People who run red lights need a special kind of penalty.
I’m talking about a $75 ticket and an ass-kicking. Just a small combination of knuckles and toes to make someone understand that what they just did was stupid and unnecessary. I will get back into this in greater detail at a later date. Right now, it’s time to get into the latest round of 6 Worthy Conversations-6WC? Sounds like a weak Xbox controller move-cooking and on the road.
Now, the first thing every good opinion writer should do in a piece is make fun of themselves. Before anyone else gets a shot in, just punch yourself once to get used to the feeling. Last week, I deviated from the original shiny idea that came with the 6WC. Take one hard charge at one topic and five smaller pushes into other topics. That’s what made it different from the Top 6 Justin Bieber Haircuts piece that comes out every month. Last week, I messed up, dishing out six close-to-equal doses on six topics.
This week, we’re righting the ship. One long-form dose and five smaller-yet still potent-takes on a few other things.
1. Bill Burr is the best comic working today
Okay, let me clarify before Barbara Streisand’s loyal following cancels me. Burr is my FAVORITE comic at the moment. He’s just a great fucking comedian. The man has a versatile array of shows available on Netflix, including the streaming giant original, “Paper Tiger.” Within the first ten minutes of that show, Burr is going after Michelle Obama and her popularity. Standing in London in front of an audience who can’t say a raw word about their leader’s wife, Burr just leans into it. Hardcore and without hesitation.
He does that with everything in that special and the others. Whether it’s expert physical comedy-which lends itself to his strong supporting work in film and television-or just a rant about Donald Trump’s ambitious wall, Burr nails it. There were moments during “Paper Tiger” where you’re laughing at stuff that the Starbucks crowd would rip to shreds, but Burr doesn’t care.
He’s old school like that. People like the late Patrice O’Neal, Dave Chappelle, and Burr don’t care about feelings. They have a goal up there: Make you laugh so hard, breathing becomes difficult. You know how that goes. It starts out rather slow, before building into a larger chorus and blaze of relentless belly laughs. You start reaching for invisible handlebars to grab onto, and slap your leg into a moderate bruise. And then you DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.
Burr is like that, whether he’s talking about growing up with a strict dad or his marriage. It’s rapid fire and never boring. Sometimes, comics try so many different tempos up there and mix up the topics that their act starts to look staged. Burr steers clear of that, because it comes off as a personal conversation between friends. He’s walking around like you owe him money, but then he’ll say something controversial, stand back, and just cackle like The Joker. We’re in his world, and he’s living rent free in our heads.
All comedians have to do right now is make us laugh. Take the mind away from reality and have some real fun. But they can also take a great leap with one of their bits. During Paper Tiger, Burr talks about the Colin Kaepernick kneeling situation in the NFL. A situation due to the fact that the media pushed this gigantic narrative that he was doing something wrong.
Burr is the moderator here, jumping into presumed reactions from sports fans and veterans about Kaepernick’s actions. It’s potent and funny at the same time. This is where the acting comes in handy too, an ability to project different personalities inside minutes. Oh yeah, Burr goes full-blown Shyamalan Split during this rant. It’s classic. Go check it out after you read the rest of what I have to say.
2. Respecting The Dodgers
Fact: The Los Angeles Dodgers spend a lot more money than most clubs. Another Fact: They do pretty wisely for the most part. This is an impressively run and highly classy baseball franchise. Every team has bad contracts, but this team doesn’t just stay competitive, they do it in a dominant way. This is their third trip to the World Series in the past four years, with last year’s exit coming at the hands of the eventual champion Washington Nationals. Here they are again, in a shortened season no less, returning to the promised land against the underdog Tampa Bay Rays.
