Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: On the 12th Day

On the twelfth day of Gheorghe-mas
Big Gheorghe gave to me

Twelve Appreciations
Eleven fillers filling
Ten Righteous Moments
Nine Headlines We Want (in 2009)
Eight maids-a-milking?
Seven clips you-tubing
Six gifts worth giving
Fiiiiive(ish) feeeet of height
Four awful words
Three Richmond wins
Two sweet 'stache photos

And a fat guy in a jer-sey


Socrates once proclaimed that "the unexamined life is not worth living." My knowledge of the originator of this quote garnered me two cases of premium beer off Rob in 2005. Like he said this week, don't bet against me on matters of trivia. But I think there's a corollary to the great thinker's quote, perhaps by Rob's buddy H.D. Thoreau. You can't just halt at examining life if you aren't appreciating it. The wherewithal to cull out life's cherrystones from the seaweed -- hell, or to even make seaweed salad . . . now I'm getting hungry -- anyway, it's an art form and a key ingredient in ultimate peace of mind. To that end, I set about mentioning a dozen things, blog-related or otherwise, that I truly appreciate as I look back on the past calendar year. I intended to associate them via this clever new blog gadget to my Top 12 (or 20) songs of the year for Day 12 of Gheorghemas.

And then a funny thing happened . . . and by "funny" I mean "a punt in your groin with an iron boot" kind of funny. While trying to move my voluminous library of songs onto a new external hard drive, in one click of a button I managed to reformat my drive and lose 22,000 songs. Twenty two thousand. That's five years and hundreds upon hundreds of hours of fanatical devotion to completism, audiophilia, whatever you want to call it. Down the tubes. "There's a Tear in my Beer" would have been the backdrop to that night's fiasco, but alas, there was no soundtrack to my misery. Not even "The Sound of Silence."

(I have placed my faith in data recovery in the fine folks over at Drive Savers in California. I am crossing my fingers, toes . . . pretty much every crossable body part except my vas deferens. Stay tuned.)

As such, this post now represents the very last grains of my music library, a small, scattered sampler of the best tunes from the past year for your enjoyment. You should be able to listen to them here, though I have wrecked this blog's template just to get a sub-par method of doing so. I am only now getting to finishing off our G-mas segment, which kind of works even better as a look back now that the year is almost at an end.

For those keeping track, the 12 Days of Gheorghemas last 30 days.


12 Appreciations


One thing a few lame-brained mouse-clicks cannot erase is the memory of many an astounding live show I took in during 2008. It would be hard to conjure a better candidate for "best concert(s) of 2008" than a pair of mid-week March nights of Wilco in the tiny Tipitina's in New Orleans, especially considering the venue, the set lists, the extraordinary circumstances of how I was able to go and how I got there, plus the fact that I got backstage the second night. That said, concerts by Spoon, Old 97's, the Avett Brothers, Wilco again (in Brooklyn), Drive-By Truckers, and Springsteen all held their own. And top billing might not actually go to the Tip's gigs but instead the Truckers/Hold Steady gig I saw in Raleigh in November. We drove down on a Monday night -- there's very little like a three-hour, Budweiser-fueled car ride to rev a few folks up for a show -- to the miniscule Lincoln Theatre and watched two great acts that go great together. THS opened, and Craig Finn wailed away even as he reminded me of Bryan Spurrier. Then the Truckers came on and took it up a notch. Catch any of the aforementioned bands at a destination near you. (But the smaller the venue, the better. I think I'm done with stadium & arena shows until I get too old to stand.) I do love me some live rock and roll.


2008 was a reunion year for me: my 20th high school reunion and my 15th college reunion. (There's a joke involving math in there somewhere.) I walked back on the grounds of my high school for the first time in 17 or 18 years, back to the same old corridors where delinquency of all kinds dominated my time. A few weekends later I was once again roaming the W&M campus in a zig-zagged stagger, well-trod territory on both counts. The one thing I truly appreciated in both cases was the bit of time-travel performed, enabling -- dictating -- that I'd reprise the same role of class clown / fraternity social chairman that I had once upon a time. And everybody else did much the same, falling into the same old habits and falling down the same old staircases. Can't wait to get back.


