Monthly Archives: June 2015

All together now:

Another sad King Cavalier

Another sad King Cavalier

There’s always next year.

I really thought it might continue. The Thriller’s Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup, and I hoped it might be my turn to back a championship team of my own as well. Alas…

Why? Why do we feel such affinity towards a sports team? Why do we take their losses so hard and so personally? The reasons are plentiful, according to which opinion you read, but I guess mine centers around pride for an area that has certainly seen its share of hard luck, and for which a pro sports championship has not been won since I was five years old. It doesn’t matter which Cleveland sport you choose; the result is the same. They’re snake-bit, but that doesn’t stop the hope train from roaring to life at the opening tip/pitch/kickoff of each season. You’d think I’d be tired of that scenario after 35+ years. Naaah.

Being a sports fan is a dubious undertaking. A fan spends enormous stores of energy for an event over which he or she has absolutely zero control, and whose identity the favored players on the chosen team will likely never know. Reading derogatory comments after a stunning loss (and oh my, they are in plentiful supply on the Cavs social media pages this morning) hurts, offends, enrages. Why do we take it so personally? OK, why do take it so personally? What will a championship win really do for me, and why would I most certainly feel a party to it being won, as if I might have had something to do with it?

As a Cleveland fan, I’ve endured unending jabs at school, mostly by students whose favorite teams have beaten “us” the night before. (I’m used to it, believe me.) Many behave as if they owned the winning team, and were paying back some long-ago slight by smashing my team into the dust. The hubris. The nerve. How dare they trounce my perennial chumps?

I know. I’m just jealous and disappointed and, quite possibly, a sore loser. Of course there are other things in life to celebrate, and I’ll get over this. That’s how it always goes — ask me how I know. I’m looking on the bright side, as Vegas odds have predicted what every Cavs fan wants to hear, but again, it’s Cleveland, so…

The Curse continues, but hey, at least we dominate one ESPN list. Yeah!

Life goes on, ja? The milk’s on the floor — no amount of boo-hoo is going to make last night un-happen. At any rate, I can relax and not worry about a Game 7. Time to enjoy the summer for real! The Js last night and today, the A-Team Thursday and Friday all day — a good week ahead, even though it’s already Wednesday. Hope yours is good, too, especially if you’re a Warriors fan. *sigh*

Pity party over. Time for breakfast. Go Cavs!

Christmas in June

And it’s not just because the Thriller surprised me with new Fiestaware this week (int he fantastic?).

Rather, it’s on account of my buying a cheapy record player, and revisiting my childhood this morning by playing what could be the defining collection of music from my growing up years: A Treasury of Christmas, bought by my mom around 1970, as a member of the old Columbia Record Club. Long since lost to the garage sale or the dustbin, I repurchased it on eBay several years ago from a vintage vinyl store, and put it away in hopes of transferring it to CD one day. I was happy to get it back out for a test drive.

I put LP #3 on the turntable this morning over coffee, and from the second I heard the intro to The Christmas Song, sung by Johnny Mathis (his interpretation and phrasing on this 1958 classic is an absolute masterpiece; my favorite rendition of all time), I was transported back to 1974, lying on the living room carpet in front of my parents’ massive stereo (it looked a lot like this), singing along and learning every lyric and turn of phrase. His version is truly one of a kind:


As I sat listening, an enormous sense of nostalgia and reminiscence flooded into the headphones. Almost a melancholy of sorts; so many great memories of Christmastime in my family, mostly from the late 60s-early 70s. It was wonderful to relive them. And of course, I sat and bawled. How I wish Mother and Dad were here so I could share these memories with them.

Christmas in June: a beautiful way to start the day. Here’s hoping the Cavs can finish the evening in the same fashion…

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate…

You’re singing it now, aren’t you. haha ;-)

This is for all the salty morons who say the following (as seen on countless social media photos, just this morning):

  1. Y’all love LeBron now. What if he don’t do it for you? You be burnin his jersey again?
  2. BANDWAGON CAVS FANS. Where was all this “All In” s*** last season?
  3. Never seen such [obscene idiom meaning “adoration”] for a thug player like Dellavedova.
  4. If Cleveland didn’t have LBJ, they’d be sitting at home right now.

Well, here you go.

  1. If LeBron “don’t do it” for us, it won’t be entirely his fault, Einstein. And with regard to his leaving Cleveland and coming back: It happened; he said he was young and made the decision he thought was right for him at the time. (Turns out it was right for him.) Betrayal in the eyes of fans, yes. Hurt feelings, yes. IN THE PAST? YES. Holy cow, I hope people don’t make me pay for every mistake I’ve made or selfish thing I’ve ever done. This is a total case of “they hate us cuz they ain’t us.” If the haters had the best player on the planet, they’d be loving him, too. So shut up and get over it. Fifty-one years without a single championship in any pro sport entitles us to some bragging rights at the moment.
  2. I swear, if I read this ignorant tripe one more time…Have you ever paid more attention when your team started to win, than when they were week-in, week-out losers who never made it past the division basement? If you answered no, then you’re A) lying, or B) well, I dunno…lying. I don’t follow soccer that much, but you can bet I was rooting for the USA in the World Cup last year. Does that make me a bandwagon soccer fan? Who cares? I love the USA! True, teams need bolstering from the fan base when they’re losing. But again, this isn’t high school basketball, when you personally love the people who play, and you have a relationship with them, and you’re in tune with them on a more intimate level. These guys are paid for what they do, and they’re supposed to do it well. Every fan of every team ever will have to admit that their “All In” embers die down a bit when their chosen team suffers losing season after losing season. Some of us have been Cleveland sports fans for multiple decades (*raising hand*), and we haven’t given up. But losing erodes enthusiasm, and hello, winning fires it up. Human nature, so yeah. You’d do the same.
  3. Oh, get off it and give officials some credit. If they saw flagrant fouls — especially in this new age of replay in pro basketball — do you think they wouldn’t have been called, maybe once? And do you think Dellavedova is the only player in NBA history to get away with a foul? Truth is, everyone tries it. It’s like holding in football: they could throw a flag on every play. Delly dives on the floor for possession of the ball, all-out rugby style, with no regard for his personal safety. How often has the NBA seen something like that, game after game, from one player? Of course it’s crazy to watch, and it’s a wonder he’s survived this long in the series. It’s rough and violent, but not illegal. Still…funny how Kelly Olynyk is just a “tough player” when he ends Kevin Love’s postgame season clearly on purpose, but Delly’s “dirty” because of his scissor-leg move? Shut it. That, or go to basketball officials’ school and get your own bad self out there.
  4. Duh.

