Tom Petty Offered Each of Us More Than He Offered All of Us

Tom-Petty

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had a slogan they reminded themselves of when they were writing songs in the late seventies, an era when bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were writing heavy melodic songs with long guitar solos. 

“Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.”

That’s why they have so many hits. That’s why everyone can name a Tom Petty song, and you might ask 15 people to name one before you hear the same song twice. 

But why someone is famous or successful at something isn’t always the same reason they connect with individual people. Humming a Tom Petty chorus to yourself is probably the most purely American thing I can think of. I’ve done it driving on highways. I’ve done it while scrubbing tables at the bar where I used to serve tables. I’ve done it setting up chairs at the food truck park I used to manage. I’ve done it walking to the library or coffee shop. I’ve annoyed girlfriends or dates humming whichever one was stuck in my head. 

You probably have too. On the subway, during the commercial of a TV show, at the mall, or on a plane. Those songs feel like they are authentically about America in an uncontrived way that only Chuck Berry could claim to have achieved, and they feel universally relatable in that sense. 

Still, universal appeal isn’t the purpose of art, and what was happening in between Tom Petty’s choruses was never boring. 

There’s a song on Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s 2010 album “Mojo” titled “No Reason to Cry.” For the past seven years, I’ve listened to it dozens of times when I’ve been sad. The chorus matches the simplicity of the title:

“There’s no reason to cry.

There’s no reason to cry.

It’s alright.”

We all want to hear someone say “there’s no reason to cry” when we have to get through something. We all know what it’s like to be free falling, to have a crush on an American girl (or boy), to run down a dream, or to want to tell someone they don’t know what it’s like to be us.

That’s why so many people like Tom Petty songs. But the reason only a few less people love Tom Petty songs is because of the words in-between. 

In “No Reason to Cry” Petty sings:

“So overtake me my sweet lover.

Let me kiss your honey lips.

Could be the only thing that’s real,

could be when you get sad your memory slips.”

It means something, but I’m not sure what. Maybe it meant almost nothing to him. But I think about that last line all the time. The memories we have access to are at the mercy of the mood we’re in when we’re trying to access them. And that’s temporary. Again, that’s an interpretation coming from someone who has listened to that song plenty of times in a specific mood. But that line means something. Whether it meant something to him or something to me, it never won’t mean something powerful.

Petty lyrics are full of those same moments that apply to you in a way you had never been able to articulate. Maybe they applied to him in that exact same way, or maybe pulling out these little gems for us was his greatest skill. How can you hear him sing “she was a part of my heart, now she’s just a line in my face” and not think back at past relationships with a little bit more clarity? Or when he sings “God bless this land, God bless this whiskey, can’t trust love, it’s far too risky. If she marries into money she’s still gonna miss me” there’s no way that doesn’t mean something to you, whoever you might be and where ever you might live. 

These are just so many lines tucked into verses of Petty songs, and if they’re not for you, they’re for someone. Just keep listening and you’ll find your line from your verse. Maybe it’s just “I’ll be the boy in the corduroy pants. You’ll be the girl at the high school dance.” Maybe it’s “I woke up in-between memory and a dream.” Or “I’ll be king when dogs get wings.”

I started listening to Tom Petty when I was in high school. I’ve listened to every album at least twenty times and my favorite ones hundreds of times. I saw him in concert when I was 21. It felt like he was singing every one of my favorite lines from my favorite verses with extra emphasis. It felt like that for everyone, I’m sure, for nearly every line he sang. 

I’m 28 now and the only thing I’ve done with my life is aimlessly write things. That doesn’t feel particularly noble because it’s not in service of any specific goal. It’s all sporadic and I imagine the writing often sounds pretty unsure of itself. The only constant has been that something kept getting written, every day. 

Petty wasn’t trying to write the next great rock song. But anyone who enjoys writing can really only hope to achieve what he managed to always do with the lyrics in his verses. It’d be nice if something I write really hits home for someone or just makes sense to him or her in a way he or she never thought about. And if it doesn’t then maybe the next one will, or a piece of it will, anyways. When a writer’s in cruise control, he’ll write for all of his readers. When he needs motivation, he’ll write for one. 

Petty’s choruses were for all of us. His verses were for me. Or you. 

The words “there’s no reason to cry” can only mean so much to us, even if we all want to hear it. Sometimes there are reasons to cry, for all of us. But every Tom Petty song has more to offer to each of us than it has to offer to all of us. 

