Friday, October 26, 2007

EMU Huron Pride

In a misguided attempt to reach out to the Huron Restoration Committee, EMU formed the Huron Welcoming Committee this year. Rather than explaining yet again why the name was changed 16 years ago, this committee has completely overlooked any discussions about the racial issues involved and offered all alumni and alumnae discounted football tickets this fall if they show up wearing "EMU Huron" t-shirts. Here is the "full" story from the Exemplar. While this pisses me off, I supoose it could be argued that the Hurons (or Wyandotte, considdering that "Huron" comes from the French for "ruffian") will never be able to complain since they're all dead. But that is part of the problem: they aren't all dead. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but the use of Native American names for things like sports teams freezes our image of Native People in the past as if they were all "noble savages" & brave warriors, when in fact, they still exsist today as teachers, ministers, auto-workers, @ C.E.O.s. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Ted Coutilish (; I suggest y'all write to him as well.

As a Lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature, it was brought to my attention this week that the University is offering a discount on football tickets to those wearing "EMU Huron" T-Shirts this fall. I understand the desire to reach out to alumni and alumnae who have connections with the University dating back at least 16 years. However, when we consider the struggle the University went through to change the name and the struggle other schools around the country are still going through, it would be wise to look into other ways to honor their legacy with EMU. The overt racism inherent in the Huron name should not be forgotten. As soon as we begin to overlook the damage that has been done in the past, we open the door to its recurrence in the future.

While working with representatives of the Huron Restoration Alumni Chapter, we should focus on this simple fact. By "honoring" the legacy of the "Huron" name, we are in turn honoring the legacy of what it implies: imperialism and stereotyping. Rather than offering discounted tickets, we could offer a discount on Eagle memorabilia for those who turn in their old, racially problematic T-Shirts. We need to work with the alumnae and alumni to educate people about this problem rather than simply looking at it as an issue of heritage and school pride. When we consider that Ypsilanti High School just dealt with this very same issue last year, ignoring it at EMU shows a lack of compassion and a simple ignorance to the racial issues both in our country as a whole and in this very community. I know that was never your idea, nor would I ever accuse you of any mean-spirited motives in this discount plan, but reaching out to the Huron Restoration Alumni Chapter and the fight against racism and prejudice on campus don't need to be mutually exclusive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Shocker

I thought y'all might get a kick out of this. All praise due to King Features for this one... click to enlarge it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

How Duct Taping Became a Ritual

When I joined my soccer team 5 years ago, I got a new pair of soccer shoes... you may refer to them as cleats, or as those on the Continent do: boots. Call them what you will, they're pretty worn out. So worn out, in fact, that after the rainy game last week, I wore a hole through the toe of my right one. The hole 1st became apparent at the kids' practice the other day. The problem is that while I've been planning on getting new ones for some time now, I thought I could do it over the winter, between seasons. Decent boots cost a pretty penny, & I hadn't really budgeted for them at the moment. That said, the kids' practice went well, & my daughter scored a goal & got 2 assists in her subsequent game. My son is a bit pissed about the situation now though, so hopefully he can get one this weekend in their final game.Although the practice went well, I was a bit worried about my game this evening so I did what every broke soccer player has done since WWII... grabbed some Duct Tape. My running wasn't affected by the hole (how could it be? I'm slow as fuck anyway), but my kicking abilities (which have always been above average) were definitely going to be affected. After taping the toe of the old cleats up, they not only survived the game, but I got my duck as it were. (For those of you who aren't addicted to European Soccer, "getting ones duck" is the term used when someone scores her or his 1st goal of the season). And a sweet, sweet goal it was! At the end of the 3rd quarter, I mentioned that the other team's defense seemed confused when our defenders made attacking runs through the mid-field. Appropriately enough, I ended up playing center-back for the last 10 minutes. The other team scored a goal due to our goalie's lack of experience (putting us behind 2-1), & after the subsequent kick-off, they then had a goal kick. Having touched the ball all of about 5 times so far throughout the game, & having nearly missed about 10 times last week, I decided this was the time I really needed to do something good. The goal kick came right up the center & I chested it down to Roger, 1 of our strikers. I then proceeded to continue my sweet, sweet run towards the goal as Roger played it back to me. After a couple touches, I shot, but the goalie made the initial save. I stuck w/ it, however, & got around him w/ the rebound before slotting it into the net w/ an easy touch. Best of all, my kids were there to witness it. Of course, they weren't paying attention & missed it, but at least they were there. At this point, you may be wondering how this leads to the ritualization of Duct Taping. Of course, baseball players are known for their rituals, & sports fans do all sorts of fucked up shit in attempts to relive some fluke from weeks or even years before. Well, you can bet your bottom dollar that from now on, I'll never take to the field w/o a little Duct Tape on my boots.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Has it really been a week?