Something old, something new. Just when we thought we'd scared all the icky girls out of this corner of the blogosphere with our esoteric wit and rampant juvenilia, females were discovered hanging around our parts. (Right on cue . . . cannot possibly get through the paragraph about the ladies without a genital-related innuendo.) And I'm not merely talking about Rob's wife lurking silently, trying to see what it is Rob does during "work hours" and which famous females he'd like to boink. Nor do I mean queens like Geoff and Mark dressing in login drag as their female counterparts. ("Nick the Dick" in Bachelor Party had a "counter-part," for those wondering how that would possibly be stretched into a phallic euphemism.) No, I'm talking about real live commentor chicks like Shlara (blowing by me on NBA knowledge like Robert Pack with a sick crossover) or KQ of the Queen Beaches (where music and fashion are always the passion). There was even a rumor that a blog summit between the latter and two reps from G:TB happened sometime this summer, but we can neither confirm nor deny that one. (Awww, yeah.) I for one appreciate their presence here and hope they stick around.

"New York" by Cat Power.mp3

Speaking of famous females someone would like to boink . . . uh, I mean, I have come to appreciate these ladies for each of her God-given gifts. Here's to sexy rock chicks, and may there be many more of them to come.


It was a losing year for the Detroit Lions and, to a lesser degree, me. I lost my golf clubs in a cab. I lost the nicest pair of sunglasses I'd ever owned . . . somewhere. And I lost 22,000 mp3 files, in case you missed the several paragraphs of whiny self-pity earlier. But you know what? That's really not much by comparison. In this world economy, a lot of folks lost their job, their fortune, their shirt, their ass. Much more significantly, people lost loved ones, some of them prematurely. Rob and I have known all too well that latter catastrophe in the past decade, so for what (and who) I didn't lose in 2008 . . . I'm pretty friggin' grateful. Plus, I have a backup bag of sticks I'm using these days that's far more commensurate with my golf game.


. . . and as Rob pointed out to me, this song reminds us of more than one of those late, great comrades of ours. "Well, we ain't goin' to hell/We're goin' to the rebel side of heaven." Keep 'em chilled for us, boys. I'm elated that the memory of these cats isn't even close to fading away.


Here's to losing your fastball but still being able to muster quality starts. Like the post-heyday 97's, I've lost a few steps . . . in just about everything I do. My storied debonair good looks and winsome charm are considered fables at this point. What passed for athletic prowess is laughably outdated. I'm even a tad slower with a joke and (dare I say it) my drinking ain't what it could be. Still, like Dear Abby once told me, I have no complaints. I am what I am and I ain't what I ain't. I think most of us have graduated from glory years in many a category, and yet I'd still hold us up against most comers. Here's to hanging on for another year. (But Rhett Miller may need a divorce and a case of Old Grand-Dad if he's ever going to rediscover his Muse.)


These two guys got together for the first time in 20-some years to keep doing what they do -- making music. This August marked the 20th year that I have been getting together with Rob to do what we do -- drink beer and make fun of each other, both ad nauseum. We used to do it several times a week with a mass of dudes. Now life has relegated us to a few times a year with just fragments of our old gang, but we're still pretty lucky in that regard. Hard to believe that it was a full two decades ago that he and I (and Sentence Boy Dave) were living on a freshman hall full of random idiots, but then again, Ronald Reagan was president, the Mets were thinking dynasty, and R.E.M. was still the best band going. Good Lord, are we fucking ancient. A tip of the cap (probably a derby or some old man tam o'shanter) to old cronies, drinking buddies, the dudes, whatever you call them.


And here's to the kids. No, I don't mean my daughters; good gravy, they aren't bloggable material, nor are they permitted to visit this space until I'm long dead. No, I mean the young turks who've come on board at Gheorghe: The Blog and taken us in an array of new, silly directions. Dennis, Mark, and the artist currently known as Rhymenocerous represent the Young Guarde and have all bolstered the breadth of our output's inane quality (not to mention quantity) upon their arrival. And it goes without saying that the adoption of prodigal son and doofus overlord TeeJay once upon a time has evoked more head-shaking grins than any personnel action made before or since. May the G:TB AdSense Happy Hour occur before we're in nursing homes. For a year's worth of stupid chuckles . . . thanks, punks.


I met Jim Infantino in 1987, the summer before my senior year in high school. He was my RA during the month-long July Program at Bennington College. (Which, as an aside, had a 6:1 girls:guys ratio. The salad days, as they say.) Anyway, Jim was just a cool guy with a guitar back then, a student at Haverford College (which Rob didn't believe was a real school as of two weeks ago) spending a summer in Vermont. Nowadays Jim fronts Jim's Big Ego, an NPR-friendly, somewhat under-the-radar coffeehouse band that's infinitely cooler than the crap description I just gave it. JBE is a trio you should definitely go see live if you're anywhere near Boston (or Vienna, VA on January 22), and one the rest of you can and should hear online. Their most famous song is "Stress," and other standouts include "She's Dead," "Punk Junkies from New York," "Desperate Times," and new tunes "Sleepwalker" and "Background Vocals." For the left-wingers, "Cautionary Tale" and "WTFMFWTFAYT" should amuse. But my point in promoting Jim -- who I've only seen play and spoken to once since 1987 -- and his band as an appreciation this year is to say that I'm pretty psyched when friends or acquaintances of mine seem to have carved out a life that makes them happy. Success can be a mis-quantified thing, and without knowing enough to say for sure I'd wager that Jim and his Big Ego are doing quite well these days, even with a day job to support a music life. Pretty cool, and here's hoping that more among you reach plateaus of pleasantness in the near future.

"For Emma" by Bon Iver.mp3

I think 2009 is going to be the dawn of a new era of sentimentality in America. Okay, probably not that melodramatic, but it may mark the end of the sheer cold cynicism that has personified the nation for a decade or more. To wit, our chums over at the Wheelhouse (also referred to as "She & Him") are already exhibiting a softer side. Word on the street is that Jerry's considering making GF stand for more than "Goals For." Meanwhile, Geoff, even as he was beginning to publicly dread the Ides of April, was downright not-awful in his remarks about the president-elect. In addition, I think positivity is replacing negativity as the "what's in" buzz-vibe. Rob's been leading that charge since he unveiled the Era of Positivity at MLC in 2003. Five or six years seems about the appropriate catch-up window for the world in matters like this. "Bon Iver" means "good winter" in (misspelled) French. This winter's gonna be a tough one for a lot of people. I vow here and now to at least try to keep up the optimism and appreciation all season long, even when it becomes less than picnic-like for me.

"The '59 Sound" by The Gaslight Anthem.mp3
"Fools" by The Dodos.mp3

Here's to Gheorghe: The Blog and all who visit to make it worth keeping up. Somehow in the last five years we've managed to log over 1,000 posts and many more comments about . . . not much. Life and how to live it, replete with YouTube clips, I guess. These six songs each represent one Gheorghe blogger. See if you can figure out who's who. (No, not really. This is just catch-all so I can squeeze in six other great songs from '08 and round out a 20-spot. Enjoy.)



Happy New Year, and may 2009 be the Gheorghiest year we've known to date.

Cheers.

66 comments:

Rhymenocerous said...

As always, a bang-up job by Whit.

Tremendous music choices all the way around. The MGMT CD has a few tremendous tracks. It makes me want to drop E bombs and go out.

Vampire Weekend, Langhorne Slim, Hold Steady and Gaslight Anthem have all been played a lot this year on my iPod.

Happy New Year, gents. I have a date on the couch with my wife, a 6-pack and a sleeping child in another room. Whoopee.

rob said...

whit's a little like john smoltz - old, balding, and a pretty good closer.

rob said...

and that okkervil river song is my favorite new tune of 2009.

rob said...

or 2008, whichever.

Jerry said...

More words: That post or the sum of all of TJ's 2008 posts?

zoltan said...

The Truckers put on a fantastic live show. Make it a point to see them if you can.

zoltan said...

Speaking of TJ…

I spent some quality time with old friends over the holidays, drinking and discussing weighty topics. Blow jobs was the subject matter of one conversation. I opined that there’s nothing worse than a toothy blow job. My friend said “You mean a TJ?”

