I Kan't Spell
JW and his new band
Don't tell people - - well not too many. Just feel comfortable 4 months from now when people say, "Did you see JW's new band?"
"Of course I did. Where have you been?"
There are 2 songs under the media section - - de.licio.us
Strokes and Rilo Kiley Retreads
2004 was the year indie music established itself, proving finally that it could be the one thing the marketplace demands - - sellable.
When I heard the first Indie ringtone my soul sucked up into my stomach so hard that I almost slapped someone, anyone standing next to me - actually there was an old woman on the floor - post-slap - post-hearing that trite ring.
Indie music isn't dead. It isn't sleeping. It's being hung up on a cross and whipped to death while bands like Keane, The Killers, Snow Patrol, Artic Monkies and whoever else is next come dripping out of the "Spear of Destiny" hole placed there by the masses and the labels. Writers have always been quick to announce the death of anything. I think Punk was dead before the Pistols even took the stage. Indi is not dead but the roots of the tree it grew are drying up.
Can you tell the difference between Indie and Major label anymore? I can't. The times are moving so fast now that I can't even change genres fast enough. BMG and SubPop and Little Indian and Sony are all the same to me. I looked up the other week and saw Death Cab on Warner and with the 4th most selling ringtone. I mean what the fuck? You couldn't pay people 5 years ago to see this band and now because it's on the OC people fall in love with it.
The truth is, many Indie record labels are run like any other business -- to make money. They pay for hip clothing and fancy press photos and work like hell to get their bands publicity. The artistic freedom indie labels promise is supposed to distinguish them from the majors, but when was the last time you heard a mainstream rock band complain about its label dictating material? Now you might be saying, "But what about the great Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot drama? A major label turned down an artistically adventurous album!" And yes, Reprise, a Warner imprint, dropped Wilco. The band was then picked up by Nonesuch, a diverse label with solid indie cred, who then released the album. So the indie world saved the day? Perhaps -- if you forget that Nonesuch is also a Warner subsidiary. IT NEVER ENDS.
Another once-defining element of the indie world is amateurish production values meant to convey a DIY aesthetic, a rejection of slick marketability. Though there are many exceptions, the quick glance at indie's biggest and brightest turns up some of the shiniest, glossiest pop material in the marketplace. Is it any surprise that the slickest sounding bands -- Rilo Kiley, Postal Service -- have the most crossover success? What's even worse than this is the identity that Indie bands try to establish on their recordings by sounding slick but not too slick. Old bands that were Indie didn't TRY to sound earthy, they had shitty equipment and people fell in love with that real sound. When you try to emulate it - - that's just asking for a kick in the nuts by the Indie followers.
For comparison, let's look at the latest installment from the prime purveyor of so-called indie music to the masses, Music From the O.C. Mix 5. Of the 12 songs on the album, five are by bands (Subways, Rogue Wave, Youth Group, Of Montreal, Stars) who are on so-called indie labels (Wea, Sub Pop, Epitaph, Polyvinyl, Arts and Crafts, respectively). But none of those five made their most recent record independent of any label influence -- i.e. label money. Granted, many of these bands having been truly indie at one point in their career: Baltimore based Rogue Wave self-released its first album and Kaiser Chiefs financed their first single themselves. But grassroots support for indie bands has been supplanted with the label-run, Astroturf campaigns for bands like My Chemical Romance. A band's credibility no longer seems dependent on dues paying.
I was telling Jas last night that one of the most discrediting things a band can do is to release a video on MTV without ever having played a live show. That's just the tip of the iceberg these days. Somewhere I feel as though we are supplanted with Indie-like information in order to trick us into this being new and fresh and hip and something to really rally behind. The days of Indie are seemingly coming to a crash now that Indie labels have sold out and major labels have become indieized.
Isn't having an audience important? Doesn't everyone want as big of an audience as they can get, a large forum for their ideas? Why should financial success negate artistic integrity? Couldn't it verify it? And as the bands get bigger audiences and more money for tours, music and videos, the world becomes full of better music. Where's the harm in that? What's to get bent out of shape over? As Pavement quips, bring on the major leagues, right?
