The 2017 Siddos

Oscar Schmoscar! 

Nobody cares about that antiquated three-hour celebration of fuddy-duddies and their cold clammy takes on movies anymore! Roll with the times…it’s time for an awards show that gets that you’re too busy.

It’s the 2017 Siddos! Put your hands together for The Chats!

Shouldn’t take more than ten minutes, and none of that wrong envelope shit either! Plus, we are NOT trying to milk the suspense here. Here are all the winners:

    Best movie: Get Out
    Best Writer/Director: Jordan Peele, Get Out
    Best Man Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
    Best Woman Actor: Vicky Krieps, Phantom Thread
    Best Male Scene Stealer – Lil Ren Howery- Get Out
    Best Female Scene Stealer – Allison Janney – I, Tonya
    Best Accent: James Franco, The Disaster Artist
    Best Cartoon: Coco
    Best Friendship: Lady Bird, Get Out
    • Best Soundtrack: Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Brandy, You’re A Fine Girl… 

    • Best Score: Phantom Thread

Regal AF 

    • Coolest Clothes: Phantom Thread

FRESH AF 

    Best Non-English movie: Okja
    Best Badass: Jeremy Renner, Wind River
    Best TV performance: Walton Goggins, Vice Principals (RUSSELL)

NSFW Language, worth it 

    Best Movie Theater: American Film Institute, Silver Spring
    Best Movie Snack: Chick-Fil-A strips (4 count)
    Best Sauce: Sweet & Spicy Sriracha
    Best Deal: AMC Stubs card=$5 Tuesday movie
    Best TV show : Vice Principals Season 2
    Best TV episode: Black Mirror, Hang the DJ
    Personal power rankings 2018: Jordan Peele, Jake Gylenhaal, The Rock, Issa Rae
    Lifetime Achievement Award: Owen Wilson

This is Owen’s third lifetime achievement Siddo! The man just keeps living life to the hilt and firing up this one-man academy. 

    Best Thing: Exposure of the dirty creeps working in the movies. Within a few years the movies being made will be more diverse and intelligent as a result of more women being able to get greater positions of power. Gonna be awesome.
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5 David Bowie songs I like.

I used to devour those British music magazines in the 2000s. Q, Mojo, NME, ate them up and each of them always referred to David Bowie reverentially and most often as the thin white duke.  Unquestionably, discovering and exploring his musical catalogue was a damn odyssey in my life and though I couldn’t get into the Berlin stuff, I thought David sang with more soul than most people gave him credit for. Yeah, I just called him DAVID. First time I saw him I think was a video on MTV Classic of Let’s Dance. Young me thought in my little brain “That guy is on drugs.” I was mostly right but when I discovered Changesbowie in high school, it was a wrap. I felt then and now that that album is the single best Greatest Hits album of all time. And please know that I recognize this is a very serious claim.

This one is my favorite Bowie song to play on a jukebox. And an amazing live performance from the man I proudly share my birthday with. (Birthsake?)

Gee, my life’s a funny thing!

This is my favorite Bowie movie moment. With respect to The Prestige, Zoolander, and others, his musical accompaniment to the dance scene in A Knight’s Tale was pure gold. Puts a smile on your ole kisser every time.

Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel

For somebody who doesn’t change much and has had one “look” in his life, I still feel like Bowie and I are totally in sync on this anthem. I have sung this in the car countless times and that sax at the end, ooh boy. That’ll do, Bowie, that’ll do.

And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds

By far the funniest Bowie ever. He absolutely slayed it in what is one of the funniest tv scenes ever. And the song is actually catchy too!

The clown that nobody laughs at

This one is just one that always comes to mind. So rich with imagery and such a kick ass rock song. The lyrics are below the video and look like a poem, the gray letters on white. Memories of driving in New Jersey and ending the night with this on in my old Toyota.

We were so turned on and you thought we were fakers!

Dear Fantasy Football

 

Courtesy of The Player’s Tribune.

 

Dear Fantasy Football,

 

From the moment
I drafted Terrell Owens with my first pick ever
And heard chuckles and whispers around the table
100 yard, 2 touchdown games

Flexing like a jerk after a 7 yard gain on a wide open slant route

making me feel like a champion
I knew one thing was real:

I wanted to keep believing I knew more about sports than everyone else.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a 22-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one with a ton of dollars in my hand.

And so I drafted.
I drafted on sight, on rumors, on hearsay.
Winners, losers, busts, sleepers.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as gambling has made me feel.

You gave a dude his goal of being a GM
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my soul/wallet knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that dude
With the cheat sheet and the
highlighter in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Mouse in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

“Hold up, I’m not ready yet.”

We had a time,
Siddharth

 

 

___________________________________________________

 

http://www.theplayerstribune.com/dear-basketball/

Maybe

One of my favorite things that happens in rock & roll is when a performer is a really shy person who just transforms into a champion tour de force who just grabs everybody in the stadium’s heart when he or she lets their talent rip. That burst of confidence that just lets them flow like pure steel in front of 50,000 people when they are doing their thing, when they can’t barely handle doing one sit-down interview because of shyness. I’m thinking Freddie Mercury at Live Aid. But I keep thinking that with these John Frusciante live clips too. He’s so good and the crowds at the gigs are so good I alternately fantasize about being him on this stage at Slane Castle in Ireland, or one of these swaying Irish in attendance.

I also love the song choice, homie is covering a 1958 song that critics call the emergence of the girl group sound that would become so huge in the 60s, it’s so beautiful lyrically but the standout feature of the song for me is the lead singer’s vocal performance – her voice – dang! Heartbreaking!

I still feel her pain 58 years after they recorded it, shoutout to Arlene Smith from the Bronx! The Chantels, ladies and gentlemen…a song I never would have heard of if not for John Frusciante taking a step forward in front of half of Ireland with an axe to shred and a soul to bear.

And the Oscar goes to

Spent Oscar evening how I spend every Oscar evening, watching old Youtube clips of Oscar speeches during the actual live event

Through my circuit of favorite Oscar speeches – Jamie Foxx, Russell Crowe, Matt & Ben, Cuba and more, I kept one ear on the 2015 festivities. The red carpet has always been ridiculously dollhouse and hard for me and my unfashionable brethren to watch, so yesterday my ears perked up when I heard people taking umbrage to the red carpet show & tell. Those people were mostly women in dresses worth more than my car. Not judging, but I was surprised.

#AskHerMore is a hashtag popularized to make Red Carpet “reporters” take heed to ask more important questions than what designer an actress is wearing. Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette talked about how Hollywood had to change this. I empathized because I could never have the patience to do a red carpet, but I also wondered who is that question being asked for? Is the suggestion that it’s sexist? Men don’t care one iota who designed a single actress’ dress. That, you can take as gospel. Also, the dresses don’t do as much for male hormones circa 2015 as they did in the 1940s. The entire fashion aspect of the show is done for women (consumers) and the labels. It has nothing to do with us! (red-blooded civilian males). It’s big business, and every woman in the world knows that.

I thought the #AskHerMore thing was similar to how Marshawn Lynch or other athletes have been thinking in the recent past. Remember him getting in trouble for wearing his own hat at the Superbowl presser? And him saying he wanted to wear his own shoes? And refusing to answer questions. That’s because he got annoyed with the fact that someone else was profiting over what he was forced to wear. That seems like a possible cause here, actresses essentially feeling like they are walking the world’s most viewed catwalk, and not being compensated with anything other than a free dress rental.

One argument I heard is that if these actresses didn’t want to hear that question (“Who are you wearing?”) then they should dress down. That makes zero sense, they are at a work obligation that requires a certain level of attire. If an actress wore jeans, they’d probably bar her from entering. The dressing up is part of the game. It’s the prom. And if you are not paying for your own clothes then the person who clothed you is going to want a shout-out or twenty. I wonder what would happen if the actress refused to answer the question? Would the label be offended? Would she have to buy her own clothes now? With the media and business line getting blurrier every day, It’s increasingly interesting to me when these new grievances come up. I understand the frustration but I don’t think it’s a sexism issue personally. Apart from those few actresses, I saw a parade of women who were only too happy to name their designer and jeweler and make up people and Serena Williams even answered by saying ” ____ _____. They dress me every time.”  Being dressed? She is literally ceding control like a toddler. She probably sees this as some sort of Cinderella deal, get dolled up by the fairy godmother and go out on the town till midnight et cetera. I think it would be a very tempting offer.

Favorite Speech of the Night:

Graham Moore, screenwriter of The Imitation Game. He got personal as you can, but still somehow kept it light and inspirational. Good guy Graham was a much-needed dose of caffeine in a lagging part of the show. Another great speech was given by Lonnie and Johnny better known as Common and John Legend. Their performance and their speeches (seconds later?) were powerful.

