, gloriously idiotic stretch of football. I literally laughed out loud multiple times.

This is the freedom that comes with not really caring whether the home team wins or loses. I’m just looking to be entertained. This game – or at least those last 11 minutes – were about as entertaining of a game as I’ve watched recently.

Three weeks in the Colts are in first place, their only loss being a game they pissed away late. Zach Moss (WHO?!?!) ran for 122 yards and had another 23 yards receiving. If only Jonathan Taylor had come to his senses and was playing in this offense.

The AFC South sucks.

Kid Hoops

L had her final travel team tryout Sunday. There were a lot fewer girls there than the first one she went to, as I think many of the locals had already put in their two recommended appearances. When I walked in she looked wiped out since she had played a lot more than two weeks ago.

It’s all kind of a mystery how this high school travel thing works, so we’re hoping we hear in the next couple weeks that she’s landed on a decent team.

She was excited that the director of training and recruiting who runs the workouts knew her name. Doesn’t hurt that her high school coach has worked in this program the past couple years.

Friday Playlist

“September” – Earth, Wind & Fire
OK, we’re a day off. But I can’t miss my annual chance to throw this into a playlist.

“Deep End (Paul’s in Pieces) – The National
The National dropped a surprise album Monday, serving as a companion to First Two Pages of Frankenstein, released earlier this year. There are two really good songs on it. This is obviously one of them. You think I would waste your time with a bad track?

“Us Against The World” – Jungle
I hope some team, somewhere, that goes on to great success adopts this as their anthem so we can hear them chanting it after a big win.

“waterlilly” – crushed
This track has some serious early 90s overtones. I’m reminded a bit of Sophie B. Hawkins.

“Heaven Help Me” – The Bones of J.R. Jones
First time I heard this song, something about it struck me that I couldn’t quite place. Then I read that Jonathon Linaberry records and performs as a one-man-band and it made sense. There is a certain feel you get from those one-person acts who, using loops and pedals and a unique setup, can stand on stage and generate a band’s worth of music on their own. That vibe is definitely present here.

“Joiner” – Blondshell
I feel like I haven’t shared much of Blondshell’s music. Then I checked and this is the fourth of her songs I’ve posted in the past year-plus. That’s a sign both that she’s put out a lot of good songs and my memory isn’t as good as it used to be.

“Boys on the Radio” – Hole
This week I listened to the “Doll Parts” episode of 60 Songs That Explain the 90s. I owned Hole’s breakthrough album Live Through This, but not 1998’s Celebrity Skin. Host Rob Harvilla said this was one of three perfect rock songs that Courtney Love wrote in her career. I don’t recall ever hearing it. I have to agree with him, though, it’s pretty awesome. When she first formed Hole, Love listed Fleetwood Mac as one of her influences. That seems crazy if you just know Hole’s grungier songs where she is screaming. But this? I can totally hear Stevie Nicks singing it.

“Eyes to the Wind” – The War on Drugs
This is the last full day of astronomical summer. Every year, right around this time, I try to listen to this song while driving with the windows down. That started in, oh, 2015 or so. I was running an errand around 7:30 PM, driving our huge Chevy SUV, with the windows down, TWOD’s most Bob Seger song came on, and it all felt perfect. I imagined people driving big Chevys in 1977, listening to “Night Moves” or “Mainstreet” as the last of summer’s warm breezes moved the evening air. Even though I’m driving a smaller, German SUV now, it still feels right to repeat that act each September. It also gives me a chance to remind you of this most excellent, if slightly less autumnal, live version I’ve shared several times in the past.

“Throw Your Arms Around Me” – Neil Finn & Eddie Vedder covering Hunters & Collectors
This was one of the most excellent inclusions on season two of The Bear. It got me thinking of this time of year as well. Mostly because I’m pretty sure it was about this time in 2001, when I had just moved into a new apartment and got my first DSL line that had high speed (for 2001), dedicated internet, and I could start diving into the world of file sharing. I had heard of this song popping up in Pearl Jam shows for years and was finally able to track down boot-legged recordings of it.

