Archive for June, 2011

The Big Man

June 22, 2011

Oh, boy.  We’ve lost plenty of rock icons — many before their time — but the loss of Clarence Clemons will surely leave a mark for loyal E Streeters.  As the soul half of the heart and soul of the band, Clarence was every bit as important, popular and iconic as Bruce himself.

For me, it started one winter’s night in 1973, my freshman year at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University).  I remember lots of buzz about a concert and a “big” act; finally, they announced it : Bruce Springsteen and The E Street band.  Our reaction, of course, was: Bruce Who? and The What?

They burned the building down that night and became the soundtrack of my life for the next 35 plus years.  The band was great, Bruce was terrific, but the big, black guy playing the sax?  In a rock band?  Where’d he come from?

I’d never really seen or heard anything like it and the camaraderie was something else I hadn’t seen before but we’d all soon come to love and expect it.  As one rock writer said years ago, seeing the E Street band is like going to a concert with 20,000 of your best friends.

Now, after more than 150 or so shows for me over these past years, one of my best friends is gone.  I suspect in time we’ll get new music and more live shows from Bruce and some band, but not this band, never again the E Street Band.

E Street is permanently closed.

10th Avenue is forever frozen.

And the poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let all be.

RIP, Big Man.

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The Last Word?

June 21, 2011

Maybe I never have to write or say anything about the Snowbilly Grifter again.  This single sentence from a new book, “The Lies of Sarah Palin,” really sums her up perfectly:

She may be the first who has put together “a perfect storm” of all of the most dangerous qualities of a demagogue in a single package: she is mean-spirited, inept, vindictive, and lazy, but can play all the emotional chords in the correct keys of the lower octaves of America’s divisive undercurrents.

The Clown Car Empties Out…

June 13, 2011

in New Hampshire tonight as CNN hosts seven GOP Presidential candidates in a debate in Manchester.

What a freak show — Romney, Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich (is he really still in the race after his entire staff quit over the weekend?), Rick Santorum (you just have to Google Santorum, trust me) and Michelle Bachman, who’s not even said she’s running and has as much chance of winning as LeBron James running for mayor of Cleveland.

We are a few clowns short, though.  No Sir Baldy of 9/11.  And, sadly, no Snowbilly Grifter.  We’ll just have to make do with this band of giants.

Oh Yeah, Almost Forgot…

June 13, 2011

…congrats to Dallas for winning the NBA title.  I’m as guilty as anyone in focusing on LeBron and the Heat, i.e., the losers, instead of the team that actually won it.

Nowitzki vaults himself up the list of great players, maybe as high as Top 20; future Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd and solid veterans like Terry, Marion and Tyson Chandler close the deal as well.  Congrats to all of them.  Well done.

The other big winner in my view has to be Rick Carlisle.   Just a fantastic coaching  job that elevates him dramatically as an NBA team leader and strategist.   Two things.   One, going to a zone defense totally took Miami out of their game.  Two, inserting JJ Barea into the starting lineup.  Remember, Barea had a terrible Game 3 as the Heat went up 2-1 and many thought he might take him out of the rotation entirely.  Instead, he puts him in the starting lineup and Dallas never looks back.

Great job by Carlisle.  Great job by Dallas.  Good for Mark Cuban, too.

That’s Gonna Leave A Mark…

June 13, 2011

…a permanent one on the legacy of LeBron James.  No way to sugarcoat it.  First, he can forget about ever entering the top-tier of all-time greats; that’s out of reach now.  Jordan, Russell, Kareem, Bird, Magic?  Not a chance.

He didn’t play like an all-time great, his teammates didn’t treat him like an all-time great, hell, even the refs didn’t give him the calls that an all-timer would usually get.

I mean, when he wasn’t running away from the ball, he was trying to pass it when he’s three feet from the rim, unable to post up Barea without bludgeoning him and gets ignored by Chalmers (!!) on a fast break in the fourth quarter.

Never seen anything like it from a player of that level.  Can anyone imagine Jordan, Bird or Magic having fourth quarters like that in the NBA Finals?  Didn’t think so.  Case closed.