The Shackles Of Commitment Fell In Pieces On The Ground

 

Led Zeppelin broke up five years before I was born, yet they’ve somehow managed to be the soundtrack of my life. Nearly every coming-of-age moment I’ve ever had I can associate with a Zeppelin song.

Graduating high school? “Ramble On” (And though our health we drank a thousand times / It’s time to ramble on) Graduating college? “The Ocean” (We’ve done four already but now we’re steady / And then they went…) First time I fell in love? “Traveling Riverside Blues” (She’s got a mortgage on my body, got a lien on my soul) First breakup? “Hey Hey What Can I Do” (I guess there’s just one thing left for me to do / Gonna pack my bags and move on my way) Losing my virginity? “Trampled Under Foot” (don’t ask.) The list goes on and on.

But what’s most important about Zeppelin is how this isn’t unique to me—it applies to seemingly every American male born in Generation X and on. Chuck Klosterman said it best in his book “Killing Yourself to Live”:

There is a point in the male maturation process when the music of Led Zeppelin sounds like the perfect actualization of the perfectly cool you…You simply think, “Wow. I just realized something: This shit is perfect. In fact, this is vastly superior to all other forms of music on the entire planet, so this is all I will ever listen to, all the time.” This is why Led Zeppelin is the most beloved rock band of all time…They are the one thing all young men share, and we shall share it forever.

How much do my friends and I love Led Zeppelin? Every summer we get together for “Zeppelin A-Z”—a party where we play every Zeppelin song in alphabetical order. Billed as a celebration of music and friendship, Zeppelin A-Z takes about nine hours to finish and 2017 will mark its 14th installment. The first year saw only six participants, but last year attracted over 50 guests ranging from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and any stranger who briefly mentioned how they liked Led Zeppelin in passing.

If you’ve never had the pleasure, here’s what you can expect out of any Zeppelin A-Z: copious amounts of domestic beer and red meat, along with a remarkably consistent reaction to any song that isn’t regularly played on the radio. For example:

(“Candy Store Rock” comes on)

I forgot all about this song! Dude! How did I forget about this song? It’s SO good! It’s probably my favorite song ever!

(“Poor Tom” comes on)

Can we be serious for a second? Like are you kidding me with this song? This is one of the best songs EVER! I forgot all about it!

(“South Bound Suarez” comes on)

Oh. My. God. This tune is the BEST! I can’t remember the last time I heard it! Easily my favorite Zep jam! An absolute CLASSIC!

If there’s a better example of Led Zeppelin’s ability bring people together than A-Z I’ve yet to find it. Along with Patriots’ Day, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, and the New England Patriots Annual Super Bowl Victory, Zeppelin A-Z is one of my favorite days of the year. Consider yourself invited.

Cover Up And Say Goodnight

In the days after Leonard’s Cohen’s death, “Hallelujah” was everywhere.

Easily the singer-songwriter’s most famous song, “Hallelujah” was a part of every report on the 82-year-old’s death and seemed to be playing on a loop across every radio dial.

However, Cohen and “Hallelujah” quickly disappeared.

2016 wasn’t kind to celebrities, and it didn’t take long for others to take Cohen’s place. Florence Henderson, John Glenn, Carrie Fisher et al. passed away, pushing Cohen and “Hallelujah” right out of the news cycle and articulating a sad truth: When Leonard Cohen died, “Hallelujah” died with him.

On an episode of his podcast, “Revisionist History,” Malcolm Gladwell examined the series of events that led to the success of “Hallelujah,” first released by Cohen in 1984. The timeline goes like this:

In 1984, Cohen released “Hallelujah” on his LP, “Various Positions.” No one liked it.

In 1991, John Cale — formerly of the Velvet Underground — covered “Hallelujah” for “I’m Your Fan,” a Cohen tribute album. No one liked it.

In 1994, an unknown musician named Jeff Buckley was house-sitting for a friend when he found her copy of “I’m Your Fan.” He put the CD on, heard “Hallelujah” and decided to cover it during his next set at an East Village dive bar. When Buckley performed the song, a record executive from Columbia was in the crowd. The executive signed Buckley, and later that year Buckley released a cover of “Hallelujah” on his debut album, “Grace.” No one liked it.

In 1997, at just 30 years old, Jeff Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River. In the aftermath of his death, fans and critics revisited “Grace” and heard “Hallelujah” in an entirely different context. The song went to the top of the charts all over the world, and over 300 artists have recorded “Hallelujah” since. It became such a phenomenon that in 2012 rock critic Alan Light releasedThe Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of ‘Hallelujah,’” a work of non-fiction that checked in at 254 pages.

However, in considering the song’s unlikely success, Gladwell missed what’s most remarkable about Jeff Buckley and “Hallelujah.” “Grace” would still be a classic album without it. “Hallelujah” led listeners to the rest of Buckley’s work, and the other nine songs on “Grace” elevated him from one-hit wonder to musical legend.

How would we look at Jeff Buckley’s career if he were still alive? Would his version of “Hallelujah” have wallowed in obscurity until the end of time? Would he have scored a hit on his second album, leading new fans to check out his earlier work and stumble upon “Hallelujah?” Obviously, there’s no way to definitively answer these questions, but there’s a precedent for wildly successful artists who found mainstream success thanks to a cover song.

The following artists, who are considered icons today, have a discography teeming with innovative, original material. However, they all scored their first hit thanks to their covering someone else’s song:

  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience — “Hey Joe”

“Hey Joe” was registered for copyright in 1962 by Billy Roberts, a folk singer from South Carolina who spent his days grinding out gigs in California coffee shops. Roberts was relatively unknown until “Hey Joe” won him fans in the Los Angeles music scene of the mid-1960s, leading to recordings in 1965 and 1966 by more established acts like the Standells and the Byrds.

In the fall of 1966, Jimi Hendrix — as precocious a talent as the guitar world had ever seen — decided to move to the United Kingdom after struggling to find an audience in the United States. Upon his arrival, Hendrix formed an eponymous band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. The Experience released their first single, a cover of “Hey Joe,” in December and the song quickly climbed to No. 6 on the U.K. charts.

While “Hey Joe” had already been recorded by dozens of artists in an assortment of musical styles, Hendrix’s version stood out for one specific reason: its pace. Hendrix enlisted the services of the Breakaways, a trio of English female vocalists who were considered the premiere session vocalists of the 1960s. The Breakaways sang backing vocals on Hendrix’s track, and their contribution gave the song’s narrative — a man is on the run and headed to Mexico after shooting his unfaithful wife — a gravity that eluded its previous recordings.

Behind the success of “Hey Joe,” the band released its debut LP, “Are You Experienced,” in the spring of 1967. The album reached No. 2 in the U.K. and No. 5 in the U.S., and established Jimi Hendrix as an international star. The song became so popular that Hendrix closed out his set at Woodstock with it, giving “Hey Joe” the distinction of being the last song played at the 1969 festival.

It certainly doesn’t justify the shooting of his old lady, but the success of Hendrix’s cover undoubtedly left Joe smiling way down in Mexico. Provided a hangman didn’t put a rope around him, of course.

  • Van Halen — “You Really Got Me”

Van Halen recorded “You Really Got Me” for their 1978 debut album, “Van Halen,” and released it as their first single — the perfect song to introduce David Lee Roth’s sexualized lyrics and Eddie Van Halen’s powerhouse guitar to the masses. “You Really Got Me” was an instant radio hit and jump-started Van Halen’s career — just as it had done for the Kinks 14 years earlier.

“Van Halen” went platinum in just five months, and in 1979 the band released “Van Halen II.” The follow-up’s first single was “Dance the Night Away” — an original song — and it became the band’s first top 20 U.S. hit, setting the tone for the next 11 years that would see Van Halen score four number-one albums in the United States.

However, while Van Halen ranks as one of the best-selling bands of all time with more than 80 million records sold, there’s one person who isn’t a fan — Dave Davies of the Kinks. The guitarist is on record as having a personal dislike of Van Halen’s cover saying, “When I first heard it, it sounded like someone trying to cash in on my own music. Van Halen’s version was very Middle America. It was like, ‘Hey man, look at me with my tight trousers!’ There’s a chasm between the two versions. One’s about a comfortable, American urban life. And one is about a raunchy, desperate kind of survival instinct. Van Halen would be penniless without the Kinks.”

If there’s one person qualified to criticize a cover of “You Really Got Me,” it’s Dave Davies, as he’s responsible for the song’s signature electric guitar riff. Davies achieved the riff’s distorted sound by slicing the speaker cone in his amp, and — flashy presentation aside — his power chords are all over Eddie Van Halen’s rendition. However, Eddie lobbied against releasing “You Really Got Me” as the band’s first single because it was a cover song — he wanted to release an original song first to gain credibility, but since it was the band’s first album, their record label, Warner Brothers, overruled them.

Warner Brothers knew what they were doing — not only was the song a commercial success, but Van Halen has performed “You Really Got Me” live more than any other song. What’s more, despite the song being a cover, Van Halen has all but secured ownership of it — Dave Davies has also complained about how often people come up to him and say, “I like your cover of Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me.”

While Davies has every right to feel aggravated about people attributing his signature song to an entirely different band, don’t feel too badly for him — he’s been cashing royalty checks for the past 38 years.

  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers — “Higher Ground”

Unlike the immediate success of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Van Halen, the Red Hot Chili Peppers waited six years before people really took notice of what they could do. And if it weren’t for Stevie Wonder, they might never have had the opportunity.

In 1989, the California funk-rockers released their fourth album, “Mother’s Milk.” Given their lack of success up to this point, the LP was a surprise hit thanks to a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” The band reworked Wonder’s music and replaced his keyboard with a heavy-handed bass slap and a tighter guitar medley. “Higher Ground” ended up charting in six countries, and “Mother’s Milk” was certified gold in early 1990.

Knowing their next release would make or break their careers, the band enlisted super producer Rick Rubin to work on their fifth record, “Blood Sugar Sex Magik.” The album was released in September of 1991 and it went on to sell a staggering 13 million copies, setting the bar for the rest of the band’s legendary — and still ongoing — career.

  • The Black Crowes — “Hard to Handle”

The American Dream in action:

1984: In Marietta, Georgia, brothers Chris and Rich Robinson start a band. Chris is 18 years old and Rich is 15 years old. The band is called “Mr. Crowe’s Garden.”

1989: Now going by “The Black Crowes,” the Robinsons sign a record deal with Def American Recordings.

1990: The Black Crowes release their debut LP, “Shake Your Money Maker.”

1991: Behind the success of its biggest hit — “Hard to Handle” — “Shake Your Money Maker” goes triple platinum. Originally released by Otis Redding in 1968, the Crowes reworked “Hard to Handle” in classic blues rock style. The result was a Southern, riff-oriented jam that became an instant radio staple and climbed all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.

1992: The Crowes deliver their second album, “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.” It enters the charts at No. 1 and the supporting tour sees the band sell out concerts across the United States.

When aliens come to Earth and ask us to explain American music, I say we put on “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.” If “Thorn in My Pride” hasn’t launched a life-altering introspection — “My angels / My devils / My thorn in my pride” — you’re missing out. If “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” hasn’t held your hand through a breakup — “Sometimes a memory / Only sees what it wants to believe” — it should have. If you don’t start every Easter with “My Morning Song” — “Kiss me, baby, on an Easter Sunday / Make my haze blow away” — you’re doing it wrong. And if it wasn’t for “Deep Purple Syndrome,” a terrible disorder I just made up for the sake of this case study, I wouldn’t have to bring this up because the Crowes’ place in history would be markedly different.

Think about it: Deep Purple is every bit as influential and awesome as Led Zeppelin — seriously, they are — but they are a highway star away in terms of popularity and reverence.  Why? Because when you think Zeppelin you think Robert, Jimmy, JPJ, and Bonzo. When you think Deep Purple? Take your pick. They’ve had fourteen members. Not to be outdone, the Black Crowes have had seventeen members. That’s not the kind of lineup stability that lends itself to mystique and aura.

So, thank you, Otis Redding. Like you hadn’t done enough for us already.

  • Marilyn Manson — “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”

Feel free to renounce the Antichrist Superstar and his pandering to disaffected white teenagers all you want, but the fact remains: Marilyn Manson has sold over 50 million records.

How is that possible?

Blame it on MTV.

In 1995, Manson released “Smells like Children,” an EP that was anchored by a cover of the Eurythmics’ 1982 international hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” In his heavy metal take on the synthpop classic, Manson included some lyrics of his own such as: “I wanna use you and abuse you / I wanna know what’s inside you” and “I’m gonna use you and abuse you / I gotta know what’s inside you” because of course he did.

Upon its release, MTV put the video for “Sweet Dreams” in heavy rotation. The video included a shot of Manson wandering around a vacant street while wearing a tutu and getting defecated on by birds. It also included a shot of Manson — covered in mud and wearing a cowboy hat — riding a pig because of course it did.

The video made Manson a household name.

By the time their next LP, “Antichrist Superstar,” dropped in October of 1996, Manson’s persona was well-established. The album debuted at No. 3 on the U.S. charts, and the world’s highest profile Satanist had arrived.

I’m not sure if that’s what Annie Lennox and David Stewart were going for when they wrote “Sweet Dreams,” but who are they to disagree?

Nevertheless, what we can agree on is this: The next Jeff Buckley is out there somewhere, and some unsuspecting song is in for one hell of a ride.

Some Inspiring Words That Someone Else Might Have Told You Over The Course Of Your Life

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It’s been a long cold lonely summer and it’s about damn time October got here.

October means Halloween! And pumpkin spiced everything! And an awoken Billie Joe Armstrong!

AND, most importantly, the playoffs–

Beer league softball playoffs!

For those poor spirits who know not beer league softball victory nor defeat, allow me to explain.

Beer league softball is a fashionable fight that draws the finest people, and its playoffs are ridiculous spectacles that should not be viewed by anyone.

Unfortunately, my team consists entirely of unathletic, barely functioning alcoholics so there’ll be no postseason for me this year.

However, since I’ve had the privilege of suiting up in hundreds of softball games over the course of my career—yep, still doing great!—I think I’ll be ok.

Mellow is the man who knows what he’s been missing.

BUT, in case you don’t know what you’re missing, here’s some hard-hitting literary journalism.

Here’s a list of the players you’ll meet on every beer league softball team:

The Guy Who Gets Uncomfortably Drunk

This is known all over the Merrimack Valley as “The Max Baked”.

Everyone likes to throw a few back, but this guy is on a level all his own.

This guy drinks before and during the game.

On the bench and in the field.

He has a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

He has a face full of chew.

His uniform is a disaster.

Rather than his team’s jersey, he’s wearing a chef coat.

Rather than mesh shorts, he’s sporting a bathing suit.

Rather than spikes, he’s modeling boat shoes.

On his head is a trucker hat worn without the slightest hint of irony.

The umpires, opposing team, and spectators are all visibly concerned for his safety.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are forever indebted to this guy:

This guy is why beer league softball exists.

The Guy Who Argues With The Umpire

After all my years in the game I still don’t understand the thought process here.

I feel the same way about arguing with umpires as I do about honking your horn when driving.

Why do it at all? What good ever comes from it?

Just forget about the bad call, move on with the game, and save your displaced anger for a more suspecting target like your girlfriend.

This guy’s arguing makes everyone uncomfortable, and what’s most maddening is that he’s never good at softball.

Maybe that’s why he’s arguing with the umpire in the first place?

Regardless, it’s ok to hate this guy because it goes without saying that he hates himself, too.

(He’s also the guy honking at you in traffic.)

((While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about the umps. Can we talk about the umps, please? I’ve been dying to talk about the umps with you all day.

Why would anyone want to be a beer league softball umpire?

Is it the love of the game?

Is there something about being called “Blue” that really does it for them? 

I don’t get it.

JOB DESCRIPTION:

Are you some frumpy ham and egger who is in desperate need of 30 dollars?

Sign up here!

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, internalizing constant verbal abuse, pretending to have a working knowledge of the ASA Handbook, maintaining an inconsistent strike zone, and dusting off home plate.

CANDIDATE PROFILE:

Qualifications: Candidates should be divorced 2-4 times and have 3-5 children from whom they’re emotionally distant.

Experience: Candidates must be able to nuke their supper when they go home to their sad little apartments after each game. Ability to water tomato plants preferred, but not required.

Let’s leave it at this: Umpiring beer league softball is up there with bartending and driving a cab when it comes to jobs you should do if you want to stop drinking.

In fact, umpiring beer league softball should be court ordered.

You get pinched for DUI?

No more bullshit alcohol classes for you—you’re spending the summer calling balls and strikes for the Billerica Industrial Softball League.

Do that and then tell me if you still want to drink.

Did I just cure alcoholism or did I just cure alcoholism?

Bill Wilson ain’t got shit on me.))

The Guy Who Brings His Kid To Every Game

Allow me to get in front of your skepticism:

It’s true.

There are men out there who try to impress their children by way of their exploits on the softball diamond.

Pathetic, I know, but that’s not the worst part.

Have you ever heard an 8-year-old passionately cheer for his dad during beer league softball?

THAT is the worst part.

That shit is its own brand of heartbreak.

It’s the sound of someone who is going to grow up to be a giant donkey just like his old man and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

It is unavoidable.

It is his destiny.

The Girl Who Looks Like A Guy

This is a Public Service Announcement:

The list of unintentionally insensitive comments I’ve made in my life is as long as it is varied, but there was an incident this summer that no act of contrition can cleanse.

In my league each team needs to have two girls in the lineup. If you only have one girl, you take an automatic out.

The team we’re playing only has one girl. They turn their lineup over and the ump doesn’t give them the out.

I assume he doesn’t know the rule and rather than make a big deal about it I decide to wait and bring it up between innings.

At no point do I wonder why no one on my team is saying anything about it.

I simply tell myself that the only reason I noticed is because I’m so smart and perceptive and I know all the rules and I’m our best player and it’s a good thing I’m here to save the day.

So the inning ends and I approach the umpire behind home while the opposing pitcher and catcher are warming up and I tell him the other team only has one girl and they should have had an automatic out.

I get all theatrical and point to the only girl on their team.

“See? Playing second? That’s their only girl. They’re supposed to have two.”

No response.

I look at him like he’s a dummy.

He looks at me like I’m a dummy.

Then he nods in the catcher’s direction.

The catcher is the other girl on their team.

The catcher, the person standing next to me hearing my every word, is the other girl on their team.

To her credit, she simply pretended not to listen as she silently died inside.

You know, it’s kind of like that old saying: “Never refer to a woman’s haircut as a ‘dyke spike’ because she probably has cancer and you’re definitely an asshole, Brian.

In conclusion, I shouldn’t be allowed to talk to anyone.

The Guy Who Needs His Wife’s Permission To Play

I was hesitant to put this guy on the list for existential reasons.

Think about it.

If a guy doesn’t drink at softball does he really exist?

This guy misses most games—you’ll never see him on a Friday because that’s date night—and when he does play he heads straight to his car after the final out because he has to go home and have dinner and talk about his day.

How was your day today? Did you have a good day today or a bad day today? Well, what kind of day was it? Well, I don’t know. How about you? How was your day?

Once he has a kid you’ll never see this guy again.

But don’t worry about him.

I’m sure his wife is awesome and he’s happy with the choices he’s made.

The Guy Who Plays To Avoid His Wife 

I was hesitant to put this guy on the list for transcendental reasons.

Think about it.

Doesn’t every guy play softball to avoid his wife?

Nevertheless, this is the guy who makes you feel better about yourself.

He’s the first at the field and the last to leave.

He’s always asking to do another beer.

11:00 on a Monday night after a game that started at 9:30?

“Come on,” he’ll say. “Just one more! It’s still early!”

Anything to avoid going home.

But don’t worry about him.

I’m sure his wife is awesome and he’s happy with the choices he’s made.

The Guy Who’s Obsessed With Softball

This guy means well, but boy howdy are his priorities misplaced.

This guy schedules practices months before the season starts.

He compiles spreadsheets with advanced scouting metrics.

He has a batting cage in his basement.

And you can forget about him missing a game.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this guy from his appointed place in the lineup.

It’s death, taxes, and this guy batting third and playing center field.

He’ll actually use vacation time to leave work early on game days so as not to risk missing even a single pitch.

The best part is that he sees nothing odd about his behavior—this guy will openly wonder why others aren’t as devoted as he is.

And while his passion is admirable, what this guy really needs is a Lester Freamon in his life:

The game will not save you.

It won’t make you whole, it won’t fill your ass up.

A good season ends.

They all end.

You need something outside of this here.

Honorable Mention goes to: The Guy Who Cares About His Stats (you know the bottom’s come up on you when you’re calculating your softball WAR or UZR) The Old Guy Who Plays Hurt (I need a cortisone shot just looking at him, but damn if I don’t respect the hell out of this guy) The Guy On Steroids (try to find some sleeves for your jersey between now and your next cycle, bro) and The Guy Who Brings His Still Relatively New Girlfriend To Every Game (never a good idea).

Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s only 364 days until next year’s playoffs.

I have to toughen up.

Meet me at the Center Cafe.

All The Pros Do It

BOSTON (CBS/AP)From Fenway Park to youth baseball fields, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to ban the use of snuff and chewing tobacco in sports venues across the city. A Boston Red Sox spokesman did not immediately comment Wednesday, but owner John Henry told The Boston Globe, which he also owns, that he supports the idea.

Walsh’s proposal would apply to everyone in a ballpark, including fans, players, ground crews and concession staff.

Violators would be subject to a $250 fine.

The proposed Boston ordinance would cover professional, collegiate, high school or organized amateur sporting events and be effective April 1.

I wish I could write this blog in real time because I’ve never had more people text/tweet/email me a story more than this one.

However, thanks to this whole “working seven days a week/writing a thesis/inability to say ‘no’ to anyone who wants to go out for ‘just one drink’/inability to ever have ‘just one drink” thing it’s never going to happen.

More’s the pity.

Nevertheless, please don’t think I’ve been CHEWING(!) on this story for the past week while carefully crafting a comeback.

The truth is I don’t want to write about this at all.

I don’t want to write about this because the more I think about what’s really happening here the more depressed I get about the world and how it works.

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Let’s get one thing straight, all right?

This whole thing is fucked up.

This whole thing is fucked up and it’s fucked up for three reasons:

It’s pretentious, it’s impractical, and it’s insincere.

Let’s start with Marty Walsh and John Henry.

Full disclosure: I like Marty Walsh and I like John Henry.

I like Marty Walsh’s story. I like how he handled the snow. I like how he told the IOC to go fuck itself. I like how when we have him on at EEI he fights with passion. I like how he’s an Irish-Catholic born in Dorchester and I’m an Irish-Catholic born in Dorchester.

I like John Henry’s story, too. I like how he’s won three World Series. I like how he seems to care more when the Sox are losing than he does when they’re winning. I like how he saved Fenway. I like how he’s pale as fuck and I’m pale as fuck.

That being said, Marty Walsh and John Henry are caught up in some transparent, self-serving shit here.

Marty’s reason for supporting a ban on smokeless tobacco is simple: He’s doing it for the votes.

Remember, there’s an election in two years and Marty won in 2013 with just 51.5% of the vote to John Connolly’s 48.1% —a difference of less than 5,000 votes.

Obviously this crusade against dip won’t swing the 2017 election, but it will surely win Marty more votes than it loses him.

John Henry’s reason is just as simple: He’s doing it for the PR.

You can file this one under “Friendly Fenway” along with Wally the Green Monster, Pink Hats, Sweet Caroline et al.

NOW, while each man’s motivation is clear, what’s not clear is how either expected to come off as sincere should someone give any actual thought to what they’re proposing.

I’m not going to waste time speculating on how this will be enforced because we all know it won’t be.

(I will say this: I want to be there should Marty ever send some G.I. Joe task force down to M Street Park during a men’s softball game to slap the Skoal out the mouths of every nail straightener who’s just trying to avoid his wife and kids for a couple hours.

 Just the thought of that is enough to make me consider supporting this.

Also, at some point I’d like an explanation as to how the proposed fine for dipping in a sporting venue is $250 when the fine for smoking weed is $100.

Semantics, I’m sure, but—seeing as how one you can buy at the corner store and one is, you know, illegal—I think we all deserve to be humored with some bullshit answer.)    

So, as I was saying, this ban on smokeless tobacco isn’t meant for execution—it’s all about the message.

And you know what?

It’s a damn good message.

When someone like Curt Schilling steps to the mic and tells everyone about how he’s an idiot and dipped for 30 years and got mouth cancer those words actually mean something.

Everyone should hear that story.

Been there, done that, don’t let it happen to you.

But when it comes from Walsh and Henry?

Well, those words are every bit as hollow as the man Henry looks like.

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Listen, I’m sure Marty Walsh and John Henry are sincere in what they’re doing.

I’m sure they don’t want anyone—with the possible exception of Bobby Valentine—to get cancer.

However, why they’re supporting this ban is some calculated nonsense.

This is such an obvious parallel that I hesitate to make it, but what do you think Marty Walsh and John Henry would say if someone proposed a ban on alcohol at sporting venues?

Here’s a fun fact: Marty Walsh is a recovering alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink in 20 years.

Don’t you think he would be the first person to support a ban on alcohol?

Of course not.

Marty Walsh wouldn’t support a ban on alcohol because the majority of people—with yours truly leading the mob—would storm City Hall with pitchforks and torches at the mere mention of it.

You know how Marty will win more votes than he loses over the smokeless tobacco ban?

Well, the same logic applies here.

It’s a numbers game, and way more people drink than dip.

I can’t speculate on how many votes Marty Walsh would lose if he ever supported a ban on alcohol at sporting venues in Boston, but I think it’s safe to say we’d all gain an intimate knowledge of the term “recall election”.

It’s not that Marty doesn’t think alcohol is bad—it’s much, much worse than smokeless tobacco and there’s no real argument to be made otherwise—it’s just that in the context of his political career it’s not bad enough to do anything about.

As for John Henry’s hypothetical answer?

Well, let’s just say it ain’t even a question how his dough flows.

John Henry sells a 12-ounce cup of beer for $7.75 at Fenway.

More importantly, he sells MILLIONS of them every year.

Don’t think for a cocaine heartbeat that John Henry would support banning smokeless tobacco if he had vendors trudging around Fenway with tins of dip for sale.

(Which, as I’ve been saying for years, he most certainly should. This America, man.)

NOW, I’m sure John Henry would try to spin this.

He’d probably say that alcohol is totally different from smokeless tobacco and that’s why he sells one and not the other.

He’d probably say how he supports the ban on smokeless tobacco because he doesn’t want kids to see players dipping because when kids see players dipping they’re tempted to try it.

After all, John Henry cares about the kids and the kids look up to the players and that’s why it’s okay to sell alcohol.

It’s okay for John Henry to sell alcohol because kids never see players drink—

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You know what?

Let’s just leave it at this:

If it weren’t for hypocrisy some people would have nothing to say.

Let Marty count his votes and John count his money.

The rest of us can count on that.

Letters To Lady Brett Ashley

As I await my Pulitzer for writing the Definitive Guide to the Life and Times of Pedro Martinez the praise keeps pouring in.

It’s always some variation of “You’re so great, Brian! You’re so smart and funny and handsome! Why don’t you write for Barstool?”

First, let me say thank you for your kindness. I’m truly blessed.

Second, why don’t I write for Barstool?

Really?

That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot:

So I was (obviously) sitting front row behind the Sox dugout when they retired Pedro’s number last week.

El Pres was at the game, too.

He was sitting two rows behind me, but I’m sure he still had an all right view.

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(That’s me in the bottom left corner waving back to my boyhood idol after he turned around, made eye contact, waved, told me he loved me, and thanked me for everything.

If you look closely you can see Portnoy–two rows back and to my right.

How I got better tickets to this game than an Internet mogul explains how unexplainable the world is.)

Then, just a week later, we had El Pres in studio at EEI.

Clearly cosmic forces are doing everything they can to bring us together.

However, while I’ve had every opportunity to talk to him, I haven’t so much as made eye contact with the guy.

Why?

Because I don’t have what it takes to be a smut peddler.

NOW, I don’t say that to take some moral high road.

They’re easy targets given their very nature, but there’s a shitload of talent over at Barstool.

It’s a particular skill set and they execute it better than anyone in the game, and while I don’t have their skills it’s pretty to think so.

With that in mind, here’s to what is and what should never be–my take on one of my favorite Barstool features written in classic Stoolie style:

Marry Fuck Kill – Maple Syrup

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I’m hesitant on the marriage because the Vermont Maid could easily be 12 years old. She’d have to produce some papers, but at the end of the day I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Vermont girls. They’re an underrated, genuine, down to earth lot–pretty much the exact opposite of every girl you’ve ever met from Connecticut.

I’ll defer to Lupe when it comes to why I’d fuck Mrs. Butterworth:

Let’s slow it down like we’re on the syrup / Bottle shaped body like Mrs. Butterworth

That right there says more than I ever could.

Killing Aunt Jemima wouldn’t be easy because the woman makes a tasty syrup.

However, while this is the syrup edition of MFK, I can’t get past her pancake mix.

It’s capricious and arbitrary.

Aunt Jemima has a lot to learn about pancakes, and I can’t be with someone if I don’t respect what they do.

Marry – The Vermont Maid

Fuck – Mrs. Butterworth

Kill – Aunt Jemima

P.S.

Does this make me racist?

P.P.S.

Don’t answer that.

 

The Kind Of Peak That Never Comes Again

Fenway Park in the late 90s and early 2000s was a very special place to be a part of.

Remember that when Pedro’s number is retired tonight.

Every writer in New England is about to (rightfully) bombard you with a love letter to Pedro in some form or another, and I encourage you to consume each and every one of them.

However, while reading please remember this:

There isn’t a writer alive who can do Pedro justice.

You were either a part of it or you weren’t, and no explanation—no mix of words or music or memories—can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world.

Luckily, it doesn’t matter if you were a part of it or not because what Pedro Martinez did on the field transcends baseball.

Pedro taught us more about life than anything else.

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How can a person appreciate something as it’s happening when they don’t know it’s happening?

That’s a question I ask a lot.

As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes it’s impossible to appreciate things as they unfold because we have no context in which to place them.

That was never the case with Pedro.

It was impossible not to know what was happening.

There are some things I can’t have a rational discussion about. Better band: Zeppelin or the Stones? Better show: The Simpsons or Family Guy? More sexually attractive: Ronda Rousey or Any Other Woman Ever In The History Of The Universe?

Pedro Martinez is at the top of that list.

He was, is, and will always be the Greatest of All Time.

I’ll spare you the intimate details of our relationship—just know it was love at first sight.

Like any great couple, Pedro and I have an awesome “How We Met” story:

July 8, 1997.

I’m 11 years old and watching the All Star Game alone in my basement on the only television in my house.

It’s the bottom of the 6th and this sewer rat-looking motherfucker enters the game representing the Montreal Expos:

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You should have seen this dummy out there.

The guy was a fucking assassin.

He kept covering his face with his stupid blue glove as he waited for signs, leaving only his lifeless eyes visible to the batter.

He struck out A-Rod, lined out Griffey, and struck out Big Mac.

I swear to it on my very soul that I said aloud to myself, “We have to get this guy.”

Four months later we did.

And then seven years later he left.

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If you’ve never had the pleasure, allow me to explain how most breakups work:

One person looks back at the good times, the other looks back at the bad times, and the truth sits somewhere in the middle.

This is the truth when it comes to Pedro and Boston:

Pedro Martinez left Boston to pitch in New York for more money.

It was an impulsive, misguided, indefensible decision for which both sides are to blame.

The Sox are to blame for not extending him before he got to free agency, but it was Pedro who, in the words of BSG, “leveraged the good will of the championship season into a far-too-generous offer from the Red Sox, then leveraged that offer into a suicidal contract from the Mets.”

That was a thing that happened.

Pedro might be the GOAT, but he also was, is, and will always be the biggest diva of all time, and there’s no better example of that than his leaving Boston.

This city, that player—we were made for each other.

But for as awe-inspiring as he was on the field, Pedro was just as maddening off it.

The guy just couldn’t help himself. There was always a problem. Always.

Pedro Martinez was a moody bitch whose behavior ranged from indirect arrogance to unprovoked petulance.

He created drama where there was none.

He searched for slights in the most innocuous of statements.

He knew how good he was and he acted accordingly.

And sure, you can make excuses for him.

The dude was 5-foot-10 and 146 pounds when he entered the majors.

Not bad numbers if you want to sashay down a runway in Milan during some heroin chic fashion show, but certainly not the measurables of a 200-inning dirt mule.

Pedro had nothing handed, took nothing for granted. The man was his own man.

That’s what we loved about him.

Nevertheless, there were times when we simply couldn’t make excuses.

There’s no need to rehash his every transgression, but “Why the fuck would he do that?” and “Why the fuck would he say that?” were common questions when assessing Pedro’s behavior.

However, that was Pedro’s greatest gift of all.

A conveniently overlooked fact of life is this: Most couples simply pair off and live satisfactory lives from inside a functional relationship. They aren’t interested in challenging each other, they don’t make each other better, and they will never live up to their potential as individuals.

Think about it.

Anyone can cheer for someone like Tom Brady.

Where’s the challenge in that?

But to cheer for Pedro?

Well, let’s just say you had to be prepared to put the work in.

You had to be prepared to tell your friends, “He’s not always like this. You should see him when it’s just the two of us. He’s really sweet.”

And there’s your rub, people:

Nothing came easy for Pedro Martinez, and as a result nothing came easy for Pedro Martinez fans.

I loved before and I’ll love again, but I’ll never love an athlete more than I loved Pedro.

He pushed me to be better fan. He pushed me to be better person.

And if his Hall of Fame speech taught us anything, it’s that a man really can learn from his mistakes.

There was no animosity, no mention of retribution.

He spoke like a warrior poet.

He spoke like a Bostonian.

Boston and Pedro back together, forever, us and him, everyday.

He didn’t make it easy, but there was always the implicit promise that it’d be worth it.

And it was.

It was so fucking worth it.

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*

(Requisite Pedro anecdote for all you kids out there. Best if read in the voice of Wayne Henshaw for full effect:)

September 19, 2004.

Sox vs. Yanks.

It’s a Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The AL East crown is still up for grabs.

It’s a HUGE. FRIGGIN’. GAME.

My college roommate, Michael Riordan Daly—one of the true loves of my life and to this day the only Yankee fan from Massachusetts I respect as both a person and baseball fan—had season tickets in Yankee Stadium’s Section 39.

Section 39. The section that does roll call. The infamous Bleacher Creatures.

That Saturday he tells me we’re going to the game.

So how do I prepare?

By not going to bed, of course.

I don’t go to bed because it’s a Saturday night and I’m a sophomore in college and there’s no fucking way I’m burning a Saturday night popping popcorn and watching movies and going to bed early like some asshole.

Not even for Pedro.

I’ve got beers to drink and skirts to chase, brah.

When we leave Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. I’m a fucking disaster.

Not hung over at all. Still really very nice and drunk.

As a result, I spend the three-hour drive to the Bronx passed out in the back of Michael’s Jeep Wrangler.

Have you ever slept in the back of a Jeep Wrangler?

Fucking miserable.

We get to the game and I wake up and it hits me like a slug to the chest. I am strung the fuck out.

But it’s all good.

After all, Pedro is pitching. The Sox are about to make it do what it do.

I’ve got this. I can rally.

So what ends up happening?

Pedro gets fucking SHELLACKED, of course.

My mainest man gives up 8 runs en route to a 11-1 Yankee victory.

Fucking miserable.

As if that weren’t enough, back then the Bleacher Creatures would pick a fan of the opposing team during the YMCA between the 6th and 7th innings and chant “Why are you gay?” at him.

There’s a whole song that goes along with it sung to the tune of YMCA.

“Why are you gay? I saw you sucking some D-I-C-K!”

I’ll let you guess who they picked.

So yeah, have you ever had hundreds of people chant “Why are you gay?” at you?

No?

Well, I’ve got to tell you: That’s some bucket list shit right there.

Fucking miserable.

A little over a month later the Sox won their first World Series in 86 years after the greatest comeback in sports history.

And you know what?

Days like that made it worth it.

Days like that made it so fucking worth it.

The Same Boy You’ve Always Known

Sorry for the delay between posts, but all I can remember about the last two weeks is giving a guest lecture at Villanova.

Before returning to our regularly scheduled programming, I’d like to share a recent medical breakthrough.

I’m pretty sure I’ve Jonas Salked depression.

If it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, here’s what you should do: Bring a 2 year old to the beach.

Watching a toddler chase seagulls and splash around in the ocean should fetch just the kind of unbridled elation you need to witness if you have holes in the knees of your blues.

So flush your Lexapro, steal a little kid, and head for the coast. Everything is going to be all right.

Also, it helps if the beach is this far from your front door and this is the 2 year old:

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NOW, since I been gone, I realized I missed an important birthday and that’s something we shall have to remedy.

Jack White turned 40 last week. Your thoughts of him aside, there’s no argument: Jack is up there with Kanye, Bono, and Brian Nagle in terms of modern day emotional depth and articulation.

It’s for this reason—and after a rough couple of months involving “Music is Sacred” and a guacamole scandal—that Jack deserves a proper birthday acknowledgement.

After all, your kids will have Jack White posters on their walls.

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Jack White might be 40, but his biggest fans haven’t been born yet.

Obviously that statement sounds foolish considering his career to this point.

Millions of records sold, hundreds of sold out concerts, multiple Grammys, collaborations with what seems like every renowned musician from what seems like every musical genre, and recognition as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

However, what you and I think of Jack White is irrelevant because we won’t define him.

The curious thing about revisionist history is that the driving influences steering the revision are often those who weren’t witnesses to the very history being revised.

Subsequent generations often articulate landmark moments missed by those who actually lived them.

This is a good thing.

There are times when it’s impossible to appreciate things as they unfold because we have no context in which to place them.

That’s what is happening right now with Jack White.

Ask a group of teenagers what they think of music today. Chances are they will tell you how much it sucks. They will tell you how music today is nothing like it was in the 60s and 70s and how they are jealous of everyone who was lucky enough to grow up during that time.

This answer is entirely unfair to everyone who grew up in the 60s and 70s.

I know a guy who saw Led Zeppelin at the Boston Garden on September 7, 1971. It was nearly three years after the band released their eponymous debut album and a month before they released their fourth and best-selling album.

The setlist included popular songs such as “Dazed and Confused”, “Immigrant Song”, “Whole Lotta Love”, and “Communication Breakdown”.

The band also snuck in some new songs.

Songs such as “Black Dog”, “Going to California”, “Rock and Roll”, and “Stairway to Heaven”.

Personally, I can’t imagine what it was like to be at that show. This guy heard “Stairway to Heaven” live before it was even released. That would easily go down as one of the greatest nights of my life.

But whenever I ask him about the show his review is remarkably measured.

He tells me it was a great concert, but only with the passage of time did he realize, “Holy shit I can’t believe what I saw.”

This isn’t to compare the two musically, but future generations will be jealous of us growing up with Jack White the same way I’m jealous of this guy for seeing Zeppelin.

This jealousy, however, is entirely unfounded.

After all, how can a person be expected to appreciate something as it’s happening when they don’t know it’s happening?[1]

It’s for this reason that we’re destined to be regaled with stories about Jack White that we experienced in real time given by kids who read about it decades later. We’ll have no idea as to what these raconteurs are talking about, but I suspect the stories will go something like this:

Did you know Jack White only recorded in analog?! Did you know he edited his tape with a razor blade?!

Or:

Did you know Jack White assembled one band of men and one band of women and took them both on tour with him and only one band would perform each show and he wouldn’t announce which band it would be until the morning of the show?!

Or:

Do you know why Jack White wanted red, white, and black to be the White Stripes’ colors? It’s because they are the most powerful color combination of all time! Think about it! Everything from a Coke can to a Nazi banner!

As endearing as these history lessons will be, the truth is that if I were to tell future generations about what it was like to grow up with Jack White I would tell them about my first memory of him.

It was his performance on The Late Show With David Letterman with the White Stripes in 2002. I remember him dressed entirely in red, thinking he was a clown, and dismissing him immediately.

I’ll never tell them that, of course.

I’ll make sure to tell them how great it was to be a witness to Jack White’s genius because that’s what they’ll want to hear.

I’ll tell them that, and then I’ll wonder what it was like to see Zeppelin in ’71.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] I wouldn’t expect anyone to admit it, but you know there are people who saw Zeppelin in ‘71 and ran to get a beer when Stairway started because they didn’t recognize it.

 

You Will Never Find A More Wretched Hive Of Scum And Villainy

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My friend Jillian is an asshole.

To be fair, if you met her you wouldn’t think she’s an asshole. In fact, you’d probably find her exceptionally impressive.

Jillian is engaging and charismatic and went to Harvard Law and is a big city attorney and we are all really proud of her.

But she’s an asshole, and here’s why:

Jillian recently downloaded Tinder. When I asked her why she downloaded Tinder she told me she was “bored.”

Since I’m an awesome friend, I told Jillian that she needed to get over herself.

I told her she didn’t download Tinder because she was “bored.” I told her she downloaded Tinder because she’s insecure and lonely and pathetic and that she should be ashamed of herself.

However, my sensitive insight aside, her story checks out.

Jillian’s story checks out because of what she did once she got Tinder.

As a social experiment—and, more importantly, inspired by Omarion’s “Post To Be”—Jillian decided to download Tinder and text all of her matches, “I might let you get close to me but you gotta eat the booty like groceries” to see what would happen.

Here’s an example, just a little sample:

 

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See?

I told you she was an asshole.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, here are the results:

Jillian texted 172 guys “I might let you get close to me but you gotta eat the booty like groceries.

29 didn’t respond, 23 responded with some variation of LOL, 3 recognized the song, 1 gave an emphatic no, and 116 were unquestionably into it.

116.

(Before we go any further, I’d like to acknowledge how easy this experiment is to criticize so please save your straw man and ad hominem for someone who doesn’t see it coming.

What’s more, when I see stuff like this on Twitter or theCHIVE or wherever I always assume it’s fake, but please remember that this is a blog that no one reads written by an idiot who just wants to watch the Red Sox. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to someone who thinks I’d make this up.

Also, full disclosure: I don’t have Tinder, so I’m hesitant to offer commentary on Jillian’s results.

However, I witnessed countless Tinder dates as a bartender so I’m pretty much an expert.

For example, here’s how every Tinder date goes:

It’s a Tuesday night. The bar is almost empty. The guy is throwing back cocktails as the girl nurses a beer and forces conversation. The guy is there because he wants to have sex because that’s how he measures success in his life. The girl is there because she wants to get married before she turns 30 because that’s how she measures success in her life.

Ladies and gentlemen, believe me when I tell you: You would pay to watch this shit.)

Back to the action!

Let’s get down to glass slacks: Besides the fact that Jillian is an asshole and that the majority of dudes on Tinder will eat a stranger’s ass, what universal truth can we take from this?

Since I’m sure experiments like this have been done before and will be done again, I know that outing Tinder as a wretched hive of scum and villainy isn’t a hot take.

However, these results tell us more than that.

It’s too convenient, too lazy to write off this many guys as standard operating creeps. It’s a statistical impossibility.

Think about it. They have to come from somewhere.

What are their stories? How did they get like this?

Well, the fact is that some of these fuckers are hiding in plain sight.

These guys willing to eat Jillian’s ass sight unseen? You know some of them.

Some of these guys are your coworkers and neighbors.

Some are your friends and family.

Most troubling, some are your boyfriends and husbands.

Of course you don’t want to admit this, but deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties you know it’s true.

Tinder is a cesspool, sure, but the shit has to come from somewhere.

Don’t be naïve enough to think you really know anyone.

 

The Chance To Squint At A Sky So Blue That It Hurts Your Eyes Just To Look At It

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Is it a coincidence that immediately after I write a post in defense of summer we have perfect weather? The past two days were right out of a Charles O’Rear photograph. It’s nice to know Mother Nature reads this blog. That ups its total readership to 1.

Before we go any further, I’d like to go on a tangent regarding the weather and body image issues:

Every treadmill and elliptical was occupied at the gym today. Every single one. So my question is this: Who are these sick people?

No one should ever go to the gym to run on a treadmill or use an elliptical—unless, of course, you don’t want to get any real results—but on a day like today?

A day where the sky was yellow and the sun was blue?

With miles of road and trail and track at your disposal?

Go outside!

(Deep breath)

We’re back!

NOW, since this blog (somehow) counts for school I should probably be conscious of my grade and write what I think my professor wants to read.

But I just can’t do it.

After all, this is my blog and it’s pretty much all I’ve got.

And in my blog, I will splash. The pot. Whenever. The fuck. I please.

