Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Best fifteen minutes out there?

So it's Christmas Eve and I can't sleep. It must be something. Probably because I haven't been to bed before midnight since Christmas, er Winter (PC), Break began. So it's 11:53 PM and I'm looking through the albums on my computer and I notice something: Group Sex by Circle Jerks is only fifteen minutes long. I've listened to the album before and I knew it had fourteen tracks on it, but I did not have a clue that it was only fifteen minutes long. This has to be genius or something, doesn't it? Let's take a look…

Group Sex was the debut album of Circle Jerks, released in 1980. Circle Jerks were an American hardcore band from southern California.

Now into the album. Group Sex is 933 seconds long. That amounts to fifteen minutes and thirty-three seconds. That is just over one-quarter of an hour.

The longest song on the album is 1:34. The average length of each song on the album is 1:06. The shortest track is twenty-four seconds long.

(Clock reads 12:00 AM. Merry Christmas! Church in twelve hours.)

Now, those of you not familiar with American hardcore must be thinking, "These guys are total slackers, this isn't music." But to me, and hopefully many others out there, this stuff is pure genius. The music is characterized by continuously pounding bass lines and very fast ride cymbal. The lyrics often resemble shouting while the guitar part is just a few power chords put together in a riff and repeated with the occasional solo.

The points of the songs are clear, such as "I Just Want Some Skank" and "Don't Care." Others like "World Up My Ass" are just creative.

In my opinion, the American hardcore and punk scenes from the early 1980's are vastly underrated. When punk is brought up, people usually immediately think of Johnny Rotten and the British punk from the 1970's or Blink-182 and today's "punk." (Sorry to break this to you. It's not punk. None of it is. Punk is dead. If punk was still alive, these guys would be in the back of their vans making album inserts and packaging their albums. But they aren't. They have people to do that for them. People will always have people to do that for them. No more punks, in the music sense of the word. End rant. Sorry about that.) Revolutionary bands such as Black Flag, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat aren't thought of. In reality, these are the unruly youths who cleared the way for Green Day, Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and all the other crap out there. Little rant there, but ok.

And now, a review.

Track Listing
1. "Deny Everything" (0:24)
2. "I Just Want Some Skank" (1:09)
3. "Beverly Hills" (1:03)
4. "Operation" (1:29)
5. "Back Against the Wall" (1:34)
6. "Wasted" (0:42)
7. "Behind the Door" (1:25)
8. "World Up My Ass" (1:16)
9. "Paid Vacation" (1:28)
10. "Don't Care" (0:34)
11. "Live Fast Die Young" (1:33)
12. "What's Your Problem" (0:56)
13. "Group Sex" (1:03)
14. "Red Tape" (0:56)

Group Sex fits the American hardcore band stereotype perfectly. Short, fast, to the point cuts that come and go quickly. The album starts out with "Deny Everything," which focuses on being framed and the right of being innocent until proven guilty. The song's twenty-four seconds long. Not that much they can cram in there. "I Just Want Some Skank" is about the speaker of the song who, coincidentally, wants some skank. Can't go wrong there.

"Beverly Hills" focuses on the upper class residents that punks hated so much. The song refers to the residents of Beverly Hills as being "lame" while taking shots at the upper class. The song "Operation" is a little weird. I don't really want to get into it, it's just weird. Really weird, actually. "Back Against the Wall" describes the situation every punk felt they were in. They each felt they were being persecuted for their ideas and lack of conformity. Their backs were against the wall, in essence, and they felt the need to fight back.

"Wasted" is a short little ditty about, you guessed it, being wasted. "Behind the Door" is a bit harder to decipher, but hey, no one really wants to know what goes on behind closed doors. "World Up My Ass" is another song similar to "Back Against the Wall" about punks being told how to act and how they are sick of it. The theme of the album seems to be quite repetitive, but "World Up My Ass" has a cool guitar solo not found anywhere else on the album.

