Archive for September, 2015

Some Stuff I Want

Posted in Snippet with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2015 by sethdellinger

It is lately the generally accepted wisdom of the masses that one should not covet material items too much and you should spend your excess money on having experiences.  At least, this seems to be the generally accepted wisdom of my Facebook feed.  And I think I do fairly well with that; while there are certainly items I not only want but crave, I also spend a lot of my life having pretty great experiences.

All that being said, there remain some persistent bigger-ticket items that just call my name like a siren at sea, and I won’t deny it!  Perhaps it is an illness of our consumerist society, but dammit, there’s some stuff I want!  I thought it might be fun to put them here in a blog.  Please note this is just a fun exercise for me and not a veiled Christmas list.  As an adult I have never taken any joy in making out a list of things for people to buy me.  Some of these things have been bouncing around in my head as items I want for YEARS; I thought it might be therapeutic to get them out in the open.

In no particular order:

–OK, maybe in a SLIGHT order, just because this is definitely number one: Neil Young’s Mirrorball on vinyl.  It’s not my favorite album but it contains my favorite song.  Used would be fine but what I salivate over is the idea of a new, factory-sealed copy.  New copies on eBay generally go for about $100.

–I’m dying for a high-quality Philadelphia Flyers zip hoodie that goes light on the orange (but still has orange) and is heavy enough to wear for all but the coldest winter months.  Turns out all those criterion result in an expensive item.  Basically, I’m talking about this.  This would give me hoodies for all four Philly sports teams, but I don’t want to rush it and get a cheap version.  Hence, I’ve been sitting on this desire for almost two years.  I mean, who has $70 bucks for a hoodie?

–OK, I admit I have some fairly expensive interests.  I’ve been dying to get my hands on some first printings of collections of Philip Larkin poetry.  Now, this is a pretty specific area to deal in.  I am in no way talking about books actually called Collected Poems.  I am talking about the individual collections of poems AS THEY WERE PUBLISHED.  I would only be interested in them if they were FIRST PRINTINGS, which would mean they are hardcovers, usually being shipped from the UK somewhere, published in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  These titles would be:   The Less Deceived (1955, generally sell on eBay for $60-$150), The Whitsun Weddings (1964, goes for about $150), High Windows (1974, $90-$180.  This is the most desirable one).  There are some lesser collections: The North Ship being the most notable.  I do have a second printing copy of The North Ship, for which I paid $55 in a moment of weakness some years ago.

–I really want a pair of high quality Bose earbuds.  Please note earbuds, not headphones.  I like the crazy colors, too.  Specifically these.  I will never have the cojones to shell out the money for these.

–You might not guess it to look at me, but I love shoes.  It’s just that the shoes I love, which are very specific stylistically, can usually be bought very cheaply at many local retailers.  But it turns out, there are expensive versions of the shoes I like (apparently they are Chukkas), and I will never, ever be paying for them.  But look at them. Look how pretty they are.

–I don’t often feel a need to add many DVDs to my collection nowadays, although I will still add one here and there as I see more movies I fall in love with or as classics become available.  However, there is only one movie that I feel is causing a gap in my collection by its absence.  That movie is They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and it has been out of print on DVD for so long that new copies are very scarce.  Here look at this: a new copy of the DVD (not Blu Ray) on Amazon costs $100. You can see at that same Amazon page that used copies start at $20, but those are listed in acceptable condition.  I certainly do not mind used copies of DVDs but I balk at acceptable.  Some second-party sellers are offering New copies for $50.  Worth it but of course I can’t spend that on a single-disc, non-special edition DVD, no matter how badly I might want it.

–I love using the Roku to stream entertainment to my television.  In fact, we already own two of them.  However, in our new home, our wifi is terrible and it is a problem we don’t seem able to solve (we have been relegated to streaming Netflix via our Blu-Ray player, which is Ethernet cabled).  The thing is, I love Rokus, and the ROKU 3 has an Ethernet port.  Would this be an item of great excess?  Yes.  But I neeeeeeeeed it.

–My art book collection would basically be complete (for now) with the addition of a HIGH QUALITY, comprehensive, hardback book on Henri Rousseau.  I’m having trouble finding one to link to online, but the kind I’m thinking of is generally not cheaper than $60.  Failing that, I would settle for a framed print of The Dream (no smaller than 32×24) or The Snake Charmer (preferably 40×30).

See, I don’t ask for much!  I also like experiences!

I’m Only Giving the NFL Two More Years

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 10, 2015 by sethdellinger

I like watching football.  I love my Philadelphia Eagles.  We’re starving for a Super Bowl win after all these years and it seems like we are entering a period when that might be possible.  It’s exciting.

