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20 Jazz Funk Greats, Throbbing Gristle

Industrial Records, December, 1979

Track Listing: 1. 20 Jazz Funk Greats, 2. Beachy Head, 3. Still Walking, 4. Tanith, 5. Convincing People, 6. Exotica, 7. Hot on the Heels of Love, 8. Persuasion, 9. Walkabout, 10. What a Day, 11. Six Six Sixties

They call him a shock jock but Howard Stern’s ascent to the throne could not have happened if it were the result of mere gimmicks alone. The King of All Media is, beyond anything else, funny. As in very funny. An all time great. Laughter in the morning is a precious commodity before the 9 to 5 kicks in. Howard, Robin, Fred, and the entire gang of merry misfits—the Wack Pack too—deserve no small amount of praise for the joy that they have provided to their throngs of giggly, happy listeners.

From 9 to 5 to 72-10. Or should we put an asterisk on that? It could have easily been 73-9 if not for Chicago's consistent nemesis: the infamous Hue Hollins. That tenth and final loss came in the second to last game of the season, a game played in Chicago's United Center. The box score reveals domination in almost all areas by the then 71-9 Bulls: 40 made field goals to 37, 48 rebounds to 39, 27 assists to 15, 6 blocks to 3, etc. And yet the Bulls lost the Hue Hollins-officiated game, 100-99. Reggie Miller even sat this one out, which I say makes even more mind-boggling (or mind-numbing). As a fan, you can only shake your head at the free throw discrepancy (41 attempts for Indiana, 13 for the Chicago). It's the NBA, after all. And it isn't as if the Bulls didn't got the last laugh because they certainly did, to the tune of six titles and an embarrassing stock of highlight reel footage that forever captures the elegance and beauty of the greatest NBA team of all time, led by MJ—the greatest player of all time—and his ever-reliable Hall of Fame sidekick Scottie Pippen (not to mention the sage teachings of a Zen Master who is also most likely going to go down as the greatest coach of all time). The Chicago Bulls, simply the best.

’We are the Bears Shufflin’ Crew
Shufflin’ on down, doin’ it for you
We’re so bad we know we’re good
Blowin’ your mind like we knew we would
You know we’re just struttin’ for fun
Struttin’ our stuff for everyone
We’re not here to start no trouble
We’re just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle’

-from the greatest team of all time’s rap, The Superbowl Shuffle

It is a recurring dream about San Francisco, which is odd because I have only been there once. It's the kind of city that has no problem leaving an impression. Likewise, Paris. London, Oxford, and Bath made their mark. Jen talks longingly of Athens and Mykonos. Grandma might pick a certain downstate Illinois farm town, although you might suspect that Ireland could very well be a close 1B. And yet, Chicago remains home. Sweet Home Chicago. Take a ride south from Hollywood Avenue to downtown on Lake Short Drive on a perfect summer day and see.

In no particular order: WKRP in Cincinnati, Lost, True Blood, Seinfeld (of course), Taxi, All in the Family, The Sarah Silverman Program, Arrested Development, Match Game, SNL, tons of Bravo fluff, Six Feet Under, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Monkees, Bored to Death, The Brady Bunch, and Strangers with Candy.

Jean-Michel Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright): I wish they’d stop writing this shit about me.

Andy Warhol (David Bowie): That’s good. At least they’re interested.

What hooked me at first were the back-to-back McEnroe-Borg Wimbledon matches in 1980 and 1981. In particular, it was the fourth set tie-breaker in 1980. Here I am writing about it over 20 years later. McEnroe ended up taking that set 18-16 (saving five match points along the way). He would lose the deciding fifth set but get his revenge along with his first Wimbledon title a year later, ending Borg’s incredible 5-year run while cementing a new fan for life. I continued on with a healthy Steffi Graf-obsession next, watching each and every one of her astounding 22 Grand Slam titles that solidified her—at least for me—as the greatest woman’s tennis player of all time. Today, my nerves are put to the test every Rafael Nadal steps on the court. Time will tell, but my hope is that he finishes his career as the greatest men’s player of all time.

Blades of Steel, Ladybug, Wizard of Wor, Mario Bros., Ms. Pac-Man, NBA Jam. . . .