I've never really paid that much attention to "Paid Vacation." I can't find the point to the song. Cool riff and beat to it though. "Don't Care" is pretty simple to figure out however. Can you guess what it's about? "Live Fast Die Young" is not the advice you want to give to young people it seems, but it is the exact mindset of punks in the 1980's. The opening line reads "I don't want to live till I'm 34 / I don't want to die in a nuclear war." The lyrics sing of hopelessness in the era and the seeming doom of the Reagan era.

"What's Your Problem" sings mockingly, "Tell me what's your problem / What you gonna do." Mocks everyone. Ah, the title track, "Group Sex." What's this song about? I think you can guess. The appealing part of this song is the female voices of the chorus shouting "Group sex!" with a spoken word song overtop of it. Probably the best song of the album. "Red Tape" is about red tape and being kept out of certain areas by red tape. The goal of the song seems to be to break down the red tape separating the different social classes.

Well it's late and someone wants to get up and open some presents, so I hope you enjoyed this quick review of a quick album.

Merry Christmas and give it a listen.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Action-Reaction: December 23, 2007

Happy holidays all! Hope you enjoy this week's edition of Action-Reaction. For a little twist, I'll post what song I'm listening to while I write each little thing. Yes, innovative, I know.

Action: Reds trade Hamilton to Rangers for two prospects
Reaction: Josh Hamilton was one of the best stories of 2007 so this move has raised some eyebrows. In 2007, Hamilton batted .292 with 19 home runs and 47 RBIs. The Reds received two top pitching prospects from the Rangers. Moving Hamilton leaves Cincinnati with a hole in centerfield that will either be filled by Ryan Freel or a minor leaguer. Cincinnati filled in the back half of their pitching rotation in acquiring Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera. I think this move definitely helps Cincinnati as pitching is what the Rangers need more than hitting. I would still expect a big year from Hamilton in the hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field.
Song: Smashing Pumpkins – "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"

Action: Barry Bonds voted Story of the Year by the Associated Press
Reaction: Barry is still getting all the attention he wants. He beat out Michael Vick, Tim Donaghy, the Florida Gators, and SpyGate and received 100 out of 146 first place votes. Ah, yes, feed the monster what it wants: attention.
Song: Thurston Moore – "Hang Out"

Action: TO catches 15th touchdown pass
Reaction: Does Andy Reid still have to break out the spandex?
Song: We Are Scientists – "Callbacks"

Action: Schottenheimer in no hurry to make NFL return
Reaction: I don't blame him. After what he went through in San Diego, I'd give him all the time in the world.
Song: Silversun Pickups – "Lazy Eye"

Action: Ledger reveals Marion Jones' doping regiment
Reaction: I found this very interesting, as the saga continues. This totally verifies any doubt that Jones was using during her great Olympic performance. As a runner myself, I felt very letdown by her admission as watching her performance at Sydney 2000 was very inspirational.
Song: Sugarcult – "Riot"

Action: FSU will be short 36 players for Music City Bowl
Reaction: That really has to hurt. If you're betting on Florida St. in this one, I might be inclined to switch wagers over to Kentucky. I say 300+ yards and 3 TDs for Andre Woodson.
Song: Pixies – "Debaser"

Action: Marbury files grievance
Reaction: More in the Knicks saga…
Song: Shellac – "Prayer to God"

Action: Peppers inactive vs. Cowboys
Reaction: This is the first game Peppers has missed since 2002. I really have to hand it to this guy. He is a warrior. His production has fallen off recently, but he is still one the best athletes in the game. He is probably the fastest defensive end I have seen. This was a big impact for the Panthers defense.
Song: "A New England" – Billy Brag

Action: Jets place Coles on IR
Reaction: This seems to cap off the Jets season appropriately. There so many great expectations surrounding this team and they flopped. I was expecting a lot out of Coles for my fantasy team, but the lack of consistency at the quarterback position coupled with nagging injuries held Coles to 55 catches for 646 yards and six touchdowns.
Song: Sonic Youth – "(I Got A) Catholic Block)

Action: Tommy Byrne dies at 87
Reaction: Just take a moment out of your holiday shopping and say a quick prayer for the Byrne family.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Festivus to all, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

An Open Letter to the Moderators

Dear Moderators,

I am really pleased with all the positive changes you have made over the past few months, really I am. However, I feel there are two changes I would like to see and that I feel are needed.

First, I propose extending the throwdown deadline to 48 or 72 hours. I classify myself as being notorious for not finishing arguments in allotted time (sorry Cassidy). Having the deadline there gives you the urge to finish it, but 24 hours is unreasonable in my mind. I've already had to forfeit a turn because I missed the deadline of 9:02 PM. I got home from school, changed to go to band practice, got home from band practice for a minute and then went right back out to a wrestling match at my school. I got home at 9:15 PM. I'm not going to let FanNation get in the way of my social life which is what is being done by this 24 hour deadline. I'd like 48 or 72 hours, but not 24. It's too hard when you have a social life.

Second, I would like to see in-group throwdowns added. The perfect guinea pig would be SIFS. The group is large enough (throwdowns barely even get 32 votes anymore either) to have a sufficient voting base and the members are knowledgeable enough to vote on the cases presented, not on the topic. This would be great for tournaments and for the overall morale of participants in throwdowns who feel that people with no knowledge of the subject are affecting the outcome.

Ah, and I have thought of a third: a shared page thing for throwdowns like there is for blogs. Just a few clicks and its sent to a group instead of tedious copying and pasting. This wouldn't really help the spam problem, but it would help prevent our favorite users such as djroxalot from continually FanMailing us individually to look at his arguments (I never do, btw. Nothing against you though).

So yeah, there's a few possible changes you should look at FanNation. Glad I could be of some help. Don't worry, I won't appoint myself to be an official of anything.

Yours truly,

Dr. Cool

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Action-Reaction Lite: December 16, 2007

So I don't have that much time this week for Action-Reaction due to a research paper on the relationship between team payroll and team performance due tomorrow and I still have a substantial amount of work left on it. So I'm bringing everyone Action-Reaction Lite.

Action: The winless Dolphins go for their first win today against the Ravens in Miami.
Reaction: This game seems dead even. Both teams have been playing horribly this year, which gives both a chance to win. I would definitely love to see los Dolfines pull out the victory, but it will be really hard for them. I predict that Willis McGahee will have a big day and that Kyle Boller snaps a seven-game road losing streak in Miami.

Action: The New England Patriots host (I think) the New York Jets today in a rematch of the infamous Week 1 game that led to SpyGate.
Reaction: And to think, I picked the Jets to win that Week 1 game 16-13. This game is going to give new meaning to the phrase "playing until the whistle blows." This is going to be ugly. Jets fans, prepare to see some carnage. I'm going to say the Patriots will break 60 or at least 50 today.

Action: Andy Pettitte admits using hGH to help recover from an injury in 2002. Pettitte says the hGH did not help him.
Reaction: This is where it is going to get tough. We are going to have a bunch of players using this explanation. How is baseball going to determine who is lying and who is not? Even more questions…

Action: Padres trade prospects for Jim Edmonds.
Reaction: Hopefully Edmonds has a clean bill of health and can really produce for the Padres. That's speaking as a Padres fan…

Action: 49ers third-stringer Shaun Hill led the Niners to a 20-13 victory over the Bengals.
Reaction: Glad to see a Maryland alum doing well. Has San Francisco found their quarterback?

So yeah, this is pretty lackluster. Deal with it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Book You Have to Read

I'm taking a break this week of Album of the Week and Band of the Week, so I thought I'd write a little bit about a book I read.

It is generally regarded by music fans and critics that certain albums are untouchable to criticism. Led Zeppelin IV, Tommy, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band are generally put in this category. Well, I have found the book that challenges these sentiments.

Kill Your Idols: A New Generation of Rock Writers Reconsiders the Classics asks the burning question: Are these albums as good as advertised? I had always asked myself that question when listening to albums that were regarded as classics that I didn't really dig. I agreed with sentiments posed in this book, but also disagreed with many.

