Sports and Weather

I understand why people don’t care about sports, I really do. There are lots of particular sports I don’t care much about myself. What I don’t get is this antipathy towards the things that others happen to enjoy. The Super Bowl, which had the highest ratings ever of any US TV show, apparently dethroning the M*A*S*H finale of 1983, is such an example. Don’t want to watch it? Fine. But there’s no reason to suck the joy out of other people’s pleasure.

I was rooting for the New Orleans Saints, and even predicted that they’d win. Some are puzzled about how important the Saints’ victory would be for the city of New Orleans. One pundit sniffed that if the victory would help New Orleans get over Hurricane Katrina, wouldn’t a Jets victory have done the same for New York City after 9/11? Well, no.

Anyone watching the aftermath of the August 2005 devastation will recall that the Superdome, home of the Saints, was at the epicenter of the disaster. Thousands of people lived there for days. The roof collapsed. The team ended up playing its home games elsewhere for a time, including San Antonio, Texas. The refurbishing of the Superdome and the win by the Saints, who had never even GOTTEN to a Super Bowl, let alone won one, was a fitting climax for both the team and the city that embraced each other in a most profound manner.

Of course, the real reason for watching the Super Bowl: the commercials, which you can see here or here. My favorite was the Betty White/Abe Vigoda Snickers commercial. While Betty White has been a regular working actress (the movie The Proposal and the TV show Boston Legal, e.g.), now at the age of 88, there’s been a running gag whether Abe Vigoda, a star on Barney Miller, was even still alive. I also liked the Dave Letterman ad; yes, late night TV rivals Letterman and Jay Leno were actually in the same room at the same time; see this. I liked the Simpsons ad for Coca-Cola; reminds me of an ad with MC Hammer losing all his bling AND the ad with Mean Joe Greene being offered a Coke. I enjoyed the Google ad. I’ve long admitted my thing about chickens, so a couple of Denny’s ads – for a promotion that’s now over – stick in my head.

Whereas I’ve long tired of the E*Trade babies. Even the sweet Clydesdale commercial for Budweiser has become predictable. I can’t imagine wanting to see ANY of the movies advertised. The commercials Casual Friday and I Wear No Pants were so close to each other, I thought they were for the same product; they weren’t. The Tim Tebow ad, with his mother, the reportedly anti-abortion message from Focus on the Family, was mostly, “Is that all there is?” And, most unfortunately, I thought the Census ad was an ineffective use of taxpayer money.

As for the music, Queen Latifah’s America the Beautiful was a bit wobbly and flat in the beginning, but Carrie Underwood’s a capella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner was OK, but the last note was painful. I love the band, The Who’s halftime show seemed off. The harmonies didn’t work, and the medley segues were clunky. But the drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son) was energetic, and they finished strong with Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Meanwhile, it’s been cold in Albany, but all the snow that has been hitting the Delmarva peninsula, Philadelphia (32.3 inches in 2010) and up the coast, repeatedly this winter, has so far missed Albany. Likewise, whatever snow off the Great Lakes may have affected Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, but Albany has been so far immune. Baltimore has been hammered; 41 inches this calendar year through February 8, more than Buffalo (36.1). All my NYC friends have made snarky remarks about Albany winters, but Albany has had only 8.3 inches of snow since January 1, the most 2.4 inches on January 3.

ANOTHER storm’s coming up the coast yesterday and today. Again the mid-Atlantic will get pummeled. What Albany gets will depend on the track of the storm, from an inch or two to six or eight. And it’ll still pale in comparison with what NYC’s going to suffer today; expect massive airline delays and cancellations.


1. Do you watch the Super Bowl? (That’s American football, BTW.) If so, is it for the commercials, the game or the halftime entertainment? Do you have special food for the occasion?

And speaking of halftime, don’t you find it interesting that it is The Who performing when the game is on CBS, since The Who provide the theme songs for all those CSI shows on CBS, such as CSI: Las Vegas, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, CSI: Kalamazoo, and CSI: Portland (both the Oregon AND the Maine shows).

If you don’t watch the game, do you have a ritual for that? I had friends who always went to the movies on Super Bowl Sunday.

And those of you outside the United States: can you even access the Super Bowl?

