By In Stuff

Stuff I Love

So, I’ve been a bit — OK, more than a bit — distracted lately finishing this and doing lots of that and traveling with family, and I’ve been tinkering with the idea of Hall of Fame e-book that I would sell for charity. I’ll get back to you on that one later … maybe you would volunteer to help e edit it.

In any case, in the last month or two, I’ve come across a bunch cool things. I turned forty-eight, and one my fears of growing older is losing joy for things. I’ve noticed that does pop up from time to time. I don’t love football like I once did, for instance. I’m not entirely sure why. I mean, yeah, there’s the NCAA and Roger Goodell and concussions and domestic violence and the persistent buzzkill that is my Cleveland Browns, and I’m sure all of those things contribute. But, man, I used to love football. I lived for football. Baseball always mattered to me, I thought about it all the time, but football (especially Cleveland Browns football) that was breathing, that was eating, that was life.

It’s not life anymore. I still like football. Still like writing about it. Don’t love it.

And I was wondering lately — is that where everything’s going? Will I stop loving music as much? Will I stop loving movies as much? Will I stop loving books and stories and spaghetti and Diet Coke and card tricks and even baseball as much as I once did?

I don’t know the answer. I do know that lately I’ve run across some stuff I absolutely love. So the jaded thing hasn’t settle in just yet.


I like Richard Linklater’s movies well enough. Really liked Dazed and Confused. Thought the first Before movie — Before We Got Old, I think it’s called — was good. School of Rock is a thoroughly underrated pleasure.

Still, I went into Boyhood somewhat skeptical. The idea of filming a movie over twelve years seemed compelling to me, but often the trouble with movies like that is they’re gimmicky. There’s no depth. The movie has one trick and it plays that trick again and again and again. Hey, look the kid’s older. Hey, look the kids even older.

I saw Boyhood was getting all these breathless reviews, but there were others who thought the movie dragged on and didn’t really have a larger point.

Then I saw Boyhood.

Man, I loved Boyhood.

I’m not going to give a full review here because there are other things I loved that I need to get to but this was my favorite movie experience in years. It was my favorite anything in years. It was mesmerizing to me from absolutely the first minute. I don’t know any of these people, obviously, and yet I know all them. It showed the good nature of the villains, and the selfishness of the heroes.

There’s one scene I’ll mention. One of the boy’s stepfathers, an abusive alcoholic, is at the dinner table drinking, mainly to prove that he’s the master of the house. At one point he says to the boy, “You don’t like me much, do you.” The boy won’t even look at him, and the man muses, “Yeah, I don’t like me much either.” It’s just the tiniest bit of humanity before the man loses his mind again. The whole movie does that, I think, it projects little moments of humanity, and shows that life isn’t easy, and it’s too short, and all you really can do is try your best. So, so good.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

I used to read so much more fiction. I think it’s a timing issue There are so many non-fiction books that I have piled up — just finished Lawrence Wright’s “Thirteen Days In September” which was terrific and I’m reading Jean Edward Smith’s books on Grant and Eisenhower more or less at the same time — that unless it’s something that jumps right off the bookshelf, I tend not to look at much fiction.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin did not jump off the shelf. I was given a bookstore gift card for the holidays, so I was buying books for the girls and for Margo. Storied Life looked like a good book for Margo. Quirky thing about a small town and an independent bookstore and a cranky owner and a late-life love affair. Seemed like a book club kind of thing. Right up Margo’s alley.*

*She made me watch Downton Abbey a week or two ago; I won’t put it on this “love” list but I can see why she likes it.

In any case, I was getting ready for bed one night, and the book was on the nightstand and I thought, “Let’s see what this is.” I’ve heard before that cliche about books you can’t put down. I’ve never really had that happen, though. Yes, some books do demand you to keep reading, but sooner or later there’s a dead spot and you can put the book down and pick it up later. I read the Storied Life of A.J. Fikry until three in the morning, and when I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I kept it by the bed so I could finish it the next morning.