The critics can be a bit critical however. On some occasions, the music is regarded by them as total crap, which is most likely not true.

Kill Your Idols covers the following albums:

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys
Smile – The Beach Boys
Tommy – The Who
Kick Out the Jams – The MC5
Sweetheart of the Rodeo – The Byrds
Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – Derek and the Dominoes
Untitled ("IV") – Led Zeppelin
Harvest – Neil Young
Exile on Main St. – The Rolling Stones
Desperado – The Eagles
Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd – Lynyrd Skynyrd
GP / Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons
The Best of the Doors – The Doors
The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan
Horses – Patti Smith
Exodus – Bob Marley & the Wailers
Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Ram – Paul & Linda McCartney
Double Fantasy – John Lennon / Yoko Ono
Never Mind the Bollocks . . . Here's the Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols
Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables – Dead Kennedys
Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
My Greatest Exes – Various Artists
Imperial Bedroom – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
The Joshua Tree – U2
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back – Public Enemy
Nevermind – Nirvana
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – The Smashing Pumpkins
OK Computer – Radiohead
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Wilco

If you read this book, you have to be tolerant. Some of you diehards out there might get a bit offended by the flaws in the albums being pointed out. I have only heard a few of the albums on the list, and I'm sure some of you have heard most of them. But reading this totally makes you re-examine your opinions on the music. You probably aren't going to like the book, but it is an entertaining and humorous read. Not to mention informative.

Give it a chance. You might like it.

This will never end…

This might be a little premature, but I would have to say the Mitchell Report will be somewhat of a lost cause. I mean, it's great we're getting all this info on steroids and who allegedly did them, but the conspiracy theories are already coming out.

I walked into my first class of the day, religion, and simply said, "Pettite and Clemens" to my religion teacher, who is a diehard Yankees fan. He just shook his head before telling me that Mitchell allegedly has ties to the Red Sox organization and there were no Red Sox implicated in his report. He then said, "Coincidence?" You can't tell me that no member of the Red Sox used steroids.

The steroid scandal will never be over. As much as it pains me to say this, baseball is tainted, probably irreparably. This whole era is dirty. People's stats are inflated because they used steroids. People's stats are deflated because they played against people using steroids. It's a no-win cause for baseball.

We all know what was going on. Guys we liked were juicing. Guys were hated were juicing. Guys we thought were juicing were juicing. Guys we didn't think were juicing were juicing. Guys with big stats were juicing. Guys with no stats were juicing.

I haven't had a chance to read any of the report, and I probably won't read a lot of it, but baseball is shaken to its core. Everyone's reputation is tarnished. The guys whose names were named will start naming more names. This firestorm will take years to quell. It is going to be virtually impossible for anyone to get by without being questioned. Baseball has put itself under a very intense microscope, not even mentioning the dilemma the league is now in.

Do they suspend all named in the report? Do they deny them interest to the Hall of Fame? Do they remove people from the Hall of Fame?

This is a bit of a rant, but the Mitchell Report bogs baseball down even more. The scrutiny is unbearable. This is a crisis. Baseball is in a state of emergency. They need FEMA. I don't think they will be able to really recovery that fully from this. Everyone's feats will always be under scrutiny in this era and in the near future. It's almost like we are going to have to expect that someone will test positive for steroids.

Expect the worst. Hope for the best. That's all we can do now.

Anyway, I hope this made sense to all of you. It doesn't even make that much sense to me right now, but whatever.

What's your take? Do you have any conspiracy theories?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Action-Reaction: 12/9/07

Ah, some good ol Action-Reaction for your Sunday. This week's edition of Action-Reaction is a Baltimore edition, as I am getting all of the stories out of The Baltimore Sun, so I'm sorry for no hyperlinks.

Action: Ravens tackle Jonathon Ogden is leaning towards and will "most likely" retire at the end of the season.
Reaction: It's a shame, since I had warmer feelings towards Ogden than most other Ravens players, but he's a good guy and great player, so it's hard to argue with that. Ogden has been slowed by a toe injury all year, so it appears that age is catching up to him. The Ravens have also lost all seven games Ogden has played in this year.

