Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Golly Gee

The F-bombs are flying at TMMPF.com.....

Today is the 25th anniversary of the coolest meltdown in sports history.* The manager of the Chicago Cubs, a guy named Lee Elia, totally went fucking off.

Lee, in happier times.

I thought I was all clever, remembering that the 25th anniversary was coming up. But then the Tribune jumped the gun and ran articles about it last week. Why so early, Trib? Why is it that you were so attuned to the profane rants of a grumpy old man? Does Elia remind you of someone you know?

Anyway, for your listening pleasure, here is the FULL, five-minute, unedited recording. (Mom: don't listen.) Read along with the transcript below that I painstakingly perfected for your reading pleasure, which I believe is available here for the first time anywhere online. (Mom: don't read.)

If the thing below doesn't work, listen here.

Lee Elia; April 29, 1983; Wrigley Field, Chicago.

We got all these so-called fuckin' fans that come out here and say they're Cub fans that are supposed to be behind you, rippin' every fuckin' thing you do. I'll tell you one fuckin' thing, I hope we get fuckin' hotter than shit, just to stuff it up them 3,000 fuckin' people that show up every fuckin' day, because if they're the real Chicago fuckin' fans, they can kiss my fuckin' ass right downtown and PRINT IT.

They're really, really behind you around here...my fuckin' ass. What the fuck am I supposed to do, go out there and let my fuckin' players get destroyed every day and be quiet about it? For the fuckin' nickel-dime people that turn up? The motherfuckers don't even work. That's why they're out at the fuckin' game. They oughta go out and get a fuckin' job and find out what it's like to go out and go out and earn a fuckin' living. Eighty-five percent of the fuckin' world is working. The other fifteen come out here. A fuckin' playground for the cocksuckers. Rip them motherfuckers. Rip them fuckin' cocksuckers like the fuckin' players. We got guys bustin' their fuckin' ass, and them fuckin' people boo. And that's the Cubs? My fuckin' ass. They talk about the great fuckin' support the players get around here. I haven't seen it this fuckin' year.

This man is frustrated. I will guarantee you, he is frustrated.

Don’t ask me about any specific play, I won’t answer it. I’m not going to talk about specific fuckin’ plays. The name of the game is hit the ball, catch the ball and get the fuckin’ job done. Every time we lose a fuckin’ close game, it’s magnified: why did this guy bunt it, or and that guy pop up, or this guy throw a wild pitch … that’s baseball fellas. That’s going to happen, that’s how runs are scored. That’s how the fuckin’ balance goes cock-eyed. That’s the difference between victory and defeat. Right now we have more losses than we have wins.

Everybody associated with this fuckin’ organization have been winners their whole fuckin' life. Everybody. And the fuckin’ credit is not given in that respect. The fuckin’ changes that have happened in the Cubs organization are multifold.

Alright, they don't show because we're 5 and 14...and unfortunately, that's the criteria of them dumb fifteen motherfuckin' percent that come out to day baseball. The other eighty-five percent are earning a living. I tell you, it'll take more than a 5 and 13 or 5 and 14 to destroy the makeup of this club. I guarantee you that. There's some fuckin' pros out there that wanna fuckin’ play this game. But you're stuck in a fuckin' stigma of the fuckin' Dodgers and the Phillies and the Cardinals an all that cheap shit.

All these motherfuckin’ editorials about Cey and fuckin’ … ah … the Phillie-itis and all that shit, it's sickening.

It's unbelievable. It really is. It's a disheartening fuckin' situation we're in right now. Anybody who was associated with the Cub organization four or five years ago that came back and sees the multitude of progress that's been made will understand that if they're baseball people, that 5 and 14 doesn't negate all that work. We got 143 fuckin' games left.

What I'm tryin' to say is don't rip them fuckin' guys out there. Rip me. If you wanna rip somebody, rip my fuckin' ass. But don't rip them fuckin' guys 'cause they're givin' everything they can give. And right now they’re trying to do more than God gave them, and that’s why we make the simple mistakes. That’s exactly why.

