Beer and Pavement

The Game

Posted in Jock Straps by SM on November 26, 2011

I once unsuccessfully argued in favor of college football on this blog. Since that time, the Tat-5, Nevin Shapiro, Willie Lyles, and Gerry Sandusky all happened, tarnishing what has been a rather tarnished game already. Plus, there’s the fact that college football doesn’t really do higher education any favors.  Still, I’m a fan, specifically of the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

It’s been a rough season for OSU as several key players have been out due to suspensions and injury. Maybe the most successful coach in school history is gone. In his place is an energetic, promising assistant who just isn’t ready for the spotlight yet. The result is a 6-5 record entering the final game (now 6-6) as touchdown-underdogs. Things suddenly don’t look good ethically or athletically at Ohio State.

Thankfully, the season (aside from possible bowl games) comes to an end today. Ohio State played Michigan in what is known as “The Game™,” the greatest rivalry in all of sports. Today was the 108th time the two schools have met, all of it over Toledo. Michigan pulled out the win for the first time in eight years and only the second in ten. So, it’s not all bad.

Ohio State jumped on top early. They put together a pretty good fight and somehow put 34 points on the board, which is a huge accomplishment for a team that’s struggled on offense all year. Still, they came up short and now I have to listen to fans of a team that is batting .200 in a rivalry over the last decade for another 365 days. Whatever.

The game was still important today. My greatest memories of childhood revolve around the game. I remember wins and losses, touch football in the backyard, and candy buckeyes. There was the year the Buckeyes won for Earl Bruce, Eddic George ended the Cooper drought, and the game of the century. I’m not religious, but if I were, my religion would center around the Game.

This year, it let me down. I tried to celebrate the first half lead with a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, but the lead didn’t last long. So, I drowned my sorrows with a 2009 vintage Lagunitas Gnarly Wine. It will be a long 365 days until revenge is ours. So, I’ll wait for Urban Renewal and the basketball team to lift my spirits.

Consider this Saturday filler. The month’s almost over…

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Posted in Jock Straps by SM on October 28, 2011

No post today. I was up late, cheering on the Cardinals. That is maybe the most Missourian thing I’ve ever done. There are good posts in the works. I will have a legit top-5 ready for Monday as well as two shows this weeked. Stay tuned…

H/T J Parshal (Click me.)

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Top 5 for September 26, 2011

Posted in Beer, Jock Straps, Life, Top 5, Uncategorized by SM on September 26, 2011

Have you filled out my survey? Well, do it. I have a grade to maintain. And on with the list…

1. 20 Years Ago – It seems that the nostalgia cycle has firmly settled on my generation (X). There are numerous Nevermind tributes, including my own. However, there were other records that came out in 1991. That and a lot has come out in honor of feminism’s third wave taking off in the form of ‘zines and riot grrrl happenings. Of course, all of this 90’s retro fever will only encourage me to force outdated media on my child. Hence the purpose of this blog has gone mainstream (aside from the beer part).

2. The Ohio State Buckeyes 2011 Football Season – I’d rather not write much about football. All is not lost, but it’s a rebuilding year for sure. Freshman Braxton Miller started and won. So, there’s that. B1G starts this week. We’ll see how things go from here on out. The off-season of suspensions and coach firings has done a number on my favorite sports team. Here’s to hoping the NCAA is kind next month.

3. Spotify – I wish I had more time for Spotify. This is the social music tool for which I’ve always dreamed. I haven’t created a lot of complete play lists, but I’m starting. If only they had more music. At least a third of the music for which I search is not yet available. I know that I could just upload my own, but that takes time and most of my CD’s are put away. It will take time, but I’ll post some play lists soon enough. In the meantime, subscribe to my play list for the blog. It will be updated periodically.

4. Black Francis Update – Black Francis is bottled and will sit for another 3-4 weeks in said bottles for some additional aging and conditioning. I originally planned to let it sit in the secondary for two months, but I decided to move it after six weeks? Why? Multiple reasons, really. First, I’m impatient waiting on home brew and I knew it tasted pretty great a week or two ago. Second, I have plans to brew more and figured I might need the carboy and/or the space. Third, everything was long-settled and the flavors seemed to have soaked in well enough. Fourth, I accidentally left the cover off the carboy for several days after tasting it. I don’t detect any oxidation, but I figured it was time to bottle and move on. My hope is that I have plenty of bottles to share around the holidays.

