Tag Archives: john lennon

Lame Adventure 229: Superman vs. Super Duperman

I was pleased that the US Open Men’s Tennis Final was played on Monday allowing Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic a deserved day of rest in preparation for this climactic match in this year’s tournament.  Yet, I was practically spitting blood when I heard that the start time would be 4 pm.

May I join you in your primal scream, guys?

Since I am a working stiff making ends meet in a get-rich-slow job, I still had to put in another 90 minutes at the grind before quitting time, and I had to invest another half hour in the commute home from TriBeCa to the Upper West Side.  I considered begging my boss, Elsbeth, to let me exit early, but she would ask:

Elsbeth:  Why?

Me:  I’m dying to watch the US Open Men’s Final.

Elsbeth:  You’re into golf now? [snarky] That’s a new development.

Elsbeth is not a sports fan, and for the record, I loathe golf.  Masochist that I am, I decide it would be best to avoid conflict with my superior about my urgency to kneel at the altar of bouncing balls and swinging rackets.  Therefore, I stick out the workday, a day I spend adhered to my desk crunching numbers with glazed eyeballs.  I encounter one Elsbethian interruption:

Elsbeth:  How do you spell Agnes?

When I am sprung at 5:30 I am aware that my beloved Rafa has lost the first set to Djokovic 6-2.  I could not have rocket-launched myself faster out the door than if my Jack Purcell badminton shoes were manufactured by NASA.  Emitting a trail of smoke all the way to the Chambers Street subway station, I deftly side-step two waist-high demon seeds pummeling each other with balloon bats but that maneuver makes me bounce off their mother’s heavily cushioned left hip.  Fortunately, she is immune to hyperactivity and the resulting G-force allows me to sail down the station’s staircase at warp-speed — just as an uptown express train arrives.  I emerge from the 72nd Street subway station at 5:51 where I’m greeted with a text from my buddy, Coco:

Coco’s text: Nadal needs to focus on his game not his wedgie.

My text back: Maybe u should b his coach.

Coco’s text:  Or at least take him shopping for briefs that fit.

When I reach my sanctum sanctorum, Nadal is trailing in the second set 4-3.  No sooner do I settle down than Rafa breaks Djokovic and the score is tied 4-4.  Yet, before I can emit a sigh of relief, Djokovic breaks back, the sixth time he’s broken Rafa thus far in the match.

Djokovic returning serve.

As Djokovic serves for the second set Rafa looks discombobulated.  Djokovic wins the set 6-4.  I stare at my TV in disbelief.

In the third set, Rafa seems to have rediscovered his game.  The points are long and the shot-making extraordinary.  Nadal fights back hard and breaks Djokovic’s serve at love.  The score is 4-3 Nadal.  Yet, Djokovic, who’s possibly playing the best tennis of his life, elevates his game, too.  Following a multi-stroke rally where Nadal brilliantly saves at least four Djokovic winners, Djokovic wins the game, looks towards his box with his family and friends and spreads his arms in a gesture of relief or maybe it’s winged victory.

Mr. Momentum.

Nadal might be thinking what I’m thinking (but in Spanish):

Me:  Djokovic looks invincible!  What do I have to do to beat this guy?

Rafa does exactly what he has to do, he gets the game to reach a tie-break, he never falls behind, and he finally wins a set.  Hola!

Psyched Superman.

I want to pray to someone that this match will go the five set distance and Rafa’s game will continue to improve but I’m an atheist.  Who do I pray to?  My long-dead mother, who, even if I had fallen down a well she’d shout at me:

My Dead Mom:  God helps those that help themselves.

Count her out.

What about my favorite Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, conveniently in this instance, also both dead?  I’d feel like such a jerk asking them for a favor that has nothing to do with world peace or the sitar.

"I can't believe she'd ask us to do this."

Franz Kafka has always been one of my favorite writers.

Franz K.

A voice in my head that sounds exactly like Coco’s shrieks:

Coco:  Franz Kafka, who’s been dead what, 85 years, that wrote that weird story about the giant waterbug I was forced to read in high school?  Really?  Why the hell don’t you pray to someone practical like Arthur Ashe?

American tennis icon Arthur Ashe.

Imaginary Coco is right!  I should pray to Arthur Ashe.  Right now, Djokovic and Rafa are beating each other to a near-pulp in a stadium named in his honor!  Just as suddenly, I come to my senses and wonder why would a legendary sportsman take sides?  Arthur Ashe, who was integrity incarnate, would never do that.  I quit my pursuit of channeling divine intervention in Rafa’s behalf.

After winning his first game in the fourth set and leading Nadal 1-0, Djokovic is granted a medical time out to have his sore lower back massaged.  When they resume play, Djokovic breaks Nadal.  Then he proceeds to win his serve and Nadal sinks into a very deep 3-0 hole that he is incapable of escaping.

Super Duperman in flight.

Barely fifteen minutes later, Djokovic decisively wins the set and the match at 6-2, 6-4, 7-6, 6-1.  It was not the outcome I wanted, but the guy that played better deserved the victory.