2. Do you know how to write 44 in Roman numerals?

3. Do you have a rooting interest? I’m pulling for the New Orleans Saints, who have NEVER won a Super Bowl, and I can imagine would be a psychological boost to the city post-Katrina. I wouldn’t be devastated if the Indianapolis Colts won, and they are rightly favored.

4. What do think of the Pro Bowl, the all-star game of the NFL, being played the week before the Super Bowl (i.e., today), instead of the week after? Strategically, it makes sense to have an all-star game during the season, as it takes place in most other sports. On the other hand, since the players from the Super bowl won’t be playing the game, and they were the best two teams all year, it’s a bit of a lesser product.

Football 101.
A couple Who covers – Betty LaVette and the Ukulele Orchestra.


The Kennedy Center Honors

“I’m a sucker for the Kennedy Center Honors. As I get older, I notice the honorees are, more often than not, quite familiar to me.” I wrote that a couple years ago< , and it's no less true today. The awards were given out on Sunday, December 7, 2008. The event will be broadcast on CBS Tuesday, December 30 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT). I'll be watching, as usual; well, OK, recording to watch at a future date.

Morgan Freeman: Since I first saw him as Easy Reader on the Electric Company, a gig that literally drove him to drink, I’ve seen him in a number of performances, including God in Bruce Almighty (2003) God and the President in Deep Impact (1998), plus Amistad (1997); The Shawshank Redemption (1994), one of my favorite movies; Unforgiven (1992), one of my favorite Westerns; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991); Glory (1989); Driving Miss Daisy (1989); Lean on Me (1989); Clean and Sober (1988); Street Smart (1987); probably TV performances before I knew he was MORGAN FREEMAN, such as Resting Place (1986); The Atlanta Child Murders (1985); and The Marva Collins Story (1981). Plus his distinctive voice has been used to narrate March of the Penguins, the TV adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun, and that American Masters segment featuring previous Kennedy Center inductee Clint Eastwood.

George Jones: I’ll admit I own no GJ save for a cut on the album “50 Stars, 50 Hits” “on two great country albums” that my grandfather brought me as a kid. But I was certainly aware of George from my period listening to WWVA in Wheeling, WV, a clear channel radio station I used to listen to at night in the 1960s. A Girl I Used to Know, Ain’t it Funny What Love Will Do, Your Heart Turned Left (And I Was on the Right), and especially She Thinks I Still Care. Of course, he was also noted for his marriage and d-i-v-o-r-c-e from Tammy Wynette.

Barbra Streisand: who is this person with the big nose and the bigger voice, I wondered when I saw this singer on any number of shows in the 1960s hosted by Dinah Shore or Mike Douglas or Ed Sullivan. Then she got a couple specials in her own name. She continues to show up on things like a Tony Bennett special I saw a couple years back. Barbra the singer I’ve been aware of for a long time, though in fact I own only one double-disc CD of her music. On film, I’ve also managed to see her a fair amount: The Prince of Tides (1991); Yentl (1983); Funny Lady (1975); The Way We Were (1973) – filmed partly in Schenectady, NY – I’m just saying; Up the Sandbox (1972); Hello, Dolly! (1969) and of course, her breakout role in Funny Girl (1968).

I came to Twyla Tharp via the Talking Heads’ David Byrne, when they collaborated on The Catherine Wheel. I’ve managed to see that piece and some of her other works including her legendary Sue’s Leg either on TV or when I was dragged up to the Saratoga Performing arts Center. I’ve also seen her work in films such as Hair (1978), Amadeus (1984), and White Nights (1985). This year, I saw at Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady Tharp’s take on the songs of Billy Joel in Movin’ Out, which I wrote about here.

One of my real musical regrets is that, maybe a dozen years ago, I did not go see The Who at the Knickerbocker/Pepsi/Times Union Arena in Albany, three blocks from where I was working at the time. I’m sure it was a matter of money, but still. The surviving members of the group are being honored. Roger Daltrey is a March Piscean named Roger; what’s not to like? My collection of Who albums is very long, from The Who Sell Out (1967) to Endless Wire (2006), of course including Tommy and Who’s Next. But I always had a particular affection for an early Who compilation, Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy when Daltrey’s vocals were particularly fresh.