Man, I loved The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

The wonder for me of The Storied Life was not the actual story. It was a sweet little story. The wonder for me was not the beauty of the prose. It was certainly wonderfully written, but this wasn’t the gorgeous writing of DeLillo or Chabon or McDermott, not the multi-layered writing of Auster or Patchett or Roth. The wonder for me was in the sheer joy of reading that was expressed on every page, in every paragraph, in every sentence, you hear a voice saying, “Isn’t reading the greatest thing ever? Well, isn’t it?”

Big phones

So, not that you would care, but I briefly jumped away from my iPhone obsession and got a Galaxy Note 4. I really liked the Note for many reasons but there were a couple of work quirks that made it impractical so I went back to the iPhone, the giant one, the iPhone 6+.

Man, I love these giant phones (though the word “Phablet” is one that that die anytime it likes).

I had all the same worries about the giant phone that I heard from other people — that I wouldn’t be able to carry it in my pocket, that it’s too big to use one-handed, that I would just look plain stupid holding up one of these enormous phones to my ear. None of these have actually caused any problems for me. My pockets are big enough, the one-handed thing isn’t really an issue and I look stupid holding ANY phone to my ear so a big one makes no difference.

The advantages: There are a lot of them but the biggest is that I can now actually see stuff on my phone. I have spent the last few years holding my cell phone about 4 inches in front of my face, looking sideways through my glasses, squinting like mad. Now THAT is a stupid look. This giant iPhone is fantastic..I can actually read stuff on it. I pumped up the type on messages to near-maximum, zoom in everyplace else, it’s like carrying a highway billboard around. I love it.

I should add that the iPhone 6+ costs like a bajillion dollars and I have had to endure plenty of “Really? You really need that? What’s wrong with your old iPhone?” heckling, which I answer mainly by clicking on my email app and saying, “Look how big the type is!”

Big Text

This is obviously related to the big phone category, but for a long time I rebelled against big text on my phone or my computer or anything else because I I felt really foolish and and blind old looking at super-sized words. This was an incredibly pointless demonstration. I am kind of blind, and kind of old and, heck, just now I boosted the font here on this blog post I’m writing.

I love, love love big text

All Blacks Rugby Team

Yeah, I saw Invictus. Other than that, I really had never seen, heard about or thought about New Zealand’s All Blacks Rugby team. Rugby has just never quite penetrated my world. Then, a while ago, I watched them on TV.

Man I love the All Blacks. They’re like … I don’t know even know how to describe them. I’m pretty sure that if the All Blacks played the Seattle Seahawks, the earth would open up and we would all be swallowed whole. Except for the All Blacks who would somehow start a new, more powerful civilization.

Lake Street Dive

I wish I could find the Tweet from the Brilliant Reader who turned me on to Lake Street Dive. They’re a Boston band with like this kind of jazzy, bluesy, indie, alternative, lounge-y sound that is just utterly fantastic. I’ve got a blog post (or article, not sure yet) coming about how my friends are trying to turn me into a Wilco fan, and how ridiculously difficult it is for some of us middle-aged shmoes to incorporate newer music in our lives. But Lake Street Dive has somehow made its way into my playlist. “Bad Self Portraits” is the album I’d start with if you feel like exploring.

Man I love Lake Street Dive. That just make me so happy.

Burnley FC

People always told me that there is nothing quite like rooting for a team that is desperately trying to keep from being relegated. I didn’t really appreciate it until last year, when I went to do a story on Burnley — the smallest town to ever have had a Premier League team. It was one of my favorite writing experiences of recent years. I’m trying to get a return trip, though I’m not sure NBC is looking for a second Burnley story just yet.

Anyway, I’ve been keeping pretty close tabs on the Clarets and it has been so much fun watching them fight for the right to stay. They are currently one point out of relegation range, 17th in the league, it’s going to be spectacular watching them fight for this all year long. The Chelsea-Man City battle is fascinating, Southampton’s brilliant season is super fun, lots of great stories.

