Last week, ESPN.com held a mock college football draft, where writers selected the 40 teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) that they would like to see constitute a pared down top division, and subsequently divided them into four regional conferences. It was an interesting idea, one brought forth by the NCAA’s inability to put together an effective method of crowning a national champion. A lot of people have spent a lot of valuable time fretting over the jumbled state of the FBS, as if it were some form of national emergency, a tragedy of the first order that oftentimes there is no clear king of college football at the end of January. It is an interesting problem, though. Continue reading “How To Fix College Football”
Roughly 102 hours, 45 minutes, and 40 seconds after Apollo 11 lifted off from the launch pad at Cape Canaveral on July 16th, 1969, the lunar module touched down on the surface of the moon. Of course, today marks the fortieth anniversary of the landing. Over the next three years, six more missions were launched to the moon, and five were successful. The Apollo program is arguably the greatest achievement in engineering and courage in human history. Never before, and never since, have human footprints marked the surface of another heavenly body. The significance of these events cannot be overstated. Continue reading “One Giant Leap and Then...Nothing”
The house that once stood in a lot on the corner of West Market and North Highland had been a wine seller’s business in its last legitimate habitation. The house had been empty for years by the time it was torn down. Funny enough, even the corner where the house once stood is gone, the stretch of Highland that reached Market having been paved over to make way for an expanded branch of the Akron Public Library. Now that’s progress. Continue reading “La Mise En Scène Est La Chose”
There was a startling sight off the foot of Manhattan this morning. A Boeing 747 trailing a fighter escort was seen making multiple low passes near the Statue of Liberty and many tall buildings in Jersey City. In response, some buildings in Jersey City and in Manhattan were evacuated, for fear another terrorist attack was under way. However, this wasn’t the case. The 747 was the backup plane for Air Force One, flying by New York City for an Air Force photo shoot. Apparently, the city had been made aware of the flight path by the Federal Aviation Administration. The NYPD acknowledged this, but also said that it had been barred from alerting the public. What were they thinking? Continue reading “It’s Coming Right for Us!”
The New York Mets are playing a home game against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday, April the 28th. There are plenty of good seats available, but I’m not interested in those. Good seats at a ballgame are a luxury that my friends and I cannot afford. Nosebleeds have been the order of the day for all but rare occasions in my sportsgoing life. Good seats are reserved for rare gifts from corporate contacts or semi-retired acquaintances ready to rip through their retirement funds. The most expensive ticket I’ve ever bought was for a Yankees/Indians matchup at the Stadium last year for sixty-five bucks...in the upper deck. A similar seat in the new stadium goes for twice that amount, now. But this article isn’t a rant about the high price of seats at sporting events. It’s about fees. Continue reading “Ticket Fees Are Bullshit”
Never touch anything in a subway station. Never lean on a column, sit on a bench, or, God forbid, do a pull-up from a rafter. Subway stations have been coated with a hundred years of filth. Brake dust, rust, flakes of lead paint, rotten food, rain water drained from the street, dog piss, rat piss, human piss, vomit, all kinds of fecal matter from all kinds of sources. There’s no reason to believe the rare occasions when things are sprayed and scrubbed down that everything is cleansed. Even the smell of the air, a truly unique odor, tells one all they need to know about the tunnels. In the cars, it’s different. There are three options. Sit on a dirty seat, a thin layer of clothes between you and the plastic; hold onto a metal bar; or surf, holding nothing and risking falling on the floor, which is just as bad as lying on the track bed in some cars. In fact, the ideal situation would be to ride the subway in a deep sea diving suit which, upon exiting, is dipped in gasoline and set on fire.
Everyone who loves rock and roll has an opinion about the best album ever recorded. Is it Electric Ladyland, Who’s Next, Led Zeppelin’s fourth, Abbey Road, something else? The arguments one way or another are endless, and fill a damn large percentage of late night bar talk. Every music magazine one could think of has lists all over their web pages. Top 100 albums ever, best 500 songs, best punk albums, folk albums, classic rock albums, alternative albums, ’60s albums, ’90s albums, all coming out the wazoo. For me, all the history of modern music, rock, blues, jazz, coalesced and circulated in a massive storm over a recording studio in Los Angeles in May 1970. For two weeks The Stooges channeled all the hectic and destructive energy of loud music and put it on tape. The result was Fun House. Continue reading “Ron Asheton”
When living in the city, never buy rice from the corner store if it comes packaged in a cardboard box. There is no liner in the box, and you can’t see inside. The rice just sits in there, snug against the smooth, brown sidewalls, in an imperfect seal. After you pour out a cup into some boiling water and all sorts of brown stuff floats to the top, that’s when you realize that at some point between harvesting, processing, packaging, and sitting on a shelf, your box of rice became infested with bugs. Rice in a plastic bag mitigates this problem. Look in the bag, check for bugs. No bugs? Buy the bag, and store in the freezer.
Dave Sim, creator and writer of the cult comic Cerebus, despite going completely around the bend in recent years, once wrote something very sensible. “Never fall in love with a bar.” This is good advice. Hang around one place long enough, and that bar a person has come to spend so much time in will do the unthinkable. It will change. Favorite staff will leave, choosing to get on with their lives rather than spend their nights feeding the regulars drinks. (Who can blame them? Spending too much time in a bar is bad for a person’s health. Working in one is just no way to live.) The owner will get it in his head to remodel this or that, making everything clean, polished, and prefab. Maybe they will even install windows in the front where there were none before (A truly seismic shift. Depending on how one feels, this is akin either to a facelift, or a horribly disfiguring car accident.). The point is, to a person in love with a bar, any small change can feel like a betrayal. Months or years have been spent acclimating to a bar’s very specific atmosphere. It becomes the reason to go to that particular spot, and when it changes, the process has to begin again. Eventually, change accumulates to the point where a person has been abandoned by their bar, and they have to seek out someplace new. Continue reading “How to Kill a Bar”
The pool at the Tallmadge YWCA was divided into three sections when the kids from the summer day camp had their afternoon swims. The shallow end, the middle, and the deep end. There were about thirty of us, maybe more, six and seven year olds all the way up to fourteen year olds — teenagers who walked among us like gods. All morning long we were packed into a room at the top of a bleak set of stairs and locked in, doing who knows what. I don’t remember. Board games. Activities. But every afternoon, if we weren’t off somewhere on a field trip, it was down to the pool, after lunch had been given an appropriate time to settle, of course. Continue reading “Chlorine Stings the Eyes”