Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Kid

It is still early in the 2010 season but my boys in blue and orange just went on a 9-1 streak that put them atop of the NL East... My hopes are up and are sure to be crushed a la 1988, 1999, 2000, 2006 and of course ever year in between.
Lately I've been following the Amazins more closely than in seasons past. Amazin Avenue, a Mets blog, recently posted his take on the top ten trades since 1983. I was happy to see my all-time baseball hero make #4:

4. Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herb Winningham and Floyd Youmans to Montreal for Gary Carter. The Mets surprised just about everyone by staying in the 1984 pennant race for as long as they did. They clearly were a team on the rise with a ton of great young talent, but they needed just one superstar bat to put them over the top. Enter the Kid. In his first game with the Mets on opening day 1985, Carter ended the game with a 10th inning homerun off of some guy named Neil Allen. A love affair was born. Unlike some other guys who impressed in their debuts coughBobbyBonillacoughMikeBordick Carter was the real deal. He helped lead the Mets to within inches of a title in 1985, and then of course the big trophy in 1986. But even in 1986 there were signs that Gary was on the decline. His power numbers began to nosedive in 1987, and he was never the same player. Still, as was the case with Bobby O, Cashen accomplished what he wanted to. The only reason that this trade doesn't rank a little higher is that the guys the Mets dealt, aside from Winningham, had decent careers. Youmans was the key piece of the trade, and some thought he would be the next Doc Gooden. He showed flashes of brilliance in Montreal, but he never came close to meeting expectations and his career fizzled. Fitzgerald was a very good backup catcher, and Brooks remained a solid if unspectacular shortstop.
I remember seeing a bench clearing brawl and Carter came off the dugout to join in the fracas. The game was on channel 10 WWOR out of NYC, which you may remember from The Richard Bey Show or Howard Stern's first stint on TV. Tim McCarver was calling the game made a huge deal about the Kid jumping in the fight. Carter had an injured back and it was a pretty stupid idea for him to be risking more injury. McCarver remarked that was just the kind of player he was, a "Gamer". Those 85-89 teams were fucked up and tough as nails.

Sure the Kid went on to become a huge Republican and even had Bush Sr. at his Hall of Fame induction but even that can't tarnish my image of him. Ladies and gentleman put those hands together for Gary Carter, listed #8 in your programs but will always be #1 in our hearts.

*Note: I may own every Gary Carter baseball card produced by the major card companies... ahh to think of those lovely names again Donruss, Score, Topps, Upper Deck ...

Friday, April 23, 2010


I remember the day I discovered music. I mean I grew up surrounded by music- not in the way some talented people are. My parents didn't play instruments or have a really diverse music library. We had a bunch of records, tapes, and 8 tracks. My grandparents tried to kill me with the likes of Guy Lombardo and his Brass Canadian band and Lawrence Welk (which aired prior to one of the best musical educations of all time- The Muppets).
My Dad was and is obsessed with Elvis. I never really got that into him but did love his movies as a kid- Fuck Yah "Roustabout"!. Then it was mostly classic and 80's country music for him. I felt that influence later and stole his entire LP collection. That LP boxed set of Hank Williams- goddam!
Mom had the biggest musical influence on me though- Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkle I wore that tape out. Donovan, Carol King, Joni Mitchell.
Together, they listened to and went to see good music- Charlie Daniels Band, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. At age 8 they took me to my first big concert- The Oak Ridge Boys at the Erie County Fair- 3 rows back stage left- I shook hands with Rich, the dude that sings the super low bass, and stood on my chair for "Elvira".

It was Trinity United Methodist Church where music latched itself onto me. Before I listened to anything else I listened to the people who would raise me sing "That Old Rugged Cross" "Amazing Grace" "We're Marching To Zion" and of course all the works of Charles Wesley:

The day I discovered music was after church on Mitzi and Chet Hitchcox's farm. It was warm and you could faintly smell the pungency of the manure over the sweetness of the hay and alfalfa. Generations of my family and the people whose roots went back a hundred years and more with ours. Sitting in a circle of lawn chairs with styrofoam plates full of Mrs. Boldts potato salad, Grandma Merle's maple baked beans, and hot dogs in their laps. Sarah Merle strummed simple chords on her guitar and played songs that I seemed to already know the words to. Chet took a harmonica out of the pocket of his short sleeved shirt and played along. They played hymns and Christian camp songs. I sat on the grass and was smitten. My Grandma Glor reached out and held my grandpa's hand when we sang "Rock of Ages". We buried her singing that song.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.

