Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rambling Man

I've gotten some emails/Facebook messages/Facebook wallposts/comments/phonecalls/texties/twitterlings/messenger pigeons asking, "Chris, where are you and what are you doing this summer? Are you on tour? Milampalooza? I heard you're on a mountain. I heard you work at Regions now. I heard you're in witness protection. I heard you're speed-training Michael Vick. What gives?"

It's all true, and deserving an explanation. I'm actually in and out (mostly out) of Nashville until August 1. I'm using that time away to do more writing (of the non-blog variety), and a lot of working, and much of that time will be spent on top of a mountain. Unlike Ron Burgundy, I have one.

So, I'm long on:
Natural resources
Reading material
Instruments of music and death
Fruit Roll-Ups
Wake-up calls
Feral cats

I'm short on:
Steady interwebs
Football or
Football news
Football things to enjoy
Football things to make life worth living
Football things to take away the slow, grinding, powerdeath that is baseball season
Athlon previews
The New Green Day, for crying out loud

If anyone would like to send me any of these things, including a gun or slingshot with which to kill feral cats, you can mail them:

C/O Chris Mountain Milam
Gray Dock on Little River
Georgiabamasee, Zip Code 50
Time Zone Unknown
Planet Earth

Meantime, I've gotta unload my head...

--If you go to a car dealership and say, "Give me the universal cop car. In white. So I can drive 70 on the interstate and freak people out," you should get a government-issued rickshaw instead. Also, I hate you.

--Last time I was in Nashville (week ago) people were driving like humans. Humans who had some place to be. Humans who had some idea of how to get there. Humans who had seen an automobile before. Can somebody there now tell me if this revolution is still going on? Or was it staged for my benefit?

--The more I listen, the more I think Otis Redding is what Man At His Best sounds like. Nobody made romanticism and vulnerability sound stronger and more powerful.

--Maybe the quickest way for music writers to discredit themselves is to label someone "the next Bob Dylan." Congratulations, you went from Zero to Wrong in under five words.

--Honeysuckle. Honeysuckle. Honeysuckle.

--In the last 24 hours, I've had bacon with honey and french fries with sugar. If you're thinking to yourself, "Chris is on pace for a coronary," and "Someone on that mountain is a culinary genius," you'd be 2-for-2.

--Settle down, I didn't think the sugar-fries would be good, either. They are. Go with it.

--Most girls ages 16-22 look the same to me. I can't accurately guess, I've never been able to, and I think I'm getting worse at it.

--In unrelated news, I'm hiding out on a mountain for 8 weeks.

--It's weird writing about pop culture from a place so detached from it. It's also weird to step into a mom-and-pop hardware store in the middleofmountainnowhere and hear Wilco. The lesson, as always: I know nothing.

--I don't know off-hand how many country music awards shows there are in a calendar year, but I'd put the over/under at 34. And I'd take the over.

--I love Michael Jackson's Thriller. But, I was too young to actually experience the phenomenon of Thriller as it happened. I just know the songs and like them, but it's a whole different thing for people my brother's age and older. And for that reason, I'll go ahead and say it: sometimes I think Thriller's overrated.

--Of course, I also look at every young starlet from the 80's and think, "my high school Latin class had more cute girls," so maybe you just had to be there.

--But, you know, I wasn't.

--Subquestion: Is it possible the 80's were the 2nd-worst decade in the 20th century (the 30's being the worst)?

--Subsubpoint: Contrary to everything I've written, I actually like my generation. We're largely optimistic, and we stereotypically value versatility and service and tolerance, all good things. But "weird nostalgic uberlove for everything about 80's pop culture" has to top the list of Things I Don't Like About My Generation.

1) We weren't really around for the 80's. We drooled through it. So what exactly do we think we're nostalgic for? Bad toys? Pull-ups?
2) The 90's were the deal, and the decade of our youth. They are right there, waiting for our love and wistful blogs and ironic imitations, etc. And we're picking Lacoste and Bon Jovi? Really?

--Fine, I'll say it: where did Inside the Actor's Studio go? Not that I miss it. Just asking.

--For people who care about these things, here's my Pre-Preseason College Football Top 10. Chime in with yours:


Milam's College Football Prepreseason Top 10:

1) Florida
Florida actually has their own list. It's called the "can we skip ahead and just design our rings already" list. I hear it's fun.

2) Texas
Most complete returning team not named Florida.

3) Ohio State
If you've got one great player in the Big 10, you've got 9 more than everyone else. I'll be shocked if they lose in-conference, which means they'll be in the hunt at years-end.

4) Alabama
Let me get this straight: all that's standing in the way of duplicating last year are Nick Saban's ability to develop young linemen and DB's? And Greg McElroy's ability to match --wait for it--John Parker Wilson? Really? Those are the obstacles? This is me, doubling down.

5) Oklahoma
Sure, they don't have an offensive line or defensive back seven. Sure. But....uh, where was I?

6) Georgia
Hi, I'm Georgia. I underachieve when I'm loaded with talent and I overachieve when I'm supposed to be rebuilding. I've been doing this since the Carter Administration. Also, I have arguably the best lines in the SEC and I will be able to run the ball all freaking day. I'm not going to win a national championship. I'm going to win a ton of games, and nobody will want to play me. Sounds good. I'm glad we had this talk.

