Thursday, September 23, 2021

Because the public demanded it: zman's Shazams are back!

To help us move on from dogs, dogshit, and dogs eating dogshit, I will throw up (pun!) my latest Shazams.  

First up is "Walking at a Downtown Pace" by Parquet Courts.  I'm getting hit with it by WFMU, WFUV, and Spotify so you've probably heard it by now too.  It's a complete earworm.

How have I never heard "Cold Turkey" by John Lennon before?

rootsy will recognize Billy Stewart's "Sitting in the Park" as the inspiration for Slick Rick's "Sitting in my Car."

I know Whit loves the Beach Boys so he's very familiar with "San Miguel."  Sounds like something from the Sir Douglas Quintet.

G:TB needs more disco and Loleatta Holloway has it with "Hit and Run."  It's precisely what you think it's about.

Rex Doane knows that zkids named their dog Ivy because on Saturday he played "My Girl Ivy" by Jimmy Witherspoon.

I don't know much about The Rezillos but I assume TR is involved.  "Flying Saucer Attack" sounds like something Greasetruck would create, minus all the fuzz and distortion.

This is Tom T. Hall's song about the time he almost starved to death in Roanoke, VA.  That's exactly how "Ode to a Half Pound of Ground Round" starts.  I assume rootsy is involved.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

ORF Rock Returns

Last night was Show 2 of the new and improved ORF Rock, our local hometown radio show. I had hoped to post the video, but the meanies at the record companies have blocked it, since it has licensed content. And hilarity. And a Zman shout-out. And good music like this:

Those into nostalgia can sift through our show from 6 years ago. 


Sunday, September 19, 2021


Let's close out the weekend with some good vibes, shall we?

As mentioned in the comments yesterday, I went to see Harry Styles last night at the Capital One Arena. My kid is a huge fan, so much so that she willingly skipped the final Homecoming dance of her high school career to go see him finally make good on a long-delayed local show. We'd purchased tickets for her over a year ago, but last week, a friend of hers offered her and her pal new tix in a suite. Not a hard decision that.

Initially, my wife and I planned to drive the kids downtown and grab a leisurely meal while the kids watched the show. But yesterday, as the time to leave grew closer, we went all 'fuck it' and decided to use the extra tickets ourselves. When I found out that Jenny Lewis was Harry's opener on the drive to the venue, I was all the more excited.

We dropped the girls off and grabbed a quick dinner and a few drinks. Made it into the arena in time to see about half of the opening set, and to give my daughter a primer on Jenny Lewis' general badassery. Which is substantial.

After her set was over and the house lights came up for the crew to prep for the headliner, it became clear how much energy was displaying. These (mostly) kids had been sitting on a fuckton of pent up emotion of all kinds, and they were ready to blow to the roof all the way off. They screamed their lungs out singing a One Direction song during the intermission, they went off for Bohemian Rhapsody, they loved their collective vibe. And that vibe was incredibly, overwhelmingly positive. As I said on the tweet machine, "I’m at a Harry Styles show and there is some amazing young people energy here. I couldn’t love it more. Even the parts I don’t really understand."

And the kids were dressed to the absolute nines. Sleek party dresses, flowing bell-bottomed pants with shimmering tops, a cornucopia of youth fashion celebrating a genre-defying artist. It was a visual feast.

Styles's trip around the world is called Love on Tour, and as soon as he hit the stage, coming up through a trap door in the middle, love was spread around in copious measure. I don't know his stuff all that well, but his band was great, his stage presence elite, and his message simple and profound. Love each other.

And that's a fine way to end the week, my friends. Here's a collection of fan-shot video from the show. Enjoy. My wife and I sure did.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Even More Tennis

Immediately after Daniil Medvedev beat Novak Djokovic, ESPN ran this awful chyron:

After going 44-6 on the tour, including 5-2 in Masters tournaments and a stunning 27-1 in Major play, the best thing they could come up with is "Fell 1 win shy of the Grand Slam"?!  This type of stupid sports journalism inspired my first Djokovic rant.  Be positive, it's tennis for god's sake!  It's not like he came 1 second shy of defusing a bomb.  How about "Compiles historic second 27-1 season in Major play"?  

On another positive note, Australian Dylan Alcott deserves more coverage.  He won all four Majors in Wheelchair Quad Singles play this year, and he also won the gold medal at the Paralympics for a Golden Slam.  Since 2015 there have been eighteen Majors in Wheelchair Quad Singles and Alcott reached the finals in seventeen of them.  He won fifteen.  He also reached the finals in twenty of the last twenty-one Doubles finals in Major play--he didn't attend the one tournament--and he won the finals eight times.  Unsurprisingly, he's ranked #1 in the world.

