Agitated & Moving

In case you missed it, Tayhahs A&M has now taken a step beyond reports perpetuated behind a pay wall on their path for independence from the Big 12 with 10 teams. From Sports Illustrated, here’s the letter:

Dear Commissioner Beebe:

As you know, the Texas A&M Board of Regents has authorized me to take action relating to Texas A&M University’s (“Texas A&M”) conference alignment. While this letter is not a notice of Texas A&M’s withdrawal from the Big 12 Conference (the “Conference”), we are exploring our options. There has been a great deal of speculation and comment in the media about Texas A&M leaving the Conference, including discussions of other institutions joining the Conference.

If Texas A&M withdraws from the Conference, we want to do so in a way that complies with the Bylaws and is supportive of your efforts to seek a new member of the Conference. We would appreciate your conferring with the other member institutions and outlining for us the process to be followed by Texas A&M should it withdraw from the Conference.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
R. Bowen Loftin
President

My interpretation reads as such:

Dear Commissioner:

As you know, the people who make decisions at Tayhahs A&M have told my people to tell you to tell your people to tell you that we’re looking elsewhere for a conference. While this letter is not a notice of the Aggies leaving the Big 12 with 10 schools (the “University of Tayhahs and pals”), we are desperately trying to get out of here. Like we really, really badly want out. We aren’t insinuating that the SEC will let us dwell in their cellars, However, we’d like to at least go somewhere else- anywhere, really. We’re not even ruling out the Southland Conference if we can’t find somewhere to play. There has been a great deal of speculation and comment in the media (especially the places that we may or may not have leaked information to) about us leaving ‘Tayhahs and pals’, including discussions of other institutions joining ‘Tayhahs and pals’. We assure you, it’s not as much about you guys (minus the burnt orange team), than it is about us. We feel smothered and we just don’t see a future with y’all.

If we leave (and God knows we will because we really, really hate Tayhahs), we want to do so in a way that will cover our backsides legally. We would appreciate a meeting, poker game, hunting outing or whatever of your choosing between you and the heads of the pals as well as the big wigs from the school we hate who decided it’d be a great idea to continue to grow the shadow that casts down on us because they’re still better than us. We’d like a step-by-step booklet to learn how to abandon you and your Longhorn TV-having nonsense properly without getting sued for large amounts of money.

We know this hurts, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t get some amount of enjoyment out of it. Okay, maybe a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Sincerely,
Some Guy
President

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mays Email

Fellow General Managers and Owners of the Gridiron,

We at the San Francisco 49ers hope everyone has had a good summer despite all the tenuous CBA talks. It feels good to be back on the field, am I right?! Here in Frisco, we’re swamped trying to keep up with Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona (you wily dogs, you!) and our new coach Jim Harbaugh is learning the ropes.

Jim’s doing his best, but he’s still getting used to this whole ‘players don’t view him as a father figure and don’t care what he has to say’ type deal. It’s rough for him. I think he keeps in constant contact with his brother for guidance. Because Jim doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing, we’ve decided to act the same way to make him feel comfortable. We have done very little in terms of free agency, but we’re waiting for the right opportunity. At least we tied up Alex Smith, which was a huge relief.

But allow us to be more direct in reference to what this mass email to every team in the NFL is about. We want to trade Taylor Mays to you! Any one of you! Think of him as the young kid at USC with the high draft stock, not the player who plummeted due to concerns about his ability to play safety on the professional level. If you look at it that way, you’d be stealing from us! Jim doesn’t know much about defense, but as you all well know, the USC/Stanford thing can be a bit too much to overcome. To each his own.

Look, we’ll give you Mays, just reply. And don’t ‘reply all’ because we’d like to keep this thing as professional as possible. If we get some similar offers, we may open this thing up to Ebay, who knows?!

May the best franchise win, can’t wait to see you all out on the turf this year!

Sincerely,
San Francisco 49ers

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Goodbye, Big Man.