-Jonny Auping

 

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The Grand Canyon’s Take on Ferguson

If you’re anything like me you have really been wondering what the Grand Canyon has been up to lately. A week ago I wasn’t sure it still existed. That trip that your aunt took to go see it was over ten years ago. Has anyone heard from that big gap between two giant rocks since?

I had to jump through a few hoops, but after getting the Grand Canyon’s number, I caught up with it and got its hot takes on some of the country’s biggest stories. Here’s the interview.

Jonny Auping: Hey, Grand Canyon, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. I don’t want to waste any time so I’ll get right to it. I think a lot of people are wondering what your thoughts are on the racially charged situation in Ferguson, Missouri?

Grand Canyon: It’s certainly pretty rocky out there. 

JA: I can’t tell if you’re being serious or if that’s a canyon pun.

GC: It sure seems like everyone involved is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

JA: To be honest, I think it’s a little tasteless to be making jokes about such a serous situation. 

GC: I’m sorry. I think that the situation in Ferguson is complicated, but there is no denying the racial history of our country. Less than 100 years ago prominent newspapers argued that African Americans on cocaine were the biggest threat to the country. They claimed that when on cocaine, “negros” could not be taken down with regular bullets and actually convinced police forces to change their caliber of gun on that platform. We see people unknowingly taking toned down, but similar stances now. People seem eager to point out Michael Brown committing theft or the possibility that he came at the officer as if that justifies shooting him six times. African American men are still perceived as more dangerous than other citizens. Ferguson needs policing, but tanks and assault rifles are unnecessary.

JA: Wow, that was actually pretty insightful. I’m sorry I got upset about the puns earlier.

GC: It’s ok, I’m glad I could get a clean slate.

JA: Uhh sure. So let’s move on to a lighter subject. What do you think of Iggy Azalea?

GC: I think she is just gorges.

JA: Any thoughts about the alleged beef between her and Nicki Minaj?

GC: Look, schist happens. I don’t know much about that. I’m sure they will work it out. It’s nothing like my beef with Niagara Falls. 

JA: So you aren’t picking a side?

GC: I’m a fan of both of them. Let’s just say they can both fit a lot into their geolo-jeans.

JA: Weird. Well, I think the whole country is still mourning the death of Robin Williams. Any thoughts?

GC: He was such a great actor who brought smiles to so many faces. It’s so sad to know that people can be going through so much pain without us realizing it. It goes to show that we shouldn’t take life for granite.

JA: You hear about the rumors of trouble in Jay Z and Beyonce’s marriage?

GC: Yeah, but I don’t believe them. Every time they go out in public you can see some real national (s)parks between them.

JA: Don’t you mean natural sparks?

GC: Yeah, that’s what I said. A lot of people don’t realize that Beyonce is the eighth wonder of the world.

JA: Have you heard that new Taylor Swift album?

GC: It was too slow for me. I can’t help but can-yawn every time it comes on air-izona.

JA: Well, Mr. Canyon, we’ve covered a lot of stuff. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

GC: Yeah, everyone add me on SnapChat at NotScaredOfHeightz. Also, remember that Gameboy you left here when you were a kid? I still have it.

-Jonny Auping 

 

Two Turtles React To Donald Sterling and Justin Bieber

 

two turtles

Harold and Brian are two neighbor turtles that commute to work every day. Their job is about 150 feet away, making it a 45-minute commute. This was their conversation Thursday morning:

“Hey Brian.”

“Hey Harold.”

“How have you been?”

“Pretty good. I’ve just been catching up on Game of Thrones. It’s really confusing. I have 16 siblings and 104 cousins, but that’s still about half as many characters as are on GOT.”

“My son, Franklin, watches that. It’s too violent for me. I don’t care if “Winter is coming.” I’ve saved up like two and a half berries. I’m ready.”

“Anyway, you hear about this Donald Sterling stuff?”

“Uhh…Yeah, it’s not exactly breaking news. People have been talking about that for weeks.”

“Yeah, well what can I say? Your son delivers the newspaper in my neighborhood. No offense, but he takes forever.”

“Yeah, sorry about that. We probably should make him get a different job. So what do you think of this Sterling guy?”

“He seems like a pretty big A-hole. I don’t understand why he gets so much attention for owning a team of crabs.”

“Crabs? What? He owns a basketball team.”

“Oh. Really? Then why are they called the Clippers?”

“Well..because…actually I have no idea.”

“Either way, he’s a huge racist. He doesn’t want his mistress photographed with black people? Why would that bother him? My wife can take pictures with whoever she wants. She could be taking pictures with a bunch of sea turtles right now and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest.”

