Thursday, August 31, 2017

I'm Sorry, Houston

Bad times "on the streets of Houston Town," as we have seen in startling technicolor this week.

Don't read any of the articles from the past couple of years foreboding this tragic event based on politically administered blinders and willful stupidity.  It will only elevate blood pressures.  We need a distraction from the horribleness.

So, let's salute all that is Houston, why don't we?

Here's to you, Houstonites
Like George Foreman, who grills and fights!
Pastor / pass rusher Reggie White
And Mary Lou Retton in those tights!

Bowling for Soup, kind of lame
Whitney Houston -- it's just her name!
Baseball player James Loney
And Craig James, he was called The Pony!

Nolan Ryan, 7 no-hitters
Roger Clemens, he's just bitter!
Michael Strahan, Giant sacker
Donald Driver, Green Bay Packer!

Berkeley Breathed, Bloom County was funny
Jeff Bezos has lots of money!
Eccentric cool, Howard Hughes
Not so much, eh, Ted Cruz?!

Clint Black, Lyle Lovett
Kenny Rogers, gotta love it!
The guy from Big Bang Theory
Both Quaid brothers? It's almost eerie!

Good ol' Clyde "The Glide" Drexler
Shelley Duvall, I wanna sex her!
Race car driver AJ Foyt
Houston's still better than Detroit!

Beyoncé, she sure can croon
Houston's puttin' people on the moon!
Shannon Elizabeth without her top
All three guys from ZZ Top!

Houston's big, like my tush
President George H.W. Bush!
Walter Cronkite, that's the way it was
Stupid is as W does!

Texans, Rockets, Phi Slamma Jamma
Cougars rule -- don't mean your mamma!
Rodeo, go rope some calves
You have not what Houston haves!

Anna Nicole and Jaclyn Smith
Two girls I'd have liked to get with!
The cool guy who directed Rushmore
Joel Osteen should prob'ly shush more!

Adam big ol' Donkey Dunn
Houston people are so much fun!
Ken Houston, famous Skin
The Houston Astros sure do win!

Astroturf in the Astrodome
If you like homers, you'd better go home!
The Snake, White Shoes, the Tyler Rose
Your nickname isn't as cool as those!

Remember what BJ Thomas said
Raindrops are falling on my head!
The best of all? You'll think I'm crazy
Gotta be my boy Patrick Swayze!!

This list is done -- oh, wait, damn
I almost forgot to mention Sam!
This silly list contains no spoilers
But listen to the Houston Oilers!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Requiem for an Artiste

My kids love horror movies - the gorier, the better. Me, not so much. Hell, the trailer for the upcoming revival of Stephen King's IT is enough to keep me away from dark places for a while. I've seen a few of the classics: Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Omen, The Exorcist, etc., but I rarely stick around for the sequels. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I've only ever seen bits and pieces of the greatest horror film of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

So apologies for my poor form to the family of Tobe Hooper, the director of that classic, who passed away this week. In his honor, the best homage I can recall:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

White Supremacy

I love each of you equally, and for different reasons. For example, I love Teejay for his utter lack of self-consciousness in service of making people smile. Our fucked up world need more of this kind of white people.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Your Handy-Dandy Calendar of Rock & Roll

Last year was a bit challenging for me in a handful of ways. Family illness, divorce #2, got no jack, blah blah blah. There's no time to feel sorry for yourself in a world brimming with sad events and sorrow, but I probably did.

But music is solace, especially if you can emotionally compartmentalize like I can.  A good rock show cures what ails you for two to four hours at a time.  Festivals even moreso.  And against some odds, I did manage to make it to a boatload of good concerts last year.  As I recall, in order:
  • Badfish
  • Wilco
  • Widespread Panic
  • Pink Talking Fish
  • Jimmy Buffett
  • Pearl Jam
  • Jason Isbell
  • Violent Femmes
  • The Wailers
  • Avett Brothers
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • English Beat / Squeeze
  • Old 97's
  • The Cult
  • Drive-By Truckers
Thus far this year I have caught three of those same bands once again, plus Ween, Green Day, Trombone Shorty, U2's Joshua Tree tour, Lionel Richie, the Australian Pink Floyd Show, and a ton of bands at JazzFest in New Orleans. Plus some local acts.  And the Random Idiots uncorked session in Norfolk pre-OBFT.  And drumming on my desk when I'm bored.