One of the first I found listed it as a Crowded House cover, so for several years I assumed it was a Neil Finn song. Eventually I learned that Crowded House’s version was a cover itself. The original was written by Mark Seymour for his band Hunters & Collectors. Mark’s little brother Nick just happened to be the bassist in Crowded House. Eddie Vedder loved Neil Finn’s music, so I would not be surprised if his first exposure to the song was via the CH cover. Eventually Eddie would bring Mark Seymour on stage with him to sing this when PJ toured Australia.

That’s probably more information than you needed, but it’s a great song with several terrific interpretations by multiple artists that I love.

Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 90

Chart Week: September 19, 1981
Song: “General Hospi-tale” – The Afternoon Delights
Chart Position: #35, 9th week on the chart. Peaked at #33 for two weeks.

I’ve been reading through the RFTS archives and was surprised that I’ve never written properly about a novelty song, stuff like “Pac-Man Fever” or “The Curly Shuffle,” for example. I probably should have held off until one of those popped up on an old AT40, but this record was so strange that it required my first novelty song post.

We can’t talk about this track without reviewing how important daytime soap operas once were. In the age before the wide adoption of cable TV, your only afternoon viewing options on sick days or visits to grandma’s were the three hours of soaps shown on each network.

My mom’s mom was a Days of Our Lives devotee. That meant for the hour it aired, shit shut down in grandma’s house. The grandkids had to either shut the hell up or go outside. Grandpa had the good sense to take a post-lunch nap each day. She watched Days because the NBC station was the best signal they could grab with their gigantic antenna at their house out in the middle of nowhere. She watched the other NBC soaps, too, but Days was the show that got grandma’s full attention. You risked her wrath if you interrupted in any way.

The biggest soap of that era, though, was ABC’s General Hospital. At its peak, over 13 million people watched it each day. It was a launching pad for Rick Springfield’s career.[1] Fellow GH alum Jack Wagner could wind up in this series at some point. It is one of three daytime soaps still airing on traditional TV today, and celebrated its 60th anniversary earlier this year.

Most importantly, it gave us the biggest storyline in soap history: Luke and Laura. I never watched GH, and was in the fourth-through-sixth grades at its prime, yet even I knew all about Luke and Laura. You should read up on their storyline. It was bonkers, even for a soap. Despite their relationship beginning with a sexual assault, Luke and Laura’s union endured, and eventually crossed over into the pop culture mainstream like no other daytime soap characters did before or since. When Luke and Laura got married, 30 million people watched. THIRTY MILLION!!! For comparison, NBC’s Sunday Night Football was the highest rated series on TV last year, averaging a little over 18 million viewers per week. I know, different times, more choices, etc. Regardless of all that, General Hospital was a ratings behemoth. Soon every soap was looking for their own L&L.

Naturally outsiders tried to capitalize on GH’s success. A group of songwriters and singers in Boston thought a pop single about the show might be a hit. In a truly wild choice, they presented the record in a proto-rap style.

It was pretty awful. My first thought when hearing it again was of Sam Malone rapping an editorial during his brief foray into TV sports.

I doubt the housewives and shut-ins who were General Hospital’s prime audience were ready for rap in 1981. Even vanilla rapping like this was probably frighteningly close to “Black music from New York” for a lot of folks in the heartland. I just can’t see my grandma tapping her toes and humming along when Casey played it on Sundays.

However, GH was so big that the song got some airplay. It spent five weeks in the Top 40 and peaked at #23 on the R&B chart. I find it hard to believe Black radio stations actually played it, but what do I know?

The lyrics and delivery of them are clunky. I’m not sure any of the people who made it had actually listened to a true rap song. The music is cheesy and overwhelming. It wants to be funky, but the end result was profoundly un-funky.

And the group’s name? Get the fuck out of here.

You can make an argument that this was the third hip hop song to crack the Top 40 after “Rapper’s Delight” and “Rapture.” So maybe it has some historical significance?

And, TBH as the kids say, since white people trying to rap sounded like this song for the next two decades, does that make it a highly influential piece of music, even if it influenced people to produce shit?

No, that can’t be right. It’s a bad song. It deserves no props. The charm that carried other novelty tracks of that era is completely missing. On the rare occasions when I hear it, I quickly switch away. There’s a reason it was buried in the slag heap of historically bad music, and that had nothing to do with the waning popularity of soaps. Some may find it silly and harmless. I think it’s trash. 1/10

  1. Springfield’s former #1 “Jessie’s Girl” was still at #13 this week.  ↩

Tuesday Links

Curb fans will enjoy this real-life origin story.

