Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Sadness of the Nature Boy

Grantland has an astonishing look at everything that’s gone wrong personally and financially for Ric Flair in the last few years. I had sort of assumed that most of the all-time great wrestlers were somehow shielded from the sort of stuff that has most of the lesser guys dying of an OD in a hotel room at age 45, but apparently even arguably the greatest wrestler in history can be four times divorced and owe millions.

Music Critic Quote of the Day

Steven Hyden, in the AV Club, on Ke$ha:

Ke$ha has described her personal aesthetic as garbage chic, which is another way of saying that she walks, talks, and looks like a proudly vacuous, profoundly awful, and guilelessly trashy person on a never-ending whiskey-n-coke binge. Everything about Ke$ha is affected, from the sociopathic sneer of her highly Vocoder-ized vocals to the aggressive soullessness of the lyrics, which take hedonism well past the point of fun and into a dark, dank hell of Facebook catchphrases and bimbo-airhead posturing doubling as female empowerment… Does Ke$ha do anything to make society better? Of course not. Is Animal alluring and dastardly propaganda that encourages young, impressionable people to be massive pieces of shit? You betcha. Have either of these facts impeded my enjoyment of Ke$has amoral, brain-dead, and relentlessly hooky singles? Sadly, no.

And he’s the one in the discussion defending Ke$ha.

Hitting the Target

Over the weekend in Minnesota I went to my first Twins home game of the year, which happened to be the Twins’ one victory over the Yankees in the four-game weekend series.
A fascinating observation: fans of the Twins, after years of playoff exits and regular season blowouts at the hands of the Evil Empire, have become pre-2004 Red Sox fans, complete with “Yankees Suck” shirts and requisite booing of Derek Jeter. And it’s the same one-sided rivalry that Yanks-Sox used to be; if you asked any Yankee fan to name their top rivals, the Twins probably wouldn’t be one of the first 15 names listed.

Progressive Thoughts

On my trip this week I stopped for the night in Cleveland and, having nothing to do, went down to Progressive Field and took in that evening’s Indians-Mariners game. A few thoughts on the game and park:
– I was able to walk up to the box office ten minutes before the game started and buy a ticket for $8, shortly after parking two blocks away for just $10. Once I got in there were enough empty seats that I was able to sit in about eight different seats over the course of the game. I don’t know the last time doing such a thing in Philly was possible but it’s been quite a few years.
– Progressive Field is the 16th current ballpark that I’ve been to and the fifth this season (after Minnesota, Philly, Seattle and Wrigley.) I generally liked it- it’s a bit dated, but I can tell exactly which touches the other, newer parks stole from it. Nationals Park in DC seems to have swiped the entire blueprint, while Target Field took the Jake’s outside-the-park plaza concept and made it much better.
– The Mariners beat the Indians 3-2 on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth. The Indians were missing just about all of their biggest-named players- Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Kipnis- and seemed to have lots of trouble scoring runs.
– Illustrating baseball’s small/large market divide, both teams in the game have traded Cliff Lee, and multiple players – including ex-Phils Lou Marson and Jason Donald- were among the proceeds of past Lee trades seeing action on the field. Concurrently, Lee was shutting down the Mets in Philly.
– The Indians’ in-stadium music after a loss is “Lost” by Coldplay. Yikes.
– On a better musical note: a local high school marching band played the national anthem on the field prior to the game, and then spent the entire game sitting in the left field bleachers- where all the die-hards sit- playing songs a couple of times between innings. In all my years of baseball I’ve never before seen a marching band at a major league game, although I kind of liked it.
– The following night the Indians scheduled a “Puppypalooza,” one of those promotions in which fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game. However, the Indians played a doubleheader Tuesday, and the Puppypalooza was only in effect for the night game. So if you wanted to go to both games, your best bet was probably to go to the opener, go home and get your dog, and come back for the nightcap.
– If you didn’t think Chief Wahoo was a racist-enough mascot before, he’s gotten a makeover- they’ve given him a hooked Jew nose! And it’s not racist, but the team’s Phanatic-ripoff on-field mascot, “Slider,” is pretty embarrassing too.
– The night guy on the ESPN Radio station that night, Greg Brinda, was more viciously critical of the Indians that night than I think I’ve ever heard any Philly host get about a Philly team. I think he was prepared to kill Indians manager Manny Acta with his bare hands.

Fagbugs, No Slugs Back

During my road trip across the rural midwest earlier this week, I was driving somewhere on the Ohio Turnpike, in the Western part of the state when I saw something that looked like a mirage: A Volkswagen Beetle, decked out in rainbow colors, with an unusual word written on the side: “Fagbug.” The car had a New York license plate and was driven by an attractive young woman (were you expecting Marcus Bachmann?)
I was wondering as I saw this- what in the world is the story here? The car listed as a URL, but- as on most of the trip- my phone was dead and I had no way of looking it up.
Turns out it’s a great story: a woman in Albany, N.Y., was a victim of a hate crime when her Volkswagen Beetle was spray painted with the words “fag” and “u r gay.” She responded by driving it around the country with the graffiti still on, and eventually painting it the rainbow colors. Now, the campaign has national sponsors- including Volkswagen- and there’s even a documentary, available to watch for free on Hulu.