Pokey LaFarge

Via The People's Music - who you should really bookmark cuz dude has some great quips-
"Everyone who never told me about Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three is a dick. Why would you not tell me about Pokey? Jesus Christ, come on people."

Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three "La La Blues" from Filipe Bessa on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Gang Starr got me through some rough streets in Homer, NY.

Peace brother elijah
Hey peace guru, how you doin?
I'm maintainin
Just been thinkin though man
About the situation for today's youth man, the seeds man
What's your opinion on that?
Mmm that's strange I was thinkin the same thing
Somethin I read in the holy qu'ran how it says
"has thou seen him who belies religion?
That is one who is rough, to the orphan."
And no matter what we say our religion is
Whether it's islam, christianity
Juddaism, buddha-ism, old school-ism or new school-ism
If we're not schooling the youth with wisdom
Then the sins of the father will visit the children
And that's not keepin it real...
That's keepin it -- wrong

Now that we're gettin somewhere, you know we got to give back
For the youth is the future no doubt that's right and exact
Squeeze the juice out, of all the suckers power
And pour some back out, so as to water the flowers
This world is ours, that's why the demons are leary
It's our inheritance; this is my robbin hood theory... robbin hood theory

I seek sun, deceive none, for each one must teach one
At least one must flow and show the structure, of freedom
It's me dunn, cause petty things we don't need 'em
Let's focus to create somethin great, for all that sees them
They innocent, they know not what they face
While politicians save face genius minds lay to waste
If I wasn't kickin rhymes I'd be kickin down doors
Creatin social change and defendin the poor
The god's always been militant, and ready for war
We're gonna snatch up the ringleaders send em home in they drawers
But first where's the safe at? let's make em show us
And tell em hurry up, give up the loot that they owe us
We bringin it back, around the way to our peeps
Cause times are way too deep, we know the code of the streets
Meet your defeat; this is my robbin hood theory... my robbin hood theory

I floss my rhymes like dentals, my mental's presidential
From the wild ghetto districts to the plush resedential
Essential, would be the message that I send you
I meant to, elevate at every venue
Pops told me to pursue what is true, and nothing other
And nowadays I pave the way for troops of my young brothers
Necessary by all means, sort of like malcolm
Before it's too late; I create, the best outcome
So I take this opportunity, yes to ruin the
Devilish forces fuckin up my black community
And we ain't doin no more interviews
Til we get paid out the frame, like motherfuckin donahue
We're taking over radio, and wack media
Cause systematically they gettin greedier and greedier
Conquering turfs with my I'll organization
Takin out the man while we scan the information
You wanna rhyme you best to wait son
You can't even come near, if you ain't got our share
You front on us this year, consider yourself blown out of here
Yeah... by my robbin hood theory

God is universal, he is the ruler universal
For those who can't follow that spells guru when in my circle
I see all sides of my culture...
Design my thoughts like a sculpture
And chumps they wanna get with me cause I'm another entity
I'm sent to be, leadin the army of the century
Mention me, and snakes will retreat, eventually...
... due to my robbin hood theory

Monday, April 19, 2010


As a lil country fucker I had certain disadvantages that I was born into. Sure, my mom was on her own and young, had no money, and all the rest but those weren't the real disadvantages in the end. I was born a huge nerd- didn't even have to try- came natural like. These problems weren't evident until I had fully developed around the age of 3. My family never really noticed because they are loving kind folk and in all reality were never worried about such things.

For example, a woman from a neighboring church came to call on my Grandma while she was watching me one day after school. The visitor noticed what she thought was an "afflicted boy" watching TV. I was sitting about a foot in front of the screen. My head tilted back so I could see through my bi-focals, my mouth agape so I could breathe as I had some nasal issues, and the volume extremely loud because of the tubes in my ears. My Grandma yelled a number of times for me to say hello. Being a polite boy I did as was told and as I turned she was probably taken aback by the fact that I had a rather large patch covering my right eye.