Speaking of home brewing…I brewed an all-grain batch of my Simcoe-dependency yesterday. It should be awesome. It smelled pretty awesome anyway. I may offer tasting notes once it’s ready.

5. Hopz – I tried one of those Hopz cigars. I bought them for my father-in-law for his retirement. We smoked a couple yesterday. Pretty mild, loosely wrapped, but I didn’t get any hops. Maybe it’s all marketing. I guess it worked.

Free Association Blog Post

Posted in Beer, Film, Intersections, Jock Straps, Life, Records by SM on February 21, 2011

I have some things in the works and some other things I wanted to mention, but none of that is ready nor does it interest me at the moment[1]. So, for your reading pleasure, I will do a little free association blog post that will hopefully hit on some of the things not quite worthy of their own blog posts.

Looking for a new way to label my homebrew, I designed and ordered the following rubber stamp.

The plan is to stamp some big mailing labels, write in which beer is in the bottle, and slap those mothers on. It will save me from having to print out extravagant labels at Kinkos while providing me a uniform way to mark my own brews. A good point was made regarding the new name of my fictitious brewery: It’s better than naming it “Watery Domestic,” a name I never considered. For those of you not in the know, Treble Kicker was Pavement’s made-up label for their first few singles. They later just put it on every release, sort of for publishing purposes or something. I’m using it as the ideal moniker to connect my two loves into my homebrews[2].

Speaking of homebrewing, I did this collaboration with a friend. He used leftover malt to brew a pale ale and I supplied leftover hops[3]. We split the beer to see what we each could do with dry-hopping. I had several mishaps with bottling, making me label the caps “FML” or fuck my life[4].  The first bottle was opened seven days in at a homebrew tasting last weekend. It was awful, but the veteran homebrewers in the room assured me that waiting it out might result in a better beer. Well, I opened one last night and it is getting better. Hopefully it will continue to improve.

I’m also hoping that the new Bright Eyes’ album will get better. It’s supposedly the last album to be released under “Bright Eyes” and that might be for good reason. Conor Oberst appears to be all out of ideas at the moment. When he did that pre-emo, cathartic thing he did in his late-teens/early-twenties, he was supposed to be the next Dylan[5]. Really, it was some good stuff. Then, he released maybe his best folk album alongside a semi-electronica record[6]. Okay. Then, after a live album and a rarities collection, he went down the[7] rabbit hole, seemingly never to return. This would have been acceptable as so many artists do the same. Plus, he typically aligned himself with some excellent musicians. Alas, Conor was not meant to be. He released the regrettable People’s Key last week. I’m holding off judgement to see if it will grow on me, but I’m not hopeful[8]. At least the artwork and design of the record sleeve is interesting.

Speaking of “interesting” album artwork, I finally unwrapped Tennis’ Cape Dory. This album is everything that Bright Eyes’ “effort” is not. It’s fresh, moving, interesting, enjoyable, etc. Of course, one has to get over the awful, awful artwork on the cover[9]. It’s low-fi with that echoey, Phil Spector-ish doo-wop feel and retro vocals[10]. It reminds me a ton of Camera Obscura if they recorded from bedrooms instead of studios. Still, this will be a nice record to enjoy as the weather turns.

And as the weather turns, March approaches. I try not to write too much about the sports-ball in these parts, but I have to address this at least one time before March Madness descends upon us. My boys at Ohio State are the best college basketball team in the nation[11] and early favorites to win it all in March/early-April. They are lead by a core of experienced players that seem to have played in Columbus for 15 years as well as three freshman stars. One of those freshman is Jared Sullinger whose ass[12] keeps defenders off as he puts up 18 and 10 on a nightly basis. Look for Ohio State to make a deep run this year in the tournament.