Saturday night, Clarence Clemons passed away.

Saturday night, a part of me died with him.

For those of you who don’t know who Clarence was, he was the saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. The beauty of that band was that they had an all-star at every position. And the beauty of Bruce was that he knew how to accentuate the talent of each and every one of them.

But none more than Clarence.

My personal experience is simple. I liked Bruce’s radio hits from the time I was young enough to remember them. Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A, Dancing in the Dark, etc. But when I lived alone at one point in Roanoke, Virginia, I got to know Bruce’s music much closer. I liked each song I heard more and more each time I heard it. My best friend and I would listen to the music on weekdays, then meet up and listen together on the weekends. Bruce climbed among my favorite musicians, and the E Street band was right there with him.

And then I fell in love with Jungleland.

I remember where I sat the first time I listened to that song. I remember the passion that I felt when I heard it. Clarence’s solo hits the track almost as hard as it ends up hitting you right between the eyes. The audience feels what he puts through the speakers. There are no words, just notes, yet it makes no difference.

Everyone that listens to the song feels. They have no choice.

There hasn’t been a time since those days when I haven’t had the hair stand up on my arms when I hear the solo. It’s my favorite song of all time, yet it would be much further down the list if not for Clemons. That song vaulted Bruce and E Street Band to the top of my charts, forever. It enhanced every other song I had heard before, because I knew that a band and an artist capable of creating such beauty had done it all along. I just wasn’t hearing it clearly enough until now.

And the best part about the solo was that it epitomized what music’s supposed to be about. It should make you want to call someone you haven’t spoken to in years. It should push you to remember the best of times. It should take you away until there are no notes left to hear. It should do that. Many times, it doesn’t do that. And many of us take that as par for the course. But Clarence reminded me that if a song doesn’t do that, it may not be worth playing.

I could write a book on that song and what it means to me. But that solo is enough to tell you the story. That solo is enough to make me tear up. It’s enough to make me feel. It’s enough to make a part of me die on Saturday night.

And maybe that’s the best tribute I can give to Clarence, the Big Man.

(Solo begins at the 4:01 mark, but listen to the whole song please)

3 Comments

Filed under Music

fun. and Different

Obviously, there are a couple of different value levels to music. One of them just so happens to be the value of losing yourself in a song. The song for this post holds that quality if you can listen to it all the way through.

And when I write, ‘if you can’, I’m not saying that the song stinks. It’s just extremely different. I find ‘different’ to be extremely liberating. Because a friend from college recommended this jam, I gave it the benefit of my doubts and stuck with it until the end.

As soon as it ended…..

First thought: ‘What the hell was THAT?’
Second thought: ‘Maybe listen to it again?’
*Refreshes the song*
Third thought: ‘This is weird. But it’s growing on me’

And that’s all she wrote. I was hooked. Why?

Do I love this song? No.
Do I love that this song makes me feel like I’m listening to stuff that expands my horizons? Yes.

Extremely interesting format to this jam. In fact, it’s one of the few that I didn’t focus in on the lyrics the second it started. It feels like 83 different things are going on in the song. Thus, the first thought I had.

Goodness, even as I write this I am replaying that first thought throughout the song. Plus one for fun. though, I’ve never heard anything like it. However, that can be a double-edged sword. I don’t really want to listen to more fun. because it may be like this song. I like the song, but I grew into it because of how interesting it was. If all their music sounds this way, then I won’t even like this jam anymore, because there’s nothing interesting left to like. It’s would become just another fun. song.

Also, after a few listens…I finally got back to my lyric-noticing ways. Love the line + delivery towards the end of the song:“So I left/ That is it/ That’s my life/ Nothing is sacred/ I don’t keep friends/ I keep acquainted/ I’m not a prophet/ But I’m here to profit, that’s all.”

Loved the way that flowed, and the wordplay that was incorporated.