I had what some refer to as the "jealous eye", as one eye was always watching what the other eye was doing. Thanks to the great insurance my mom had through her work we were able to afford some corrective surgery that required me to wear an eye-patch for quite a while. Like any little kid I was blissfully unaware to my own self. Oblivious to my distinct un-normalness. I thought my eye patch was the best thing that had ever happened to me. This eye patch would set me apart from the rest of the kids at New Covenant Christian School. I would be different and thus automatically cool. It would be years before I would make radical attempts to "normalize" myself through rock n' roll, books, and a various regimen of self-prescribed substances.

Now, I notice people in eye-patches every where I go. They seem to haunt my reality. Like a weird wonderful reminder of that little boy. I look back at that little guy and can't help but love him. Although, I wish I could warn him just how awful public middle school was going to be. So in honor of that little man here is our ode to badass motherfuckers who wore eye patches.

thanks liam.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Merle Haggard Album Free

NPR keeps it coming lately with great new music on its First Listen posts. Today they have Merle Haggard's "I Am What I Am" (please refrain from Popeye references).

But the album isn't just about love — at least not just romantic love. Haggard loves country music, and he's not afraid to use it as a means of protest; in the process, he lets listeners know exactly how he feels about America today, both politically and culturally. It's not just cynicism or disgust that he expresses in the album opener, "I've Seen It Go Away," but also sorrow and sadness. As he sings, "When you've seen the very best, the rest can hardly play," and "I've seen our greatest leaders break their people's heart," it's hard not to feel your heart breaking along with his.

Also, take a minute to check out When I Awake's post today. Those ladies continue to read my mind and have posted up "Bound To Fail" from Stephen's Stills masterpiece Manassas. This is the best thing he ever did, in my opinion. The LP is beautiful too- its usually pretty cheap and easy to find so go out buy it, put on a big pair of headphones and listen to the whole thing.

Friday, April 09, 2010

My High School Mix Tape

The mixtape that I made for the girlfriend I didn't have....

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Swerve Me

Originally uploaded by The Library of Congress

Swerve me?
The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run.
Over unsounded gorges,
through the rifled hearts of mountains,
under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush!
Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!"

the way it ought to be

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

LA Country Rock Alive and Well... Hiding in LA of all places

Check out this video of LA's (sorry bad quality) Whispering Pines covering JJ Cale's Crazy Mama. I hope the crazy mama who yells at the end of the song comes up for the SF show at The Hemlock on April 25. They got the hair, the denim and boots, the good Sound.

Following When You Awake and diggin on that LA scene almost makes me wish I lived in there- then I remember I hate traffic and haven't owned a car since the last century. Maybe sittin in 1954 Chevy pickup for hours is easier than trying to ride a cannondale in cowboy boots.... anyway let's go drink and dance with these boys on the 25th

Friday, April 02, 2010


When I lived on the East Coast spring time was a time to start contemplating living again. If you can survive winter in NY you can survive anything motherfucker. More importantly it meant you could go for real rides outside again. Not some miserable cranking away in the slosh just to prove you could.

The glory of the northern California is that, aside from some rain, the weather is always perfect for riding. Never too hot, never too cold. Last night, I rode to Paul's Hat Works to hang with those lovely ladies and the fellas from Taylor Stitch for an open studio. An open studio is apparently when a store is open after hours, has music, and feeds me Jameson Whiskey. Pauls is in the Richmond and a helluva cool store. Can't afford their hats but they are carrying other haberdashery items that are well with in pocketbook range. I took a nightime 5.5 mile ride to the Richmond which was glorious. I discovered the bike path that follows Fell Street. It was flat, smoothly paved and well marked that I should not go fast. After passing one well reflected commuter I saw someone up ahead that seemed to be covering some ground so I clicked into the big ring just to see if I could catch up. Well that was that, I won 8 sprint finishes and took home the climbers jersey on Cabrillo St. And of course, left Lance on the alpe d'huez after a look.

It all made me excited for the Spring Classics and riding in general.

So go get out there.