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04

Mar

Sideboard.

I look at a lot of Pastoe pieces from the 1950s and 60s. I’ve seen a lot of their credenzas and sideboards. I’ve seen rosewood and blonder woods. I’ve seen metal legs and bent wood legs. I thought I’d seen most every variation. 

Until now. I’ve never seen the open top shelves with the glass window.

07

Feb

The Kid.

I’m more than halfway through the new Ted Williams’ biography, The Kid. It’s tremendously detailed and, for somebody like me who only knew Ted Williams as a myth and (once living, now frozen) legend, the book dispelled some major fallacies and added a lot of color to what was already a very colorful story.

The biggest revelation for me was that, contrary to what I had understood, Ted tried desperately to avoid being drafted. He believed, as the sole provider for his own and most of his extended family, that he should have been exempted. He went to great lengths to challenge the matter, in fact. Additionally, he was by no means an elite pilot. He was likely a very good one, though.

The more complex revelations were those that I most correlate to his genius and obsession with greatness. By almost any account Ted was a narcissist. But, like many narcissists, he had both a bottomless desire to be adored as well as an inflated sense of his ability to “save” people. And, despite his protests to the contrary, Ted was singularly interested in personal achievement. He was not a team player. In fact, he was not interested in much else (in baseball) than being the greatest hitter to ever play the game. He was obsessed with his own stats and how they compared to those of Ruth’s, Mantle’s and, especially, DiMaggio’s. Frankly, The Kid was a jerk to most people his entire life. Yes - he had loyalists who adored him (mostly fans) and many beneficiaries of his significant charity. But, at its core, the book accounts the life of a highly cerebral, refined athlete who was exceptional in most every way, including the degree to which he was under-parented, educated and able to evolve as a man.

By the way, this infographic is from 1971. I wonder if this is the first recorded version of a strike zone heat map. It’s darn nice to look at.

21

Jan

Beast mode.

Love the lumbering beast and Hasselbeck’s totally uncool celebration. #sportspainter

14

Jan

If I were a pitcher, I wouldn’t want to face him. If I were a manager, I’d want him batting third or fourth. If I were a journalist, I’d steer clear.

If I were a pitcher, I wouldn’t want to face him. If I were a manager, I’d want him batting third or fourth. If I were a journalist, I’d steer clear.

07

Jan

Jason Molina.

If you’ve ever heard his music, then I’m sure you’ve had your moment(s). I read a number of incredibly poignant articles after his passing last year and, overwhelmed a bit, I just avoided going back to those old records. But a recent Bill Callahan spell led me back to Songs: Ohia, the cousin of Smog, by marriage to Will Oldham.

Listening to Magnolia Electric Company now and I’ll be damed if it’s not every bit as wonderful and affecting as anything Neil Young ever did. Quote me on that (all zero of you reading this).

20

Dec

Craig Robinson’s amazing “Baseball Tree.” It’s not really an infographic but it does sort of tell a story. So, maybe it is an infographic. Or maybe it’s just eye candy (starbrite mints included up top). I especially like Fernando on row 2.

Craig Robinson’s amazing “Baseball Tree.” It’s not really an infographic but it does sort of tell a story. So, maybe it is an infographic. Or maybe it’s just eye candy (starbrite mints included up top). I especially like Fernando on row 2.

10

Dec

I went on a full day Aretha Rdio bender last week and, amazingly, did not feel like I wanted to hear anything else at any point. I know a lot of people say this about a lot of people, but I’d be hard pressed to say that she’s not the greatest pop singer I’ve ever heard. From actual testing, I can say that she has at least sixty (60) songs that are spectacular. But this one. This one. Holy shit. This is what love sounds like. And I’m pretty sure I mean love…of god. And this is from somebody who doesn’t believe in a whole lot.

08

Nov

Willy DeVille.

When I was a kid, I used to get rides to school from the slightly burnt-out father of my redheaded neighbor, Travis. His Dad listened to all kinds of bands that sounded unlike anything my young ears had heard on the radio. One of those bands was Mink DeVille, whose name I never asked for and whose music I never again listened to, until I was in high school and (re)introduced to the 1970s New York “new wave.”

It was then, during high school, that I heard “Spanish Stroll” from Mink DeVille’s debut all over again, on a mix-tape that a goth friend of mine made. That song and album are instantly lovable, evoking a lot of early soul music, some rockabilly and not a little of Bruce Springsteen. I remember hearing the album and feeling like every single song must have been a huge hit and then realized that, as familiar as they all sounded, I actually couldn’t imagine them being popular in the later 1970s. Or the 1960s. Or 1980s. They were songs that should have been classics but whose “moment” may not have ever existed. As was the case with my first introduction to the band and to Willy DeVille, my affair with those songs passed and I didn’t listen to them again for a very long time. This time, it was nearly two decades. 

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And then, very late one night I heard KUTX here in Austin play a Mink DeVille cover followed by a Mink Deville song that I’d never heard before.  It sounded like Warren Zevon, The Boss and early ZZ Top channeled by a 1950s soul group. It’s a sound that somehow captures so much of the best rock and roll I’ve heard while sounding like nothing else.

Those eight minutes of radio sent me into an Rdio and Wikipedia bender wherein I tried to remind myself of everything I could about Willy DeVille and his band, Mink DeVille. His influences were vast — ranging from soul, rockabilly and new wave, to flamenco, zydeco and folk. He was like a more bohemian and hip (and less writerly and blue collar) Bruce Springsteen. But he didn’t take great care of himself, had more than one tragic marriage and devolved into a sad, lovely troubadour with an international cult following. He died in 2009. For those who are interested, “Cabretta,” “Le Chat Bleu” and “Return to Magenta” are all wonderful, and representative of his very best.

I realize I’m going nowhere with this post. I’m not sure why I even chose to talk about Mink DeVille except to say that, every time I hear their music, I am amazed that the band behind it wasn’t somehow destined to be the greatest band of some time. Or maybe they were. And maybe it was some parallel idea of time that I don’t understand. Or maybe it was just one hour in 1976.

04

Nov

On a related note, I’m suddenly certain that I need a double-wide, leather Finn Juhl “Chieftan” chair.  You don’t see much leather and Danish teak together, for some reason that may be a good one, but is not apparent from this chair.

On a related note, I’m suddenly certain that I need a double-wide, leather Finn Juhl “Chieftan” chair.  You don’t see much leather and Danish teak together, for some reason that may be a good one, but is not apparent from this chair.

The greatest quarterbacking ever.

Normally I wouldn’t write about this. But given that (a) two weeks ago I started Nick Foles in my FFL league and was rewarded with a most pathetic and unwatchable QB performance and that (b) I live in the same town Nick Foles grew up in (and my kiddos will go to his — and Drew Brees’ — high school), I’ll go ahead with the thought:

It’s entirely possible that Nick Foles’ game on Sunday vs. the Raiders was the greatest single game ever played by a quarterback. This claim excludes matters of game relevance, so suspend judgment. On a purely statistical level, Foles had the 35th perfect “passer rating” game and the seventh seven (7) touchdown game. He threw more touchdowns than incompletions (read that again) and averaged almost twenty (20) yards per completion. He did this against a defense that was generally considered solid, in an away game and was, I need to re-state, two weeks removed from a concussion and a game that many considered his funeral as a viable NFL starter. 

Also, he looked like this at West Lake Hills High School in 2006 (and may look younger and less suited to start an NFL game today, somehow).

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