I just realized how long it's been since the last time I wrote something on here. I guess I've just been in a fog since the brilliance of the Dylan/Costello concert... I don't know. I do know, however, that very little has happened in my life since the last post, but I wont let that stop me from writing something. While nothing has happened lately, I have seen more than my fair share of Rockford Files episodes lately... DVR is a beautiful thing. I watched 4 episodes a few nights ago & loved every minute of them. I think my love of that show goes back to my youth when I would watch it in syndication w/ my dad on Saturday afternoons. It might be more closely connected to my youthful love of Support Your Local Sheriff though. If you haven't seen that movie, you definitely should. I got a copy a couple years ago, if anyone wants to come on by for a movie night. (Jean or Elizabeth... I'm expecting many quotes from the film in the comments section!) Speaking of movies, I watched one recently w/ Shannon called Perfume. It doesn't feature the genius of James Garner though. After the rather drawn-out voice-over narration in the 1st 20 minutes, it was pretty cool. It's about a guy in Paris in the 18th Century who has an amazing sense of smell & wants to capture the essense of woman in a perfume... in order to do this, he goes on a killing spree, becoming a serial killer and offing about 15 beautiful young women.

In other news, I took the kids over to Kate & Don's for dinner a couple weeks ago w/ Stacey & her kids. We hadn't hung out in ages. (You all may remember, Kate is the one who gave me the mohawk last summer.) Of course, before the end of the night, red wine was spilled on the old Zidane shirt, but w/ quick thinking & a ton of Stain Stick, it survived just fine. What didn't survive, however, was Kate's little secret: she'd never heard of Tub Girl before. Well, Kate, this is for you. Be sure to save it to your hard drive for future reference!

The other thing I need to mention is that my daughter has started posting on her blog again... just a little plug for her site. It's cute, but the info she posted today is a bit out-dated.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Dylan, Costello, and a few Mexican Slayrides

I'd been excited about the Bob Dyaln/Elvis Costello show at the EMU Convocation Center since I read about it last summer. The fact that they were coming to Ypsi was just so cool. Of course, half of my studens had never heard of either one of them, but that never stopped EMU from booking quality acts in the past. Over the years, I've seen Bela Fleck, P-Funk & Arlo Guthrie on campus, but Dylan is in a league of his own. Georgina met me at my house & w/ a bottle of Auchentoshan in my pocket, we biked to Jim & Rachel's where we had a few drinks before walking down the bike path to the show. As we got to the pparking lot, Annette supposedly saw a naked guy running around, but that couldn't be verified. As we entered the, Elvis Costllo was playing "The Angels Want to Wear my Red Shoes." He ethen went into "Veronica" which was fun & had everyone singing along. From there, he weent into a couple songs I didn't know and then a really cool version of "From Sulfur to Sugar Cane" into which he slipped a funny little line about Ypsi: "Here in Ypsilanti / Wear the women don't wear panties." He then played a newer song about the War in Iraq. It was really cool and definitely unafraid to tell the truth about the Bush Administration before segueing into a nice version Van Morrison tune. He then ended his set w/ "Radio Sweetheart" > "What's so Funny (About Peace, Love & Understanding)?" As he left the stage, the crowd was shouting for "Alison," "Radio, Radio' & "Watchin' the Detectives," but an encore was not to be as Dylan & the Cowboy Band were ready to hit the stage after a very short break. I really enjoyed Elvis Costello. He played a solo set w/ just an acoustic guitar, but he sound was full and complex. Many people (including many w/ whom I went to the show) were really there for him, but for me the main event was always going to be Dylan.

My first Dylan show was 11 years ago, the spring after Jerry Garcia died & Dylan played 2 Dead songs ("Friend of the Devil" & "Alabama Getaway"). My 2nd Dylan show, Valentine's Day in 1998 in Toledo saw him cover "Cocaine Blues." In July of 1999, I saw him cover "The Roving Gambler," "That'll Be the Day," & (w/ Paul Simon) "The Sound of Silence." Last night, however, he stuck to his more recent system of playing only originals like @ the shows I saw in 2000 & 2003. For complete set lists of those shows, follow these links:

16 May, 1996 (Pine Knob)
15 February, 1998 (Univ. of Toledo)
7 July, 1999 (Pine Knob)
16 July, 2000 (Pine Knob)
6 August, 2003 (Columbus, OH)

Last night, Bob opened w/ a pretty rocking version of "Rainy Day Women" which was funny because I'd just been joking about that song earlier in the day w/ the ex-wife. I'd never seen him open w/ it before, but it seemed like a good choice as it got people into the set right away... "Everybody must get stoned!!!"

