Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's a Party, It's a Party, It's a Party

PART TWO: So Hood-Rich

The teams mentioned in part one are the squads who I believe will flirt with relegation this season, some merely casting a saucy look while three others will wind up getting it pregnant behind the middle school. Though Newcastle’s start has been very bright I do not see their momentum lasting. With their lack of depth, especially in terms of scoring, a steep drop is all but a lock at this point. Additionally, their schedule up until this point has been very light, with Spurs posing the only real challenge. As for Arsenal, it’s altogether possible that van Persie’s goals will carry them back near the table’s summit, but fuck those guys anyway. Part two deals with the teams whose relegation ranges from “unlikely” to “possibly prohibited by the Magna Carta”.

EVERTON: They’re in pretty nasty shape at the moment but always finish strong. Including Drenthe in the first eleven will provide them with a sense of innovation so far lacking. With Coleman tearing along the sideline and Fellaini predatory in the center of the park Drenthe should have a decent amount of space to practice his witchcraft. They still have little in the way of goal scorers, but their midfield depth and typically solid central defense, not to mention the Dudley Moore stylings of adventurous wingback Leighton Baines, will see them through, albeit in a lower position than in the past few seasons.

FULHAM: Thank Gaia they snatched up Bryan Ruiz. That he should flop for them and not Spurs, who wisely avoided the Costa Rican, is a mitzvah. At over 10 million Euros and still unable to displace the persistently beyond-their-depth up-front duo of Andy “The Bald Damien Duff” Johnson and Bobby Zamora, I could see a Mauro Boselli-esque failure on the cards. His chipped goal against Everton was a rare bright spot. No matter who coaches them they’re still built to draw rather than to win, a lack of ambition that paints them as more of a Championship-level squad. Maybe a switch to Serie A would help? They’re essentially the Chievo of West London at this point. I’m pretty sure Brede Hangeland’s nickname is “The Flying Donkey”.

STOKE CITY: Stoke are for real. Clearly evolving from the Neanderthal template of their first few years in the Premier League, these homos erectus have incorporated enough Lilliputian ingenuity into their land-of-giants framework to make a case for a strong, perhaps top-8 finish. Pennant and Etherington work very well on the wings, crossing into the likes of Crouchy and Kenwyne Jones. Looming without being lumbering both up front and in the back, their spine is something of a concern as they lack a real playmaker in the middle.

NORWICH CITY: The chances of Norwich maintaining their early-season form are very small. The chances that Canaries supporters will adapt “Squalor Victoria’ by The National into a stadium anthem? Hopefully 100%! Whereas Swansea’s naïveté became all too apparent in their late draw to Wolves, Norwich’s resolve at Anfield pegs them as genuinely worthy of the big time. The back four have holes, especially the unwieldy Leon Barnett, but Hoolahan and Pilkington and Holt have shown decisiveness and bravery in their forward movement. The fact that Holt isn’t reeeealy built like a rugby player but still manages to look like one should come in handy when facing teams scared of walrus faces. They’ve demonstrated laudable composure, if not many points, from their tough early fixture list, a quality which bodes well for their survival.

LIVERPOOL: They’ve spent a bunch, not produced many correspondingly quality results and lack steel at the back. The folly of simultaneously signing young flyweight midfielders Henderson, Downing and Adam without adding to their frequently mangled defense isn’t in the same realm as the Eagles picking up DRC and Nnamdi at the same time in terms of befuddling redundancy, but like Andy’s refusal to upgrade the linebacking corps it’s been a major impediment. Suarez has yet to gel with Carroll and as such his sneaky runs frequently find no outlet. Additionally, he’s a total bitch. Liverpool are still smarting from the departures of Lil’ Masch and Xabi Alonso in the middle, with Lucas still unconvincing as a one-man replacement for Alonso’s passing vision and Mascherano’s balding dickery.

WEST BROM: Shane Long is out for a while, which hurts them a lot but coming off consecutive local derby wins and getting the killer Peter Odemwingie back should paper the cracks. I think that Foster is a terribly underrated keeper, though the number of rad saves he makes may be something of a consequence of WBA’s suspect rearguard. They’ll have to make do with Brunt or Cox playing off Odemwingie until Long returns but this is a squad with a very nice combination of young talent and old bastards who have nothing better to do.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: I think we can finish fourth this year, above Liverpool and the unfortunately improving Arsenal. We should’ve had fourth last year but Champions League activity and the absence of quality strikers hurt immensely in that awful run of draws against the Blackpools and West Hams of the league. That same feeling crept in as we held on tenuously at Blackburn this past weekend but it’s a sign of how much Adebayor has helped that we actually kept the lead. Despite not getting on the score sheet the threat he provides up front kept Blackburn somewhat honest, at least compared to the negligible danger represented by Pav or Peter “The Human Jackknife” Crouch. Picking up a center back, if not two, is a certain necessity in the upcoming transfer window. Kaboul has been decent but lord help us if Corluka or Bassong have to become regular replacements in the long absences of Gallas, Dawson and, inevitably and very unfortunately, King.