Something else happens in March…

The first weekend of March in these parts is dedicated to the True/False Film Festival. It’s our very own documentary film festival and it’s the best thing that happens here every year. We have reservations to see somewhere between 16 and 17 films[13] over the weekend (starting Thursday), plus a few parties and live music in between. There will be a full report here and possibly more somewhere else[14]. It’s going to be an incredible weekend this year. I can just feel it.

… feeling it, I feel as though I’m about to have my mind blown. I’ll be imbedded in said festival like never before[15], there are some interesting records coming my way, and there’s a ton of beer on the horizon. So, there will be a lot to discuss here. Come back, even if you noticed the lack of footnotes in previous posts. They’ll be back. Don’t worry[16]. Sorry for the filler. I’ll wrap up the Archers of Loaf oeuvre on Wednesday, plug in something interesting about either beer, indie rock, or both on Friday, an preview the film fest next week.

1In other words, I have several barely-started posts sitting there in the dashboard and another dozen or so ideas I just don’t feel like posting. This three posts a week thing is getting tough. Still, dear reader, I feel you deserve better than filler. However, that’s what you’re getting.
2Plus, the design and name scream punk/lo-fi indie rock. There’s no way that there’s a better (fake) brewery out there, anywhere.
3Using leftovers should have been my first clue that the beer would be questionable, but we carried on the experiment anyway.
4I’m worried that there was too much oxygen pumped into the beer, which is not a good thing. Consider that there is a reason beer is sealed in kegs, firkins, casks, bottle, or cans and not just sitting out in the open. There could have also been some unwanted bacteria, but I hope not.
5This never made much sense to me. Dylan’s the superior songwriter; Oberst is the better performer, musician. Still, I hold Oberst in high regard as a songwriter. For me, they are two very, very different kinds of rock stars/folk singers. Any comparison is silly, even lazy.
6The songs were okay, but the musical direction was a mistake.
7I realize it is 2011, but I think I have a statement to make on in an upcoming blog post. Oberst’s turn to the cow punk is not surprising, nor is the demise of Bright Eyes. I will explain once I piece together an argument with examples.
8Honestly, I hate writing bad things about musicians I like. They work too hard at what they do to be ridiculed by a hack with a blog like myself. That said, I feel it disingenuous not to be honest. I just try to make it a practice not to go on and on about bands I like letting me down.
9Just look at it. It’s awful. AWFUL!
10Actually, everything about this release is retro. The cover looks like it’s out of the early 80’s. The music is 60’s pop and the aesthetic is 90’s lo-fi.
11Some would argue that this is not the case as they have dropped two of their last three games. However, both of those games were on the road to the 2nd and 3rd placed teams in the conference. This was the meat of the schedule where everyone knew they’d lose some games. All I know is the next four teams on the schedule better look out as Ohio State will be on a mission.
12It’s big.
13I suspect we’ll fall short of this goal. That’s a lot of documentary film to watch.
14I’ve taken on a project to help another local blogger get a Columbia blog thing going. I’ve written a post and am formulating the next. I only have to post twice a month, so that shouldn’t be too hard. There’s one in the can on The Foundry Field Recordings, another in the works on a seminal album by locals Bald Eagle, and another will happen covering the music of True/False. It should be interesting.
15There’s the Lux pass upgrade, my name on a guest list for an exclusive party, and a Twitter account that’s not mine. It’s not as exciting as it might sound, but it makes me feel like I’m on the inside of this thing.
16Man, I haven’t had sixteen footnotes in forever. This feels good!

The One Where He Blogs About College Football

Posted in Jock Straps by SM on October 27, 2010

Every building same height
Every street a straight line
Team colour’s yellow and blue
Cheerleaders single file
Perfect smiles unaffected
And you won’t forget
Our colour’s blue
No you won’t forget it

Twenty miles westwards
Home of the Redbirds
Team colour’s crimson blue
Open up your purses
For the boys to reimburse us
With a goal line stand on 4th and 2

And so goes Pavement’s “Lions (Linden)” off of the EP Watery, Domestic.

One thing I always appreciated about Pavement was their open fandom for the sports ball. They played basketball and table tennis backstage at Lollapalooza. Bob’s been betting on horses forever. Even now, Malk, a long-time fantasy sports junkie, came out in a Jamaal Charles[1] for the band’s Kansas City gig. All this made me feel OK about my own love for organized team sports growing up alongside my love of indie rock and anything alt.

