etc... etc... etc...

I had started to write today about last night's all star debacle, but I had to quit about 1/3 of the way through. Writing about a) baseball's amazing skill at not giving fans what they deserve and b) Bud Selig makes my blood boil. I swear, I'm like that first ball that Barry Bonds hit out last night-- so close to going out, and saying piss off to the MLB. But Torii seems to barely pull me back in. If there is a strike, I'm going to be much more like the ball in Barry's second at-bat-- long gone, and not coming back.

Onto happier things, though-- random thoughts from my melon.

  • Yeah, I watched soccer. I didn't wake up early for it, but the few times there were games on during waking hours, I did watch it and was entertained. Or, at least, entertained by the U.S. team. Kinda like college basketball-- I like watching the Gophers play, but could care less about any other games. I guess the one interesting piece of information I gleaned from the World Cup was this: no longer will I consider Vikings fans who start tailgating at 6 a.m. in -20 degree weather as the ultimate sports rubes. I think most European soccer fans have now assumed this title. A lot of people take sports (especially football) waaaay too seriously here but... it's like life and death with these people. Some days you just appreciate the American Revolution more than others.
  • I saw Austin's own Martin Zellar perform at something called "Pan-O-Prog" in Lakeville last Friday night. Great stuff. It's really refreshing to see someone on stage who actually looks like he's enjoying himself. Anyway, I crooned along most of the evening (embarrassing my wife) and drinking Honey Weiss in a can. (Hey, only $3.50!) A little scary: MZ has a few gray hairs showing.
  • Aside: The guitar player in Zellar's band is named Dan Neale, a talented fellow from Texas. Dan's got this way of.. well.. subtly mini-dancing while playing his guitar. One time when wadE, Jason and I saw these guys play in '96 wadE started doing a little impression of Dan's dance. We're pretty sure Dan saw him, and we're also pretty sure Dan wasn't too happy. After the band was done, wadE spent the rest of the night peering around doors and toilet stalls making sure ol' Danny wasn't gonna give him a Lone Star State sized can of whoop-ass. Okay, maybe that last part isn't true, but it's funny.
  • Pet Peeve #452: people who use the word "alls." As in, "Alls I'm saying is..."
  • Ever watched "The Best Damn Sports Show on Television"? If not, don't waste your time. It's far from the best. From the small exposure I've had to it, it's only slightly more tolerable than Jim Rome, and he's awful. When you're relying on Tom Arnold for your comic relief (and, while we're at it, John Kruk for your sporting insight), wrap it up.
  • I found myself singing "Mowtownphilly" quietly to myself last weekend while doing yardwork. Ever wonder what Boyz II Men are up to nowadays? Me too. Yup, there is a Unfortunately, it looks like they're still trying to recapture the success they had in the early 90s. Back in my more urban days, I used to really like these guys. Heck, I used to think "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" was the best slow song ever. I love how music can instantly transport you to other places in time-- that song will forever mean sitting in the Austin High old gym during a dance in October, 1991. All of a sudden my only cares in the world are getting my driving permit, finishing my Health homework, watching the Twins postseason run, and wondering how long Magic Johnson will live.
  • Oh, just a side note. The above website describes the members of Boyz II Men as "pure, unsaturated romance manifested through song." Yuh huh.
  • I find myself actually getting excited for football season. I've got trouble reconciling this fact in my head. Maybe it's because I'm nearly estranged from baseball. Maybe it's because I'm excited about the fall. Maybe it's because for the first time since Boyz II Men sang "Motownphilly", the Vikings have a man besides Denny Green as head coach. Maybe it's all of those things. To all of the Vikings executives that are surely reading this right now: PLEASE bring back Dan Rowe to do radio play-by-play. Although I'm semi-excited about Paul Allen replacing Terry Stuble-ridge, I just don't know if PA will be able to tone down his funk style enough for old-school football. I connect Rowe's voice to Vikings football as much as I connect John Gordon's voice to Twins baseball.
  • I'm on day #3 of attempting to get 100 ounces of water in me a day. I think I can completely cut out working out on the elliptical as I now make 4,634 trips to the bathroom each day.
  • My summer reading recommendation: anything by John Irving. I just finished "A Prayer for Owen Meany" (the book they based Simon Birch on) a week ago. Great stuff. Actually, I read "The World According to Garp" last winter and only recently got over it. He's realy an amazing writer-- the scope of his longer books are unreal, yet he manages to tie everything together. One critic said that Irving is "Dickensian"-- I'm guessing that means that his books are huge and have lots of interesting characters. I'll agree with that.
  • I saw Major League on TV last weekend. Really funny movie, especially now after hearing about contraction in baseball. I've only actually seen the TV (edited) version of this movie, meaning the movie I know is much cleaner (and, in my opinion, funnier) than the actual film. For example, if you watch the actual version, you'll miss out on quotes like "What's with that ole' stuff, Dorn?" and "I say enough with you, Jobu" and the ever-popular "You may run like Mays but you hit like his sister." Classic.
  • Incidentally, I am contractually obligated to use that "What's with that ole' stuff" line at least once during every baseball game I watch or attend. Really. Ask my friends.
  • Saw A Time To Kill on Sunday night. (If it's seeming like I sat on my ass all weekend, you're a winner. When it's 90 and humid, I feel very little guilt about sitting around inside.) I saw this one in the theater when it came out in 1996, but I'd forgotten all of the big stars that were in this one. Beyond Matt McConaughey and Sam Jackson, it also had Sandra Bullock, Kevin Spacey, Donald and Kiefer Sutherland, Ashley Judd and Oliver Platt. Kinda like Mars Attacks but less sucky.
  • In a recent e-mail, my boss said it best: "Fridays off in the summer is what life is all about."
  • I may be playing my old fart card here, but if you'd like some smooth music to listen to at work, you have to pick up James Taylor's Greatest Hits. Calming... acoustic... perfect thing for a rainy Wednesday morning. (Don't try his later stuff, though. He seems to have lost his knack when he quit doing so many drugs.)
  • I was going to write a whole column on this, but then realized it wouldn't really be that interesting to people. BUT... I wish I could find a job that I enjoy as much as I enjoyed working for the Austin Municial Pool in the summers between freshman and senior years in college. That truly was as good as it got. Earliest I had to be at work? 11:45. I usually worked in the concession stand, meaning the most taxing work I had to do was perfecting a soft-serve ice cream cone. The work in the boys' locker room was gross and uncomfortable at worst (especially when the adult men came in for lap swim... no shame, some of those guys.) But it usually was a good place to just sit and read. I was lucky to have Jason there the last couple of years, along with enough "seniority" and a good relationship with the managers to get a good schedule. Free Mr. Freezes, outside work, embracing irresponsibility fully.... I wonder if they're still hiring?
  • That's alls I got. Check back soon for a review of the new Counting Crows disc.



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