Favorite Joke of the Night:

Not many. My favorite was by far the comedy stylings of John Travolta. The hapless former ballet dude and disco god put his foot in his mouth last year by mispronouncing Idina Menzel’s name while introducing her, and he spent the whole telecast yesterday trying to tapdance his way out of that. Seeing how insecure a big star can be is really charming in a way, getting all sweaty and nervous and making jokes that don’t make sense, it’s the first time I’ve empathized with Travolta. Not your fault that she’s got a tongue-twister of a name Johnny!

The Awards:

My favorite of the nominated films was The Grand Budapest Hotel though I wholeheartedly believe the best movie of 2014 was Nightcrawler which was criminally under nominated. Jake Gylenhaal deserved a Best Actor nomination at the very least. He also came up with the concept for this trailer for the film:

Another overlooked performance was Chadwick Boseman in Get On Up. He was a mesmerizing James Brown, a top-notch song and dance man who also captured the exuberant joy and tortured genius of the Godfather of Soul. I also especially loved A Most Wanted Man, the very last movie Philip Seymour Hoffman made. His portrayal of a beat-down by life German spy carries the film and his German accent is great. Another performance that stayed with me is Miles Teller in Whiplash, he was in my tempo and I thought as deserving of a nomination as the abusive JK Simmons. The two things the Oscars made me want to watch even more than I wanted to before were Selma and Citizenfour. By the way, pretty ballsy moment by Ed Snowden’s girlfriend picking up the Best Documentary Oscar onstage for her boo.

Quick points:

-Eddie Murphy has not aged in twenty years, that’s what no booze or drugs and a lot of money and a healthy lifestyle gets you.

-Lady Gaga killed it, I expect she’ll be doing The Sound of Music on Broadway in a few years.

-Rosamund Pike is gorgeous when she’s not killing dudes.

-Bradley Cooper’s third straight Best Actor nomination! And that’s not even counting my favorite performance of his, as the voice of Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy.

-Meryl and J-Lo in a film adaptation of Broad City? I’m in.

As usual, the Oscar show was so overblown, I started wondering about the director of the Oscars, he’s under major pressure and he can’t even direct these actors! Wondered how they manage all these shots and movement…Check out this clip of what it looked like behind the scenes during my favorite Oscar moment in history and you’ll get an idea.

Dennis Rodman, who are YOU wearing?  

Chair Not Gonna Take It!

Lennonchair

She asked me to stay and to sit anywhere/ I looked around and noticed there wasn’t a chair/ We had already broken them all/ Out on the lash with George and Paul

From my epic tolerance for every drug from Milk Chocolate to 70% Dark Chocolate to my wild and debauched nightly benders at the YMCA, Yoga class and Panera Bread, I’m universally regarded as unhinged, untamed and it’s understood that underwear is not in my vocabulary.

WILD. AS. WILD.

So obviously it comes with the territory that I’ve broken my share of chairs. Splintered some wood, ripped some canvas. Ain’t no thing to me. A movie theater in Bombay. A living room in Jakkur. Yards. Get togethers. Dinners in snooty restaurants. A hammock. A bed-frame. On any occasion, without warning, I could begin my descent to a stiff wooden chair soon-to-cave under the pressure of being his majesty’s throne. Executive leather office chairs have choked under the bright lights of my whirling dervish swiveling. So it came as no surprise to my seasoned chair-destroying ears when I plopped down onto my friend’s chair in his backyard recently only to hear a pathetic yokel’s cry: “Dude, you trying to break another chair!?” 

I calmly explained that if I wanted to break his chairs, he would be sitting on the floor at that very moment. For when I hear that siren’s cry, in the name of all things sex, drugs, and rock & roll, I am a slave to my muse and that chair is dust the second I feel the thunder, it’s just standing there not knowing it is all.

He pathetically pleaded “That’s how you broke the last one! You can’t just fall into it man, LOWER yourself into the chair. Ease into it.” This civilian’s whining was of course alien to me, me a man proud to have lost his hearing to the hammers of the gods and his feelings to the succubus awaiting him in Pandora’s Box night after night.

I said HELL NO. DUDE MAN BRO, LOWERING YOURSELF INTO A CHAIR IS NOT ROCK & ROLL.