But, yep, man I love Burnley.

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47 Responses to Stuff I Love

  1. Tom says:

    I’m with you on one thing for sure: I don’t love football as much either. This year, if Denver didn’t play on Sunday during the day (which was quite a few weeks), I pretty much bailed on football and usually went to play golf. As much as I wanted them to beat Indy, I already new they would get smoked in New England. And the weird thing? Deep down I knew it would be better if they didn’t go to the Super Bowl because I’m going to be on vacation that weekend. And now I don’t have to dedicate 4 hours to a game I don’t care about. 18 year old me would be appalled to know that I’m skipping the Super Bowl this year. I still watched a lot of football, but it was also the least amount of football I’ve watched in years. But what it comes down to now is really that I’m increasingly only interested in my own teams. I went that way with baseball a long time ago. I’m an LAA fan, and I haven’t watched a regular season game that they weren’t playing in years. I barely watch the playoffs or the World Series (I did watch Game 7 this year). And the other thing? I’d stop doing fantasy football as well, except I’ve been in my leagues for so long that the drafts are the only times in the year I see some of the guys in them.

    • I’m with you. When I was a kid, I’d often write the “what I did this weekend” paper about the football games I watched… Complete with a picture I’d draw. Loved the NFL. Fast Forward and I haven’t watched more 10 minutes of football during the playoffs. I watched zero today. My Dad called me to talk about the games because he still remembers me as a 12 year old kid. He was literally shocked that I had nothing to contribute to the discussion.

      Baseball fell off the cliff a bit last year. I DVR all the Braves games, and try to watch games in 30-45 minutes. Last year I didn’t bother. I’d fast forward through the innings the Braves were doing nothing offensively, and that proved to be almost every inning of every game. I decided to stop watching. I watched very little in the post season either.

      But I’m glad Poz wrote this. I think I need new things to be passionate about. It’s really gotten hard to justify spending hours watching sports. It’s not like they are that important. I do watch my son play sports still and enjoy it. But he’s half way through his junior year, so I can see that coming to an end too.

    • James R says:

      Joe, as a huge kiwi fan of yours, hearing you mention the All Blacks as something you loved filled me up with pride. Curious though as to what game(s) you saw them play? Love to see a column on them from you one day………..

  2. beearl says:

    I’m going to England in late May. Going to see my first Premier League match. Aston Villa vs Burnley in the last match of the season. It will be interesting to see if it means anything for either club.

  3. bl says:

    Joe, I am absolutely volunteering to e edit your book for you. I’ve got two ebooks on amazon that I edited and for the kindle. It would be no problem at all.

    Also, just getting into soccer this year, I was trying to pick a team when I read your Burnley article, and you completely sold me on them. But, damn, they should have beat Crystal Palace today.

  4. Greg Zeglen says:

    wait until you’re 70+ and need 24 point to see it on your laptop ik…this is, and I say it every time, your finest piece on non=sporting ideas…thanks

  5. blair says:

    Take a fistful of dollars to your optometrist and don’t leave until you’re fitted for a set of progressive lenses. They will change your life, by making it like you never had acuity problems. It’s Tommy John surgery for your eyes. Times ten.

    • puckpaul11 says:

      uh, wrong guy, he was in Lake Side Drive, not Lake Street Dive…close. poor guy, anyway. gosh. i just donated to his heart medical bills!

      • Pamela Ptak says:

        It’s unfortunate that you disputed the donation and took it back…he’s an amazing guy that’s been thrown a huge curve ball in life.

  6. Jim says:

    It seems everyone wants to bury football, but for me no other sport has the same drama and excitement. I loved the just completed college bowl season, one great game after another. It’s popularity is not just because of the inherent violence that it’s many detractors want to dwell on. It’s the big plays, the comebacks, the momentum swings, the strategy, the second guessing, the great performances, the variety. I think it is the ultimate team sport and I love it. The concussion problem will be taken care of through better awareness and coaching techniques, just as the broken neck problem was 40 years ago.