One evening, as they drank into the night, it dawned on them. ‘I looked at his face and I said, “There’s something about you, man, that spooks me.” Just saying that spooks everyone!’ It clicked. ‘“You’re Richard Lewis!” “You’re Larry David!”… I was yelling at him, he was yelling at me.’

‘I disliked him intensely’: Richard Lewis on first meeting Larry David

A great Q&A with Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC.

Our downfall came after Raising Hell when we stopped being Run-D.M.C. and became “Run-D.M.C.,” a band that had to have a hit record, get on MTV, and live up to expectations and a lifestyle that had nothing to do with why we got together in the first place.

(This may be paywalled. A good moment to remind you I’ve been using the Brave browser for over two years. It both blocks a shit-ton of ads (including on YouTube) and also gets you around a few paywalled sites like Vulture.)

The Worst and Most Captivating of Run-D.M.C., According to D.M.C.

I tend to like Sean McFate’s worldview, but am often frustrated by his writing style, which can get in the way of his points. That aside, an interesting take on how we are likely planning (and spending spectacularly) on the wrong next war.

However, American traditionalists do not see the threat here. For them, war only occurs when bullets fly. They may be patriots, but sneaky war exploits their ignorance.

Sneaky War: How to Win the World Without Fighting

Here is a great Cold War story I had never heard before. It is certainly unorthodox and has some fascinating twists to it.

How did an ordinary American become a Soviet icon? And who was the Man from Fifth Avenue, really? As I dug deeper and made new discoveries, I found a tale a whole lot wilder than I’d ever imagined—a story of foreign intrigue, forbidden romance, and a man who might just have been playing everyone all along.

The Man From Fifth Avenue

Speaking of twists, this is one of the craziest stories I’ve read recently. There are some people out there who put an insane amount of effort into being bad.

The true story of a golf pro’s lies, fraud, threats and tales of murder

Weekend Notes

HS Football

Two games again this weekend.

Friday night Cathedral played at the public school down the street. Both girls had some friends over before the game and we walked to the stadium. First play of the night CHS snapped the ball over the quarterback’s head, he chased but could not cover, and North Central took over in Irish territory. Not a promising start.

North Central was winless and it showed, as they went nowhere and gave the ball back to CHS, who methodically ran up a 49–0 lead before halftime. A penalty on the final play of the game gave NC an untimed snap, and they got the ball into the end zone to lose 49–6.

I’ve gone to four of the first five games this season (L has been to all five) and each of them has been on a perfect evening for football. CHS is out of state the next two weeks. We’ll see if the weather holds when we return to games in October.

Saturday I took L to the freshman game so she could take pictures. NC took the lead twice on huge kickoff returns that set up short possessions. Each time Cathedral answered with a 70+ yard TD run. The Irish pulled away in the second half to win 34–21. Very entertaining.

I stood near the dads of a couple of the players, who had a game-long commentary going. I’m thinking I should just live blog what they say some week as it is hilarious.

Oh, and L handed her phone to a friend to take a picture of her with some football player after the game. Then she saw the kid twice more over the weekend. Good grief…

College Football

Surely it is a sign of how far KU football has come that Jayhawk fans were pissed off about Saturday’s result. I mean, the program went something like a decade without winning a road game once. So even if needlessly close and nervous, getting out of Reno 3–0 should be what we’re focusing on, right? When you struggle with a team that got blasted by an FCS team the previous week, it’s going to mess with your head.

The worst part of the game wasn’t that KU played poorly, or that I don’t have CBS Sports Network and had to listen to the game, or that I’m not crazy about KU’s radio announcers. No, the worst part was that it began at 10:30 Eastern, and since victory wasn’t assured until there was under a minute to play, that meant I went to bed after 2:00 AM Sunday. Several of my buddies checked out at halftime, which was probably the smart move. I was wiped out on Sunday. I had Colorado State-Colorado muted on the TV so I was entertained. Just wish the game had started at a more reasonable time.