One of those sports is football, particularly college football. Growing up in Ohio, you learned to love The Ohio State University Buckeyes. Their storied history of championships, legendary coaches, and great players were practically taught in the schools. I remember watching games at home or attending a few in person at the mammoth Ohio Stadium. While Ohio and its culture is in my blood, Ohio State football is a part of that experience and therefor will always be a part of who I am.

The trouble with liking a sport like college football, is that many of one’s more artistic, intellectual, leftist friends don’t get it. In fact, they look down upon it. My lifelong fandom is relegated to guilty pleasure status as these friends and acquaintances look down upon such a brutish sport that only represents the worst in American culture.

The way in which these friends criticize my favorite sport is quite insulting, really, but I recognize that everyone’s entitled to his/her opinion. They don’t have to like college football. That’s fine. However, the sport (like most sports) has cultural and societal value. Plus, college football has no worse an effect on culture and society than other, supposedly more prestigious entertainment options.

Take this past weekend for instance. The University of Missouri celebrated its annual homecoming weekend here, including a high-stakes, nationally significant college football game. The hype was insane for most of the week as ESPN’s College Gameday (as well as other ESPN programming) was scheduled to take place on Missouri’s campus. All this led up to a marquee match-up of two undefeated teams: the hometown Tigers versus the #1 Oklahoma Sooners. Missouri won and all hell broke loose.

Several things happened or were discussed over the weekend that perturbed me.

First, with the activity around campus reaching a fever pitch, academics in my circle[2] began complaining about all the hoopla. For this, I can’t blame them. Their workplace was being transformed into a TV set, students were skipping class with excitement, and the bane of any academic’s existence (the football team) was at the root of it all. Admittedly, I avoided campus as well as I did not want to be held up by the growing crowds of gold and black clad students and alumnae.

That said, the best thing some of these professors could do would have been to simply ignore the proceedings or even acknowledge them without judgement (which many did in all fairness). Instead, the contempt was often expressed in classes toward students, most likely alienating them for the remainder of the semester. How do you bash their school pride like that? There have to be worse things than students being excited about the school in which they attend. Teachers and professors don’t have to cancel class, but they could at least support their students a bit.

And don’t pretend that the football team has no value to the university. The University of Missouri, like countless other universities with major college football programs, benefitted greatly from their 2007 team in the form of increased enrollment. The excitement created by that team has carried over the past several years and the campus holds more students than ever before. More students means the need for all those professors who need justification for their employment (aside from their research, of course).

The second thing that bothered me was the general response by local progressives to the football game and the surrounding excitement. It was the talk of the town the next morning at one of our favorite breakfast spots. Sarcastic questions of “Did you go to the game?” followed by eye-rolling. I posted pictures of the ESPN Gameday broadcast, featuring a record crowd for the program and a herculean effort of sign creation. The response was that it was somehow “creepy”. Let’s take a look at one of those creepy images…

For comparison, look at this image from a Flaming Lips concert…

Or this one of Justin Bieber fans…

OR this one of Burning Man…

Or this one of protesters…

What makes the first image creepy and the rest perfectly acceptable? A friend responded with the following[3]:

  • Uncritical conformity to group norms.
  • De-Individuation of the Self
  • Blind obedience to authority
  • Dehumanization of the opposing team
  • Allegiance based on arbitrary factors
  • Inculcating the idea that zero-sum games are the only ones worth playing

Let’s break that down a bit…

Calling the crowd uncritical is a bit of an assumption. We don’t know what discussions were going on. I followed much of the event on Twitter and while a significant amount of discussion focused on how great the festivities were, there were also some critical and witty exchanges. Regardless, it’s difficult to assume the entire crowd of 18,000 fans was uncritical. If anything, football fans can be a highly critical lot and ESPN College Gameday is one of the more critical college athletic shows, in regards to football anyway. So, calling them uncritical is a stretch.

