Monthly Archives: June 2013

My Top 10 Lists

I’ve been meaning to get back to my friend Myron about my favorite songs from certain Brit Pop bands so I decided to turn the response into a blog post along with some other Top 10s. I did these as quickly as possible and immediately I realized I forgot some Must Haves. I didn’t change the initial list though. The 10 are not in order…

MY FAVORITE MOVIES

Donny Darko, Casablanca, Cinema Paradiso, Goodfellas, Midnight Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, Trainspotting, Dazed & Confused, The Shining, The Basketball Diaries (forgot Heathers, A Clockwork Orange, and Eternal Sunshine…)

Unknown-7 MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS

Twin Peaks, Carnivale, Arrested Development, Dexter, Breaking Bad, 7-Up Series, The Simpsons, Amazing Race, Lost, The Inbetweeners (forgot Cheers, X Files and Family Guy)

images-1MY FAVORITE DEBUT ALBUMS

Smiths, Stone Roses, Adorable, Beastie Boys, Strokes, Surfer Blood, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Spiritualized, Supergrass, Pavement (forgot Oasis)

Unknown-5MY FAVORITE COVERS

Tricky (Black Steel), White Stripes (Jolene), The Vines (Ms. Jackson), Sonic Youth (Superstar), Red Hot Chili Peppers (Higher Ground), Adam Green (What a Waster), Smashing Pumpkins (Never Let me Down Again), Ian Brown (Billie Jean), Lou Reed (This Magic Moment), Oasis (I am the Walrus)

Unknown-8MY FAVORITE DIRECTORS

Kubrick, Lynch, Tarantino, Van Sant, Hitchcock, Coppola, Scorsese, Welles, Fellini, Burton

Unknown-4MY FAVORITE BLUR SONGS

Music is my Radar, Trimm Trabb, Tender, Beetlebum, Coffee & TV, Oily Water, Blue Jeans, Girls & Boys, Bang, To the End

Unknown-2MY FAVORITE SUEDE SONGS

Killing of a Flash Boy, My Insatiable One, Metal Mickey, Animal Nitrate, Introducing the Band, Can’t Get Enough, By the Sea, Together, The Living Dead, My Dark Star

imagesMY FAVORITE SMITHS/MORRISSEY SONGS (12 since there’s two catalogues)

Sister I’m a Poet, Late Night Maudlin Street, Suedehead, Everyday is like Sunday,  Big Mouth Strikes Again, There is a Light that Never Goes Out, Reel around the Fountain, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody Loved Me, The More you Ignore Me the Closer I Get, The Teachers are Afraid of the Pupils, We Hate it When our Friends Become Successful

Unknown-9MY FAVORITE PULP SONGS

Babies, Joyriders, Mile End, Love Love, Sorted for Es and Wizz, Like a Friend, Razzmatazz, Common People, Underwear, Something Changed or Love is Blind

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MY FAVORITE OASIS SONGS

Dyer Wanna be a Spaceman, The Importance of Being Idle, Supersonic, Cigarettes and Alcohol, Talk Tonight, Acquiesce, Some Might Say, Morning Glory, Whatever, Slide Away

Unknown-3MY FAVORITE MANCHESTER AREA BANDS

The Smiths, Joy Division, James, Happy Mondays, Charlatans, Oasis, Verve, Stone Roses, Chemical Brothers, The Doves

Unknown-6MY FAVORITE TEXAS BANDS

Black Angels, Tripping Daisy/Polyphonic Spree, Willie Nelson, Spoon, Butthole Surfers, 13th Floor Elevators, Neon Indian, And you will know us by the trail of dead, Reverend Horton Heat, Daniel Johnston

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Why we hate Champions

imagesAll this month it’s been fun going back and forth with the fans of other sports teams about who’s going to win what. There are heartbroken Penguin fans and excited A’s fans. There are confident Brazil fans and nervous Spurs fans.

It always starts off with everyone promoting their team but once it gets down to two teams, us versus you, it gets personal. For the last two weeks the exchanges between Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs teams have gotten more and more nasty. The word “hater” comes up almost hourly.

So why do we all hate Miami, except for those who live in Florida? How does the Dallas Cowboys go from America’s Team to America’s most hated team? Why is it impossible to be ambivalent about the Yankees or Manchester United?

For me, it’s simple. It’s the way the super power went about making their team a super power. Manchester United has an amazing youth academy and more likely than not, their studs come thru their system. Yeah, every summer they’re in the running for the most expensive, sought-after player of the off-season and they usually get said player, but the core of the team is home grown.

Their cross town rivals Manchester City are a world power for a very different reason. They had a billionaire come in, buy the team, and spend hundreds of millions of pounds on the best players on the planet. Almost overnight they went from so-so afterthoughts to perennial contenders.