Saturday was also M’s first game in the stands for UC, as they played Miami (OH). The schools have the oldest non-conference rivalry in the country, and I was amazed to learn that despite winning 16-straight in the series, UC only led by one win.

M got fantastic seats and I was constantly looking for her in the crowd shots. Never saw her though.

Miami played great and held a lead into the fourth quarter until the Bearcats jumped ahead. Miami tied it and then UC had a makable field goal to win the game late that Miami blocked to send the game to overtime.

In OT Miami scored first, then picked off a pass in the end zone to get the W. Now the series is tied 60–60–7. Two of M’s best friends go to Miami. I bet those girls were way nicer about breaking a long losing streak than I would have been in the same situation. We talked to M Sunday and she said it was a lot of fun, until the very end.


Another Sunday of doing work for relatives meant I missed most of the Colts game. I was tracking the score and saw the Colts were up 14–3, then 21–3. I also noticed that Gardner Minshew was playing. That was strange.

When I got home and looked up what happened I learned that Anthony Richardson had gone nuts early, smacked his head on the turf, played two more series, and then reported concussion symptoms and sat out the rest of the game. Hmmmm.

You can’t get too excited about beating up on the Texans – who tried their hardest to come back in the fourth quarter – yet it’s still promising that the Colts apparently looked really good with Richardson in. Now comes the worry of when he’ll play again and if he’s now in the “every big hit might cause a new concussion” zone. Which is a bad place to be.

KU Hoops

This is not good. Very not good. There were some rumbles of displeasure/disbelief when Bill Self took on Arterio Morris, given he played last year with a domestic abuse charge pending in Texas, but no general outcry. I would expect even Teflon Bill is going to get some serious heat about Morris as more comes out about this case.

Assorted Other Notes

We got the girls’ car back from the repair shop on Wednesday, about a week earlier than expected, which was awesome. It looks nearly perfect, so no complaints.

One of our senate seats is opening up here in Indiana next year, so the rats are scrambling to get their names out there early. The last two Sundays NFL games have been flooded with ads from all the “self-made outsiders” who will be in the Republican primary next spring. Throw in a very nasty Indianapolis mayoral race in this fall’s election, and I’m already having to mute commercial breaks. Really looking forward to 2024.

Speaking of commercials, I saw my first Christmas ad on Saturday. That was September 16 for those of you who don’t own calendars.

While on the subject of getting an early start on the holidays, S and I were at Target on Thursday and bought two full-size, posable skeletons for the front porch. We got a lot of looks as we wheeled them through the store and parking lot. We’ve given them some accessories and have a couple more things coming. Once we get everything situated the way we like I’ll share a picture.

Friday Playlist

The music vault is overstuffed again, so we’re back to extra large playlists.

“Little Fires” – The Gaslight Anthem
Now we’re talking! This is the return to the classic TGA sound we’ve been waiting for.

“Coming Home” – Echo Ladies
“Resolution/Revolution” – The Linda Lindas
“Nightmare Nights” – Church Girls
Three straight songs featuring female vocalists who kick ass. I heard them in this order this morning, driving home from dropping L at basketball at 5:45. They gave me a much-needed energy boost.

“Waves” – Kula Shaker
I know a few of Kula Shaker’s songs, several of which I like a lot, but didn’t know much about the band. In response to them releasing this new track I did some reading. They have had an interesting career. Their breakthrough track, 1996’s “Tattva,” was loathed by UK critics, one calling it the worst song of the year. They were accused of ripping off Indian culture quite often. The lead singer made some pretty dumb statements about Nazis. He admitted later that he was a horribly ignorant kid who said a lot of stupid things. All that makes me wonder if I should enjoy this song as much as I do.

“Blue Sky Day” – Died Pretty
I’m not sure exactly where I came across this, whether it was in my Discover Weekly playlist or I read about it somewhere. Died Pretty were mainstays of the 1980s Aussie rock scene. You can certainly hear some similarities to the Hoodoo Gurus in their music. They brushed up against success on the college charts in the US, but a variety of strange things kept them from ever breaking through here. For example, one music exec thought their stage show was too suggestive and refused to promote them in the US because of it. Lead singer Ron Peno died about a month ago, which I’m sure was what made their music pop up wherever it appeared in my feed.

