Thursday, December 20, 2007


I never thought in a million years I'd say something like this, but I'm uncomfortable with all this hate and vitriol directed at Roger Clemens lately. There's so many names to choose from, but even top sportswriters are getting in on this Clemens feeding frenzy. I think I figured out why the discomfort. I don't know if it's true or not, but I'm starting to suspect the media of using Roger Clemens as a white-guilt sacrifice to the gods of equality who'd call them racists when they bashed Bonds. He's being cast in the role of a reverse "great white hope"-- The One people had been waiting for to prove all these 'roid allegations weren't racially driven.

I'm not saying he isn't well cast. In this role it helps, as it does Bonds, to come across as an asshole. Nor am I saying it is such a bad thing to offer up such sacrifices. The gods are insatiable. And I'm most decidedly not saying I am now, or have ever, talked about such things through anything but my ass. I'm full of shit.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"everything is not enough, nothing is too much to bear"

So sang the great Townes Van Zandt (and plenty of others in tribute) in his classic tune To Live is to Fly. When I first heard the line, it didn't grab me so much. It seemed like a moody, trite thing to say. But then I started to live with the song, and realized I wasn't getting as much out of that line as I think is in there. It all hinges on how you take those words "everything" and "nothing."

"Everything" seems on the surface to mean the totality of all things. So the sentiment "everything is not enough" means that even if you had all things, you still wouldn't feel like you had enough. You are insatiable.

"Nothing" seems on the surface to mean the negation of any particular thing. So the sentiment "nothing is too much to bear" means there is no single thing that is too much to bear, no straw that'll really ever break the camel's back.

So there's no single thing you can't bear, but even if you had every single thing, you still wouldn't feel like you had enough. Like I said, trite and moody.

But Townes gave me another idea. He made me think about how either word can take on a positive or negative meaning by using "is" and "is not" the way he did-- "everything is not...", "nothing is..." See, that's weird. "Nothing is"-- no it isn't! "Everything is not"-- yes it is!

Here's how it can still make sense:

"Everything" can be distributed among particulars instead of encapsulating a totality. So now the first line means "every single thing, individually, is not enough."

"Nothing" can be understood as the totality of absence instead of as distributed among individual things that aren't there. So now the second line means "total absence is too much to bear."

So now, no matter what thing you're talking about, it's never gonna be enough. But if you'd throw in the towel and choose nothing instead, well that is too much to bear.

Now that's a bind I can get behind.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

the mysteries of "loverboy" probed

A great wrong was righted on Saturday, when a friend hipped me to this video I had somehow never seen before:

I've been thinking about it a lot since then. What the fuck is going on in this video? I'm not one to enforce some rule that things have to make sense. I could be happy enough just thinking of it as the "leftover cantina band," which is how it was described to me (we're talkin' Star Wars here). But I'm a naturally curious, analytical person. So let's probe.

Like anyone trying to understand some weird-ass video to a tune they don't know very well, I first looked at the lyrics. They seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with the video, except for the fact that they are about someone wanting to be someone's lover, which is presumably the sort of thing that could happen on any given planet, in any given solar system, and so even moreso on what appears to be an Earth-like planet, with a breathable atmosphere, liquid water, and several humanoid and reptilian looking creatures coexisting in a bar-room environment.

As the video begins, Billy Ocean seems to be folded up into a floating, shiny, prismatic pyramid, kinda reminiscent of that mirror-plane thing Ursa, Non, & Zod, those bad guys from Superman, got exiled in. As the beat begins in earnest, there is some sort of space explosion high above some planet, and then we cut in to a view of a fast-moving horse on a beach (maybe it is that same planet that had the explosion?). Wait, the horse looks like a pony, and the rider looks like a little person with a wizard hat. Wait again-- it's a god-damned lizard man! Now he dismounts and enters what looks from the outside to be some kind of natural cave. But on the inside it's a rolicking, dark, smoky bar-room party. In the center of the dance floor is another prism thing, only this one looks like an octahedron or a dodecahedron. Is it where the music is coming from? I don't know, but here comes the Billy Ocean prism, and now it's floating above the dodeca-prism, it seems like they are interfacing in some way.