You think Keith Richards eases into his chair? Please. Easing and lowering are beneath our breed. We are the ploppers. The chosen ones. We effortlessly amble up to said chair, situate our ass in the designated air space we choose and then we DROP with the reckless abandon of a skydiver on speedballs. It’s a RUSH, kids. No considerations, no easing, no lowering and no mercy – Just a gut call and pure adrenalin on that two foot drop till your ass hits the chair. And if some chairs break, tough sh*t Sonny. You want to make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs, as the man says.

So then I had to educate the chair-owner on the plight and duty of the chair who stands in the eye of the tornado.

TRUE LIFE: I AM A ROCK STAR’S CHAIR. 

keithchair

I know I’ve dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don’t have much time
Faith has been broken tears must be cried
Let’s do some chair-smashing before we die
Wild couches, couldn’t drag me away
Wild wild couches we’ll ride them someday
Wild couches, couldn’t drag me away
Wild wild couches we’ll ride them someday

Keith Richards – His chair is a born survivor. Rain, wind, snow, lava, doesn’t matter. Keef can plop off a helicopter with a Hatari Hanzo sword unsheathed and this chair welcomes it. The chair itself is a chain smoking, groupie guzzling, drug and booze cocktail imbibing nocturnal animal with creased leather and  intimidating upholstery. Remarkably, he’s cozy too. Found in the basement of a palace in Marseilles after a coup.

Mick Jagger– Mick’s chair is on Ebay, it is a leather LA-Z-BOY with his band’s lips insignia prominently displayed on it. It is under the listing “Sir Mick Jagger’s Chair”. Asking price is $495,900. To activate recliner, pull and hold the large brown wooden stick on the side (as seen on Sticky Fingers cover) and this leathery old chair will stun you by gyrating in a herky-jerky manner for the rest of the night. Originally purchased from one Peter Frampton’s 1977 yard sale.

Bono– Bono’s chair is made from an ultra-chic material that is so environmentally friendly that Chris Martin from Coldplay threw a hissyfit because he couldn’t get one. The creation of this chair benefited farmers in the Midwest, kids in Africa and those Chilean miners nobody talks about anymore. This chair sports a Red Cross on the front along with a photo on the back that looks like it was taken from a Benetton ad. Slick and uncomfortable, the  ideal chair for a boutique hotel lobby. Ikea will auction off 200 knockoffs for their SIT ON IT, MALARIA 2014 Charity Drive.

Jim Morrison – The best chair in the world for the man who threatens to babble on too long and ultimately expose his member. A dark, weird, disturbed chair with random rhyming couplets carved into it’s armrests with a rusty bloody blade. Probably bought on Craigslist. Greyish brownish grey.

Photo of Jimi HENDRIX

“There must be some kind of way out of here” said the man’s ass to the seat, There’s too much cushion, I can’t get no relief!

Jimi Hendrix – Extremely flammable. Adorned in Hindu deities. Comfortable if you sit in this one position that nobody seems to have quite figured out yet. Rumored to be an orgasmic sit if found. Rumored to have only been found once, backstage at Monterey Pop. Rumored to be a bullsh*t rumor. Rumored to now be in the home of Nicolas Cage, the one in Aspen.

Do you think these Gods of Rock eased themselves into their chairs? (Nic Cage included) You don’t take over the world by being some hick who says “Excuse me, may I slowly turn and descend my rear end into this sitting tool?” Moreover, these men are all on the record about sitting and smashing:

Mick and Keith famously yelled “Hey you, get off my chair!”

Jim Morrison’s epic ode to destroying chairs with his ass is still sung in bars round the world – “I tried to stand, I tried to hide, break on through to the other side!”

Jimi Hendrix touched on this taboo topic many times in his short life, “Hey Joe, where you going with that chair in your hand? I’m going down to show my old lady, caught her messin’ round with another chair.”

