The Computer Newspaper co-founders T. Robert Lindner and J. Robert Tyrrell may come across as though they have the world all figured out, this could not be further from the truth. Desperate for wisdom and a good laugh, this week they e-mailed their Dads (Bob and Willy) three questions to see what kind of sage insights they could garner.
Question 1: Watch this Sleigh Bells performance on Saturday Night Live. What are your impressions?
Bob Tyrrell: I did enjoy the Sony commercial in the SNL Sleigh Bells video. I also admire the hot pants (sorry for the 1960’s reference) the young lady wore. She reminded me so of Cher, I kept waiting for Sonny to come on stage and sing “I Got You, Babe.” Well, even though he didn’t, I sang it. After watching the video 17 times, I have concluded my enjoyment would have been enhanced if there were more rear shots and if there were subtitles.Willy Lindner: The Computer Newspaper’s dad – this one, at any rate – is a dirty old man who didn’t mind at all being forced to watch someone whom he’d never heard of before (apparently named Nicki Minaj) with luscious red lips, dark enticing eyes, and silky, lustrous black hair; an exotic curve to her nose implying a visage usually suggestively concealed behind a veil. (Who says those folks on the subcontinent don’t know what they’re doing?) In fact, this Computer Newspaper dad – who rejects the “dirty old man” appellation, by the way, having learned in life that a DOM is simply a man who isn’t dead yet – followed a link or two, and would suggest that anyone interested check out this link, which is kind of provocative: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmFgejWZjtg&feature=relmfu. However, surmounting these base thoughts (or attempting to), the Computer dad is mystified at just what the hell is going on in the performance in question. Why those inane, quasi-“dance” moves, the arms rotating like the fluted wheel on a paddleboat? How much are those shitty guitar players getting paid? This dad’s bias is to love music that’s about the music. Not saying that performers should impersonate statues. Stephane Grappelli, Itzhak Perlman, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, my freakin’ brother Banjo Dan… these dudes and dudettes were and are good to watch because they’re moved by their music when they’re playing it, and their connection is infectious. The minute I see guitar and bass players walking backward and forward to try to impart some intensity to their power chords and nondescript “melodies,” and singers, temporarily idled during an instrumental solo, enacting clumsy, physical replications of being “into it,” I am convinced of the opposite. And this includes you, too, Lady GooGoo, Grace Potter, and – dare I say it? I do dare say it – Mick Jagger. Editor’s Note: That is not Nicki Minaj.
Question 2: Is it okay to lie someone, even if nobody gets hurt?
Willy Lindner: It’s mandatory.
No, really: Is this a trick question? Am I being pressed into the uncomfortable role of providing wisdom and moral guidance to The Computer Newspaper sons and their readers? Sheer panic sets in. Am I going to be judged by the legion of TCN followers on my response (Check here for Beacon of Light___; Check here for douchebag___)?
Cornered though I am, I shall attempt a response. (I wish I knew where I’d put my bible. Oh, that’s right; I don’t have a bible. My scotch, then.)
Another take on the subject is that one might contend that it’s okay to lie to someone if the lie prevents someone from getting hurt. I had a friend, married, who kissed another woman, went home and told his wife about it because his moral standard was TO BE HONEST ABOVE EVERYTHING ELSE. It broke her heart and their marriage fell apart. It was pointless. The kiss, as I understood it, was a little passing thing that in the scheme of things was a little passing thing. But the wife was striken. If the guy had real issues going on, he could have taken a little time to look deeply within, to examine… and if there were things that needed to be brought to the surface, difficult things, then that could have been the next step. Or he could have decided there were not, and that this was a lesson to him in what was important. But to be truer to a principle (“honesty is the best policy”) than to a friend or lover, who might have been spared needless pain, is a misplacement of priorities, in this Computer Newspaper dad’s view.
This dad is not sure he answered the right question. Mostly, we shouldn’t lie to each other, because it’s a bad habit and is disrespectful to the liar (being degrading behavior) as well as to the lie-ee. We steal something away from someone when we lie to him or her.
Bob Tyrrell: It is never right to lie, whether it doesn’t hurt anyone or whether the truth hurts. I really thought I raised you better than that. Honesty is always, repeat always, the best policy, and complies with the commandment that thou shall honor thy father. On the other hand, it is never right to hurt anyone, even with the truth. When faced with such an uncomfortable and irreconcilable situation, it is best for one to either feign dementia or recluse oneself and hurriedly go underground.
Question 3: Where do you see the Yankees and Red Sox finishing in the AL East this season?
Bob Tyrrell, Yankees fan: The Yankees and Red Sox will finish the season in an historic five-way tie for the AL East with the Rays, Blue Jays, and O’s. Home field advantage throughout the Round Robin playoffs will be determined by the Roger Clemens’ jury since he played for three of those teams. At the end of the day (er year, actually), though, Mariano Rivera will have recovered sufficiently to record his 43rd, 44th, 45th, and 46th postseason saves and the New York Baseball Yankees will win their 28th world championship (yes, incredibly, a 28th professional title!) and baseball will have rightfully re-claimed its place as the National Pastime and Field of Dreams. On a sad note, the Red Sox, after yet another disgraceful season of clubhouse drinking during games, will be thrown into bankruptcy due to the exorbitant salaries of their players, and acquired by speculators who will try to resurrect the sorry franchise in the Class C Developmental League.
