Friday, September 4, 2009

Death of Androgyny

I was riding the terribly nauseating 40A shuttle to work this morning when to my delight, "Killer Queen" came on the radio. I smiled and giggled a little into my Starbucks cup while I thought to myself, "this bus driver is tooootally not a Killer Queen..." And my thoughts just flew on from there. I began thinking how pop music and pop culture today are so preoccupied with black and white terms of sexuality that there's no more of that crazy, freaky deaky, androgyny anymore.

Rock gods like Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Morissey, Prince, etc. were never really questioned about their sexuality; at least not in the way pop stars are today. Of course, there was speculation regarding who was sleeping with who and which ass the coke was being snorted off of but most of the time the ambiguity just passed over the heads of their loyal following. Though Freddie Mercury was quoted saying things like, "I am as gay as a daffodil, dear" and sleeping with nearly every thing that moved, it wasn't until he died of AIDS that his homosexuality became the focal point of his character. The other guys (Bowie, Morissey, Prince) have managed to escape today's labels and most likely have a past clouded with mixed sexual episodes that even they couldn't define.

Now I don't know if the music and the aura of this time reached its level of spectacular because of the ambi-sexual undertones or if they were just a plus. But anyone can agree that this level of performance and character is clearly absent from today's music scene.

I mean, granted, you have your "Scissor Sisters" and your "Of Montreal" but these aren't the blockbuster bands that changed history with their power ballads. Instead the front runners are either tittay and ass-loving hip hoppers or teary-eyed teenagers. And just to be clear, side-bangs and guyliner DOES NOT an androgynous rock god make...

Let's talk Adam Lambert for a few lines...

So I like this guy alot, he's got the pipes and the look to correspond with this lost art of androgyny I'm speaking of. And it doesn't hurt that he's dabbled in drag, either. He has that glammed-out Elvis Presley look that I think is really original. Too bad the second he hit star power, the tabloids and news shows went on an all out witch hunt to out him as homosexual. He clearly wasn't hiding his sexuality, the dude has facebook pics of him making out with drag queens, but for whatever reason the press NEEDED him to state, "Yes, I am gay." This literally consumed the tabloids for months. LGBT advocates (I'm thinking specifically of Perez Hilton here) spoke that Glambert "shouldn't be ashamed" to come out and should "join the movement". I'm under the impression, what's another gay pop singer gonna do to help the movement? Ambiguity in this case would have been funner. Adam should have held out.

It's not the flamer performers that need to come out to send a message, it's the doctors and lawyers and business executives (Weeds reference, anyone?).

But anywayyyy... moving on. So we have Glambert as our most androgynous pop star?? Really?! That's as good as it gets? He's more "Fall Out Boy" than boy/girl. Who else?

There's Rhianna - she's taking some edgy steps in the right direction:
But its too inconsistent, sometimes she's a pop princess.

Gaga is kind of androgynous, she is after all speculated to be a hermaphrodite:
But she's been quoted many time saying how she loves the peen, so not questionable enough for me.

So basically, I am using the death of androgyny as a means to explain why pop music today is lackluster and trite. Maybe there's a correlation, probably not... Even the new indie movement is more lumberjack, bearded dudes or flourescent-clad hipsters. Where's the Mick Jaggers?? The Elton Johns?

Who do you think is the most androgynous pop performer today? Do you think music is taking a hit because performers feel the need to be politically correct and pick a side? Comment!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tell me what's your Fan-ta-ta-sy?!

Ugh, I hate that I picked that title - song's gonna be in my head all day...

Anyway, happy September, everyone! It feels like fall already here in Pittsburgh - the air at a crisp 42 with talks of Halloween, dem Stillers, and... Fantasy Football! I've never participated in the excitement of FF outside of a few family pick'ems (which I won in 2007, thank you kindly) but this year I'm really gonna go for it.

I've signed up for one league but I'm gonna see if I can get in on a couple more while I'm feeling HOT! First things first though - learn what the hell fantasy football is.

I hope you learn a thing or too, as well. My goal for this blog is to provide you (and me) the business savvy, football knowledge, and competitive strategy to impress even the beefiest of football meat-heads this winter. Hoo-raa!!

Ok, let's start with the basics. FF is a way of using actual team and individual performances in a virtual environment where you control the team setup and starting lines. So ideally, having all the best players starting every game would rack in some serious points. But like real life, it's not that easy - there's first a draft where you have to pick your team in rotation and allow other competitors their choices as well. Also, huge letdowns like injuries can really throw off your strategy. Ooohh, starting to get interestingggg ;-)

FUN FACT: Did you know that fantasy football was originally created by an associate of the Oakland Raiders in 1962 and it was called: GOPPPL which stands for Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Procrastinators League. Haha, I like it, I think I'll call my team that. DON'T STEAL IT!!

Let's address some drafting FAQ's shall we?

1. How do you get placed for your draft position?
Well, different strokes for different folks. Usually you'd have a "draw straws" kind of method or random order. But it can vary by professional clubs or groups of friends. Also tricky players can trade their draft positions for leverage later in the season.

2. What draft positions are the best?
You'd think that 1st pick is the holy grail of fantasy football drafts, and it basically is, but there are exceptions. For example, if you're in a group of 12 and you don't get first nab, you're better off at the end. Here's why - picks go in what I will call "slithery snake" rotation. First through 12th, then back again, so 12th gets 2 picks in a row. And in the first round, these will still be great players and basically equal is skill.

Next topic - picking your boys.

Now this is where the serious research comes in (much more serious than the biomedical research I should be doing now...), time to analyze the available resources. Now, I will say that the amount of time and energy going into these resources is beyond laughable, and there's a ridiculous number of websites dedicated to this. So here are my favorites for me, a first timer:

1. Fantasy Football Calculator - These guys are so so in love with this. They make mock drafts for every possible scenario you could find yourself in. 3rd pick in a 12 person league, 50th position in a 430 person league, etc. You can print some of these out to see what the "professionals" did in your situation.

2. Who doesn't like cheatsheets? I love em! Try this site of cheatsheets of all the players rankings and projected FF points.

3. I hate FOX, but they have a pretty sweet draft guide going on right now. Check it out.

You must keep in mind 3 things regarding the offseason when picking your team: What offseason trades have happened to benefit the team? Did your team have a good NFL draft? Who is or was injured on your fantasy football team?

See, I told you this was serious.

This all depends on the type of game you're in too. There are Salary Cap leagues where you act as an owner and can only spend an allotted amount of money on your team (or embezzle it and sell all your good players like the Pirates).

Next up - scoring and impressing your friends:
Here's a sample scoring guide I found online

Here's where the strategy comes in. Each week you pick your starting line and rack in the points throughout the week. Trades are allowed, and encouraged. Pay attention to the players and team news and if you feel like it, you can watch the actual games. I think they show them on Sundays?

Basically, there's a sick amount of information to make you a proficient "Pigskin Procrastinator", but hopefully, what I've provided here helps.

Final Tips:
1. Bring an outdated list of suggested draft picks to lend to the wandering pair of eyes sitting next to you. Haha, evil.

2. Never draft a backup QB that has the same bye week as your starter, it defeats the purpose of drafting him and pegs you as a total amateur.

3. It's much more important to get your third RB before a kicker. Draft your best picks first, not in the typical order (QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, K, D, QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, K).

4. Trade wisely, and often. Even at the draft consider trading your next 2 picks for a higher pick.

5. Use your last picks to take chances on rookies or sleepers.

You all owe me for being so informative.

I'll keep you posted throughout the season on how my team's looking.

My YouTube Playlist of the Minute