The danger lies in that famous Greek word that I had to look up: hegemony. Basically this is the idea that revolutions get beaten down by the masses because the masses adopt the revolution. They simply take your cause and make it their own. It's like the minor leagues for the mainstream. As 2005 drew to a close, the mainstream still pimped indie aesthetics. But during this heightened indie sale-ability, truly indie releases are suffering.
One truly independent release from 2005 was Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's self-titled, self-released debut album. They had a small tour and did well. In comparison the post-punk-Strokes-handjob band called The Bravey were fed to us as Indie. In actuality they were released on Island records (also does Bon Jovi and Mariah Carey) and sold 35k records in its first week. Somewhere in Idaho a fat girl just said "I love the Bravey. They are like sooo my favorite band." That's not Indie to me. But I'll have to admit that I didn't do my homework on the band and saw "Fletchers" on their play list and bought into the idea that they may be a real down-to-earth band. 2 weeks later I saw their MTV video - obviously recorded before this tour. This was just the machine making a band and then giving them street credit by being able to say "Look they played dive bars across America for 3 months." This was a very smart marketing strategy. But yet they made all the little mice who love Indie music that much more cynical. The people that made it cool for the fat girl in Idaho just got real pissed off.
So since Indie is pretty much dead I am wondering what is next. It may be something totally illogical that I can’t figure out. What I would like to see, and what I think I will endorse for 2006 is residential rock. There I coined the phrase Residential Rock. We shall support our local bands like any good minor league town. No matter how bad they are, Indie sounding or not, covers band or whatever, support your local Rock Group.
None of this is meant as a knock against bands like Death Cab for Cutie or the White Stripes, or Nirvana before that. But if they are indie, then what are the truly independent to be called? If indie-oriented labels are continually being sucked up into the mainstream, who will be the avant-garde? Will you and I be able to cut through the label hype to find truly independent music to support? If you've got an answer to any of that - call me later - The O.C. is about to start.
Easy slips through drain and clinks on taps of bobby pin shaped levers way below. Hard clings to the sponge on the back of the sink. What isn't worth easy takes the last ferry down the water main. What passenger gets on with a ticket saying "Hard section 108 Row ww Seat 16"? None of them. Some tickets are just stamped that way.
Decimation, gun in your mouth talk. Speak the wrong words and you will get touched.
I walked through the knife wind. (Don't act as if you understand what that means unless you walk that walk to work and feel that knife wind. Walking to your car is more like a slap wind.) The knife wind made it hard for me to read my City Paper.
There was an article in the City Paper (not available online) called "We're Fucked". It was an interview with Tom D'Antoni and how much he hated Baltimore.
"I used to drive around and pick up criminals in a cab just to see if they would kill me."
Well apparently they never did. While I didn't really like the article because he seemed like a voyeur and a failed life lashing out at something he wasted his time on, it did get me thinking again more and more about Baltimore.
I walked to work talking to myself about the Charm City. And then I laughed because I called it that.
The harbor had my favorite water effect this morning. The salient and brine from the edges starts to move out to the middle and the bottom of the harbor. This causes large ripples about 20 yards off the piers, the Constellation, the World Trade Center, and that weird Submarine in the corner next to the National Aquarium. The water in this area is docile as if the harbor is sleeping below and waking up everywhere else. It really is quite beautiful.
It felt like home because it was so cold. It felt natural that it was hard today.
Baltimore as a city is the same way. It's a city where it's supposed to be hard. You wear that fact like a badge on your sleeve but I'm a fraud just like everyone else that lives in the happy parts of town. And if you are wondering if you live in a happy part of town, ask yourself if you are here to stay or just staying to have a good time. If you answered the second one - then - you live in a happy part. Baltimore isn't a badge of honor as much as it's a facade of charm wrapping that has a big lump of shit in the middle.
So many people claim to be from Baltimore. I'm not. I'm from Rosedale, the first semi-blue-collar suburb right outside the North East entrannc. Nobody I really know is from Baltimore. They are all from the county or Jersey or Carolina and moved here. They are all from lower middle class or middle class semi-blue collar families and now claim Baltimore as their home. They'll leave her just like everyone else and move back to what they know. Nobody down here looks like they belong here and not many of them give me the impression that they will stay.
Voted most likely to get mugged.
Baltimore is a strange town indeed. It's a double-sided mistress. If you know where to go and how to keep your head down and bullet free it can be homey, warm, enchanting and yes, even charming. If you don't know anything then this city can be oppressively bleak. But that happy image is just what we trick ourselves into believing. In actuality, it's low brow, boring, dirty, dangerous, and anyone with real talent or ambition either leaves or uses Baltimore and it's residents like a whore.
It's not New York where you have so many options to get lost. In just 2 blocks of NY you have as much as we have in an entire city. It's not Philly or Boston either where the municipal attraction of Universities, museums etc. can keep you busy for a stretch. Baltimore as a whole package in small in not only quantity but quality. You can name the boroughs, the good records stores, good restaurants, museums, and concert venues on your fingers and toes and need no extra appendage to keep track. I like this sometimes but I approach it with a smile that someone can only have for a rotten child that you can't help but love.
What's funny is this is what the City website considers the West Side. You haven't even hit MLK yet... lol - -
Charm city is always brought up with a wry smile or weary eye gleam. They should call it the "tongue-in-cheek town". Baltimore's compliments are usually proceeded by a "but..."
"Yeah the Harbor is really great for tourists and revitalizing the city.." - - "But...we had 7 murders on the West side last Saturday".
"Canton is booming with new affluent residents" - - - "But... in 3 years they'll really have overpaid because Baltimore will never be able to get crime, poverty, and filth out of it's bowels."
"The mayor is really putting the city on the map and we are getting positive press for the first time since Barry Levinson did Diner..." - - - "But, they ignore the other 95% of the city and people think John Waters has an accurate hold on not only how things look but how people act. Well he doesn't and neither does the media."
It's as though the city had cosmetic surgery on a 65 year old woman riddled with cancer. "Wow look at those new tits and her face is smooth and wrinkle free.." - - - "But, she'll be dead in a week because her insides are rotted."
You always get this feeling as if Baltimore just sweeps the West side under some rug somewhere reserved for the 6 pm Channel 2 news. And let's be honest, when I say West side I mean poor black people vilified for basically being poor and having no alternative but to be packed in together causing black on black crime and a sense of hopelessness. Because, let's be honest, race is a large issue in the world, maybe other than poverty or distribution of wealth, it is the largest issue we face in America. It is our original sin and may well never heal for 8 more generations. Since we are race oriented and divided along many lines, seeing your own race hurt your own race is doubly terrifying.
White people on the East side of town aren't friggin angels but for there aren't as many murders so their cocain sales and thievery goes unnoticed - oh - and they are mostly white. White crime isn't as sexy enough I guess to make headlines. They murder each other but somehow blame it on a black guy somewhere. How many times have you heard this on the evening news "Two men in Dundalk were shot in a robbery homicide today. Two black males are suspected in the crime.."? I believe this about as much as I believe half the people that say they are from Baltimore that have moved down here from Ellicott city or the Glen or White Marsh. The East side isn't the same by any imagination but it isn't pretty either.
Respect the West side, if for no other reason then you couldn't cut it there if given the predicament.
I think I started all this Baltimore thinking 2 years ago and then it really boiled over this weekend.
Roughly 2 years ago a crack addict Johns Hopkins student was shot in his home trying to buy crack and heroin from a drug dealer. The drug dealer entered the house, robbed him and shot him. Sound familiar? Yeah it happens every week in this town. What's the sexy part? Well for one the student was white and went to Hopkins. What I found funny was that at first he "was wrongly killed in a happenstance robbery." Later it was found that he was an addict who happened to be attending college. But the fact that he was white and possibly affluent made this a daily headlining news story for more than 2 weeks. It even got the kid a scholarship fund.
Last week I was watching the news when the whale in the Thames died. I thought that was an interesting piece until I remembered that it wasn't. After this "headline" piece Channel 2 News Baltimore decided that 5 members of a family brutally murdered and or injured as a result of attempted murder, in their own home, with ages ranging from 5 - 45, was the second most important story. Of course they were black and poor so it wasn't that important. Not as important as the stupid whale and surely not as important as a crack addict white college student. But then again I'm sure that a 12 year old little girl wasn't worth the attention. This hypocritical attitude is found in every city I'm sure. A little girl gets killed sitting on top of a mailbox in Brooklyn wouldn't match a Tax Attorney mugged and killed while shopping for designer clothes on Houston St.
The tongue-in-cheek never stops in this city.
Such a strange town full of so much earthy richness and at the same time it's a bunch of lookie-lous and secret societies. Jewish, Greek, Italian, Irish, Black, and Polish clubs run the city block by block and if someone asks you about the good places to eat or about the best place to go, as a resident or native, you aren't easily inclined to tell them. You don't tell them for two reasons. The first reason is because you may think they won't understand that the Chipparelli's salad or Bill's Crab shack is great to us and second they won't know how to act or how to get the most out of the experience. I.e. they'll get lost. But to add to that second reason, you feel as though you will get laughed at if you told someone where to go and then vouched for it.
It's a low-wire town hung over a shark tank full of broken glass. It's a treasure buried under a landfill. It's a sham. It's a joke. It's my home.
I like the way the water looks in the winter.
I like when it feels hard.
I like the smoke out of the potholes and the hooded drug dealers on the corner of Pratt and President.
I like the burned out houses on the way in to town via train.
I like the smile I get when I get off that train and people look at me as if I were crazy.
I like that every time I get off that train from NY or Boston I stretch out my arms to hug the city.
I love that I feel at home.
I hate the hypocrisy but enjoy that I see it and call it out.
I like that I know where it's soft.
I love that I know where it's charming.
If you use yahoo music or any other service that claims to "know" what you want to hear based on some group musical suggestions, then you will love Pandora. First off, I am always dissapointed by these other "stations" they seem to lose the plot about good music after the first 20 songs. They start to suggest genres and artists that you would never enjoy.
Pandora makes it selections based on common song attributes that songs share based on your preliminary choices. I chose Oasis as the band to base my other music off of and I have to tell you, not only have they played other classic songs by great bands but they have turned me on to some new music as well.
Cheers Whitney for turning me onto this.
These are some artists and songs that you may really enjoy that you haven't heard of - or just haven't dared to investigate.
Artist ~~~~ Song Title
of Montreal - The Stills
Badly Drawn Boy - Four Leaf Clover
The Eels - Saturday Morning
Pilot to Gunner - Barrio Superstar
Superchunk - Pulled Muscle
British Sea Power - Remember Me
Fire When Ready - The Right Hook
And BTW - I really fell apart for the first time in a long time this morning. I was walking to work and I put on an album that I hadn't really listened to in a long time. I stopped listening to it because it got so popular and I couldn't take it anymore that everyone was listening to it. But this morning, now that the album is sort of out of fashion and the band itself is out of fashion a little I welcomed it back like a warm blanket or familiar lover. I walked down the street and had to sit down on a bench because I had forgotten how good the album was. Can you guess the album? 2000 release - started a NYC "that kind of band" trend. 5 make piece band known for partying - Well - I hope you can guess. Because I fell in love, again, this morning, with that album.
New Oriole Mail
Word Association (or in my case first thought association)
Chuck Thompson= Grew up with John Miller
Brady Anderson= Overrated fag
Sidney Ponson= You fat fucking prick
Mike Flanagan= Great hippy looking guy
Sid Thrift= Sack of shit
Earl Weaver= Living walking breathing legend
Jeffrey Mayer = little turd
Peter Angelos= Misunderstood owner
Cal Ripken = Overrated shortstop that carried a franchise for 20 year but not in the box score
Eddie Murray = greatest foul ball hitter of all time
Frank Robinson = Weird asshole that seems like a mean grandfather
Yankees = Ruining the game of baseball
Red Sox = Ruining themselves by trying to keep up with the ruiners of baseball
Kevin Millar = KILOMETER waste of time
2006 Orioles = It's improved, but was last year actually a fluke?
My New favorite Website
http://www.metacritic.com/. Metacritic - and I may be behind the times and you may already know about it - but if you don't this site is great. The layout is awesome. The reviews are of - you know - solid shit and I find that they are mostly right on leading me to believe that other things they recommend are things I would enjoy. Go check it out -
BTW - free streaming of everything - I would say - is about 1 year away.
