Saturday, January 24, 2004

POP (ROCK) QUIZ: If your record collection had a Mt. Rushmore, who'd be on it? It's been a lazy day, and I've been trying to winnow mine down to four since 2pm.

Friday, January 23, 2004

BOYS ON FILM: Cory McAbee has a band called The Billy Nayer Show, that I haven't seen yet. I will though. Oh yes, I will, even though they've apparently quit San Francisco for New York City.

He made a movie, called The American Astronaut. It's hard to describe. Many have tried, though they don't all get it.

As the metacritic and rottentomatoes collections linked above indicate, responses to The American Astronaut have been of the love-it-or-hate-it variety. My own reaction fits the pattern: I loved it. In fact, I thought it was fairygodmotherf-ing brilliant. So I'm inclined to think that those who hated it just didn't get it.

If you see it, and you should, here's a tip that may help you find what there is to love about this film:

It is about guys, guys' relationships, and the portrayal of guys and guys' relationships in popular culture. (It is probably also about "authorship" in a broader sense that I'm too dense to describe after only one viewing.)

The American Astronaut is surreal, funny as hell, and if you stare at it long enough I swear you'll see something true.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

OUCHIE: Watching this year's snubbed auditionees (is there like, a technical theater term for that?) on American Idol -- the stubborn ones who won't accept judgement -- go out in public to prove Simon wrong provides solid, perhaps sublime testimony to the enduring strength of the human spirit. . . . and the tendency of that spirit to roll right the heck over the fragile framework of human dignity.

Ouchie, ouchie, ouchie!

But it was nothing compared to The Surreal Life, and watching Vanilla Ice throw a crying tantrum about not being able to separate himself from his old image after hounding Gary Coleman out of a Mel's Diner by repeatingly demanding that Gary do the "whatchootalkinboutwillis" line. Vanilla is very, very concerned that the audience get to know him for who he really is and, apparently, he's really a small, cruel, shallow, loud, loutish, unreflective, repellant, petulent bully.

Light side. Dark side.

Mere decadence. Utter depravity.

Realitv is a slippery, slippery slope. I am descending rapidly, but The Surreal Life is still beneath me.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

UNCOMFORTABLY NUMB: All season long, the guy four rows behind us at the Linc would yell, when the Eagles had the ball, "Execute the offense!", and I was never sure if that meant that he wanted the offensive players to perform the game plan competently or to be lined up against a wall and shot.

Well, James Thrash (1 catch, 9 yards) and Todd Pinkston (0 catches), this one's for you.

The saddest thing about today's loss is how un-sad I feel. I'm not angry like I was last year, I'm not disappointed. I'm used to it, and it doesn't hurt, and the fact that things like this don't hurt anymore may be the saddest part of it all. It's like I've become a Red Sox fan -- I know that hope is a dangerous thing, hope can drive a man insane, and so I try not to bother any more to apply hope to a Philadelphia sports team, not now when The Curse of William Penn so firmly grips this city.

Last year I wrote about the Five Stages of Eagles Grief, and it's a shame I don't have to revise it too much for this year. Here goes your coping checklist:
DENIAL: I can't believe the season's over already. It would've been different if Donny hadn't broken a rib.

BARGAINING: Houston's a lousy city for a Super Bowl, not that 2005's Jacksonville or 2006's Detroit are much better. If we promise to wait for Miami 2007 ("I've seen the lights go out on Broad Street"), can you send us to the Super Bowl then? I don't even care about winning the damn thing; just give us another trip to the big game.

ANGER: Screw the refs for not calling the flag on the late hit on Donovan McNabb. Screw the WRs for not catching the damn ball. Screw the defense for missing key tackles, and screw the owners for letting Jeremiah Trotter go, because he'd have made those tackles. Bring in Terrell Owens!

DESPAIR: It's Philadelphia. We will never win another championship in any sport. Do you realize that the Eagles last won a title in 1960, and have only been in the Super Bowl once? That the Phillies have won fewer World Series in their 120-year history (1) as the Florida Marlins in thirteen years of existence (2!)? That the time a Philadelphia team won a title -- my beloved 76ers -- it was so long ago that Cheers was in its first season? How long ago? When the Sixers won the title, no one in Philadelphia yet knew that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia were siblings, because that was the week Return of the Jedi debuted in theaters.

You want despair? Since the last time a Philadelphia team won a professional title, New York-area teams have won ten -- heck, even Boston has seen three champions (one Super Bowl, two NBA) emerge since we last won one. And that's Boston, which is supposed to be the pinnacle of sports disappointment. Please. No franchise in professional sports history has lost more games than the Phillies. No one. Hell, if the Phillies won every single game for the rest of this decade, they still would be a sub-.500 team for their history.

Philadelphia: we can't win, we don't win, we won't win. That's our story.

ACCEPTANCE: To everything, there is a season, and the Eagles have won more regular season games than anyone else over the past four years. There's something to be proud of here. Sure, we didn't win, but how could we with our star QB injured? We'll have a lot of room under the salary cap next year, and things will only get better. Right?

On the way out of the Linc, bootleg vendors were offering "Eagles NFC Champions" skicaps -- 2 for $5. Had they won, it'd have been $10 each, I'm sure.

Pitchers and catchers report in 32 days.