Sunday, September 30, 2007

it's over

the Phillies beat the Nationals 6-1 and the Mets lose to the Marlins 8-1 to complete the greatest collapse in major league baseball history.

but Auburn STILL beat the previously #4 ranked and defending national champion Florida Gators(for the second year in a row) in the Swamp 20-17.

and while the Mets blowing a 7-game lead with only 17 to play is a real shocker, and Auburn beating Florida (an 18-point favorite) for Urban Meyer's first loss at home, the true holy shite moment of the early fall is Kentucky (not South Florida; Kentucky) ranked in the top ten in football (#8 in both major polls).
I love me some underdogs, but this will never (ever) last. three of their five wins have come against Eastern Kentucky, Kent State and Florida Atlantic (not exactly football powerhouses) and neither Arkansas nor Louisville, even excepting their respective losses to the Wildcats, are playing like folks thought they should.
though the 'Cats have a very favorable schedule (only one away game thus far), it's nothing but SEC opponents, including LSU and Florida in successive weeks(though both games are at home), left on the schedule.
I think they'll be doing well to finish the year at 8-4 (and they're 5-0 now).

but returning to a more pleasant note, all hail freshman kicker Wes Byrum.
and War Eagle.

a recap

I've never written for Pitchfork (and that's okay).

I don't believe I've ever received a SubPop promo (less okay, esp. now when there's new Iron & Wine and Band of Horses I'd like to hear (though, boy, Sam could be the double for Will Forte as "The Falconer" in this promo for his video on Amazon)).

the Mets, after a soon-to-be legendary September swoon (something like 11 losses in the last 15 games, most of them at home and most against cellar dwellers), finally came around yesterday and kicked butt, both literally and figuratively. a bench-clearing brawl in the fifth, John Maine takes a no-hitter into the eighth and the Mets take the Marlins 13-0. and with the Phillies' loss to the Nationals (the true NL East cellar dweller, and also a Phillies home game), the Mets crawled (too on the nose?) back into a tie for the division lead, a place they'd been (until Friday night) since April.

enter Tom Glavine, winner of 303 major league games and near certain Hall of Fame selection (since no 300+ game winner has ever been denied the Hall of Fame).
then exit Tom Glavine, 303 game winner, in what has to be the worst (and possibly last) outing of that Hall of Fame career.
the Marlins go through the order against Glavine who records but one out before being pulled and after a mere half inning Florida leads the Mets (in the Mets' most important regular season game in, well, the history of the franchise) 7-0.

something stinks in here, and it's not the Camembert.

(above photo: Mr. Met, in happier days)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

happymabirthday mr. faulkner

William Faulkner, approximately half the reason that the South gets credit for producing exceptional writers and athletes (though precious little else, thank you very much), is/was/would've been 110 today.

though not the majority choice, I still prefer Light in August.

Monday, September 24, 2007

homer simpson, smiling politely

actually, of course, it's Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins (and not the greatest likeness either).

but quite surely I am feeling poorly.

I had my daytime e-mail access removed (without anesthesia (could you have spelled it without looking it up?)) and it dearly, dearly hurts.

last movie I ever saw: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

last book I ever read: Underground Harmonies: Music and Politics in the Subways of New York (a bit too sociological for my tastes, though I wouldn't mind an update)

Monday, September 17, 2007

sometimes just what anymore to know I don't even think

there's still no joy in Auburnville (seriously. Mississippi State?)

last piece I ever published: a short little preview on Oakley Hall for Phoenix New Times (pay attention. something close to it will make another appearance soon enough).

last book I ever read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (I liked the first one better)

last movie I ever saw: Woody Allen's Scoop (not good. and I'm a Woody Allen fan. further evidence that Scarlett Johansson was carried by Bill Murray in Lost in Translation)

the one before that: The X-Files (even worse. I could rant for longer than the movie ran about the all the stuff wrong with this one (what? people don't need gloves in Antarctica? (what? people go to Antarctica?)))

last concert I ever saw (and didn't take photos): Wild Carnation, Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3 and Glenn Mercer (here's a link to the Voice piece I wrote about Glenn last summer) at the Mercury Lounge last Thursday night (finally some redemption. and though I've been a fan for more years than I care to count, the set by Steve's group was so surprisingly strong I think it'd be safe to call it stunning. really wish someone had recorded)

and in other news, I was also in the audience for the preview of Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten that Tom Breihan blogged about the following day (Thursday). and though I like both Tom and Tom's writing, I thought he was off base on this one.
personally I found much more than the final twenty minutes "heartwarming" (Mick and Joe reuniting for "White Riot," a song that had previously started arguments, at a benefit for striking firemen when they could've made beaucoup cash almost anywhere else? come on, give us a hug).
yeah, we've had enough of Bono testimonials and goatee-braided Johnny Depp and Courtney Love in any guise. and sure, Joe acted like an ass to his former hippie squatter friends, but we're trying to tell a truthful story here, not apply varnish to a saint.
and the whole comparison/contrast thing between Julien Temple (I thought the repetitive footage of belly dancers and camels to signify Strummer's time in Turkey was pretty damn funny) and Martin Scorsese is pretty much a stacked deck.
I mean, if all singer-songwriters were compared to Bob Dylan, then everybody but John Prine would pretty much suck belly dancers and camels, you know?
which I guess they do.