And once we hit that fuckin’ groove, it will flow. And it will flow. The talent's there. I don't know how to make it any clearer to you. I'm frustrated. I'll guarantee you I'm frustrated. It'd be different if I walked in this room every day at 8:30 and saw a bunch of guys that didn't give a shit. They give a shit. And it's a tough National League East. It's a tough National League period.

* Here you can listen to one of the better meltdowns of recent memory, a sports radio guy who has some analysis regarding Michigan State's 2006 loss to Notre Dame.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I (Want to) Hate Pete Carroll

Notre Dame held their spring Blue and Gold game over the weekend. The best I can gather after a little reading is that it was nothing special. You never learn much from scrimmages anyway, but apparently Jimmy Clausen was 100% healthy and looked like the guy we expected last year. Plus two top high schoolers committed for the Class of 2009, so that's good. Now we enter 4 1/2 months of no football. Sigh.

But I got a little football for ya.

As the title says, I hate Pete Carroll. I mean, I want to hate him. After all, he's the guy who presided over this, and this, and does stuff like this. Plus he was a hyperactive pro coach, to the point that his constant enthusiasm earned him the nickname "Poodle." His last name is a girl's first name.

On the other hand, he did do this on air, which is pretty cool:

Here's a little backstory on why Petey is so upset.

But, you know, he's still the head coach of Southern Cal in the 2000s, so I hate him.

Then I go and read this profile of him in LA Magazine. If you're reading this blog, you probably don't care for Los Angeles, Pete Carroll, or long Esquire journalism-style magazine pieces. So I'll save you the time of reading and tell you this much:
  • If you print out the article, it's 12 pages long.
  • Carroll seems actually human, and not a phony.
  • He likes KFOG, the San Francisco equivalent of KGSR or WXRT.
  • Carroll can go hours without drinking water, even in the heat.
Here's one snippet:

The first quarter of the first game of 2007. Carroll’s team is preoccupied, heavyhearted, mourning their beloved placekicker, Mario Danelo, who died in January after falling from a cliff in San Pedro. (Danelo was drunk, but police still don’t know why he fell.) The players have honored Danelo with an emotional pregame ceremony and with a moment of silence before kickoff , but it’s not enough. After USC scores its first touchdown, Carroll sends just ten men onto the field to kick the point after. One man is missing—Danelo.

Slowly the crowd realizes what’s happening. They see the holder kneeling in an empty backfield—a sort of missing man formation. Murmurs ripple through the crowd, then a cheer goes up. It grows louder. The play clock runs down, the refs whistle the play dead. USC is penalized for delay of game. The ball is moved back five yards. At last Danelo’s replacement trots onto the field and boots the ball through the uprights. The symbolic gesture, which perhaps has given some extra comfort to Danelo’s family, sends chills around the Coliseum and further cements the bond between coach and players.

Naturally, I did not (want to) believe that Petey did such a nice thing that went unreported. So like any good journalist I did my own research. And goddammit, it's true. (Don't read the whole thing, it's boring and about Southern Cal football ... just do Ctrl-F and type "Danelo" to get to the key part.)

I will be the first to admit that I'm surprised this did not make the national news in the same way Charlie Weis' "Pass Right" did.

Okay, FINE, go read the damn article. It's good. But still root against Southern Cal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Barack and Roll

Ladies and gentlemen: the 44th president of the United States is Barack Hussein Obama. You know how I know? Because the Boss has spoken.

But it got me wondering: who would my favorite bands endorse?

The Hold Steady: The Steady likes to drink beer and rock out. They've been called America's greatest bar band and was the subject of the first really long essay on this blog. A guy like Craig Finn who understands the impact of using the right words and the power of dreaming for a better tomorrow would support Obama. Now, if it ever were determined that Barack got drunk once under some railroad tracks in Minneapolis, that would totally seal the deal.

Wilco: Obama. Hometown pick.

Patty Griffin: Hillary. Not just because of the gender, but because Hillary represents toughness and feminity at the same time. She can legislate with the boys by day and have a pajama party with the girls at night*. It's the same complexity that permeates PG's songs and characters.

R.E.M.: I am sure that they believe in the hope of the Obama campaign.

Dylan: wouldn't vote. He did enough world-changing 40 years ago, and no matter who the next president is, Dylan will still be Dylan.

Old 97's: I'll let TM take a swing at this one. You got four guys from Texas. They believe in rock and roll, Merle Haggard covers, marrying supermodels, writing killer ballads, God and microwaving chicken ravioli. So who the 97's got?

Kelly Willis: Kelly is a mom (unfortunately, now a stay-at-home mom) in Texas, a bastion of Republicanism. I think she'd see Hillary and Obama as too slick, too big-city for her taste. She'd probably appreciate the "guns" candidate, which is McCain. (I have no idea if Kelly is pro-gun, anti-gun or gun-indifferent. She's from Texas, people. I'm going on stereotypes here.)

Kathleen Edwards: Canadian. Can't vote.

Gary Louris: Gar, being from the upper Midwest, probably trusts the Midwestern guy over the slick New Yorker. (Yeah, I'm aware she grew up in Park Ridge. Does she seem like a trustworthy Midwesterner, or a cutthroat Manhattanite? Yeah, you know I'm right.)

A. Scott Miller: Scott Miller is a Southerner. He likes a shot and a beer--and not the photo op kind. I think he'd go Obama, if only for "whut the hell man, this country's in the shitter anyway. Let's give this guy a chance. Areyawithme, America??"

Zep: Zep, as Carolyn pointed out, is fabulously wealthy and would probably support the Republican no matter who he is. However, Zep is British. Can't vote.

Josh Rouse: He lives in Spain now, so I think he's probably better attuned than anyone on this list to how America's global standing has plummeted under the Bush administration. The world hates us because our dumbass president started a preemptive war on bullshit evidence. (Do I have that right, Parnell?) So Josh Rouse is going to vote for whoever is not George Bush, whoever will restore America's image as the beacon of hope for the world. That man is Barack Obama.

Dolly Varden: I kinda sorta know Steve and Diane through my friend Sarah, who knows them very well. A few years ago, (early November 2004 to be exact) TM and I went to a photo exhibit of Sarah's (she's very talented, check out the photo credit) at the Old Town School of Folk Music. At one point, when I was standing nearby, someone walked into the room and asked Diane how she was doing. "Oh you know, we're upset..." she said, and then added, almost unnecessarily, "about the election." So I'm damn sure they ain't voting for Bush, anyone who looks like Bush, thinks like Bush, or has an "R" after their name like Bush. Because I kinda sorta know Steve and Diane and do not wish to make jokes about their preference**, let's just say they would split their vote, with Steve picking Obama and Diane picking Hillary.

* This is a real story I read, showing her "softer side" and how she can giggle with her girlfriends like a regular adult woman. I couldn't find the link, but that was a deliberate reference.

** If Steve or Diane or Sarah stumbles across this, please leave your thoughts in the comments box, and I promise to update accordingly.

Holy Crap, Times!

Ever seen this headline?

Of course you have. It's only the most famous journalistic blunder of the 20th century. It's also one of the most famous headlines of all time (along with the headlines every paper ran on July 21, 1969, and August 9, 1974*) and one of the most memorable images of the 20th century (along with, of course, Elvis and Nixon).

But apparently the Old Grey Lady is unfamilar with it. Whether it's lazy, shitty journalism or big city arrogance, the New York Times managed to get it wrong in an article about--are you ready for this--journalism history. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the correction.)

But believe it or not, they actually made this SAME MISTAKE before! And in a headline! Hey Times: who the hell you got running your copy desk, Jayson Blair?!?

* In case you're not feeling your history: "MAN WALKS ON MOON" and "NIXON RESIGNS," respectively. Not that headline writers were less creative then. The news event really wrote the headline on these two.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How to Tell Someone Is a Canadian

Deep down inside, everyone wants the people around them to be just like them. That's why in every high school cafeteria in America, the chess club sits with the chess club, the basketball team sits with the basketball team, the band kids sit together, etc.

But unfortunately, we live in a complex, non-uniform society. There are those among us that may look like us that are not like us. Certain detection systems have been developed to identify these "seemingly like us" folks. For example, some individuals have the ability to sense homosexuality in those who do not advertise the fact. This radar-like system has been dubbed "gay-dar." And recently, The Onion, America's Finest News Source, ran an essay from a guy who talked about his "blackdar."

To this body of work, I'd like to add another radar-like detection: identifying someone who is a Canadian. I call my system Canad-Eh-darTM.

To illustrate how this works, let's look at the lovely and talented Miss Kathleen Edwards. There are many ways to tell that she is Canadian cause she doesn't make any effort to hide it. But let's pretend you didn't know anything about her.* We'll examine the lyrics to one of her songs, "I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory," as a way to see the Canad-Eh-dar in action.

Edwards is cool. She gave the finger to this hippie who wouldn't give her directions.

Blazing a trail to the southern cities from the streets of our hometown
Basement bars we played from the heart in the company of our friends

Nothing special here. She doesn't say which country's southern cities she's referring to. I assume Canada has basement bars just like the US.

If I write down these memories that I have saved away
Photographs of the years that have passed inside my little brain
You're cool and cred like Fogerty

OK, here's our first real clue. "Cred" sounds like Canada-type slang for "credible." She refers to John Fogerty of CCR by just his last name, whereas Americans are ignorant and would've called him, "you know, that guy from CCR."

I'm Elvis Presley in the 70's

Aha! As you'll see, Edwards sets up a series of observations where "your" wonderfulness is contrasted with "my" lack of coolness. To make this point, she points to '70s-era Elvis as uncool. No American would ever say that. Elvis was cool in all five of the decades he walked this earth. (If I had to rank them, I'd say '50s, '60s, '70s, '40s, '30s.) I mean, when was this picture taken?

That's right, the '70s.

You're Chateauneuf, I'm Yellow Label

I don't know what Chateauneuf is and I don't have the interest in searching for it, but it sounds French. I know Canada has a bunch of French people and that's good enough for me. I don't get the Yellow Label reference, and I'm somewhat familar with cheap alcohol, so I'm guessing it's a Canadish form of cheap wine.

You're the buffet, I'm just the table
I'm a Ford Tempo, you're a Maserati

Nothing special here....they have buffets, tables and Ford Tempos in both countries. Maserati is a geography-neutral reference to an insanely expensive car.

You're the Great One, I'm Marty McSorley

Now here's the kicker. This reference probably went way over your head if you're American, but the "Great One" is the nickname of Wayne Gretzky, who played hockey, the national sport of Canada. Likewise, Marty McSorley also played hockey, except he played the position of "thug," a role more about beating people up than actually playing hockey.

Hey Americans: this is what Wayne Gretzky looks like. Don't feel bad, I had to Google him.

You're the Concorde, I'm economy
I make the dough, but you get the glory

Big fish, small pond and some cover songs we sang along the way
We used to midnight run to The Vesta Lunch
Cheese burgers and chocolate shakes.

Never heard of the Vesta Lunch. Sounds like a Canadese burger joint. If she were American, she would have name-dropped Mickey D's.

Once I got drunk with Jeff
I told him I was in love with you
But I love you like a brother so at least half of it was true

I would guess that Canadians can get drunk and say embarrassing things just like us.

You're cool and cred like Fogerty
I'm Elvis Presley in the 70's
You're Chateauneuf, I'm Yellow Label
You're the buffet, I'm just the table
I'm a Dodge Sparkle, you're a Lamborghini

Ever heard of a Dodge Sparkle? Me neither. I see it as one of two options: it's either a car that was sold only in Canada, or it's Canadian slang for a different model. Either way: it sets off the Canad-Eh-dar.

You're the Great One, I'm Marty McSorley
You're the Concorde, I'm economy
I make the dough, but you get the glory

If I write down these memories that I have saved away
Photographs of the years that have passed inside my little brain
I'm sure it's been said in the finer print You make me look legitimate
Heavy rotation on the CBC
Whatever in hell that really means

You should be convinced by now, but you see that acronym "CBC"? Turns out, that stands for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation! That's right, the national TV (or radio, or both, whatever, it's definitely not from here). And their website ends in ".ca," not ".com," which tells you that it's from a foreign country.

