An Ode to otis

I’ve been quiet on this blog lately. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything here. That’s not really for any particular reason other than the fact that I’ve been a little bit lazy. But there is also another reason. The last few weeks in particular have been filled with anticipation in my apartment. That’s because my brother, Sam, who some of you may already know as maSHerman, has been campaigning his debut album, otis. And honestly, it’s the only thing I’ve really wanted to write about. But I knew that I had to wait until today to do that.

That’s because this past Friday, otis was finally released and is now available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music or any other music streaming service you might subscribe to. I could go on and on about how beautifully written and produced this record is, but instead, this piece is going to be more about what my experience has been watching it all come together.

otis is a relationship album in every sense of the term. It’s a true story that he lived through, and it transformed the way he views life, love, faith and fate. I’m not going to get into the intricate details of that story here because it’s not mine to tell. Sam has found another way to do that himself, and that will be shared with you some time this week. But suffice to say, otis is an album that has literally taken years to come together.

It was some time early last year that Sam shared with me a complete track list of instrumentals consisting of what otis was intended to be. He walked me through the concepts behind each song. Originally, otis was essentially going to be a recreation of this relationship. It was going to be very narrative-heavy and some of his production choices were purposefully jarring to represent individual moments, like the night they broke up for instance. The idea for the overall concept of the album was that he was going to take these two characters and trap them on an album together. One character was going to be this ideal and unrealistically perfect female. The other would be the role that he felt he played in this relationship: an obsessive, overbearing male.

Sam spent a lot of time and energy working towards creating that version of otis. He got as far as releasing two songs last year that were originally supposed to be album cuts. You might know them as Signals and Facetime. Those two songs are still availble to listen to on the streamers, and they provide a great insight into what otis came very close to sounding like. But as he continued to try and create this angsty, true-to-life recreation of the story, he began to feel as though he was missing the mark.

For one thing, it seemed from my perspective that trying to get in the headspace of transcribing the more difficult experiences he went through in and after this relationship was not doing him any favors in terms of his mental health. I mean, he was actively trying to relive traumatic memories, which is not something I would recommend to anyone. But I understood why he was doing it from an artistic perspective. More importantly though, he came to the realization that he was writing this album with the wrong approach.

Sam’s thought process as it relates to the story of this relationship had matured over time. He had found solace in music and in this wonderful community of artists that he surrounds himself with. He was in a better place, even if he wasn’t free from the attachment that he still felt to this person he was writing about. Frankly, he felt like the whole vibe of this album was wrong. In fact, he felt like an idiot for approaching it that way.

That’s when he wrote the song Stupid Stupid, another track which is currently available to stream. This marked the official turning point in the development of otis. It was right around this time that Sam took that original playlist of instrumentals – which I might add also had full lyric sheets attached to them – and scrapped the whole damn thing.

He had his new direction. He knew how he wanted to approach this album and was resolute in the idea that he was finally going to do this the right way. He just needed that first song to get the ball rolling. But I don’t think either of us would have guessed that it would have been something that happened in my life that would have accomplished that.

It was this past January. I was beaming with excitement because a girl I’m very close to was coming back to Vancouver to visit for the first time since she had left town to go travel across Europe. I hadn’t seen her since we had taken a trip to Paris together in September. But we were having communication issues. To make a long story short, I assumed that she would be staying with me that week. So when she told me the day she was to arrive that she was actually going to be staying at her friend’s place, I was dismayed and confused. There was clearly something she needed to tell me, but for whatever reason she couldn’t bring herself to let me know what was going on in her head.

I vented about this to Sam for about an hour. Needless to say, he related heavily to the concept. Eventually, I decided to go out and take a walk to clear my mind. I came back about 45 minutes later to find Sam in the living room with his guitar in hand. He told me he had just written a song and asked if he could play it for me. And that’s when I heard this hook for the first time:

Why can’t you just talk to me?
What are you scared of?
Is there something you’re hiding that you just can’t get rid of?
Where do you go?
You don’t have to leave me alone
You’re welcome in my heart and in my home
But you gotta talk to me

talk to me

He had a verse to go with it. Within minutes, he had his studio set up to record and started laying it down. And to my delight, he invited me to write a verse of my own. So I did. And that, ladies and germs, is how talk to me became the first song that was married to the otis track list. It would eventually be the first official single for the album, complete with music video and everything. It was after that song was written and recorded that things began to snowball creatively.