Wow, that looks just like the chick from Dark Crystal talking to that alien.

Now the Billy Ocean pyramid unfolds, and here's Billy Ocean. Except he's not here. I mean, he's in his own world, in the same scene he was in before. I don't think he literally comes out of the prism, I think maybe his music does, though. But not for long-- now Billy Ocean is in space again, and for a second I could swear he was playing drums. Did Billy Ocean play drums? Anyhow, next thing I know, he folds up again, only now instead of a pyramid, he folds into a prismatic cube. Why?

Back in the cantina, the lizard-man plays a few hot synth licks, and gets some dirty looks from some people, including a TV-headed robot, someone who looks like Jaba the Hut, and someone who looks like Uncle Travelling Matt.

Holy shit! Lizard dude shot the dude Dark Crystal chick was talking to, and now he's kidnapping her! Wait, she is going willingly. I think she likes him. She must be the one who Billy Ocean is talking about when he says "I wanna be your lover," only Billy Ocean is talking from the point of view of the lizard-man.

As the lovebirds flee the cantina, the prism box is floating around and three Jawas are on their knees like they are praising it, like they are testifying, like maybe Billy Ocean is their God. Now the lizard and the girl ride off into the sun on the same pony, on the same beach.

What in the fuck?

Well, let's think. Prisms. Prisms show many facets. Maybe the video is about how the universe has many facets, and it is showing how in one corner of the universe there is this dramatic scene unfolding, but when looked at from another angle, that is exactly what happens when Billy Ocean sings in that dark room. Born in Trinidad, raised in England, his influence is truly universal.

Maybe Billy Ocean is that lizard-dude, but in disguise, you say? Then how come the prism comes in there, too? I don't think he is the same as the lizard guy.

Maybe it is planet Earth, only way in the future, and Billy Ocean travelled through time in that prism, and is continuing to rock the party even after he should have been long dead. This, I think, doesn't matter. Different planet, our planet in the future, whatever-- that trick can never work again after Planet of the Apes.

Here's what I think-- I think Billy Ocean is some sort of God. Like a hero-god, though. He is there to see that this lizard-guy gets his lover. He is like an angel. He busts in on the planet just in time to help out. How does he help? I don't know, he sets up a sweet groove, maybe, and that makes it easier for the lizard. Maybe the Dark Crystal chick loves the groove. In any event, he somehow watches over the process, and then his godliness is supported by those Jawas all testifying outside.

How about this-- in the future, or in space, maybe instead of angels getting their wings when they do good deeds (you know, like in It's a Wonderful Life), they get to advance to a shape with one more side. Maybe they start as a tetrahedron, then they become a cube when they do some good. So maybe that other prism in the cantina was even more advanced, since it seemed to have maybe 8 or 12 sides. Clearly, the final goal for these angels would be to have infinitely many sides, which if you know a little calculus makes them all but spheres. It's all kind of like the social structure in that book Flatland, only 3-D.

How about this-- George Lucas and Jim Henson had some leftover sets, props, and costumes from Star Wars and Dark Crystal, and the director got a deal on them.

How about this-- it's autobiographical, metaphorically. Billy Ocean came from Trinidad, via England, to make people in the U.S. fall in love. He is an outsider who makes insiders hook up. Maybe it is a cry for help. Maybe it is a statement of purpose.

How about this-- it's autobiographical, literally. These things happened, in just this sequence, to the real Billy Ocean. He's seen things that would blow our minds. He's been places we can't imagine. Nobody believes him when he talks about it, so he made a video. It's ok, Billy, I believe you. I mean, come on, is this the smile of a guy who's crazy?