Next up was "Don't Think Twice" for which the cowboy band switched to acoustic stuff & for which Rachel was happy about & about which you may remember my sweet cover version of that song w/ Brendan at 10K Lakes in MN a couple summer ago. It's always a fun song & people seemed to be digging it... "There ain't no use in turning on your light, babe, / The light I never knowed"

From there he went into "Watching the River Flow," a song I've never been able to remember. Every time I've seen him do it, it's been the end before I could figure out what it was. It was cool though as Tony Garnier switched back to the electric bass for a couple songs... "If I had wings and I could fly, / I know where I would go. / But right now I'll just sit here so contentedly / And watch the river flow."

He then played "Love Sick," a slow weird tune from his 1997 Grammy winning album Time Out of Mind. My copy has a nasty scratch & hasn't worked for a while, but after last night, I realized that I'm going to have to get another copy of it. It's a fantastic tune from a fantastic CD... "I'm sick of love / I wish I'd never met you!"

A couple of the new songs were next, "The Levee's Gonna Break" & "When the Deal Goes Down." At this point, people seemed to be getting restless as we had 3 in a row that few people knew. I was lovin' it though, as they're both great songs. Jim seemed to be digging the new stuff too, w/ such cool lyrics, how could he not? Dylan is a bad mother fucker... "We all wear the same thorny crown."

I was lovin' that he hen played "Stuck inside of Mobile," but I have a hard time w/ that song since I always think of Bob Weir's version. It's cool though, even if it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

"Well, Shakespeare, he's in the alley
With his pointed shoes and his bells,
Speaking to some French girl,
Who says she knows me well.
And I would send a message
To find out if she's talked,
But the post office has been stolen
And the mailbox is locked.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again."

From 60's LSD weirdness to a commentary on the current economic issues, he played "Workingman's Blues #2." I don't know if I can plug & push this new album any more than I already have, but it's just so damn good. "The buying power of the proletariat's gone down" Who but Dylan can get away w/ lyrics like that? Just soooo cool.

"Honest With Me" from his last album was up next. It took me a while to recognize it, but it too was well played. I don't have much to say about this song, but I was thinking the set would be over soon... wrong... 5 more songs before he left the stage.

"Spirit On The Water," a slow jazzy crooner tune from the new album was played nicely, but again, he seemed to be losing people since no one knew most of the setlist. I think this again shows his bad-assness. He plays to 5,000 people while knowing all along that only about 25 of us knew the songs 7 the other 4,975 just want to hear "Blowin' In the Wind" which, of course, he didn't play. He didn't play "Tangled Up in Blue" either. "Oh, you would like to hear 'Like a Rolling Stone?' Well, fuck off! You'll get the new stuff & like it!" Oh, & Tony was on he stand-up bass again.

OK, he did play a song from the same album as "Like a Rolling Stone," "Highway 61." It's not quite as good, but it always rocks. I was really hoping to hear it, & it made me happy, happy, happy.

Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."

Then another new one, "Nettie Moore." "Gonna leave a greasy trail"... one of the strangest lyrics he's ever written. Of course, I love it none-the less.

"Summer Days" from the previous album, Love and Theft, was next. Of his 3 newer albums, people seem to jock that one the most, but it's definitely not my favorite. it's still cool though, & I was happy to hear another song from it. And Tony was back on stand up bass!

He closed the set w/ "Masters Of War." This is the song that got him banned from Ed Sullivan, so it's got that going for it. Whenever I hear it, I like to think it's in honor of Dick Cheney.

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

I've never noticed this before, but before the encore, people were holding up their phones rather than holding up lighters. I suppose it's because fewer people smoke, but there were a few people there w/ pot as the Convocation Center had that nice hippie smell all night long. As upstanding members of our community, we, of course, did none of that though. Anyway, the phones yielded a nice post-modern blue glow to the atmosphere of the crowd before he came back to the stage to play "Thunder On The Mountain." It's yet another good song from the new album. "Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches / I'll recruit my army from the orphanages." What an awesome rhyme.

After introducing the Cowboy Band, he closed the night w/ "All Along The Watchtower." I remember an interview from 10 or so years ago where he claimed that even though he wrote it, he always feels he's paying tribute to Hendrix when he plays it. Last night's version didn't have a lot in common w/ Jimi Hendrix though (for my money, the Grateful Dead versions are a lot better than Hendrix's anyway), but it was really cool. He stood at his keyboard w/ his hilarious wide-brim white hat & rarely made contact w/ the audience. They just rocked for a couple hours. I can't wait for him to come around again.