Over the course of the next few months, otis started coming together bit by bit. His music family, NYHLA Records, had a group writing session not long after which helped him add to his track list. That was the night that am i enough materialized after Sam got into a room with Micah Berlow, a magnificent guitarist for the band Ghulo, as well as uber-talented singer/songwriter and eventual NYHLA signee, Biawanna. The combination of Micah’s guitar with Biawanna’s beautifully written hook helped to make that track an obvious lock for the album, and it too would become a single.

When I call you, I try out a joke, say, “Hi, is this the girlfriend store?”
You say my tired voice might just be the cutest thing that you ever heard before
You say you love me and you wish I was beneath you
I said I kinda am, that’s why I don’t believe you
Am I ruinous?
Why am I like this?

am i enough

I was in the room for the writing process on most of the songs on this album, which is something I will always remember. Make no mistake, I believe my role in the development of this album is a relatively small one, but there are moments throughout this project that have my fingerprints on them, and that is such a cool thing for me to experience.

I particularly remember being present for the writing session for caught, which was a song designed to be a nod sonically to the days Sam and I would listen to tons of pop punk music. If you hear blink-182 type instrumentation and harmonies on that track, I assure you that’s no accident.

You know, it’s hard to give me stage fright since I sing and play guitar
But now that I got what I wanted I’m the dog that caught the car

caught

There were also days I would come home from work to find Sam putting the finishing touches on a new song. Listening to otis, part one for the first time was eye-opening. That song is literally the perfect intro track because it encapsualtes the thesis of the album in a delightfully creative way.

I hate these boys who sing about girls and make us feel bad for them
I hate these boys who sing about girls like “Oooh, she the one”
I hate these boys who sing about girls and say, “This woman is my world”
Cause they’re all trash and they’re all wrong, except for me

otis, part one

otis, part two might be the most enjoyable listen on the entire project. It’s a delightful country bumpkin love song that Sam wrote and recorded on Valentine’s Day. Before he had that song on the track list, I remember him joking about how he had somehow neglected to write an actual love song on this album about love. Well this track checked that box and then some.

You’re my favorite album of all time
I can’t believe you were mine
I hope you know that my love runs deeper than my experience with signs
I could listen to you talk about slugs and mushrooms every day
I think your art’s as cool as your taste and your brilliant mind
Also, you’re fine

otis, part two

I think the song that really put this whole thing over the top for me was the night that I came home and was treated to the song limerent for the first time. Don’t get me wrong. I had been thoroughly pleased by everything he had created until that point, and I already knew that this album was going to be a hit. But limerent is just so goddamn impressive. It moved me to my core. The guitar riff is one of my favorites on the entire album, and Sam also provides arguably his best vocal performance of the record on that track.

O my love, get out of my sight
No matter where you’re always there to flash before my eyes
I try to make your bed somewhere outside my head
And let you go, but we both know you’ll find a way back in

limerent

The hardest slot on the project for him to fill was easily Track 9. At one point the song that filled that space was a whole ass rap song called music is tight. When Sam decided that wasn’t appropriate, he wrote a song called ttyl, which was designed to be upbeat and served the purpose of tying a nice, happy bow around this whole story. It was a good song, but the problem was that it didn’t feel like an authentic representation of what he felt.

It wasn’t until Joan Carver – one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets – played a beautiful guitar melody that Sam knew he had the direction for what Track 9 should sound like. And out of that instrumental, camellia was born. It’s a song that more accurately represents his feelings, and it may be my favourite song on the project. In my mind, it’s a perfect song.

There’s a beauty in the gray I feel
That’s why I live where it rains all year
No, I’ll release you in the summer
And appreciate the colour
I’ll release you in the summer

camellia

There’s really only one song left that I feel like I need to talk about here, and I purposely saved it for last. It’s also the last song on the album, although technically, it was the first one to be written. Last month on this blog, I wrote a detailed piece about my dad and the devastating circumstances surrounding the last year of his life. About a year ago, I was having some freaky experiences that caused me to allow myself to believe it was possible that my dad was trying to communicate with me from the beyond somehow. So I wrote a song about it.

I took that song to Sam, and he liked it enough that he wanted to help me refine it. So he and I sat down and retooled the lyric sheet. He put an acoustic guitar instrumental behind my vocals, and bam, we had a song called legacy. We would later rewrite the song again to remove all negative language from it, and I am so proud of the finished product. It was Sam’s idea to rebrand the song as legacy, by max and that is an enormous honour. I’m so happy this song is out in the world. It may not be a part of the relationship story behind otis, but it fits the theme of closure.

If you haven’t listened to otis yet, you really need to. It is a masterpiece. I may have a biased opinion, but I promise you I’m not lying. The songwriting is what carries the project from start to finish, and if there’s one thing that you can automatically rely on with any maSHerman project, the production value is outstanding. I am so fucking proud of my brother for the hard work and care that he put into this record. He’s only getting started, folks. So why not get aboard the maSHerman train now? You’re gonna be in for a wild ride. The future starts now.

Listen to otis:
http://smarturl.it/otis

The New Vampire Weekend Album Is So Goddamn Good

Every now and then, an album enters into my life that I know I will hold near and dear to my heart forever. That just happened a few Fridays ago when Vampire Weekend released their long anticipated double album, Father of the Bride. It had been nearly six years since they dropped what I thought was going to be their magnum opus, Modern Vampires of the City. But this new project is just absurdly good and honestly blows their other work out of the water. And I love their other stuff!

As is the case with most of my favorite albums of all time, the main strength of this project is the delightful lyricism that frontman Ezra Koenig provides in spades from start to finish. So this week on the blog, I’m going to go track by track and let you in on what makes this piece of art so special in my mind.

1) HOLD YOU NOW

The album opens with a beautiful acoustic guitar riff, and immediately sets the scene. We are placed at a wedding in which the relationship in question has clearly been strained with its future uncertain. It’s the first of three duets between Koenig and Danielle Haim, all of which have a country essence to them. The opening lyrics of this track are also the ones that resonate the most for me, even if the relationship that I think about personally when I hear them is the professional relationship I had with the place where I got my start in the broadcasting business.

BEST LYRICS

I know the reason why you think you gotta leave
Promises of future glory don’t make a case for me
I did my best and all the rest is hidden by the clouds
I can’t carry you forever, but I can hold you now

2) HARMONY HALL

Of the six singles that were released before the album came out, this is the one that I found to be the most elevated by the full context of the project. The light and bouncy guitar sounds are joined by an upbeat piano, but they are countered by lyrics that portray a character who is fed up with the way things have been going. Koenig even rehashes a lyric from a song off the last album called Finger Back in which he states, “I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die.”

BEST LYRICS

Anger wants a voice
Voices want to sing
Singers harmonize
Til they can’t hear anything

I thought that I was free
From all that questioning
But every time a problem ends
Another one begins

3) BAMBINA

This is one of the three tracks on the album that runs less than two minutes, but it’s also one of my favorites. The use of vocoder and crunchy guitars makes it one of the best head-boppers on the record. But the track gets quieter to make way for the hook, which conjures up thoughts of a person who feels they need to step away from the one they love when things begin to seem untenable.

BEST LYRICS

My Christian heart cannot withstand
The thundering arena
I’ll see you when the violence ends
For now, ciao ciao, bambina

4) THIS LIFE

This track comes through with buoyant guitars and hand claps. It’s the kind of song that makes you snap your fingers and sing along. But as you sing along, you may realize that you’re singing about the uncertainty of life that gives us all pause from time to time. Who among us hasn’t at one point or another thought to themselves, “Oh Christ, am I good for nothing?

BEST LYRICS

Baby, I know death probably hasn’t happened yet
‘Cause I don’t remember living life before this
And darling, our disease is the same one as the trees
Unaware that they’ve been living in a forest

5) BIG BLUE

This is the most lyrically simplistic of the tracks on the album, merely because it’s one stanza that repeats itself three times. I can’t claim to know exactly what Koenig’s inspiration was behind these words, but to me it sounds like an address to the universe itself as life becomes more difficult to cope with.

BEST LYRICS

Big blue
For once in my life I felt close to you
I was so overcome with emotion
When I was hurt and in need of affection
When I was tired and I couldn’t go home
Then you offered protection
So am I learning my lesson?
Or am I back on my own?

6) HOW LONG?

This track underlines one of the most jarring juxtapositions between the instrumentation and the lyrical content. Musically it is a song that features happy keys and fun harmonies, as well as playful guitars and sound effects. At times, you can even hear some hip hop sensibilities in the production. But the lyrics at first paint a picture of this failed relationship, and eventually describe the future destruction of Los Angeles.

BEST LYRICS

Getting to the top
Wasn’t supposed to be this hard
The house is on Mulholland Drive
The car’s on Sunset Boulevard

The registration’s here with me
Neither of us has the key
We could live down in the flats
The hills will fall eventually

7) UNBEARABLY WHITE

The fact that this song is one of the lowliers on the album in my opinion really speaks to the quality of the overall project. While musically beautiful, the only reason why it’s low on the list of my favorite tracks is because lyrically it doesn’t ADD a whole lot. It does contribute to the theme of a failed relationship, but I guess I just feel like there are other songs that do a better job of accomplishing that. That said, the hook is yet another example of terrific songwriting.

BEST LYRICS

There’s an avalanche coming
Don’t cover your eyes
It’s what you thought that you wanted
It’s still a surprise

It’s hard on the body
It’s hard on the mind

To learn what kept us together, darling
Is what kept us alive

8) RICH MAN

If I could only pick one, this would be my favorite track on the album. In a world where we’ve superficially created the idea that wealth equates with success, this song is a breath of fresh air. Hammering home the idea that money doesn’t buy happiness, it starts with a brilliantly crafted line that goes, “When I was young I was told I’d find one rich man in ten has a satisfied mind, and I’m the one.” Other stanzas pepper in concepts of love, and a striking through line also touches on the ridiculousness of the odds we stack on people who are trying their best to achieve their goals, no matter how unlikely they may be at face value. Let’s just say that this idea in particular is one that hits close to home for me. Also, the Looney Tunes-ass strings that come in at two separate intervals of the song are just so gorgeous, it makes me want to get up and waltz.

BEST LYRICS

One in a million don’t mean what it meant
And these millions of gold coins don’t gleam when they’re spent
You’re left with none

Ten million dollars could win the whole lot
But if ten million dollars is all that you got
You wont be the one

9) MARRIED IN A GOLD RUSH

This is just a straight-up country duet between Koenig and Haim that is belied by the modernized production behind it. It’s not the best song on the album, but it’s certainly not the worst. It does provide one of a few moments on the record when the two partners in this doomed relationship address one another directly. I’m particularly a fan of when they collectively discuss the idea that this relationship once seemed perfect, but both of them have long since lost sight of that time.

BEST LYRICS

EK: I thought you might learn the language
DH: I thought you might learn to sing
TOGETHER: We were born before the gold rush
So why can’t I remember anything?

10) MY MISTAKE

This is the closest attempt Vampire Weekend has ever made at producing a jazz song. The song is appropriately moody and does a great job at expressing the regret that goes along with feeling responsible for the end of something good. It’s probably the track with the least replay value, but it accomplishes the role that it’s clearly designed to play in the context of the album.

BEST LYRICS

There was choice to get out
Or remain in this state
There was springtime and future
Til I made my mistake

11) SYMPATHY

Holy shit, does this song slap. I wasn’t aware that flamenco and techno could be blended so smoothly, but it turns out, yep! It starts with a spoken word intro that says “I think I took myself too serious. It’s not that serious” And this song is seriously bonkers. It also contains some poignant observations of the world, including this gem of a line in the second verse.

BEST LYRICS

Judeo-christianity
I’d never heard the words
Enemies for centuries until there was a third

12) SUNFLOWER

Teamed up with the brilliant guitar playing of Steve Lacy from The Internet, this song is one of the happiest moments on the record. That’s the case even though the lyrics actually present the idea of rebelling against the world and the way it operates. To me anyway, the messaging of the song is one of resistance against contributing to the functionality of a cruel universe, and instead choosing to spend the day indoors kept to yourself.

BEST LYRICS

Sunflower in the morning
Standing in the garden
All before you wake
No power can compel you
Out into the daylight
Let that evil wait

13) FLOWER MOON

I can’t lie. The hook of this song makes me cry. Not only does the use of vocoder make Koenig and Lacy’s vocals sound beautifully heartbroken, the words speak to some of the strongest emotions I felt throughout my darker times a few years ago when I was reassessing what I was doing with my life. I hear the message of wanting things to be different, but understanding that in order for things to be the way you want them to be, it’s going to require a big change, and a great deal of patience.

BEST LYRICS

Flower moon, curse the night
If the sun don’t make things right
Then it’s gonna take a year
(Gonna take a year)

Flower moon, sacred sign
Coca-Cola and red wine
Now’s the time to disappear
(Gonna take a year)

14) 2021

This track features the simplistic sound of a synth and a lyric sheet that ponders about the future. It’s sweet in its brevity and easy relatability. It also plays off of Flower Moon incredibly well, in that it recycles the concept of patience, but stresses that too much patience can actually work against you.

BEST LYRICS

2021, will you think about me?
I could wait a year, but I shouldn’t wait three

15) WE BELONG TOGETHER

The third and final duet between Koenig and Haim is just absolutely wonderful in every way. After all of the trials and tribulations of this problematic relationship, they come together to sing about how much love they have for one another, even if ultimately it didn’t work out the way either of them had hoped. The words when read in isolation may come off as cheesy or saccharine, but honestly, they work so perfectly that not only is that NOT a strike against the song, it actually adds a lot to it.

BEST LYRICS

We go together like give and take
Pains and aches
Real and fake
We go together, don’t be opaque
It’s clear we go together

16) STRANGER

The words to the chorus of this song serve as the thesis statement for the entire project. “Things have never been stranger. Things are gonna stay strange.” There are a number of elements to this song that make it one of the poppier sounding songs on the record, and I just love it. As the album begins to come to a close, you can sense the themes of the songwriting shift from pensive and in-the-moment to reflective and grateful.

BEST LYRICS

The sound of you and your sister
I couldn’t face these days alone

You got the right light, candles burning
We don’t need the moon anymore

I used to look for an answer
I used to knock on every door
But you got the wave on, music playing
Don’t need to look anymore

17) SPRING SNOW

This is another song that does a tremendous job of describing a specific event in time. It paints the picture of this couple’s last moments together, as a spring snowstorm has caused her flight to be delayed, giving them a few more hours to be in each other’s company. But just as was the case with the relationship in general, this moment is only fleeting. The two of them have to accept that this is just the way everything was meant to play out.

BEST LYRICS

The snow fell last night
Your flight couldn’t leave

Come back to the bed
Let’s take this reprieve

It felt like the end
The end’s been delayed
You’re here in my arms
So what should I say?

18) JERUSALEM, NEW YORK, BERLIN

This song is a heartbreaking way to end the album, but it is still somehow the perfect conclusion. While there are obvious references to the sadness felt towards no longer being with a beloved, there are also bigger themes addressed that speak toward the world as a whole. As Koenig has stated, the song is really about “what it means to connect to something bigger than yourself.” Despite how heavy a question like that is, Koenig does a great job of personalizing the answer. But as far as the one line that stands out to me as the most personal to my experience as someone trying to find the right avenue to chase down my life goals, it’s this one:

BEST LYRICS

You’ve given me the big dream
But you can’t make it real

To wrap this up, Father of the Bride is not even two weeks old on my ears yet, so perhaps my recency bias is playing into why I hold it in such high regard. But sometimes you just know. I can’t say that this record will unseat The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists for my favorite album of all time. But I do think I can comfortably place it in my top five. Bravo, Vampire Weekend. Bra-freaking-vo.

Don’t Call Me “Sports Guy”

I’ve been sitting here for about an hour, trying to think of how I can possibly follow up my post from last week. It felt amazingly therapeutic to put that part of my story out into the world, and the response I received from so many of you was incredibly heartwarming.

But what now? Should I go back to giving you my HOT TAKES on the sports news? That’s what I’m good for, right? After all, if you knew me at all before I started this blog, you probably knew me as the “sports guy” on the radio. But the truth is, the further I remove myself from that era of my life, the less I identify myself that way. I HAVE LAYERS, YOU JERKS!

Sports are certainly still a huge passion of mine, and I’m not saying that I won’t go back to the well next week and write something about the fast-approaching start of baseball season or the NHL playoff push or how Bryce Harper’s hair underlines the importance of using both shampoo and conditioner. But this week, I want to let you in on some of the other things that make me tick, and clue you in to some more of the content that you can come to expect from me.

Here’s one that will no doubt catch you off guard. Ready? I think music is pretty cool…

I’ll give you a minute to collect yourself from that gasp you just let out. MUSIC?!? Who likes that stuff?? I know. We all do. But my connection to the music world is slightly different from the average joe. Allow me to let you in on how my music taste took shape.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad was an FM DJ in New York way back in the day when people actually listened to music on the radio. It was through him that I was first introduced to the world of what we now call classic rock. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the one of the first albums I ever fell in love with. There were a few other deeper cuts, too. I absolutely adored the Traveling Wilbury’s first self-titled album and subsequently Jeff Lynne’s solo project, Armchair Theatre.

My adolescence introduced me to the world of rap and hip hop. I was such an Eminem mark that not long after the release of The Marshall Mathers LP, I bleached my hair Slim Shady blonde. And let me tell you, nothing makes me cringe harder than looking back at old photos of myself sporting that look. I’d post one of those pics here, but I can’t find any of them. Hopefully that’s because they’ve all been thrown into a furnace.

