Saturday, July 29, 2017

Amazing Human Tricks

I'm readily and consistently amazed by the sheer variety of the human experience, the multi-hued, manifoldly abled diversity of our brothers and sisters the planet wide.

Like an increasing number of mostly comfortable citizens of the world, I've completed a couple of Spartan races. I'm modestly well-conditioned, and entirely devoid of strength, so I ran well, climbed nearly everything that required it, and did a shitload of burpees when I couldn't completely execute some of the strength events. (Fucking monkey bars, man.)

I ran my most recent race with a guy who's a few years older than me, and a pair of twenty-somethings. The former is married to a woman who owns a local gymnastics gym, and the latter were both coaches at the same gym. I was envious of their sick coordination, absurd body control and strength in endless supply, though I suspect they were a bit surprised that a 45 year-old kept leaving them behind on the running portions of the event.

All of this is preface, really, for a couple of videos. The first is one of the two youngsters at a prominent gymnastics camp, where each year the coaches put on an exhibition for the campers. Check out my man Mark via this Facebook video, which I can't figure out how to embed.

At the same camp, a world-renowned tumbler named Aaron Cook attempted to complete the first-ever standing double backflip. As in, from a standing start, this dude tried to do two full rotations. I've tried to do a single backflip on a trampoline and nearly killed myself. To put it mildly, even thinking about a standing double is insane.

Cue Aaron Cook:

People, especially those outside the halls of American power, are pretty damn amazing.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Filler - The Bar is Crying

Below is the view out of my office looking due North. The building at the bottom left is The Ritz. No, it's not a 5-star hotel. It's a bar. A staple here in Jax Beach, it is quite popular with the locals. Surfers, boaters, Ferrari driving lawyers and everything in between frequent the joint. With my vantage point and ADD, I see most of the patrons that walk through the doors between 4 & 5. A trio of old ladies just walked in for example. Kinda early isn't it ladies!? If only my window opened.

After last week being abroad, hopped up on jet lag and too many pints the intent has been to lay (or is it "lie") low for 10 days or so. No drink. Meaningful exercise. Then Friday hits. A nice productive week has me thirstier than normal.  I struggle with wanting to stay clean and taking the elevator down the 6 floors to a mere 20 strides away from the real cold ones.  The struggle is real. I'm trying. I'm tryin real hard.
Enjoy the weekend folks.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Great Gig in the Sky

So apparently Eddie Vedder joined Roger Waters onstage for "Comfortably Numb" recently.  Not bad.

Now, Roger made the Douche List AND has irritated a whole lot of people lately with his anti-Israel remarks. Meanwhile, a friend of mine who works for the best music venue in Hampton Roads (and whose family co-owns the cottage we inhabit for the fishing trip) tells me that the band I saw last night is a bunch of truly nice people.  So maybe you should watch their rendition of the same song instead.

And for those brothers of the Virginia Psi chapter of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity*, you may want to watch this.  And fall into the fetal position, shaking. Enjoy the inflatable kangaroo.

*before it went all soft in the eras of Marls and Teej; they may not appreciate this

Anyway, Roger Waters and David Gilmour are done playing together forever.  Their reunion for the Live 8 concert was 12 years ago now.  You can go see one of their individual shows and pay some inflated rate to watch a grumpy famous guy or you can watch The Australian Pink Floyd Show crank out astoundingly note-for-note, brilliant versions of the classics.  (They started with a full run-through of Dark Side of the Moon and then went from there last night.)

Good stuff.

Friday, July 21, 2017

G:TB Writing Challenge/Friday Filler

On this day in 1899, Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, IL. In honor of Papa's birthday, we kick off the first-ever G:TB Writing Challenge. See the advice in the image below, and head to the comments to enter. Some restrictions apply, namely, if you're Dave, don't assume that the judges will have the same interpretation of 'sentence' as you do.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Get Up, Get Moving

We've talked about NPR's Tiny Desk concert series here before, though probably not enough. One of these days, I'll do a post about my favorite sessions. (Note: that probably won't happen, as it'd require effort.)

Today, though, a little get off your ass and move music to get the day started. Here's Rare Essence from earlier this week, all packed around Bob Boilen's desk and delivering D.C.-style go-go. Hard to watch this and not get body movin'.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Chronicles of an Aging Gheorghie Meets Greasetruck (Eventually): The A-Fib Blues

Our man at the beach returns with another cautionary tale about growing old, getting medical tape stuck to groin-area hair, and surgical adventure. This time with a twist, as sedation met inspiration. Today's post is the first of a multi-parter, wherein Fairbank writes lyrics for a different Dave to set to music and record. Stay tuned.