  7. Johnny B says:

    I can really relate to this article. Age & circumstance effect my life for sure. Baseball used to be my end all in sports, but it’s been removed from rabbit-ear TV (don’t make a lotta money and never been a big fan of TV, so paying or it is out of the question) I don’t watch much except at the bar. Still follow baseball writing (thanks Joe!) way too much. As football is the only major sport shown on regular TV, and with the quality of flat screens, it’s become my favorite sport. The athleticism is off the scale. I live in Boston, so a great team to watch as well. (But I HATE the challenges. In baseball I understand it – the game was WAY too fast, so it had to be slowed down….)

    Being a musician, as teenager I was always looking out for my new favorite band. Now, the re-release of Hendrix “Cry of Love” excites me. You tend to favor the music you grow up with. But once in awhile something really grabs you. Carolina Chocolate Drops did it for me a coupla years back. I’ve not seen Lake Street Dive yet, but I’ve met and heard Rachel Price (vocals) when she sat in with Session Americana and loved her.

    Don’t do cell phones, so no issues there! Fine article, no conclusions here for me. Maybe when you get older, your perceptions are more limited. Maybe just filtered. And today, folks don’t have time to listen to “Quadrophenia” beginning to end on a great sound system. There’s facebook, tweeting, texting, twirking ….

  8. andrew says:

    I’m a few years older then you. I never saw it as losing joy for a thing(s) but as the joy/love evolving into something else, and seeing it through a different lense so to speak. When I was young and knew everything in high school and college I LOVED baseball and thought I knew everything. I met my wife in 1986 and had our first date on the night of game one of the World series and she at that moment (and still does) mattered more. I never had a sister, in having 2 daughters, one whom loves baseball and one who does not, I see the game differently. I have a son who loves baseball, I listen to him and remember back when I was his age, when things were black and white, as you get older they fade into muted grays. I still have joy for many of the same things, but appreciate them differently. If you liked Thirteen Days In September, try American Caesar by Manchester and What it Takes by Richard Ben Cramer

    • Jon B. says:

      I believe Joe wrote about What it Takes by Mr. Cramer at or about the time of Mr. Cramer’s death, and inspired me to read it. So pretty sure Joe is all over that one. Jon B.

  9. Joe,

    I just turned forty a few weeks ago. I actually stopped liking football about twenty years ago. What first turned me off to the game was sports talk radio/ESPN radio. It wasn’t just that sports talk radio turned into, pretty much, all football all the time, it was also that, in that very small percentage of time when they talked about other sports, the vast majority of that little bit of time was negative and/or condescending talk (“you’re no football”). This is particularly the case with the way the radio personalities treat baseball. ESPN radio has been doing this since at least the strike in 94. Basically they’ve raised up an entire generation of sports fans who’ve heard nothing but how incredible football is and how awful baseball is.

    I just don’t understand why this bias hasn’t gotten more attention from people who cover baseball. This year we got a lot of talk about ESPN’s SEC bias and it just made me chuckle.

    Because I grew up loving football, and all sports, I can still fake it pretty well when I need to even though about 10-15 years ago my feelings for football turned from dislike to actual hatred. Thing is though there are many more reasons besides media bias to despise the game, like many of the things you listed.

    So, I basically stick to baseball, soccer, and basketball and my family and I look forward to our family tradition of going to the movies on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s great, we have the whole theater to ourselves. 😀

  10. Todd Rivers says:

    Wilco…Hand Shake Drugs….Passenger Side…

    I’m 46…so big fonts are my thing…might just go for my first iPhone…even though I’m frugal to the max!! lol

    Love your writing…and the way you describe your thoughts…not a lot of people do that…

  11. Dr. Baseball says:

    Mr. Posnanski,

    I am very willing to assist you, as a volunteer, in editing your Hall of Fame e-book.

    Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

    GOOD LUCK with this project.

    My Best,


  12. Drew says:

    Joe, I think it will be hard to find someone to edit your e book. No one here ever points out errors in your free columns.

  13. Ed says:

    I feel this way about sports in general, and college basketball specifically. When I was younger I watched literally hundreds of basketball games every season. I watched almost every televised ACC game, and I always had the ACC Basketball Handbook with previews for every team and their full roster, so I knew every player on every team and more or less knew their full schedules.

    Now? I don’t even go out of my way/schedule plans around UNC games (my alma mater), much less other ACC and non-ACC games. It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped liking college basketball — I still watch games here and there and enjoy it. But it’s not an all encompassing passion like it used to be. I’ve always thought it was a natural consequence of getting older… That you have new responsibilities and other things that take up some of your time, and leave less room for former passions.

  14. james says:

    “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”

    The last line from Stand by Me. I think you can replace the word friends with anything that you found important, because that is part of being young. Things mean more. Maybe because they were new, maybe just the way youth works.

  15. Owen says:

    100% with you on the All Blacks. For my money, the pregame haka is the coolest tradition in sports, cooler even than Ralphie or dotting the ‘i’ in ‘Ohio.’ Also, I’d be happy to help you edit that Hall of Fame e-book!

  16. Chad says:

    I love Joe’s writing.

    Would love to assist on a book in any way, big or small.

  17. Brad says:

    Joe, I think you’re onto something about football, especially the NFL. Even before all of the Goodell inspired missteps of the last year, the game seems to have lost some appeal. The last time I can say I loved it was watching Kurt Warner carve up defenses with his precision passing. Today’s game features two or three really good teams (Seattle, GB, the third up for debate) a handful of okay teams (Dallas, NE, Indy) and the rest are pretty much crap. The players have gotten so big and fast and strong that it’s hard for a normal human to relate. The over abundance of four minute TV timeouts doesn’t help. I just hope the NFL doesn’t go the way of the post-Jordan NBA, which has become an unwatchable mess of supremely athletic men who can’t play a team game.

  18. Shagster says:

    Football. All the rule changes. The replays. The overthetop commercialization. Newsflash. It is scripted. It is boring.

    Spot I found that’s good for firing the engines. An academic class at night school. It’s frightening and invigorating to be competing among the young. In a healthy – not Kosmo sort of way.

  19. vlock1 says:

    DAMMIT. I just wrote a whole huge thing, and it timed out. Now I’m depressed.
    Anyway, I’m a professional editor (or was, before I got laid off), and I’d happily help out on the HOF book.

  20. Though in my mid 50s I have been happily listening to current music lately…. To the shock of my teen boys. ” you’re listening to music? Cool.” Oddly, I like Eminem the best. What a huge vocabulary he throws at you and his rhymes and beat make all other rap seem small. Almost everyone my age thinks rap is total crap. And a fair amount of it is. But there are some guys with something to say who are real talented. Like with a lot of music genres, there are too many in it for the money. Then there are the Bob Dylan’s, the Jimi Hendrix’s and the Eminems.

    • Shagster says:

      Eminen really is a treat. So is return of funk. Daft Punk. Bruno Mars. For us vintage folk, recommend revisiting early Prince. His 70s stuff. Along with Robert Palmer. A nice set with the new stuff.

  21. Richard Aronson says:

    If you need a volunteer editor, I’ve offered before. I’ve edited a few books in my day.

    To that end:

    First paragraph: “help e edit it” probably s/b “help me edit it.”

    “Phablet” is one that that die – one of those thats should be something else, probably could.

    “because I I felt really foolish and and blind old looking at super-sized words. ” – two in one sentence! “I I” s/b “I” and “and and blind old” s/b “and blind and old.”

    But the real question is, do you just want an editor to catch the typos and repair the grammar (crowd-solving is perhaps best for that one) or do you want feedback on 100 best that perhaps are slightly short changed because you didn’t really love them or assumed that everybody knew all the really important stuff about them? Do you want an editor or a proof reader? I’m willing to be either, but don’t want to risk offending you by expressing opinions about content instead of grammar.

    I have tremendous joy in the knowledge that I have a grandchild. I’ll be able to see her this summer. You’ll have tremendous joys when your daughters find love. Trust me on this.

    As for bands, and it’s the videos more than the music, but I really love:

    I played the second one first session of the “Math and Physics for Game Programmers” class I taught, explaining how we’d learn how to code the physics that made that video work. So I’m an OK Go fan.

    Best way to reach me is


  22. Herb Smith says:

    Joe, a couple of points:

    1. If I made up a similar list, it would include “POSNANSKI’S blog posts, especially when he’s talking about real life.” I mean that sincerely.

    2. Psychologists and researchers have done numerous studies that all point to the late 40’s as being the absolute nadir years for human happiness. If I recall correctly, ages 47 and 48 are the true Mariana Trench years. I hate to think that I’m average, but sure enough, those years were unbelievably joyless for me, too. But, similar to touching the bottom of a swimming pool, the trajectory goes right back up from that point on.

    3. Ah, football. I’m a Titan fan. Misery.
    I really think that a lot of your current blah feeling about football stems from the fact that your favorite franchise in all of sports, the Browns, are possibly the worst-run franchise in the league. This fact, along with their concomitant run of hopeless and miserable losing seasons will take the spirit out of any fan.

    4. Keep writing stuff like this, please. The great songwriter Janis Ian once told me that bland writers try to write for the masses, while, conversely, great writers write finely detailed specific parts of their own lives. It’s kind of counter-intuitive, but I think it just points out that we’re all connected, as humans, and thus the specific is often universal. The stories of your habits, your likes and dislikes, and especially the ones about your kids…those are the ones that really sink in, that people read twice, or read aloud to their friends and spouses.

    Thank you for those stories.

  23. Dónal Óg O'Donovan says:

    Joe, if you love the All Blacks, I recommend the book Legacy by James Kerr. Explains some of the mental discipline they espouse. Fantastic read, changed my outlook management in sport (and life).

  24. Dan W. says:

    The memory of the drama of one’s first viewing of a sports upset is almost always more vivid than the memory of the tenth such occurrence. I will always remember the 2001 World Series and that some dramatic homeruns were hit, including one by Derek Jeter when the calendar struck November 1. But the Bucky Dent homerun that changed the course of the 1978 playoff game between the Yankees and Red Sox is engrained in my mind. It is the singular greatest positive sports moment of my life and always will be. Why? Because it it the first time in my life I had ever seen anything like it.

    Over the years sports competition becomes very repetitive. That which becomes common and ordinary does not entertain. This is true with every sport. This is why sports passion is strongest with young men and then declines with age. Young men see the the 2014 NFL as the pinnacle of sports achievement. Us old guys know that we thought the same about the 1990s NFL and the older generation talks in awe about the 1960s and 1970s. Oh sure, the athletes are better now but the game remains the same and we have seen this game before.

    Sports spectating experience has a benefit. Because we have seen it all before we can watch the game looking for the pattern that foretells the outcome. Last night’s Patriots / Colts game? Over in the 2nd quarter. The Colts could not stop the Patriots run game. The game was over and it was only a question of by what final score. I suppose the hard core fan watched to the very end. This fan did not. Why bother?

    Packers vs Seahawks? With 5-minutes left the Packers intercepted the ball, took a knee and then all but took a knee on its next 3 offensive plays. They acted as if the game was won. They went into the prevent offense and then the prevent defense! This was a foreboding sign. Us old timers have seen this before. The Packers, like many teams before, had invited the trainwreck of a team collapse and all too swiftly it happened. It was both painful and glorious to watch. This fan watched and enjoyed the drama.

    • KHAZAD says:

      Yes, the coaching at the end of the game was the culprit. The Seahawks needed the break on the onside kick still, but Green Bay relaxed and basically quit playing, and they got what they deserved.