In addition to his work with the Who, I own a number of solo Pete Townsend albums. Among them: the pivotal Empty Glass (1980), All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes (1982), Scoop (1983), White City (1985), Deep End Live! (1986), Another Scoop (1987), The Iron Man (1989), and the 1996 compilation COOLWALKINGSMOOTHTALKINGSTRAIGHTSMOKINGFIRESTOKING.

Pic of Pete &Roger from; Twyla’s pic from her website; other pics from govt sites.


Songs That Move Me, 80-71

80. The Ostrich – Steppenwolf.
I discussed this song here.
Feeling: ticked off.
It’s HERE.

79. (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone – Aretha Franklin.
One of the things I hated about AM radio when I was growing up is the fact that disc jockeys would talk over the instrumental opening. I swear that this intro was designed specifically to avoid that. Highlight musically is the sweet crescendo of the horns.
Feeling: joyful.

78. 21st Century Schizoid Man – King Crimson.
An intriguing song. Starts of like a loud dirge, then breaks into an almost jazzy center. Quite odd.
Feeling: a little schizo.

77. Face the Face – Pete Townsend.
Those big drums almost always surprise me, not in this live version, but in the video below.
Feeling: like dancing.

Miami Vice!

76. I’m So Glad – Cream.
It has to be the live version from the Goodbye Cream album; no other version excites me like that one. It’s the Jack Bruce vocals and especially the instrumental breaks.
Feeling: well, glad.

75. Fame – David Bowie.
Besides the hook, I most appreciate the descending line of the vocal near the end.
Feeling: like dancing.

74. King Harvest – The Band.
From “the brown album”, the second album, it’s the last song on the LP. It’s the vocals and the lyrics: “My horse Jethro, well he went mad.” A song of my high school days.
Feeling: like having a piece of grass between my teeth.

73. I’m Free – the Who.
The beginning of this song is out of sync with the rest. There’s a drum fill before the first time you hear “And freedom tastes of reality.” The live versions never compare to this because they’re usually played correctly. I like the descending line vocal at the end and the instrumentation in the middle. BTW, I have no idea what this video is.
Feeling: Tension until it gets back on track musically.

72. Celtic Rock – Donovan.
The druids are coming. Last song, first side of the Open Road LP.
Feeling: spooky.

71. Twist and Shout – the Beatles

It’s John shredding his voice and those ascending thirds.
Feeling: Joyous.



1. I was listening to the Coverville podcast this week. Brian played Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting by The Who from Two Rooms: Celebrating The Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin and noted that Elton John also covered the Who’s Pinball Wizard. So your mission, should you decide to accept, is to find other examples of besides these discovered by Fred Hembeck, my co-workers and me:

Beatles- You Really Got A Hold on Me
Smokey Robinson- And I Love Her

Elvis- Hey Jude (a pretty horrific version)
Paul McCartney- That’s Alright Mama, It’s Now or Never

Fats Domino – Lady Madonna
Paul McCartney – I’m in Love Again

Little Richard- I Saw Her Standing There
Beatles- Long Tall Sally, Hey Hey Hey Hey

Ray Charles – Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby
Beatles – Hallelelujah I Love Her So

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – And I Love Her
Beatles-You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me

Simon & Garfunkel – The Times They Are A-Changin’ (from Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.)
Bob Dylan – The Boxer (from Self-Portrait)

Tim Hardin – Simple Song of Freedom
Bobby Darin – If I Were a Carpenter, Lady Came from Baltimore, Reason To Believe

Versions should be commercially available (CD, mp3).

2. Mark Evanier wrote about the missing title tune to the animated Disney classic 101 Dalmatians, which I really enjoyed.

And I can relate, somewhat. When I bought the Yellow Submarine single, the lyrics went:
As we live a life of ease (a life of ease)
Every one of us (every one of us)
Has all we need (has all we need).
But on the Revolver album version, there’s no “a life of ease” echo. Finally, on one of those four-song “singles” CDs that came out at the time of the Beatles Anthology series, a version of Yellow Sub, with the “a life of ease” echo! I wasn’t crazy.

Now all I need is some proof that the Simon & Garfunkel song Bridge over Troubled Water is in a different key (or at least a different playback speed) on the single than it was on the album.
So, my question: what aspect of music, film, TV or other entertainment do you remember differently than is commonly recalled?


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial