Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shaddup, baby, I'm tryin' to blog!

Hate to tell all youse righties I told ya so, but I read the transcript of President O’s school kid speech yesterday, and there was nothing even remotely political, subversive or Socialist about it, contrary to all the asinine fear-mongering perpetrated by the very wrong Right last week.  Obama delivered the speech pretty much as advertised—he urged kids to focus on excelling in school, getting good grades and just being good citizens in general—and even Über-Righty Newt Gingrich praised it as a fine address to America’s young people.  Still, I’m sure this won’t stop the dreaded paranoids from claiming shit like, “But if you play the speech backwards, that damn Obama says stuff like ‘Kill your parents’ or that if you take out every other word, he’s really promoting his Communist agenda...” or some such nonsense.

When I posted my remarks on Facebook yesterday, my conservative best friend of 31 years still countered with some crap from 1991 where the Democrats were dogging on Pappy Bush for giving a similar speech directed at school kids.  Okay, fine, both parties are guilty of playing dirty since the dawn of time, but does that justify the demonizing of Obama and all the ignorant recent statements by conservative politicians like “This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”?  I think not.  This whole episode is precisely why I cannot take the Republican Party (in its current state) seriously—they came off here appearing far more petty and childish than most of the kids this friggin’ speech was aimed at in the first place.  If I were a Republican, I’d be embarrassed as hell right about now...

According to Kansas City Star sportswriter Randy Covitz in today’s edition: “It was 50 years ago tonight—Sept. 9, 1960—when…the American Football League kicked off its first season.”  Wait a minute, Chester!  If I'm not mistaken, 2009 minus 1960 = 49.  Either that, or it's Sept. 9, 2010 and I’m now 46 years old—my my, where has the time gone?!?  Seriously, while I think it’s great that the NFL is celebrating the dawn of the AFL, I think they’re jumping the gun a bit here. I mean, you wouldn’t celebrate your 45th birthday when you were still 44, would you?

I’ve never understood why these round-number anniversaries are always celebrated a year too early.  For instance, the Kiss “10th Anniversary Tour” happened in 1983, even though their touring history began (for all intents and purposes) after their debut album was released in early, 1974.  The Kansas City Chiefs celebrated the 40th anniversary of the franchise in 1999, even though it began in 1960 (in Dallas, no less), and they didn’t arrive in K.C. until ‘63.  Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but it seems to me the 40th anniversary Chiefs thing should’ve actually been in 2003.  At least the Royals got it right by commemorating their 40th anniversary this season.  And next year, they get to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the last time they were relevant…

Speaking of our local Major League entry, I don’t know how accurate this is, but I heard one of the local radio sports yakkers yesterday say that the Kansas City Royals’ current Major League payroll (including September call-ups from the minors) actually exceeds the St. Louis Cardinals’ payroll by $2 million!  And guess which team’s going to the playoffs and guess who’s feeding the worms.  Something ain’t right here in K.C., that’s for sure.  Look at Tampa Bay—while they’re probably going to miss the playoffs this year coming off their World Series appearance in ‘08, they’ll still most likely have another winning season, proving that last year was no fluke and that it’s possible for bottom-feeders like the Royals to improve their lot in life.  So at this point, I don’t want to hear about all that “small market” disadvantage crap anymore.  At least the Royals have wisely decided not to raise ticket prices for next season.

You also have to tip your hat to the Redbirds’ front office people—they always field a winner (only one last-place finish in the last 40 years) and they know where to find the right talent.  Hell, the Cardinals won it all in 2006, but three years later, there are only four players who were on that roster (Albert Pujols, Cris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina), yet here they are again poised to make another run at a title with virtually a whole new team.  What’s scarier is the 2009 Cardinals are far superior to that World Champion 2006 squad.  Meantime, all we do here in K.C. is “rebuild” while St. Louis merely reloads!  Come on Royals, get your shit together in the off-season, for once…

I've always thought these Entertainment Weekly people were full of shit, now I'm convinced.  Witness their ranking of The Beatles studio LPs:

1) Revolver
2) Rubber Soul
3) White Album
4) Abbey Road
5) A Hard Day's Night
Beatles For Sale7) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
8) Help!
9) With The Beatles
10) Past Masters
11) Let It Be
12) Please Please Me
13) Magical Mystery Tour
14) Yellow Submarine

Okay, I have no quarrel with Revolver at #1—it's one of my favorites—but the White Album ahead of Abbey Road?!?  Beatles for Sale in front of Sgt. Pepper? Whatchutalkinbout, Willis?!?  Entertainment Weakly contradicts themselves in their little write-up anyway, saying that the White Album is admittedly loaded with filler tracks, while deeming Abbey Road to be "near perfection", yet it finished behind the White Album on their list—makes no sense.  And how can Sgt Pepper not be in the top three, let alone behind Beatles For Sale, which might have been the most uninspired Beatle album ever, apart from Let It Be?  One look at their faces on the album jacket of For Sale shows how exhausted they were by Beatlemania and in need of a long break.  With The Beatles should've been higher up on the list as well—it was easily the best of their early albums.