Action: Tim Tebow wins Heisman Trophy.
Reaction: Meh. I'm not the biggest Tebow fan, but he has been truly great this year, and is not a product of a system (Colt Brennan and June Jones, I'm looking at you). Tebow became the first sophomore to win the award while Darren McFadden finished second (again). This year was probably the hardest one to pick a winner from. All four of them deserved it in some capacity, and all four of them didn't deserve it some way. Still, Tebow was the best choice. If McFadden didn't stumble at the beginning of the season, he would have run away with it. Congrats, Tebow.

Action: Delaware will face Appalachian State in the Division I-AA, I mean FCS Championship Game Friday.
Reaction: Who you got? I think I'll take Appalachian State in this one. I know nothing about FCS teams, but the Mountaineers seem like the safe choice. A-State beat Michigan this year while Delaware beat Navy. I think Appalachian State will take this one, 41-34. Your thoughts?

Action: Marvin Harrison will miss tonight's game against the Ravens.
Reaction: It's a shame that Harrison has been banged up this year. I hope this isn't the beginning of the end for him and that age has not caught up with him.

Action: Reggie Bush will miss Monday night's game at Atlanta due to a partially torn knee ligament.
Reaction: The Saints season just keeps getting worse. The sexy pick for the NFC's representative in the Super Bowl had to recover from a slow start and losing Deuce McAllister for the season. If I were the Saints, as long as I had Bush I would have another good, "real" running back on the roster.

Action: The Denver Broncos have rewarded wide receiver Brandon Stokley with a three-year contract extension.
Reaction: Ok, so he's done something in Denver. He's still not the damn good wide receiver you say he is, CURTIS4BRONCOS. What.

Action: Navy promotes Ken Niumatalolo to head coach.
Reaction: Losing Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech really hurts Navy, but I think Niumatalolo can step in and keep it up. As long as Navy keeps running that triple option, there will be teams that cannot stop them. The only question I have is whether or not Johnson is taking to option to Tech. Anyone know that answer?

Action: Donovan McNabb will start today when the Eagles play host to the Giants.
Reaction: He better not get sacked 12 times again. If he does, well, that's just bad. The Eagles can still take second-place in the division if they win out while the Giants lose their last four. There's still hope!

Action: Rick Pitino still stuck on 499 wins after Louisville loses to Dayton.
Reaction: Well that just sucks for you, Rick Pitino.

So thus ends the December 9, 2007 edition of Action-Reaction. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

DJ’s Band of the Week: 12/2/07-12/8/07

This week's segment focuses on the alternative band Say Anything.

When I first prepared to listen to Say Anything, I automatically expected, in my musical pretentiousness that would not like them at all. I was proven wrong after the first few songs. I'll admit, I am not a big fan of front man Max Bemis' voice, but I warmed to it after a while. I classify Say Anything as the band that I like that I am technically not supposed to like. Granted, the only album I have listened to by them is …Is a Real Boy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the album.

The best part of Say Anything, in my opinion, is the lyrics. At first glance, I got the impression of a band trying too hard and being pretentious, but after a while, I gradually warmed to them. I really like the delivery of all the lyrics. It makes me feel like I am watching the scenes being illustrated in the song, which adds a whole other element to the music. My favorite song would have to be "Admit It!!!" possibly followed by "The Futile."

Say Anything was founded while all the members were in high school. In 2000 they self-released an EP entitled Junior Varsity before also self-releasing their first album, Baseball in 2002. The next year, 2002, they again self-released an EP, this time entitled Menorah\Mejora. Both Baseball and Junior Varsity are out of print.

In 2004, the band was signed to Doghouse Records where they released their third EP, For Sale…. In August 2004, …Is a Real Boy was released. After Say Anything signed with J Records, a division of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, …Is a Real Boy was reissued with a bonus disk entitled …Was a Real Boy in 2006. …Was a Real Boy contains seven of eight songs leaked onto the internet as set under the title of Vs. AIDS Demos. Bemis originally said that the demos were bad music.