So, in celebration of our recent weather, here’s a post just for me. It’s the kind of thing I’d read in the office to salt away the workday.

I present to you the Top Five Blue Sky Songs:

(Please, rest assured that this list was put together Smilin’ Jack Ross style: These are the facts, and they are undisputed.)  

5.) “Mr. Blue Sky,” Electric Light Orchestra

I don’t know what song has been used in the most movies, television shows, commercials, etc.—my guess is Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,”—but “Mr. Blue Sky” has to be up there.

You might remember it from the Volkswagen commercial. Or the Sears commercial. Or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Game Plan or Megamind or Paul Blart: Mall Cop or The Invention of Lying or Role Models or…well, you get the point.

The reason for its promiscuousness ? It’s an instant good mood song, which makes sense since Jeff Lynne wrote it after spending two sunless weeks in Switzerland only to emerge from his chalet one morning to see the day moon chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool over the Alps.

And just like “Mr. Blue Sky”, that’s a sight that’ll turn anyone’s frown upside down.

(Before we move on, can be talk about Jeff Lynne for a minute? The ELO frontman not only wrote “Fire on High”,”Livin’ Thing”, “Evil Woman”, “Turn to Stone”, “Do Ya”, “Telephone Line”, “Strange Magic”, and “Don’t Bring Me Down”, but his additional writing credits include “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin'” for Petty and “Handle with Care” and “End of the Line” for the Traveling Wilburys.

Are you fucking KIDDING me, Jeff Lynne?

It’s a shame he’s going to have to die before people remember/realize how ridiculously awesome he is.)

4) “Goodbye Blue Sky,” Pink Floyd  

This song should most assuredly not put you in a good mood.

Full disclosure: “Goodbye Blue Sky” is the first Pink Floyd song I can remember hearing—I did a spot-on “Look mummy, there’s an airplane up in the sky” imitation as a six year old—so we have history.

Nevertheless, you have to admire any song that transcends its intended commentary.

While Roger Waters wrote it about the Blitz, “Goodbye Blue Sky” remains relevant thanks to what Waters considers a modern day “cultural bombing”.

If you had the pleasure of seeing The Wall Live you might remember bomber planes dropping—in lieu of German bombs—dollar signs, euro signs, religious symbols, and corporate logos during this song.

In other words, the flames are long gone but the pain lingers on.

As true today as it was when it was written.

3) “Bullet the Blue Sky,” U2  

Quick: What’s this song about?

You’ve heard it more times than you can remember, but of course you don’t know. And why would you? Who actually listens to the lyrics?

Here’s a free lesson: During the Salvadoran Civil War (1979-1992), the United States—namely, the Reagan administration—provided financial support to the Salvadoran regime while ignoring ho-hum details such as the death squads, child soldiers, and human rights abuse that said regime was responsible for.

Quick: Why would the United States do this?

You’re right! It was all in an effort to thwart communism.

Arguably U2’s angriest recording, “Bullet the Blue Sky” has everything a U2 song needs.

Inspired by social, political, and/or economic inequity? Check.

Biblical reference? Check. (“Jacob wrestled the angel / And the angel was overcome” is an allusion to Jacob’s return to Bethel.)

Bono drifting into spoken word during the bridge? Check. (One hundred! Two hundred!)

The Edge doing the Edge things? Check. (This song is possibly the Edge at his Edgiest as his guitar slides really do echo those fighter planes.)

Good in concert? Double check. (I don’t care if you hate U2—seeing this song in person will knock you on your ass.)

Now that I think about it, “Bullet the Blue Sky” is such a great song it pretty much justifies the atrocities it was written about.

Am I right, El Salvador?!

(I swear that was a joke.)

2) “Blue Sky,” The Allman Brothers Band  

Where to start with this one?

First, Dickey Betts wrote “Blue Sky” about Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig, his Native American girlfriend whom he eventually married.

Second, Dickey and Bluesky had a daughter named Jessica. Dickey wrote a song—“Jessica”—about his daughter, too.

Third, there’s no fucking way there is a mother/daughter combo out there that can lay claim to two better songs than “Blue Sky” and “Jessica”.

Fourth, “Blue Sky” was Dickey’s debut as the Allman’s lead vocalist and it changed everything. The Allmans became the Allmans because of this song.

And most importantly, Duane Allman and Dickey start the song’s bridge solo with Duane as lead and Dickey as rhythm only to switch half way through. At 2:28 they synch up, and if your dick doesn’t move when that happens you should call your doctor.

Simply put, this is the kind of song that reminds us of why we listen.

1) “Blue Skies,” Ella Fitzgerald  

I’ll let you decide for me:

You come at the Queen, you best not miss.

OR

The Queen stay the Queen.

If you didn’t see this coming you need to do yourself a favor and devote some time to Lady Ella.

At the very least, letting her enrich your life will make the past 1,000 plus words of nonsense worth it.

Is it quitting time yet?

See ‘Em Again ‘Til The Fourth Of July

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7 things to square away before summer

  1. Vacations

If you haven’t set up a summer getaway yet, you better get cracking. Prime weekends on the Outer Banks and mountain lakes are already booked. Disney will be at peak attendance until September. Get something now or you’ll have to wait until after the Fourth of July, by which time summer is pretty much over.

The next person who tells me “After the Fourth of July summer is pretty much over” has like a 5% chance of me stabbing them in the face with a screwdriver.

How does this always happen? People spend the entire winter bitching and moaning about the snow and once summer arrives it’s either 1.) Almost over or b.) Too hot or III.) All of the above.

Officially, summer started June 21st.

Two days ago.

Thirteen days before July 4th.

What’s most troubling is how these people say summer is over after the Fourth of July with such conviction. They really believe it. They don’t stop to realize that it’s the equivalent of saying winter is over on January 4th, but that’s exactly what brings to light the fundamental psychological factor at play here:

Why must there always be a problem?

I understand some people are incomprehensibly stupid and some people just like the sound of their own voice and some people talk so as not to feel uncomfortable—along with “How’s the family?” and “How’s the job?” talking about the weather completes the Holy Trinity of jerk off small talk.

However, this isn’t about struggling to make conversation. This is about people never accepting happiness because it’s easier than, you know, actually being happy.

You know what? I take it back. The next person who tells me “After the Fourth of July summer is pretty much over” isn’t getting stabbed in the face with a screwdriver.

Instead, I’m bringing them to the beach. Or on a hike. Or to a play in the park. Or to an outdoor concert on the water.

That’s right.

We will go and we will have fun.

We will have fun because it’s summer.

And because it’s summer they will ask me:

“Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?”