Idina Menzel on Radiohead, Joni Mitchell and That Song From the Movie (via IndyStar)

idina menzel

Indy Star — I can’t back this up with statistics, but since the day they saw “Frozen” in 2013, I’m pretty sure my children have paid more attention to Idina Menzel’s voice than mine.

It’s a wise decision, obviously. Menzel, if you have kids, know any kids or have gone outdoors in the past two years, is the elegant, towering voice behind “Let It Go,” the “Frozen” anthem and one of those songs you probably can’t remember life before.

“I have to apologize, probably,” she says with a laugh. She sounds self-aware and sincere enough that I stammeringly assure Queen Elsa’s singing voice that this is not actually a problem. “Frozen” may have brought Menzel into your DVD cabinet, minivan radio and Christmas stockings — as well as something akin to rock-star status to her and the cast — but there are many worlds of music coming together in her one-woman show Aug. 23 in Indianapolis. The tour has hit many of your major continents; reviews have pretty much run the gamut from “Wonderful” to “Will you marry me?”

More with Queen Elsa at the Indianapolis Star.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZcKDoESbao.

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Here’s Why I’m Not a Sports Dad, Aside From Being Very Terrible at Sports (via Success)

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Success — Here’s the story I usually tell when someone brings up nutty sports parents.

At the first T-ball practice of the season, back when my son was 7, I introduced him to the coach. I told the man that Jake had begun playing only the year before, on a team named after a fine local flooring store. The words were apparently a trigger.

“I remember you guys!” The coach suddenly exclaimed, more animated than people usually are when discussing the marketing strategies of local flooring stores.

“We played you in the championship—you beat us 7-3! You had orange uniforms, right? And you had those little blond twins who were really good.” Here he turned to his own son, who ambled up behind him. “You remember, right?” The kid rattled off their names. This went on for a few minutes, and the whole time I stood there dumbly thinking, Wait, there was a championship?

The full story, starring sports dads, Drew Storen and “Weird Al” Yankovic — over at Success.

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RIP Columbia House, Without Whom I’d Have Accumulated Like Half as Many Extreme and Tesla CDs (via GQ)

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But did they tell you about the shipping charges? NOOOOOOO.

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GQ — Columbia House, the mass music-warehouse/inventory-closeout company you may remember from the back of every magazine between the years 1987 and 1994, closed this week. This, of course, is a sentence that makes no sense, like, wait, that was still open? That didn’t shutter in 1995, or when we all got Napster, or when they released the iPod? Who in the hell was ordering eight-CDs-for-a-penny in 2015, a magical, terrifying age in which you can clickity three buttons on your phone and dial up literally any piece of recorded music produced since the early Renaissance? It’s a little like hearing that Maxell cassettes just shut down, or that fax machine sales are on the slide.

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John Mellencamp’s 10 Greatest Indiana Concerts (via Indianapolis Monthly)

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They come from the cities and they come from the smaller towns.

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Indianapolis Monthly — Ask John Mellencamp fans for memories of his best shows in Indiana, and one thing quickly becomes clear: The guy has performed in a lot of places around here. He has played bars and football stadiums, basketball arenas and fancy theaters, Farm Aids and guerrilla gigs. Regardless of venue, though, the shows have rarely disappointed. “As much praise as he’s gotten, I think he’s still underrated as a live performer,” says Anthony DeCurtis, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone who received his Ph.D. in American literature from Indiana University. “I saw him in 1992, and it was just torrid. I don’t think I’d seen John in an arena to that point, and I remember thinking, ‘Boy, he’s not having too much trouble filling up this space.’”

In honor of Mellencamp’s August 4 date at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the final show of a tour that has made a number of Indiana stops already, we compiled a scattered, highly unscientific, and 100 percent debatable list of Mellencamp’s best Hoosier concerts over the past four decades. As you might suspect, the list is culled from minutes and memories, so if yours are different (and they probably are), drop us a line. Here are our choices, presented in chronological order because we can’t really rank them. Well, except for maybe that one.

Read the full list over at Indianapolis Monthly.

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The Official Summer Sports Douchiness Matrix (via GQ)

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GQ — Despite having the same last name as a three-time Super Bowl-winning linebacker (the New England Patriots’ Mike Vrabel, or as I call him when I’m trying to impress people or drinking, Dad), I should not play football. I’ve heard as much from lots of places: my family, my bones, the nice people in the ambulance, the other guys with whom I’m playing football. Because though summer is the time to get outside, boost your heart rate and ramp up your blood flow, the fact is not all guys are equipped to play all sports. To help you decide which sports you shouldn’t play, we offer this unscientific and also unresearched guide to amateur sports, with equal emphasis on difficulty level, cardiovascular benefit and how cool you look doing them. Sorry about that last one, croquet.

The full matrix is right here. 

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Margaritaville Without Mom: A Story of Loss and Cheeseburgers (via The Mid)

It's been a lovely cruise.

Drink it up, this one’s for you.

The Mid — There aren’t too many ways you can make yourself laugh at funerals, but you try, because you tell yourself that’s what the deceased would have wanted, right? Mom would have rolled her eyes at some somber visitation weighed down by synthetic cathedral music and Kleenex; she’d have much preferred a tropical theme and Jimmy Buffett songs about islands and boats, things she, like the vast majority of Buffett fans, loved but never pursued. (If you’ve never seen a room full of adults burst into tears while researching lyrics by a guy famous for a song about a cheeseburger, I can assure you it makes for a weird afternoon.)