You're cool and cred like Fogerty
I'm Elvis Presley in the 70's
You're the Concorde, I'm economy
I make the dough, but you get the glory

There you go. Canada-Eh-dar proves the Canadaness of Kathleen Edwards and other Canadians. Feel free to use these time-tested techniques next time you're wondering about that guy at work who says "sorry" like "SORE-y" and other potential Canadians.

Lovely. Talented. Foul-mouthed. And proven Canadian.

By the way, this guy explains the wine thing. And you know where he's from? Winnipeg, which is *part of Canada*. Coincidence?

* If you really don't know anything about Kathleen Edwards, read up on her blog, buy her new CD, or while you're at it, buy one or both of her two previous records. Lyrics by Kathleen Edwards. Copyright 2008, SOCAN Potty Mouth Productions Inc. Used without permission but I don't think she'll mind.

I toured Graceland in 2004 and took this picture of the Elvis portrait by the stairs. Whaddya you got, Canada? Anne Murray's house?!?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Update: Bracket Pickin' Kitty

Just a quick update on the March Madness tournament: I outsmarted the cat 4-3 in the round of Sweet 16. But what about the Elite Eight and the upcoming Final Four?

UNC vs. Louisville: Birds against whatever the hell a Tar Heel is. Quigley, in solidarity against all birds, picked against the Cardinals. I stuck with my national champs. UNC won. MPF 1, Quigley 0.

Kansas vs. Davidson: Birds vs. cats; or in this case, cats with Stephen Curry. I had Wisconsin (oops). A no-brainer pick for Quigley, but the Jayhawks advanced. MPF 1, Quigley 0.

Memphis vs. Texas: Cats vs. extra-mean cows. I had the Longhorns (over Pitt...oops); Q stuck with the felines, and he was right. MPF 1, Quigley 1.

UCLA vs. Xavier: Big furry bears vs. snively-looking mustache guys. Q and I both took UCLA. MPF 2, Quigley 2.

So it was a tie. I would have picked Kansas over Davidson, but I'm forcing myself to stick to the original picks. Some people would call this a Bracket of Integrity.

There are two games tomorrow: UNC vs. Kansas and Memphis vs. UCLA. I have UNC winning it all, and I had Texas over UCLA (oops) in the second game. Quigley goes anti-bird in the first game and pro-cat in the second game. I assume (although he hasn't specifically told me) that his preferred order of champion is:

  1. Memphis (kitty)
  2. UCLA (big furry bear, somewhat similar to a cat)
  3. UNC (don't know what the hell it is but it ain't a bird)
  4. Kansas (bird)
However, I'll be rooting against Memphis, because if they lose (and UNC wins) then I will emerge victorious in a side wager with this blog's co-author, giving me the greatest wager loot possible.

Enjoy the games! See you at the Kathleen Edwards show tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gary Louris at the Metro

Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, as you read earlier, played the Metro on Friday night. It was a good show, where he showcased a lot of material off his new record (understandable) and played just enough Jayhawks to satisfy the diehard fans (although I'm guessing most Jayhawks fans would've preferred a little more old material).

The setlist opened with "Omaha Nights," and I gotta say, now that I'm listening to Vagabonds for the first time as I write this, it's a classic Louris pop-rock song. The second tune was "I'd Run Away" off Tomorrow the Green Grass, which was nice to hear live, but I felt it really needed keyboards to reach its full effectiveness, and a female backing vocal (Grotberg or Gunderman, I don't care) would have ideal.*

At the beginning of the show, Gary couldn't get any sound out of his guitar. Instead of standing there helpless like an amateur while the techs worked on it, he told the crowd the band would go backstage for a minute while the problem got fixed. It was a veteran move, and reminded one that he was not a typical "first album solo artist."

Of course, a minute later Gary and the band returned: it wasn't a problem with pickups or cables, the volume was just turned down on the guitar itself. He cracked a self-deprecating joke about how he was new to this whole music thing. It was funny, because he's not. (The Jayhawks self-titled record came out in 1986. That's right. The year before the world heard "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley.)