    • Bill Caffrey says:

      If they had actually taken a knee on the next three plays after that interception, they might’ve won. Instead, they went run, incomplete, incomplete, taking very little time off the clock and allowing Seattle to preserve all of its timeouts.

  25. Martin Levin says:

    Completely with you on Lake Street Dive (despite being 20 years older). Love singer Rachael Price’s voice and phrasing. Here’s another newish group you might like: The Hot Sardines.

  26. puckpaul11 says:

    I can totally relate, Joe, good stuff. i am at about the same stage in life (50 soon!). in music, personally, been stuck on Bruce and Graham Parker (and a few others) for years now, tough to patiently listen to new stuff. i have tried Wilco, Eminem, and others. its good, but doesn’t grab me yet.

    as for sports, i used to love Basketball but the 70-73 Knicks ruined it for me, its really been tough to watch after that for years and i don’t bother anymore. I like football, but these are machines not men playing now, people don’t weigh 350 pounds and run 4.5’s…still fun to watch, except for being a Jets fan. yuck. baseball i still love, but….gotta shorten the games!! it is such a a pleasure to watch reruns of the 69 world series on TV and the games took about 2 hours! just got the ball and pitched! love that.

    I think it does have a lot to do with youth, just the experience of something new, and finding something to care about. that just fades a bit when you get older.

    But, sports are still great. i highly recommend HOCKEY! the players are just the best. down to earth, love their sport, the passion is there almost every night. nothing like it in the U.S. in pro leagues here. in the NHL or college or wherever, you always see the players score and its all about the “boys”, the “team”, deflecting praise to everyone else. it really is a pleasure. you don’t see that in the other sports except on rare occasions. Hockey is all about the passion (aside from the speed, toughness, and creativity). i play hockey, too, though never been great. i just love it. sometimes we get ex-NHL players who come to play in our pickup games. to see the pleasure they get just from playing the sport in our games that mean nothing is inspiring. for me, there is nothing like hockey. it’s a cult. That passion hasn’t faded for me yet. i do fall asleep trying to watch late night games though, would NEVER do that as a kid.

    on a random note, cant wait to watch Jacob DeGrom pitch for the Mets this year, he’s a real treat. he seemed genuinely surprised by his success and just went out and got the job done at such a high level. went out and pitched.

    keep up the great work, Joe.

  27. MikeN says:

    Also get a big screen for a desktop or a laptop. The reduction in eye strain is worth it.

  28. retrofella says:

    Joe, when you mentioned “a Boston band with like this kind of jazzy, bluesy, indie, alternative, lounge-y sound that is just utterly fantastic,” I immediately thought of Morphine. They sound nothing at all like Lake Street Dive but if you haven’t heard them they’re so worth checking out if you’re not already familiar. And they’re also from Boston, for whatever that’s worth.

  29. Marc Schneider says:

    I am finding that I am far less obsessed about watching sports in general than I was. The Braves have been my favorite team for 40 years but I didn’t really care that much about them last year-in part, I guess, because they weren’t very good. I still love going to baseball games in person but now when I watch sports on TV, I always have my kindle in hand. I think one of the things that has happened is that, as I have gotten older, I have gotten tired of the kind of fandom obsession you find on the internet. I don’t want to be one of those kinds of fans and seeming lack of any perspective or intellectual understanding has really turned me off.

    What I’m finding is that, as I play more tennis, I have become increasingly obsessed with it-not so much watching as playing. I’m about to buy a new racket, I take lessons, and play in several singles leagues. I’m not that good but I’m constantly thinking about my game and about my playing schedule. I used to look forward to spring because it meant watching baseball and playing softball; now I look forward to it for tennis.

