Saturday, September 25, 2010

100th Blog

We interrupt our regularly schedule broadcast (1975 – Volume IV) to bring you this special centennial blog post:

Recently, my blog was flooded by hits from a total stranger on a post I had written well over a year ago (look up salsa lessons and you can read for yourself). The stranger accused me of being an Ugly American-type insensitive to other cultures. At first, this completely pissed me off and I sicked a few of my friends on her to defend my honor. I meant to rise above her petty accusations and stay out of the whole matter, but finally, I couldn’t resist and ended up responding in a note of sarcastic brilliance if I do say so myself.

But in the week or so I got my panties in a wad about this stranger’s opinion of me, I had forgotten some simple advice I often give to children who complain they have been called a name or been made fun of – “is it true?,” if the answer is no, than let them say what they want because you know they are wrong. This was certainly the case, what she said about me wasn’t true, yet I couldn’t let it rest until (if you read it you will see) the woman finally recounted that she in fact had jumped to the wrong conclusion. Finally, my “Joseph” moment!
Indeed, good came from what was meant to be harmful to me; I began to revisit why I began blogging in the first place which seems fitting to share in this my 100th post (who knew, right?).
I started blogging because I love to write. I might not be on the path to win the Pulitzer or even get published, but this simple little blog allows me some formality to hone my craft. Admittedly, there are typos, ill-constructed sentences, over reliance on parenthetical phrases and a whole host of other things that an editor would scoff at it, but I like to think, every once in while there might just be a good little nugget in there. A friend once told me a story about an amazing painter whose art was never discovered until she died – she had painted a lifetime of beautiful paintings for the sheer joy of painting. For the few stolen moments a week I find to work on my blog, I am a writer writing for the sheer joy of writing.

Community. In my first foray into blogging (some of you might remember) I discovered there is a community of bloggers out there who had I not put some of my thoughts out there, I might not have ever met. For the most part, with a few exceptions, I have never met this fellowship of bloggers, but many of them, I have come to consider as friends. On the flipside, there are real friends who I don’t get to see as much as I would like because of distance, busyness or my diet, but keeping up on their blogs makes me feel in touch with them.

Therapeutic. Writing about the hijinks and capers of my life has helped me make sense of them. And if you can believe it, I have a whole host of unfinished blogs out there – often trudging through the mediocre controversies/scandals that I probably opted not to “publish” for fear of getting fired from – but those are the blogs that have brought me much needed clarity. Maybe, someday, I will publish them…Along the same lines, I have written here and there about my passion for local at-risk children a topic that I ought to visit more.

There it is, in a brief and poorly constructed nutshell, as much of the why I can muster together before I must go clean out my garage, about my blogging motivation. Granted, I can use some polish, branding and some pointers on how to better use the edit functions of blogger, but in the end that isn’t really my point (now). I also probably won’t ever have more than a handful of followers (I love all nine of you) but that also isn’t really my point. Nor will I get discovered by the New York Times as I am quite sure they very often troll blogs as a means of finding new columnists. Oh well, I would settle for an appearance on the Daily Show or maybe even tickets.

Fight On and beat the Cougars!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

1975 – Volume III The University Of Minnesota Golden Gophers

In 1975, Ohio State’s Archie Griffin made history by becoming the only two-time winner of College Football’s prestigious Heisman Trophy. In both 1975 & 1974, he beat out USC players most notably Anthony Davis (can you imagine Anthony Davis not winning the Heisman?) in 1974 and Ricky Bell (can you think of any other USC player with the initials RB?) in 1975.

And while although the Captain of the Titanic was not old enough to remember these events, I have no doubt he has been closely reviewing Heisman History this week in the wake of #5’s historic decision. If the Heisman Trustees are cleaning house, I suggest they take a long look at another USC legend – OJ Simpson as the next winner to have to surrender his prize, but maybe Ron Goldman’s parents have grown attached to it by now.

Lets hope the PAC-10 does well against the Big Ten today – Fight On and Bear Down.

Please forgive my brevity I have scalloped potatoes and pork tenderloin on my mind.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

1975 – Volume 2: The University of Virginia Cavaliers

New Year’s Day 1975, the Year of the Rabbit, all eyes on Pasadena where the pride of Bishop Amat High School lead the USC Trojans to a victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes. The 18-17 win is considered by many to be one of the most exciting Rose Bowl Games in history. Twenty-Five points were scored in the fourth quarter including a Pat Haden pass for the game winning two-point conversion all the while, Trojan second half legend—Anthony Davis sat injured on the sidelines.

