Yesterday's Stars Of Tomorrow Today . . .

So here's someone I haven't thought about since probably 1991:

After being selected No. 1 overall by the Yankees in the 1991 MLB draft, Taylor was expected to take the Bronx by storm.

A shoulder injury suffered in a bar fight derailed the left-hander's pitching career and, despite a then-record $1.55 million signing bonus, he never made the majors.

On Thursday, Taylor was arrested on drug charges in Carteret County, N.C.

There's a thrill in knowing about "tomorrow's stars today" and before Royce Clayton, I think the first person I thought to pay attention to might have been Brien Taylor. This was back when I started to conceive of baseball as I would, say, a record collection. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't go down that route. I would have probably wasted a lot of time on stuff like fantasy baseball or something.

That's not to say that a little part of me feels like I want to know about the stars of tomorrow. It's a latent impulse in everyone, but probably mostly male collector scum types. I continue to indulge this impulse: I'm still waiting to see what happens with Dellin Betances — if we position him right, he could do for the Lower East Side what Jeremy Lin did for, I don't know, the continent of Asia, I guess. Speaking of Linsanity, even the president has a bit of collector scum in him:

[Bill Simmons]: So you're catching up, obviously, on the fact that you had been surpassed as the most famous person who was a Harvard graduate.

Obama: Jeremy is —

BS: Jeremy Lin.

Obama: — doing good. And I knew about Jeremy before you did, or everybody else did, because Arne Duncan, my Secretary of Education, was captain of the Harvard team. And so way back when, Arne and I were playing and he said, I'm telling you, we've got this terrific guard named Jeremy Lin at Harvard. And then one of my best friends, his son is a freshman at Harvard, and so when he went for a recruiting trip he saw Lin in action. So I've been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while.

BS: Are you taking credit for "Linsanity"? It kind of feels like you are a little bit.

Obama: I can't take credit for it, but I'm just saying I was there early.

It's an intoxicating feeling, knowing something most others don't. And it's even better in baseball, because so few players in the minor leagues make it to the majors, so knowing about tomorrow's stars today is an especially satisfying feeling.

Which is to say, I remember thinking something along the lines of, "Oh, I should remember Brien Taylor because he's probably going to be awesome." That was of course the last time I thought about Brien Taylor. I could never be Tim Kurkjian, much, much less Will Leitch.

Here's a selection of Taylor stories from the New York Times archives:

And then now he may go to jail for dealing cocaine.

Posted: March 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: M+/MR, The Thrill Of Victory And The Agony Of Defeat! | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Better Of Course To Break Down The Box Than Live In It

For weeks after we moved into Kawama I broke down boxes. Some nights it seemed like I did it for hours. One after the other, peeling off the tape even though I don't think I needed to, just like this for the most part:

You'll notice that the box in the YouTube wasn't the typical Home Depot small/medium/large variety that we used to move. I felt bad throwing out those, though at least they were recycled — someone probably could have used them again. No, the box in the YouTube was different. Those boxes were what Goober used to haul my record collection with him to Seattle.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

I can't quite remember why Goober took the records with him to Seattle — except for obvious reasons, that is, which were to listen to them and to get them out of Mom and Dad's house. Anyway, they went to Seattle in 2000, then got moved to New York in 2005 when Goober moved here. Then Goober unloaded them on us, and from 2005 to 2011 they sat squirreled away in any space I could find in the old studio apartment.

When we moved into Kawama, and bought that nifty Expedit shelf unit from IKEA, many friends marveled at where we possibly stored all those albums in the old apartment. It was difficult, but we did it — about half of the boxes fit under the bed and the other half fit in various nooks and crannies in the closet space.

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

Kawama, Astoria, Queens

The problem with vinyl albums is that you want to keep them. And where Jen gently or not so gently encouraged me to jettison old shoes, college texts or the George Foreman grill, she never once suggested that we divest ourselves of the ten or so boxes of albums, which just reiterates the problem with vinyl — not only do you want to hold on to vinyl but your loved ones (who don't care one iota about Live Skull's oeuvre) also feel compelled to keep them.

Vinyl is a sickness this way, right alongside baseball cards, stamps, comics and Lionel trains — in other words, stuff that few people actually care about but which most of us know to be "worth keeping."

Which is to say, the baby now has the opportunity to become intimately familiar with all underground music ca. 1987-1991, seeing that the record collection is now in his room.

I was listening to the radio the other day and they were talking about vinyl. The DJ mentioned that his record collection — in the thousands (mine is only in the hundreds) — is in his and his wife's living room. He said that while his wife grudgingly accepted them, his friends encouraged him to keep his albums, especially for his potential children.

Now I can see sharing a lot of things with Animal, but Live Skull's Bringing Home the Bait wouldn't be one of them. Not because it would be inappropriate but because — let's be honest — it's just not that good. I can think of about fifty thousand better things to listen to that were put out between 1985, when Bringing Home the Bait was released, to 2012 or whenever it is in the future when Animal will want to listen to stuff.

Anyway, not to get off on a tangent. And I don't mean to pick on Live Skull (not the first time I've done that); I'm clearly just jealous. Actually, I think Live Skull would have been better if the lyrics weren't so self-consciously "tough" sounding — it's more of that naive No Wave concept of making music as tormented sounding as possible; eventually you need to come to terms with the idea that it's silly to express violence through something as goofy as music.

[Pause to change baby's diapers and come up with something positive to say about Live Skull.]

I have a new appreciation for their live album Don't Get Any On You.

OK, seriously. I liked — and still like! — their song "Fort Belvedere":

[Pause to dig out Cloud One LP to read lyric sheet.] [While searching think of other reasons vinyl is stupid, chief of which being that unless you're OCD you can't ever find anything.] [While searching feel especially stupid that I'm now organizing my Live Skull LPs.]

OK, now here are the lyrics to Fort Belvedere:

Fort Belvedere
This is what I saw
The ground was all wet
And we've run out of cigarettes

Don't touch my friend
She doesn't like that
Get your hands off her neck
She don't speak your language
We'll drive in your car
Just as long as you take us there
Don't drive us too far
Like out of the country

Fort Belvedere
Clouds move past the chapel
Everybody's getting lost
Fucking 'round in the bushes
This place is too old
Lots of broken down statues
This place is too cold
We don't know where we're going

Fort Belvedere
This is what I saw
The ground was all wet
And we've run out of cigarettes
Don't touch my friend
She doesn't like that
This place is too old
And we're tripping our brains out . . .

What I like about the lyrics is that I imagine they are being sung by a precocious teen on a school trip to the Forte di Belvedere in Florence. Anyway, they're marginally better than those in "The Loved One," which go something along the lines of, "You know I'm coming/To wreck your life/To tear your face off/And drive a stake through the heart of your loved one . . ."

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh right, breaking down boxes . . .

Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , , ,