I just have some clerical things today, mostly because I don't know if I have the energy to wax on about the Cardinals' stunning, $4.25 million deal with right-handed pitcher Kyle Lohse.
Does the Phillies' shunning of Lohse and his reportedly high contract demands mean that the team is ready to go with Adam Eaton and/or Kris Benson at the back of the rotation?
How does one get a red stain out of a white shirt?
Perhaps we will never know...
Anyway, we will (and by "we" I mean I) be working on a number of projects over the next few weeks. Namely, there will likely be a semi-regular podcast produced, hosted, edited, coded and posted by moi ready to go in the coming week or two. The hope is for it to be a weekly thing complete with somewhat topical interviews, musical interludes and probably guests, but I suppose that was assumed when I mentioned the part about interviews.
Then again, I'm sure no one would put it past me to talk to myself.
Also, the weekly Phillies column-y type thing will return from a four or five (or six) year hiatus next Friday. The plan is for it to be a multi-media extravaganza instead of just a bunch of words... however, I like words. Sometimes they say just what I mean.
Since this is an Olympic year and sports of that ilk will be in the forefront of the American consciousness when the Beijing Games open in August, there will be a few stories about that kind of stuff on local folks hoping to go to Eugene for the Olympic Trials and China for the really, really, really big dance.
The final appeal in the Floyd Landis case will be heard next week in New York City, too. Surely some news or a few stories will come out of that... meanwhile, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the ridiculous story by Martin Dugard on Floyd in something called "Orange Coast Magazine." Surely Dugard's fanboy and jock-sniffing ethics have been unabashed if not questionable, and in this one he buries the ultimate lede... 15 grafs and perhaps three years too late.
Look, I think writing about writers is terribly tacky and hacky, but I'm sure I'll wade in over the next few days. In the meantime, Joe Lindsey of "The Boulder Report" pretty much nails it.
Also: his book Chasing Lance sucked.
Finally, Opening Day is approaching, which is always really, really mind numbing. I'd say Game 77 of the 162-game season is more important and exciting as Game 1, but whatever. No sense of me ruining people's fun just because they like all that Field of Dreams crap and Opening Day.
Tonight's pick for the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas is the great and heroic Billy Bragg. I think we all remember where we were and what we were doing the first time we ever heard Billy.
Meanwhile, word is The Pogues showed up for a gig in Philly last night. I haven't heard from anyone whether or not McGowan made it through the show upright and under his own power.
Finally, since I have a bit of bitch-fest going here, check out my entry into my daily running log:
Friday morning - 1st run: 13 miles in 1:22:59 Ran reasonably uptempo and was going to hit the last 5 in 29 until some idiot took her dog off a leash and allowed it to run me over. The damn thing slammed into my right knee, took out my legs and send my sprawling onto the Baker Field grass landing on my left hip.Needless to say, I wasn't too cool when I got up, especially since I was moving a little bit and there were at least THREE signs posted that dog owners had to keep their animals on a leash (as well as clean up the shit off the grass, but they don't do that too well either). Look, I owned dogs all of my life and I'm certain that the animals never ran over anyone. I never thought it was too difficult to be responsible about respecting certain rules as well as other people who may or may not want to be run over by dogs.
Here's a question and answer based on what I gleaned from most dog owners in my neighborhood:Question: What is the only creature more stupid than a dog?Answer: A dog owner.When the signs read, "Keep your dog on a leash," it really means, "Yes, even YOU have to keep YOUR dog on a leash."See, most dog owners can't even read.Idiots.splits:
1st 5: 32:58
2nd 5: 30:34 - slowed by dog attack
last 3: 19:27
Last Sunday I caught the second half of the Eagles’ loss to the Titans while soaking my achy right hip and hamstrings in a Jacuzzi of a beachside resort suite while allowing Richard Ford’s workmanlike prose from his latest novel pour over me. As far as Sunday’s go, this one was hard to beat.
Until this past Sunday, that is.
Instead of the beachside resort with a Jacuzzi in the master bedroom, my wife and I ambled over to the Chameleon here in Lancaster to catch Ted Leo & the Pharmacists regale a couple hundred folks who, like me, decided an hour or two in a dark room with Mr. Leo and his Pharmacists was a more interesting way to spend an evening.
The only way it could have been better is if Ted and the gang played while I soaked my hip and hammys, but I’ll take what we got.
What we got was an inspired – though shortened because of a sinus infection – performance with one of the true punk bards in an “industry” sorely lacking of such things. In a workmanlike and rip-roaring set, Leo and the tightly knit Pharmacists (the demure Dave Lerner on bass and epically bearded Chris Wilson on drums) mixed in a few new ones from a soon-to-be released recording with the older favorites. Leo and the gang did this despite revealing that he was fighting a “bloody sinus infection” and working with a fingernail rebuilt with super glue.
Like an athlete trying to make it through a season, Leo says he does what it takes to make it through touring nine months out of the year. Better yet, the fact that Leo and his Pharmacists are able to get so many gigs even when they aren’t supporting a new record, DVD or some other multimedia explosion is a testament to the band’s ethic and spirit.
From a few interviews, it appears as if Leo is often asked about his ferocious ethic and why he chooses to grind out a living as a musician as opposed to something more mainstream or bourgeoisie. For instance, try this one:
So how to describe Leo for the uninitiated? According to a dispatch in a Hartford Courant from writer Brian LaRue:
Ted Leo’s almost impossibly melodic and wordy Celtic-Motown-punk rock tunes have themselves given thousands of fans hope in the face of political, social and personal bad vibes, certain events of 2006 have demonstrated that Ted Leo himself is one wiry, literary vegan in his mid-thirties whom you probably shouldn’t mess with. Dude is a veritable vibe-bulldozer.
That’s a hell of a paragraph with a lot to digest. Certainly there is a punk tinge to Leo’s work, kind of like a lot of the bands from England that followed The Clash to the U.S. during the late 1970s. Those bands weren’t “punk” like the Sex Pistols or Ramones, but they were “punk” because they had a DIY and progressive ethic.
Billy Bragg certainly comes to mind and is a popular starting point for many music writers. I suppose that’s fair simply because I remember the very first time I ever heard Billy Bragg just as I remember the very first time I heard Ted Leo. In fact, I can recall sitting in a chillingly cool air-conditioned room in New York City during my first year of college and hearing Bragg’s unmistakable brogue and jagged guitar. I also remember saying out loud to anyone who was in the vicinity, “Oh my. What is this”?
It was “A New England,” just as it was “Timorous Me” nearly 15 years later.
Actually, it seems as if the group is are a bunch of “musician’s musicians.” Though I’m far from an insider, most of the people I know who are speak glowingly about Leo. Is there a better compliment than one from one’s peers?
Anyway, Leo and the gang appear to have offered a more inspiring performance on Sunday night than the local football team. Besides, it’s pretty difficult to not shake and shimmy when “Me & Mia” gets going. Ted Leo + Pharmacists in Philadelphia on Dec. 10, 2004
But by the time we got home there was still a lot of football to be played in Indianapolis. However, my wife grabbed the remote and opted for Brokeback Mountain on HBO instead of the Eagles. I guess they are kind of the same, right?