“I Would Die 4 You” – Mariachi El Bronx
A rather unexpected yet delightful cover of a classic.

“A Murder of One” – Counting Crows
Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the release of CC’s debut album August and Everything After. I think I’m like most people and I didn’t discover it until the following spring when “Mr. Jones” became an MTV and alt-rock radio staple. It quickly became one of those staple albums of the Nineties, and you were almost guaranteed to find at least one copy of it in every dorm room or apartment you visited after 1994. It’s also an A+ fall album, so I’ll definitely be giving it a virtual spin soon.

“Recovery” – Frank Turner
I saw Frank Turner play last night. It was a great show, 105 nearly uninterrupted minutes of kick ass music. Frank knows how to put on a show, screaming out every lyric from the bottom of his soul, jumping up on amps, leaning into the crowd, and generally pouring his heart into every second of the performance. I can’t remember the last time I was at a show with crowd surfers or a mosh pit. And the average age of attendees had to be deep into the 30s, if not early 40s. I saw several folks who had to have 10 years on me. Anyway, a terrific way to spend an evening. Lots of choices for songs I could share, but might as well go with the first Frank song I ever fell in love with. One that my friends and I agree he plays way too early in his sets.

“Angry” – The Rolling Stones
I rolled my eyes as rumors flew that the Stones were about to release their first new music in ages, the first without Charlie Watts on drums. Why should I be either excited or interested about dudes in their 80s releasing a new rock ‘n’ roll song?

Then I heard this lead single. It’s pretty good? Maybe really good?! Certainly their best song since 1989’s “Mixed Emotions.” Maybe even further back. You never know with old bands like them, this could be a song they’ve been sitting on for 45 years that they dusted off and re-recorded. Hell, maybe it’s all AI and the joke is on us. Whatever its origin story, it works for me. Not sure I’m mega excited about the album this will appear on, but I’ll at least give it a courtesy listen now. This video is a fantastic use of technology to pull the band’s history into the new song.

Tuesday Notes

I have some assorted items that have been sitting around for a week or two that aren’t big enough for their own post. So you get back-to-back Notes entries.

Kid Hoops

L is in her third week of basketball workouts at CHS. The first two weeks were before school on Wednesdays and Fridays. She’s been getting up before 5:00 on those days. My alarm is set for 5:19 but I generally hear her banging around and wake up well before that. We are out the door around 5:35. I don’t mind that, but I also don’t love it.

This week they added a Monday night workout to the schedule. That will continue until the third week of October when official practice can begins, which I assume will be every day.

L said they’ve gone well. A lot of scrimmaging and basic shooting drills so far. This week they are supposed to pick up the intensity a little and start working on a lot of defensive drills. She’s also supposed to get a survey where she assesses her own play and then goes over it with the coaches.

For what it’s worth she’s been hanging out more with older girls from basketball than with her fellow freshmen, and we’ve been giving her shit about that. Two weeks ago she went to the football game with freshmen and she yelled at us, “See, I hang out with freshmen too!”

Her first travel tryout for next year was this past Sunday. There were nearly 100 girls there for all the high school teams. I talked to her coach from the past two years and he said the organization has been poaching good teams from other programs, which accounts for some of the numbers. I don’t think that will have an impact on L since she won’t be on an elite team. It made for a pretty packed gym, though.


I’ve been swimming a lot for the past six weeks, give or take.

I can hear you. “No shit, dumbass. You have a pool. Why wouldn’t you be swimming?”

I’m not talking about just getting in the pool and splashing/floating around like I normally do. I’m talking about swimming laps and turning it into a workout.

I’ve never done this in my life. Mostly because I’m not a great swimmer and never had the courage to get into the pool at the Y and bang out some laps.

Fortunately the swimmable part of our pool is only about 30 feet long and it’s not too complicated to turn into a lap pool. After a few weeks of doing it maybe once a week for about 10 minutes, since mid-August I’ve been doing it 3–5 times a week for closer to 20 minutes. I’m not going to pretend this is some awesome workout. I swim one way without taking a breath, pause to suck in some oxygen, then head the other way. I’ll do this four or five times, take a minute break, then repeat. Each time I finish my Apple Watch tells me I’ve set a new record. Even starting from zero, I’ll take that as a sign that I’m headed in the right direction.