And don’t you dare think that breaking chairs is limited to classic rock. No less a modern day legend than Kanye West has put his own trademark wit to the chair-destroying rite of passage for musical entertainers. He raps on his four times platinum album “Seatyricon” – “Y’aint never seen European shopping sprees with Hova/Salvadore Dali hand-painted Sofa/didn’t even take the bubble wrap off/before we crashed thru it Game Ova”

kanyechair

I say f*ck the police, thats how I treat em
We buy our way out of jail, but we can’t buy freedom
We’ll buy a lot of chairs when we don’t really need ’em
Things we buy to cover up what’s inside

No less an icon than Paul “Wings” McCartney has stated that the highlight of his career is to this day penning his seminal tribute to the majesty of the chair: “Here, Chair and Everywhere.” Asked to be interviewed for this article, Macca declined but sent this statement through his publicist:

“I’ve always liked sitting in them, to be honest. But breaking them and all that seems a bit silly to me now. I mean, it’s a waste isn’t it? Then you have to clean the mess and get a new chair. I mean, we’ve all done it when we’re young…but you grow up sometime don’t you? Seats are meant to be respected, at least that’s how I raised my kids. When I play “Here, Chair and Everywhere” at my shows – and the audience all gently ease back into their chairs, it’s lovely. Makes me get a wee bit emotional.”

To each his own, apparently. For another perspective, we contacted Axl Rose’s publicist. She responded by saying that Axl was “in the studio furiously working on the remaster for Chinese Democracy which is about to blow the world away” -but he was kind enough to send us a letter which really says it all:

“I f*cking hate sitting. But I love chairs. That’s what “Welcome to the Jungle” is about. Nobody ever got that. Why do you think I’m strapped to an electric chair in the video? I started breaking chairs in Indiana and when I got to LA, there were more chairs than I had ever f*cking seen man. I busted a dozen my first week on the Strip. I had never sat in anything like these before. I even say in Jungle “it’s gonna bring you down!” and to your “na-na-na-na-knees”, I mean how stupid do people have to be to not get the message? Did I have to call the track “Break your chair, motherf*cker” for them to get it? Paradise City was originally written from the perspective of a chair who keeps getting the sh*t kicked out of him but of course David f*cking Geffen that money-hungry m*therf*cking c*cks*ck*er made us change it for MTV.”

Rose included a recent photo of himself holding up his middle 3 fingers with a handwritten note reading “Read between the lines, 1,  Axel F-ing Rose.”

AxlRosechair

Just furnishing livin’ under the street
I’m a hard chair that’s tough to beat
I’m your chair-ity case so buy me some kinda springs
I’ll pay you at another time
Take it to the end of the line
Rags to patches or so they say
Ya gotta keep pushin’ against these dudes and dames
It’s all a gamble when it’s just a game
This sh*t should be a capital crime
And Everybody’s doin’ the time.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I can't even sit and wonder why, babe It don’t matter, anyhow An’ I wish you could sit and wonder why, babe since you won’t know by now When your rooster crows at the break of dawn Look out your window and I’ll be gone You’re the reason I’m trav’lin’ on Nowhere left to sit but it’s all right

I can’t even sit and wonder why, babe
It don’t matter, anyhow
An’ I wish you could sit and wonder why, babe
since you won’t know by now
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m trav’lin’ on
No place left to sit but it’s all right

Elvis Presley side view chair Miami, 1956 Pacchair MJCHAIR

“It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.” :The Nice Guy Rises in Sports

I was watching Roger Federer, the all-time winningest male tennis player, receive this trophy for a record sixth time in a row. It was not a Masters tournament or a tune-up tourney but an award won off the court – one for sportsmanship. Each year, the players who form the pro tennis tour vote to determine the Sportsman of the Year aka the Nicest Guy aka the Best Clubhouse Bugger. And Federer remarkably collected this award as consistently as he did Grand Slam titles. He won it six times in a row from 2004-2010 until interrupted by his fellow Hall-of-Fame Nice Guy Rafael Nadal. (Federer has however since snatched back and put a stranglehold on the coveted Chill Dude award.) Fed has managed the miracle of not only beating all opponents into the ground (except Nadal) – he has managed to trounce all comers and leave them wanting his company. He’s the guy who wins every Poker game – while telling all the best jokes too. Ever loquacious and garrulous, Fed forever remains the picture of the country club tennis player, both in demeanor and appearance: lips curled up in a smile, mildly tousled hair, white trousers and cream cardigans. He walks onto Centre Court at Wimbledon appearing to have just walked off of the set of Chariots of Fire. And he sounded every bit the part of the suave pro when he collected his award and said:

Well, it’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.” 