The Yankees are inbetween. It’s a mixture of both with them. They buy the best free agents but they also have a great farm system and talent scouts. Teams like the Yankees and Lakers are rarely bad for long because the name alone draws big time players.

When offered $30 million a year to play in Missouri or $25 million a year to play in New York, most players will leave money on the table just to be on a bigger stage with a tradition-strong team.

How small market teams remain relevent is a mystery to me. They have to do everything right. The San Antonio Spurs do everything right. Not only do they find the diamonds in the rough (and in foreign leagues), they also find the type of player who will actually want to stay in south Texas after they’re a household name. Do you think Kobe would still be in San Antonio if they’d drafted him out of high school? Yeah right.

Amazingly there is more club loyalty in America, more so than in the European soccer leagues at least. It’s incredibly rare to find a player who spends his entire career with one team over there, unless he’s lucky enough to be with a winner from the get go like Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville with Manchester United.

There aren’t that many Reggie Millers and John Stocktons in Europe, though there are certainly exceptions. Any time a good player follows his team to the lower divisions when they get relegated is commendable, and rare.

So why do I hate Miami and why should the people of southern Florida not be completely happy with the success they’re having? Because some super star players who could’ve gone anywhere decided to team up and make a super power. The big 3 stayed in the East because it was easier than competing with the Lakers, Spurs, and Mavericks. They went to Miami because it’s a big market and a fun city. Yeah Wade was already there but don’t forget how close he came to leaving that summer!

That amazing team fell into the lap of the city of Miami and they could’ve gone anywhere else. We could all be whining about Sacramento right now if that’s where they decided to go.

I don’t blame the players for doing that. It’s a little unfair, but the league rules allow it to happen. At least we have a salary cap unlike European soccer where billionaires can have 15 high paid players on the side. Then again it’s pointless to have a salary cap when the players agree to work for less just to hoard talent on one bench.

On the flip side, what the Heat are doing  doesn’t always work. The Rockets didn’t win with Barkley. The Lakers didn’t win with Malone and Payton. The Heat are young though. they weren’t thinking of one last run for a title, they were thinking of not four, not five, not six, blah blah blah.

Like I said, I don’t mind the players doing that, what gets on my nerves is the Miami fans who think they deserve all this success. You don’t. You were lucky they picked your city. You should be grateful and not obnoxious. I understand that no true fan will turn their back on their team for doing making some moves you don’t agree with. You stand by your team no matter what. Trust me, my life as a Liverpool fan the last 7 years has been hell because of the moves they make and don’t make. Before then I was proud of everything about that great club.

Lastly, I just don’t like LeBron. It’s not hating great talent. I hate Kobe, but I respect him. I know who he is and what he stands for. He makes a good villain. I love beating him, but I’ll be the first to say he’s the best player in our generation, after Jordan of course.

LeBron just always says exactly the right thing at the right time and his whole life is a cliché. I think he may be a robot. The only time I have heard him say anything that truly expressed something human, was that “not seven titles” debacle. Yeah, that was obnoxious but he has never been more real in his life. I actually don’t mind him doing that at all.

These days, I would love it if showed some emotion, good or bad, at any time in his life. I would love it if he admitted he was overwhelmed, or scared, or not worried about an opponent, or that he hates an opponent. Shaq wasn’t shy about that; Cristiano Ronaldo has enemies.

I’m pretty sure LeBron’s PR person has a bug in his ear at all times. It’s sickening how far away he is from anything controversial now. Tim Duncan may be even further from controversy, but I don’t feel like there’s something weird behind the scenes with Timmy. Anyways…

Some people love dynasties. It makes them feel like everything is right with the world. Thier world makes sense if the Yankees are playing in October and the Lakers are playing in June.

Some people always root for the underdog. I’m definitely an underdog kind of guy but if there is a dominate team out there, I want to be able to like them or hate them for the right reasons. I hate Manchester United, but they run a first class organization and deserve their success. I’d much rather them win the league than a fly-by-night pet project of some Russian billionaire or Sheik. How can you really stand behind a team that you know is successful by chance rather than hard work from everyone in the organization from the top down?

Prepping for The Amazing Race

imagesIt’s always been a dream of mine to be on The Amazing Race. Out of all the reality shows I think that’s the one I could do the best on, and would enjoy the most. I would do it without the million dollar prize. I really could not care less about the money, I just want the experience.

Unknown-9Survivor would be an epic failure as far as reality shows go. Fear Factor just seems pointless. Big Brother even more so, but at least you have a chance to hook up with someone. Plus no one is watching that show in case you have to do something embarrassing. Actually American Gladiators would be alot of fun, if it were still on.

