Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I remember the first week of the 2007 baseball season. It was only a few months ago, but that's not why I remember it. The Pirates were doing good. Not good by the standards that most have begun to view them, which would be winning around a third of the games and having two players make it to the all-star game. Not as starters. They were doing good by normal baseball fan standards. I must have heard thirty people say, "Wow! The Buccos are doing good! Did you know that their record is better than the Yankees'?"

I was stoked, to say the least. It had been an up and down year in the city of Pittsburgh as far as sports went. The Steelers had been defending Super Bowl Champions, leaving us with extremely high expectations at the beginning of the season, only to have a less-than-par run at consecutive championships. They didn't even make the playoffs. It only seemed that things would get worse. The Penguins, who had been having a rough go of it for the last few years and hadn't won a Stanley Cup since 1992 were rumored at the beginning of the season to be uprooting and heading for Kansas City or Vegas. This coincided with the onset of my first winter in the brutal climate of Erie, PA. I was far from home attending school with a bunch of kids that supported the Buffalo Sabers. In other words, I was in sporting Hell.

My expectations for the Pens were not great, but I wasn't ready to turn my back on them and buy a Hartford Whaler's jersey just yet. I was in a state of fierce depression that could only be lifted by some amazing feat that could only come from the sporting world. I snapped out of it really quick whenever the Pens made the playoffs and were promised a new arena in the city.

I was still riding this high when the baseball season kicked off and the Pirates were tearing up. I tried to tell myself not to get so excited, because this happened almost every year. They would start out with a few wins and then fizzle into the bottom of the league, and watching them had become so torturous that I'd find myself flipping a coin over watching my hometown baseball team or a movie starring Queen Latifah.

Though I tried to keep my guard up, I became enamored with the Pirates success. I'd become addicted. I should have been content with the Penguins' success and called it a summer. But I found myself watching whole games in my dorm room every night, and getting excited to go home and go to tons of games. I even worried that since now they were "good," I wouldn't be able to get bleacher seats for ten bucks, and if I had to pay over fifteen, I wouldn't be able to buy my Quaker Steak and Lube wings. They wouldn't fit into the budget.

I didn't have to worry about it for long, though. Things came crashing down before long. They held on for a while, but at this rate they will almost definitely be in last place by the All Star break and Jason Bay will be auditioning for a role in Taxi 2

Ladies and gentlemen, the Pirates suck again.

I still love them, though. I hear so many complaints about their road to less-than-mediocre that it makes me sick. These guys have to be down on themselves if they ever watch tv or listen to local talk radio. What they need right now is some support. They aren't the most talented team in the world, which is why it makes it more difficult for them to come out of a slump than say, the Yankees, who have more money than Bolivia and Colombia put together and doubled.

I know that radio hosts and writers get paid to be critical, and that's what they do, but saying that they only go to Pirates games to check out the new stadium is extremely harsh. It's not even the case. These guys go to games because they love baseball (or they would not be writing or talking about it for a living), and everyday the Pirates take the diamond, they play baseball. You don't hear as much from them as from lots of professional sports teams. None of them are accused of taking steroids (which may be a big factor in their continuous lack of success), they don't publicly lash out at one another, and they don't take their MP3 players into the outfield with them.

They play baseball, for better or worse, and it looks like they may not get better for some time. So, our complaining about it is not going to light a fire under their ass and raise the collective batting average to .500. Things will remain the same.

In a country where you have to pay almost three dollars for a gallon of gas that in turn pollutes the globe causing global warming that will have us up to our necks in floods produced by glaciers in the next five years, people complain about something fun. The American passtime, if you will.

There are higher things at stake right now, I think. Give the guys a break. I know they get paid a lot, but so does the president and he doesn't always to the best job.

Well, at least I can still afford my wings.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Party Like A Rock Star?

There's a semi-new song out there that was written (ineptly) and is sang by the Shop Boyz--with a Z. It's called "Rock Star," and most of the lyrics are centered around one phrase: "Party like a rock star." This line is repeated again, and again, and again, and again. It starts to melt into your head, and I think that these guys may be in competition with the legendary Mike Jones for the most repetitive rap song ever produced.

I've heard this song a number of times on the radio, and I must admit before I go into all of this that it is a catchy song. You can be driving down the road and it will come on the radio and make you want to bob your head. If Evan is with you, through no real fault of his own (I believe it's pure instinct...the kid can cut rug and I've hated on him about it for years but I feel it's time to give him his due) this may progress rapidly into a lot of moving and shaking that is never really comprehendible or necessary, especially when driving a car.

You start to think, SHIT! I can party like a rockstar...if hip hop artists are now partying like rockstars, why can't I? At least now I don't have to party like a rap star because I really suck at crip walking. That's where the problems begin.

I am a creep. I browse a lot of personal info's and screen name away messages on the internet, which is probably inherently wrong, but don't act like you don't do it. Everybody does. In doing this in the last month and a half, I have noticed somewhere around thirty (slight exaggeration probably, I didn't record stats) middle to upper class white boys and girls with something that has to do with partying like a rockstar on their cyberspace criteria. A lot of them claim that they do indeed party as rockstars do, which is kind of hard to believe. These famous people have quite the reputation for partying hard, but I don't think that most kids have really partied with rock stars or to the extent that they do. Most adolescents and teens don't have two of the things that are required to party in the traditional rock star fashion: 1) assloads of money, and 2) groupies of the opposite sex. Therefore, partying like a rock star just isn't possible for most kids excluding the Jackson 5, Hanson Brothers, Chris Brown, and Bow Wow.

Now if someone were to write a song about partying like rock stars, it would stand as expected that they would namedrop a little bit. Maybe talk about how they did blow with Keith Richards, tripped with Jerry Garcia, shot up with Kurt Cobain, smoked crack with Whitney Houston (I know she's not a rock star really, but I'd accept a lyric about that with open arms), or even just doing with NickelBack whatever it is that NickelBack tends to do.

Instead, they mention the Osbourne family. they say that "they're on a golf course, trippin' with the Osbournes." It's not too far-fetched to think that a member or two of that family may be tripping, but that's not the problme. Can you really envision Ozzy Osbourne on a golf course? I don't think I need to even elaborate.

They talk about how they've seen the Travis Barker show. If memory serves, this show didn't have much to do with partying. It was more like raising a family. And just because you watch a television program about how a celebrity behaves, it doesn't mean that you can mirror them. Case in point: I watch porn, but I cannot do what Ron Jeremy does.

This last example simply had to be saved for the end. In the song, one of the members of the group raps that "me and my band, man/ on the yacht with Marilyn Manson/ gettin a tan, man." They really do say yacht, tan, and Marilyn Manson in one verse. I'm not going to rule out that Marilyn Manson may own a yacht, but I'd hypothesize that it is for some morbid reason...like dumping dead bodies into the deep blue sea off of the coast of California. I'm also not going to dispute that these guys do or have hung out with Manson, but I don't really know. What I am going to throw out there, though, is that the way Marilyn Manson parties is almost certainly not the way that the rest of the rock star world does. He is not normal. Not by any means at all. Also...they say that they are getting a tan with Marilyn Fucking Manson. That fucking guy does not lay out and get a tan. He is one of the palest people I have ever seen, and I don't think it's because he can't add some color, but because he doesn't want to. Anyone that would ever say they'd gotten a tan with Manson on his yacht does not know what it's like to party like a rock star, or in any other normal and socially accepted capacity.

Anyway, most of us, if not all of us, do not party like rock stars party. So why say that you do? Say that you party like a high school senior, or a frat boy, or even an aspiring musician.