Alcott is also an accomplished cager, with a gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and a silver from the 2012 games in London.  He also won gold at the 2010 World Championship and a bronze in 2006.

Here's how he celebrated his victory at Flushing Meadows.

“There was no chance I wasn’t going to skull that beer on Arthur Ashe after I just won the golden slam,” he said.  “I just want to leave the sport in a better spot for the next generation of young tennis players to come, wheelchair tennis players and tennis players in general,” he said. “I hope I played a very small part in that.  I’m proud to be disabled.  I’m proud to play wheelchair tennis. I ’m proud I’ve won the golden slam in wheelchair tennis.

“I want to be me.  I’m proud of me.  I’m proud of the journey that we’ve had.”

That's how you should cover sports.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Tenni(y)s Week

There are examples of professional athletes and entertainers conspicuously doing the right thing, so I'm not here to claim that the event we're here to discuss is entirely unique. But it's on the rarer side of the grilled meat of sporting meals. I'm jumping on zman's beat to celebrate sportsmanship in the face of frustration and the worst pain there is.

Tennys* Sandgren is a modestly-successful American professional tennis player. He's earned more than $3.3m in his ten-year pro career, even reaching a pair of Aussie Open quarterfinals. He's been ranked as high as 41st in the world, and sits today just outside the top 100. Which explains the setting for today's story.

* Sandgren is named for his Swedish grandfather, and kinda didn't have a choice about his career path.

He was the top seed at this weeks ATP Challenger event in Cary, North Carolina. The Challenger Tour is one step below the main tour, kinda like AAA tennis. Sandgren faced fellow American Christopher Eubanks in the first round. Sandgren broke Eubanks to start the match, then faced deuce in the second game.

We'll let Sandgren take it from here:

He followed that Tweet up with another that read, "And just to be clear, this was all totally my fault."

In addition to defaulting the match against Eubanks, Sandgren was forced out of the doubles event, as well. Costly nut shot, but Tennys Sandgren earned some fans by being accountable and even having a little fun at his own expense. He even earned a Twitter follow from me. Which has gotta be worth something.

Here's video of the entire very short match - the action that matters happens at about the 1:20 mark:

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Twenty Years In ...

A small story about air travel in the wake of 9-11: When sports resumed, I was assigned to cover the Virginia Tech at West Virginia football game in early October. Flight from Norfolk to Pittsburgh, rent a car, hour-plus drive to Morgantown.

Much has been made of the national comity after the terrorist attacks, but in the days and weeks following 9-11, airports were tense places. People wary, on edge. Folks climbing into vehicles that were used as missiles, others desperately working to avoid a repeat. I arrived in plenty of time and crept through the check-in line. Here’s what I wrote a few days later, as part of a mostly football piece:

… “Security officials ran my carry-on bag through the X-ray machine twice and asked me to open my shaving kit. The officer rifled through it and pulled out a set of nail clippers. You cannot travel with this, he said. Really, I asked. He then swiveled the 3-inch nail file around the base, demonstrating how it could be a weapon.

OK, I said, can I get it back after my return flight Sunday? A serious man with a serious job, he looked at me as if I had asked him to dance. No sir, he said, this goes to the police. The police want my nail clippers, I asked. This goes to the police, he repeated. Whatever you say, sir.

Repacked my stuff and headed for the gate. Imagined an evidence room at the station house with confiscated guns on one side, confiscated drugs on the other, a small tub of confiscated nail clippers in the middle and a precinct full of well-manicured policemen.”

After the attacks, our leaders stressed the need for vigilance as they encouraged everyone to return to leading normal lives, which prompted me to routinely deliver stupid non sequiturs: If you settle for the fish sandwich and don’t get the seafood platter, the terrorists win; if we don’t get tickets for Blues Traveler, the terrorists win.

I’ll keep the gasbagging to a minimum, since I’m more practiced and comfortable reporting and observing, rather than offering opinions. But 9-11 seemed to unleash streaks of jingoist and nativist behavior that inform our thoughts and actions to this day. It also appears to have contributed to our increasingly tribal divide.

Certainly, there have been victories in the 20 years since 9-11. No major terrorist attacks on our soil. Far more robust and broader communications systems. We off’d bin Laden. But the costs have been enormous, in financial and human terms, and to our national standing and prestige around the world. Brown University conducted a Costs of War project that concluded, among other things, at least 897,000 people around the world have died due to violence linked to the War on Terror. At least 38 million people around the world have been displaced, and the effort has cost the U.S. at least $5.8 trillion, with more to come.

A case can be made that, in some ways, the terrorists did win.

Monday, September 13, 2021

What More Do you Need to Know About These People?

This person and this type of person make my blood pressure escalate. 

This approach this kind of vermin lowers my blood pressure, More of it, please!