Happy birthday to my brother Geoff, who ain't getting old, or else how do you explain that later tonight he's going to his first Sleater-Kinney concert, at the age of 57?
Landon Donovan is only 22 years old, so it's a bit premature to compare him to Barry Bonds. All baseball fans know that there's an electricity every time Bonds comes to the plate ... what will he do this time? ... Bonds is one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and a thrill to watch. Donovan still has most of his career ahead of him, although he's already done a lot: two MLS Cup championships, two World Cup goals.
But tonight, as Landon played in the attacking midfield spot for which he is best suited, I realized something special about him. When Landon Donovan gets the ball in the middle of the opposition half of the field and he has room to move, the excitement and anticipation is akin to what it's like when Barry Bonds bats. It's a real pleasure to watch potentially the best American soccer player of all time when he has space and opportunity in midfield.
Tonight, the Earthquakes defeated their hated rivals from Los Angeles, 4-2, and Landon had a decent match, but there were several other Quakes who were even better on the day. Dwayne DeRosario scored a mind-boggling goal, and even he wasn't the best Quake in the match. But with all of that, there were a few moments when Landon had the ball in midfield, and you could feel the energy surge through the crowd. It's something to see.
TypePad is not as easy as my old blog for figuring out what search terms people are using to find my site. Well, I can find recent searches easy enough, but the basic statistical overview is missing. Anyway, here are some recent searches people have attempted that led them to my blog:
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Your first love is always special, and "Good Things" was probably the first Sleater-Kinney song I really connected with. The most bittersweet performance I ever saw of the song came 3 1/2 years ago, at the Great American Music Hall, when the band was playing their last show for awhile ... they wanted a break, and who knew if they'd ever come back, although obviously they did. Their final song that evening was "Good Things":
The hardest part is things already said
Getting better worse I cannot tell
Why do good things never wanna stay
Some things you lose some things you give away
I doubt many of my readers will recognize the name Doug Pappas. He was a great friend of the community of baseball analysts, working tirelessly to provide students of the game with the kind of detailed information that is so invaluable to moving the discussion forward. Doug's specialty was the business aspect of the game ... if you ever checked Baseball-Reference.com and saw player salaries, that was probably Doug's research. He also wrote for the Baseball Prospectus. Doug passed away Thursday, and while I didn't know him personally, I got used to seeing his name attached to an awful lot of material I came across during an average day. Doug Pappas made the world a better place for baseball fans.
There's a scene in a long-forgotten and mostly awful movie, Soldier Blue, that I still remember more than thirty years later, although the truth is I may be misremembering it ... you know how those things go. Soldier Blue, as I recall, was a real mess of a movie, featuring the then-awkward acting of a young Candace Bergen in a sappy plot, then culminating with one of the king-hell massacres in screen history. That massacre, which was set in the 19th century and showed American soldiers destroying Native Americans, was assumed at the time (1970) to be a commentary on U.S. involvement in Vietnam, and sadly, it would probably play in a similar fashion now, as my country shames itself in Iraq. At one point in the film, a naive young soldier asks the "radical" Bergen why she doesn't leave the country if she hates it so much. She can't do that, is her reply, because it's her country ... it's who she is ... she understands that deep inside, no matter how much hatred she has for the place of her birth, it is a part of her that she can't deny or ignore or escape.
At least, that's how I remember the scene.
Recently I was talking with some friends, and I said something along the lines of what Candace Bergen said in Soldier Blue, that I was an American for better and for worse. I couldn't imagine living somewhere else, no matter how much I hated the USA, because it was me. And I suspected most folks were a lot like me in that regard. One of my friends said he would leave America in a second, and seemed pretty surprised that my own disgust for America hadn't led me to the same conclusion. I was surprised at his statement, just as he was surprised at mine, because we both seemed to agree about what America meant, yet came to different conclusions.
Well, George Bush II (aka Worst. President. Ever.) is managing to move me closer to my friend with every passing day. This vile man and his vile compatriots do vile things in the name of America on a daily basis, and my shame is only magnified by my complicity. In 2004, it feels dirty to be an American. And, as I turn my hatred inward, I want to lash out. I want to pummel Bush in the face, I want to pummel anyone who supports Bush in the face, I want, in short, to be like those American torturers, punishing Bush and his ilk for making me feel like shit. And then I get ashamed of myself once again, because I know I, too. am capable of every vile act that has been exposed under the Bush regime (this is the dark secret at the heart of The Shield, that we are all capable of the vile act).
I have so little to offer, and so, in honor of Sunday's Sleater-Kinney concert, here are excerpts from two songs off of their One Beat album. First, "Combat Rock":
Show you love your country go out and spend some cashAnd "Sympathy":
Red white blue hot pants doing it for Uncle Sam
Flex our muscles show them we’re stronger than the rest
Raise your hands up baby are you sure that we’re the best?
We'll come out with our fists raised
The good old boys are back on top again
And if we let them lead us blindly
The past becomes the future once again
When the moment strikes
it takes you by surprise and
leaves you naked in the face of death and life
there is no righteousness in your darkest moment
We’re all equal in the face of what we’re most afraid of
And I’m so sorry
for those who didn't make it
and for the mommies who are left with their heart breaking
Search for meaning in sores
The sentences they might form
It’s the grammar of skin
Peel it back, let me in
Look for hope in the dark
The shadow cast by your heart
It’s the grammar of faith
No more rules, no restraint
Richard Pryor to Bill Cosby via Eddie Murphy: "Have a Coke and a smile, and shut the fuck up!"
The Shield never ceases to amaze me.
This week, David Mamet directed the episode. But that wasn't the sick part. The sick part ... well, the sickest part ... came in the last scene, when one of the regulars strangled a cat with his bare hands.
I think he liked it.
Every person on this show is a sick bastard.