"and I thought, God he's sensitive."
- Topper Headon

Thursday, September 13, 2007

even sometimes to think what I just don't know anymore

an addendum to Tuesday's post:

I ran across a Times' article from September 20, 2001 entitled "Novelists Reassess Their Subject Matter" that kind of touched home. I'm not, even wasn't, a novelist, but I do hold the aptly monikered terminal degree in Creative Writing-Fiction from a not disrespected university program and wrote a bunch of fiction before and after moving to New York (some of which I'm thinking of posting here; I mean, it's far enough away from now that it doesn't seem like it could hurt anything), including a novella entitled "Utah" that was written during a creatively timed leave of absence from a different day job way back when.
anyway, I empathize with the subject matter, if not the execution as I haven't written a single piece of fiction since the planes hit. and, in fact, was full bore into the book that became Cup of Coffee within a month after. it just didn't seem to me that made up stuff was all that important anymore when there were so, so many stories of living, breathing people who would not be living and breathing forever.

I don't mean that as morbid, callous or unfeeling as it sounds. but anyone who's the least bit familiar with Cup of Coffee can see the similarity between the men I spoke with and the Moonlight Graham character from the movie Field of Dreams.
and, of course, when Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann drive to Minnesota to speak with Moonlight Graham, he'd already passed away.
and I didn't want that to happen to me.
I didn't want to miss an important, all-too-human story just because I hadn't moved quickly enough.
so I got started.
I had to wait for a while to begin making phone calls to the men I would later interview because it was a strange, strange time. people everywhere were nervous, jittery. and I didn't think that right after was a good time to be cold calling strangers.
but soon enough I did. and I got started in earnest.
the first flight I took after 9/11 was in service of Cup of Coffee, and it was well, well worth it.
I doubt that I'll ever work on a book that will provide me with such a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
and though nearly all the questions were mine in these interactions with short-term major leaguers, I can't think, offhand, of a single man who didn't ask me what it was like to be in New York on 9/11.

enough already.
there's a wonderful article in New York magazine this week on Emma Rathkey, a determined young woman just now entering college, whose father died in the Trade Center attack.
the line that got me?
"Emma’s teammates were there, in uniform."

in the meantime, Springsteen's Rising still plays ("You're Missing"):

"Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall
Mama's in the kitchen, baby and all
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
Papers on the doorstep, but you're not there
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
But you're missing

Pictures on the nightstand, TV's on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you're missing, you're missing
You're missing, when I shut out the lights
You're missing, when I close my eyes
You're missing, when I see the sun rise
You're missing

Children are asking if it's alright
Will you be in our arms tonight?

Morning is morning, the evening falls,
I got too much room in my bed, too many phone calls
How's everything, everything?
Everything, everything
But you're missing, you're missing

God's drifting in heaven,
Devil's in the mailbox,
I got dust on my shoes,
Nothing but teardrops."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I don't even think what just to know sometimes anymore

very surprising to me that even here in New York (at least in midtown - I assume downtown is muchly different) September 11th is passing as a nearly normal day.

but it's not, of course.

I probably did myself no favors listening to Springsteen's The Risingon the way into work. while certainly flawed (Bruce needs to quit writing songs with 'Mary' in the title), The Rising, more than any other disc I can think of, comes closest to capturing the range of emotions that this day conjures.

it's the sixth anniversary of the day in which a majority of Americans feel that their life irrevocably changed (see: recent Zogby poll which states that 81% of Americans (a much higher percentage on the East Coast) think the September 11th is the most significant historical event in their lifetime).

the Times has a number of articles, interactive presentations and even entire web issues from September 12th-20th, 2001, and the posts from that week reveal, like aftershocks, a preponderance of bomb scares, the openings and closings, openings and closings of the local airports (a number of planes were searched after they pulled back from the gate, and more than a few bearded and dark-skinned men were led away from terminals in handcuffs).
by the 14th even the Times was heralding Rudy Giulani, in contrast to President Bush, as a true leader.
by the 15th the Justice Department had zeroed in on at least the names of the 19 hijackers.
and, of course, all week long you could see and, if you weren't here, read about the heartbreaking search for survivors, interviews with people who spent that week furiously grasping at hope, plastering xeroxed snapshots of the missing - a sister, aunt, mother, brother, friend, father or fiancee last seen on the 96th floor of the North Tower, the 89th floor of the South Tower - all over Manhattan (especially around the Lexington Avenue Armory and just below at Union Square)
of course we know now that no one above the two points of impact got out alive.