The bottom-line on this jam is that it gets you far away from wherever you are for 4:07. Sometimes that’s perplexing and sometimes that’s just awesome. Even if there is no real reason to listen to ‘At Least I’m Not as Sad’, that may be reason enough. Diversity of rhythm and interesting vocal patterns make the song worth finding out what the hell THAT was. THAT is unique.

Unique is different.

Different is liberating.

(Thanks Mo)

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Some New Bon Iver Jam

Okay, so here’s the long story made somewhat shorter. I had never heard of Bon Iver until the late winter when a friend of mine suggested the song ‘Skinny Love’. In fact, if someone had asked me if I had heard of the band, I probably would have thought they meant Bon Jovi or just completely said, oh yea…and then never checked into it (thanks Jdub). I love that song, and I really love the piano version, although it’s by someone completely different (if you haven’t heard either, I highly recommend them).

Yesterday, I saw that ‘Bon Iver’ was trending on Twitter, so I decided to click the topic…which I never do. And I found out that their latest single, ‘Calgary’ was released yesterday. At least, I think it was. It used to be simple understanding when a song was released, but who knows…there may be some hipster that reads this and tells me the unplugged and underground version was found on some mixtape in Bangladesh and circulated online over 2 months ago.

I found out about the song yesterday.

I guess I should talk about the song now.

It has a really neat sound to it in the beginning, and at first it irritated me. It kind of reminds me of ‘Love Like a Sunset’ by Phoenix. I don’t know why, the only reason I can come up with is that they both start slow and eventually introduce some remnant of what sounds like a song. But I can dig both jams. In fact, I love that Phoenix song, parts one and two alike.

Another thing that jumped out to me about this jam is the similarity that it has to a lot of Coldplay’s stuff. Or maybe that’s just the vibe I get from it. The guys voice reminds me of Chris Martin a great deal. I may be way out in left field with that, but it’s my blog so I’m not too worried. As I wrote before, I’m no music teacher. I’m just some guy.

Love the slow stuff, wish the song was longer. At some point, the lyrics will mean something to me, but at this point I don’t even know what they are.

It’s always cool when you get to know a song. You can weave it into your own life in one way shape or form. I guess that’s part of the beauty of music, and in another way the simplicity of it. Songs like this one may end up being the background music of my memories of this summer. Or not.

It may just remind me of Coldplay and Phoenix. But for me, that ain’t so bad either.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Here’s a Start

I went with an old faithful for the first ‘jamography’. I’ve been stuck on it lately, which is funny because for a summer blog…well you get it. One thing about my focus on music is that it’s really not so much on the music at all at times. Many of my favorites are all about the lyrics, probably in part because I write. And that’s the first thing I pay attention to when I listen to a song.

For the sake of lyrics, ‘A Long December’ ranks among my favorites. Instrumentally, I love the piano, and the way the jam starts is a tone-setter for me. The very beginning makes it sound like some guy is just playing his piano. Not playing a great piano in a popular rock band. But for all the piano does to the song, the lyrics are what makes it.

I can feel this song. Sure, there’s a universality to it for anyone that listens (something I always appreciate), but it feels like you feel the words. This guy is looking back and looking forward. And he’s got regrets and he’s got hope. As do you. As do I.

When I went to SongFacts, I read about the song and the story behind the song really brought it all home.

