There are thousands of examples throughout history of otherwise “normal” people stepping up their game and achieving a greatness normally reserved for those who we ascribe “legendary” status to. This happens all the time in one of my other favorite interests, sports – perhaps the most famous is Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Any Golden State Warriors fan can tell you about “The Sleepy Floyd Game,” where Floyd dropped 51 on the mighty 1987 Lakers in the playoffs and set a record for points (29) in an epic 4th-quarter comeback that still stands (all against the greatest defensive wing player of his generation, Michael Cooper). The greatest comeback in NFL Playoff history was executed by Buffalo’s backup quarterback, Frank Reich. What makes someone a legend is that these moments occur with startling regularity, but anyone can be legendary in a given instance. Bob Dylan is perhaps the greatest folk songwriter that ever lived, but Don McLean wrote “American Pie.” Continue reading
Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by mountains. I remember reading books about all the ranges and peaks of the world, and I could probably still rattle off the list of the highest peaks by continent that I took great pride in knowing (much like Rosie Perez in “White Men Can’t Jump,” I am overwhelmed with more useless goddamn information than any human being on this fucking planet). Having used to live in the Pacific Northwest, I miss having mountains around; it was nice to be able to just look through your windshield at Mt. Hood or Mt. Adams or Mt. Whatever (although I must confess that the trade of beautiful mountains for epic Midwest thunderstorms might be a push). Most of my family still lives in Tacoma, WA, where on any reasonably clear day you can get a look at what is easily the coolest yet most uncomfortably terrifying mountain in the world, Mt. Rainier. The Cascades have a remarkable number of gorgeous peaks. Small wonder, then, that the Northwest would be the settling place for music’s all-time mountain lover, Alan Hovhaness.