  30. mark says:

    It’s clear that as you get older you inevitably shed your interest in many but not all of the things you were passionate about when younger. All that varies from person to person is which passions end up in which category.
    For me spectator sports have definitely dropped overall and baseball has dropped the most. Once baseball was my favorite everything and now I can barely care.It’s fair to say that almost every change in the game since the DH (and yes, I did like the DH) has made things less interesting or convenient for me, including rule changes, league changes, scheduling, the time of game starts, strategy, and length of games.
    The NFL has dropped the least in my interest. It helps that It is a once a week thing (I basically ignore Thursday and Monday unless my team is playing).
    It is theoretically possible that I’m more interested in the NHL now than ever, but that’s a case of going from barely aware to mildly attentive until and if my team gets past the first two playoff rounds.
    To my shock, soccer is growing on me because (1) the games are short (less than 2 hours), (2) the exact same length every game, (3) no commercials during play, and (4) the Premier League is now easy to follow on NBC, with games on Saturday and Sunday morning, which is actually better for me than Saturday and Sunday nights, as almost every other sport has done.
    And music is like a certain political philosophy. If you’re not passionate about it when yo’re young you have no soul. If you’re just as passionate about it when you’re older you haven’t grown up.

  31. edfromyumaaz says:

    As always, a great article. Twenty years your senior, I find the joy in few things fading. Music, movies, baseball, great non fiction still enchant me. But football has become like a bad relationship. I am an Ohio State and Oregon grad and so I loved the college season’s conclusion. But it is hard not to think of the two OSU quarterbacks whose lives and careers may have been permanently damaged. And tens of thousands of players now risking themselves 12 and 13 battles a year. Of course, the NFL is worse (except they do pay the players), and there the key plays in almost every game will involve several ref calls and replays. It has become a sport for lawyers. For all the violence and power, it moves so slow, and so much of it doesn’t count because of penalties etc.

  32. ducksnort13 says:


    I have to thank you twice–once for introducing me to a great, new (to me) band and a second time for playing a part in a remarkable coincidence. I’ll try to keep this anecdote short but I think it’s fun and it’s even slightly related to baseball.

    I was binge-watching “House of Cards” on Netflix this weekend. In one episode, Kevin Spacey’s character is supposed to throw out the first pitch at an Orioles game. There are a few scenes showing the pregame festivities at Camden Yards. (On a side note, I was curious as to why it was an O’s game and not a Nationals game–the show takes place in Washington, DC and Nationals Park is even shown in the opening credits). As part of the pregame festivities, a young woman sings the national anthem. I think she only sings the last line but I was completely blown away by her voice. On Monday, I read this blog post at work and decided to check out Lake Street Dive when I got home. I bought and downloaded “Bad Self Portraits” as you suggested and listened to it in the car on the way to work this morning. I was sure I recognized the voice just a few seconds into the first song. A quick internet search when I got to the office confirmed it–the lead singer of Lake Street Dive was the singer of the national anthem in that episode of “House of Cards”. I was blown away by the sheer coincidence and thought you might get a kick out of hearing my story.

    Keep writing, Joe. We’ll keep reading.

  33. Allen Phillips says:

    You forgot Author Bryant’s BBQ and of course–Frank White, the best 2nd baseman ever!

  34. Mark A says:

    I love writers who promise a big hall of fame post the next day, and then provide sometime within 3 weeks of that. But that’s just me

  35. MCD says:

    Going to have to see “Boyhood”. Partly because I wanted to see it anyway, but also because there isn’t one other thing on that list that I don’t hate (well, maybe I don’t exactly *hate* big text). That’s okay, we don’t have all like the same thing, but it makes for more interesting reading if I can find some common ground.

  36. blacksables says:

    If you want a good story about English football, check out Bournemouth. Relegated to League 2, with a 15-point penalty, and 5 years on they leading the Championship and headed for the Premier League. That’s a story.

  37. Brian says:

    I too lost my fiction lust and dived into non fiction deeper. At the same time the Bengals chased me away from football.

    Wilco on the other hand has fed my music needs like Neil, Bruce and Jerry G.

    An American treasure.

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