The encore was a particularly tasty selection of old and new, with (to the best of my memory) two Smog tunes and two off Rainy Day Music: "Listen Joe" and "Angelyne" solo acoustic, then "All the Right Reasons" acoustic with opener Chris Stills, the title track of the new record with the full band, and ending the night with "Until You Came Along."

These two photos, from the Metro show, were taken by a Jayhawks fan from my hometown. How odd is that?

During a seated, acoustic stint, he played "Steppin' Out," a song he wrote for the Dixie Chicks. Another highlight: "Everybody Gets By," a rare Jayhawks song never recorded. The Jayhawks' two biggest hits, "Waiting for the Sun" and "Blue," were slowed down and rocked up with a swagger. The whole night he was backed by opener Vetiver, which ably moved from their lo-fi drone to the rootsy sounds of Louris. (Also, Vetiver's lead singer looks like Kyle Orton.)

During the Terri Himmert interview Friday (see below), the word "troubadour" was used. I tend to agree: in 10 years, Gary Louris could be considered a world class songwriter, not necessarily a household name like Dylan or Springsteen but in a class with John Prine, Tom Waits and Paul Westerberg. The Vagabonds record and tour make the case that he can succeed outside the band environment.

A big part of this show was not the songs, or the artist, or the venue, but the audience. Tickets for this show went on sale on a Saturday when TM and I were driving to Wisconsin (state motto: "Illinois' Playground") for a winter getaway. We thought an artist like Gary Louris would sell out pretty quickly. After all, the Hold Steady at the Metro, was a sellout, and the Jayhawks have a much longer history in the city. Add in the Jeff Tweedy/Golden Smog connection, and a quick sellout seemed obvious to us. We were so concerned, we investigated TicketMaster outlets in Madison (on the route to our destination), and whether we'd be to Madison by noon, when the tix went on sale. The last time I saw the Jayhawks at the Metro, I was up in the balcony, off on the side, cause it was so packed.

We got our tix a couple days later when we got back in town. The night of the show, we showed up towards the end of the first opener, Chris Stills. After his set we migrated to the middle of the floor, maybe 15 feet back from the stage. And it never really got crowded--near us or overall. All night we commented on the lack of audience, why this didn't sell out, given how Chicago had supported the Jayhawks in the past, and how XRT had failed to promote this show.

It's not like XRT doesn't know how to hype a show...I can't count how many commercials I heard for Warpaint, the new record for the Black Crowes, a band that hasn't had a meaningful song in 18 years. (That's right, I'm counting from 1990's Shake Your Money Maker, on Def American Records.) By the way, the producer of Vagabonds? Chris Robinson. So it's not like XRT decided to blackball Louris...it was an XRT show, just in name only.

Part of my complaint is with the promotion. XRT's Terri Hemmert did a Live From Studio X with Louris the day of the show...but they didn't send out the email until 10 minutes before the noon start. Likewise, TM got an email from Jam Productions offering free tickets to the show...which came in about 30 minutes before the show started.

But then, while researching details for this album/show review, I read the following on the official Gary Louris website. The actual text is in Flash, and because I'm a dork and I thought it was that important, I transcribed it verbatim below, with some hard returns to make it more legible.

Dear Friends,
By now some of you are aware that the westcoast portion of my tour has been cancelled. Let me explain why.

Late last week I made inquiries into presale ticket numbers and found them to be quite disappointing. I discussed the realities with management who then took it to the promoters, booking agent and record company.

It was decided that if I ever wanted to work again with any of the promoters then I should cancel the west coast before I lost them large amounts of money. I hope to make it up to those who did support me and I understand that it throws a wrench in the works for some who have made plans. As always life is a chain and one person's action causes a reaction...wonderful at times, bummer at others. This one is definitely a bummer.

I don't know why but I can venture some guesses as to why the support wasn't there. The West Coast has been historically tough for the Jayhawks, although we had some amazing nights, especially in SF and Seattle. But the climate of the music business has changed. Less people are buying music, listening to music, and apparently in my case, going to see live music. On top of this there is the impending "recession" (maybe ticket prices were too high?) and of course the big one....breaking off from a band and trying to establish oneself as a solo artist. No one was getting rich on this tour....I was not going to be paid so it was not a matter of greed...just business, and wanting to be able to be able to continure (sic) working with people without losing them money...