“Don’t you think it’s a little extreme to ban him from the NBA for life and make him sell his team? What happened to freedom of speech?”

“Well, he’s not getting thrown in jail. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without personal consequence. If you tell your wife that her shell is looking tight then you won’t get thrown in jail, but you might have to find a new wife. Besides, the guy got two billion dollars. Do you have any idea how many berries you could buy with that kind of change? I don’t understand how human money works, but I’m thinking at least ten.”

“Oh shell yeah! I can only imagine. Dude’s probably swimming in berries. How about that mistress that recorded their conversation? She sounds like a real berry digger.”

“I don’t have a problem with her. She’s no hero, but I’m glad somebody exposed the old racist. He’s been discriminating for years, but only finally getting called out for it. There’s this one old tortoise that lives by me who always says the worst things to me about squirrels. I wish some good looking female would seduce him then expose his prejudice.”

“I bet that sexy little rabbit that comes around could do it. What’s her name? Lola? Not too bad on the eyes, am I right?”

“Keep it in your shell, Harold.”

“Speaking of racism, this Justin Bieber guy keeps doing the stupidest things. He’s like a snapping turtle, he just doesn’t know when to stop. That little baby man dropped the N-word and sang about being in the KKK.”

“I don’t think he’s racist like Donald Sterling. I think fame has just made him crazy. The kid has been totally shell-tered his entire life. He has no awareness.”

“Yeah, he always does something stupid then looks completely shell shocked when people get mad. He reminds me of that one guy, Yertle.”

“The turtle?”

“No, the other Yertle. Of course the turtle. Anyway, guy couldn’t handle the fame after that human doctor wrote a book about him. Totally lost it. I head he’s on that syrup now. Doesn’t know where he is half the time.”

“I’ve heard of syrup. What is it?”

“I don’t really know. I think humans put it on their pancakes.”

“Humans are weird.”

“I know. You wouldn’t catch me saying anything hurtful about any other type of turtle.”

I guess we’re here. What were you thinking about for lunch?”

“I was kind of craving a berry. You don’t happen to have any on you, do you?”

“Who do I look like, Donald Sterling?”

“LOL”

Jonny Auping

For Two Turtles reacting to Miley Cyrus at the VMAs click here.

For Two Turtles reacting to the Duck Dynasty  controversy click here.

For Two Turtles reacting to Katy Perry’s Geisha performance click here.

Tuesdays with 2 Chainz: A Cameo on Downton Abbey?

2 chainzabbey

Listen up Downton Abbey, I’m talking to you. The Walking Dead is back. And it’s coming hard for your Sunday night viewers. I know you’re probably thinking “we are on PBS, our viewers are far too sophisticated to watch zombie shows.” WRONG. My studies have shown that upwards of a bajillion people watch The Walking Dead so the probability would suggest that there is at least some crossover. 

So I’m here to help you out with some advice. You have to shake things up. I have an idea. I’ll admit that I have never seen an episode of Downton Abbey. I do know, however, that it seems to lack diversity, which is never a good thing for a show trying to get viewers. I have also done studies that prove that you’re not attracting a ton of black viewers (considerably less than a bajillion). 

So here’s my plan: give 2 Chainz a cameo on Downton Abbey. I’m not trying to imply that all black people enjoy 2 Chainz (I would never make such a generalization), but he would help diversify the show a little bit and he’s a popular musician/one time star of 2 Broke Girls).

Why would 2 Chainz do this? Well, just as your lack of diversity has cost you certain demographics, 2 Chainz is also struggling in one demographic: middle-aged moms. Moms don’t like 2 Chainz/know who he is. On the other hand ALL moms love Downton Abbey (I’m totally comfortable making this generalization). It’s a win/win for both sides.

Oh, you don’t think a rapper would be interested in appearing in a show about an aristocratic British family in the early 1900s? Well, 2 Chainz isn’t like most rappers. He’s different, as evidenced by this song:

I can already tell you’re probably worried about his lack of acting experience. Well, before you start making assumptions let me introduce you to 2 Chainz’ cameo in Law and Order: SVU last year:

“Dis man will peel my face off, sew it to a soccer ball, and kick into my mother’s yard.” Has Robert Crawley ever delivered a line with that much passion? I doubt it.

Not convinced yet? How about this cameo on 2 Broke Girls:

Think about it, he was asleep for 70 percent of the clip, yet he still managed to have the best performance of anyone in the scene. 