So that’s what we did, mostly. A couple times during her visitation (we called it a “time of sharing,” because no one wanted to say “visitation”), someone would ask to turn the music up, which is a strange request for a visitation/time of sharing. I hope the other two families in the funeral home didn’t mind; I’m sure they were trying to hold a traditional service while the weirdos in Room C listened to something called “Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season.”

So this year, having now turned into someone who can get actually emotionally unhinged listening to a song called “Fins,” we thought we’d do one last round, one last splash, one more trip out to the show for Mom. Here’s what happened.

 

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Why There Are So Many Bad Bosses (via Success)

GoodBossBadBoss

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Success — Have you ever noticed this about the way most American companies select people to manage others? It doesn’t make a lick of sense.

They take the most skilled employees and tell them, “Congratulations! You’re great at this! So instead of doing it, you’re now going to supervise others who aren’t nearly as talented. Sure, you may not be good at supervising people, because it requires a totally different skill set than the one you’ve mastered, but this is the only way to grow in the company, so… good luck, boss!”

It’s a little wacky, is what we’re saying. And that wackiness may explain this: When you ask people—friends, associates, strangers—for an interesting boss anecdote, very few start with a positive one. Most of us have had a boss who we thought might be, you know, a high-functioning sociopath. Far fewer can say we ever felt truly inspired by a boss. “Companies often choose the wrong people,” says Linda A. Hill, Ph.D., professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and the co-author of Being the Boss. “The criteria for what makes someone a really good producer, salesperson or researcher may not be the criteria that make a good leader.”

The full story over at Success.

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Oh Sure, Like You’ve Never Watched a Cow Give Birth With Your Sons Before (via The Mid)

JUST PRODUCING A CALF, NOTHING TO SEE HERE.

JUST PRODUCING A CALF, NOTHING TO SEE HERE.

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The Mid — GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: This piece contains explicit descriptions of cow birth, but trust me when I say that though they’re all true, detailed and kind of slidey, reading them is not nearly as bad as BEING 10 FEET AWAY FROM A LIVE COW GIVING BIRTH. So everyone just relax.

Indeed, on purpose, with my own eyes and with a mind toward “experiencing nature” (or whatever nonsense you tell yourself when you’re about to witness something grody for no practical purpose), I recently watched a large cow deliver another smaller but still pretty large cow. I realize that most readers here have either witnessed or starred in the production of another human being, and as of press time I’ve only done the former, but I’m pretty sure the cow version is much funkier. Much.

The actual gross birth happens over at The Mid.

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Dad Week at GQ.com: 10 Horrible Gross Things They Don’t Tell You About the Delivery Room

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GQ — There are more books about the wondrous, gross miracle of childbirth than there are celebrity organic cookbooks, inspirational-quote compilations, and terrible softcore mom-porn novels PUT TOGETHER. Yeah, it’s a lot. Let everyone else read the encyclopedias. Here’s a sneak preview for what will be a very curious few hours.

1. You will look. Oh, you’ll not want to look. You’ll want to avoid and eschew looking. You’ll want to hide behind the couch and cover your eyes like the first time you saw the end of Raiders. Thousands of years of primordial evolutionary instincts will all align in your brain, forming a united front like soldiers at a castle siege shouting, “You DO NOT KNOW what hideous terrors lurk in a location you usually enjoy visiting.” But you will look. You will look because you’re a grownup, and a father, and that is your baby’s mother, albeit not exactly presented in a way you might initially recognize. Also, you kind of can’t not look—it’s not like there’s anything more interesting happening in the room.

The full and slightly gooey list over at GQ.com.
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More from Dad Week:

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My Son Tends to Vanish Into the Wilderness a Lot (via The Mid)

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JUST KEEP GOING, IT’S NOT LIKE THERE ARE BEARS AROUND HERE OR ANYTHING.

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The Mid — The thing about losing your child in an unfamiliar state park is how it hones your senses. Everything else falls away—everything. The scenery, the green, the humming of the birds, the voices of the other hikers. It all collapses, slips off black edges in your peripheral vision, so your mind and your instincts can focus on one thought, just one crucial thought: When I find him, I am going to kill him. 

I mean, we didn’t lose him lose him, in the sense that he was gone for days, or even hours. It was maybe 40 minutes, tops, although it’s hard to tell because time stands still when you’re tromping through riverbeds and into small valleys and over fallen logs muttering a near-constant torrent of curse words. There were four of us: me, my wife, our effervescent and adventurous 11-year-old and his much wobblier, less calibrated 3-year-old brother. If you’ve ever gone hiking, or walked on a beach, or in a parking lot, or in your house, you know it’s not easy to keep a party of children together, especially one of varying ages. So we came to a spot that required some climbing, and the 11-year-old went first, leaving the three of us behind. And apparently this is where there was some miscommunication: Where we said, “Wait for us at the top,” he heard, “Please wander off alone into the forest, and if you could take the bag with the water bottles, that’d be great.”

(We find him over on The Mid.)

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