CHELSEA, MANCHESTER UNITED AND MANCHESTER CITY: They will all probably stay up. Right? Chelsea’s certainly lost at least a step from their title-winning three-peat but will most likely hold on to third as Spurs manage to fuck it up towards the end of the year. If City hold their nerve the title is theirs, especially given the unsteady construction United’s midfield. But really, whatever. The struggle for survival is decidedly more compelling than the plod to the title. A really great, wealthy team from a very tiny pack will win. The relegation battle, on the other hand, will be contested by a plethora of squads with varied economic and historical profiles. It’s a race where every goal registered in the “for” column counts as a seismic victory, every “against” shipped results in crippling horror for thousands of supporters. Contrast this to the title race, where the eyes of billionaire owners dart instead between red and black. Grit, guile, faith and luck will guide the chosen, whose victory is in not-losing instead of winning. And, lest we ever happen to forget, Spurs have a game in hand.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Numbers 18-20, with Three Bullets

PART ONE: Comic Sans

Who will go down and why. EPL-wise. I have no stake in predicting blowjobs. Nor can I really guess at who will jump up from The Championship. Southampton seems to be rocking it. West Ham? Palace? Celtic? Either way, here are my thoughts on the early-season relegation candidates, set to Public Enemy. Hair is a big factor.

BOLTON: They suck. With Holden and Lee effectively Long John Silver-ed, they have nothing. Who can get the ball to Kevin Davies? Elmander found plenty of opportunities to patchy-beard it across the box but now that he's in Turkey that job is... whose?

BLACKBURN: Blackburn's goals are scored by either a) Arsenal defenders or b) no one. I hope they have the grace to sell the cast-iron Samba to Spurs in the winter. Salgado and Givet do have fun hair, though, and the latter is just built like a stack of encyclopedias. Goodwillie may put in a few but not enough.

WIGAN: Not winning ever makes it difficult to, uh, win. Rodallega's pig-tails become increasingly lonely, and will eventually freeze during the bitter December fixtures. If they all played in suits as nice as their manager's I'd give them more of a chance.

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle are doing really well. They will not go down. They have also become stupidly boring. Pardew has accurately grasped the realities of how to stay up, and this is predicated on a style of play miles away from the Entertainers of the 1990s, not to mention the combustible temperaments of the now-departed Barton and Andy "Glug Glug SPLAT" Carroll. But what's the point? I can see how staying up trumps being boring as shit, but that doesn't mean I'm going to watch Tiote and Peanut-head Obertan prove their functionality for 90 flairless minutes a week. In a few years their stolid, oatmeal-y ethos will put them where Wolves are now.

WOLVES: Jarvis seems to get taken off a bunch. They were only able to salvage a draw hosting Swansea because of Brendan Rogers's suicidal introduction of Wayne Routledge. Routledge, nominally a forward, hasn't scored a top-flight goal in something like 100 games. Why don't they just put Tony Hibbert up front? That's like if I were a plumber and on every job nothing was fixed and people kept hiring me. But I've got a great personality? With Fletcher and Doyle up front, Jarvis scurrying up the flank and O'Hara being bald in the middle Wolves have some decent, in less-than-creative, attacking options. But you can hear the creaking of the old chair that powers their counter-attack, such as it is, and unless Elokobi's massive biceps can provide total cover for their solid lesbian goalkeeper Wayne "Blame It on the" Hennessey their backline looks eminently penetrable. And I don't think they even kick dudes that much anymore. Did Karl Henry find a better gig doing census work or something?

SWANSEA: We've dealt with the Routledge situation above, so let's focus on the Swans' defense. It seems good! They're a team of small men, except Ashley Williams, who may not actually be that tall but looks it. Sinclair is lively but possesses a classic Derek Zoolander "can't go left" problem and Graham isn't up to providing enough top-flight goals. Thumbs up on the boring kits, though. Were Fulham's just too lively? They have the worst chance of the promoted sides to remain up top, but I hope they do and Cardiff comes up so we'll get to see a Welsh derby with lots of silent Ws or whatever.

SUNDERLAND: They can beat the shittier sides but absolutely capitulate in the face of a real challenge. The loss of Gyan was perplexing as well as extremely problematic, leaving the goal-getting duties to Slick Nick Bendtner, a kid who was on Ipswich last year and the equally unproven Ji Dong-Won. Relying on Seba Larsson's scissor-kick skills qualifies as "inadvisable" and how long will Manchester United's ancient castaway defenders last? They've spent a bunch of cash and will be obviously handed a medal for doing so, but I don't see a top-half finish.

QPR: QPR's ground has the personality of a small shovel, and not even a garden trowel that's seen some shit. Why play there? A short list of preferable alternatives: the vacant lot at the end of my street, a toothpaste factory, a mostly-empty swimming pool, on top of my roommate's infernal ukelele, some kind of ladder store. The men who play at their current ground, which I refer to as "The Crap Factory", are probably fine, if largely unspectacular. Barton will likely find himself involved in numerous spitting incidents and Taraabt's fun juggling-and-then-taking-a-dump routing should entertain fans of double vowels, should he decide to stay in West London. DJ Campbell scored a fair amount for Blackpool last season and his neck tats are very becoming.

ARSENAL: RvP has been among the goals, but how long until his body remembers he's Robin van Persie and completely shuts down? Who will score in his absence? Heck, who will play fucking forward in his absence? I see a very charming 4-6-0 formation in the works. I found Chamakh fairly credible in the first half of last season but maybe he ran out of gross hair-glue that gives everyone nightmares 'cause he just stopped being in the team entirely. Gervinho’s movement is slick but he’s incapable of things like passing and shooting. Their defense has certainly tightened, depriving the viewer of hilarious backline mishaps and epic miscommunications between twink Szczesny and irritable power bottom Koscielny. I guess they'll be stupid and stay up but in the bastardy table they'd be propping up the entire Football League.

ASTON VILLA: Everyone wishes. About as interesting as an old plate, except that the plate costs a ridiculous amount of money. They're in the same boat as Sunderland in terms of the expenditure-to-results ratio, though Richard Dunne's fondness for running into things is pretty cool. N'Zogbia has certainly underperformed in taking over for Stewart Downing and they'd do well to give more playing time to the beaky Mark Albrighton. They've helped out Spurs quite a bit by taking Jenas and Hutton off our hands. Who's running their operation, Ed Wade? Given is still a high-quality keeper but the unyielding torpor of Emile Heskey will at least prevent a top-half finish.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mario Gomez: I GO TO SLEEP

Does anyone care about Mario Gomez? There is so little to distinguish him, let alone recommend him, among Bundesliga strikers. Heck, despite being Bayern's chief goalscorer his place in the squad is marked by its anonymity. He lacks the youth and famous name of Muller, the industry and fun name of Schweinsteiger, the pace and horrible facial features of "Scarface" Franck Ribery and Arjen "The 2,000 Year Old Man Who's Actually Only 25" Robben. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, a defensive midfielder usually found on the substitute list, is vibrant and has a cool name and jazzy hair. Ivica Olic has barely played for two years, yet the memories of the 2009-2010 campaign and his drive therein are instantly more compelling than Gomez.

Many football squads are compared to the New York Yankees. Yet more than Real Madrid or Manchester United or either of the two Milanese giants Bayern fit the image of the pinstripe horde. You watch Bayern or the Yankees and you know they'll find some annoying way to win. Those other teams surely possess the air of predestined winners, but none manifest this fate as mechanically and consistently as these two organizations. Announcers say that they "find a way to win". Observers simply remark, "Fucking Yankees". Fucking Bayern. Watching them at Frankfurt last season: on the back foot the whole match, surviving only for the grace of Theofanis Gekas's resolute shittiness with the goal open before him, practically being toyed with by a side that wound up going down. But it was frustratingly clear they wouldn't lose. Their lack of personality compels them to succeed. Just as you knew that the Mariners of the late '90s wouldn't unseat the Yankees, that oddballs and extremes like Edgar Martinez, Joey Cora, Jay Buhner, Tino Martinez Luis Sojo and Randy Johnson. They came back in the 1995 Division Series but that upset was just that.

The Yankees are expected to win. They do it all the time with a roster of unspectacular but eminently hate-able players, offensive in their lack of personality. Their sheer Yankee-ness. Paul O'Neill. Jim Leyritz. Bernie Williams. And Mario Gomez might as well have played third for Buck Showalter. They win, for sure, but they do not achieve. Where's the heart? Where is Gomez's heart, not to mention his artistry and creativity?

Monday, August 22, 2011

It Begins with a Harp

Most songs: Verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/solo/chorus.

"Foolin'" by Def Leppard: Intro/Joe Elliot's super ugly face/short verse/trading acoustic for electric guitar/pre-chorus #1/pre-chorus #2/CHORUS/verse/clairvoyance/pre-chorus #1/pre-chorus #2/hanging out at Q-Zar/CHORUS/solo/solo/pre-chorus #2/CHORUS/CHORUS.