In October of 2007, Say Anything released In Defense of the Genre.

So yeah, great band. I put this together pretty quickly, but whatever. Enjoy.

DJ’s Album of the Week 12/2/07-12/8/07

This week's Album of the Week is Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division. I have rated Unknown Pleasures as the second best album I have ever heard.

Album Name: Unknown Pleasures
Album Artist: Joy Division
Release Date: June 15, 1979
Recorded: April 1-17, 1979
Genre: Post-punk
Length: 39:24
Label: Factory
Producer: Martin Hannett, Joy Division

Track Listing
1. "Disorder" (3:31)
2. "Day of the Lords" (4:47)
3. "Candidate" (3:02)
4. "Insight" (4:29)
5. "New Dawn Fades" (4:48)
6. "She's Lost Control" (3:57)
7. "Shadowplay" (3:53)
8. "Wilderness" (2:38)
9. "Interzone" (2:16)
10. "I Remember Nothing" (5:52)

Album Charts
UK Charts - #71 in August 1980
Q magazine, 100 Greatest British Albums Ever - #19
Pitchfork Media, 100 Greatest Albums of the 1970s - #9

All Music Guide – 5/5 stars
Pitchfork – 10/10
Rolling Stone – 4/5 stars
NME – 10/10
Scene Point Blank – 10/10
Robert Christgau – A-

As I said before, I think Unknown Pleasures is the second-best work I have ever heard. The synth-like drums really fit the post-punk era, but compared to other contemporary music, it is quite Spartan, with just drums, guitar, bass, and vocals on most songs. According to legend, producer Martin Hannett recorded this album on the roof of the Stockport studio they were recording at. Hannett, a bit of an eccentric, also dubbed each drum track individually. For those of you who do not understand one bit of the last sentence, Hannett recorded a drum track of just the bass drum. Then another of just snare drum. Then another of just hi-hat. Then another of just cymbals. And so on. It really adds to the experience of listening to the album when you are associated with the legendary aspects of it. The cover art is exactly 100 pulses from the first pulsar ever discovered. I don't know what that means. Care to help me out? Anyway, on to the album…

1. "Disorder" (3:31)
This song starts off with an insane bass riff that is repeated throughout the entire song before being joined by the simple, yet complicated (it's nearly impossible to play) guitar riff. As with most songs, lead singer Ian Curtis sounds distance and almost bored. Near the climax of the song, the guitar switched to chords and there are "whooshing" effects on the bass, adding an almost eerie mood to the song. When I listen to this song in headphones it is almost as if the bass is turned up as high it can go. It feels like a very relaxed song, but once the listener really gets into it can be very, very intense. Unofficial music video here.
My rating: 4.5/5

2. "Day of the Lords" (4:47)
"The Day of the Lords" starts out with an appregiated guitar and an ascending bass line backed by steady drums before Curtis' voice cuts in. This theme continues throughout the entire song. Curtis' vocals become so impassioned in the middle and near the end, they sound like the shouts of a tortured man (which he was), before the guitar finishes with a fitting solo. Live performance here.
My rating: 4/5

3. "Candidate" (3:02)
This song is pretty nondescript in the overall scheme of the album. To me, it sounds basically like Curtis singing a conversation with the guitar distant in the background. Still a good song, but it does not stand at all in the mind.
My rating: 3/5

4. "Insight" (4:29)
"Insight" is one of the more fast-paced songs on the album after a slow start. Actually, the song doesn't really start until about forty seconds in. The sound of an opening door also greets the real beginning of the song, while Curtis sings nostalgically about how he remembers "when we were young." After the chorus is repeated, a sequence of Star Wars-like sounds come in almost as a solo. Curtis' nostalgic tone continues throughout the song, with the song ending with another solo of Star Wars sounds. Great acoustic cover here.
My rating: 3.5/5