BTW 2 - Hotness upon hotness is here - way to go 8x10!!! - - -
I'm an Oriole fan and always will be. If you are too than you have noticed the, for lack of a meaner term, (just yet) flux in our once proud organization.
From 1966 to 1997 no team won more games than the Baltimore Orioles.
We were prided with greats like Brooks, Frank, Earl, Cupcake, The Blade, Cuellar, Cal, Eddie, Jim Traber and until recently Raffy.
Now in case you haven't noticed - and judging by the attendance you haven't - our best player and heart of the team wants to leave and go with his gay lover Papi in Boston or to a "contender". I can understand this but it still wretches my soul. It also caused me to write this testimony of love and hate. I love Miguel Tejada - there I said it - I LOVE HIM - I LOVE YOU MIGGY!. If Baltimore were dumb enough to trade a player of his caliber for the likes of Manny Ramirez and Matt Clement I swear I may burn the warehouse down. But, if he's not happy you have to do something. I would hope that that thing would be to sign a front line pitcher or anyone to hit behind him.
We also have, what is now believed to be the worst owner in the last 30 years of baseball. Yes Mr. Angelos is worse then Steinbrenner and Lucifer himself. His resume' of blunder includes the signings of Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Andy VanSlyke, Chris Sabo, Glenn Davis, David Segui, Marty Cordova, Jesus, Joseph Stalin, Syd Motherfuckin Thrift, and Ray Miller (twice). Need we not forget that he also let go of Davey Johnson, Pat Gillick, John Miller, Miguel Tejada (whoops), Mike Mussina, David Wells, Kevin Brown, Curt Schilling, Steve Finley etc...
And you may say that it is the GM's that have signed these players or let them go. Ask a true Oriole fan or a staffer who makes the decisions coming out of that office and it will be none other than Mr. Angelos himself on every last little detail. Even Big George had sense enough to just write checks in the 90's. Anyway - we aren't the Yankees when it comes to deep pockets but we are a city with a loyal fan base, a beautiful stadium, a rich baseball heritage, and Old Bay.
So this is a mail I got today asking me what I thought of the upcoming year. After the worst year in Oriole history - here let me recap for you -
Raffy wore friggin ear plugs -
I had no idea what was in the INJENCTION I put in my ass.
Sammy was awful -
The Collapse of a 1st place to a disgrace -
Firing Lee Mazzilli
Elly R.I.P. -
Anyway on to what most are predicting to be the most unheralded start to a year since Fred lynn turned 40 and still played Center Field. - who knows - I love my O's but that doesn't mean I have to like what they have become. I hope for the best, but like any Oriole fan over the last 8 years - I fear the worst.
Are you happy with the current state of the Orioles?
No. About as happy as I would be if my hand got caught in a blender full of rubbing alcohol and the boogie man was working the buttons.
Do you think they’ll have a winning season in 2006?
No. The Vegas odds of a winning season are at 29-1.
What is the biggest problem you have with the O’s?
Lack of planning.
Our owner is a meglomaniac that should pass this team on before he becomes the most hated man in this city since Irsay.
Failure to take risks with unproven younger players with high reward/failure factors when team is going nowhere.
Failure to invest in solid front-line pitchers or corner power players to cover a decent middle of the lineup.
What are the O’s currently doing right?
They aren’t trading away quality prospects.
Hiring Leo Mazzone.
What is the one player you wish the O’s signed this offseason?
Any of the Marlins
A bucket of balls for Luis Matos
Who do you think will have the best season in 2006?
DCab (powerful thrower and looks good in winter ball)
Jay Gibbons (contract year)
Who do you think will have the most disappointing season in 2006
Erik Bedard (looks like a prick and plays like a pussy - 2.5 months for a tender knee)
Brian Roberts (I like Brian - but he won't do that again.)
Who will be the biggest positive surprise this season?
Hayden Penn (He'll be bald at 25 but he'll be good at 25 too)
Nick Markakis (hear great things - can't wait to see him)
Chris Ray (guys like this benefit from Mazzone)
What is the strongest part of the team?
The fact that our coach doesn't look like a porn star.
What is the weakest part of the team?
Bullpen (Latroy Hawkins was on of our BIG signings)
outfield (Go ahead name the starting outfield uh huh - yeah worst in baseball)
What impact do you think Mazzone will have on the pitchers?
Good impact, although I still think the SP will have their ups and downs and growing pains as always.
In 8th Grade I wanted to be a ....
The Gayest Thing Ever - and I have no Idea why I'm Doing It!
Name: Bret Matthew Scharf Holmes
Birthplace: Baltimore, Md
Current Location: Baltimore, Md
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Gone / Blonde
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Sun Sign: Leo
Innie or Outtie: Deepie
Your heritage: Mostly Irish and Scottish - German - Italian - Jew - Alien - Xanadutian
The shoes you wore today: Sand Suede Clark Wallabees
Your hair: You already fucking asked this. This was made for girls.
Your eyes: What the fuck - they are blue.
Your weakness: Pretty loudmouths, shoes (FUCK!), cheese, horror movies, panty lines, wings, my dad, flat soda, anything spicey, Indie People, Bad Semi yet to be trendy music.
Your fears: Impotence, baldness, dying in a street fight, burning to death, sharks, heights, deep bodies of water where I can't see around me, moobs, smelling bad
Your perfect pizza: white pizza / pep, saus (italian), mushroom
One thing you'd like to achieve: Make my family happy (past and future)
Your most overused phrase on IM: eh, oh well
Your first waking thoughts: Let's go
The first feature you notice in the opposite sex: ass, then eyes, then fingernails, then tits, followed closely by hair.
Your best physical feature: Lord - I'm not a bitch.
Your bedtime: 12ish
Your greatest fear: Look if you are going to do a survey or whatever this dumb fucking thing is than have the ability to make it semi-consistant.
Your greatest accomplishment: friends, not paying for college, career, love
Your most missed memory: 18
Pepsi or Coke: Coke
McDonald's or Burger King: Flame Broiled Bitches!
Single or group dates: Both
Adidas or Nike: Adidas
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Lipton
Chocolate or vanilla: vanilla
Cappuccino or coffee: Mountain Dew
Smoke: When I booze or listen to music
Cuss: Yes - but I'm not a fan of other's cursing
Sing: Lord... yeah
Take a shower everyday: Yep
Have a crush(es): No - Do men get crushes - what pussy loves a woman and walks around all day day dreaming about her and her not knowing - I'm not Lloyd Dobler
Who are they: (gay)
Do you think you've been in love: Yep
Want to go to college: See this thing right here lets me know that this was made by an 8th grader. Well done all of you for taking this horse shit and than suckering me into doing it.
Like high school: Loved it. Saved me.
Want to get married: Yep
Believe in yourself: FUCK YEAH!
Type with your fingers on the right keys: yep
Think you're attractive: I ain't ugly
Think you're a health freak: No - but I can sorta be if it comes to it - if you don't count food - daddy loves food.
Get along with your parents: My Mom - Dad (love him - but - shit happens)
Play an instrument: Played the Trumpet, Piano, and guitar for a hot second. Sucked at all..
In the past month, did you...
Drink alcohol: Uh huh
Make Out: Oh yeah
Go on a date: Yep
Eat an entire box of Oreos: Fat fucking cows
Eat sushi: yep
Been on stage: nope
Been dumped: I think so -
Gone skating: Nope
Made homemade cookies: Negative
Been in love: Never was out
Gone skinny dipping: no
Dyed your hair: What?
Stolen anything: Convenient store stuff - I like doing it - I feel like I'm getting back at the man.
Have you ever...
Played a game that required removal of clothing: yes
If so, was it mixed company: yep (ok this is officially fucking gay and stupid)
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: I don't get drunk anymore.
Been caught "doing something": You mean jerking off? No..
Been called a tease: Yep
Gotten beaten up: Fuck yeah - my pro record is 14-21
Shoplifted: Tons of shit
Changed who you were to fit in: Not knowingly
Age you hope to be married: 30
Numbers and Names of Children: 7 Big Scharf, Medium scharf, Little Scharf, Smally Scharf, Handy Scharf, Scharfette
Describe your Dream Wedding: For a guy - there are very few things that concern him about the wedding and they are 1. Dont get drunk. 2. Pick a solid best man. 3. Dont be embarrassed by any ddrunk friends. 4. Dance ok
How do you want to die: In a blaze of fucking glory
What do you want to be when you grow up: A fireman - this is gayyyyyyyyy
What country would you most like to visit: New Zealand
Number of guys I have kissed: 2 well 1 I dont know - they werent really kisses it was like - I'm not afraid of gayness and this is how I prove it kind of kiss -
Number of people I could trust with my life: damn - a lot - maybe 30
Number of CDs that I own: 3000 or so
Number of piercings: none
Number of tattoos: one
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: oh jeeze 50 or so - my mom has all that shit - I was even in USA Today once.
Number of scars on my body: LOL - wow - I'll try to count . I have 15.
Number of things in my past that I regret: Not too much. Myabe I could have worked harder in school. I could have been nicer to some people. But mostly I'm cool.
Trivia 1/18/06 Wed.
Because fat kid will tell me to do it - Mike and I are hosting trivia at Clayton's (old Sean Bolan's) on Wed the 18th. Umm - come and have fun - it always is.
Any suggestions for categories would be helpful - I can only do Baltimore Sports Trivia for so long.
A Chance Encounter
In December of 1976 the Baltimore Colts played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Playoff game in the middle of December. They lost convincingly 40-14.
On this same day, just after the game had ended, a man flew a single-engine plane into the upper deck of Memorial Stadium. No one was injured but the legend of this accident carried on to my generation and what seems to be at least a couple more.
On January 1st, 2006 I walked out of my house at roughly 10:30 pm to join some friends for some wine and conversation up the street from my house. A man with a net-less defenseman's lacrosse stick was walking down the street and just happened to pass me at the moment I finished turning the key in the lock.
"Whoa buddy - where's the game at tonight?" I said while turning back to check my hair line in the reflection of the glass door.
"Fuck off you little prick." He said back to me with a sneer.
But, me being me, I was intrigued by crazy people carrying around lacrosse sticks at night. So I tried make peace and talk to him.
"I didn't mean anything by it. It's just you don't see it every day, now do ya?"
He stood, as old people shrinking do, at about 5'2" tall and was well near obesity. The man's chin was tucked into his chest and his deformed body had disallowed for any appearance of a neck and given him what appeared to be shoulder blades sticking out the front of his chest. He had a light blue plastic rosary hanging from his neck and a hat the read "U.S.S. New Orleans." He was bundled in layers of brown and blue and his eyes had the glassy appearance of a man either abusing substances or one that had been walking around in the brisk Baltimore air all evening.
I trotted the 10 paces in front of me that he was and wanted no ill will to start my new year. I tried pleasantries and they seemed to work. "Happy New Year!" and "Weather sure is shit." were spoken in one form or another as we walked the same direction towards different destinations.
Then a tangent came.
"When I was in Korea and Vietnam they would have never allowed any of this shit to happen."
"This here. All these peddlers, junkies, and muggers."
"Is that what the lacrosse stick is for? Because to be honest. If I were a mugger that would only invite me to want to fuck you up."
"Yeah YOU TRY IT AND SEE WHAT YOU GET!"
"Whoa easy there. I was just saying it because it was my observation. I mean you no harm in any way. Tell me about Korea."
I spoke a little Korean to him and he remembered the words and raised one of his cloudy eyes to me from out of his chest. With a raspy wince he lowered it again and started to tell me about the fighter Planes he used to fly. It was ZTim this and RJ564 that and the BigHawkNight7's and whatever else he was spewing at me that I could not keep up with.
I then asked him his name.
"My name is Donald Kroner."
"I've heard that name." And I wasn't just patronizing him. I had honestly, and recently, either read or heard that name.
"Yeah I bet you have..." He said picking up his long white defense shaft and placing it back down in time with his right foot as he waddled along.
"Why would I know that name?"
"I tried to land on the 50 yard line but there were all these fuckin people in the damn way."
"What? I said almost thinking I had lost him to some schizophrenic moment."
"I'm Donald Kroner. The man who flew the plane into Memorial Stadium. Section 1 + 2 December 15th 1976."
"Whoa WHOA WHOA! No fucking way. I mean...are you serious?" I really didn't believe him and I thought he was just nuts. He started talking to me about wind sheer and dead stick and the old Martin Marrietta airport and explaining the number on the side of the planes and what they meant. While I was partially listening to that I was trying to sort out the validity of his claim in my mind.
"Let's see..1976 - check! Plane in section 1 + 2 - Check! Maybe he's a crazy old fucker. I don't remember the guy's name who did it. Maybe he's just a guy who knows about it and is assuming an identity...?...?" The only reason I know to do this validity check is because every child growing up near or in Baltimore city hears the story of the guy who flew the plane into Memorial Stadium.
"Here I'll show you my Veterans card."
He pulled the card and sure enough "Donald Kroner - retired"
I walked with him a little more and he told me about how he served 3 years in jail for the mishap. He had been tugging on a little bit of Grandpa's cough medicine when a stiff wind off the Chesapeake blew him well off course and somehow had him trying to land at Memorial Stadium.
I listened. My mouth was open and my head was shaking. I was talking to a living legend. A ghost in the shadows of Baltimore history. A faceless, nameless story book character that had been hiding in your closet or had sold the emperor his new clothes.
I parted ways with him and wished him the happiest of New Years and pleaded with him to not carry the lacrosse stick around.
"That only invites people to fuck with ya Don."
"I'll do what I want ya dumb little prick. Happy New Year to you too though."
"Cheers Donald Kroner. Cheers indeed."
I ran to the bar to tell everyone. I walked in and all the young faces from various parts around the city had no idea who or what I was talking about.
"A plan flew into a stadium? Memorial Stadium? When?"
I rolled my eyes but not for long because the story of Donald Kroner dead sticking that plane into Sections 1 and 2 was priceless even if I hadn't just met him. So I told the story and it seemed like a vague remembrance to them.
My friend Mr. Jenkins then spoke up and said, "Only you. This shit only happens to you."
From Ravensnest.com -
May God bless and keep your troubled soul this year Donald Kroner, and all the Donald Kroner's of the world, myself included.
Happy New Year everyone. Let's hope it's a good one.
Pandora Song List
Amazon Wish List
Revolutionary Wealth - Tofflers
Things Making Me Smile
Listening - [out of 5]
Benjy Ferree - 4.8
The Thermals 3.1
David Gray 3.8
Like the guy with the beard? YES - like the guy with the beers. What? Yep
Bands That I Check Schedules For
Badly Drawn Boy
Belle and Sebastian
The Black Keys
Drive By Truckers
Mark Hopkins Band
Iron and Wine
Mates of State
Two if By Sea
Places I Rock in the Flesh
The Knitting Factory
The Otto Bar
Places I Eat/Drink in the Flesh
Cross Street Market
No Way Jose
The Irish Pub
The Waterfront Hotel
My Greatest Hits (that's so lame)
The time I almost killed a child
July 4th in Korea
Excerpts from Demian
Why I screen phone calls
Bret's Death Metal Report
A conversation at a cocktail party
A conversation at breakfast
So you think you are a Baltimorian
A conversation about a girl singer
Observations from a bar
Observations of strippers
Why I love Oasis
I would go to war
"You Son of a Bitch" An Open Letter to Tom Friend
Dance to Your Ocean
When men become pussies
Jason Whitlock is a racist propaganda promoter
Pitchfork takes music snobbery to new level
The Cosmic Clash of the Red Sox and Cubs
The Hatred that is Runts Candy
Starting corporate line-up
Do you know me? List 1 / List 2 / List 3
The Night I Burned Philly Down
So You Want to be a Booze Hound
She Said it was Free
Funniest Corporate Story Ever
Striped Shirts and the Fucks that Wear Them
Pieces of Morning
Oasis Album Revew
The Art of Tipping
Starting Fires With Grass Stains
Bret's Federal Hill Food Review
Sexcapades and your Picture on the Internet
Stupid Secrets the Return
Stuff I Swing By From Time to Time
Indie Video Archive
Large Hearted Boy
Pitch Fork Media
Scenestars MP3 Blogs
Sound Garden Baltimore
Angry Little Girls
Junior Varsity Meat Market
Baltimore City Paper
The Baltimore Sun
Villa Julie College Baseball
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