Only about half of the White Album was worth releasing, and it would've been sooo much better if they'd just put out a single album comprised of the best tracks, instead of the double-LP we all know.  As good as it was, there was a lot of crap on the White Album that wouldn't have made the cut on a Beatles single-LP, and I could've done without the obvious throwaway tracks like "Long, Long, Long", "Savoy Truffle", "Why Don‘t We Do It In The Road", "Cry Baby Cry", "Wild Honey Pie", "Revolution #9", etc.

I’ve always thought Rubber Soul was a skosh overrated too, but that’s just me.  Here are my rankings:

1) Revolver
2) Abbey Road
3) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
4) With The Beatles
5) A Hard Days Night
6) Rubber Soul
7) Help!
8) Please Please Me
9) The White Album
10) Magical Mystery Tour
11) Let It Be
12) Beatles For Sale
13) Yellow Submarine

[NOTE: Past Masters doesn’t make my list because compilations and greatest hits packages don’t count in my book!]

As for the newly-released re-mastered CDs, what’s the point?  There’s nothing wrong with what’s already been released, IMHO.  Just another excuse to get people to buy Beatles music all over again, I guess.  And how come they never saw fit to release The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl on CD with all the other ones?  That album came out on vinyl in 1977 and while not the greatest record in the world, it was still an interesting documentary of the height of Beatlemania, if nothing else.  I’m also mildly surprised they didn’t cut a deal with Wal-Mart for exclusive rights to sell the new Beatles CD, just like the Eagles, AC/DC and Kiss have.  Have I ever mentioned that I loathe Wal-Mart? Wal-Mart, to me, is like the Fox News Channel of retail stores (whereas Target is, say, CNN), and I avoid it like the Plague.

Is it just me, or does it seem really crass that State Farm Insurance is currently using Michael Jackson’s vocal track from “I’ll Be There” in their TV ads?  Seems to me that this ain’t the appropriate time to be using the “King Of Pop” for any sort of advertising, but State Fart—er uh—Farm apparently has no shame.

My pigskin prognostications for 2009 are in!

AFC Division winners:  San Diego, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New England
AFC Wildcards:  Baltimore, Tennessee
AFC Champ:  Pittsburgh
NFC Division winners:  Arizona, Green Bay, New Orleans, Philadelphia
NFC Wildcards:  Carolina, N.Y. Giants;
NFC Champ:  Philadelphia
Super Bowl XLIV:  Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia

Champion:  Pittsburgh—one for the other pinkie!

Remember, folks, ya heard it here first!

I was listening to U2 at work today and was reminded of a story involving a good friend of mine who used to do maintenance at one of the major hotels in K.C. back in the late ‘80s around the time U2 was headlining at Arrowhead Stadium.  My friend John boarded the hotel elevator one fine day and encountered Bono carrying a guitar in a case.  Now, John—a major Country music fan—didn’t know Bono from Bozo, but upon seeing his guitar, his natural reflex was to say, “Gonna do some pickin’?”  “Yeah, probably,” Bono replied politely.  Imagine John’s surprise the next morning when he saw Bono’s mug all over the front page of the newspaper…

Not that I give a rat’s scrotum or anything about this tattooed reality show skank who San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman is now accused of strangling, but I’d dearly love to know how you can go around calling yourself Tila Tequila and yet claim you’re “allergic to alcohol”…

Just coincidence of course, but these two “Giant A” Anheuser-Busch signs do look mighty similar.  The one in color is located alongside U.S. 40/I-64 west of downtown St. Louis near St. Louis University.

The other once sat atop the main scoreboard at old Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis.  The presence of Kansas City and Brooklyn in the out-of-town scores tells us this pic (click to enlarge) had to have been taken between 1955 and 1957, the only three years when both cities were in the Major Leagues simultaneously.  These Buds are for you!