5. "New Dawn Fades" (4:48)
This is probably the second or third-best song on the album. The guitar creates a sense of anticipation at the beginning of the song with its riff being played down on the lower strings. The anticipation keeps building until Curtis starts singing, at which point the music becomes dominated by the bass. There's just something about this song that really gets me. The tone and calmness it just brings is amazing. This sounds lame in a way, but I have not realized how great of a song this is until right now as I am listening to it and typing this. The passion exhibited by Curtis is just so overwhelming. This is also the only song where there is a real guitar solo. The guitar solo was featured in a chase scene of the movie Heat, by the way. The song ends with the drums exiting alone off into the distance. Unofficial music video for "New Dawn Fades" featuring scenes from Heat
My rating: 5/5

6. "She's Lost Control" (4:46)
This is the most widely known song off the album, probably because of the constant drums and repeating bass line. The bass line sounds more like it is being played by a guitar. Joy Division was widely regarded as one of the first bands to start playing the bass like a guitar. The guitar enters on the chorus and backs Curtis' lyrics. The constant guitar chords fit the bass line and project very well. Not much else can be said about this song, except it is one of Curtis' best vocal performances, in my opinion. Live television performance here.
My rating: 5/5

7. "Shadowplay" (3:53)
"Shadowplay" is another gem off the album, so much that it has also been covered by The Killers and Silversun Pickups. The guitar creates an uneasy atmosphere while the bass provides undertones. Curtis sounds frantic in his vocals, as though he is looking for someone. The guitar solos seem to contrast against the earlier mood, but they transition, with help from the bass back into the verse quite well. Curtis seems to come to a sense of closure of acceptance at the end of the song, creating a resolution. Live performance here.
My rating: 4.5/5

8. "Wilderness" (2:38)
Another lesser known song, "Wilderness" is more upbeat with a sliding bass riff coupled with the guitar. Basically a story of traveling through the wilderness. This song is still good, but there really isn't anything that sets it apart from other Joy Division songs, making it sadly nondescript. Live performance here.
My rating: 3/5

9. "Interzone" (2:16)
The shortest song on the album, "Interzone" is one of my personal favorites. The guitar is the most present out of all the songs and it is the fastest song on the album by far. The drums push the tempo. "Interzone" is the only song on the album that uses two vocalists, as bassist Peter Hook joins Curtis on the vocal tracks. Hook as a more raw voice than Curtis' deep monotone which creates almost a conflict between the voices which fits together very well. "Interzone" is probably the hidden gem of the album. Tribute video here.
My rating: 4/5

10. "I Remember Nothing" (5:52)
I really need to finish this, so this is basically a slow, somber ballad to close out the album. I can't really find anything exciting about the song, except for the sound of breaking glass and that Curtis' voice has a tone heard nowhere else on the album, making the listener feel very uneasy. It is a fantastic song, despite being nondescript. It is a great way to cap off a great album. Live performance here.
My rating: 4.5/5

Total rating: 5/5

A must listen album.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Action-Reaction: December 2, 2007

This will be my SIFS blog, along with the idea BSchwartz and I are hammering out, but I got this idea from my local newspaper. I'll present a news item (the "Action") and then put my take (the "Reaction") after it. The "Reaction" could be humorous, serious, or I could not have a take on it at all. Enjoy.

Action: Wannstedt gets 3-year extension
Reaction: This seems a little contradictory of Pitt. Wannstedt has had three losing seasons after five straight winning seasons by Pitt. I think this contract is mostly based on the fact that Pitt just upset No. 2 West Virginia 13-9 last night. As with all things, time will tell.

Action: Miles staying at LSU
Reaction: I think it's great to see someone with loyalty to his school, but I am still a little suspicious, as Miles has not yet signed it. If he really wanted to send a message to his players, he would have signed it right then and there.

Action: Beckham carries Galaxy to win
Reaction: At least he did something in the U.S. Oh wait, it was an exhibition. The last exhibition game, no less. Beckham flopped. That's all I have to say. Maybe he'll come back stronger next year. At least he better or there will be some angry soccer fans at his door. Wait, who in the U.S. cares about soccer? Oh wait, Keeper will be at Beckham's door if he flops.