no, this is not a normal day.

this anniversary is the first which lands on a Tuesday. September 11, 2001 was, of course, also a Tuesday. primary day in New York City. but unlike today's dreary rain and haze, that Tuesday was beautiful and clear.
I had stayed up very, very late (five, five-thirty) writing the night before, and so when the phone rang sometime before 9 a.m., I woke, kind of, enough to eye the alarm clock, but made no move to the phone. a few minutes later it rang again. and when it rang the third time, I answered. someone was obviously trying to reach me.

it was my mom (my spouse and mother-in-law had made the first two calls as I would later learn from the voice mail). she was glad that I was home. once a week I went to a job training center just three blocks from the Trade Center so JPMorgan Chase would pay for my German class at NYU (don't ask - it's a long, boring story), and my mom was afraid that this might've been that day.
she told me to turn on the television. I did, and less than a minute later saw the second plane veer into one of the towers.

I knew that my spouse was fine even though I wouldn't hear from her for several more hours (after the second plane hit, getting phone service was a matter of luck). she worked on 23rd Street. she wouldn't even be close.
but when I did hear from her she said she was headed to give blood, something many, many city residents did. so many that she had to go to one, two, three blood centers before she found a place to donate. the lines were long, unbelievably long, everywhere.
I wanted her to come home. I felt bad about wanting that, having her home with me instead of out giving blood, but the subways weren't running, I was by myself, and there was little to do but watch the television which showed the same unbelievably horrific images over and over and over. I wanted her to come home.
to get here she had to walk over the Queensboro Bridge, and a long distance before and after. she didn't make it home until almost nine and I'd spent twelve very awkward hours by myself, and I was a long, long way from my family in Alabama.

the next day my spouse and I walked to Socrates Sculpture Park by the East River. by then, about 28 hours after the towers collapsed, the resulting cloud had made its way uptown. you could see the smoke (if that's what it was). you could smell the smoke. you could taste the smoke.
back home we closed our windows and watched more television.

you could talk to strangers then, for days, maybe even weeks. just start up a conversation on the subway platform (our stop is elevated, and almost directly parallel to one of LaGuardia's landing patterns; on a clear day you can see four, five, maybe six airplanes lined up to land) if you felt like it (something we didn't do before and haven't done since). by Friday, when air traffic in the country sputtered back to life, you could turn to a stranger on the subway platform and talk about how odd it seemed, how frightening it was, to have planes back in the air.
for a few days everything had been very, very quiet, but we hadn't really noticed.

and so today's the sixth anniversary of September 11th.
and while I understand the urge, the instinct to move onward and upward, I'm having problems, even now, not tearing up, for example, reading the remembrances of family members' last conversations with trapped loved ones, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and best friends that they they knew they would never see again.

no, this is not a normal day.

sometimes to think I just don't even know what anymore

tennis is over (all hail King Federer), Ronald Reagan's first wife is dead, and today no one seemed to be able to talk about much other than Britney Spears' leadoff spot at Sunday night's VMAs.

but eight days ago (at just about this hour) 19-year-old Jose Sierra of The Bronx was shot in the back of the head while standing on the southbound platform of the Broadway stop on the N-W line in Astoria, Queens.
which is a station I pass through, say, a dozen or more times every week.
the incident provoked this rant from a Gainesville, Florida resident who, despite living approximately 1,013 miles away from the shooting, professes a particular knowledge of my neighborhood (personally, even after a dozen years of residency in this zip code, I can't remember "screaming and shouting in spanish, public intoxication, and group-urinations," but maybe I was out of town that night).

and, of course, when the sun comes up it'll be the sixth anniversary of September 11th. and I'm guessing Mr. Rabid Republican will change his tune (jump on the bandwagon, as it were) about our fair city (we're all New Yorkers today, right Gainesville?) for all of about 24 hours.

play it for him, Lee Greenwood.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


there is no joy in Auburnville.

(and who the hell knew that South Florida was the nation's ninth largest university by enrollment?)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

to even think anymore I just don't know what sometimes

back home to Alabama
back home from Alabama
back home to mama - Big Walter Horton
back home on the plum - Peter Himmelman
back home to Harlem - The Rosewood Thieves
back home in Georgia - Jerry Reed
back home in Sulphur Springs - Norman & Nancy Blake
back home in Huntsville again - Bobby Bare
(back home again in) Indiana - Illinois Jacquet

last book read:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

to see what I've been missing.

hm. I'm not exactly sure what all the fuss was about.

what the picture signifies:
maybe your job doesn't suck as bad as you thought it did

last movie seen:
Little Manhattan

because it turns out that the Season Two Sopranos discs we thought we had were actually Season Three. which we've already watched.

not the worst movie I've ever seen, but if I'd realized that the kid was going to narrate all ninety minutes I never would've even sat down.