Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm Going to Go Play in Traffic

Notre Dame 27
USC 34

Eagles 9
Raiders 13

Titans 0
Patriots 59, at the two minute warning

At least I got to see my wife this weekend.

By which I mean, I love you.

Way more than football.

Because you make me happy.

I'm even losing my fantasy game.

By exactly my age.

I need a hug.

I mean, c'mon, seriously, like, f'real?

Dear Mr. President,

Don't you have something else to do?

Aren't there better asses to kick?

Aren't people still homeless?

And without insurance?

And uneducated?

And getting killed all over the place?

You have better things to do.

You're better than this.

Let those idiots say what they want.

You're rubber, they're glue.

Get back to the business at hand.

By which I mean earning that Nobel Peace Prize.

Let me handle Fox News.

With hope and respect,


The First Coming

I don't mean to judge, but anyone who does not go to the Guggenheim's Kandinsky retrospective is an idiot.

I'm going to make this really simple.

I am a professional Art Historian.

Kandinsky is the primary reason why.

The other is Leonardo da Vinci's Adoration of the Magi, so now you know what kind of standards I hold.

The Kandinsky show at the Guggenheim is so good that I not only talked to a total stranger halfway through the show, but one of the paintings actually made me fall over, and I felt my rear end tingle at one point.

I have no shame about this. If you don't have a similar reaction, you're not looking hard enough.

Here's the deal, for those of you that don't know much about Modern Art or Kandinsky. A lot of people would argue that the history of 20th century art revolves around the development of abstract painting. Even if you don't like abstract painting, hang with me.

There are a few people who bear some profound responsibility for this. Turner, Cezanne, Picasso, Mondrian. Kandinsky is right there with them. If not ahead of them all.

If you don't understand abstract painting, or think you don't understand abstract painting, this show will part the clouds for you.

See, Kandinsky is evidence of a few pretty exciting things.

Number one: Abstract art can be, should be, must be understood as a natural outgrowth of representational painting. Somewhere in the early years of the 1910s, Kandinsky manifests this development. You can see it happen. The pivot is clear and obvious. And perhaps the most exciting moment in the history of art that I have ever witnessed.

Number two: Artists are not born geniuses, they learn to be geniuses. Kandinsky didn't start painting until his 30s. He got sick of his day job and decided to be a painter. He had history-changing success. Maybe it was innate, maybe it was dumb luck, maybe he was in the right place at the right time. His right place, right time is a where's where of Modern Art--Moscow, Munich, Berlin, Paris. If it happened somewhere, he was there. Probably before anyone else understood what the hell was going on.

Number three: Painting is about visual and spiritual revelation. Kandinsky's two books Concerning the Spiritual in Art and Point and Line to Plane are the two best books I have ever read about painting, with the exception of Leon Battista Alberti's Della Pittura. I mean this quite seriously. Looking at a good Kandinsky is like looking into the face of God. It is an experience that lays bare the structure of the universe and leaves one with the impression that all is planned, all is logic, and all is resonant with all else.

Go now. Give up an afternoon of football. If I'm saying that, you know this is the real thing.

Go now.

Or you're an idiot.

Non comprende.

I'm clearly not a pantaloon engineer, but can someone help me out with this?

What the hell is the purpose of the button fly?

Un autre blogger named Matt Kirsch has also puzzled over this, but I'm utterly lost.

I've been roaming around all weekend wearing a pair of button fly pants that I love, except when I need to use it, as they say. I can't be alone in this.

Can someone fill me in? I'm absolutely at a loss as to why the button fly is the superiour option. Note that I presume the English like it betteur.

Maybe they didn't have zippers back in Levi Strauss's day?

Things that still make me go hmm.

One other thing that doesn't make me go hmm is this...I read Dan Savage fairly religiously. He's informative, educational, and hi-larious. He also recommends blogging at a bar, drink in hand. That's what I'm doing right now. I'm sitting here with a pint of Guiness while the Titans are on the way to being beat by 90 and the Iggles let the Raiders look like a real team. Actually, blogging at your local watering hole is really productive.

Students, if you make art with beer in hand, I will find out and it will not be pretty.

Consider yourselves warned.

Just because I believe in the weekend does not mean that I do not have standards.

Especially about art, which is infinitely more important than blogging about button fly pants.

I Do Requests

This one is for a certain loudmouthed librarian I know, who hasn't supplied me with any new yoga weirdness to talk about.

Well, we're T-minus 10 days until the kickoff of the only basketball season I really care about. Next Wednesday the Memphis Grizzlies begin their campaign towards mature mediocrity.