The cut to Rick Allen's Union Jack briefs is priceless. The song is not exactly priceless because it is worth 70 trillion dollars. That's... I don't even know how many shillings. And halfpence! Each of the initial pre-choruses would be good enough for the main hook in the songs of lesser groups, but Def Lep are not about to settle for "good enough". Their gear settings are locked at "greater than". And as if the main chorus isn't totally rad enough, they add cowbell! And then marauding double-time drums to the end. I've been listening to Ronee Blakley all day and love it but turning on the radio to the pop craftsmanship masterclass of 'Ffffffoolin'" was fuckin' awesome.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

UHM Constructs the Best Possible Hold Steady Set-List, Within Reason.

This is my dream Hold Steady set-list. Maybe not a dream, because in my dream I'm sure they'd be joined onstage by Bob Stinson and Paul Westerberg for a 'Mats mini-set ("Bastards of Young", "Shiftless when Idle", "Within Your Reach" and an unbelievable "Seen Your Video" featuring Andre Cymone). Also, Slayer would open. Anyway, if I could pick the set-list for the next time I saw THS, which hopefully will be August 25th in Chicago, the show would go like this:

"Cattle and the Creeping Things"
"The Weekenders"
"Same Kooks"
"Multitude of Casualties"
"Party Pit"
"Chips Ahoy!"
"First Night"
"Chillout Tent"
"Barfruit Blues"
"Constructive Summer"
"Your Little Hoodrat Friend"
"Jokes About Jamaica"
"Southtown Girls"
"Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night"
"Slapped Actress"

Short break so everyone who just majorly lost their shit can recover for a minute.

"The Sweet Part of the City"
"Stuck Between Stations"
"Hot Soft Light"
"How a Resurrection Really Feels"
"This Year", a cover of the Mountain Goats jam
"Most People Are DJs/Killer Parties"

Boom. And if they were ever able to pull off a decent version of "Lord, I'm Discouraged" I'd probably include that as well. Another Stay Positive track, "One for the Cutters", would be an absolute gas, though the harpsichord parts don't seem like they'd translate well live. This ain't Joanna Newsom, it's Craig and the Boys! This obviously can't account for extended solos, in-between-songs banter or the odd stagediving delay but nothing can. I don't even like "Chillout Tent" that much when it's removed from its album context but hearing it in concert would at least be interesting. And since it's suddenly my dream again, Naomi Yang can handle the lady vocals!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This Is Where I Vent About Spurs a Bunch

Spurs should sign Joey Barton, let Modric leave (though hopefully not to Chelsea), and, of course, sign a striker. Simple, right? Barton is available on a free and the money they'd get from the Modric sale would surely fund the purchase of a more-than-just-decent striker and maybe even another central defender. Dude clearly isn't interested in staying in North London so why not move on, face reality and use the cash to pick up long-bandied-about targets like Osvaldo or Chris Samba. Maybe pluck Liam Ridgewell from cash-strapped Birmingham. This could be so fun!

Yet Spurs' transfer policy this year, not just in the close season but during the winter break as well, has been characterized by a befuddling lack of movement. The needs for a central defender were obvious then and you'd have to think that Redknapp wouldn't have been so naive as to believe that VdV's goal flow would continue unabated, yet the only signing of note turned out to be Steven Pienaar. I think Pienaar is rather underrated and brings great industry to the middle of the park, but his signing was surely unnecessary. They can't get Bentley off the books nor Kranjcar off the bench, the latter inability a weird unfairness in its own right, yet they bring in the diminutive South African. Given his height, perhaps they believed he'd be a replacement for the already-agitating Modric, yet who could fool themselves into believing he'd be of the Croatian's class? Luka's imperiousness in the middle is nearly unmatched in England's top flight, his ability to carve space for himself and his teammates with an amazing economy of motion making him the chief architect of whatever success Spurs have had over the past two seasons.

So now he wants to move and we want a suitable replacement. The period at hand is one of stagnant interregnum, the waiting space between not just seasons but between Luka being a Spur and a... something else. A Chelsea Cashhunter? I hope not. His disregard of the rivalry between the two clubs has been rather shocking and a crosstown move would be truly disrespectful to the Yids who correctly rated him as Player of the Year. Wherever the destination, a move certainly seems inevitable at this juncture yet Spurs are mystifying reluctant to make any sort of compensatory moves in this period. The whole summer has been spent with hands under rears, little action save for the occasional declaration that Abramovich's latest bid is "derisory". There's nothing wrong with driving up the price and receiving the best value for the fucking star of your squad, but their refusal to explore other avenues concurrently has been extremely frustrating. This torpor contributed heavily to the failure to finish top four this season as they wasted the January transfer window and paid the consequences as the predictably short squad, exhausted by the CL run alongside the already-considerable rigors of the EPL season, endured a putrid run of draws against far-below-par opposition.