First you hit em with the Law and Order: SVU. Then you come at em with the 2 Broke Girls. The next logical step is Downton Abbey

You’re probably wondering how 2 Chainz’s character should be involved in the plot. I can’t do your entire job for you. You’re creative people, I’m sure you can figure something out. I don’t even watch the show. I heard Mary Crawley is looking for a new suitor. Might I suggest Sir Duel Chainz throw his hat in the ring? I’m hearing clamoring that Nanny West could use a cool sidekick. Nanny Chainz would be a nice plot twist, dont you think?

That part is up to you, but as the person who came up with this idea I do have one request: I think his character should have to say the words “biscuits and crumpets” at least once. I don’t know if that is a regularly used phrase in your show, but I just want to hear how he says it. I bet he thinks of a really cool way to say it. I also think it would be a funny idea to have him always refer to it as “Downtown” Abbey even after being corrected numerous times. I didn’t realize the extra ‘w’ wasn’t there until sometime during season two. 

In conclusion, you’re welcome and, as they say in England, cheers.

-Jonny Auping

“Star Wars” Re-casted With Rappers

News broke this week that the late rapper Tupac Shakur auditioned and was seriously considered for a part in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. George Lucas was apparently interested in him for the role of a Jedi. This is incredible news.

If you’re even a little bit like me then you are trying to imagine a Star Wars movie with Tupac playing a major role. BUT if you’re a lot like me then you are trying to imagine a Star Wars movie with only rappers. That’s what I’ve been doing for the past two days.

So now I’m going to share with you what I’ve come up with. Here are the classic Star Wars characters and which rappers should be playing each and every one of them. If you happen to know anyone in Hollywood please remind them that my suggestions, although brilliant, do not come free.

Jedi Master Mace Windu- Tupac Shakur 

sam L star wars

We already covered this one. Apparently Sam Jackson actually played the role of Windu after Tupac was killed. I don’t really remember this character because I don’t really remember this movie because I’m pretty sure it was terrible. But it was probably terrible because Tupac Shakur wasn’t in it. In other words, transitively speaking, we would all remember Mace Windu if he were played by 2Pac.

It really does seem like a waste to not have a rapper play the character considering it sounds like the name of a local DJ for a roller skating rink. Nobody skating would even flinch if they heard “Alright we got Master Jedi Mace Windu on the one’s and two’s. Partner up everybody…”

Sam Jackson might yell a lot, but no one could be a more intimidating jedi than the guy who created this:

Luke Skywalker – Eminem 

Well, they are both pretty undeniably white. I mean, one glance at either of them and you’d be like “Yep, both his parents are white. No doubt about it.” So there’s that.

They both have pretty serious parent issues. Luke was an orphan whose father eventually cuts his hand off. Marshall Mathers was abandoned by his dad and has had a pretty complicated relationship with his mom.

But they overcame family troubles and apparent whiteness and went on to save the galaxy/become a platinum selling rapper.

Han Solo – Jay Z

han solo     

Han Solo is easily the coolest character in Star Wars. I don’t think that’s even up for debate. What is up for debate is whether or not Jay-Z is the coolest person in reality. The fact that he is even in the running is why he should play Han Solo.

Also, they both can successfully rock a vest better than the rest of us (see above pictures).

C-3PO – Diddy 

You know how C-3PO is really not that talented for a futuristic robot and he has way too much screen time and everything he says is really annoying?

Remind you of anybody?

Darth Vader – Kanye West

A lot of people hate Kanye West. Personally, I’m not one of them, but that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people hate Kanye West. But that’s a small part of what makes him cool, right?

The same goes for Darth Vader. People get goosebumps when Darth Vader enters a scene. He might be the bad guy, but the movie would be incredibly boring without him.

Plus, they’re both fathers. Yo North, let’s talk babysitters.

Jabba the Hutt – Rick Ross

jabba     ross

This one’s self-explanatory, right?

Jar Jar Binks – 2 Chainz

jar jar

No one really knows if they are supposed to be jokes or if we are supposed to take them seriously as characters/musicians.

Chewbacca – Mystical 

chewy

This one works because, like Chewbacca, it’s just about impossible to decipher anything that Mystical is saying.

Storm Troopers – Wu Tang Clan

stormtroopers

This one is probably not realistic. There are way more members of Wu-Tang Clan than there are Storm Troopers. 

Yoda – Kendrick Lamar

Settle down guys, it’s not because he’s short, it’s because he’s wise (though I probably wouldn’t have thought of the comparison if he wasn’t short).