Seems like a lot.  But never enough, I guess, because there's more on the docket. Who's with me?

Okay, I'll be more specific.  I began to assemble a list of bands heading to the area over the next few months.  Then "the area" expanded, since we've journeyed far and wide for the right rock concert in the past.  And then I thought I'd have some fun with it and threw in my estimated percentage chance of attending each show. And some bands I likely will not see.  Ever.

Note... that percentage figure increases substantially if other gheorghies are going to go.  Some recall the mini-summit of 2013 in NJ for the Old 97's/DBT's show.  No fewer than 4 GTBers ganged up for that one.  Let's do this.  Apologies to Mark, Squeaky, and others geographically displaced from my town.  Though I will friggin travel for the right show.

Also... what is up with the explosion of music venues in DC now?  I leave town and they pop up like an outbreak of... whatever that is down there.  Used to be the Verizon Center for big acts, the 9:30 Club for mid-majors, and the Black Cat and such for the littl'uns.  Now: Rock & Roll Hotel, Hamilton Live, The Anthem, Hill Country Barbecue Market, U Street Music Hall, Sixth & I Historic Synagogue (??), Lincoln Theatre, and a place near the old Bayou called Gypsy Sally's -- each of which have bands I listen to playing there.  Kind of awesome, kind of wtf.

Anywho... come join me for some musical shenanigans, won't you?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

First Day of School Filler

A little upbeat 80s alternative for those of you who have kids who went back to school this week. Mine started 8th and 10th grade today. Life, she comes at you fast.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Official G:TB Eclipse Open Thread

Car and Driver called it one of 1992's ten best vehicles, "an honor earned by giving the enthusiast as fine a combination of value, good looks, and tummy-tightening performance* as could be found anywhere at any price." The experts lauded its "explosive acceleration [and] all-wheel drive stability" in a separate piece.

*Some of you might look around your local area to see if you can scoop one up, if you catch my meaning.

No less an automotive authority than our own Zman lauded it, saying "fantastic cheap thrills, so much so that by 1999-2000 high school kids bought all the good used examples and slammed them Fast n' Furious-style".

And today, millions of Americans will take the better part of the afternoon to celebrate them.

We speak, of course, of the Mitsubishi Eclipse, manufactured by the Japanese automaker from 1989 to 2001. Says Zman, "The all-wheel drive turbocharged GSX was way ahead of its time. The engine's counterbalanced cam shafts were a game-changer. Porsche took a license to Mitsubishi's patent so they could do it, too."

Earlier this year, Mitsubishi announced plans to resurrect the Eclipse name on a compact crossover called the Eclipse Cross. This didn't go over well with our resident gearhead, who noted wistfully, "The early-to-mid nineties were a golden age of fun, cheap ponycars. Now high school kids aspire to SUV ownership. Sad!"

This renewal of the brand, we're sure, has something to do with the current spate of eclipse-related publicity. Enjoy today's automotive celebration safely, but do enjoy it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

1,100 Men Went In the Water, 316 Men Come Out

On July 30, 1945, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in the Philippine Sea, and sank in 72 minutes. The cruiser was returning from a top-secret mission to deliver an atomic bomb to Tinian Island, the same bomb that was called 'Little Boy' and dropped on Hiroshima.

Many of us know this story from Robert Shaw's haunting monologue in the role of Quint in Jaws.

Just this week, a civilian research vessel funded by Microsoft founder Paul Allen finally located the Indianapolis in 5,500 meters of water in the North Pacific, 72 years after it was lost. Allen's Research Vessel Petrel deployed a submersible capable of descending 6,000 meters, and leveraged research by Naval historian Dr. Richard Hulver to narrow the search range, which led to the discovery.

