Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bye Bye Roo

This post started out as a lengthy, bitchy explanation of how much I enjoyed my second Bonnaroo experience this past week and why I'm very probably never going back.

That draft, however, hardly reflected how much fun I had and that the Roo experience was overall a positive one. Plus it just seemed, well . . . old and grumpy. So instead, I decided to just hit both the highs and lows of the week to give you a little window into what it's like to be a Bonnaroovian.

Hi, Hi, Hi. Yes, Paul McCartney and his band played Hi, Hi, Hi during his fantastic Friday night show.  But the showstopper was Live and Let Die, which probably isn't among my top 50 favorite Beatles or Wings songs. Blackbird showed that Sir Paul's voice still has some range and Helter Skelter and Back in the U.S.S.R. completely rocked. "Epic" was how my brother described it. Just so.

Low. People with crap on sticks. Big sticks that they wave around and block your view with during a show. Part of the "look at me" shtick that so many seem compelled to engage in. Several times I wished I had a blow dart or bottle rocket ...

High? Even if you indulged in a pharmaceutical, Django Django and Japandroids back-to-back would Wear. You. Out.

Low. Bros and Sorority Chicks. More interested in talking about themselves, school, drugs, than about music. While music is playing. Take your cellphone picture, tweet that you're at Of Monsters and Men, then shut up and leave.

High. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. My brother has convinced me that I undervalued the performance immediately afterward, and I admit my admiration has grown over the week. Absolutely killed Love is a Long Road, one of my favorite Petty songs.

Low. Hula Hoops. Another part of the "look at me" crowd, people take hula hoops to shows, take up six times as much room as anyone else, and twirl them in their hands and on their torsos. I remain unimpressed.

High. Macklemore. A rollicking hour of fun both a 21-year-old and a 55-year-old could love. Highlight was Mack borrowing a fur coat from someone in the crowd to belt out Thrift Shop. And, yes, Ray Dalton was there. And sounds better live, believe it or not.

Low. Stoners who believe it's their right to shove their way to the front of the crowd, no matter how late they are to the show or how many people are in front of them.

High. Our fellow camper Jason, who came all the way from California for the show. Fascinating guy.

Low. The fat obnoxious Canucks who camped behind us.

High. JD McPherson. Straight up rockabilly fun.

Photo courtesy of me.

Low. Something called Delta Rae. No. No, no, no.

High. The National. Amazing live. And Kacey Musgraves, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Isbell, and, yes, Weird Al Yankovic.

High. The Mowgli's. At least three Nelsons will be surprised if they're not the next big thing.

Highest. The weekend spent with my brother and son, enjoying great music in the Tennessee sun. So long Bonnaroo. And thanks.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Happy Father's Day

A great father's day present: your son driving 8 hours through the night to get you home to a hot shower, a real bed, and a loving, incredibly tolerant, wife/mother and over-the-top-happy-to-see-you Jack Russell Terrier.

An even better father's day present: a heart-felt card from one child and a cheerful text conversation with the other on "your" day.

The Best Father's Day present: spending an entire day sharing sunshine, huge rain drops, and great music from hip-hop only a 21 year-old should like (Kendrick Lamar), to hip-hop even a 55 year-old can like (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis), to a fantastic American band (The National), to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with two of your best friends. One of whom happens to be your brother, the other your son.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Throw Away the Key

I admit it, Alex Rodriquez duped me.

At a time when others were perjuring themselves (Rafeal Palmerio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens) or simply stonewalling (Mark McGwire), Rodriquez seemingly took the high road. He admitted that, while playing for the Texas Rangers, he had used PEDs. And I, for one, applauded him for his honesty.

Turns out, it was just a smokescreen.

Ryan Braun, on the other hand, I was on to all along.

Now Major League Baseball has a second chance to get it right with Braun and Rodriguez and all the other cheaters who were obtaining PEDs including testosterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), from the now-defunct Biogenesis of America clinic in Florida.

It has apparently cut a deal with Tony Bosch, the founder of Biogenesis, to provide direct information linking many players to PEDs obtained from his "wellness clinic." MLB seemingly learned its lesson from the botched drug samples that were the basis of Braun's prior suspension and has been taking its time in investigating Biogenesis, its links to players and agents, and convincing Bosch (who previously denied that his clinic provided PEDs) that it is in his best interest, and perhaps only alternative, to name names.

One can only hope that they've gotten it right this time and that Bosch comes through with truthful information. And that the suspensions of Rodriguez and Braun and others who cheated will be severe. And that Braun and Rodriquez and others who will undoubtedly appeal whatever suspension are handed out will not benefit from some whacky arbitrator's imaginative decision.

Meanwhile, we wait with baited breath for the latest spin that Braun and his lawyers and agents, and Rodriguez and whoever is still clinging by their fingernails to his faded career and legacy, will put on the story.

What will Mr. Innocent come up with this time?
(photo from The Washington Post)
Braun's statement last night after the Brewers' game, after saying he would not address the issue: "The truth has not changed." To which one is tempted to reply: "Precisely. Just like the drug test results didn't change when they were thrown out on a technicality."