Friday, June 6, 2008

How Prog(ressive) of Him

One of the largest single donations of memorabilia ever made to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum came from about the whitest sources possible:

Close to 200 baseballs, all autographed by former Negro Leagues baseball players or backers, have been donated to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum by a somewhat surprising fan ... Rush singer/bassist Geddy Lee.
Good for Geddy. I am very conflicted about Rush. I listened to a lot of it as a kid, but as I matured I became really tired of their instrumental excess and middlebrow philosophizing. Maybe that's less Rush's problem than prog rock in general, though, because I've reached a point in life where I'm actually really happy whenever one of their songs comes on the radio or something.

Anyway, this is probably as good a time as any to share one of my original theories about the universe. It goes like this: You can tell a lot about a guy based on the following things:

1) his favorite sport;

2) his choice of beer; and

3) how he feels about Rush.

I'm not sayin' there are any right or wrong answers to those questions (well, "baseball" is obviously the right answer, but let's leave that for a moment). I'm just sayin' that if you know that stuff about someone, you can pretty much figure out most of the other things worth knowing.

(link via BTF)


Jason said...

Not sure what this makes me in your eyes, CC, but as a (now former-, sadly) drummer, I was a HUGE Rush fan. I'd come home from school, listen to Howard Stern (on NY NBC radio afternoons back then), have my graham crackers & milk and then play drums for a few hours. Eventually Stern went to mornings, I gave up my graham crackers but I still would play for hours after school (when games didn't get in the way).

Yes, they were a bit too "middlebrow" at times, but musically, they were incredible.

But as a former musician, BIG fan.

Still a big Killian's fan, too.

Richard Dansky said...

But the bassist and the blogger, each must do their part to mold a new reality, closer to the..., I can't finish. I just can't. But "Tom Sawyer" on Rock Band does indeed kick ass.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Jason -- the three questions don't lead one to a value judgment. Just tells you a lot about a person. Rush fans -- especially drummers -- are almost always analytical left-brained types. It must be a time signature thing that either clicks with a person or it doesn't.

Richard: if you choose not to complete that sentence, you still have made a choice.

pieman said...

Of course it's baseball for #1.

Leinenkugel's or Smithwick's for #2.

For #3 - not a huge fan of Rush. I'm more of a Ramones guy.

Crawdaddy said...

I guess the more interesting question would be are there any less intrusive questions you can ask and still learn a lot about someone?

Pete Toms said...

I hate RUSH. Hate is not overstating it. I turn off the radio or change the station ASAP when I hear the music. And they are played incessantly in our country ( due to our immature, insecure sense of identity here we mandate a minimum amount of "Canadian content" broadcast over the air here, the cultural protectionists fear the evil influence of Uncle Sam ). RUSH is one of the bands that benefits. They still play big hockey arenas here, in fact I have to buy a brother in law some pot next week because he's going to see them in Montreal soon. This is an example of the negative effects of pot smoking, I also include Zappa fans ( oddly, wasn't Zappa straight? not in the heterosexual sense, but not stoned? ), HT to Hornby.

Having said all that, I have a soft spot for Geddy because I know he's a baseball geek. He was a big Expos fan and I've seen him many times on Jays broadcasts sitting behing home plate. He was also part of some ESPN baseball promo ( fantasy maybe? ) last year, making some music for it. I only remember it because I recall teasing aforementioned "counterculture" brother in law about his deified Geddly selling out to the evil, corporate Disney.

So, if you like RUSH and pot I strongly urge you to move to Canada. British Columbia probably the most favorable part of the country for you.

Osmodious said...

1. Baseball (though I think of it as a game more than a sport...and I actually respect games far more than sports), Formula 1 being a close second (though more in a nostalgic sense).