So sign Joey Barton. He's on a fucking free! I think we made a huge mistake by not recognizing that Ben Foster would be leaving Birmingham and watching him go to West Brom. Our keeper situation last year with Ol' Flailing Tentacles could charitably be described as "shitty" and adding the perpetually on-loan United stopper would've improved the situation immeasurably. And I'm sure he'd rather have played for a potentially top four club than rickety West Brom. Instead we have the ancient, bankrupt American Brad Friedel, the Jaime Moyer of the goalposts. Except that I love Jaime Moyer. Seeing as we keep letting quality acquisitions not even slip away but saunter into the grasp of inferior competitors the chance to sign the electric Barton is one that must be taken. Partnered with the gritty Sandro in the middle of the pitch would produce a tenacious midfield tandem akin to the dynamic rough/smooth pairing of Gary Medel and Ivan Rakitic at Sevilla. Except Barton and Sandro are both super-rough AND totally smooth! Maybe we'll bring in Craig "Whu'??" Bellamy to truly boost our malcontent cred.

That's serious teeth but also the promise of silky-ass passing and, if the Brazilian's thunderbolt against Chelsea is any indication, along with Barton's free-kick skills, genuine forward movement and goals. I also think that his combative nature, while thankfully out of the realm of jurisprudence these days, will give defenders once keen on giving Bale a kicking, if they could reach him, a bit of "perspective'. We must operate on the assumptions that Luka will soon be gone and that his departure will bring a buttload of cash, so Spurs' lack of proactivity is all the more galling. Signing Joey Barton, however, would be a great opportunity to reverse that recent trend.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Notes from Court

I was in a Montgomery County courthouse to deliver testimony this past week. I'd never been to a courthouse before and the only thing I knew about testifying comes from Kick Out the Jams, where that one guy yells it before virtually every song. Here are some thoughts I had during the hour-and-a-half wait and the following 30 minute hearing.

-I could have legitimately uttered the phrase, "I'm not the one on trial here!" when the perp kept barraging me with pointless questions. He was trying to make me contradict myself. Dude, my car doesn't have a front bumper; I've got nothing to lose.
-I recognized several people from work in the waiting area, like the guy who consistently smells like scotch in the middle of the day.
-Yiddish humor even works on goyim!
- Calling the judge "ma'am" may have seemed polite at the time but now I realize that "Your Honor" would have been more appropriate. At least I didn't go with "whatever, pig".
-Is there a dress code for minor court hearings? There were folks there dolled up to pay fifty-cent traffic fines next to a dude in dirty cutoffs (somehow not me) who went before the judge. Maybe if you're innocent you can wear whatever the hell you want. I went with a nice-ish plaid shirt (a-DUH, as they say in Italian) and dress pants. It felt right.
-When I finally got a seat in the waiting room the dude against whom I was testifying wound up sitting right next to me! After 80+ minutes of standing nervously and playing with a water bottle cap I was happy for the chair but shouldn't they keep those parties separate? It's like the bride and groom staying apart before the wedding, except that one could possibly shank the other for getting them in legal trouble. Okay, so it's exactly like the wedding thing.
-Every waiting room ever should have a television where you can only watch sports. The room at the mechanic is the worst for its never-ending supply of soul-killing "Maury" episodes but the complete silence of the court waiting room was just troubling. It makes everyone look and feel even guiltier. I remember Inspector Gadget 2 being the only option at Chicago's airport and trying to sleep through most of The Polar Express at Planned Parenthood but the total lack of sound becomes quite creepy. You start to think that the silence is a test, that the court officials are noting your level of discomfort to determine guilt. "Oh man, that tan suit motherfucker keeps clearing his throat and pretending to look at the hoagie place across the street. Throw the book at him!"
-Seriously, the only thing that could make someone want to be a lawyer is the bread. Courthouses are fucking boring. I'm pretty sure even Ernest never went to one. Just jail, not court, anyway. No wonder those barrister a-holes get paid so much! It also partly explains why they're such a-holes. If you had to spend every day defending people set on shooting themselves in the foot (TIP: Being antagonistic to the cop or the judge who have a lot of say vis-a-vis you rooming with fuckin' Half Dead is a really shitty idea) maybe you'd get really into throwing money at waitresses too (TIP: Being antagonistic towards a hard-working woman who can easily facilitate the entry of "Oz"-style broken glass into your digestive system is a really shitty idea. And mean. And come on).

All in all, I'm hoping I don't ever have to go to court again.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Jams

These three:

"Vitamin C" by Can
"Rothaus" by Lindstrom & Prins Thomas

To these three:

"Goddamn Lonely Love" by The Drive-By Truckers
"Dress Rehearsal Rag" by Leonard Cohen
"I See a Darkness" by Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Over the course of four days. The proverbial rough and the smooth.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Judge the Book by Its Cover #3

I feel like there's not a ton to judge from this photo. Trifon Ivanov will mess your shit up. He'll use his teeth and forehead and toes, and there'll be some of his toenails that are claws.

He's clearly a tough custo, but it's not just the hair. Ivanov's face just looks like it was disassembled at some point and put back together in the dark by someone missing a few fingers. His eyes are dead like when Quint talks about a shark's eyes in Jaws. Ivanov's been through it. He's come back in times past and he'll come back again, possibly/DEFINITELY with one of those curved knife deals. His mob connections are shadowy and terrifying in that "linked to organ trafficking" way that makes it clear that they're real and don't care about divorcing you from your esophagus. Stoichkov certainly looks hard but never as feral and pre-moral as Ivanov. Like another hirsute, bulky center-back Ivanov seems at home choking a bear. Yet unlike Servet the dynamic is that of a primeval struggle. Beast versus beast. I also lovvvvve that the strip is buttoned to the top, the 'beater beneath totally visible.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

UHM Presents a Rock N Roll Groupie's Inside Scoop

Legendary groupie Debbie Totonero, our pansexual woman in the streets and between the sheets, gives us a rare look at the sexual proclivities of a plethora of pop stars from the last 50 years. Here are some "revealing" excerpts from her meticulously-maintained "entry log".

-Pat Boone: Did some things with a Bible that I didn't think were possible. Gave the term "red letter" a whole new meaning.
-Johnny Cash: A perfect gentleman. No sermonizing or anything. His sperm was jet black, though.
-Loggins & Messina: I don't they ever actually touched me. Just spent the whole time staring into each other's eyes. Perked up when I mentioned piggy-back rides.
-Simon & Garfunkel: They were really into punching each other. There was a lot of blood. The tall one had a great ass, though.
-Michael McDonald: Wouldn't take off his turtleneck.
-Jack Johnson: I fell asleep at some point and woke up with sand inside me.
-Ice Cube: Really wanted to do it in front of a bunch of kids but sometimes you have to draw a line.
-Ice T: His skin felt like Braille. Did bring back some fond memories with the old folded hanger "pimp stick".
-Katy Perry: Took a lot of work. She didn't understand what pants were and spent most of the time talking to a shoe.

-Peter Gabriel: Referred to his penis as "The Sledgehammer" about two dozen times. More than just "the light, the heat" ended up in my eyes that night. Pretty sure he called me Phil.
-Janis Joplin: Thought I was Leonard Cohen. She was looking for #2 and was totally loaded so it took a minute to explain that I was in 2A. An honest mistake.
-Vince Neil: The last time I'll ever give road head.
-Hanoi Rocks: See above.
-Steely Dan: Weirdly aloof. Insisted that we do dozens of "takes" to get it perfect. Got really mad when I called one by the other's name.
-Tyler, the Creator: Really into ass-play. I'm surprised that guy could walk the next morning.
-Neil Diamond: Saggy man-boobs. Used a condom that was somehow brocaded.
-Zooey Deschanel: Short-circuited halfway through. Gibbard assured me it happens all the time. Somehow performed at the Grammys in the process.

Thanks, Debbie! We hope to hear more tales of backstage tete-a-tetes soon.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What's the Deal?

I feel like Ted Leo's influences are pretty easy to spot. Dude is obviously really into The Jam and The Byrds, and The Flamin' Groovies and a bunch of power-pop groups that have that great, small-scale sense of heroism about them. They're made up of guys who make great poppy rock tunes and recognize that the implied popularity of that music (hence the name) is immaterial. I like Ted Leo's records fairly well and don't mind that some of his songs sound like songs from other bands. But his song "2nd Ave., 11 A.M." is such a strange, overtly piecemeal conglomeration of two songs that the end effect is distracting. This song is clearly the Rites of Spring song "By Design" combined with the Rembrandts' theme song for the show "Friends". It's a weird juxtaposition yet even if it combined two songs that ruled (I love RoS and am a sensible human and hate the "Friends" song accordingly) "2nd Ave." still wouldn't work. It's no fun to hear something whose construction is so transparent; consisting of clearly discernible parts, "2nd Ave." feels like a laboredmath equation. On an album with lots of rad tunes ("High Party", "Ballad of a Sin Eater", "Where Have All the Rudeboys Gone?"), this one is out of place.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What a Clutch Missed Connection.

