Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Notes From The Road
Home for the holidays and currently located in the palatial Palace of Auburn Hills.

Spent the morning drive listening to the local "new rock" station - 88.7, which gets rounded up to the edgier 89X. So much as can be learned from an hour of listening, it seems they've only added about five songs since I graduated from high school. So aside from Bedouin Soundclash and Neverending White Lights or whatever they're called, I heard Radiohead's Creep, Alice in Chain's Man in the Box, the Lemonheads' Mrs. Robinson and Green Day's Brain Stew (cos, you know, Green Day hasn't done much since then).

A question for today's youth: Are these songs remotely relevant to you? Is this why you listen to the hip-hop?

Anyway. For whatever reason, I hardly have any patience for FM radio except when I'm back cruising the mean streets of Windsor/Tecumseh. Must be nostalgia for the days before cars had CD players or something. But I'm mildly heartened to report that when not immersed in the dregs of mid-90s alt. rock I also managed to hear Kylie Minogue, Tom Petty, Gwen Stefani and the Notorious B.I.G.

There are, then, some benefits to living within earshot of Detroit.

Also: On I-75 north, just outside downtown Detroit, there's a huge billboard with Marvin Gaye's mug on it. He's pimping for Hennessy now apparently.


Onward, to a nearby bookstore with cheap wireless (Oh crap, this is in American dollars isn't it? I think I just paid $700 for a day of wireless. Is that bad?).

During the drive, 89X was going strong with some Bush (X). On New Year's Eve they're counting down the 89 (get it?) most important songs of the year. Five bucks says the top three are all Smashing Pumpkins songs. I'm guessing I'm going to hear Eve 6 by the end of the day.

Came across Tom Petty's Free Fallin' elsewhere though. If I ever get around to going public with my personal all-time top ten, Tom Petty will almost definitely occupy the number one spot. Seriously.

Few people know how much I adore the Petty. In fact, I can think of at least two friends who, reading this, will be forced to pick their jaws up off the floor (hi Liss). But it's true. There were a few very important teenage years there were Petty was absolutely unquestioned as the single greatest rock star in my personal universe. I haven't listened to his records much in the last few years (I put on Wildflowers the other day though and it's still amazing), but if I had to get into a drunken bar fight over the honour of one musician, it would probably be Petty.

It's like how your favourite sports hero when you're 12 is automatically your favourite sports hero forever (personally, Ed Olczyk - which is probably even weirder than my fondness for the Petty). Same thing here. Petty could put out a record with him rapping over looped Elephant farts and I'd probably listen to it at least a few times. If Tom Petty became a communist, I'd actively consider moving to China and buying a lot of red shirts.

Anyway. Petty is wildly under-rated. Probably because he sounds a little too much like Dylan sometimes. And he is/was unabashedly pop, and therefore seemingly irrelevant matched against a contemporary like, say, Bruce Springsteen. So Bruce is more "important," but if you put together a 12-song greatest hits CD for each, Petty's is the one you'd actually listen to and enjoy.

Sometimes I wish I could claim to have spent my formative years listening to the Pixies and obscure T.Rex b-sides. But then I'd have a blog that obsessed over, like, the Fiery Funances or something. And no one wants that.


Mental note taken while driving home: The White Stripes pretty much have to cover Ballroom Blitz at some point, assuming they haven't already. In fact, I'm willing to bet Jack White was secretly very influenced by Sweet.

Anyway. Not that you need any confirmation (assuming you care in the least about professional basketball), but the Detroit Pistons are rather good. The numbers for their six-man core in tonight's game:

Prince: 18 points, six rebounds, three assists
Rasheed: 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, three blocks
Ben: two points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks
Hamilton: 24 points, three rebounds
Billups: 21 points, seven rebounds, 13 assists
McDyess: 12 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.

Combined turnovers: 5.

Heck, Maurice Evans (who?) got 13 tonight.

They were playing a team with six wins. But still.

The 26-year-old, back-up point guard, Carlos Arroyo, has 88 career starts to his name — nearly as many as Mike James and Jose Calderon combined (103). When he gets back from injury, Lindsey Hunter will join the rotation, bringing along 437 career starts and two championship rings. Meanwhile, Dale Davis, who averaged 6.9 points and 8.8 rebounds in 25 starts for Indiana last season, is sitting at the end of the bench just saving his energy for when the games actually matter. Darko, a 7-foot, 250-pound, former No. 2 pick in the draft can barely get on the floor.

Anyway. I generally endorse the general fan's freedom to be obnoxious and ridiculous, it's what separates sports from, say, opera. But I think I draw the line at loudly mocking a player's skin disease or inability to speak English. I think that's what I learned about myself tonight. Perhaps I'm getting sensitive in my old age.

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