I’ve been saddled with heart arrhythmia, specifically atrial fibrillation, for several years. It’s not constant, it doesn’t limit activity or exercise, and I rarely feel it. Still, if left untreated, it increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and other unpleasant outcomes. I’ve come to think of my heart as a family, where three or four responsible, hard-working siblings will eventually be brought down by the alcoholic brother with a couple of priors who can’t hold a job.

Which is how I found myself recently at the Norfolk Heart Hospital for Round 2 of Fun With Catheters and Electrically Charged Wires. Not to denigrate the good folks at the hospital, who are wizards that perform daily damn miracles, and in my experience, are uniformly engaging and of good cheer.

Atrial flutter and fibrillation can be treated with medicines or surgery. One isn’t superior to the others, and is often a personal choice. Meds treat the symptoms. The more invasive procedure, an ablation, is the only option that offers the chance of a permanent fix. An ablation consists of inserting a catheter into a vein in your groin area and sliding it north several inches through your hip. A small wire is snaked through the catheter, into your heart and deadens the area causing the faulty electrical impulses responsible for the arrhythmia.

Am I the only one that thinks A-Fib looks like Gonzo?
I had an ablation done 18 months prior, but that didn’t take. Further testing determined that the offending area this time was in a different heart chamber. The success rate for that particular procedure isn’t as high as the electro-cardiologist would like – 75 to 80 percent. But again, it provided the only chance at a fix, and beat the prospect of a lifetime of blood thinners and heart regulating meds. The procedure required catheters in each groin, a smaller one on the left side to check the previous ablation, and a larger one up the right side to address the current fib. The doc said afterward that early indications are that this one will take, though only time will tell whether I’m part of 3 in 4 or the less fortunate 1 in 4. After an overnight stay for observation, I was home the next day. I’m padding around for a few days, and peeling off the tape and dressings from around the groin incisions was a special moment.

Sometimes, discomfort and adversity inspire creativity. Or in my case, a frivolous diversion. With apologies to Muddy Waters and Lightnin’ Hopkins, here’s a traditional style, slow blues number I wrote while laying in my hospital bed as the anesthesia wore off and I stared at my IVs and heart monitor.

                                                                A-Fib Blues
Gypsy woman told me
You won’t stammer or stutter
But you’re gonna have
An atrial flutter

Heart can’t tell
A saint from a sinner
But you’ll need a beta blocker
And a big ol’ blood thinner

Won’t do no good
To wail and shout
Just avoid sharp objects
And try not to bleed out

Talked to the cardiologist
He gave me the news
Son, your heart’s quiverin’
You got them a-fib blues

They see this condition
All over the nation
Doc recommended
A cardiac ablation

Pretty little nurses
Gonna tend to your groin
And you don’t even have to
Give ‘em no coin

Needles and tubes stickin’ in
Guaranteed not to please ya
But you’ll catch a break
When you’re under anesthesia

They snip pulmonary vessels
And cauterize nerves
I said, please, please doctor
Don’t let your hand swerve

Talked to the cardiologist
He gave me the news
Son, your heart’s just a quiverin’
You got them a-fib blues

Recovery ain’t bad
Body’s a little off
But whatever you do
Don’t sneeze and don’t cough

Doc thinks it’s fixed
Don’t believe he’s a faker
Just hoping to avoid
Getting a pacemaker

Talked to the electro-cardiologist
He gave me the news
Son, your heart’s quiverin’
You got them a-fib blues
Son, your heart’s not deliverin’
You got them atrial fibrillation bluuuues

Saturday, July 15, 2017

There's Only One Bradley Lowery

The athlete visits sick kid trope is nearly as old as modern sports. Babe Ruth legendarily hit a trio of homers in Game 4 of the 1926 World Series after visiting 11 year-old Johnny Sylvester in the hospital and promising a round tripper. So legendarily, in fact, that Sylvester has his own Wikipedia entry.

Sometimes, probably most times, the athletes in question provide a momentary bright ray for a stricken child before they return to their lives. More rarely, kids and their heroes develop real relationships, a testament to a shared humanity that transcends age and class and circumstance. Recall, for instance, Michigan State basketball player Adreian Payne and his friendship with little Lacey Holsworth, who lost her life to cancer in 2014 at the age of 8.

In the case of English soccer player Jermain Defoe, there's only one Bradley Lowery.

Defoe is the 7th-leading scorer in English Premier League history, tallying 158 goals in 16 seasons in England's top tier, with another 20 in 57 appearances for the English national team. At 34, he's nearing the finish line of his decorated career, but he still managed to bang in 15 goals for Sunderland last season. His efforts weren't enough to keep the Black Cats from relegation, so he moved on after three seasons in Tyne and Wear, signing with Bournemouth for the 2017-18 season.

Lowery was five years old when he met Defoe earlier this year. The youngster, a huge Sunderland fan, had been battling neuroblastoma, a cancer of the brain, since 2013, and been invited to be a mascot for his favorite club. Defoe and Lowery struck up an instant and fast friendship.

"As soon as he saw me, he ran over to me and jumped on my lap," said Defoe, recalling his first meeting with Lowery in February. "I think probably from that moment, it was sort of overwhelming, because I was like 'oh wow.' And that sort of love he gave me from day one was just like, that instant moment, was sort of like when we bonded. It was just a great feeling."

The two famously appeared together at Sunderland matches, in addition to English national team ties. In March, Lowery accompanied Defoe as the latter walked onto the pitch for an England/Lithuania World Cup qualifier.

Said Defoe, "All the lads know the bond between me and Bradley and how important it is for him to be happy and enjoy every moment ... I mean, these moments will live with me for the rest of my life. I will never forget all the times he's walked out with me."

Defoe scored in that match, a 2-0 England victory.

Last week, at the age of six, Bradley Lowery succumbed to the cancer that racked his little body.

In the days before Lowery's passing, Defoe spent time with the boy and his family. He was asked about his relationship at his introductory press conference in Bournemouth:

Defoe joined a number of Premier League players and officials at Lowery's funeral in Sunderland. His emotions matched those of the thousands of people who lined the route from the church, thousands who didn't know Bradley Lowery personally, but who were touched by his story, his pure joy in the real friendship of a man from an entirely different background who played a game for a team he loved.

There's only one Bradley Lowery. But there's only one Jermain Defoe, too.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pretty in Pink

Who wore pink better:

The increasingly creepy Sammy Sosa...
(no, the color on this picture has not been altered)

or Ringwald?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I made a good tweet

My tweet is a high-quality tweet and I applaud its transparency.


I'm on one of my semi-regular jaunts to the Twin Cities. As usual, I landed at MSP. made my way to the rental car lot, and turned on 89.3 KCMP, The Current, one of the great public radio stations in America.

This song came on as soon as I pulled out of the airport:

Fuck, but it checks all kinds of boxes. Haunting vocals from a dead cute Australian girl singer. Love, loss, longing. And, oddly, random scenes with international-standard basketballs.

From the blog that brought you Mumford and Sons before you knew who they were, keep your ears open for Amy Shark.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

The G Stands for Gangsta

FOGTB Dave Fairbank has a lot of time on his hands, apparently, what with the beachside living and all. He sent me the following DM via Twitter a few days ago:

"I'm late to this, but you must find John Oliver's show from last Sunday (big chunk is on Sinclair Broadcast Group), but the kicker is at the end. A fabricated movie about the life of Warren Harding - takes too long to explain, just trust me on this - that includes one of your faves."

The show in question is Episode 107 of Last Week Tonight, Oliver's increasingly must-watch HBO commentary. And the Sinclair stuff is indeed worth watching, if you can carve 19 minutes from your busy schedules of kid-wrangling, imbibing, commuting, and fallout shelter digging. (I've included it at the end of this post for your rage-viewing pleasure.)

But the Fairbank-described kicker is in the eight-minute piece below, which really defies easy explanation. Let me just say that I've never been turned on by a scene featuring a wax president before.

Here's the piece on Sinclair Broadcasting. It'll piss you right off.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Call The Police for postcount

In the comments a post or two ago I recommended a song, but no one probably saw it because I commented just as a new post was going up. So, in the spirit of postcount, I am turning my comment into a post.

LCD Soundsystem's new single, "Call The Police," is perfect dadrock. In it you can hear strains of The Killers, U2, The National, and of course James Murphy. You should add it to your summertime BBQ party jam play list to elevate your already premiere status as the musical cognoscente of your piece of the suburbs.