In fact, 1,196 men really did go in the water, and only 317 came out. Nineteen of those men are still living - what incredible emotions those old sailors must be feeling today.

Friday, August 18, 2017

This Date(ish) in GTB History

Contra Florence Welch, the dog days are most certainly not over. The doldrums are full upon us, in more ways than one. Leave it to the community of Gheorghies to liven up this stagnant portion of the calendar.

During a text thread this morning 'twixt Marls, Whitney, and your humble tiny dictator lamenting the Mets' current
run of substantial suckitude, our man in Norfolk started reminiscing about the Tidewater Tides. In particular, the unique skills of one Chuck Carr, who hit a triple in the Tides' old ballpark moments after Whitney and I concluded that the yard's dimensions were such that it was impossible to get three bags. We were just as smart about sports then as we are now.

The discussion led Marls to dig up this article about Carr, who was flakier than a General Mills cereal. The nut grafs:

Outfielder Chuck Carr cemented his legacy with the Milwaukee Brewers on this day 20 years ago.

In the 8th inning of a game in Anaheim, the Brewers were trailing 4-1 against Angels' ace Chuck Finley. Leading off the inning, Carr had a 2-0 count and was given the signal to take a pitch. He ignored the sign, swung and popped out.

Brewers manager Phil Garner who had already had two dustups with Carr in the still-young season confronted the player at his locker about the at-bat, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Carr responded in the third person: "That ain't Chuckie's game. Chuckie hacks on 2-0."

Whitney hacks on 2-0, as well, as anyone who played softball with him over the years can attest. Or maybe not, actually, as very few counts got that deep.

Marls' text got Whitney to reminiscing about another Tides game we attended with some other friends (and notably, with Whitney's mother - to this day, we have no idea why she wanted to hang with me, Dave, FOG:TB Buck, and Whitney at a baseball game). The on-field highlight of that game was Tides' infielder Tim Bogar's playing all nine positions, capping his day off by striking out one batter and hitting another in the face with a pitch.

That memory, in turn, sent me down a rabbit hole, searching first for 1991 Tidewater Tides stats, and then for G:TB posts on the topic. I was certain we'd blogged about that game previously, particularly about the off-field event that was far more entertaining than anything on the diamond.

I was correct.

Just over nine years ago, I wrote a post about the five most memorable sporting events I'd seen in person. It included this story:

In September 1991, the Tidewater Tides took on the Richmond Braves in the final week of the season. G:TBer Whitney, our friend Chris and I made the short trip down I-64 to meet Whit’s mother and stepfather for a leisurely afternoon at the ballyard. Normally, a late season minor league ballgame wouldn’t hold much allure, but two events made this one noteworthy. First, by the 3rd inning of the game we realized that the Tides’ Tim Bogar was switching positions every inning. He took the mound in the 9th having played everywhere on the field, and then proceeded to strike out the leadoff man before hitting the next batter in the head. At which point the entire stunt took on a decidedly less whimsical bent. Far more amusing than Bogar’s misadventure was the action that took place in the stands.

The aforementioned Chris stands roughly 6’6” with a wingspan to match. Midway through the contest, lefty Kelvin Torve lofted a lazy foul ball towards our bleacher seats midway down the third base line. Were we not there, the ball would have landed in Chris’ seat. The big fellow stood to his full height, spread his legs in a textbook block out of Whitney’s mom, and clapped his hands together while talking a full menu of shit – and he’s an accomplished shitriloquist. The ball descended gracefully, landed in his waiting (and freakishly large) mitts…and bounded 15 rows forward into the waiting hands of an 8 year-old boy. Whitney’s mom led the parade of grief givers for the rest of the game, and when we returned to campus to share our story, the local sportscasters beat us to it, showing footage of our friend’s ignominious moment at 6 and 10.

Nine years on, I'd have to amend that list a bit. I'd certainly need to include a couple of Tribe hoops games I watched, notably Marcus Thornton's buzzer-beater at Drexel in Teejay's company and Daniel Dixon's double-overtime winner in the CAA semifinals against Hofstra. And very sentimentally, I'd add watching my daughter score her very first travel soccer goal, a game-winner late in regulation to send her team to a tournament final.