Willy Lindner, Red Sox fan:
Now, in most seasons this would indeed be a riveting topic, a debate to which I would bring statistics, trends, analyses of the ravages of cumulative age upon a team’s composition, and quite possibly one of those clubs that look like a crude, misshapen bat with nails sticking out of it. This season, though, the question presupposes that I give a rat’s ass where the New York Yankees will finish. As always, I hope they’ll finish in the cellar or hell, whichever is lower; but hopes and predictions are different animals. I would like to see that smug, sneering, arrogant collection of privileged pricks concluding the season in some form of off-brown, gaseous state (though not you, Curtis Granderson, whom I like and admire, and not you Mariano Rivera, a truly classy guy, humble and kind when it would be so easy for him, the greatest, to be otherwise, and who so ill-deserves the awful trick fate recently played on him while he was shagging flies).
(An aside: I want to shag flies. I would die happy if I could shag flies for 45 minutes – real flies, hit by a Major League coach with a potbelly, not weenie flies hit by my sexagenarian brother.)
If the Yankees cannot become gaseous and blow away this season, then I really don’t care what happens to them. And the reason is that I am totally absorbed in the act of making of voodoo dolls of Theo Epstein and sticking pins in them. Sox fans this season are too consumed by feelings of anger and betrayal, given their team’s shameful ending of the 2011 season and the train-wreck of a start to this season. There are those who argue (in the Globe every day, because that’s what devotees of the Crimson Hose are reduced to) that it’s the players’ fault and they should man up. I do not disagree. But who assembled this cast of players? Theo Epstein. It was Epstein who, inconceivably, imagined value in John Lackey, who has always stunk as a pitcher and whose odious personality outdoes his athletic disqualifications. It is Epstein who, perhaps mystified by the Mysterious Orient, overpaid for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who in turn seems mystified about how to pitch to the assortment of Caucasians, Latinos, African-Americans, fellow Asians, and the occasional Aussie (Caucasians with funny accents) who make up the American League. It was Epstein who chose the wrong Adrian – buying the placid Gonzalez rather than the fiery Beltre, whom he could have had and who sparkled in his one year with Red Sox.
It was Epstein who left the gift that keeps on giving – multitudes of mediocre players making millions in mullah on long-term deals that likely will make them untradeable, several of them (Lackey, Matsuzaka, Carl Crawford) on the long-term disabled list, eating up resources that a more clairvoyant general manager would have reserved for future needs, and contributing nothing (which in Lackey’s case is nothing new). Epstein, too, who foisted upon us players whom we finally weathered but were lousy, costly choices – your JD Drew (whose real initials, interestingly, are DJ Drew); your Julio Lugo. Julio Lugo? Are you kidding me?
I also blame Epstein for the malaise among the starting pitchers – at least the Big Three: Josh Becket, John Lester, and Clay Buchholz. Why do I blame Epstein for these? Because I can. Becket and Lester turned in good performances this week, but we jaded fans need more than the flash of a little leg to get excited. Talk to me in mid-September, Becket and Lester.
The season will progress. Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) will come back, and they tell us Carl Crawford (elbow and wrist) and Andrew Bailey (thumb – thumb!!!) will as well. The Kevin Youkilis-Will Middlebrooks dilemma will be solved, gracefully, one hopes, with Kevin getting a big wet smoosh on the lips and then dispatched to the Phillies. But where will this team end up? Fourth place, ahead of somebody but I don’t know who.
And where will Epstein, whose conscience didn’t tell him he should stick around and clean up his mess, end up? Somewhere where it’s hot and they have pitchforks.
P.S.: Current favorite quote from a baseball player:
“I think for us, we came here and I was told that we don’t have to be anything you’re not’’ (Daniel Nava, Red Sox outfielder)
A Grammar Note by Willy Lindner:
If I’ve told The Computer Newspaper once, I’ve told The Computer Newspaper a thousand times: The Computer Newspaper is an “it,” like that filing cabinet over my left shoulder is an “it,” or like that bottle of Dogfish Head 60-Minute Ale just inches from my right hand is an “it” – which, I now notice with alarm, has only about an inch of liquid left in it, heralding the approach of a moral decision for me. I’m not good at moral decisions.
People who think an entity is a “they” or a “them” just because two or more individuals are involved in its production or operation are closet Romney supporters (“Corporations are people, my friend”). Corporations aren’t people, my friend. If they were people they would, for example, fart – a slightly different phenomenon from, say, belching toxic fumes from a smokestack. They would get married, not merge. They would have their hair cut and their cuticles… whatever it is that people at small desks wearing masks do to cuticles. They would eat, sleep, and die.
They would pay taxes. (Ooooh… a little close to home, Romney?)
So entities controlled by people, even entities controlled by two fellows named Robert, are not, themselves, people. Thus, “The Computer Newspaper Asks Their Dads” – the title of this assignment from the lads – is a misnomer. It should be, “The Computer Newspaper Asks Its Dads.” Admittedly, though, this wording, in this era of blended and untraditional families, conjures uncomfortable images for men of a certain age (that certain age being their sixties – a matter only made worse by the term for that generation of people: sexagenarians; I would like to state for the record that I’ve never met The Computer Newspaper’s other dad).
The point is that, like global climate change, proper grammar is an inconvenient truth. The Computer Newspaper wouldn’t want to be one of those grammar-hoax conspiracy theorists, would it?
Editor’s Note: Uh, we guess not.