2. I don't drink beer. I tend to avoid ingesting anything that tastes like ass.

3. You can find nearly every type of music you can name in my 3100+ CD collection, but there is not a single Rush CD. If I want to hear incoherent screeching, I'll put on an awful Top 40 station and wait for a Mariah Carey song. Or pull out one of the Cibo Matto discs. (Lee was a very good bassist, though...too bad the songs were generally not that interesting otherwise).
Honestly, I've not given them a fair shake...I hate the 10 or so songs of theirs I've heard incessantly on the radio for 25 years, but nothing else from them to tell if it was just burnout.

So, the question is...what exactly does a person's opinion of Rush say about them? (or are we just going for the thought process behind their opinion, or how well they defend it, to get a glimpse at the person's mind?)

Andy said...

1) Baseball

2) Nothing exotic - anything I can get from the grocery store other than the mass-market American brands (Bud, Coors, etc.)

3) I listened to Rush in high school. Probably would listen to 'Tom Sawyer' if it came on the radio, but I've moved on.

Ron Rollins said...


As a Canadian, can you have an objective opinion about Rush?

Just asking?

But its easy.

#1. Baseball

#2. Whatever anyone else is buying.

#3. If its not the Beatles, Elvis, Pink Floyd, Frankie, or Allison Krauses, then who really cares.

Just my opinion. I'm probably an asshole.

Pete Toms said...

Ron, in no way is my opinion objective. But that's Rush, you either love it or hate it.

As for the 3 questions ( man, is this Hornbyesque ).

1. I think we're all in agreement, otherwise why the hell would we read this blog.

2. I'm lockstep with Ron.

3. The Replacements were "the only band that mattered" to me. That probably has more to do with me being a near smart, alcoholic, misanthrope during the 80's and most of the 90's than anything. As a general rule, I like country ( real cry in your beer, whiny steel guitar, Buck Owens, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, I was raised on Hee Haw ) and the glory era of alt country ( UT, and the early works of Lucinda Williams, Son Volt, Wilco, Ryan Adams, Steve Earle etc. ) but I can listen to pretty much anything ( ok, not hip hop or classical ).

If anybody posts their desert island discs on this blog I swear to never return.

Osmodious said...

Did I hear someone say "Desert Island Discs"????

1. Pixies - Doolittle
2. Replacements - Tim
3. Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
heh heh....

Craig Calcaterra said...

Osmodious: on the one hand, Pete said he'd leave if anyone did that, but on the other, you did include the Replacements, so that may keep him around.

If not, it's been nice knowin' ya, Pete!

Pete Toms said...

The list is incomplete and does include 2 of my favorites ( Better off without a wife was an unofficial anthem for me during the 80's ) so I guess I'll be back....BTW, Pleased to meet me is superior to Tim.

Daniel said...

Well I guess I gotta chime in:

1. Baseball. I enjoy watching hockey more now, enjoy attending college football games more now, but for pure overall enjoyment, nothing beats baseball. I still love playing softball, over-the-line, fantasy baseball, catch with my dad, etc. Hitting a line drive into the gap is the second greatest feeling in the world, right behind sex.

2. Hornsby's Draft Cider (got into it in college when I was learning to like beer and still love it)

3. I'm actually a middle of the road guy on Rush. That's mostly due to my age (25). I like classic rock, but I got that from my dad, who wasn't a big Rush fan. I enjoy the songs that come on the radio, but have no special affinity for Rush.

Blaze said...

1. Baseball
2. Bass
3. Ah, high school... The bad old days.

Ron Rollins said...

Actually, I'm a Merle fan. He is the one ture god of music. But I thought he might be too obscure of a reference.

My mistake for not listing him earlier.

Chris H. said...


1) Baseball. Of course.

2) I'm not that particular, and I tend to go through phases. I'm in a Dos Equis phase right now.

3) Rush is, without question, my favorite all-time band, and has been for almost thirty years. Sure, they went off the rails a bit for a couple of albums there, but the most recent (Snakes and Arrows) is incredible. I never get tired of it. (And yes, I have been accused of being an analytical left-brain type, so your theory still holds, Craig.)