I'm beginning to think that I'm some kind of sports masochist. Eagles, Titans, Notre Dame, Grizzlies. Jesus, I just need to become a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

Good trivia fact. Pittsburgh is the only city where all three teams have the same colors. Steelers, Pirates, Penguins. That's one of the reasons I'm ready to go to Pittsburgh whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Anyway, with the basketball season approaching, it is now time to focus on Memphis's fourth most important team. I'm putting Tiger b-ball first, Redbirds second, and third is a tie between Ole Miss and Vols football. Which is pathetic, cause the Griz are a local pro team and we don't have enough of those. Ahem, didn't build the Titans a stadium.

So, here's my thoughts about the Grizzlies, if only because they have a way better chance of being consequential than the Titans do these days.

Patience, grasshopper. That's my mantra.

See, the Grizzlies have a nice core going: OJ, Rudy, Conley, Marc Gasol (who I'd rather have than Pau anyway). And all sorts of promise elsewhere. Darrell Arthur, DeMarre Carroll, Sam Young, and that unbelievably tall future of the future named Hasheem Thabeet, who is gonna Thabeet every ball out of the sky this season. Plus, we just got Zach Randolph and the Answer, whose health is the biggest question right now. And, you know, I'm down with Lionel. I think he's on to something.

And we've got Hamed Haddadi, who is the only Iranian player in the league, which means that the Grizzlies are the future of world peace. If only he would've given me an autograph last season when I tried to get one after they beat the Suns. Hamed, buddy, I'm a fan. You gots to pay attention to the fans.

The core four looked very promising last year. OJ got tired down the stretch, which is a rookie syndrome, but Gasol and Conley both got much better and much more comfortable. If Gasol can get his average up to about 15 a game and Conley can start dishing with more success, we're on the way forward. And now that Zach Randolph's here, we can let Rudy shoot more and drive less. That'll help.

So, I'm not going to act like I can tell the future. I mean, I thought the Bengals were going to win today, which they didn't. But I think we might break even this season, which would be a 17 win improvement. But I think it's actually possible. They looked well improved down the stretch, and a lot of those games were actually sort of closeish.

I'm going with 41-41, if only cause it's a nice even number.

And, by the way, this post was by request.

I take requests.

Just not Dave Matthews Band or Celine Dion or the Cha-Cha Slide.

Cause they all suck. Worse than the Titans' secondary.

Allez les Griz!

I'm Not a Defensive Coordinator, But...

So, I'm at the Village Pour House on the Upper West Side, watching three games simultaneously, which is sort of like patting your head, rubbing your belly, and chewing gum at the same time. It's far more complicated than it looks. This is why John Madden is way smarter than I am.

Anyway, I'm not a defensive coordinator, but I do know a few things about defensive scheming.

The first thing I know about defense is that it wins championships. Op. cit. Baltimore Ravens January 28, 2001. Op. cit. Roethlisberger's first Super Bowl. Op. Cit. The first four Steelers Super Bowl victories.

And what I'm currently witnessing is that fat, lazy, inaccurate JaMarcus Russell dismantling the Eagles. While Tom Brady, stupid UM graduate, is simultaneously doing the same to the Titans.

I've never claimed to be His Majesty Buddy Ryan. Or the venerable Dick LeBeau. Or the Blessed Jim Johnson, but I know this.

If your secondary just stands around while anyone with an 80something on their jersey is holding onto a football, you're going to get beat. And if your linebackers are looking around for what to do, the play is already broke. And you will be too, once you get released from your team for letting the other team win.

Ever heard of closing on the ball?

Ever hear of tackling, Titans secondary?

Chuck Cecil, I'm talking to you. Sean McDermott, I'm talking to you too.

Here's what you do, in four down format:

1st. Put on the first DMX album.

2nd. Mix a little gunpowder, cayenne pepper, and paint thinner in a bottle. Shake it up. Give it to your players to drink. It'll make them mean, which is what you want.

3rd. Use verbs like destroy, emasculate, disembowel, demoralize, and finish with great frequency. At high volumes. You don't have to yell, but you have to get your players hungry. Remember what Lawrence Taylor said about playing like a bunch of mad dogs. If you're not in that zone of desire, you're wasting your time.

4th. Emphasize instinctive response. If you're looking around, it's too late. That's what film study is for. Am I the only one who saw Ray Lewis look Adrian Peterson in the eye, say "coming this way," and then stop him for a miniscule gain? That's what film study is for. You learn during the week. You execute during the game. Didn't Yoda say it best: "Do or do not. There is no try." Isn't it a title of a Roots tune: Respond/React? Don't make me say it a third time.

Jeff, Andy, I'm open to job offers. I'll work Special Teams, too, because they sure aren't pulling their weight today either.