In Which Molly Continues To Take Swings At Some White Men And Champions Others

There’s Some Songs From The New Iron & Wine Album At The End Of This Post

by Molly Lambert

John Buccigross. He looks like Michael McDonald, yes? No, not that Michael McDonald

I don’t normally watch ESPN (sports, I can’t get into them) but I catch it for a second sometimes and I’m now aware that there’s this incredibly annoying guy named John Buccigross who’s an anchor and writes the hockey column on the website. Here’s a bio from one of his columns:

“What do you need to know? I’m 6-foot-4, 192 pounds. Mizuno MP 33 irons. Big Run-DMC fan. Love chicken parm. Once played golf with Ray Bourque and tried to intentionally three putt from 30 feet so I could say I shot a 77 playing golf with Ray Bourque. Instead, the slippery downhill putt went in and I shot a 75 not playing golf with Brett Lindros.”

Chicken Parm! God I miss Carmela

That bio might as well be written in Coptic. I think I understood the numbers and the part about chicken parm. Apparently he says things on-air like “Manny Ramirez is to the Boston Red Sox as Frank Black is to The Pixies!” and “Alex Rodriguez is to the New York Yankees as Conor Oberst is to Bright Eyes!” So you are saying Alex Rodriguez uses the New York Yankees as a pseudonym for whatever team he is currently playing with? I guess that almost makes sense, sort of, if I stop thinking about it. That’s apparently one of his trademark catchphrases, setting up these retarded analogies. Here are some of his other ESPN catchphrases:

“Surfing the net, www.(fill in highlight here).com!” (for example “Surfing the net, http://www.JaromirJagr’!”)

“The best Jerry, the best!” imitating the character Kenny Bania in Seinfeld.


“Ooo, that looks like it hurts. Easy for me to say, I’m wearing makeup!” When there is a big hit in a game.

“Not gonna do it.” – Said à la Dana Carvey as US President George Herbert Walker Bush on Saturday Night Live; usually said whenever a player misses a desperation last-second shot in basketball.

“Holy schnikies!” – Quote from Chris Farley’s movie Tommy Boy

“Yo, ding dong, ding dong, yo.” – when a player’s shot hits the post, apparently referring to a line from “Weird Al” Yankovic’s music video for Fat.

John Buccigross: “What Chris Funk is to the Decemberists, Evgeni Malkin is to the Penguins!”

So apparently in order to be an ESPN anchor you have to be about as funny as a not particularly funny eighth grader? One who is somehow unaware of any culture from the last ten years? I mean, I’m all for a well-placed Kenny Bania reference, but Dana Carvey as George HW Bush? Has that ever been funny?

I guess Buccigross was a theater major who loves hockey, so we already know there’s a lot of brain-damage at work. Apparently he’s also a big Decemberists fan. I’m not trying to imply that all Decemberists fans have brain-damage, or that brain-damaged people shouldn’t be fans of The Decemberists.

Scott Van Pelt, smooth bald head, smooth with the ladies

Scott Van Pelt’s catch phrases for example are comparatively much better, even though Van Pelt is also not funny or original. They’re from things like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Entourage which were at least made in this decade. I know they’re an ESPN staple, but the whole idea of catch phrases seems really lame and forced to us to begin with. I mean, it’s one thing if a joke or neologisim happens organically. I get that they’re doing it in tribute to Stuart Scott and Keith Olberman, but insisting on repeating really tired pop culture cliches from ten years ago as a part of your “zany” on-air persona is a special kind of hellish anti-comedy. I’ve never seen Sports Night, believe it or not, but I’m fascinated by all cults of personality. I think it’s that being an ESPN anchor is a weird, hyper-specific kind of celebrity.

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to depress you. Considering his taste (Wilco, The Shins, The Decemberists) I think it’s safe to say John Buccigross probably likes Iron & Wine. I’ve never been crazy about them, but since I moved back to California I’m unable to be anything but completely open-minded. So maybe I do like them? I don’t know, this album’s got some pretty good songs. It’s like Feist, but for dudes.

Sam Beam is TR’s second favorite bearded singer-songwriter (the first being Will Oldham, duh)

Sam Beam upped the Nick Drake factor even further but smartly opted for the jazzy, orchestrated, Eastern influenced, opium-smoking Nick Drake this time. I guess all the freak-folkies are “going electric.” A few of these songs are a little lite for me but like I’ve said, seriously, I cannot begrudge anyone the pleasure of liking whatever kind of music they choose to like, no matter how noisy, dissonant, precious, or fey. I’m very particular about singer-songwriters. My three least favorite popular singer-songwriters are Cat Stevens, Billy Joel, and Paul Simon. If I had to choose a fourth, it would be Elton John. My list of favorites would double the length of this piece, so I’ll save it for another post.

Also you can throw a stone anywhere in Echo Park or Brooklyn these days and hit a band working on incorporating South American and African influences into their music. Everyone’s on some Talking Heads circa Brian Eno shit right now. God, I sound just like John Buccigross. Fuck. Whoa, Gene Wilder played congas with Ari Up on I Zimbra and Life During Wartime? Holy shit!

Anyway, here’s a few songs from The Shepherd’s Dog which comes out for real on the 25th. We’re stoked to hear his cover with Calexico of “Dark Eyes” from the I’m Not There soundtrack. When is that gonna leak, anyway?

Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car – Iron & Wine: mp3

Carousel – Iron & Wine: mp3

The Devil Never Sleeps – Iron & Wine: mp3 

Molly Lambert is Senior Editor of This Recording. She is working on developing some catchphrases.


Susana Sontag and Eliot Weinberger.

Becky’s trip to Berlin.

More about Germany.

4 thoughts on “In Which Molly Continues To Take Swings At Some White Men And Champions Others

  1. it is well known that i hate nearly everything aaron sorkin has had any creative involvment in, but sports night occupies a special level of mediocrity. it’s next to “closer,” and other things that really moody teens tell me i don’t get.

  2. I immediately assumed you meant “Closer” the Mike Nichols movie of the Patrick Marber play. It’s one of those not-sexy “sexy” movies about infidelity, but you know, with Natalie Portman as a stripper who won’t take her clothes off. N.P. – beautiful girl, can’t act.

    Studio 60 was awful. West Wing I never watched but I’ve heard some funny exchanges in passing. Aaron Sorkin’s personal life would make a fascinating one-act play. Maybe I’ll write it.

    I never thought about The Downward Spiral until John Gruen played “Closer” once when I was in his car on the way to the Providence Place Mall one night and it was a deeply transformative experience. I realized I’d never heard it on a good sound system before.

    I’d only ever heard the compressed radio version, and with electronic music, half the charm is how sounds vary in volume and direction. There’s no mezzo or forte in compressed songs on FM radio.

    Anyway, I ended up BUYING the album, which I never owned before because I was more of a Classic Rock type teen outcast than a Goth. But NIN were pretty cool for a few years. My favorite song is actually “The Perfect Drug” from the Lost Highway soundtrack. I also really like that Smashing Pumpkins song from that soundtrack, “Eye,” and I am generally so not into SP.

    Anyway, “Closer” is a sweet song, especially the theoretical clean version that goes “I want to hug you like an animal.” I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through my industrial-rock and electronica past.

    Aphex Twin still scares the shit out of me

  3. fact: i really like pretty hate machine. when i have insomnia, like now, it and the music from mega man are about all i can stomach. sub-fact: i never actually listened to nine inch nails, despite in junior high school allying myself with the goth/skater nations, mostly because i was mad crushin’ on someone in my presbyterian youth group.

    also fact: i was a precocious indie rock teen, i guess? i dunno, i really liked the pixies and belle and sebastian in 9th grade. i love/d the music, but i think i mostly liked the fact that early pitchfork allowed for a kind of faux-academic snobbery (see also: 33 1/3 series), that dovetailed neatly with my contempt for everything and everyone in arkansas. also: got me laid at gifted camp.

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