My hope is the weather stays warm enough that with the occasional boost from the pool heater I can keep doing this for about another month to continue to build some endurance. Then we’ll see if I’m courageous enough to transfer it over to the Y and swim public laps. I’m a little frightened of both the rules of etiquette at the pool and needing to stop and rest way more often than the other people swimming.

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying a different workout that reduces the stress on my always aching joints. And might as well keep using the pool as long as it’s open.


I also played pickleball for the first time ever last week. I picked it up pretty quickly had a great time. It was quite the workout. I’m sure it being a hot, humid night helped. I went with my old neighbor to the church where he’s a pastor. They converted an unused basketball court into two pickleball courts last year. We had seven guys last week, so a nice rotation that allowed you to sit out a game and cool off when you lost.

Not sure if I’m going to turn into one of those Pickleball People, although I have added that group’s weekly meeting to my calendar. And I bought my own racquet? paddle? this week.

I’m sure I’ll keep you updates on my exploits should they continue.

College Recruiting

You may remember me mentioning Marcus Adams Jr. about a month ago in my summary of KU’s summer. He was the recruit from California who reclassified into the senior class in April and committed to KU. When he announced that he would be a Jayhawk, he admitted the reason he picked KU over UCLA was because KU’s NIL program paid better.

From the time he committed there was a lot of weirdness about his situation. There were rumors he might actually go pro instead of enroll at KU. He took longer than the other new recruits to arrive on campus, but that was chalked up to the California academic calendar. Upon his arrival, there were almost immediate rumors that he was struggling in pickup games, and worry among the coaches that because he played at a lower level of high school ball, his game wasn’t ready for a Power 5 conference. As those rumors began popping up KU was suddenly recruiting another long wing who could play this coming year (Johnny Furphy).

Adams lasted about a month in Lawrence before announcing he was leaving. He landed at Gonzaga, but three weeks after committing there changed his mind again. Now he is enrolled at BYU. For a kid who thought Lawrence, KS was “too country,” I’m excited to hear about his experience at a school run by the Mormons.

My point isn’t to throw shade at Adams, which far too many have done. Recruiting is a hard deal and kids who are 17/18 are placed under tremendous pressure in the process. They don’t always end up making the best decisions. Which is why I think one-time free transfers are important.

No, I want to throw shade at the people around Adams. When he did interviews while at KU he seemed super young. There was always a deer in headlights quality to him. I don’t want to say immature, because I have no idea what his behavior was like. It just seemed like he wasn’t super comfortable in that moment. Which is fine, not every freshman can relax when someone sticks a camera in their face.

But given how he’s committed to three schools in something like five months, I’m beginning to wonder if he, in fact, is not mature enough for the moment. I feel like the people around him should have known this going in. One of the pressures on high school athletes is to get their pro clock running as quickly as possible, and often that pressure comes more from their handlers than themselves.

Maybe Marcus Adams is going to be fine, both athletically and emotionally at BYU and my points are silly. The evidence so far, though, suggests that maybe the people who are helping to guide him through this process should have spent more time evaluating his maturity level than his game, and kept him in high school one more year so he was better prepared to select the place to spend his college years. There are worse things than waiting a year to start making money off sports. Especially if that year of waiting improves your odds of long-term success.


One final note about the NFL, and Monday Night Football. What a bananas game! I was out picking up L so missed Aaron Rodgers destroying his ankle or achilles or whatever. I just saw all the Tweets saying it was the most Jets thing ever.

And then the freaking Jets came back from 10 down to win the game in overtime, forcing four turnovers, making one of the greatest catches you will ever see, and getting a walk-off, punt return TD. Nuts.

The Football Gods have been punishing the Jets, for some reason, ever since they won Super Bowl III. This seemed like the year when they might finally shake that off. They have a fearsome defense that is going to fuck up a lot of teams. Even if Rodgers couldn’t play at an MVP level anymore, he was still an above-average QB, which might have been enough to win 2–3 games in January with that D. Now? This whole season is going to be a gigantic tease for Jets fans. I almost feel sorry for them.

« Older posts

© 2023 D's Notebook

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