Shlara said...

What a finish!

Whit, thanks for the shout out, and thanks to all of the GTB boys for welcoming me and KQ to the space.

Love the music selections--just saw Rhett solo a few weeks ago at the Black Cat--still can't figure out where he gets his brill ideas when he leads such a charmed life.

Whitney said...

Yeah, Shlara, that's what I've been on about. I think lately Rhett's life is so peachy he has little to be miserable about, and misery makes for great songs.

It's a lot of the same gripe I had about Springsteen . . . except what it took for Bruce to have something terrible to write about, I don't want that again!

rob said...

agreed!!!

happy new year, boys and girls.

Geoff said...

Vampire Weekend features two members who attended my tiny McLean, VA high school...and yes, I do mention that every time they come up.

And my positive comments about Pres B.O. still stand...but are probably most accurately attributed to my landing a job so as to not be staring down unemployment in 20 days like most of my old cohorts. But generally, I like all the positivity around these parts of late...I'm willing to get on board.

rob said...

it may well be the hangover speaking, but this nugget from the jambaroo on deadspin made me laugh out loud this morning:

The most badass way of committing suicide is to make a noose of razor-wire, then superglue your hands to your face. When you hang yourself, the razor-wire will cut through your neck and it will look like you ripped your own head off.

Geoff said...

That's how William F. Buckley died.

TJ said...

Happy new year fellas.

Whit, that was a pretty fantastic way to wrap up the 12 days. Well played sir.

And I won't use that many words util June at the earliest.

rob said...

what, teejay, no love for shlara?

TJ said...

Happy new year fellas, ladies...and annoying midgets.

rob said...

there we go

rob said...

football, of a sort, in 10 minutes

TJ said...

Ole Ball Coach to start the day, yes?

TJ said...

For shits and giggles I am starting 2009 with a horrrendous mustache. The wife begged me not to go into pubclic with it. So where am I?

Target. I fit right in.

rob said...

sweet jesus, whoever sings the song on espn's end of year football montage should be tortured and then shot. i'm guessing it was creed.

rob said...

sorry, that wasn't very positive.

TJ said...

Uh oh, don't even mention Creed around Greg...

rob said...

anyone get the impression the ol' ball coach really doesn't care anymore?

TJ said...

Bachelor Party on Comedy Central if you want to see a donkey o.d.

What time is that outdoor hockey game?

rob said...

hockey is at 1:00. awesome.

rob said...

good lord this is a gutless performance by south carolina.

TJ said...

And they just started the second half with their FIFTH turnover of the game.

rob said...

why is the canadian national anthem being sung at a game between two american teams? fucking canada.

rob said...

killer star spangled banner. yeah, usa.

rob said...

spiffy uniforms on both chicago and detroit.

Shlara said...

Pond hockey at Wrigley on HDTV is awesome.

Even more awesome that I'm watching from my couch and don't have to sit in the sub-zero weather to enjoy the experience.

Geoff said...

UGA's punter Mimbs is an early favorite for donkey of the week.

Rhymenocerous said...

We really need to re-visit Teej's 10:59 AM comment about going out in "pubclic" with a mustache.

I don't know if it's because it evokes the words pub, pubic and clit, but it sounds awfully filthy. Especially when the word mustache is in the sentence.

TJ said...

Stephen Garcia is absolutely the donkey of the week. And he locked it up in only a half of play.

rob said...

don't try to change the subject, teejay.

rob said...

i like the blackhawks' sweater so much that i went to nhl.com to see if they're selling a t-shirt version of it. fuckers want $50 for a damn t-shirt. worst-marketed league in the world. teejay, you should send them your resume. they're in desperate need.

Rhymenocerous said...

The best surprise I've had so far this year was watching the Capital One viking commercial during the Capital One Bowl. Who was playing one of the vikings, you might ask? None other than Donald Gibb, the man who played Frederick "Ogre" Polawakski in a couple of the Revenge of the Nerds flicks.

Good to know that he's no longer being typecast in his mid 50's.

TJ said...