As far as the conformity of group norms, I’m not sure that’s so creepy either. In all of the images above, people are conforming to norms. In fact, like all the examples above, there are also moments of participants demonstrating some sort of individuality. In fact, the goal of the College Gameday crowds is often to create the most unique signs. How is that conforming?

The “de-individuation of the self” is laughable as all or most of the participants are doing whatever they can to stand out in the crowd. For someone who knows the inside jokes (i.e. the program’s intended audience), many of the signs displayed Saturday were quite clever. So, there is still room for individuality of self in such an event.

Besides, who’s to say that being a part of a group of like-minded folk is “creepy”? What happens at a rock concert or political protest? A bunch of people with similar thinking all gathering to feel a sense of community with like-minded peers. How is that creepy? How is that any different than getting together with my beer club or attending a Flaming Lips concert in full furry regalia?

The blind obedience to authority really has me perplexed. First of all, who is the authority? Gary Pinkel, coach of the Missouri Tigers? Kirk Herbstreit, co-host of College Gameday? No one required those kids to skip sleep in order to camp out for a good spot in the university’s quad in order to get on the TV show. In fact, I bet the powers-that-be would have preferred the students sleep in their beds, only waking to sneak in a little extra studying, but that’s not the authority we’re talking about here, I guess.

And, again, who’s to say that this so-called authority isn’t worth following? We blindly follow politicians, musicians, craft brewers, etc. because we believe in what they stand for. Sure, I love a good Noam Chomsky quote as much as the next guy, but I don’t think it creepy when said quote is posted on Facebook and forty other people click “Like”.

I would argue that “dehumanization of the opposing team” isn’t the only thing that is occurring in some of the signs berating Missouri’s opponent, Oklahoma. In fact, a lot of what is going on is an attempt to humanize these athletes who are often seen as invincible beasts, not able to be bested on the field of play. It’s part of the football culture to talk a little good-natured trash. Do some fans take it too far? Sure, but don’t some fans dehumanize the opening act by booing them off stage? Protestors dehumanize politicians despite the fact that they often have families and lives outside of politics that prove them not to be the monsters protesters (or Facebook posters) make them out to be.

“Allegiance based on arbitrary factors.” Really? Define arbitrary. Could it be similar to the fact that I like hoppy beers? I dislike the Grateful Dead, but love Yo La Tengo. British beer just taste…I don’t know…British. I don’t like olives. Are none of these opinions valid? Besides, the fans in the photo at the top are fans because they go to school or have gone to Missouri or have family and friends participating in the big game. I don’t think that’s arbitrary. I think that’s belonging to something, supporting your team.

Finally, there is another assumption that every football fan believes that zero-sum games are the only ones worth playing. In general, that’s a huge leap, but I can explain how even football is not zero-sum. One of the best traditions of football at any level is the wish that neither team sustains injury. A clean, injury-free game is a good game, no matter who your team is.

The city of Columbia greatly benefitted from the Oklahoma fans who made the trip to Columbia, and the good folk of Norman will hope for the same next season. That’s not zero-sum.

Football contains many games within the game. How do these players match up? Who won that quarter? Who has the edge in passing yards? What’s the national ranking? What’s the status of the conference? Did our team improve from last year?

As you can see, the only thing creepy or wrong with college football is misconception. Is college football perfect? No. Are there things I wish were different, better? Yes. But to look down upon a huge number of people who wear their school colors and cheer for their team every Saturday in the fall is hypocritical and elitist[4]. For once, consider the passion of college football fans as if it were the passion you hold for something dear to you. Consider that fandom is part of the human condition. It contributes to our individualism. It’s part of what makes many of us who we are. Then, you might understand the feelings of euphoria that caused half of Columbia to rush the field upon the Tigers victory last night.

Please, comment. I understand if you don’t like college football or you’ve had a bad experience with it. However, you must recognize that people have a right to celebrate their passions as much as you do.

