Apr 232013

And then Richie, Richie said, “Hey man, let’s dress up like cops, see what we can do!”

Something, something said, “You better not.”

– Television, “Venus de Milo”

I’ve been thinking about these lines from Television’s “Venus de Milo” since details of the Boston Marathon Bombing and post-bombing reign of terror emerged. I believe the lines refer to an actual prank that old high school friends Richard Meyers and Tom Miller (later known by the surnames Hell and Verlaine, respectively) considered pulling. I’ve been thinking about these lines, because I can’t shake the feeling that the Tsarnaev borthers’ motivation for their recent acts of terror were partially fueled by similarly idiotic notions that usually are quelled by that voice saying, “You better not.”


Call me cynically naive—or naively cynical—but I’ve been a little bugged by the backflips the media, some politicians, and people around me are doing to tie the acts of domestic terrorism the Tsarnaev brothers committed into broader, organized efforts of FOREIGN TERRORISTS. I’m not saying all possible ties shouldn’t be investigated nor that the influence of international terrorist and other political/religious zealotry was absent from their acts, but as a Boston columnist named Kevin Cullen pointed out on an interview I heard on Philadelphia’s WHYY radio last week, these brothers pretty much grew up in America, as part of our culture.

“We ask,” he said at one point, “‘Why do they hate us?’ The ‘us’ is us.”

I can’t shake my initial thought upon seeing the security camera photos last week, that these were wannabe terrorists. They looked like 2 dickhead community college dropouts at the Dollar Dog Night I’d attended at my local ballpark the previous week. I half-joked to my wife that committed psychopaths and terrorists would be offended by the inclusion of these 2 among their ranks. Looks can be deceiving, but they didn’t have the kerrraaaayzeeee eyez of of a homegrown assassin. That kid who shot up the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, for instance: who didn’t look at a picture of that kid, prior to his worst imaginable acts, and see a bad moon on the rise? Those first images of the Tsarnaev brothers, to my eyes, at least, showed a couple of wiseasses, not anyone with the capacity to sit through long religious ceremonies and somehow interpret the word of their God to suggest their purpose on earth is to kill and maim innocent people.

The older brother’s got one of those modern-day, gaudily-piped caps with a severely curved brim. Sign of an Asshole! (For proper baseball brim curvature, by the way, see this image of rookie Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone, whose pitching poise in his debut last night was only matched by the classic curvature of his brim.) The younger brother wears a stupid, white baseball cap backwards and a smirk on his face. I was taken back to the one and only night I went out for Mischief Night. I was 12 and my brother, who tagged along, was 7. We rubbed bars of soap on some windshields. Then I had the great idea to put a bottle in the middle of the street. We ducked back in the bushes along the side of the road, so we could see what happened when a car ran over it. Soon enough a car ran over the bottle. It made a tremendous explosion! The driver screeched to a halt, pulled his car over, saw me and my little brother, and chased us down in no time.

“You must live around here,” he surmised correctly (our house was 2 down from the corner where I’d let my little brother into this act of mischief). “Do you want me to tell your parents what you’ve done?!?!”

Luckily his tired didn’t blow. He let us off the hook. I was still shaking the next morning, as I stood at the bus stop and watched a few neighbors across the street washing the soap off their windshields.

In NO way do I mean to bring down the tragedy in Boston to the level of my preteen hi-jinx, but before we start hunting down Chechen-Americans and declaring war on whatever tiny nation in the Caucasus this family actually calls its homeland, let’s see if it can be determined what really motivated these acts and whether there was any way something, something could have said, “You better not.”

But enough of my yapping! I had to get that off my chest. Let’s listen to a beautiful song, shall we?

Television, “Venus de Milo”


  11 Responses to “Something, Something Said, “You Better Not””

  1. jeangray

    Strong work Mr. Mod. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  2. BigSteve

    New Royals acquisition Ervin Santana has taken to wearing his cap at a jaunty angle. That’s bad enough, but while pitching? Someone needs to give him a good talking to. It makes it very hard for me to get behind him.

    I know I have been in situations where that Television lyric has played in my head as a warning.

  3. I’m occasionally surprisingly down with the jaunty angle hat for outfielders, but you’re right: NO WAY should a pitcher display that lack of poise!

    I am a HUGE proponent of the flat brim cap, so much so that I’m tempted to go flat brim myself. However – and I know this is not right – I think I’m too old and too white to get away with that Look. Former Nationals closer Chad Cordero may have been baseball’s best flatbrimmer:

  4. I don’t wear a baseball cap very often but when I do, I need more of a curve than Pettibone.

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    Re: your picture of Pettibone — sorry, but I can’t get behind any pro baseballer who looks like Adam Sandler with a five o’clock shadow.

  6. sammymaudlin

    I’m disgusted with both sides here; the so-called terrorists and the public reaction (driven by the media). Reminds me of a much less cool Stealer’s Wheel song lyric

    “Clowns to the left of me Jokers to the right…”

    Also reminds me of a Hunter Thompson quote

    “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”

    Which I’ve seen in too many variations to know if that is an actual quote. But still.

  7. Focus on the brim, not the man beneath it. And DON’T let me catch you wearing one of those shallow, stone-washed Jimmy Buffet fan hats when we put together the RTH Softball Party!

  8. One of the leaders in the jaunty angle cap trend I think was Torii Hunter when he played for the Twins.


    Flat brims are making their way into golf, too. Rickie Fowler sports the Puma flat brim from time to time, but you have to pretty good to carry off this Look on the course.


    I think the flat brim will run its course eventually — it seems unnatural and uncomfortable.

  9. OK, for a rookie in a brand new Big Boy cap I thought he did well. You can’t deny the perfection of Jamie Moyer’s brim, can you?


    The guy was even known to practice the lost art of the folded “tent” brim:


  10. Wasn’t that the old “Pogo” line? “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” From like, the Vietnam era?

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    I’m a huge Formula 1 fan, and one of the current greats in the sport is Spaniard Fernando Alonso. I have never seen a man look so awful in a baseball(ish) cap. I’m not a fan of the flat brim to begin with, but he takes its inherent stupidness to a whole new level of stupid.

    Baseball caps are meant to be worn, and played in, and eventually taken out in the back 40 to plow and seed and harvest in. When you use them properly, repeatedly, they take on a shape from all the MANhandling. That shape is rounded, bent — curved in all the right ways. Flat brimmed baseball caps make it clear the wearer is a fancy lad who has a different cap for each day of the week, or each color or shade he chooses to wear that day. They never get worn in because they never get worn, and they never get worn because the erstwhile wearer has no need to wear just one. And that’s elitist, or snooty, or unAmerican, or something. Anyhow, here’s Fernando Alonso, to make my point.


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