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Two Stories: Braylon and Kenny

Posted by Greg on Sep 22, 2010 in Op-Ed

On Monday, Denver Broncos Kenny McKinley took his own life, leaving behind a son and an armful of loved ones. Those that knew him cited his effervescent personality and his jovial nature. Few if any thought he’d be the type to do something like this. And so for the third time in four years, Denver Bronco Nation is mourning the passing of a teammate. Suddenly whatever worries or anxieties were fresh on their minds have evaporated. This weekend’s game remains just a small step in a lengthy grieving process.

Two thousand miles east the New York Jets organization is grappling with the unpleasant news that wide receiver Braylon Edwards was cruising through the west side of Manhattan while drunk. Due to the player’s union unconscionable rules he’s allowed to practice and play on Sunday. Rather than rebuff the player’s union’s rules and sit him for the entire game, Rex Ryan and the Jets brass are benching him. And so, Edwards receives a slap on the wrist for an idiotic, selfish and dastardly decision. His pathetic and foolhardy public apology only makes this situation that much more grave. In said mea culpa, Edwards admitted that his act was not selfish and that because it was a legal matter he declined to discuss his emotions regarding the incident. Instead of embracing the fact that he’s lucky to be alive, he’s clumsily attempting to save face.

If only he knew how blessed he was. The tears on the faces of Kenny McKinely’s parents reveal just how precious life really is. Maybe one day Braylon will wake up and realize that. But let’s be realistic, that’s probably asking too much.

 
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Sugarland and Kevin Griffin: Pop Gold

Posted by Greg on Sep 13, 2010 in Music

I really don’t want to like Sugarland. Jennifer Nettles was a badass soul and blues singer 10 years ago and I loved that about her. Then she put on a country lilt and teamed up with one of my favorite songwriters of all time – the one and only Kristian Bush – and released a series of ubiquitious hits, many of which I have to admit I absolutely love. Their latest though just might be their best. As much as I want to hate it, I cannot get past how damn infectious “Stuck Like Glue,” is. While watching the obnoxious —- and slightly comical —- video on GAC, I noticed that Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin is a co-writer. While its probably selling both Jennifer and Kristian short, I like to think Griffin is the reason this song is so damn catchy. Griffin has written for many, including “Collide,” by Howie Day and Graham Colton’s “Morning Light.” Anyone that knows the BTE repertoire knows he’s a bonafide talent but his snippets of chart-topping success with other artists, may prove it even more so. Until I begin to hate “Stuck Like Glue,” and there’s a good chance I may never hate it, I’ll remain firm in my opinion that Kevin Griffin is one of America’s finest pop songwriters.

 
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What has happened to country music?

Posted by Greg on Sep 9, 2010 in Music

So Josh Kelley becomes the latest soft-rock castoff to tackle the country charts. He joins Steven Page (ex-Barenaked Ladies), Jaron Lowenstein, Uncle Kracker and Jewel to name a few.

At what point does country music just change its name to country/soft-rock. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing entirely wrong with this trend or these artists. Hell, I like them all. I’m just wondering when the country got sucked out of country. Pointing the finger at these five though feels a bit too harsh though. Let’s broaden the scope, after all Jessie James’ “Boys in Summer,” sounds more like
Miley Cyrus than Pam Tillis, while Sons of Sylvia sounds more akin to Semisonic than Hank Williams. Even Billy Ray Cyrus has changed up his act. His super-group Brother Clyde channels hard-rock on their lead single, “Lately,” while Lissie tackles singer-songwriter sensibilities not unlike Carole King.

Is this a sea change? An evolution? Or just a natural progression. Either way it’s not the country of yesteryear that’s for damn sure.

 
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The Transformation of the Meatpacking District

Posted by Greg on Sep 9, 2010 in NYC

It’s no secret that I have an undying love for New York City. Since moving back to Long Island in 2005, I have found myself more and more inspired by stately old Manhattan. About a month ago I ventured to High Line Ballroom to see The Juliana Theory reunion show. Having not been in that neighborhood in quite some time —- roughly four years —- I was interested to see what it looked like. Last I remember, the Maritime Hotel was the only hip spot and the rest of the neighborhood felt quite scummy. My how times have changed.

Whether its the arrival of the beyond-magnificent High Line trail or the arrival of trendy new hotspots on 14th Street, that four-to-five block stretch suddenly feels chic, posh and high-end. And yet I’m almost certain when I was there in 2005 (to see Edwin McCain with my sister) the High Line Ballroom felt unsafe. Is my imagination deceiving me? Did the Meatpacking District blow up in the last five years right under my watch?

Either way, it’s become one of my new favorite spots in the city and a treasured little slice of heaven.

 
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Need some inspiration today?

Posted by Greg on Sep 9, 2010 in Op-Ed

My illustrious sister has posted an ever-inspiring and incredibly buoyant post about a wounded soldier and his championing spirit. If ever there was something to boost your day, this is probably it. While war films and war novels cast the culture of war in varying degrees, this simple post puts it all in perspective. God bless our soldiers and God bless this man!

 
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The Sports World Let Me Down This Week

Posted by Greg on Sep 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was all prepared to extol the virtues of the sports world and usher in college football with resounding conviction. And then the athletic gods cast their ugly aspersions. In the middle of the week Nyjer Morgan acted like a brute and showed little regard for the game of baseball. Once upon a time, I was the one wishing a player of his caliber could play for my team. Now I want him removed from baseball ASAP. Two days later and a double whammy. The UNC football team were saddled with a litany of sanctions stemming from an NCAA investigation against illegal conduct between players and agents.

While one can’t fault the players (or can we?) one can certainly point a finger at Butch Davis and his staff. And then as if to add insult to injury, Rooger Goodell showed what a true wimp he really is by negating Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension to just four games. Four games? Are you serious? And then he has the gall to release a press statement championing Roethlisberger for meeting the NFL’s criteria. What criteria exactly? Why doesn’t Goodell just come out and say that he’s reinstating Big Ben to boost ratings and make sure the NFL makes more money. Isn’t it obvious? The Steelers without Big Ben don’t draw audiences. And therein lies the problem. In this ever microscopic society, Roger Goodell thinks its far more important to put the almighty dollar above ethics and morals. Long live college football……no, wait, that’s tainted, too.

Long live high school football. Okay, that’s tainted too, but let’s just ignore that for a minute and go with it.

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