Thursday, January 24, 2008

Football, Some Campari and a Hand-rolled Smoke

I want to write one post about football before the season ends. It may come as a surprise to some of you- who know I’ve been a Patriots fan since Bellichick came in -that my motivation to write this is not about them, although they’ll get talked about.

Something’s been on my mind for a while now and I need to say it. San Diego. The San Diego Chargers are one hell of a football team. With their biggest weapon mostly sidelined. With their quarterback injured. With injuries to their receiving corps and with other limitations that reduced their effectiveness; they played the best football of any team going, including The Patriots, during their final games. My respect for them is immense and I am going to start rooting for them.

If they had been healthy they might have beaten The Pats. It’s hard to say because New England rises to the occasion. Whatever the challenge has been they’ve been there to meet it. How they beat The Ravens and Giants in the end is a good example. There are a couple of qualities you have to have to be the champion. One of them is the ability to adapt; to rise to the occasion. The other is confidence, or call it determination or what have you. You need some other things too but these are two of the things I noticed about San Diego. San Diego is a class act. They have character and they have heart and they are going to the super bowl one day soon.

Philip Rivers is the best quarterback I’ve seen besides Tom Brady at this present time. Yes, I left out Peyton Manning but I don’t like Peyton Manning so I’m not going to include him. I don’t like him for the same reasons that I don’t like Curt Schilling or Roger Clemons. They are all three of them Hall of Famers but they’ve got that neo-con perspective on life ...and in the case of Manning, if he’s going to go through life looking like a NASCAR driver- human billboard my life as a commercial then they might as well dress him up like a bottle of Coca Cola in a miniskirt and put him in his own window on the grim Reeperbahn. Digressing... and I know this shouldn’t have anything to do with playing the game but it does for me.

Philip Rivers has something that Tony Romo does not have. He’s a money player. Tony Romo is a little like Drew Bledsoe and others I could name. He’s fine unless the game is important. This is perhaps the most critical thing that any quarterback can lack. It’s pretty clear that this is so if you just watch him. How long it will take The Cowboys to find this out I don’t know but they would be smart to trade him now before he devalues too much. He has got to go. Look what sticking with Grossman did to the Bears. He didn’t just lose games... he screwed up the idea that The Bears had about themselves. He sucked their confidence off. The worst thing you can do as a team leader is to cause your teammates to stop believing in themselves.

It’s possible that Romo might become a better quarterback with another team. Sometimes that happens. That’s not going to happen with Grossman. Grossman is Romo without Romo’s abilities and with more of what Romo lacks; if that makes any sense. Yes, I’m going to wander around in this post but I am headed somewhere. I’ll mention that at the end.

San Diego is going to beat New England down the road. They have to don’t they to get to the Super Bowl. The Patriots could have another perfect season next year. It’s not impossible. Look for them to add to every position where they see a need but sooner or later they’re going down. Brady needs to stay consistent for a couple more years and then he will be the greatest quarterback of all time. Right now that title still belongs to Joe Montana. A lot of people don’t know about Joe’s back and the pain he played with. Randy Moss will never be Jerry Rice I don’t think.

I want to tell you a little story about Chicago’s great running back, Walter Payton ‘sweetness’. There was curiosity about how he stayed in the shape he was in. One day he took a number of teammates to his home. For some reason it seems to me that Jerry Rice was along but maybe it’s because both of them had singular fitness programs. What Walter did was run up and down a hillside. The others ran with him but not for long. To hear what some of them said about that day and how Payton just kept going as they dropped off one by one tells you what being a champion requires. Jerry Rice had that sort of thing. Time will tell about Moss. He’s been through some real changes lately and that’s another argument for why Bellichick probably is the greatest coach of all time.

Deion Sanders likes to run his mouth. Hopefully he knows he’s wrong to question Ladanian Tomlinson’s heart. What a thing to say after what that the team achieved this year against such adversity. I watched them early in the season. I expected them to come out of the gate with a bang. It didn’t happen but I knew they were going to recover and they did. Tomlinson, along with being one of the games great runners is also a really good human being. He’s an exceptional person, one of the last people you want to say that sort of thing about.