This was the third consecutive Rose Bowl match-up for the Buckeyes and the Trojans and while although there is a still a chance the NCAA might force the Trojans to vacate the win because God only knows what Reggie Bush’s step father was up to those days, the team finished ranked #1 by the UPI (Coaches Poll). However, their victory, in the absence of the controversy –ending, effective BCS system in determining only one National Champion, the Trojan’s shared the title with the University of Oklahoma (#1 by the AP).

Tonight, as the Captain of the Titanic and #10 take the field at the Coliseum; let’s hope they can learn from the 1974 Sooners who in spite of an NCAA ban went undefeated and were ranked #1 by the AP. which at this point is really all the Trojans can hope for. Fight On and beat the Cavaliers!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9-11, nine years later...

This Saturday, will mark the nine year anniversary of 9-11. It is unreal to me that 9-11, the world changing event that most of us punctuate our lives by on some level -- post 9-11 world/landscape -- is almost a decade removed from today. Weirder still, all children in elementary school today know no other world than the post 9-11 one; if you asked them where they were when 9-11 happened, they would have no answer because, well, they wouldn't have been born yet!

Bringing me to the point of this blog -- where were you when 9-11 happened? I have no doubt all of us have a very specific, detailed story to share, our generation's where were you when Kennedy was shot. If you have the time, interest, ability, share your story. Trust me, at some point on Saturday, you will tell your story. Why not get a dress rehearsal now?

Here is mine, which even if no one responds, I am glad to share...

I was living in Tucson but on the heels of moving to LA. I was packing a suitcase for a mid-morning flight from Tucson to Denver (where I would join my two oldest brothers) with a connection to Indianapolis for my Grandmother's funeral when the friend who was taking me to the airport called and insisted I TURN ON THE NEWS -- I tuned in just in time to see the second tower fall. She added with a bit of drama, "YOU'RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE TODAY." Of course she was right, but we wouldn't figure out until later all flights would be grounded for over a week. If right when the towers hit, my brothers and I would have gotten in a car and driven to Indianapolis, what my entire family did for my grandfather's funeral before I was born, we wouldn't have made it in time. Our relatives decided not to postpone the funeral as we were the only long-distance ones effected (or is it affected) by 9-11 finding subs for my brothers as paw bearers.

I am glad my grandmother never lived in a post-9-11 world even if it cost three of her grandchildren, who will live most of their lives in a post-9-11 world, from being at her funeral.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

1975 – Volume I: The University of Hawaii Rainbows

It is possible, you haven’t noticed that during this year’s off season, the USC’s football team got a new head coach. Maybe you were too preoccupied with the ending of “Lost,” saving loads of people in Haiti or like the poor Chilean miners, you were stuck in a mine for the better part of the last six months, any or all of which prevented you from noticing the untimely departure of Pete Carroll and the unlikely arrival of new head coach Lane Kiffin.

So now that you are up to speed, the horror of watching Lane Kiffin coach the Trojans won’t seem as jarring tonight in their first game against the Hawaii Rainbows (as an aside, I wish there was a legitmate way to include a reference to the double rainbow guy). That being said, I would like to forever refer to Lane Kiffin as the Captain of the Titanic whose real name was Edward John Smith but as no one would ever get that reference, the Captain of the Titanic will suffice. And if you can’t figure out why the Captain of the Titanic is a fitting nick name for Lane Kiffin, well than my weekly blog poking fun of him corresponding with each USC game, probably won’t be that interesting to you anyways.

There are lots of reasons why hiring the Captain of the Titanic was an ill-fated plan – his losing record as a head coach in both the Pros and most recently at the University of Tennessee, pending law suit(s) against him, a season’s worth of vacated wins or his brash and arrogant demeanor – to name a few, but I would like to focus on the Captain of the Titanic’s age. When the Captain of the Titanic took the head coach job at the Tennessee, he was 33 years old making him at the time the youngest active head coach in Division I Football. Now at a mature 35, he is no longer the youngest, Portland State’s 34 year-old Nigel Burton holds that distinction – but his youthfulness remains another category where he is close to the bottom.

This year, instead of writing about things I own that are actually older than USC’s quarterback, Matt Barkley, I will write about notable events that occurred in 1975 – the year the Captain of the Titanic was born. Most of the events I share (and I don’t have a very developed list, so if you have suggestions, I am all ears) will have relevance to USC and/or LA Sports but not necessarily. How could I not at some point talk about the end of the Vietnam War **spoiler alert**?

And as this is just an introduction, there will be no 1975 event to share this go around as I have already written way too much for my three readers to trudge through. One final thought about tonight’s game – Thursday night USC games make me nervous, we all remember the last Thursday night game that ended in a hot mess: September 25, 2008 – need I say more?