7) USC
There's a difference between having talented players and having special players. USC hasn't had special players in a while, and now they're rebuilding on both sides of the ball. They'll be good enough to win the Pac-10, but not good enough to win in Columbus, and definitely not good enough to avoid the likes of the Oregon State Beavers. Juggernaut that they are.

8) Virginia Tech
Can a defense be good enough to win a national title all by itself? Can a team win 13 games by an average score of 2-0? Watch Captain Bud Foster and His Powers of Defensical Superdomination to find out.

9) Oklahoma State
Can an offense be good enough to win a national title all by itself? No. No is always the answer. Next!

10) Ole Miss
Number 10, with a bullet. Houston Nutt does what Houston Nutt do: jump up and bite people as an underdog and lose as the favorite. So, yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if Ole Miss lays a Rebel turd at midfield and loses 4 games this year. They're also genuinely stacked with proven playmakers, so I wouldn't be surprised if they win the West. So, what I'm saying here is...uh...

Honorable Mentions:
Opposing fans are scared of their athletes and their home field advantage. Tiger fans are scared of Les Miles. Who wins? Maybe no one.

Georgia Tech:
Show me the ACC defense--other than Virginia Tech--who stops them this year. They'll win a ton of games, and give Mark Richt an ulcer.

Oregon State:
Because I still love all of this so very much.


--Alright, I'll ask: Did Todd Blackledge take all his "Taste of the Town" weight and throw it at Jesse Palmer?

--And how have we gone two seasons of Todd's Taste of the Town without a Holly Rowe cameo?

--Did the Allman Brothers ever experience winter?

--Conversely, has Bon Iver ever seen the sun?

--If Clear Eyes get the red out, Visine puts the red in.

--At what age do you stop making up games? At nine, I could make up a game with a roll of duct tape, a stick, a steep incline, and four minutes to kill. I would name it something (let's go with "Rocketball") and it would be played for months. There would be a Rocketball League. There would be Rocketball statisticians. There would be Rocketball offshoots, rules variations, a gaming committee, etc. All because I was bored for four minutes and had a roll of duct tape. Now you ask me to fill 15 minutes and I throw a football to myself.

--You know which flavor of Fruit Roll Up is the best? The one I'm eating, that's what.

--There is a short list of World's Greatest Things That I Continue to Forget About Until I Stumble Upon Them. On that list:

Calvin & Hobbes
Six-lane interstates
The state of Mississippi
The Kinks
Paul Rudd
Scent of a Woman
Freedom of speech
Vanessa Marcil

But perhaps topping this list, and certainly its inspiration...

Snickers Ice Cream bars. For reals.

--Kudos to May's Fan of the Month, Jerry, for trumping my Songs for June. He writes, "Is it possible that Counting Crows' This Desert Life is an entire album for June? Is it one of the only albums that is?"

I don't know that it's one of the only albums that is, but it's one of the only ones I can think of as I type this. Some songs ("Colorblind," "Hangin Around") have more wintertime connections for me, but that's only due to my specific memories, not the music itself. It's a sunny, fairly disjointed, mid-tempo record that never soars too high and never goes too low. It's never satisfied. It's not the best, but it's solid and somewhat underrated. Even the "winter songs" on the album still thematically match the season. Sounds like June to me.

I've seen Cadillacs sailing,


ross k. said...

Funny you mention Thriller. Last week somebody showed me the new 25th anniversary version of Thriller that he'd just bought. Till then I had no idea they'd done such a thing. There's nothing important on it, some studio outtakes, whatever, no reason to buy it if you already have Thriller.

I'm not sure anyone says Thriller is the best album ever or the best Michael Jackson album, people just say it's the most popular album because more copies of it have sold than anything else. If you feel like, because of that, it should be better than the other albums and that's why it feels or seems "overrated," then that's understandable. But I'm not sure anyone really thinks that or is saying that, all that's rated are its popularity and sales. It's not really better or worse music than Off the Wall and Bad, they're all good albums, Thriller just sold better.

I'm guessing that any over-hype of Thriller getting you riled up is just to sell the 25th anniversary album that came out, and would be the fault of record labels, TV channels who want ratings, and writers who have to turn in SOMETHING--not average music folks. Keeping meaningless noise and buzz going means a lot of jobs and sales of things people have forgotten. Hence all these VH1 and Rolling Stone TOP 100 ______ OF ALL TIME EVER! which means, recorded music from the last 40 years that we would like to sell more copies of again. It's not all-time-ever and they're not rating anything, they're telling you to buy stuff.

So let's all have a walk surrounded by chlorophyll-makers and breathe deeply.

Chris Milam said...

Word, RK. I agree on the point that recent hype of it being the best ever is just a marketing scheme. Really I'm just responding to years of hearing people slightly older FREAK OUT when songs from Thriller come on the radio. And I'm sitting back there going, "yeah, I mean, it's good, but..." I just missed the experience of it, and I think that goes a long way toward how people remember it. It was one of those transcendent pop cultural moments, but all I know are the songs. And I like the songs, but...

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