————————————————————————————————————-

Look, these are just small changes and they would barely change Star Warsbut I do think they would manage to make it better. Maybe Drake could play Obi Wan Kenobi or Big Sean could play an ewok or Snoop Dogg could just inexplicably play himself and no would ask questions. 

No matter how you slice it, there’s a 100 percent chance I would see this movie. 

Jonny Auping

Two Turtles React to Katy Perry’s AMA Performance

2 turtles

kp

Harold and Brian are two neighbor turtles that commute to work every day. Their job is about 150 feet away, making it a 45-minute commute. This was their conversation Monday morning:

“Mornin’ Brian, how was your weekend?”

“Hey Harold. It was pretty rough actually. My wife’s parents were staying with us and I had to pick them up from the creek. I’ll tell you what, if Suzy looks like her mom by the time she’s 250 I might have to reassess a few things. I know I said I’d love her unconditionally, but yikes.”

“Speaking of Unconditionally…did you see that Katy Perry performance at the AMAs last night? Seemed a little racist don’t you think?”

“I don’t know. Everyone’s acting all shell-shocked by it, but it didn’t seem that bad to me. She was dressed like a geisha, but it’s not like she was making fun of asian people.”

“I disagree. Her performance was ridiculous. She’s just taking a culture that she knows nothing about and using it as a gimmick in her performance. What if she had performed in black face? Would that have been acceptable? Also, the song says ‘I will love you unconditionally…’ Doesn’t that kind of reenforce stereotypes about Asian females being subservient to their men?”

“Geez, who tightened your shell? I will admit you have a point about the Asian females. I visited a friend in China a few years back and let’s just say his wife was certainly not subservient. Guy might as well have been dating a snapping turtle.”

“I didn’t know you went to China.”

“Oh yeah. I’m still trying to get the rice out of my shell.”

“That actually seems kind of racist to say.”

“What? Find one turtle in the world that doesn’t love rice. And it’s so abundant there. I ate an acorn that a squirrel dropped for dinner yesterday. I would kill for some fresh rice.”

“Well, either way, I just flat out don’t like that “Unconditional” song and her tacky performance didn’t help. I may be a turtle, but even I think that song’s too slow.”

“To be honest, that performance didn’t offend me nearly as much as her song ‘Roar.’ She basically claims to be a tiger. That’s supposed to be acceptable? Where does she get off? I’ve got tiger friends so I’m definitely not okay with that.”

“Please…you’re lying straight through your gums. I’ve known you for 20 years, you don’t have any tiger friends.”

“I mean, I’m not close with them, but I’ve talked to a couple. And every time I walk by one we give each other head nods so I feel like I’m pretty cool with them.”

“Sure man, you’ve got about as much street cred as Franklin.”

“More like Donatello…”

“Don’t you think that someone close to Katy Perry could have told her the performance might offend some people?”

“Shell-yeah they could have. But those same people could have told her that writing a song about having sex with an alien would make her sound a little slutty. Now, if she wrote a song about getting down with a turtle…”

“Oh, come on man! You’re old enough to be her great, great, great, great grandfather.”

“Calm down, I’m just kidding. Did you see Miley and her cat?”

“Yeah, but I’m sick of talking about Miley.”

“Fair enough. We’re here anyway. What’s your plan for lunch?”

“I heard there’s a new twig over on the other side of the tree.”

“Cool, I’ll see you in a couple hours.”

“Shell ya later.”

To read Harold and Brian’s reaction to Miley’s VMA performance click here

Jonny Auping

Tuesdays with 2 Chainz: ESPN’s Newest Analyst

This happened today.

2 Chainz made his second career appearance on ESPN’s First Take with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. They discussed the NBA. Check it out:

Things you may have noticed: 

-2 Chainz was somehow the third most ridiculous person in the video (which is impressive considering 2 Chainz might be the third most ridiculous person on the planet).

-2 Chainz called the 2013-2014 Brooklyn Nets the “Brooklyn Remix.” That better stick. 

-2 Chainz called Lebron James “Bron Bron.”

-2 Chainz laughed when he heard the name Mike Dunleavy Jr. If I could think of any one person who would be most likely to laugh upon hearing the name of any other one person, it would be 2 Chainz laughing upon hearing the name Mike Dunleavy Jr. Just as a reminder, this is a picture of 2 Chainz. This is a picture of Mike Dunleavy Jr. 

-Kids, if you want to make it in sports media, learn how to YELL THINGS INTO PEOPLE’s FACES. I write about sports professionally here and there, but I make so much less than the people who YELL THINGS INTO OTHER PEOPLE’S FACES. 

-Jonny Auping