The Giants are playing over their head and I think a lot of that is Tom Coughlin. I think they’re going to get a wakeup at Super Bowl but you never know and that’s what makes it all so interesting. One of the things about living in Europe is that you are confronted with soccer. I’ve tried but I can’t get into it. I don’t like the game but you can be sure I don’t publicize it. Cricket is another annoyance.

Green Bay went down because of the same nagging condition that has plagued them for years... Brett Farve. Brett Farve has a problem that’s too late to correct now. You see it in various athletes over the years. He wants to win so bad that he loses perspective and think he can force the outcome. This is why he gets intercepted and costs the team as much as he saves it. Their running back has got a great future. I do believe we are going to hear from him.

If Dallas gets another quarterback they’re in business. But right now it’s The Patriots. What an accomplishment! With parity what it is, they have achieved something that may never happen again. In the end it is down to Bill Bellichick. Without him it would not have happened and we could all learn something by paying attention to how he approaches his job and borrowing some of it to manage our lives. I’m not a perfect person and I have to live with the recognition of that every day. When I see what Bellichick has accomplished. When I see what others have accomplished, I know that I too can accomplish something if just keep trying and learn from my mistakes. This is one of the reasons that I like football because it’s a metaphor for life. To paraphrase one of my favorite writers, a fellow named Ducadmo, I probably never metaphor I didn’t like.

Life is full of linebackers and offensive lines. I could get carried away for a few more pages exploring that but George Carlin did it for me. I know I piss people off now and then but I’m trying to quit. I’m not a great quarterback either but I do have a fantastic coach. I learn something new every day which reminds me that I have to go to the forum where I plan on putting this up, as well as a few other places, and tell a certain fellow something. It never hurts to make what amends you can because it always leads to a better you.

I think this Super Bowl is going to be a lot of fun and for those of you who don’t have a dog in this fight you have my commiserations. I’ve been there. I look forward to the day when we can put our differences aside. In another place and another time it will happen. In the meantime, enjoy the game. I think I wound up where I was going and that is the end of this strange little essay.

Visible sings: Almost A Capella by Les Visible♫ I'm a New Age Twinkie ♫
'I'm a New Age Twinkie' is track no. 10 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Almost A Capella'

Almost A Capella by Les Visible

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Doing the Pimp-Roll in Necro-Philadelphia

Some years ago while living in Hawaii and lit up like a Christmas tree, as I was a lot of the time then... I’d given up waiting for life to cover me in laurel and started to behave as if it already had... I was in my living room with my girlfriend and a couple of her friends and we were probably doing drugs and being boisterous; which was something I did a lot of...

It so happens that there was a football game on and I did one of those things I often did which was to turn the sound off and become the announcer. At the time I was doing a lot of standup comedy so my groove was well oiled and I did...

the play by play and the color, switching back and forth between the characters. It was funny. I have that gene but I seldom use it anymore. In any case, once finished, after about five minutes of this, my audience of three or however many there might have been all got to telling me that I absolutely ought to be a sportscaster.

At this point you are probably thinking, “Okay Les, why don’t you tell us how you could moonwalk all over the room and never disturb the lampshade on your head?” No... that’s not what this is about. I never did slapstick anyway. What this is about is...

...well, I’ll tell you... I said to whoever was there, “Not a chance. You can’t just do your thing and be entertaining in these venues. You have to conform to guidelines and you have to do commercials and you have to engage in all sorts of embarrassing events with idiots who are that clueless that they think meeting an on air personality at a public event is a big deal. In other words, it’s hell.

The reason I’m talking about this is because I have just been around to all of the mass media news organs this morning... from a distance, my usual perspective... meaning I don’t have to be photographed with one of them in my mouth... and I read the articles that the usual hacks put out and I saw the slants and the little tricks they learned in journalism school and from people they worked under on their way to a byline and I cringed at the thought that anyone has to do the things they do for money.