Monday, December 17, 2007

full disclosure

Lest anyone get the wrong idea about me, I feel like I better make the following Embarrassing Confessions:

-I don't get what's so great about the Clash
-I think Paris Hilton is hot
-I'm starting to like the New England Patriots
-I've watched and enjoyed Project Runway
-I never saw The Warriors until last week
-Born in the USA is still my favorite Springsteen album
-I never really got Doonesbury
-I don't get what's so bad about 5150-- it's at least tied for my favorite Van Halen album
-Words can't describe the anger, sadness, and deep feeling of the world letting me down I felt when I first saw my fondest childhood memories sullied in this fucking commercial
-I still think The Wall is way better than Dark Side of the Moon
-I don't get what's so great about Sweetheart of the Rodeo
-I love Hardees Thickburgers and eat one once a week
-Sometimes when I see a commercial for a new product at Taco Bell, I get excited and get in my van and drive to Taco Bell and order the new product (even though it always ends up tasting like every other new product at Taco Bell)
-I don't get what's so great about Easy Rider
-I don't get what's so great about Bitches Brew
-For that matter, I can't seem to get into any jazz from about 1968 and later
-I don't get what's so great about Frank Sinatra

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

simon and garfunkel are their names.

My balls, that is.

Friday, December 14, 2007

a wager

Say it ain't so, George. Cody McKay? Larry Bigbie?? Fernando Vina?!?

Ah, but at least there's a corn in the turd-- now I can say with a fair degree of confidence that I have bigger balls than Roger Clemens and Miguel Tejada. Wanna bet? I could probably fit seven of Barry Bonds' balls into just one of my balls-- even if I first put one of Jose Canseco's balls inside one of Roger Clemens' balls, then put Roger Clemens' ball-stuffed ball into one of Barry Bonds' balls.* But I'm not here to point fingers, and I'm not here to stuff hypothetical shrunken balls into other hypothetical shrunken balls. No, what I'm here for is to compare ball size, and the smart money's on mine. So go ahead, lay down your bets. Yes, put down some smart money. On my balls. Put money on my balls.

* Much like the Turducken.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

wait, maybe sad was always funny

sad is the new funny

If you need further proof, watch some holiday commercials.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I was gonna write an entry that was more or less this, only not as good. Instead I will write about "the," that lil' dynamo of a word that can make words like drive, shot, and fumble take on the horrible, horrible meanings they have to Clevelanders, not to mention Akron-born Missourians who grasp at Cleveland sports teams in an always and necessarily doomed attempt to balance a perceived lack of hometown rootedness ("just 'cause you don't got roots don't mean you can't root, as my grandpa said," as I hope my grandson says).

The the I'm talking about, I am finding, is hard to define without showing up itself in the definition. I heard that's cheating. So I can't say "When something is the something, it's not just any something, but it's the something," even if you know just what I mean. Maybe it means the something in question is the most paradigmatic, the most representative, the most all-encompassing single example of an entire concept. Maybe it means the entire history of that idea was leading up to this particular realization, which isn't just the most perfect so far, but is that perfection itself. I bet if I knew more about philosophy, I could find names for these feelings. But forget it now, we can be lazier than that and just say "the" means what we all think it means when we say "the" the way I'm talking about using it.

It can apparently be re-applied to some things, so it doesn't necessarily bring with it any kind of singularity-- hell, Michael Jordan has two of "the shot" himself. But there are degrees of crowdedness in the hallowed lists of the's: Dwight Clark and Willie Mays are the only two duking it out in the big leagues for the catch, but think of the millions of people who, since 1990, have been purported, at least occasionally, to be the bomb, or for that matter, the man, now, dog. It can confuse your Itunes when some of those files are tagged Beatles and some The Beatles. I don't know which one of these internets hooks up my blog to your computer, but I know it's on the internet. I'm runnin' out of steam here, but there must be something to say about this: