September 30, 2007

When It’s Springtime In Alaska

Where have I been in the past week? My head was buried in the dirt for much of it, embarrassed for my Nittany Lions after talking them up so much.

And after another loss yesterday, what can you really say? Anthony Morelli has done all he can in the quarterback spot—it’s hard to criticize a college player because he’s not a professional athlete, he’s young, and he’s uncompensated for his performance on the field and whatever he shit he takes off the field. But I don’t think all of this is his fault—it’s his coaches. We’ve seen the Paterno Quarterback Club before—it is rare that one of them will rise up. Michael Robinson did this, and perhaps that’s why so many expected big things from Morelli. I shared some of these thoughts with PC—he said, “Yeah, but remember everyone said that two years ago and then you won the Orange Bowl.” That’s true. But Paterno hasn’t adjusted the game plans one bit this season—nothing exemplifies this more than out their play against Michigan. All we had to do was open up the offense and spread it out. And we sure didn’t do a damned thing. I love JoePa, he’s done incredible things for Penn State and its football program, and he’s a legend of the game. Hell, he’s one of my heroes. But I’m not going to be an apologist anymore—much of this is his fault. A quarterback’s confidence is based on how much confidence his coach has in him. Unfortunately, Joe plays to not lose. He hasn’t been playing to win. And that’s how Morelli has been playing. Those three interceptions in Illinois, I think, were his attempt to win, but he wasn’t able to step up, mainly because JoePa has never fully dropped the leash. And now, I fear that we’re in for a long season. Special thanks to PC for calling me and giving play-by-play throughout the last half of the game. Seems Comcast can't get The Big Ten Network and that both parties are assholes. But PC is getting it in Chicago, which is great. Also, I'd like to formally apologize for ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit. He talked up Penn State before the Michigan game, ranked us at number five, and picked us to win the championship. We made Kirk Herbstreit look like an asshole the past two weeks. Kirk, thank you for believing in us, and I'm sorry. By the way, I had no idea that you are an avid Star Wars fan.

Coconut Grove – The Lovin’ Spoonful

Autumn Almanac – The Kinks

Rings – Cymarron

Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone – Nina Stern

Piece of My Heart – Erma Franklin

Saginaw, Michigan – Lefty Frizzell

When It’s Springtime in Alaska – Johnny Horton

Don’t Hang No Halos On Me – Connie Eaton

White Lightening – George Jones

Gather ‘Round – Love
Note on this song: discovered it at The Rising Storm. Check out that blog (it's linked on our side) for some amazing songs.

There’s a great essay in the New York Times today by Stephen King. I may not always love the man’s fiction, but his “Pop of King” column in Entertainment Weekly is first-rate and I always enjoy hearing his thoughts on writing. The essay laments the state of the short story—it seems Uncle Stevie thinks that most stories read as if they were written for teachers, writers, or would-be-writers. The stories don’t make you want to know what happens next—which, as I remember, is what made me first love the art form of storytelling so much. My grandmother knows this—it’s how she tells stories. There is suspense, humor, drama, and a beginning, middle, and end. But above all, her stories are entertaining. And that’s what writing should be—there’s an audience who just wants a good story. Of course that audience is shrinking by the day—as King rightfully points out, many people who read literary journals like Zoetrope of Ecotone are teachers, writers, or would-be-writers. And yet, many of these people, it seems, don’t consider the actual story of a story.

I could count on one hand how many times people told me to write a good story in graduate school—however, that story is much different for undergrad. Sure, there’s a place for lyricism, for a stunning poetic sentence, but if you can’t tell me a story, why should I listen or read what you’re offering? And more often than not, many can’t tell a story and their lyricism is hazy and abstruse—it’s like looking out a window while having cataracts on your eyes. King’s reference to Bob Dylan’s line about “the true meaning of a pear” was hilarious but strangely relevant. I wonder if either of these men have read lyric essays or literary criticism?

Here’s a bonus song:
I Am Drinking Again – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have excellent picks on these mixes. At least from the tunes I recognize. Very nice. Most interesting so far was the Doug Sahm cover by Frank Blank on the previous mix.

I go crazy for xmas music come the season. Make a big mix every year, so I will be depending on you for some new stuff! I always let A Christmas Gift For You rock of course.

ps, sorry bout your team.