During the taping of a VH1 Storytellers performance, lead singer Adam Duritz talked about the song:
‘In the middle of December of ’95 my friend Jennifer got run over by a car, just creamed; and I spent that whole month, while we were just beginning the record and most of January and February in the hospital. Each morning and early afternoon then I’d go to the studio, the house where we were recording, and we’d play all afternoon and all night. It was a very weird time because there is a lot of stress, not that it’s a big deal being a second album, but any album. They’re just not that easy to make. It’s a very stressful process, especially when you’re first starting out. I spent a lot of time in the hospital which is pretty weird. But one day I just left the studio about 2 in the morning, and I went to my friend Samantha and Tracy’s house which is Hillside Manor, that’s what we call it anyway, it’s just a little house and I sat there talking with them. I woke them up, got them out of bed and made them talk to me for a couple hours, then I went home to my house. I wrote this song between about 4 and 6 and then went to the hospital the next day, and came to the house and I played it for the guys before dinner and taught it to them after dinner. We played it about 6 or 7 times. It was take number 6. We just stopped, that was it. We recorded the song, it was done. We all went into the kitchen and had a cold beer, I grabbed Brad our engineer and ran back out about 5 minutes later, had him play the tape three times, just recorded all the harmonies, and we’ve never touched it since, that was it. It’s a completely live song except for the harmonies. It’s a song about looking back on your life and seeing changes happening, and for once for me, looking forward and thinking, ya know, things are gonna change for the better – ‘maybe this year will be better than the last’ – and so, like a lot of songs on the end of an album it’s not about everything turning out great, but it at least it is about hope… and the possibilities…’”

The raw emotion of the song is evident in this story, and it only supplements the emotion of the lyrics in their own right. Duritz writes this thing and records it just like THAT. That’s incredible. In my experience, some of my best work (IMO) is when it just happens. This song just happened for the Crows. And, without having read the story behind the song, I had a hunch that was the case.

THAT. JUST. HAPPENED.

The lyrics of this song make me feel the song. Because it was real. It is real.

Lines in the jam that set it off:

“The smell of hospitals in winter, and the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters…but no pearls”
Hospital smells suck, and everyone has felt hopeless when looking for something.

“I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, makes you talk a little lower”
This is a great observation, it’s true…but this song is the only time I’ve ever heard it put that way.

“I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself to hold on…to these moments as they pass”
Two things about this line:
1. This happens. All. The. Time.
2. Irony. Beautifully written, encompasses his problem entirely with a few words.

“It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean….I guess I should”
I always felt like the first part of this line had a tone of regret to it, then deciding to leave regret behind.

“…and there’s reason to believe…maybe this year will be better than the last”
‘There’s always next year’…with a dash of ‘Everything will be okay’

Deep and thought-provoking.

Real.

Amen.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

Music?! Music.

This has some kind of weird, summer book report feel to it.  In the interest of continuing to write as often as possible, I’m going to blog out. I mean rock out. Err….I mean both.

For those of you that know me or have come to know me through my writing, I cover the Philadelphia Flyers in every second of free time that I have.  Now that their season is complete, the offseason beckons.  However, there will be many more seconds of free time without the team actually playing.  So, I set out to have some type of therapeutic offseason writing.

I’m no music expert.  I don’t play an instrument.  It seems silly for me to write about music.  But, that’s why I’m not going to give ‘reviews’.  Another reason I want to stay away from that form is that often times, reviews aren’t up my alley.  When I’m told that I should listen to a song or buy an album, the safe bet would be that I’ll never do either.  Just because you told me to.  Well, I trust a few people when it comes to music, but they’re few and faaaaar between. (And if you are reading this and fall into that category, pat yourself on the back)

To cut to the chase, I’ll be ‘exploring’ music, I guess.  Whether it be some of the old faithfuls on my 2650 song iPod (which holds about 2k songs that I don’t listen to) or a random click on YouTube, I’m just going to vibe with it and let you know what the vibing was like.

This is a blog in the truest sense of the word.  This will be my random thoughts, and maybe you’ll learn a little bit about me through my observations.  I hope to write as often as I can.  If you think there’s a song I should jam, comment. Or tweet it to me.  This is the lone exception to the ‘avoiding all advice’ law.

Also, I’ll listen to just about anything (Yea I know, count the number of times you’ve heard THAT before).  From Beethoven to Wu-Tang Clan, Carole King to Metallica, the Boss to Johnny Cash, I”m all over the board.  My theory has been and always will be, ‘If it moves me, I’ll jam it’.

So here’s to a summer of moving.  I hope my lyrics of the season sound alright.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music