High school and college brought me into the world of pop punk. Bands like Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Blink-182 and Panic! at the Disco have remained heavy in my rotation of music that I still listen to today.

The best album I’ve ever heard? That came in 2009 when The Decemberists released a project that is less a collection of songs than it is a three-act play. If you have never listened to The Hazards of Love, do yourself a favor. Listen to that shit. Better yet, read the story as you listen to it. It is a beautifully tragic tale that transports you to another world from another time, and remains one of the few albums that consistently makes me cry every time I listen to it alone.

There are very few genres of music that I dismiss out of hand. I may not have the trained ear of a legitimate music critic, but I can promise that there are going to be songs and albums that inspire me to write about them. And I intend to use this space to do that when the mood strikes.

While we’re on the subject of music, I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little something about my younger brother, Sam. He and I often marvel at how we epitomize the dichotomy of what our dad used to do for a living. A guy who became well-known for working in music radio spawned one kid that would spend a decade in the radio business, and another who has a bright future in the music business.

Sam has been a crazy music head since forever. Now, he is the vice president of a record label here in Vancouver known as NYHLA Records. He’s teamed with president and founder, Angus Maude, and co-VP Taylor Friginette to create a platform for local talent to shine. And lemme tell ya, these artists don’t just shine. They fucking glow. I plan on dedicating an entire post to this group of talent at some point, because they’re just bloody brilliant, and I want to get a scoop on their story before everyone and their mama knows about them. But I digress.

Sam, who goes by maSHerman (pronounced mash-er-man, not Ma Sherman, which sounds more like a character from Little House on the Prairie), has been working for a long time on his debut album. The project, named otis, is set to be released at some point this year. But what debut album cycle would be complete without a debut single? Well, that single is coming very soon. And Sam has a very interesting feature on that track. Any guesses? …No, it’s not T Pain …Nope, it’s not Cher either. I just figured those would be your first two guesses.

Actually, the debut single, entitled Talk to Me, features a relative unknown who goes by the moniker, “my brother max”. Hey, wait a minute, that’s me! Yes, folks. I wrote and sing the second verse on this song. And I simply cannot wait for you all to hear it. Also, before you ask. No, it is not me just singing the scores and headlines from the sports news. I know that’s what you’re used to. I hope it’s not what you want, though. Because if it is, good lord, what kind of music have you been listening to? Anyway, the point is you’re gonna have to get used to the idea that sports is not my be-all end-all.

As another example, I’ve developed a burgeoning interest in politics. There’s no mystery as to why that’s the case. I think the most recent presidential election caused a lot of us to be more plugged in to whatever the fuck is going on in the United States. There’s no doubt that the current occupant of the White House swallows up a lot of the news coverage, and to an extent, rightfully so. The dude gives us something new to scream about seemingly every day. But what interests me more is the impact that this era in politics is having on society at large.

This period in our history has been devastatingly revealing in the ways it has exposed the underbelly of what it means to live in America. But I like to consider myself a glass half-full guy. Sure, that’s super easy for a straight, white male like myself to say. But you know how they say that the first step to recovery is acknowledging there is a problem? To me, that feels like where we are right now.

Deep-rooted, institutional problems like racism, misogyny and homophobia cannot possibly be undone overnight. But these issues have been thrust into our collective conscience so forcefully through the litany of horrible stories we’ve read about over the last couple of years. You’d have to be a complete fool to not acknowledge that everything is not alright. I believe that our awareness of all of this crap is what is going to slowly lead to more activism and more progress. Also, this emerging generation of young people is so incredibly inspiring. I just know the future is in good hands. The over-arching point is, if you log onto this blog and see I’ve written a post consisting of social commentary or that covers a topic that is either vaguely or overtly political, don’t be shocked.

The shackles are off, y’all. I make the rules now. There’s no one above me to tell me that I shouldn’t or can’t write about a particular subject. And honestly, that is one of things that I love the most about what I’m doing here. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s a decent chance you’re going to come across a post of mine that either doesn’t interest you or that you vehemently disagree with. Both of those things are ok. I just ask that even if that is the case, that you still come back the next week and check in on me again.

There is still going to be plenty of sports commentary in this space. It’s a subject that I know better than most, and also is generally a place where you can spout off opinions without offending anybody. If you’re a fan of my blog, please tell your friends! Just do me a favor. Don’t call me “sports guy.” I’m fixing to prove that I’m so much more.