Only the Good Die Young

“I better see you soon cracka.”

“Oh you will my negro amigo.”

That was the last conversation I had with my good friend, when we discussed when we would see each other again. It had been more than a year since I had seen Keenan, as he was off in Disney World and I continued to toil in Carbondale. But I was going to see him again this summer before I left Carbondale forever to go to grad school in Springfield and beyond.

How could I not see him, I was his negro amigo.

But I never will get to see him again, to tell him how much his friendship meant to me. Keenan Altman, a man whose personality could lighten up all of a theater as it did during the Theta Xi Variety Show just two years, died Thursday morning from an apparent asthma attack in his sleep.

Thousands of words can and have already been written on Facebook and other places about just how amazing Keenan. He was a person you never forget; with his quick-witted humor, need to meet new people and overall compassion for others. He was the perfect opposite of me, as I would always tell him I loved him for being so damn happy and positive all the time. He would always respond, “You’re the most cynical ass I’ve ever met, but you’re funny and I love you Brother Smoot.”

The man even got me to start wearing my sweater vests I love so very much. The first time I ever wore one around him, he just smiled and told me I was a copycat, but I was “so damn sexy” he would forgive me.

To think, I would never had met the man if I had not joined the Delta Chi fraternity. I joined my sophomore year at the insistence of my friend Jeff and my old roommate and was initiated fall of sophomore year. Despite being a member, I never truly felt part of the group. I had a different personality which never seemed to mesh with the rest of the group, I was sarcastic and cynical with my humor; typical of those in journalism. I didn’t care about getting shitfaced every night and going to the bar and getting laid, I just wanted to graduate in four years, have friends and be a part of something. I realized soon that the fraternity just did not fit with my own ideologies.

I was set to drop out after only a year in the group, but I met several new brothers who showed me that there were some positives with sticking it out. Keenan was one of those people who showed me I didn’t need to be such an asshole when socializing, to just be myself. His lust for life was infectious and I always admired the perseverance of his positivity regardless of the situation.

When he left for Disney World as well as my friend Nick leaving for California; along with the 50 hour work week as campus editor at a newspaper, I knew there was little reason to remain in the fraternity. But Keenan still reminded me of why the fraternity system can be useful, you can meet incredible people that you would never socialize with otherwise.

But here we are in July, and we have lost one of the truly good people. Although he will never be able to brighten our moods with his smile again, to dwell to much would not be how he wanted us to act. If anything, we must go on and live as Keenan would — with a smile on our face and with the mindset to brighten up everyone’s mood.

Just as Keenan did for all of us.

A good man, a good brother, and a good friend

A Lament for an Old Closer

June 29, 2011 Leave a comment

A sad end to a solid Cardinal career (Photo courtesy of Associated Press)

I come not to bury Ryan Franklin, but to praise him.

Well, at least the old Franklin.

With the inevitable news Wednesday of Franklin’s release, Cardinals nation have let out a collective cheer as the “pathetic” “useless” “garbage” reliever finally got what he deserved.

Some of the venomous insults were based in some righteous merit. In his last four outings, Franklin had been charged with nine runs on 14 hits in six innings. He faced 32 batters in that span and allowed eight extra-base hits, including five home runs. Franklin this season was 1-4, with a 8.46 ERA, with nine homers allowed in 27.2 innings.

Fans especially went insane Tuesday night, in what would be Franklin’s last appearance, when he went just a third of an inning, allowing three hits — including a home run — and two runs.  Tony La Russa seemed almost delusion with his post-game comments, as though there was still some way to redeem Franklin.

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Weird Al’s continues sharp satire, pop writing

June 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Weird Al Yankovic

“Alpocalypse”

Three out of Five Stars

Music listeners can take great comfort that no matter how much the music sphere changes, Weird Al Yankovic will be there to lampoon Top 40 hits as well as top artists.

“Alpocalypse,” Yankovic’s 14th studio album and first since 2006’s “Straight Outta Lynwood,” is more of the same from the legendary parodist –which is what most listeners would expect anyway when they listen to the album. And just like most of Yankovic’s more recent work, it’s a mixed bag of spot-on humor as well as strained humor that misses the mark on top of parodies of specific songs or of different artist styles.

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Playlist: Summer Playlist 2011 “.. But the Kitchen Sink”

June 23, 2011 1 comment

It’s been a long time coming, but it is finally here.

The first published playlist created by me, Smooterino.

Now I have always had a love for music and compiling my favorites into a certain playlist, but never have I released those to the public. Not that I didn’t want to, but I never really had the venue to do so. But with the League of X-Blogger, why not give it a shot?

After testing this playlist on several friends, in party situations and the likes, I have perfected my summer 11 playlist, otherwise known to my Twitter follows as the #ButTheKitchenSink Playlist.

There were two sources of inspiration for the summer 11 playlist. My good friend Luis Medina created his own excellent summer playlist, which can be found at his website.

The other source of inspiration comes from several unknown students from Louisiana State University, whose names sadly slip me now. While on vacation in the Gulf Shores in May, this group of students had speakers set up and played what I would consider some of the best three hours of music I ever listened to. The list seamlessly went from genres as diverse as country and electronica, with the one consistent being all the songs were well-known songs even someone passing by would be able to identify most of the songs after they listened for a mere five seconds.

Without further ado, here is the “… But the Kitchen Sink Playlist,” narrowed down to 115 songs in alphabetical order:

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From out of the Ashes…

June 23, 2011 1 comment

Finally… I have come back to the blogosphere.

Which means finally – I have come back home.

For the past year and a half, I have been employed at the Daily Egyptian newspaper, covering topics as diverse as state politics, locals building a tiny house and movie reviews. While it was fulfilling to have a job doing what I loved most, the time constraints hindered attempts to write outside of work.

But no longer, as I have graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, as well as from the DE. Without that outlet though, my writings have turned to mental notes and 140 character or less Tweets to my followers. There had to be another venue where I could delve into writing about what was on my mind, whether it was sports, music or whatever else crosses the mind of a unemployed college graduate.

That’s when I remembered about the League.

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