But if something doesn’t change, I can’t keep watching.

Football is a fun sport to watch.  It moves at a perfect pace for television and is easily filmed for dramatic tension.  It looks good in slow motion and offers plenty of viable reason for breaks in the action.  It was made for this day and age and I am along for the ride.

But there is a lot wrong with football and the NFL, and the sport itself isn’t elegant or poetic enough to make up for the issues (as opposed to baseball, which is also rife with problems, but gets an eternal pass because it is elemental, cerebral, artistic).  If the NFL doesn’t fix itself soon, I will remove myself from its fan base after two more seasons.

In no particular order, the problems as I see them:

–If you are a fan of football you must acknowledge and make peace with the fact that it is a sport built on violence.  This alone is not rare in the world of sport and, if one is inclined to like sport to begin with, not reason enough to dismiss it.  But in our modern world an athlete is still an employee working for an employer and that employer is responsible for their safety.  Despite all the public light being shined on the problem of concussions and lasting negative health effects of professional football, the NFL has still fallen far short of answering how it will deal with the future health of all its players.  Is this a simple issue?  No–it’s incredibly complex and layered and I don’t envy the NFL’s position in trying to adequately address it; however, the current fact is that the NFL has been the opposite of adequate–they have bungled the issue at every turn and treated their players like commodities.  I cannot be a long-term fan of a corporation that dehumanizes it’s players.  Not just because of the obvious safety and human rights issues, but the players’ humanity is basically why I want to watch any sport to begin with.

–The rules continue to change every year–often very drastically–to favor the offense in order to make the games more consumable for a mass audience and more television-friendly.  I am generally not opposed to the rules of a sport evolving over time; that surely happened plenty even before the television era.  But it is now happening in the NFL so quickly and blatantly that, to a large degree, and element of the actual “sport” is being sapped out in favor of pure entertainment value.  At the current rate of change, I estimate we are about 10 seasons away from being on the level of professional wrestling.  On that same note:

–I am the first to admit that I watch the NFL as much (in my case, more) for the storylines than the actual game.  No other sports league gives us the kinds of plots the NFL does.  Once washed-up quarterback gets second chance with rebuilding team playing a game at his old team’s stadium against a coach who wanted him traded or Guy whose brother died five hours ago decides he’s going to play anyway in the stadium where his brother worked as a beer vendor.  I just made both of those up but they are completely in line with the soap opera storylines being promoted in the sport nowadays; like I said, I bite into them full force like anyone else.  It’s compelling.  But things are starting to feel a little…staged.  This is the least well-formed of my reasons, but also the one I feel most in my gut.  The game schedules seem more crafted to achieve ultimate drama and plot more so than any real competitive reason.  Rivals are scheduled to play each other in the most prime time slots and days while small-market or teams light on legacy get little national spotlight; “flex” scheduling allows television networks to move games to prime time if, say, one of their athletes is playing after getting arrested or bad-mouthing the commissioner on SportsCenter.  Take, for example, tonight’s season opener (which I will be eagerly watching, as much as my toddler allows): Tom Brady allowed to start the first game of the season after a FEDERAL JUDGE threw out a four game suspension imposed by the COMMISIONER HIMSELF for allegations of CHEATING that ultimately lead to a SUPER BOWL WIN, all while allegations of SYSTEMIC DEACADES-LONG CHEATING continue to surface against the entire team he plays for, VERSUS one of the most storied, well-decorated teams in the league’s history (although they seem to be in decline) shortly after said team signs MICHAEL VICK as a back-up quarterback–a man with a history of animal abuse to back up their current quarterback–a man strongly suspected to have a history of sexual assault.  And these are two of the most storied, well-respected teams in the league. It all sounds very much like professional wrestling.  I would not be very surprised if half time was commissioner Roger Goodell walking out to midfield as a microphone is lowered from the rafters and he screams a ten minute threatening rant aimed at Tom Brady, just like the heels in the World Wrestling Federation.  What I’m asking for is less manicured drama.  Let the game create the drama.

–Be more inclusive to female fans (pink merchandise is pandering, not inclusive).  Make everything associated with the league cost just a LITTLE less.  Fix your schedule so all the games aren’t happening at the same time (I actually like Thursday Night Football and think the idea should be expanded).  Stop playing games in London–nobody cares.  Get a team in Los Angeles.  Do completely away with the point after.  Make the kickoff like it used to be.  Do away with cheerleaders.  Make the team from Washington, DC change its name.  That might be all I have to gripe about.  All that being said, I’m still here for at least two years, so GO EAGLES.  Watch this video, it will make you change your favorite team:

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