While I’d like Randy Arozarena and company to win the series, it’s hard to dismiss the dominance of the Dodgers over the past decade. They are always standing in the way and are getting closer and closer to their first World Series title in decades. I never understood the hate for the Dodgers. Yes, they are the ultimate rival or arch enemy for your home team, but how can you not respect the history of this franchise? Koufax’s left arm, Tommy Lasorda’s heart, and Kirk Gibson’s late homer. Players like Mike Piazza, Hideo Nomo, and Clayton Kershaw. Respect!
3. Back to School!
Well, sort of. A week from today, the kid will return to school at Gateway Science Academy. Two days a week in school and three staying virtual. My guess is if all things go well, the entire week will be in school next quarter. Baby steps are the name of the game, and I applaud the folks at GSA for being smart and swift with their decision.
Monday morning will be different. Every parent knows this feeling. 7 o’clock hits hard, and time starts sprinting. The kid’s breath smells like last night’s White Castles, which you are somehow still working out down below. He gets dressed but moves like a sloth. Every step is slow motion and the eyes haven’t opened yet. A smell of his blanket and you nearly pass out. Somewhere between a dog’s ass, overnight spit, a few upwind farts, and some cat breath. Out the door and into frenzied and COLD morning traffic for the first time in months. Oh boy. Wish ALL of us, and the teachers, good luck for Oct. 26.
4. Enjoy an Aaron Sorkin trio on Netflix, including a baseball classic
Along with his hard-hitting new release, The Trial of the Chicago 7, two other Aaron Sorkin-scripted (at least a hand in the final draft) are available: Molly’s Game and the outstanding Moneyball. The story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics features one of Brad Pitt’s best performances, and offers the first glimpse at serious Jonah Hill, as in seriously great.
A film about the birth of sabermetrics in baseball. Billy Beane’s (Pitt) A’s were the first team to put Bill James’ findings into action on a field. The supporting cast was top-notch, from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Art Howe to Robin Wright to Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg. “Hatty” is one of the best representatives of how much of an effect sabermetrics can have on a career. Hatteberg was all but done in baseball when Beane knocked on his door. By taking a chance on a catcher converting to a first baseman, Beane didn’t just help extend Hatteberg’s career; he doubled it. Hatteberg played for 14 seasons total, seven before his first season in Oakland, and seven afterwards.
Baseball magic! Moneyball is streaming on Netflix.
5. All hail, Bob Gibson
When the late Cardinal great died, I wanted to write something. Every writer gets it. The urge is there, but the energy and will is not. Time passes and news relevancy can change. You can’t begin a tribute with, “I know this is late, but heck, he’s still gone, isn’t he?” Sometimes, the words either don’t come heavy or you just put it off. I didn’t want to waste the complete opportunity to honor a pitcher that I would call one of the best of all time. Gibson was one of the pioneers in the game for African American players. He was a basketball talent in college who decided was best. Thank goodness for that, because Gibson was incredible at it.
He pitched so well, the league lowered the mound after his dominant 1.12 ERA. He was fierce before people knew what that term meant for a pitcher. Gibson took a line drive off the leg and kept on going. He never stopped being WHO HE WAS until the end. A red jacket that will be sorely missed, just like the recently departed Lou Brock, on Opening Day next year. The Clydesdales are great and all, but you can’t recreate Bob Gibson. He was a signature and once in a lifetime kind of talent.
6. Finding a true love for cocktails in your 30’s
That’s me by the way. For over three decades, I was never a fan of cocktails. Mixing alcohol with other drinks and additions, and then squeezing something into it. Stirring it up and downing about five of them. Well, I got there. It all started with bourbon and ginger beer. The Kentucky Mule is my favorite adult beverage of choice if we are switch-hitting at the bar. I love it. You pour 2-2.5 ounces of bourbon into a glass with ice, and then fill it to nearly the top with ginger beer. I use Gosling’s and go for diet here, because the taste is the same and 41 grams of sugar is just a little too much for this 38-year-old.
I can drink three of those and be floating down into the night moves with ease. Speaking of which, Bob Seger’s Night Moves is one of my all-time favorite tunes.
And with that, I bid you farewell for now.