UnknownI’m a great armchair quarterback when watching The Amazing Race at home and of course I always make all the right decisions. Just like watching Wheel of Fortune at home where it’s always your turn and there are never Bankrupts, you have that same luxury with watching Race. You never get the cabbie who needs to stop for gas or ask for directions. You never get on the flight that has to divert to Botswana.

images-4Even when the less-than-ideal situations arise, I think I’d still do alright. I can cope on the fly pretty well and my experience as a flight attendant would certainly help navigating through airports and running around in weird cities.

I would help my cause beforehand for sure. I would do everything possible from the moment I found out I was on the show until we took off to meet Phil. I’m starting a list of just what those things would be.

Let’s say I get 6 weeks to prep before the race starts. Let’s also say that I don’t have to go through the audition process of picking a partner. I’ve been doing that for years. I have a few people who are potentials. Some of the ones I would perform the best with aren’t necessarily the ones I’d want to be with 24/7 for however long the race lasts.

Unknown-4Some of the ones I know I would love spending every second racing alongside aren’t necessarily the ones I’d succeed with in the competition. It’s a fine line and very few people would satisfy the criteria to make the race both fun and lucrative. Selecting your sweetie can be a brilliant or horrible idea.

Unknown-6Ultimately I would pick a partner based on my weaknesses, mainly eating anything gross or in large quantities. Partner must also speak at least one other language fluently. Not German though, I know enough of that to get by. Partner must also have to be able to tolerate me thinking I always know the right way to go. Partner must also hold their tongue when I’m wrong and we end up in a Turkish prison.

TO-DO List

1)  Clear things up with work so it’s not a situation of me having to quit to be on the show. I think that’ll be easy, my airline has had flight attendants on the show before. They didn’t fare too well, but we were proud of them all the same. Redemption!

images-22)  Start running and getting into as good of shape as possible. Take up yoga. Maybe a dance class as well. If I can’t learn rhythm, learn to fake it.

images-33)  Learn to drive stick. I have only done it once and that was for five minutes in driver’s ed. It was in a straight line in the high school football stadium parking lot. Stalling occurred.

Unknown-34)  Get Rosetta Stone for two languages not known by my partner, one being an Asian language. Have partner get the basics of one or two new languages as well, maybe sign language too. This will mainly be done while on the treadmill or on days when I’m too sore to exercise more.  Multitasking will be the key to my training.

5)  Watch every season of The Amazing Race thus far and take meticulous notes on everything imaginable, including: which legs usually have U-turns, Non-eliminations, etc etc. Note, it’s always a good thing if Phil seems extremely sad if he tells a team they’re the last to check in. Nine times out of ten it means you’re still racing, you’re not really the last team, or it’s a non-elimination. Watching all 20+ seasons can also be done while running on treadmill or stationary exercise equipment.

6)  Memorize passport number. Get global entry for when landing back in the USA.

Unknown-57)  Get into the habit of always having a large backpack with me and get to where I can run short and long distances with it on my back. Also get to where I consider the bag as an extension of myself to where I would never leave it on a funicular, gondola, in a taxi, or on the wing of a plane.

8)  Try to learn to eat new foods. Find hypnotist to help in that. Or maybe take one of those sexy classes where they teach you how to really relax your throat muscles and allow things to go in without gagging. There’s always a bingeing challenge.

9)  Get to where I can swim long distances

Unknown-110) Brush up on rock climbing, scuba diving, and canoeing skills. Maybe get somewhat proficient in synchronized swimming and basic gymnastics.

11) Get to where I can run a mile comfortably in snow, sand, and whilst carrying/dragging heavy, cumbersome objects.

Unknown-712) Learn to communicate with animals, especially notoriously stubborn ones

images-113) Get full physical and tune-up from my doctor. Find the line of legal supplements/illegal steroids and don’t cross it.

Unknown-214) Pick out wardrobe. Be prepared for all climates and possible meteorological phenomenon. Shop around for advertising deals from local stores. Let everyone know I can be bought. My team can look like a Nascar vehicle if necessary. I don’t mind having Coke on one sleeve and Pepsi on the other.

Unknown-815) Last but not least is going to couples therapy with my partner. Even if I go with my mom or childhood friend, it wouldn’t hurt to have some sessions with a professional. Maybe we could learn some tricks of the trade to bypass potential fights.

That’s a pretty good start I think. Six weeks of working on those 15 things and I bet I’d be as ready as possible to take on the race of a lifetime. My passport has been needing some new stamps. It’s feeling neglected. Now I just need to get on the damn show and everything will be perfect in my world.

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