Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Golden Ring/Twisted String

Rings will be given out on Opening Day.

I never gave the answer to that quiz...The home plate logo had "AMAT" and a baseball inside it: "He (, she, or it) loves baseball." "What's that? Oh, it's Latin, isn't it?"--Max Fisher

I've been thinking about how these baseball hero types of ours really gain a mythological appeal, especially in the off-season. It's like these magical giants who have brought us so much joy have been hibernating in far away places that we'll never see. And now we see Ortiz and Manny and Damon smiling, laughing, and walking around again. Granted, we've seen plenty of highlights while they been away, but those are the moments that have already been etched in stone. You rarely if at all see, say, Manny Ramirez physically do anything in the off-season. But now they're back, and the possibilities are endless. I can't wait to see what happens.

I get a similar feel from musicians, too. For example, I've been listening to my favorite elfin harp player (as in an elf-like person who plays a harp, not a person who plays a tiny harp--that would be a harmonica player) a lot lately. Her name is Joanna Newsom. When you listen to a song or an album repeatedly for days or weeks or months, the music becomes a part of you, in a weird way. But even though you may feel an attachment to the artist herself as well as her music, she has long since moved on from where she was when she recorded that music. And when you haven't seen any footage or pictures of the artist since you started listening to their music, they really do become a type of mythical creature. You're living with their creation, living vicariously through it, and commanding them to tell you a story in song form whenever you feel like it. You listen to their work to get to know who you think they are. But they are far from you.

So with a newer artist like Joanna Newsom, I've seen the few pictures of her that are available online, and on the album cover. (I saw her play live, but it was before I'd heard any of her music. My first impression after seeing her: What the hell unknown country is she from? Answer: San Francisco.) But that's it. All I can do is let my impresion of her continue to grow and evolve inside my brain.

Until this Thursday, when she will be playing live on, of all crappy shows, the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. I am psyched. It's like spring training. Like, here comes this person I know so well, but don't really know at all. And I haven't seen her physically doing anything in a long time, so it will be a thrill. The visuals from my mind when I hear the music mixing with an actual moving picture of the artist on a screen at this moment. (Alright, taped from a few hours before--but, like Cheers, in front of a live studio audience.)

And reading that back to myself, yes, it sounds like I am stalking this woman. I am not. I've read that Dave Eggers wrote an article (can't find a link) about Joanna, not knowing what she looked like, and wished that for once, a woman who makes beautiful music could be physically ugly. That would be cool. I remember when Lilith Fair was happening, saying to myself, This should be called Sarah McLachlan's No Fat Chicks Fest. To have a festival that's supposed to showcase the talents of females only include women who fit the American male-imposed stereotype of what an attractive woman should look like defeats the purpose. My point is, I'd be enthralled by this Joanna Newsom even if she was a man. And there would still be beauty there because of the music. And then I thought, Wait, my friend Wingate makes good music, but I'm still not attracted to him. That's when the phrase "My penis makes you beautiful" jumped into my head. Someone needs to write a book with that title. Again, Thurday night, ABC, roughly 12:30 (I think), Jimmy Kimmel Live, Joanna Newsom. Space alien from San Fran. Beautiful harp music. Voice like your inner child. Key: Hear the word harp, don't think classical music. I wouldn't do that to you.

Speaking of people who could be called J-New, I've been trying to figure out who started that trend--the [first letter of first name followed by first syllable or three letters of last name] style nickname. (A-Rod, J-Lo, D-Lew.) And saying J-New in my head made me realize that there really was a J-New: The basketball player Johnny Newman. That had to be the early nineties. And the Nebraska football team had Johnny Mitchell, who called himself J-Mitch. My family went to Florida on vacation for New Year's '91-'92, and the team was staying at our hotel in Miami. I'll never forget seeing the hulking Mitchell walk right past me witha black "J-MITCH" hat on. So help me out, here. Who was the first person to use that nickname device? (This is not an official quiz.)

Random thought of the day: It hit me today that the first baby born on the Moon will inevitably be named Adam or Eve. I'd like to go on record as being the first earthling to be "Anti-first-Moon-baby-being-called-Adam-or-Eve." To the Moon with futuristic unoriginality.

Got my Phillies ticket this morning. Yes, ticket. I think I got the last one available for the whole series. Got up at 6 A(F'n)M, hit the button to buy tickets repeatedly until 6:24, when I got through. Checked Saturday, no tix left, not even singles. Sunday, same deal. Friday, one ticket, last section of upper deck. Tried to get another single, none left. Looks like I'm goin' to Philly on my own. I'm thinking about hitting up Cleveland earlier that week (Tribe tix on sale March 5), and I'm going to Fenway for one game in each of the series' before those two road series', so it will be quite a two week stretch for me. Summer is here, Lord Channington.

Did I just say "hitting up Cleveland?" (Also not an official quiz.)


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Location: Rhode Island, United States