Spring Lockdown

“All sorts of kids playing basketball yesterday. I play basketball. There’s no concept of social distancing while playing basketball. It doesn’t exist. You can’t stay six feet away from a person playing basketball… you can, but then you’re a lousy basketball player and you’re gonna lose.”

These words were spoken early today by my state’s forthright and fearless leader Andrew Cuomo. 

He was appropriately chastising me and my fellow city dwellers for doing a pretty terrible job of avoiding dense crowds and activities that spread the virus. And he did it in a way that really hit home for me. Because if you know me, you probably know that basketball is one of the few things that I truly, selflessly love in this world. I wish I loved music as much as I love basketball, because I’d probably be a better musician if I did.

A case in point is that I spent about half an hour today thinking about why Michael Jordan stuck his tongue out whenever he was about to do something spectacular on the court. Seriously, why did he do that? The best basketball player in the history of the game would just inexplicably stick his whole tongue out in the middle of an especially intense moment. It was as if he had some basic biological connection to basketball—like dunking on Patrick Ewing was the mother’s milk he needed to survive and he was sticking out his tongue to suckle at that life giving tit.

Yes I just said that! Yes that paragraph escalated quickly! No you won’t be able to watch Michael Jordan highlights the same way anymore!

Anyway, I devoted a good deal of brain energy today to thinking about Michael Jordan’s tongue, and I haven’t played guitar at all today, so you can see where my priorities lie. That’s all to say that I appreciate Andrew Cuomo for using basketball as an example in his Covid-19 press conference today. Yet it is truly an insult to injury that in this scary, sad, uncertain moment, I (and countless others) cannot turn to one of my favorite methods of distraction and self-soothing.

Because there’s an old proverb that goes a little something like this: Ball is life. Unfortunately that truism is temporarily false.

So what do we do? What do we do when we can’t do anything fun except stay inside, eat snacks, and watch movies?

Well, we stay inside, eat snacks, and watch movies.

First things first, if you haven’t seen Jaws, go watch Jaws. Secondly, watch it again. Thirdly, call me and let’s talk about Jaws. I mean this.

Fourthly… I’d like to highly recommend the movie Heat. Normally I wouldn’t recommend watching a near 3 hour movie, but these are certainly unusual times, and I have at least 10 quick-fire reasons to watch this movie. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. This is the archetypal cops and robbers movie—you’ll see shades of Heat in nearly every bank/heist movie made after this movie.
  2. The only true Val Kilmer is a Val Kilmer with a ponytail.
  3. Although it isn’t overtly shown in the movie, Al Pacino was allegedly acting as if his character (the brilliant detective Vincent Hannah) was high on cocaine the whole time. And it is fun to watch Al Pacino pretend to be high on cocaine.
  4. Whoa! Natalie Portman at like age 14 or something.
  5. Have fun applying or arguing with the core philosophy of successful bank robber Neil McCauley (Robert Deniro): “you want to be making moves on the street, have no attachments, allow nothing to be in your life you cannot walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner.”
  6. You can try building your own cosmic yin-yang metaphor around Neil and Vincent’s relationship. Or maybe I just built it for you.
  7. Excellent cameos galore: Tone Loc, Henry Rollins, Hank Azaria…
  8. You get to listen to Bill Simmons and Chris Ryan’s very fun Rewatchables podcast about it afterwards!
  9. Enjoy harkening back to the days of the payphone.
  10. Visit gritty Los Angeles from the comfort of your own couch.

Oh hey, I also recorded a song this week. I figured out I could run a cable from my room to my back patio, so this one was mostly recorded in the open air (as you’ll hear). Also Tiny is the name of our house cat. That sentence will make sense if you make it to the end of the song.

Spring Lockdown — March 22, 2020