It's all a taste thing, although Osmodious should be smote for comparing Rush to Mariah Carey. Yeah, I'm watching you, fella.

Richard Dansky said...

Hmm. So by not answering the questions directly, am I in a case of conform or be cast out of the comments section?

On a slightly more baseball-related note, I recall a story from a few years back where Rush took batting practice with the Angels, much to Jimmy Reese's surprise and confusion - he thought it was Rush Limbaugh coming in to take a few hacks.

Chris H. said...

Richard: one likes to believe in the freedom of comments, but...well, you know.

The coversation sure is a far cry from the blog we thought we'd inherited.

Pete Toms said...

Speaking of Limbaugh, I've read conjecture that Geddy is a conservative. Rare amongst evolved artistic types.

Angelos said...

1. Baseball.
2. Péché Mortel, Grolsch, DogFish Head brewery, Stone brewery, tons of Belgians. Real complex and strong beers.
3. Rush is a great band of musicians. Now, like anyone who overdosed on classic rock radio while in college (RPI '91 here), I have an aversion to a lot of songs that got beaten to death. "Spirit of Radio," "Freewill," etc. So I have some deeper tracks on my iPod, as well as the entirety of "Snakes and Arrows," which was my 3rd favorite album of 2007.

Pete Ridges said...

Embarrassing confession time: in my first year at college, I had that owl picture on my wall. Granted, there was a LOT of stuff on my wall, but still...
Coincidentally or otherwise, that was also the year when I decided to switch from listening to rock music all the time to almost never, and became far happier as an unexpected result.
So now I own about ten Rush vinyl albums, and no means of playing them. But I still think they're wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Every time I watch Sox vs Jays Geddy Lee is behind home plate - took me a couple of looks but he was behind home plate for a whole series last year or the year before.
also Tim IS better than please to meet me - the great songs are better on tim than please (left of dial, bastards of young !)

Pete Toms said...

Anon. IS NOT! Really, we're splitting hairs. All us Mats fans know that Let it Be, Tim & PTMM are the holy trinity. Skyway, Valentine, Can't Hardly Wait, IOU...

Osmodious said...

Pete, to be honest, I could not decide between the three albums, so just threw Tim down because it was a lot less letters...

As with many of my favorite artists, I would be totally unable to reduce the selections down to one...I mean, how do you pick just ONE Beatles album? Or Pixies, or Pavement, or Elvis Costello?

You lose a lot when you can't listen to a band's music in the context of their overall musical progression. That's not to say that I don't have a 'favorite' for each band, just that that favorite is MORE meaningful for me when compared to their other work (the 'evokes strong specific memories of a life once lived' corollary applies here, though, in which the music itself is less important than the feeling it gives you).

And if anybody asks, this is still about baseball...I mean, one would hope that the players give THIS much though to choosing their 'intro' music!

Craig Calcaterra said...

ONE Beatles album?


Or Pixies?


or Pavement?

Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

or Elvis Costello?

This Year's Model

Wait, was that supposed to ne a hypothetical question?

Osmodious said...

Apparently not! They best part of it is that it is a question with NO wrong answer, I guess. If you pick a single album from those bands, chances are pretty good it is a classic (OK, maybe not Almost Blue).

OK, maybe one *could* come up with a single album from their favorite bands...but you'll be sitting on the beach of your desert island wishing you had some of the other ones (Don't you find yourself wanting to listen to "Is She Weird?" after anything on Doolittle? How about "I am the Walrus" after "She Said, She Said" or "Tomorrow Never Knows"?). Maybe it's just me, but when I 'rediscover' a particular album, I find myself given the whole catalog a hearing...

Here's another one for ya...has it *always* been Revolver, or does it change from time to time (I flip between Revolver and Rubber Soul, depending on whether I've been listening to more pop or more obscure stuff)? (Don't you ever just go through a month where you are so angry at the world that you think Blood and Chocolate is the best album ever? ...was that out loud? Sorry...)