On dead rock stars and lifelong love stories…

I just read Bruce Springsteen’s eulogy for Clarence Clemons, and as I expected, it’s astonishingly beautiful.

So, I’ll miss my friend, his sax, the force of nature his sound was, his glory, his foolishness, his accomplishments, his face, his hands, his humor, his skin, his noise, his confusion, his power, his peace. But his love and his story, the story that he gave me, that he whispered in my ear, that he allowed me to tell… and that he gave to you… is gonna carry on. I’m no mystic, but the undertow, the mystery and power of Clarence and my friendship leads me to believe we must have stood together in other, older times, along other rivers, in other cities, in other fields, doing our modest version of god’s work… work that’s still unfinished. So I won’t say goodbye to my brother, I’ll simply say, see you in the next life, further on up the road, where we will once again pick up that work, and get it done.

Big Man, thank you for your kindness, your strength, your dedication, your work, your story. Thanks for the miracle… and for letting a little white boy slip through the side door of the Temple of Soul.

The two had a special relationship, which I’ve seen several journalists refer to as “an interracial bromance”. People suck sometimes.

Also, I forgot about this song, not surprising, since it’s a one-hit wonder country single from 2008. I heard it again back home, and I realized it’s one of the best love songs I’ve ever heard, about one of the best love stories I’ve ever seen. I’m a sucker for a great chorus, and not only is this one catchy, it’s a tearjerker, and not in that Alan Jackson/Keith Urban exploitative way. It’s got a big build-up, but it’s so simple, it’s so gorgeous:

And when you’re gone, I wanna go too.

I didn’t put the real music video in here, because it sucks, and it’s a part of that Nashville machine that churns out girls like this by the thousands. I wish this song had gotten more attention, and I wish the video wasn’t so god damn cheesy.

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Hockey overload…

I had a very hockey-obsessed day yesterday, while everyone else was winding down from the Stanley Cup final. I wrote about the new hockey writer at Grantland, Katie Baker over at Brutish&Short  (she’s awesome). Then I blog-stalked her, and came across the HBO series from last winter 24/7 NHL Road the Winter Classic, which I had totally forgotten about. I watched all four hours of it yesterday and it was so good! The show gives a behind the scenes look at the Penguins and the Caps during the month of December, and from it I learned the following things:

  1. Sidney Crosby may be even whinier than I initially suspected. He complains at the refs nonstop.
  2. Alexander Ovechkin, surprisingly does not complain at the refs as much as I would think. I suppose this is because he grew up in the Soviet Union and was taught to fear/respect authority maybe? I can imagine the punishment over there as a child for ignoring your coach or the refs would be belt-whipping, or some kind other kind of lashing.
  3. I heart Bruce Boudreau. Big time. He’s a sweetheart with a foul-mouth — I’m pretty sure he swears more than I do. Also, I like his coaching style; when his players were all down about a losing streak he tells them “You could be anywhere. You play fucking hockey for a living. Lighten up. Having some fucking fun here.”
  4. Dan Bylsma is also an awesome coach, although significantly less profane.
  5. The Penguins seem to be a really nice group of guys, with the massive exception of Matt Cooke — now that I’ve had a glimpse behind the scenes it’s even more puzzling why/how Bylsma and Lemieux let him get away with these garbage hits. They seem like classy guys and a classy organization. Get the fuck rid of Cooke.

I really hope HBO does this again – it would be awesome/terrifying to see a Habs Leafs miniseries. Hal Gill, that beauty, would definitely invite the whole TV crew over to his place for a dinner party, and between him and PK Subban, the antics would make for some great television.

TNC is, once again, so eloquently right…

speaking truth to power. Give him every writing prize there is, then invent some, just for him:

I mean growing up under a systemic and literal white supremacy, whose endorsement by virtually every sector of society (government, private enterprise, church etc.) was near total. I mean having your father murdered by white racists, and watching the killer going unpunished. I mean watching the Klan harass your now widowed mother.
I mean growing up with all of that, learning to forgive, and doing the painful work of not becoming a racist yourself. I mean taking that message of forgiveness and humanism so much to heart, that you come be known for your fundamental fairness. I mean preaching that gospel of love, introspection and broad toleration, to other wounded black people. I mean being fired for preaching that gospel by the agents of the first black president of the United States who, were it not for your individual efforts, and the efforts of your compatriots would enjoy no such power.
Sherrod’s firing didn’t have much to do with policy. Still I don’t think the Obama administration was ever more wrong, more weak, and more ungracious, then when it ordered Shirley Sherrod off the highway to tender her resignation by blackberry. The symbolism of that moment, a year later, is stunning. 
Actual people died for Barack Obama to be president. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but he owed more to his elders than that. Let me not speak for Sherrod. I can only say that, having went through all of that,  I would be nursing some serious, serious anger.

So it’s not just me…

From a book written in 1790 by Xavier de Maistre, on that peculiar brand of ennui that keeps people stuck in their apartments/own heads:

“Follow me, all you whom humiliation in love or neglect in friendship confines to your apartments, far from the pettiness and treachery of your fellow men. Let all the wretched, the sick, and the bored follow me—let all the lazy people of the world rise en masse;—and you, whose brain is aboil with sinister plans of reform; you, who in your boudoir are contemplating renouncing the world in order to live; gentle anchorites of an evening […] be so good as to accompany me on my voyage, we shall travel by short stages, laughing all along the way at travelers who have seen Rome and Paris.—Nothing shall stop us; and abandoning ourselves gaily to our fancy, we shall follow it wherever it wishes to take us.”

Joan Walsh nails it…

NAILS IT!  Specifically, on how the Republicans and Obama don’t understand how to fix the economy:

In fact, China and Brazil have robust growth because unlike the U.S., they’re building a middle class, not taking it apart, the way we are. These supply-side economics groupies distort what’s wrong with our economy: Thanks to unemployment and the foreclosure crisis, plus almost 40 years of no income growth for working and middle class families (and even income declines for some subgroups), Americans can’t help the country consume its way out of the recession, or contribute to the recovery with tax revenues (for those who think the deficit is the biggest economic problem.) The recession itself is making recovery much, much harder, and maybe impossible: Too many workers are draining public revenue, rather than producing it. The resulting lack of demand makes employers nervous about increasing hiring or even capital investment. Obama’s inability to respond with a bigger stimulus bill and other measures to use the federal government to stimulate demand again will hurt the country, and may hurt him politically too. But it’s possible it won’t, because in 2012 he’s almost certain to run against a right-wing kook or a formerly-moderate dissembler in next year’s election.