I may have to downscale the presentation and come back solo or in smaller rooms with smaller bands. I have already decided that unfortunately I will not be able to bring along a keyboard player. But I am still very excited about the remainder of the tour and playing with such a great band as Vetiver. I continually try to pry

At this point the text cuts off and a different entry with a different font continues--could be my browser, I don't know. I am not going to blame Gary's webmaster or the faltering economy for not being able to read the rest of the sentence.

This is a great press photo. The guy in it looks way too cool to whine.

I don't know where to begin with this petulant, "it's not my fault" blame-fest. Probably 90% of solo artists started in a band and had to make the transition, from George Michael to Gwen Stefani, from Paul Simon to Susanna Hoffs, from Neil Young to Will Kimbrough (if you're thinking: "who?" ... exactly my point) to Mark Olson to Jay Farrar and on and on. It's not incumbent upon us the listening audience to support your solo record just because you were in a cool band for 20 years. You need to give us a reason to come out and see your new effort, whether it's a supergroup or a duo or a solo record. The fact that people have iPods doesn't mean they won't come see you live.

Compare that with this interview in The Onion's AV Club, where he's asked about similarities between this record and the first post-Olson Jayhawks record:
It was a little bit gutsy and some may say stupid, but I felt like I needed to do it. And I remember my mindset was basically "Fuck it." That was it. "If they like it, cool. If they don't, fuck it. What can I do?" You know, am I going to go home and hide in my room? I want to do this, the band wants to play, and we have a lot of songs we believe in. And I think that's a similar feeling to what I have now. Not so much as in fuck you, it's more like fuck it. I can only do what feels right. If I try to figure out what people want and give it to them, it's a failure. ...

So I think that's a similar point between Sound Of Lies and this record. I'm trying to honestly do what I want to do, in the most honest way, and not worry about the consequences, because what's the worst thing that can happen? People don't like it, I go home. I'm not going to get hung by my thumbs. And as long as I don't read the reviews or care about what people say on a website or worry about those kind of things, then I'll probably be very happy.

I'd love to say that the first was an accidental, off-the-cuff remark and the latter was a thought-out response. Unfortunately, the first was a post on his own blog; the second was in an interview.
Gary Louris is an incredibly talented songwriter and guitarist. He wrote the song that TM and I danced to at our wedding. He name-dropped my friend Sarah into a Jayhawks song because she went to Spain to see the band on tour there. He's too veteran, too savvy, too talented to lay the blame at others' feet.

As you yourself said, Gar: "It's my game to win; it's my game to lose."

Finally (this feels a little like "Buckets of Rain" at the end of Blood on the Tracks, and ten bonus points to you if you get that)...

Two things you (and I) didn't know about Gary Louris before the show:
1) He is from Toledo, Ohio.
2) His nieces go to Notre Dame.

* foreshadowing. Not intentional. That was my reaction before I read his blog.

Hey, Hey, Holy Mackerel

Yesterday the Cubs unveiled a brand new statue honoring Ernie Banks (a.k.a. "Mr. Cub") near the corner of Clark and Addison. It's a very nice statue with one minor flaw...

Need a hint? Look closer...

Way to go Cubs, there is a punctuation error on the Ernie Banks statue. Very ironic seeing as how the team is owned by Tribune Company which also employs hundreds of people who edit for a living. You would think someone would have looked at the three words of copy and noticed that an apostrophe is missing.

Despite the error, Cub fans can at least take heart in the team's intentions. The statue is a well deserved tribute to Ernie Banks. He played his entire career with the Cubs (1953-1971) , was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (1977) and was the first Cub ever to have his number retired (1982) .

Hopefully the Baseball Gods will overlook this error... but if the Cubs blow the World Series after jumping out to a three game lead we'll know who to blame (ownership, that would be you).

The Ernie Banks statue in happier times.