Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I've Got Nothing

You know, I really wanted to post something tonight, but I don't know what to write about. I'm having a particularly difficult time getting up for Big Blue this weekend (part implosion at IU, part Vegas trip). Not to mention there's precious little about Michigan that is worth mocking. What are you going to get them with? Steve Fischer/Fab 5 jokes? Those are 10 years old and don't even relate to football. Charles Woodson is overrated as a pro? The 1997 team only got half a national championship? Princeton stole their helmet design and made it look cooler? Desmond Howard is a pretty decent college football analyst?

But there's more to it than that. Earlier this week, I documented the desire of Iowa fans to be included among the big boys (Big Blue and tOSU; I don't think you can include the Pennsylvania State University anymore, last season notwithstanding). Now, if you have ever been to Iowa-Michigan, even at the Michigan State Pen, their fans act with a quiet confidence. I'm not opposed to matching their condescending attitude. So I'll save the venom, and maybe Iowa and Michigan can come together to agree that John L. Smith is a horrible football coach. That being said, I'll most likely be wearing my "Ann Arbor is a Whore" t-shirt at the Mirage on Saturday.

Stay classy, Washington Husky Napoleon Dynamite
in stonewashed jeans. Stay classy, indeed.

So, instead of getting riled up over Iowa-Michigan, I guess I'll write about things I've heard/watched/read lately that haven't sucked, and a few that have.

A word of warning, as told by comedian Jim Gaffigan:
Have you ever seen a movie a couple of years after it came out and tried to talk about it with your friends? They look at you like you're a leper. I went to my friends and said "Hey, I just saw Heat!" "Heat? That came out six years ago." "But I want to talk about it now!"
My point is that, aside from music, I don't generally keep up. I've seen one movie in the theater in the past 6 months (The nearly fantastic Talladega Nights). I read books in paperback. I watch sports, Deal or No Deal, and Studio 60 (more on this later). I do, however, buy about 8 new albums a month, so I make up for it in music. So, without further ado...

Positive: Chuck Klosterman books
OK, so I've only finished Killing Yourself to Live, and I just started Fargo Rock City, but they're both fantastic. In fact, Killing Yourself to Live is the best book I've read in at least 10 years.

Despite his mutual love affair with Bill Simmons (a writer who was once great and has now become the Chris Berman of the internet, culminating with his video golf rendezvous with Le Tigre last week), I've always liked Klosterman's work, especially for the now-unreadable Spin magazine (also, more on this later) and the always-readable Esquire. He's irreverent. He's funny. He references even more pop culture and obscure music that I do. And he's from North Dakota, which makes it so much cooler. Killing Yourself is his three-month road trip to the sites of famous rock deaths (Kurt Cobain's greenhouse, Graceland, the site of the Skynnard plane crash, Clear Lake, etc.) but it's also about everything else in the life of an average twentysomething. Trust me, it's readable only for his discussion of cocaine people vs. marijuana people from the Great White nightclub fire. So, if you like music (especially CCR and Kiss) and you like a relatively easy read, it comes highly recommended.

Negative: Iraq books
Look, they're relatively in-depth, and they give you facts that the administration hasn't wanted in the public domain, but there are three problems with the genre. First, they are more or less redundant (culminating with the late-to-the-party Bob Woodward and State of Denial, which basically just sums up Cobra II and Fiasco and is written by a man who was once great and now just writes what will sell. Jesus, just look at the glowing report of the administration Bob paints in the first two Bush at War books. Suddenly, Bob's critical because everyone else is. That's journalistic integrity at its finest. Can you tell this pisses me off?) Second, they're insanely depressing. To put it in perspective, I just recommended a book that culminates with the Kurt Cobain suicide because it's 9000% more optimistic than Fiasco. Third, the authors go on television and give you the newsmaking parts of the book, so why bother reading? I don't want to discount Iraq, but you can get everything relevant from the morning paper and Brian Williams.

Thumbs Up: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
I wrote about this show earlier, but it only looks better after the first few episodes of...

Thumbs Down: 30 Rock
I LOVE Tina Fey. I loved the Tracy Morgan years on SNL. Hell, I even like Alec Baldwin in the obnoxious, slimy executive role. But this show is nearly unwatchable. I appreciate the attempt at omitting the laugh track, but it's not funny enough to make it as a comedy and not well-written enough to become a Sports Night-ish dramedy. Dead on arrival. Sorry.

Mad props: The Proposition
I rented it from Blockbuster (I never remember seeing anything about it in the theaters), and it's a pretty damn good flick. The film is a western set in Australia. It's bloody. It's graphic. The dialogue feels very cool in spots. It's more or less a Quentin Tarantino western, without the Tarantino self-idolizing director's commentary.

Smack down: Nothing. I haven't seen any horrible movies in a while, basically since Fernandez left town.

A quick list of very, very, very good recent albums (with ratings on a scale of 10):
Yo La Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass - 7/10
Beck, The Information (reviewed earlier, though incorrectly; it's not quite as good as thought) - 6.5/10
My Morning Jacket, Okonokos - 7.5/10
The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America (again, reviewed earlier and incorrectly) - 8/10
Janet Jackson, 20 Y.O. - 2/10 (add one for each exposed nipple)
Cat Power, The Greatest - 8.75/10
Bob Dylan, Modern Times - 8/10
M. Ward, Post-War - 9.5/10 (would be the album of the year, if it weren't for...)
Destroyer, Destroyer's Rubies - 13/10

Barring any moments of inspiration, I probably won't be posting until next week. I leave you with this:

Go Hawks. Beat Big Blue.


Irish Hawk said...

Why doesn't IA go ahead and steal a known cheer from ND. I say ND brings a trademark infringement case. WE ARE N D!!!!!

Irish Hawk said...

They even do it at the ND games in the video NCAA football games (EA Sports, its in the game).

HawkeyeState said...

Yeah, well, on NCAA Football 2007, Herky rips the still-beating heart out of a fan's chest. It's in the game, all right.