Not many notes for this post. It took me long enough to post this. If a good point is made or some explanation is needed, I’ll add them as necessary.
1Charles is a fantasy beast, like most top-notch NFL running backs.
2While this does include my partner, she is at least tolerant of football fandom. She doesn’t get it, but she accepts its place and therefore allows me this indulgence.
3I’m using a friend’s words here mostly because I had trouble articulating why this image would be creepy. He provided rather clear and articulate reasoning, me thinks. So clear, that I felt it necessary in using his words to refute his argument. It should make for good discussion at the bar.
4And not the good kind of elitist, like “We want the smart guy to be president.” Or “That dude is an elite guitar player.” I’m talking about the “I am better than you” kind of elitism here.

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LeBron James, Matador, and Disappointment

Posted in Jock Straps, Life, Pavement by SM on July 12, 2010

Disappointment is a part of life. Not everything goes your way. Disappointment can be a downer, it can even hurt a little. Sometimes, that disappointment is so bad that it morphs into distress or depression. Even once you accept disappointment’s inevitability, it doesn’t make the pain go away any quicker.

Sometimes we set ourselves up for the worst disappointments. Hype is built all around a person or an experience, hype that is never attainable. There’s this sense of entitlement that things should go our way just because we want it so badly. In these instances, the letdown is greatest.

Buy my ego!Such is the disappointment in my home state of Ohio1. That’s where LeBron James pulled the dagger stuck in Cleveland’s collective sporting heart, washed it in the polluted Cuyahoga River, and returned it to its home deep inside Cleveland Municipal Stadium where he twisted until there was no life left. In other words, he took advantage of his free agent status and signed with a team that is not the Cleveland Cavaliers who have the ability to win championships in the next two to three years as opposed to losing them the past three2. James is now a Heat3. The fans of Cleveland are so disenchanted from this letdown that they’re burning jerseys, making vague death threats, and even writing angry letters in Comic Sans4.

I won’t bore you with the trials and tribulations that is professional sports history in Cleveland5. Let’s just say they have not had much luck. However, when James was drafted as an 18-year-old phenom from nearby Akron, Clevelanders were convinced this was the ticket to ending their suffering. James himself declared his desire to bring a championship to Cleveland, but what star athlete wouldn’t do the same for their long suffering city? Cleveland fans bought into the myth, the legend-in-the-making. Suddenly, it was as if that 30% unemployment rate had disappeared. Drew Carey became funny. And videos like this would soon lose all humor and relevance…

So, things were good for a while. Even though the Indians6 and Browns were still just..well, the Indians and Browns, Cleveland sports fans had hope that LeBron James would return for another go at a championship. The Cavs had the best record in the league for two straight years and James was the two-time reigning NBA MVP as well. If he signed with the Cavs this off-season, LeBron could guarantee himself a max contract and the adoration of Clevelanders for eternity7.

Instead, over the course of an hour-long ESPN infomercial for his ego, LeBron James disappointed every single Cavs fan by deciding to move to Miami. Now, pro athletes do this all the time. However, an expectation had been built that LeBron would never leave Cleveland and win them a sorely needed championship. Sure, some of those expectations were built-up by a 25-year-old man8 who can dunk a basketball with the best of them, but most of those expectations were built or at least embellished by a fanbase hungry for a championship.

Cavs fans were more than a little disappointed and they demonstrated their hurt by burning James in effigy and declaring him enemy #1. They felt they had a right to a championship. They were spoiled by seven years of pretty amazing basketball and rhetoric that made them believe that even Cleveland was entitled to a championship. The entitlement unfulfilled left the people of Cleveland very, very disappointed to say the least.

Sorry for the sporting news, moving on with another example of disappointment…

never againIn my world, I have been obsessed with the Matador 21st anniversary party in Las Vegas and I’m not the only one. If you were to peruse the comments on the Matablog, you would find a similarly ravenous fanbase to the one that follows the Cleveland basketball franchise. And even before the tickets were to go on-sale, a similar sentiment was expressed as those pour fanatics in Cleveland.

Matador fans were already disappointed with the ticket price, hotel accommodations, Las Vegas’ allotment of tickets9, the lack of information, ticket price, no Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 reunion, an inability to call in sick for work to get tickets, ticket price, etc. before the tickets ever went on sale. There was a huge cry of disappointment that no one10 would be able to see maybe the most amazing three-day lineup in American independent music history. And swirling among that disappointment was that same sense of entitlement felt by those jilted Cavalier fans. Only this time, folks who had original “Girly Sound” tapes and saw Pavement when Gary Young still did headstands off his kit were incensed that they were not given their desired allotment of tickets due to their years of fandom as opposed to LeBron James’ jersey-wearing “witnesses” pining for a championship.