In that post back in 2008, a number of you chimed in the comments to offer your best in-person sporting memories. Rhymenocerous was there, for one. I wonder what's become of that guy. In this slow sporting time, I wonder if any of you would care to update your lists, or if those that didn't weigh in back then have something to offer.

Whattya got, Gheorghies?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Juuuust A Bit Outside!

Thursday Filler....

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Look. This is a team effort, boys and girls. A lot of you aren't going to be super happy when performance evaluation time comes around this year. And the Christmas Jelly of the Month Club budget won't be as generous if we can't start churning some content out of this factory. Consider yourself warned.

At least Teejay's got an excuse:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sweet and Goofy Hooligan

I'm in a dark fucking mood, people of the House Gheorghe (someone needs to work on a sigil). I've got post ideas ranging from rage to gobsmacked amazement to anger-whimsy (I think you'll like that one). And I've got an 8-hour drive from South Carolina to Virginia tomorrow during which to stew in the juices of my current bewildered incoherence at the state of my nation.

So goddamn do I need something goofy and sweet, or otherwise affirming the fact that life is too short to take too many things too seriously.

Kermit's always good for what ails ya.

Here's hoping we'll find it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

This Week in Wrenball: Cool Gunnings

Connor Burchfield's been in the weight room
There are lots of reasons to believe that the 2017-18 season will be a challenging one for the William & Mary hoops squad. The team's top three scorers and rebounders from last year, Daniel Dixon, Omar Prewitt, and Jack Whitman are all gone - the first two via graduation, and the latter via transfer. Greg Malinowski, who gave W&M 7.7 ppg and was poised to be a team leader, transferred to Georgetown so he could play with George Muresan (who seems to be missing a couple of h's). The cupboard may not be completely bare, but it's down to Cheetos and a couple of potatoes with those root thingies growing out of them. Only senior David Cohn returns from the 2016-17 starting lineup.

So we may not get that much opportunity to celebrate our Wrens this year, which is why you're reading about them on August 10th. W&M might not make much noise in the CAA, but our boys are smacking the crap out of some Jamaican dudes this week.

With one contest remaining in their three-game tour of the Blue Island, the Tribe are 2-0, with an average margin of victory of 44.5 over the Jamaican U-21 National Team and a collection of professional players known as Jamaica Select.

Boston College transfer Matt Milon led all scorers with 22 points in the Tribe's trip opening 103-59 win over the Jamaican U-21s. Frosh Jihar Williams added 16, with both W&M debutants going 4-7 from deep. Returning high scorer Nathan Knight went for 10 points and 9 boards, sophomore Justin Pierce (of whom much will be demanded this year) got 8 and 9, and point guard Cohn added 9 assists to his 10 points.

In W&M's second matchup, a 98-53 win over Jamaica Select, sharpshooter Connor Burchfield scored 16 points on 4-9 three-point shooting, while Williams kept up his production from downtown, scoring all of his 15 points on 5-11 longballs. Pierce scored 11 and grabbed a game-high 13 boards, and Cohn dropped 8 dimes and scored 15 points. In what we hope isn't a bad omen, Milon missed the game with an injury.

The Tribe finishes their tropical slate this evening against the Mingo 79'ers, which is either a Jamaican pro squad or very painful Caribbean sexual position.

If our 2017-18 outlook is any indicator, go with the pain.

Monday, August 07, 2017

OBFT Reentry Filler

Generally speaking, what happens at OBFT stays at OBFT. At least the stuff that needs to stay at OBFT. In this case, most of that is related to stuff that's now legal in Colorado. For the other stuff, feel free to head over to Sentence of Dave for our correspondent's review of the proceedings.

Incidentally, the reason most stuff that happens at OBFT stays in Nags Head is that none of us can remember anything. As a case in point, I got an email from Rootsy this morning reminding me that we had a rousing singalong to the song below.

