Music Theory, Armstrong Weary and Feeling Teary

Justin October 20, 2012 1

The AV Club recently published an article in which their writers traded stories about awkward pop culture experiences that they had with their parents. It was interesting. At least I think it was. I never got past the headline because, after seeing it, I was instantly transported back to the front seat of my mom’s Volvo wagon in 1991.

I have a theory about how guys my age (early to mid-30s’) who grew up in the suburbs developed their musical tastes. It all comes back to Billy Joel.  Everyone loved Billy Joel when they were 13. For most people, it was the first music they ever connected to that wasn’t the most popular top 40 hit of the day. And a lot of times, Billy Joel was passed on from some older influence. An older brother or cousin or someone else you looked up to handed you a dubbed copy of Billy Joel’s greatest hits and you started listening.   It felt like a rite of passage. An older generation had welcomed you into the club of “cool music.” It had to be cool. This stuff all came out before you were born.

And then, from there, everyone picks a direction. Maybe Billy Joel made you start listening to classic rock radio.  That meant you heard Springsteen and Tom Petty.  And that made you interested in Dylan and the Beatles and the Stones.

Or maybe Piano Man was followed up by a Zeppelin song. It sucked you in. You started seeking out other bands with a harder edge. Within two years, you were the weird kid at school with the Megadeth shirt.

Billy Joel could have led you to show tunes and drama club or classical piano like Beethoven or Bach.

(Pretty much anything but Hip Hop. My theory kind of falls apart because of Hip Hop)

The other thing that makes Billy Joel so accessible to a 7th grader is that you can listen to it in front of your parents.  Anytime I was in the car with my parents, I would throw in my dubbed copy of Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits and no one would mind.  It’s not too loud, it’s not too rebellious, the language is generally pretty clean.  Except for one line of lyrics.

In the song, “Captain Jack,” Billy Joel sings:

Your sister’s gone out, she’s on a date

You just sit at home and masturbate

If there’s a more sensitive topic in the world for a 13 year old boy, I don’t know what it is. And it’s definitely not a word you want to hear out loud when you’re alone in the car with your mom.

Now, back to the front seat of the Volvo. Captain Jack was the 3rd song on side 1 of my Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits tape. I knew this going on.  I spent “Piano Man” and “The Entertainer” preparing myself.  Because as soon as I heard

“Your sister’s gone out. She’s on a date..”

I would start talking. Every time. No matter what.

“Hey Mom!”


“Never mind.”

Or I would cough. Or I would start humming another song. Or I would kick the floor of the car really loudly. Anything to avoid the word “masturbate” being released into the ether.

That’s my most awkward pop culture moment with my parents.

(I still employ the same strategy, by the way.  As far as I’m concerned, my mother has no idea what the next line of that song is. )

Sports Illustrated: October 22nd, 2012

Tyrann Mathieu, College Football, LSU Tigers


I think Sports Illustrated may have pulled a fast one on us this week. Did the magazine abandon a long tradition of seperating the “Scorecard” column from the “Inside Sports” sub sections that usually populate the front of the magazine? Because this week’s Scorecard is just a collection of small college basketball articles followed by the usual “Inside The NFL” fantasy football stuff. SI has a new managing editor. I wonder if streamlining the first half of the magazine is one of his first major changes.


Who Can Roll The Tide? by Andy Staples and Stewart Mandel

I don’t watch a lot of college football so I have no idea whether or not Staples and Mandel are correct in making cases for Florida, Notre Dame or Oregon as teams that can beat Alabama.  This is the first in an issue full of articles that could barely keep my interest.

Trial of The Honey Badger by Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel

More interesting than this profile of the life Tyrann Mathieu is currently struggling to live are the stories that came out about how far Evans and Thamel were willing to go in order to write it.

Mathieu and his parents, Tyrone and Sheila, refused to be interviewed for a Sports Illustrated article on the Honey Badger, penned by Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel. But according to the family, SI wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Tyrone Mathieu told Fox 8 in New Orleans that he hired a law firm last week to attempt to stop SI’s interview requests.
The letter, according to the report, from Irpino Law Firm in New Orleans is addressed to Peter Thamel and Sports Illustrated and reads in part, “You have been consistently harassing Mr. Mathieu and his family regarding personal issues. Mr. Mathieu informed you that they have no desire to respond to your inquiries. Despite repeated assertions of this position… you have trespassed on the Mathieu’s property and otherwise violated their privacy… Demand is made that you cease and desist from any attempts at making contact with Mr. Mathieu or any member of his family.”

Jeez, dude. It’s not the Pentagon Papers. It’s a stupid 20 year old kid who smoked weed and got thrown off a football team.

Also worth noting in this article: The fact that everyone has a food related nickname (Corn Bread, Lil’ Bread, Pork and Beans.)  These troubled urban youths sound delicious.

A Massive Fraud Now More Fully Exposed by Alexander Wolff and David Epstein

I am convinced, at this point, there are more sports journalists who write articles about Lance Armstrong than there are sports fans who read them.  He’s a bad guy who cheated. We have all known this for a decade. ENOUGH!

And why is this so fucking long?

I did not read this article.

The Vikings Punter Is A Troll Rogue Named Loate by L. Jon Wertheim

Chris Kluwe plays World Of Warcraft, reads books and supports gay marriage. Is Chris Kluwe an interesting guy or is he an interesting guy for a football player? The latter is most likely true.

Football’s Greatest From One To Ten by SI Staff

SI has another book of lists. Please buy it from them. Otherwise they will just mail it to your house and make it nearly impossible to return.

Mourning Glory by Chris Ballard

I never got around to reading this. I imagine it’s pretty well written, tugs at your heart strings, maybe makes you tear up a bit, then ends with a somewhat redemptive flourish that restores your faith in humanity. That’s how most of these stories go.

Point After by Phil Taylor

Justin Verlander is a great player. He throws a lot of pitches.  What does it say about Phil Taylor’s effort this week that he was outdone by a the jock with a head injury who filled this space last week?

One Comment »

  1. John October 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm -

    “These troubled urban youths sound delicious.” HAHAHHAAHAH

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