I just now saw that Rhymo did not appreciate my spelling error. But he would love the molest-ache.

Rhymenocerous said...

I'm sure I'd love it. At the very least, I'd love it more than Mike Patrick's face in HD.

Shlara said...

I know you guys don't care...but this just needs to be stated. Villanova coach Jay Wright is hottie-hot-hot.

And, luckily ESPN understands that too, b/c they show him a lot.

rob said...

blackledge is right that new year's day just isn't the same. damn you, bcs.

rob said...

he looks like he gets manicures, shlara. didn't know that was your type.

Shlara said...

He's like Mr. Big, but he's a basketball coach--totally my type. Too bad he's married....to a former 'Nova cheerleader, of course.

Rhymenocerous said...

Under the "great minds think alike" category, here is one of the Deadspin guy's list of his six favorite songs from 2008.

“That Was Just Your Life” by Metallica

“Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Part 1,” My Morning Jacket

“Strange Times” and "Lies," The Black Keys

“Stay Positive,” The Hold Steady

“Stupid Now,” Bob Mould

“The ’59 Sound,” The Gaslight Anthem

Rhymenocerous said...

Blackledge's idea sounded good for a minute, until you realize you could shoot holes in it immediately. If 3 good teams won handily in his New Year's Day games, how would you pick 2 for the national championship?

But he's right that the New Year's Day slate of games has been raped. It used to be a great set of 6 or so games. You'd have something like the Citrus early, the Rose, Cotton and Fiesta later, and the Sugar and Orange in the evening.

I have fond memories of Blackledge versus Herschel when PSU and UGA went at it in 1982. And I remember Marcus Dupree tearing it up almost 25 years ago for Oklahoma.

South Carolina, Clemson and Nebraska have no business playing today.

rob said...

his idea was moronic, agreed.

Mark said...

Happy New Year people. I finally feel normal after a party at our house (my gf's bday is new year's eve) that last until 5:30 am. I don't recover nearly as well as I did in my 20s. I do, however, still love getting shitcanned and having all the fun come to me.

And Rob's right, New Year's Day just ain't the same anymore. I haven't been remotely interested in a single game today.

Mark said...

Do we really need to be grilling Mark Sanchez on whether he's going pro or not? I mean, who's taking him in the first round?

I would like to know where he gets his Mexican flag mouthpiece though...

rob said...

wow - that was an impressive run by tyrod taylor.

Whitney said...

Robocop is on one of the HD channels. A worthy flip-away from football.

And on an unrelated note, don't sleep on that Ra Ra Riot song I posted above. It's my favorite at the moment.

Rhymenocerous said...

Real Madrid and Barcelona are in a barn-burner on GolTV. The Real keeper just stoppped a penalty kick in the 69th minute to preserve a 0-0 tie. It's probably at least 8 hours delayed, but it's interesting nonetheless.

You would have to pay me to watch Cincy vs. Frank Beamer's goiter.

Rhymenocerous said...

That game was played on December 13th. Takes a bit of the suspense out of it...

Whitney said...

So long as you don't know the result while you're watching it, it doesn't matter at all.

I can't stand it on ESPN Classic when either the info guide or the cut-to-commercial gives the result away.

rob said...

you decided to fix the site meter before the links, teejay? i'll never understand this younger generation.

TJ said...

Hit refresh dummy...the links are slowly coming back.

rob said...

i am completely not gruntled about the fact that the cotton bowl will be taking place while i'm at work.

Rhymenocerous said...

Anybody else out there just now notice that the Hawks have the 6th best record in the NBA? Joe Johnson and company are getting it done in Hotlanta. I haven't seen them look so good since Koncak, Rollins, Nique, Rivers and Willis were wearing the red and gold.

TJ said...

Gruntled rob - 14 to 7 TX Tech.

TJ said...

Ole Miss taking it to Tech...

Mark said...

And I am enjoying it immensely.

Mark said...

Okay, I thought Ole Miss would give Tech a game. But 47 points?

Either Tech wasn't motivated for this game after missing out on a BCS bowl or the Big 12 was wildly overrated...

rob said...

totally agree - i did not see ole miss coming. a whole new level of hmmmm for next week's game.

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