Tuesday, July 22, 2008

All in a blog's work

Was saddened to learn of the death last week of former St. Louis Steamers/Storm/Ambush goalkeeper Slobo Ilijevski at age 58.  He was playing in an over-55 soccer tournament in Seattle and suffered a torn aorta apparently while diving to stop a shot, and died later in the hospital of heart failure.  Back in the ‘80s, indoor soccer was a major vice for me, and whenever my beloved MISL Kansas City Comets played the dreaded Team Steam from St. Louie, it was about as intense a rivalry as you’ll ever find, especially from about 1982 through ‘86.  To us, Comets-Steamers made Ohio St.-Michigan, Yankees-Red Sox or Chiefs-Raiders look like pillow fights by comparison. Although we always respected Slobo and his evil teammates Don Ebert, Steve Pecher, Carl Rose, Jeff Cacciatore, Tony Glavin, Redmond Lane, Tony Bellinger, Ricky Davis, et al, my friend Tom and I were known to often hurl invective at Slobo and his minions, especially during the playoffs.  Ebert and Rose were the two I hated the most, but Slobo was right up there with them.  From what I hear, he apparently was really a very nice man off the field, but we hated his guts whenever he was on the pitch.  I’ll never forget the sheer elation we felt the night the Comets finally overcame those bastard Steamers on April 21, 1985 when midfielder Tasso Koutsoukos snuck one past Slobo to win 4-3 in OT to clinch the team’s first playoff series victory ever.  Winning the championship would’ve been anti-climactic that year…

Ironically, Ilijevski was one of the few St. Louis players who didn’t eventually wind up playing for the Comets (like Pecher, Glavin and others later did), as by the late ‘80s, the two team rosters were almost interchangeable.  Known as the "ageless wonder", Slobo was sort of the Dominik Hasek of indoor soccer, as he played well into his 40’s and seemingly got better the more he aged.  He was the heart and soul of St. Louis soccer even after his playing days ended, remaining very active in the futbol community there, playing a similar role to what Gino Schiraldi and Enzo DiPede do here in Kansas City.  Rest in peace, Slobo—you were a great warrior and one of my favorite sports villains/enemies…

Why is it when the media and/or the military report war casualties, the individual soldiers are always referred to as "troops"?  Isn’t a troop a group of people, as in Boy Scout troop?  I never have understood that…

…who does this.  Have you ever bought Hamburger Helper at the store and forgotten to buy the meat?!?  I’ve done this a couple times now, even though the key component of Hamburger Helper is indeed hamburger!

I must be the only one who is very nonplussed about the new Batman flick that just came out.  I’ve had trouble getting into the big-screen Caped Crusader movies because they’re nothing like what I was raised on.  Sorry folks, but there’s only one true Batmobile, and the only Batman that’s officially recognized in my house is the mayor of Quahog himself, the great Adam West.  The least they could do in these new Batman flicks is throw in a few Biffs and Zowies now and then…

The Budweiser folks need to salute whoever it is that does the programming schedule for TV Land.  In their infinite wisdom, they decided to air Apollo 13 on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night this past weekend.  Can’t you just see these guys brainstorming at their committee meeting?  "What a stroke of ingenuity—let’s air the same movie three nights in a row!!  And better yet, let’s butcher it up with commercial breaks every five minutes and fill them with promos for this vapid new reality show we’re hyping featuring that big dumb oaf George Foreman—that’ll surely keep the viewers glued to the tube…"

Don’t get me wrong, Apollo 13 is a dandy film and a favorite of mine, but jeez Louise—can’t they at least have a little variety in their program schedule?  TBS does this same crap—airing the same flick on back-to-back nights, and instead of promos, they insert that inane "Dinner & A Movie" palaver with these supercilious twits prattling on about nothing.  Is it any wonder that cable TV ratings are plummeting faster than Mel Gibson’s career?

"Destroyer"—THE KINKS (1981)  "Feeling guilty, feeling scared—hidden cameras everywhere…"  Is it just me, or doesn’t it sound like Ray Davies sings "hidden candles everywhere"?

John "Cougar" Mellencamp says he now considers himself an "ex-Rock Star".  I musta missed that memo somewhere along the way—I was unaware that he ever was one... (sorry, Dr. S!)

I chuckled when I read that singer Amy Winehouse’s husband was sentenced to over two years in the pokey for beating up a pub landlord in England while intoxicated.  Imagine that—he’s every bit as fucked-up as she is!  Okay, explain to me again why I should be impressed by this skank?  I’ve listened to Winehouse a few times and have been majorly underwhelmed by her so-called "brilliance".  I’d almost rather listen to "ex-Rock Star" Mellencamp…

Interesting commentary from The Who’s Roger Daltrey this week on the state of the music biz, and more specifically the listening habits of today’s music collectors.  Roger sez:  "They've destroyed the form, as soon's it went digital.  The CD was a confidence trick.  It wasn't just music that people used to buy, it was a total art form. ... I think that's what people like.  They like it personal.  They like vinyl because if you scratch vinyl, it'll be scratched, but it'll be your scratch.  It will only be on your record.  Now for people, (music) is just not a big part of their lives.  It's like background noise.  There's just so much else going on, isn't there?"

Not so sure I agree with him totally.  I may be one of the few dominoes left standing, and music is as big as it ever was in my life.  Disregarding my current iPod habits, I still generally listen to my CDs as entire units from start-to-finish without skipping around on tracks, just as I would’ve on vinyl.  True, as I myself have lamented on the blog, the compact disc killed the album cover/sleeves as an art form, but I don’t really miss hearing the music with all the snap, crackle and pop of vinyl records.

As for the ‘Orrible ‘Oo, their performance on VH-1’s "Rock Honors" presentation last week weren’t too shabby, and it never ceases to amaze me that Pete and Roger call still bring it at their advanced ages.  I really think young master Zac Starkey on the drums has helped energize them a bit over the last ten years or so since he’s played for them.  And I know I’m biased when it comes to the bass position in this band, but I still cringed watching Pino Palladino play so timidly on the solo bass runs during "My Generation".  It almost looked like he was scared to touch his own bass strings.  I know I shouldn’t pick on Palladino, because he is indeed a fine bassist—he stood out on Pete Townshend’s "Face The Face" in 1985, as well as on Elton John’s "Simple Life" from The One in 1992—but Pino, buddy, do The Ox proud—play that song like you got a pair!!

Meanwhile, it seems that Pete and Roger have decided to tour America again this fall, but they’re already squabbling over what songs to play, as Townshend wants to do more of his new stuff while Daltrey wants to stick with the classics.  Given the flaccid quality of Pete’s more recent work, I tend to side with Rog on this one.


Arpeggio Andy said...

I don't like the vinyl "fuzz" sound on newer music, but I kind of like it on old stuff from the 60's. It adds to the feeling of the music.

Brian Holland said...

I actually agree with you here, Andy. I hate it when they try to simulate vinyl "fuzz" on CDs or even on video, like during the most recent Who documentary--the phony crackles are ten times more irritating than the real thing ever was!