Archive for November 2009

Rock and Roll

After watching HBO’s four-hour Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary special, I’ve been thinking about all of the great live rock moments I’ve witnessed in my day. While I’m very fortunate to have seen many of this program’s featured artists (U2, Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger, Billy Joel, Sting, Stevie Wonder, etc.), the two Madison Square Garden shows filmed for this broadcast were clearly some of the greatest concerts I’ve ever missed. This got me thinking about some other recent musical performances I wish I could’ve seen live.

Fortunately, there’s such a thing as YouTube.

1. Paul McCartney & U2 (London, 2005) My two rock heroes sharing a stage at Live 8.


2. Bruce Springsteen & Phish (Bonnaroo, 2009) Weird, but awesome.


3. David Gilmour & David Bowie (London, 2006) While I’m not a big Pink Floyd guy, this collaboration with Ziggy Stardust is just absurd.


4. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson (Houston, 2004) Yeah.

The (Long and Winding) Road

I just got back from seeing The Road and I was impressed by how the film stayed true to Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize- winning novel.

While most literary adaptations are Hollywoodized, John Hillcoat’s movie preserves the integrity and intensity of the No Country For Old Men author’s 2006 work.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Road, it’s basically an apocalyptic version of Sam Mendes’s 2002 Road To Perdition. Both films study unique father-son relationships and leave you with similar feelings during the end credits.

In times where movies are “noisier” than ever, The Road brilliantly uses silence to enhance the images on the screen. While the film is quite dark, it never ceases to keep the viewer engaged and concerned about its chief protagonists (two nameless “good guys”).

While The Road is not an uplifting holiday film, the story and acting performances (especially Viggo Mortensen and Robert Duvall’s) make it well-worth the price of admission.

Thankful

Nothing makes you feel more thankful than a near death experience 24 hours before Thanksgiving.

I’ve just returned home from Syracuse University, and the last four hours spent on the road have truly altered my perspective on some things. While riding shotgun alongside my friend Jason, my trip home for the holiday (my favorite one) started out like any other voyage from Central New York to Long Island. This abruptly changed around 8:30 am on 81 South.

 While watching Jason manuever through some heavy fog, I was alarmed by an oncoming white or gray (it came on too fast to tell) sedan heading right at us.  The car and it’s confused (and hopefully sober) driver were headed the wrong way, and for a second it seemed like a collision (to say the least) was imminent. Fortunately, I was able to startle Jason enough for him to swerve out of the way, keeping everything but our minds intact.

After narrowly escaping this brief, but traumatic moment, I had plenty of time to think about what transpired. I couldn’t help but reflect about the nature of our trip home, and how I now have something poignant to contribute the Bank family’s annual “let’s go around the table and say what we’re thankful for” dinner  routine.

But why wait until then?

I’m thankful for my alertness in the front seat (my other friend Matt was passed out in the back, and I’m not sure if Jason actually saw the car when I did). I’m strangely thankful that sleepy Matt actually crashed his Pathfinder into a deer on 81 South several weeks prior, because I cautioned Jason to slow down and watch for these roaming beasts just minutes before today’s scare.

I’m thankful that I liked the song playing on my friend’s iPod enough to have not been looking down and changing it at this time. I’m also thankful for irony (a band named The Killers may have saved our lives).

Brandon Flowers & the Killers

Brandon Flowers & the Killers

I’m thankful that the other driver didn’t have the same last-minute reaction that we did. He just as easily could have moved left as we veered right, which would have been equally as devastating.

I’m thankful for my friend listening to me, and handling himself like Ricky Bobby at a time when he could have frozen up. And lastly, I’m really thankful for having this website. What happened today really shook me up, and it feels right to get all of my thoughts out of my head.

With my thankfulness comes regret. My friends and I stupidly didn’t call the police (I think we were too overwhelmed with fear and our own sense of luck). I hope this isn’t a decision I will regret for the rest of my life. I’m not the praying kind, but I found myself begging a higher-up that nothing tragic ensued afterwards on that highway.

So this Thanksgiving, please be thankful for family, friends, food, football,or whatever F word it is that makes today, tomorrow, and every single day special.

Most importantly, be thankful for being able to be thankful. After today, I know I am.

Accountability

I’ve always had issues with writers who refuse to take accountability for their words.  I’m all for publishing what’s on your mind, but you simply can’t distance yourself from your beliefs when they turn out to be misguided, or flat-out wrong. 

Now, I’m an opinionated fella, but I’ll always try and admit when I’m wrong about certain things. For example, I was all for the Knicks drafting Jordan Hill over Brandon Jennings in June until I saw the Bucks rookie guard score 55 points last night against Golden State (I was wrong, and couldn’t be more miserable about it). But c’mon, I’m tired of reading all of today’s articles about how the Knicks should be blamed for dropping the ball on Jennings (here’s one).

Sports journalists, in particular, tend to judge actions and decisions prematurely or in hindsight. Of course it’s now easy to criticize the Knicks for passing on the new single-game rookie scoring leader, but I didn’t read too many pro-Jennings columns before, or directly after the draft. Instead of criticizing the Knicks for their “mistake,” I’d like to see some journalists come out from behind their computers and admit they are just as surprised by Jennings as myself, and most NBA executives probably are.

It was just as easy to call Peyton Manning (pre- 2006 Super Bowl) a goat as it is to now call him one of the NFL’s all-time greats. And it was even easier to call Alex Rodriguez a loser for so many years. While many recent stories assert A-Rod has finally proved himself, I’ve seen nothing from any writer admitting that they were perhaps wrong about new Yankee hero being a choke all along.

After reading this great article bout one sports journalist taking accountability for his words by quite literally eating them, I’m beginning to think that maybe some people understand what I’m trying to get at. If I’m wrong, however, I’ll be sure to let you know.

In Print Again

Check out my second column in Syracuse University’s Daily Orange. It’s a slightly modified version of blog post from this past summer.

To view a PDF of the entire issue,click here.  To simply view the article, click here.

Feel free to comment.