Tanya from queensryche concert - m4w - 41 (Philly at the spectrum)

Date: 2011-05-04, 12:22AM EDT

We met while standing in line for t-shirts
you were with your friend millie
we had just snuck back in after being ejected for stage diving
we hooked up and had a brief love affair afterwards
i often find myself thinking about you and how you are
if u see this email me back

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Guy with the Hockey Mask from the St. Lunatics!

At first it seems like there are 10,000 people in the background for Nelly's "Country Grammar" video but then it seems like there only about 150, and most of them are really sassy daytime-hookers or dudes with awesome shit on their shoulder.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Judge the Book by Its Cover #2

Case #2

This man looks like a cigarette. Magico Gonzalez, mythical Salvadoran star for Cadiz in the 80s, has such an awesome weathered look, especially for an athlete. It's always great to see a sportsperson who clearly doesn't take care of themselves. You know that Magico is sipping Old Crow in some fake wood-paneled dive on the archipelago, face inches away from the bar in a lean while his teammates doze at home. He's got dirt and flecks of paint in his hair and beneath his fingernails. I'd imagine he'd like to put "When I Paint My Masterpiece" by the Band on the jukebox and become wistful at the string and saw of Arcadia. He'll shuffle out after being told by the barman that he may not fall asleep in his stool and when he wakes up on the couch, joints stiff and befuddled, his mouth will taste of vomit. In the previous century this picture would appear on Wanted posters, not bedroom walls. Seeing this faded outlaw makes me want to support Cadiz CF, now in Spain's third tier, and also hang with extremely weathered cult heroes from the 1980s who weren't in hair bands. I definitely want to buy the shirt.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Judge the Book by Its Cover #1

I think that covers are important. A cool cover leads a prospective reader to assume that the product is cool as well. I probably never would have started listening to the great Finnish band Circle were it not for the sweet art on Katapult and Sunrise. These covers are shiny and colorful and immediately attract the eye. They argue in This Is Spinal Tap that album art is meaningless, that the Beatles' White Album is great and sold an assload despite the negligible design presence. Yeah, but the Beatles are effin' lame! And Tap rules! The cover for Smell the Glove is a googleplex times better than that of any Beatles record. Whatever! Of course, Tap then go on to release an all-black record sleeve, which is also super-sweet and better than all sorts of other things. Judging the proverbial book by its cover is a worthy undertaking, and one that is shat upon far too frequently. Want to disregard the cover? Have fun sleeping with ugly people forever OUCHkindamean.

Case #1:

Would you listen to this band based on this picture? I'd say OF COURSE NOT. This image is horrible! Who wants this? Is this band called Central Casting for a Christian High School Dramedy? Now touring with The Background Artists! God, that sky blue V-neck absolutely kills me. This whole affair has that weird smarmy quality that's so prevalent in emo bands. Double ESPECIALLY the two fellows at the back. What's that, Tattooed Bangs Guy, you have a plethora of nicknames for your genitalia? Charmazing! Do String Necklace Guy and Blond Shell Necklace Guy ever eye-brawl over who is less threatening? The lady seems cool, though. I feel bad that she has to put up with the constant playing of "old-school Saves" and """""ironic"""" Southern crunk on their bus or plane. Wait, it's bus, though I bet it will be plane soon. Yet I am thankful for this picture. It lets me know that I never need to listen to this band. Consider this book judged!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Belly? More like Crap Factory!

Things that were good about the Hype Williams movie Belly:

1) Method Man was in it, Ghostface apparently showed up for half of a second and the Wu Wear store was mentioned.
2)The film was lit distinctly. Perhaps not well, but at least inventively. Many shots had some sort of wannabe-Argento filter thing going on.
3) DMX barked every line.

Other than that, not so good. Belly is a really boring movie. Its pacing is horrible, making the worrying lack of violence and nudity all the more noticeable. The films features a lot of cussing and tons of dudes smoking weed but those are the distant, underwhelming cousins of sweet action. You get the feeling that Hype couldn't handle shooting very many sequences that featured stuff actually happening, so he compensated with endless, smokey conversations in fancy cars.

The lack of nudity is strange as well, as one would figure that being free of the network content standards so often placed upon Hype would allow the music video director to go buck-wild with gratuitous boobery. I'm pretty sure there's nudity in only one scene. You at least get to kinda see DMX's ass, but in bogusly underlit circumstances. As it's directed by a rap music video auteur, one would expect this movie to make full use of its potential to take place in a strip club yet Hype is more concerned with introducing one meaningless character after another instead of having asses bounce in slow-motion for 90 minutes. For shame. Also, since a bunch of plot points are delivered via this dude speaking thick Jamaican patois WITH A MOUTH FULL OF GRILLS I have no idea what went on in this film. Why did the guy with feathers in his mohawk get shot? Where was NaS for the bulk of the film? Did Meth die or not? I don't know and this movie makes it impossible to care.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Kentucky. Breakfast. Stout. This Founders brew is probably the best beer I've ever had. Better than anything I've had at Monk's or Kraftwerk or Resurrection or Brauhaus. And I got it from Fiume. After two city specials.

I don't know if the contrast between the low of the PBR/cheap whiskey combo and the high of the world-class beer that followed really made the KBS for me, but it certainly didn't hurt. It's extremely dark and high in alcohol content but the thing that separate this from other high-octane black bruisers is the forcefulness of its flavors. Typically a drink summons mere notes of elements, from coriander to daffodils to smoked meat. Or, in the case of 4Loko, poison. The KBS abandons that concept, straight-up kicking you in the face with flavor. It's chocolate, coffee and bourbon swirling milkily in each sip. The flavor is relentless, but so satisfying as to avoid a numbing sensation. I recall the Harpoon Leviathan saison with a huge flavor, yet that flavor was disappointingly monochromatic, making the quaffage a real chore. KBS spaces its taste references so that you experience them individually and then as a wonderful amalgamation. I would rank it above Dogfish's Palo Santo Marron in terms of my favorite dark beers, and along with Ommegang's Tripel Perfection and the Oskar Blues TenFidy as perhaps the greatest beer ever. And I got it at Fiume! The KBS is just a totally metal beer, all the flavors at high volume and speed, melting your face where more polite indie rock beers might tap you on the shoulder and ask if you've heard the new Best Coast. KBS doesn't ask, it fucks shit up.

What Are Probably My Five Favorite Songs. Will Having Glasses Reduce Their Appeal?

I now wear glasses, at least on a part-time basis. My vision is poor enough that the lensmonger said I would fail a driver's test were I to take one today. The frames of these specs are rather large and may qualify me a nerd. They surely, distressingly don't go with my oft-worn SunnO))) sweatshirt. When wearing them I look like John Denver or, if I have a bit of stubble, like Borussia Dortmund gaffer Jurgen Klopp. This accessory has thus changed me in terms of my vision of myself as well as how I am viewed by others. Does that mean that my five favorite songs will lose meaning to me?

1. "Where Eagles Dare" by the Misfits.
- No. Everyone loves the Misfits, and cursing. That includes nerds.

2. "Party Up" by DMX.
- Yes. I will feel more self-conscious about banging this tune at high volumes, worrying that my affection for it will now be rooted in tawdry, socially problematic irony. I enjoy this song whole-heartedly, the hard-hitting grandeur of the production and X's vocal intensity forever raising goosebumps. With glasses, will the importance of "Party Up" be lethally deflated? Will I like it to laugh at, rather than to appreciate? The incongruity of the now-glasses-wearing Caucasian rocking out to a violent club banger is a cheap laugh, and one in which I shan't participate.

3. "Shake Some Action" by the Flamin' Groovies.
- No. If anything, glasses will make me appreciate this song more. The Groovies were, like the Ramones, essentially nice guys masquerading as leathery thugs. Their emotional sensitivity is partially shrugged off with a careless attitude, but that obviously false braggadocio only makes their vulnerability more compelling. Even coupled with metal t-shirts and denim vests, the glasses will betray my true, painfully meek nature.

4. Every Hold Steady song.
- No. Craig Finn wears glasses. As if the flannel wasn't enough, I now blend with the crowd even better. I'll just be another even-keeled beanpole staying up too late screaming "There's always other boyfriends".

5. "Super Roots 7" by the Boredoms.
- Maybe. I tend to think that, despite their references to 'vision' and 'Eye', the Boredoms exist in a theoretical universe governed only by a sense of movement. You hear the music and you see the performers but you react through movement. The song first suggests and then demands it before turning its absence into an impossibility. I have played it while cooking, while writing, while exercising, while driving (of course), for friends and co-workers, dates and family members. In the kitchen of my folks' house preparing for Thanksgiving or cruising around Bridgeport, "Super Roots 7"'s propulsion quickly takes control of your nervous system. The turbo-motorik of its rhythm makes your body's decisions, rendering the brain surplus to requirements. At least for 21 minutes. So the issue of sight is moot. However, my glasses could tumble as I am freaking out, cruelly booting me from the Eye-verse. I'll need to get a chain to keep them on. Or maybe Bo Outlaw-style goggles.