I also encourage you to comment more today--I have the day off and it's raining like crazy so I can't play tennis or fish so I need some other source of entertainment.


Candidly, you guys aren't doing much in the commenting department lately. Step it up.

Thursday, July 06, 2017


The headline on the Paste Magazine story read, "Watch The Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" Video Recreated Sesame Street-Style".

Based on our editorial policy, we're obligated to run with it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

You been grooving out to that iPhone 7 commercial too? Thank David Byrne

You know that commercial. The one with the barber shop. But you may not know the back story of the song.

Well, I don't know it either. But I know that the song rocks. A direct link to it, sung by Nigerian funk musician, can be found here (go to the 35 second mark if you have a short attention span).

But if there's a cover version that can rightfully pay tribute to the eclectic funk savant that William Onyeabor was, it is David Byrne. So here is David Byrne singing that song for Jimmy Fallon:

In case you're wondering, David Byrne has been blowing minds for smaller crowds for over twenty years since the Talking Heads broke up. I was lucky enough to catch him a couple times in NYC, at both the Apollo Theater and Irving Plaza, and since I'm eleventeen scotches deep, I'm gonna hopefully seduce you down the rabbit hole to fully appreciate Mr. Byrne.

Here is a song from Shuggie Otis, an artist David brought out from irrelevance almost 20 years ago on his Luaka Bop label. I bought this CD way back in the day when living with Juan Carlos in the West Village, given its strong review and its ties to Byrne. I think both Juan and I made sweet love to ones of women while playing this song:

Let's move on. Here is David Byrne's video to the song Miss America, from his late 90's solo album Feelings. This song is as eclectic as it is brilliant, and the biting lyrics add a bit of punch.

While we're at it, let's fully show the magic Byrne has an arranger and composer. Here he is covering Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," accompanied by a bunch of string players. He played this when I saw him at one of the shows in the early aughts.

I strenuously urge you all to play these tunes in your car/office/cubicle/house/pool club, often and with great relish.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Independence Day Open Thread

Happy Fourth of July Gheorgies!!  Here is a little cup or two of Independence Day cheer to enjoy while beaching, BBQing, boating, or just bloating.

For the jaded cynics:

For the God-fearing patriotic draft dodger:

For the traditionalist:

For fans of Neil Diamond, Shirley MacLaine, and Ronald Reagan:

And finally for people who love this country no matter how screwed up it may seem at times:

Sunday, July 02, 2017


Unburdening the hungover mind grapes of a handful of generally irrelevant but somewhat timely thoughts, GTB-style.

A couple of days ago, baseball writer Rob Neyer retweeted a comment about the animated comedy Ratatouille:

I hadn't really considered his point, but after pondering it, yeah, I'm down with that. It's a fantastic little film, visually as well as narratively. If you haven't seen it, or if your kids haven't, please rectify that.

The new U.S. Men's National Team kits might be my favorite of all time. They're sharp as hell. You can get one for a cool $154.99 via, just in case you're looking for a gift for me. I wear a medium.

The good guys played pretty well in them yesterday, too, as a relatively inexperienced American side put on an attractive footballing display in a 2-1 win over Ghana. The 2017 Gold Cup starts Friday, and the Ghana friendly has this observer optimistic about the Yanks' fortunes.

If you're looking for a reason to question your Christian faith, may I recommend Reza Aslan's Zealot. It's a painstakingly-researched history of Jesus of Nazareth's life and the emergence of Christianity. Dave couldn't make it through the book, so I'm little bit nervous that I won't finish the journey, but I've read enough to be fascinated.

Speaking of soccer kits, if you want to know what my 13 year-old looks like, check out the kid on the right, modeling our Club's new unis. She looks a lot fiercer than she plays. I'm kinda ambivalent about the white and red jerseys, if we're being honest. 

And finally, as the deluge of public policy outrages continues apace, we note with some dismay Florida's new law allowing any resident of the state to challenge what kids are taught in science classes. Or, more accurately, implementing a process to facilitate such challenges by anyone, regardless of whether they are the parent of guardian of a student in the public system. The continuing assault on expertise can't be anything but a negative.

One can see the contours of a somewhat dystopian future where red states become increasingly hostile to science, while blue state residents double down on the value of experts across fields, exacerbating the economic and attitudinal divide that plagues our wobbling nation.

On that happy note, hope you and yours have a glorious Independence Day.