And I thought that was amazing. I had never heard the phrase and his delivery was as flawless as his backhand. It was politician level stuff. He could have been Bill Clinton’s son.

federer-nadalAs I mulled over his remark, I became more impressed. I began to realize that Federer and Nadal represented a Rise Of The Nice. Most top athletes of the past twenty years had been known for their curmudgeonly to hostile behavior. The Michael Jordans, Pete Samprases, Mike Tysons, Kobe Bryants and Zinedine Zidanes were celebrated for being so single-minded in their focus that they could be mean and surly to those around them because that was their right as per their greatness. Their talents were so vast that they left no room for mild manners and their focus so laserlike, it left no room for considerations.

Nadal and Federer came along in the mid-2000s and managed to quickly create and endure a historic rivalry- while remaining genuinely friendly. This was unique because tennis is such an intense and solitary endeavour (each loss results in elimination from tournament and a trip to the airport) but these two men not only act as gentlemen, they actually like each other… I was fascinated by this question: Does a professional athlete compete exactly as hard against someone he likes as he does against someone he despises? Does he execute as exactingly against a practice partner as he does against a total stranger? Or is it vice-versa?  Is it simply a different result for different people? Rafa and Roger both seemed to be succeeding historically well and doing so while remaining true to the code: The Dude Abides.

It reminded me of 90’s NBA Basketball when my favorite coach of all time, Jeff Van Gundy of the New York Knicks admonished Knicks forward Charles Oakley for being friends with the sort of dickish Bulls guard Michael Jordan. Now here was a guy who nobody ever called nice. MJ was a trash talking, opponent taunting, teammate-Steve Kerr-fighting, Bull-headed assassin. And he was loved for it. Van Gundy argued that it was Oakley’s job to stop Jordan at any cost and that drinking and dining with him could only weaken his resolve to slay the mighty Jordan. Conversely, Jordan would have gone all Knights Tale and challenged Oak to an impromptu life-or-death joust if it insured him home court in the Finals. This is a guy whose entire Hall-Of-Fame Induction Speech was a middle finger to all those who ever doubted him. Michael Jordan was better than all his peers, but Michael Jordan is also more bitter than his peers. Is that ratio telling? Does that mean that bitterness equals competitiveness and ultimately success? So does that in turn mean it’s better to be LeBron James than Mike? LeBron at least appears to have the ability to go home and enjoy a movie after work.

Kobe Bryant is also a maniacally competitive athlete. He is so averse to niceness that he went so far as to nickname himself Black Mamba.  Bryant recognized his best qualities in the highly venomous serpent – cold-blooded, very deadly and capable of killing easily and quickly. Kung Fu Panda, he is not. The basic question about niceness in sports came up again in a fantastic article I read about Kobe and his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. Joe is a former NBA player, but a journeyman and one of those hoops lifers who eventually weaved his way across the world, zigging through Europe and zagging through Asia. In the article, Joe’s peers unanimously assert that he could have been better than he was, that his talent exceeded his accomplishments. Kobe himself says that he got his will power and work ethic not from his NBA-playing father but from his mother, even adding that she used to elbow him in highly competitive one-on-one games when he was a young teen. The writer details Joe’s life today as Coach of a fledgling team in Thailand and contrasts his seemingly nomadic and adventurous life of travels with the singular tunnel vision exhibited by his son since he was a young child who would practice his jumper for three hours each night. The story of the pair leaves one wondering if that is the choice: to be a well-balanced well-traveled and satisfied man or to be a continually unsatisfied man thus always pushing yourself to another level of productivity… Is there a right choice? Is one really more wrong than the other?

bird erving

In terms of pro basketball, selfishness is almost requisite of champions. I saw Kobe say that he couldn’t care less about being remembered as a good teammate. He claimed that he wanted to be remembered “for getting the most juice out of this lemon.” By any means. And that’s why the most refreshing thing about LeBron James is that he is unselfish both on court and even more impressively, off. Probably the most non-aggressive Alpha Male in the NBA since Tim Duncan or Hakeem Olajuwon, LeBron scales new highs each year but he’s never a jerk about it. I watch him and wonder when he’s going to just let loose a Jordanesque stream of insults to all his detractors. Where’s his infamous grab-the-mic-in-the-club moment when he asks EVERYONE how his bleep tastes? For him to take the level of abuse he gets (and he’s definitely done some dumb things) and not retaliate after slaying every Dragon, rescuing every damsel, pulling the sword out of the damn stone- he’s in Gandhian territory. He could be double-swording heads off like Gladiator right now but LeBron seems to be a happy person, one who can go home and relax after a game. Young Kevin Durant may be the one guy more chill than LeBron. Durant is so nice that his current Nike ad campaign reads KD IS NOT NICE, a reverse psychology tactic to insure us of a nasty streak within the charming Iceberg Slim. These two are considered the two best basketball players on Earth. They both play the same position and are competing for the same prize for the next ten years. But they are cool with each other. And I like that.