There's also no judging at OBFT, unless we're talking about playlists.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Summer Dave: Audio Up Your Ass Edition

If things go according to plan, I'll be driving down to Norfolk when this post hits the internet. For your convenience, I have provided two pieces of audio that I recently produced. If you're headed to the OBFT, you can listen to them before you see me, and then we'll have something to talk about (besides kids and the weather and the state of our bowels). If you're not headed to OBFT . . . well, your liver thanks you.

The first piece is a song I just finished. It's called "Monkey Mind" and it's about the primitive anger and frustration that's lurking just below the surface of modern life. So often, I want to throw shit around the house, yell and rant, and just up and leave the situation . . . and it's often the simplest things that cause these feelings: the kids still don't have their shoes on, I have to call the tree guy and get an estimate, the laundry needs to be switched over . . . but everything can't go in the dryer, you've got to take out the bras and swimsuits and hang them or put them in a little bag or both . . . and don't forget the dryer sheet or they'll be static cling!

I don't want to call the tree guy, and I don't care about static cling (in fact, it's kind of magical that electrons can do that shit). I want to go play tennis or noodle around on my guitar. It's fucking brutal. According to Jared Diamond, it's the worst mistake the human race made, switching from lazy hunter-gatherers to industrious and specialized agricultural city-dwellers. Anyway, we can't go back in time, we can't retreat to the trees, but I can write a song about it. And, because of the internet, you can listen to it.

The other piece of audio makes me very very sad. Last week on The Test, I gave the ladies a quiz on the blues, and they bombed it. I was so excited-- I thought I had the perfect clips: easy to identify and clearly pointing to a larger theme (a famous film) but I was very wrong. You can hear me getting more and more depressed, as I realize that they don't know anything about the blues, and they've got no shot at solving the riddle. Humor me and give this one  ashot, and then tell me I'm not insane.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

What I Learned On My Summer Vacation

For the second time in the past three years, I really, truly disconnected from the workaday world and spent four days and three nights paddling down the St. Croix River in northeastern Maine with friends and family. I'm not one to ascribe deep meaning to the quietude of nature, or to dig for wisdom in the vicissitudes of the wild. And so I won't.

But I will confess that the shrinking of my world to a canoe, a tent, and eight other people had a materially positive impact on my psyche. I couldn't follow the healthcare debate/bacle, even if I wanted to. I had no way of knowing if our idiot President* did something else powerfully stupid, norm-destructive, and coarsening. Couldn't follow the Red Sox, or the U.S. Men's National Team.

All I cared about was missing the next rock, getting to the campsite in time to relax, building a fire, managing our beer supply so it lasted the full trip, and cooking the shit out of some high-calorie camp grub. Oh, and watching eagles. I saw six of those majestic creatures.

Didn't see any moose, though one of our number was goaded into singing a camp song entitled, 'There Was a Moose'. There's no self-consciousness after three days of shitting in the woods, friends, so we all joined along.

In addition to camp songs, I learned a whole bunch of other things while on the river.

I learned, all at once, that SPAM is effectively the same color as a human thumb (my human thumb, at least), and that a Leatherman knife blade is really fucking sharp. Hope to be healed by the time OBFT rolls around. I've got Red Stripe bottles to grip.

I learned that an eagle in flight against a cloudless blue sky is jaw-droppingly impressive.

I learned that sardines don't taste all that bad on Town House crackers, at least while floating down a river.

Speaking of SPAM, I learned that there are times, rare though they might be, that SPAM, ground beef, Velveeta shells and cheese, and peas combine to make a deliciously rib-sticking dinner.

I learned that whispers (the sound of the bottom of a canoe gently gliding over rocks) are far better than screams.

I learned that a broken tentpole can be fixed with a shitload of duct tape.

I learned that waking up at 5:30 in the morning isn't nearly as bad when an alarm clock isn't involved.

I learned that my brother-in-law, cousin, and uncle all snore like motherfuckers.

And I learned that (or better, was reminded that) the trappings matter so much less than the company. That, my good friends, is what keeps me coming back to this humble corner of the internet.