Look. Cleveland may lose this thing. Heck, they will probably lose this thing, because it’s Cleveland. But if you’re a fan of just about any other pro team, you’ve been where we are right now. You’ve experienced having your team win it all; we haven’t. Give us some room and shut your yap.

#All In


Since buying the tickets six weeks ago, I had been anticipating the Postmodern Jukebox concert last night with great enthusiasm.

For those who don’t know, PMJ is the country’s — maybe even the world’s — hottest cover band. They don’t do original songs; rather, leader Scott Bradlee arranges existing material into many different genres (Dixieland, 1930s swing, country, jazz, Klezmer…you name it). The fun part is that he uses a bunch of different performers, mixing and matching them for each video he produces. Obviously, the big payoff is coming to them via touring. To my knowledge, they don’t have a record contract (yet), but if I was Bradlee, I’d run away from those guys like my hair was on fire.

View of Quicken Loans Arena from 4th St.

View of Quicken Loans Arena from 4th St.

Anyway, we queued up last night on Cleveland’s beautiful 4th St. sidewalk, outside the House of Blues at a little before 7 p.m. (our tickets listed the start time as 7). Then the guy with the booze bracelets came down the line, carding people who wanted to drink inside. *forehead smack* Of course the show started at 8:00, not 7:00. Why? Because we have to sell an hour’s worth of hooch to grease up the crowd.

We looked at each other for a few seconds, and said, “Let’s go to the casino until 8:00.” [Good idea, too, because 15 minutes into playing, we hit quad aces with a kicker. Another home improvement project funded, yay.]

When we returned to the venue a little after 8, the show had just started. This incredibly zoomed, grainy photo of the incomparable Von Smith was just about all I was able to get — and this picture was taken with my arms stretched as far as they would go above my head. Now you know my visual vantage point for the evening.

I know. It was House of Blues — an SRO venue — what did you expect? I guess I expected to maybe, possibly be able to see, or that the stage might have been just a skosh higher up. I momentarily considered entering the fray of pressed-together bodies on the main floor, but it was fully 100 degrees F in the space in front of the bar where we were standing; I could only imagine how yummy-steamy-sweaty wonderful it was in the pit. Next time: balcony. What was I thinking? It would have been so worth the extra money, although the energy in the place was so crazy, the balcony seats may have been a wasted expense, because everyone up there was likely on their feet, too.

At any rate, Scott Bradlee’s band was out of this world, and the singers and tap dancer were fantastic. Despite the sometimes-shoddy sound mix (some singers were heard very well, while the sound guys couldn’t quite solve the haunting fragility of Haley Reinhart’s voice on Radiohead’s Creep), it was a fun night of great music. Definitely the quintessential “club gig.” I’d go see them again.

But Mama will sit down. :-)

Well, cut off m’legs & call me Shorty

Who’s that whisperin’ in the trees?
It’s two sailors, and they’re on leave.
Pipes and chains and swingin’ hands — who’s your daddy?
Yes, I am.

Until this morning, I had absolutely no idea that the story of the song “Zoot Suit Riot” (a song I’ve loved since the 90s) was based on real events. Huh. Whaddya know. Who says you don’t learn anything on Twitter?

The “zoot suit” was popular with Latinos living in the Los Angeles area during WWII. Featuring long-cut jackets, high-waisted, baggy pants, and topped by porkpie hats, the suits were worn as a metaphorical badge of cultural pride. However, they were viewed by white Americans as wastefully extravagant, and disrespectful to fighting men and other Americans who were sacrificing fancy things for the war effort.  They called themselves pachucos, and soon attracted the ire not only of police, but also of Navy sailors on shore leave — which clarifies the meaning of the first two lines of the song. Ah-haaaa. (Now I get the pachuco reference in the silly-but-awesome movie, too.)

Anyway, do you know the song? Here’s a clip:


When I think of race riots in LA, Watts enters my mind first. I had no idea the violence stretched back this far. Me, thinkin’ I’m all history nerd and stuff.

Man, I’m lazy this morning. But I’m looking forward bigtime to tonight’s journey to Cleveland (fighting traffic for the home Indians game and the Cavs watch party at the Q, yikes), where we’ll see Postmodern Jukebox at the House of Blues. Wahoo! Fotográfias tomorrow.