Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Matter How You Say It, Guti Is Hilarious

 Moreso than the Arsenal-Man U match itself in front of me, not to mention the recent dream in which I rode a bicycle upon a mysterious bridge before falling down a connecting flight of stairs with said bike upon my shoulders and into mid-afternoon awakeness, I'm worried most about semantics. This is partly because the match itself is such a snooze: Arsenal's lack of pace & spark is such that ancillary storylines like "Who Is Prettier: Cristiano Ronaldo or Fabregas & van Persie Combined?" and "Asian Guy Scores! Non-Asian Upper Darby Native Tentatively Thrilled" quickly overrode the game at hand. 

 Anyway, as an American am I allowed to call it football? "Pitch" and "supporters" and "corker" come easily enough, and I've even made a decision to go with the Brazilian "r=h" pronunciation of Ronaldo. But when you get to the big one you feel a little stupid about it. I tried "futbol" but it sounded like I had a speech impediment. What is this, "The Other Sister"? And "soccer", unless you're super lame and say shit like "FC Dallas" or whatever, is for bald men who wear swishy pants. Please. 

 Saying "football" to refer to the sport requires confidence and commitment. When I heard Tommy Smyth, a man of either very little or altogether too much irony,  label an MLS match between Dallas and Houston a "Texan Darby" it was hard not to feel sorry for that presumably squinty-eyed Scottish bastard. Maybe it was Derek Rae. How the hell should I know? They're both awesome. But this is what you've got to be concerned about at this point because van Persie just scored off of a penalty and seriously nobody cares 'cause the Gunners (I'm going there, too) have sucked so damn much. So you've got to BELIEVE in being an American calling soccer football when we've already got a sport called football and this nation hates soccer anyway so why confuse things? Don't be a douchebag, right?

  Luckily, we speak a tongue that holds a strong base in context. So call it a homonym, although one that you can only really use with other followers of the game. If I'm going to the post-office to get stamps I'm probably not going to ask the lady there what she thinks about Wolfsburg's surprising run up the Bundesliga table. But if I'm at the doctor's office or rapping with my cousin Sarah, I'm running headlong into the breeze and saying "football". Not like I'm going to start wearing a scarf or calling French Fries "chips" (I'll call them by their real name: disgusting!) but it's time to be real.  Be honest with yourself and those around you, closested football-sayers: there's a new day ahead. On that day I might talk about metal shit again, but until then, the time is yours. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Always Being Lazy

 I really like Willie Nelson. Who doesn't? He seems like a cool dude. It's cool that though his voice is not the strongest or the most classically beautiful, he totally makes it work. Like if Tim Gunn eat baked beans cold right out the can. Willie even uses these perceived limitations to his advantage; his sometimes reedy-ass croak becomes quite evocative in conveying feelings of lonesomeness/heartbreak/long lines at the churro place/whatervs. So he def kicks it sometimes and gets rowdy, like on "Stay All Night (Stay a Little Longer)", but what we probably dig most about him, and country music in general, are the high-lonesome jams, the crying-in-your-beer (or, in my case, strawberry banana orange juice) stuff. Whether over a lone guitar or stacked, Mancini-ish orchestration, dude's lamenting the heartache of loss and shit, and best believe you're buying what that plaintive bastard is selling.

  "Always on My Mind": big Willie style, right? With the backing vocals and grand piano and string meeting with the pedal steel, the waterworks are flowing like Napoleon III never existed. The voice aches, the regret is near-palpable, HE'S IN. Ducks are flyin' fuckin' RIGHT. Where in "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" the subtlety of the music matches the restraint of his vocal line, bitterly kicking your heart in the tearducts, the pop overload of "Always" ain't restrained by jackity nothing. Straight for the kill. If you've ever felt shitty about something, and not even necessarily the mistreatment of your old lady; you can feel bad that you didn't take good enough care of that rhododendron three summers ago, Willie will make you weep. You'll feel like freaking Schindler, anguishing over the realization, in hindsight, that you could have done so much more. Except, uh, minus the Nazis. 

 So you feel bad and Willie feels bad and everyone's pissed at themselves but crying at the same time to be forgiven. Take me back! You're scoring the montage of our good times of picnics and probably slow-motion, sun-dappled flights on rope swings turning to broken flatware and two week trips to "go down to the store to get cigarettes". I swear, they were out of Luckys everywhere but in Missouri! But that's where the flaw of this song lies. I loved it and it always made me misty but, like, Willie kinda acted like a shit. Dude ain't too suave to get out of it, neither. He almost is, with the little choke in his voice going into the chorus again at around 3:00 or the Canadian way he says "sorry", but , man, you gotta own up to it! 

 It's insulting that after all the mistreatment he's heaped out on his lady in favor of carousing with Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings that all a sudden a godlike guitar solo is going to get his ass out of the fire. And it might work for him because he's Willie Nelson, but what about the rest of us idiots? He's making us look bad! I have, as have we all, done my fair share of effin' up but because I didn't record "Sad Songs and Waltzes" I don't get the same treatment. WEAK. It's totally Kirk van Houten trying to win back Luanne with "Can I Borrow a Feeling", except that this particular glove of love is used in jeans commercials or whatevers. 

 And yeah, the typically easy cadence of his voice may underlie a deeper sense of regret blar bar blar but maybe he's just lazy and too busy doing lines off of Julio Iglesias's tracksuit to get it together and sound actually sincere. I just came to this opinion about the song yesterday so maybe I'm way off base but still. I'm not saying you've got to be some emo pussy about it and abase yourself forever, but let's put some wrist into it, fellas! Sometimes you've got to suffer a few grease burns to make roasted potatoes, right? Shit's still gonna make me cry a little bit, don't get it twisted, I'll just recognize the folly of it all a bit more keenly. And probably update this thing with more frequency than I have.