I thought about how often they are wrong and how it never matters the next day. I thought about those loud guys with the beer bellies that tell you they have the winning picks and, unlike the people they take money from, I remember how bad their picks of the week before were and then...

I went over to and I saw articles like “How to survive a 47 story fall.” I saw some headline that was about getting a picture of your baby with every one of the political candidates. I saw a headline where one of the worst writers going, William Saletan, appears to be saying that slasher movies lower crime.

Given the odious dreck that continuously appears at Slate and all the rest of the bimbo-oriented news-zines you might say that there actually are no guidelines. Yes, there are guidelines. You can’t tell the truth. You can’t talk about anything important. You can’t talk about red-tagged events in any way other than the way you are told to. You have to be a company pump. The people who write at The New York Times and the people who write and commentate for Fox-News are the same people. The former think they live at Park Place and the latter are comfortable at St. James Place, if not Baltic Avenue but it’s all the same Monopoly Board.

Some people think prestige is attached to these positions. I never understood what the point of a large audience was when you couldn’t use the position to speak truthfully. Studying the phenomenon I found that there is no such position... ♫I’m only a bird in a glided caaaaage...♫ Well... that would certainly qualify for putting a good face on it. Bird you are not and glided cage it is not but we’ll leave the real definition of both to those who know it best.

What kind of person do you have to be to lie for a living? There are a lot of these people so you can ask them on your own. What kind of a person lies for a living when their lies are partly responsible for lives lost and ruined? What kind of a person puts on a monkey suit so that he can hang out with other monkey suits in mood-lit rooms full of drunken monkeys and call that success? What sort of a person covers their body with aerosol sprays to conceal the stink of bad diet and props up tortured hair or, failing that, gets new hair?

What kind of a person spends enormous sums of money on a suit to conceal the flaccid state of their sedentary form when sooner or later they have to take that suit off to engage in romantic congress with the fantasy they took their job for in order to make such a congress possible? Yes, they can pay for it because the job allows for that but does their vanity run that deep that they imagine themselves to be desirable? I guess they’re just giving back what they get in their day to day to a better looking version of themselves that they will never be and just call it even. Love doesn’t enter into the equation... sheer naked ugly need will do. It’s like a lifetime of Glengarry Glen Ross when five minutes was more than I could take.

I hadn’t looked at the front page in possibly a year until this morning. It has probably been longer than that since I was by the NYT and The Post and most of the rest. Distance does grant perspective and insight.

It appears that life is a tradeoff. You can have a lot of shiny items and luxurious temporary lodgings if you lie. A lot of people think that this is a good deal.

I’ve had to live without a lot of things in my life and endure some difficult times. I can’t say I miss what I didn’t get. My payoff is that I am never going to have to do any of these jobs and although I don’t get paid for the job I do in the same coin as the rest I don’t see where I’m being shortchanged.

I think about what it would be like to wake up in the morning as the transsexual Ann Coulter or the mega rich Rupert Murdoch or any of the countless laminated fuck-toys or people who buy them and I feel compelled to fall to my knees and lift my hands to heaven and say, “Thank you God.”

I remember parties in New York City and other cities. I remember conversations with important employees of some firm or another. I remember passing through these moments the way I walked past shop windows filled with images and objects. I remember thinking how I didn’t belong here, experiencing all of the words and facial gestures and activities of the walking dead that surrounded me and wondering what the Hell is going on.

I remember thinking there must be something more and I remember being certain that there was. What do these people tell themselves at the end of the day? Do they imagine there will come a time when they will be on top? ...on top of what? Well... this is just the way it looked to me this morning as I went by these sites and I can assure you it will be a long time before I go by any of them again. I feel like I ought to have a drink and its only 9:00AM right now. I’ll bet these people feel like that nearly every single day.

Visible sings: Almost A Capella by Les Visible♫ Right Thru My Heart ♫
'Right Thru My Heart' is track no. 5 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Almost A Capella'
Lyrics (pops up)

Almost A Capella by Les Visible