Afterwards, a bunch of us went back to my place & had a few drinks, but the Slayrides may have been a bit too much as we were also doing tequila shots. It was the first time I've ever had that much tequila but not gotten naked, so all in all, I'll take it as an accomplishment. Getting up this morning to coach the kids soccer game was pretty rough though. I felt like Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears. Hung over & hanging out w/ kids. Maybe I'm an ass, but at least I made it to the game & they won 5-3. And that's the important part of youth sports... winning and making the other team cry.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bumper Stickers (part duex)

After complaining about the stickers I've been seeing around town, I realized this is a great opportunity for me to make a little extra cash in order to maintain this blog. While watching The Rockford Files last night (a great episode featuring 2 of my favorite bald African American entertainers: Louis Gossett Jr. & Isacc Hayes), I designed a few stickers of my own. Feel free to e-mail me w/ your orders. To start, we'll have to charge 8 bucks a sticker, but if demand is as high as the Internet buzz leads one to believe, we might be able to lower the price once I can start shipping in bulk. Furthermore, the option to get these slogans on a t-shirt is always a possibility. Let me know when you decide which shirt you want. They will be on white (w/ red ribbing around the cuffs and collar) & are available in L, XL, & XXL for $20 ($24 for the XXL).
The original sticker

Don't Be a Douche, Go To

Inspired by the stupid Jane Austen sticker... I'd Rather be Reading

Help spread the word about the important January election (the URL is in small print at the bottom)

A little something for the Dead Heads

A little something for the Arsenal fans

All proceeds from this one will be donated to the 2008 Dennis Kucinich campaign

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cannibal: The Musical

A couple weeks ago, I was approached by a former student who asked me to be the Faculty Advisor for his new student group, a theater company hoping to produce a live version of Trey Parker's Cannibal: The Musical. My 1st thought was that someone from the Theater Dept. would make more sense, but it turns out that since the play would be competing w/ actual Theater Dept. productions, it is a conflict of interest so he needed someone else. Considering the fact that I'd seen this guy in a production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile in Howell w/ my ex's nephew a year & a half ago (& he was really good), I figured I'd do it. Well, we had our 1st meeting tonight & it turns out that they needed me to cover a couple roles... I haven't acted since grade school, but they're small roles w/ only 1 song, so it should be alright. You read that right... I have to sing!!! That said, the song I have to sing is "Dixie," sung by a 1 eyed veteran of the Confederate army as I shoot pus out of my eye at the other characters. If they can find a taller person to play the role of the cyclops, I won't have to do it, but I'll still play the father who doesn't want his son to leave home until after the next harvest... just like Uncle Owen! The performances will be the last weekend in Jan. & the 1st weekend in Feb. at Roosevelt Hall. Be sure to check it out!
O, I wish I was in the land of cotton
Old times there are not forgotten
Look away! Look away!
Look away! Dixie Land.

In Dixie Land where I was born in
Early on one frosty mornin'
Look away! Look away!
Look away! Dixie Land.

Friday, October 5, 2007

What ever happened to...

Andrew McCarthy? I don't mean, what happened to him physically. I know that he's still making films & television shows, but what happened to his career? I will always stand behind St. Elmo's Fire and Pretty in Pink, and for some ungodly reason, Jean thinks Weekend at Bernie's is fantastic, but other than a small role in The Joy Luck Club in 1993, "what's he done since?" is the question. Nothing worth while is the answer. I watched Less than Zero last night, and while Robert Downey Jr. does a fantastic job playing himself, Andrew McCarthy is pretty good too. I can't believe that over the course of the last 20 years I'd never seen it before. Not only is it based on a book by Bret Easton Ellis, it's about drugs and features a great song by L.L. Cool J. In fact, Rick Ruben was the music advisor on the set.Dida? He was the Brazilian #1 goalie for quite a long time, but after his shady showing against Celtic the other day, I can't imagine anyone will take this douchebag seriously for quite a long time. Watch as a fan runs onto the field & lightly touches his face, at which point Dida turns to chase the guy and after about steps decides to fall over as if this fan has actually hurt him. In an attempt to get Celtic, who was about to beat Milan after a piss-poor 3-0 spanking, he tried to get Celtic in trouble and even allowed himself to be taken off the field on a stretcher. Even if you're not a soccer fan or if you are only interested because your kid happens to play, you need to check this out.