Posts Tagged ‘barenaked ladies’

Joie de Vivre: Christmas Music

One of the (many) great things about Christmas is getting the chance (and the social leniency) to listen to Christmas music. Like most Catholics and Christmasphiles and unlike most everyone else, I love Christmas music.

I understand the complaints about Christmas music. I even agree that, for the most part, it sucks. Like, nine out of 10 Christmas songs played on the radio and in malls and other stores are indefensibly terrible.* Nothing promotes lazier “creativity” in music than Christmas, with popular artists knowing that an album of a dozen shoddy covers of public-domain classics will sell tremendously, since everyone knows someone who likes Christmas music and thus thinks buying that person a Christmas CD is a great and thoughtful gift.

*To be fair, this isn’t much different from the usual ratio on the radio these days.

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Aught Lang Syne: What Tim Is Looking Forward to in the Teens

In the Teens, I’m looking forward to…

…the career arc of LeBron James.

As of right now, the basketball populace seems more sure that LeBron James is the Player of the Next Decade than that Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan or Shaquille O’Neal is the Player of This One. We know that LeBron James is phenomenal now and that he will only continue to get better. But we still don’t know the extent of that improvement or where it will take place. Will James stick with his hometown Cavaliers or spurn them and become the most significant free-agent signing in sports history? If the latter, is it for the bright lights and crappy teammates of Madison Square Garden? The allure of eclipsing Jordan in Chicago? Or teaming up with Wade in Miami or Durant in, gasp, Oklahoma City?

This last question leads to the next one: Who will be James’s primary rival? Will Wade or Durant or Carmelo Anthony raise their games to the required levels to consistently compete with LeBron? Or will he, like Jordan, be too far above them to even be compared to another individual?

LeBron James will be the most culturally significant athlete of the Teens; it’s all a matter of how and where.

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It’s the Grey Cup!

10:01, TIM — Oh, man, they hand out a Most Valuable Player AND a Most Valuable Canadian? Isn’t that demeaning? (Cobourne was the former, and Cahoon–Canada’s Wes Welker–was MVC.)

9:55, TIM — Well, the real winner tonight was the Canadian Football League. When does next season start?

9:54, PIERRE — It was a good decision at the time, Tim, and a good decision now. And how weird: My team won, your team lost, and yet you seem more ecstatic than I do.

9:51, TIM — It’s GOOD! The greatest Grey Cup ever ends on a 33-yard Damon Duval field goal, moments after he badly missed a 43-yarder negated by a Saskatchewan penalty. The Alouettes overcame a 27-11 fourth-quarter deficit, and the Riders can’t help but think back on that rouge they gave Montreal by not accepting that penalty earlier, and for kicking that field goal at the end of the first half instead of going for seven.

I never told you I told you so, Pierre, but I told you so.*

*I finally worked some Barenaked Ladies in!

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In Defense of Grammar

Hi, I’m Tim, and I’m a language pedant.

I’m a corrector; you know, one of those guys that corrects you when you say something incorrectly. Think you can get away with disinterested/uninterested mishaps around me? Just ask Rick Reilly. Use reference as a verb when you mean refer and you’ll get a scolding. Same goes for legitimize instead of legitimate (that’s a long a sound at the end: legitimāte). Don’t get me started on the subjunctive mood. I prefer my friends be accurate there, and I don’t think this is particularly unique of me because nothing can be particularly unique.

The Elements of Style sits within reach on a shelf of my desk; I don’t have time to go walking to the other side of the room (and the real bookcase) in case of a grammatical emergency. In my abandoned novel, William Strunk, Jr. was a prominent character.*

*Probably one of the reasons for the adjective “abandoned.”

Although I’m what most would call a stickler, there are some suggestions I don’t always listen to. And clearly, I like to audaciously flaunt some of the basics. Can’t end with a preposition? Please. No starting with a conjunction? Ever hear of transitions? I can’t remember the last time I didn’t split an infinitive. This isn’t Latin.

Nevertheless, Ammon Shea’s attack on “language pedants”—his words—in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine felt personal. Shea expresses his frustration with “inveterate correctors” and reveals his own plan to topple them: via precedent!

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I Think My Logic Is Beyond Reproach

First off, John, thanks for pointing out that you’re kind of a contrarian. Based on your posts earlier this week that attacked typical American villains in Atticus Finch and checks and balances, I was afraid you were going too mainstream. I was waiting for your next post: “How To Strangle Puppies.”*

*With special co-blogger… that’s too easy.

Second, it is interesting to note, as I did oh so long ago, that it’s far easier to hold the stance you do—that some things’ greatness is ineffable—when those things are considered great by the general populace. It’s not often that one really challenges you on your love for The Beatles, Dylan, Shakespeare, The Godfather, or The Wire. They are all part of the cultural canon by now, perceived as the best of the best. (It’s also notable that another work of culture that you once explained in your typical terse “You just don’t get it” manner, Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” didn’t make this list; maybe because it’s not considered part of the canon, and you know how ludicrous it sounds now to claim that the song is great because it just is.)

The point is it’s a lot harder to say these things about less beloved artists; someone along the lines of, oh I don’t know, Barenaked Ladies. Individuals with non-conformist tastes are forced to defend them far more often; how many times have you or Josh condemned my preference for BnL? And how many times have you been condemned for your disbelief in God?

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In Defense of… Barenaked Ladies

“I could hide out under there / I just made you say, ‘Underwear.’”

It’s kind of an embarrassing confession: Barenaked Ladies are my favorite band.

You see, my relationship to music has been a very simple and static one. I grew up listening to non-threatening, easy-on-the-ears ‘90s rock. I never really stopped. I never had an emo phase, a classic rock phase, or a synth phase. Hearing Dylan or Pearl Jam or Eminem didn’t change the way I thought about music, let alone in a profound way.

Because of all this, I’ve been told I don’t really “get” music.

But I don’t think a lot of people “get” Barenaked Ladies, either.

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