Author Archives for mprest13

About mprest13

I am a professional at the University of Central Florida who likes entertainment, politics and sports.

Considering Life: What Leon Russell taught me about belongings

This painting hangs on my living room wall. I belonged to my father. My father has been dead now for 12 years. He died in 2005, was quickly creamated and I promptly estranged from my step-mother. It all happened very fast. So fast that this is the only material possession that I now own that belonged to my father. The only physical reminder (save a number of cherished photos) of his 52 year existence that I own. And that stinks. He had this amazing record collection that spanned 25 years of rock history, he had this collection of Time-Life Art History books that chronicled the great artists in history, and he had this amazing set of shaker style book cases that reminded me of my childhood every time I touched them. He had some shirts and a sweatshirt that I know he wore for 20 years. The man was a collector of things. But all of that is just memory. For a long time I was angry my step-mother never let me have any of his things. I would like to have just a few more items so as my memory fades I can rekindle that light with some physical reminders of his life and our love for each other.

But I guess that was not to be. Then, one day on my morning walk, I was listening to my Spotify and the song Lady Blue came on in some random mix. Its a beautiful some and I can honestly say I have not heard it since my father was alive. he played Leon Russell all of the time and this song was one of his favorites.

And then it hit me, these songs I still connect him with, they are my possessions handed down from him. The music is The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, Stevie Wonder, Arethat Franklin, Cream, Devo, Joni Mitchell, Donovan, and more. These artists were his most prized possessions. And while I still miss the feel and smell of those albums I know they are there every time Boz Skagg’s Dirty Low Down comes on. every song is a hug from him. And that is pretty great.

College Athletics not a white knight

I love college athletics. I grew up on college sports and some of my best memories as a kid and college student centered around college games. One of my first formative sports memories was watching Lorenzo Charles make a last second dunk in 1983 to give N.C. State the national championship. I remember watching the Hail Flutie in Miami as a young Miami Hurricanes fan. In 1991 when Jeff Blake scored a two point keeper versus Pitt to preserve the dream season I was in the stands yelling “I love college!!” at the top of my lungs. I was at Catholics versus Convicts II in the Orange Bowl when Miami destroyed Notre Dame and the last substantial moment that my father and I shared while he was still alive was attending a University of North Carolina basketball game. It was his wish to see a game at the Dean Dome even though he had never attended college. So this is not about how great college athletics is or can be. I get it.  Continue reading

Tired of Celebrity Deaths? Don’t Blame 2016.

Look, no doubt about it, 2016 was the worst. The election was a drag, the Olympics were meh, and in general it seemed that live was a little edgier. And then there were the celebrity deaths. Starting with David Bowie in January it was everywhere from music to movies to athletes – it seemed every ten days or so we were losing someone many of us cared about. And the only thing that they seemed to have in common was this stinking year. But I have another theory; maybe for a good number of these deaths 2016 was not the reason at all (and yes, I know cosmically that is true as well so save it . . . .) Continue reading

Top 25 Albums of 2016 Themes and Preview

So it is that time of year again when I reveal my favorite albums of the year. This year I will review five albums per day leading up to my top five on Saturday, December 17th. But before I get to my favorite albums of the year I wanted to highlight some of the themes that we encountered in music. 2016 was a great year for music and I am so excited about the many new artists who I discovered and the return of many of all-time favorites.  Continue reading

For the Ghost Ship

I acknowledge that I can be clumsy, ignorant, and awkward when writing or talking about diversity or our creative communities. So please forgive me in advance if I am not eloquent in this post. Kindly let me know how I can do better in the comments. I felt compelled to post as I have been consumed with learning about the lives and art that we lost in the Oakland Warehouse Fire, Friday night. Continue reading

The Only Time You Can Have Everything is on a Bagel

Of all of the bagels there is nothing quite as satisfying to me than the Everything Bagel with cream cheese at a shop in town. It gives me everything I want out of life: a warm bagel that is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside; a savory and salty blend of sea salt, garlic, poppy seed, onion, and other stuff I cannot place right now. And then the cream cheese. Gooey and sweet, it cuts through all of the savory in a way that is magical. Continue reading

If You Want to Be On Time, Make Sure You End On Time

Welcome to Fall Semester 2016! It is a new college year and full of hope.

Many of us have taken the rollover of the calendar as a chance to make changes and reaffirm commitments. Usually these decisions take the form of the New Year’s resolution or in this case, new school year resolutions. Think your annual promise that you will always follow up on emails, take better notes, or get to that research project.  Continue reading