So what is the exact correlation between niceness and success? What is the formula? How does one impact the other? Certainly, those who are more successful are often pardoned for a lack of niceties that would be inexcusable going in the other direction. And being less nice could be as extreme as aggressive physical behavior to as easy as passive aggressive remarks. Of course it’s all subjective, the entire universe altogether probably has a million different ideas and notions about what success is worth. A successful businessman recommended to me once “A lot can be learned from Attila the Hun. His strategies were brilliant, minus the killing of course.”

One of my favorite books in ages, David Remnick’s King Of The World details the rise of Muhammad Ali, particularly his teenage years before winning his first Heavyweight championship. Ali is selfish, cocky and arrogant even before success. He crudely insults his opponents and the press celebrates him for it. Ali’s most popular refrain was of course “I am the Greatest!” and the adult Ali asserts that he had to say that as a youth to believe in himself and ultimately to make himself. Ali, Jordan and Bryant represent the model of athlete whose attitude is one of pure cocksure swagger, individuals who aggressively talked a big game and then played an even bigger one. Nadal, Federer and James represent a seemingly more well-balanced attitude, one more harmonious and joy-seeking which still allows them to maximize their abilities. Part of me wonders if this is a trend illustrating that today’s athletes, similar to today’s youth in general, are maturing faster and thus realizing at a younger age that they can just as easily achieve their greatest goals without being at each other’s throats. As a result, things are less personal these days and hence, more professional. It’s nice to be important but it’s also nice to be nice.

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This is a link to the story I referred to above about Kobe Bryant and his parents. It’s called “Where Does Greatness Come From?” by Chris Ballard of SI. I thought it was excellent.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/magazine/05/10/kobe.bryant.ballard/index.html

You’re So Vain 2013

Re-discovered Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” from 1972 and it’s been in the rotation since. Have always loved the details in the lyrics, though I couldn’t help but notice that some are a bit outdated now. Since it’s been more than forty years since the release of the song, I thought I would try to re-write this tune with a modern slant because while some of these references have gone by the wayside, vanity has survived quite nicely. I looked up the song on Wikipedia and it’s fascinating how much the world has pined for Carly Simon to reveal the identity of who she wrote this song about. Candidates include a who’s who of 70s hunks from Warren Beatty (who actually hopes and insists it is about him) to Nick Nolte (who has probably never cared one iota) to Mick Jagger (who contributes backing vocals to the song) to a random non-famous person or perhaps even that the song is about all men in general and written from experiences with several different dudes. I am happy to however report that Carly Simon has gone on record and said that it is 100% NOT about her recently divorced ex-husband at the time Mr James Taylor. Not JT! I couldn’t handle Sweet Baby James acting like that!  I love how she begins the song by whispering “Sonofagun” like she’s been hurt and screwed over by this guy. So I guess that’s where I’ll start: 

Ssskank (whispered) 
You walked into the club like you were walking on the ramp
Your top strategically dipped below your arm
Your sunglasses were extremely camp
You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself duckface
And all the dudes dreamed that they’d be your boo They’d be your boo, and…
You’re so vain, you probably think this status update is about you
You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this status is about you Don’t you? Don’t You?
You had me several years ago when I was still mad naive
Well you said that we should be In A Relationship
And that you would never leave
But you constantly upgraded the things you loved and one of them was me
I had some dreams, they were bubbles in my tea Bubbles in my tea, and…
You’re so vain, you probably think this meme is about you
You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this tweet is about you Don’t you? Don’t You? Don’t You?
I had some dreams they were bubbles in my tea Bubbles in my tea, and…
You’re so vain, you probably think this email is about you You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this thread is about you Don’t you? Don’t You?
Well I hear you went up to Coachella and naturally got backstage VIP
Then you flew your lear jet down to Ibiza
for a David Guetta underwater party
Well you’re where you check-in all the time
And when you’re not you’re with some start-up tech mogul or your cigar buddies
Your cigar buddies, and…
You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain, I’ll bet you think this #hashtag is about you Don’t you? Don’t You? Don’t you?
You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you
You’re so vain, you probably think this blog is about you… _______________________________________________________________________________________
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What I’m Listening To:
Isn’t it obvious? Didn’t you just finish reading an entire blog post about that very subject? Oh what the hell, since nothing’s ever enough for you people:

Just My Type

Typewriters are hot. The hottest writing tool ever. Quills? Fountain Pens? No. The clickity-click-click sound, the feeling of pushing the roll to the side to reset, the look of the words on the page. From Woody Allen to Mad Men, typewriters are strutting their stuff more than ever. I was lucky enough to see a couple of hotties at a museum. Get ready to throw some sexist jeers at these babys.

In exquisite olive green. Not trying too hard. Classic understated elegance.

A more youthful silver and green combination. Stunning. I don't know whether to type my research paper or go get a nice bottle of wine with two glasses.

Lady in Red. Fiery Gorgeous Traffic (and work) stopping red. Matching lipstick is a killer.

Be My Valentine You Qwerty Femme Fatale.

Woody’s been with the same typewriter his entire life.

Some guys have all the luck.

Magazine Life

This isn’t about the magazine Life. I haven’t read it. I feel like that’s one of those magazines that people used to buy for photos of the moon landing or royal weddings. The internet probably ruined them. I however did buy a magazine this week. It was Men’s Health. Remarkably, it’s a decent rag. I was stuck in a train station for an hour and after looking through every domestic and foreign magazine for forty-five minutes, I went with this because it seemed to have a lot of content and not too many ads or filler. The thing is that when I turned back the cover, I was immediately confronted by a black and white photograph of a very stylish young man and his two pale girl friends. They were pushing his motorcycle across a New York street and as my eyes moved downward they fell upon the letters DKNY. I instantly got a flashback to when I was 17 and I used to buy every issue of Rolling Stone and Premiere. I didn’t consciously realize it back then but I must have devoured those ads. For the force to be strong enough to flash me back more than a decade later? Yikes. God, I used to think those people in those ads were so damn cool. I clearly remember thinking some of those girls were so attractive and that I was not on the level of those guys. I actually remembered the ad campaign that stuck out at the time, it was that Tommy Hilfiger sh*t when they would show all these blonde girls on a beach in Nantucket with these white dudes with black curly hair (Simon Rex?) and there’d always be one token black dude (Tyrese?) SMILES FOR MILES, Holy hell, I wanted to be at that party.

I turned the page from DKNY to the next glossy ad and the one after and the one after. Perry Ellis, Aldo, Armani Exchange, each scene weirder than the last. If each of these two-page ads was a party, I’d walk right out on sight. They pay these models and photographers to make these layouts appealing and now I’ve gone from envying them to being completely disgusted by them without them changing the formula even a bit. I just don’t give a crap about their $285 scarves and weird make-up. When I was a kid, I thought that growing up meant becoming a part of that world. I thought if you didn’t, you were corny. Once again proof that you didn’t know Jack teenage Siddharth! I’ve grown up now motherf*ckers and I’ve got better jokes than any of you boring douchebags. I’m a better person. Well, yes, I am completely assuming they’re boring and shitty people but you can’t blame me when they all look so bored and nonplussed in their fancy duds. Come on, they’re hardly sympathetic figures.

So then I got to thinking about how much these magazine life images are projected on us when we’re kids. These car ads with their smooth jazz music and serene countryside backdrops. How everybody always has teeth like those marble slabs at Coldstone. So there’s magazine life and then there’s life. Life comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s teeth are sometimes yellow and frequently misshapen. It’s cars are usually in stasis in between thousands of other cars. In life, when a guy is pushing his bike across the street, it’s normally a piece of junk and he’s normally not dressed like the world’s richest beatnik. He’s probably dressed in beat up corduroys and a tattered old T-shirt and that guy’s much cooler than anybody you’ll ever see in a magazine ad. Magazine life is the pipe dream that keeps people on the hamster wheel. They’ve got to get that job to pay for that stuff, do what they don’t want to do just to get things they want but don’t need. Jonesing to keep up with the Joneses.

Personally, I can’t even imagine a scenario where I would even be able to have a conversation with these people, let alone be in this photo. I’m just going to skip the ads from now on, obviously my kind are not their target market.


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