Okay, Novak, you earned your trophy.

As dismayed as I was, Rafa, as always, was gracious in defeat.  I text Coco:

My text:  I love Rafa, class act.

Coco’s text:  Ass picking and all.

That’s the real Coco.

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Lame Adventure 107: Happy Birthday John Lennon

I admit that the title of this post is premature.  Next Saturday, October 9th, would have been John Lennon’s seventieth birthday.  I find this incredible, but when I consider how much middle age female Viagra (Aleve) I pop, it does make sense that half the members of the Beatles are now septuagenarian – a word I can spell, but cannot pronounce.

When Ringo Starr turned seventy last July 7th, his milestone rated morning talk show and evening news mention.  He wanted his fans to say, “Peace and Love,” at noon as a birthday gift, as if uttering that trite utopian phrase would have an iota of impact on relations between the US and Iran.  During Ringo’s magical moment, I was in the process of disemboweling the office copier and predominantly thinking, “War and Hate.”

John Lennon’s milestone touches me far more.  I loved John Lennon.  I do feel genuine affection for the other three Beatles, and I felt sad when George Harrison died, but John is by far my all-time favorite Beatle.

John Lennon - a Beatle apart.

My sister, Dovima, was a Paul McCartney fan.  She wished that he was our brother, something that never made an iota of sense to me.  If Axel, our actual brother, wished that one of his sisters were Raquel Welch, he kept it to himself.

Axel's silent prayer, "Please God, please! Make her my third cousin twice removed!"

I had no desire for John to be my brother.  Although my attraction to him was not sexual, I was drawn to his music, wit, charm, and especially, his irreverence.  In 1966, when he made the faux pas of declaring that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ, that rang true to this Catholic schoolgirl and atheist-in-the-making.  I was a hardcore Beatle believer, but religion thoroughly bored me.  My inability to memorize Catholic prayers earned me solid three’s in Religion (four was the equivalent of a failing grade), but if Sister Mary Angry had ordered me to recite every word of every Beatle song, I would have delivered that recitation accurately and with confidence.

I thought John was the coolest person in the world.  If I could have been born a Beatle, I would have wanted to be John, but I suppose what I pined for more than anything in my youth was to be that elusive fifth Beatle.  I knew this was unrealistic since I possessed zero musical talent, but if they ever needed a moppet that could play a mean triangle, albeit off-key, I was ready.

"Lads, trust me, I can give Mom and Granny the slip."

Soon, two new films about John will be released.  One is an excellent documentary packed with rare footage and audio about Lennon’s years in New York.  Appropriately it is titled, Lennon: NYC. Milton and I saw it when it premiered at the New York Film Festival where Yoko was in attendance.

Dapper Yoko with Lennon: NYC director Michael Epstein.

Our friend, Judy a.k.a. The Grande Enchilada, also attended this screening.  Milton and I agree that her review of it is spot on.  Check it out here.

PBS is going to broadcast Lennon: NYC on the American Masters series on Thursday, November 22nd at 9 pm.  It is also going to be screened for free at the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Saturday, October 9th.  Doors open at 6 pm, and the screening starts at 7 pm.

Lennon: NYC

Following the screening of Lennon: NYC there was a Q&A with director Michael Epstein and producer Susan Lacy.  As the Q&A was winding down, an audience member, whose name I believe was Dense Bonehead, demanded to know why this documentary only focused on Lennon’s life in New York City.  He was confounded over why it excluded coverage about Lennon’s years in Liverpool and completely baffled over why there was little allusion to what the Beatles accomplished in the Sixties.

This query from a muddled mind leads me to the second film about Lennon, a dramatic biopic called, Nowhere Boy, that opens in New York on Friday, October 8th.  It is entirely set in Liverpool providing Mr. Bonehead with a hearty fix of early circa 1950s John Lennon.  It explores his relationship with his free spirited, but troubled mother, Julia, and her grounded sister, Mimi, the strict aunt that raised him.  For anyone unfamiliar with Lennon’s youth, this film will seem like a revelation, but it’s not in the league with nuanced, less paint-by-numbers, cliche addled biopics, such as Walk the Line or Ray.

If Mr. Bonehead sees Nowhere Boy, he might gripe to the director, Sam Taylor-Wood, about why she did not show any footage of  John’s later years in New York?  This prompts my Sigmund Freud side to cry, “What do Beatle fans want?”

I know what this Beatle fan wants, and that’s to hear the music.  One devoted Beatle fan here in Gotham City is an infamous busker named Zack Heru.  Zack can frequently be seen indulging his love of the Beatles as he sings the band’s catalogue in the Fourteenth Street subway station tunnel between the Sixth and Seventh Avenue lines.  He has been doing this for at least ten years.  He told me that singing in this tunnel is his job.  I asked if he earns enough to support himself.  He answered, “I make enough to get a hotdog.”  I always enjoy hearing Zack play the Beatles music whenever I’m in that tunnel.