In the end, 2,100 or so people were able to score tickets. The real disappointment came when the tickets were gone in 2 minutes11. I should know, I tried in vain for 25 minutes just to get tickets and hotel packages into my shopping cart with no luck. I, like many others, was disappointed.

Basically, these two fanbases suffered tremendous disappointments last week, but not so much because their favorite sports star or indie label had let them down. Oh no, it had more to do with this strange entitlement they seem to feel. Cavs fans feel they are entitled to a championship. Indie rock fans felt they were entitled to see a reunited Guided By Voices from a black jack table. From where does that entitlement come? Does anyone really need these things?

The only thing I can come up with is that fans feel they deserve to be paid for their loyalty, their patronage. Would LeBron James or Matador be where they are without their fans? Maybe. Maybe not. They are both among the best at what they do. Something tells me they can find more fans. The fact is neither LeBron James nor Matador Records owe anyone anything. Sure, it would have been nice if LeBron had stayed in Cleveland and somehow won a championship on 31-year-old knees only to never walk again12. And it would have been really sweet if I had scored tickets to that Matador thing. The fact is that neither thing worked out. They were both disappointments, but that’s it.

There’s a certain amount of blind faith that is involved in fanaticism which allows people to feel they are entitled to a little payback. However, just because you  love LeBron James or Stephen Malkmus doesn’t mean you are entitled to their eternal servitude. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You’re lucky James played seven seasons in Cleveland13. We’re lucky Malk decided to reunite Pavement14 for one last go. No one is entitled to these things.

In conclusion (because I feel this post rambling out of control), most of this disappointment could be held in check if folks had tempered their fanaticism. Fans are not entitled to anything more than what’s offered. If a band tours through your town and you’re able to go, great! If your favorite athlete chooses to sign with your hometown team and delivers a championship, fantastic! However, you are not entitled to these things. After all, it is just entertainment.

I feel lucky that LeBron James, may be the most famous person from my home state, played some pretty amazing basketball for a team in said state. I feel lucky that I have seen many of the bands in their prime that are set to play Matador’s celebration. Sure, I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out the way I would have liked, but that’s OK. There will be other athletic triumphs to enjoy and concerts to attend. I might be disappointed, but the only thing I’m entitled to do is move on.

1Yes, this is not my current home state. However, when you lived the first 30 years in a place and have a tattoo to prove it, it is forever your home state.
2They tried to build a winner, but the problem is that the Cavs were built to win this year and they failed.
3I am not a fan of such team names as Heat, Magic, and the like. Really? There’s not some endangered species or terrible cultural stereotype from which you could mine your next mascot name?
4Comic Sans is a crime against humanity.
5That’s what footnotes are for! Let’s see, there’s The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Burning River, The Game Seven, The Sweep, The Manny Ramirez, and now The Decision.
6Hate U, racist Chief Wahoo!
7Well, the adoration would last a while. He’d still have to win a championship, but one championship goes a long way in Cleveland.
8Who was, at one time, an 18-year-old kid in the NBA promising the same things. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trust the 18-25 version of myself for anything.
9Which, from what I understand, was largely unclaimed after the online allotment went on sale. And the only reason Vegas was given so many tickets was because they whined about the lack of opportunity they had to score said tickets.
102,100 people to be exact.
11There was some confusion in the online ticketing system that caused some ticket-buyers to purchase more tickets and hotel rooms than they needed. For example, some people purchased four sets of four tickets and a room for four people. That’s sixteen tickets and four rooms for four people. There were some extra tickets for sale on Saturday, but I had had enough disappointment for one week.
12I suspect if James makes it to his 31-year-old bad knee self, he won’t be winning a trophy with any team.
13It should be noted that it may have been the most amazing first seven years of any NBA career in the history of the league. The kid is pretty impressive to watch.
14It probably wasn’t just up to SM, but had he said “no” there would have been no reunion.