Action: U.S. clinches first Davis Cup since '95
Reaction: This is farther out of America's conscious than David Beckham and soccer…

Action: LSU regent: Pelini going to Nebraska
Reaction: That's a good move for Nebraska. Pelini could bring back the vaunted the Blackshirts D. I don't how this could affect LSU though. They have had the rep for being a great defensive program for a while, but I think their talent could overcome the problem of losing their coordinator.

Action: Twins, Yanks haggle over Santana
Reaction: I personally do not want to see Santana on either the Red Sox or the Yankees, but anyway, this has turned into a drama in itself. I honestly do not know what I would do if I was in either team's shoes. I mean, you really want Santana. Putting him on either staff puts that team over the top, but losing all that talent must be excruciating. It really sucks to be Coco Crisp. I hope the Sox can keep Ellsbury. I really like watching him play.

Action: Chaos Reigns
Reaction: All I really have to say is WHOA. This is beyond chaos. It is quite obvious that Ohio State is in the National Championship again, but after that I have no clue. I really wanted to see Missouri have a chance, but they just could not get it done last night. All I have to say is that someone is not going home happy after the selection show tonight.

So there, I hope you enjoyed the first edition of Action-Reaction. It'll get spiced up a bit in future editions I'd have to think.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

DJ’s Band of the Week 11/25/07-12/1/07

My Band of the Week this week is Washington, D.C.'s own The Evens.

The Evens are an indie rock band featuring guitarist and vocalist Ian MacKaye and drummer and vocalist Amy Farina. The Evens were formed in the fall of 2001 before MacKaye's band, Fugazi, went on hiatus. Farina is formerly of The Warmers while MacKaye is formerly of Minor Threat. The Evens began practicing extensively after Fugazi went on hiatus and eventually released a self-titled album in on MacKaye's Dischord Records.

The Evens gained acclaim in 2003 for creating a music video for an original song called "Vowel Movement." The children's song was made for Washington, D.C. based Pancake Mountain, an internet-based children's program. The video was Sesame Street-like and has become a fan favorite, even though it has never been played live. The band then released The Evens in March 2005. Diehard MacKaye fans were greatly anticipating the release because it was his first non-Fugazi LP release since 1987's Embrace, while The Evens are his first side project since Pailhead in 1988.

On November 6, 2006, The Evens released Get Evens.

I myself have only heard The Evens, but The Evens have thrust themselves into the upper echelon of my favorite bands. MacKaye's voice is just great all around, but Farina's voice is what really gets me. Her voice reminds me of a sunny winter's day with snow on the ground. That's hard to understand, but just listen to them and you will hear what I mean. My favorite song by them is "Around the Corner." Other great songs include "All These Governors," "If It's Water," and "You Won't Feel a Thing." I would recommend The Evens to anyone that enjoys some great indie rock.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Best Game No One Will See

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 29, 2007, the 10-1 Green Bay Packers travel to Dallas to take on the 10-1 Cowboys. This game could be the best of the season (yes, better than Pats-Colts), as it will most likely determine home-field advantage in the NFC. The road to the Super Bowl will most likely go through Dallas or the frozen tundra of Lambeau. It's an old fashioned Texas shootout between two of the top quarterbacks in the league this year, Brett Favre and Tony Romo. But the only thing is, no one will see this game.


NFL Network.

In my opinion, NFL Network is the biggest ripoff in the history of sports. The NFL can't do the same thing as NBA TV or an MLB channel because there are only a small number of NFL games each weeks, as opposed to many, many NBA and MLB games in a week. How many subscribers are there NFL Network anyway?

As someone who only has basic cable, is too young to go to a bar, and is too stingy to pay for NFL FieldPass, I will be relegated to following the game on NFL.com, CBS Sportsline, or ESPN.com, watching the little arrows. Yeah. It's horrible.

I think NFL Network is great for all of the offseason stuff like rebroadcasting games and the show "America's Game," but I don't think it is meant for broadcasting live NFL games. When the Vikings played the Packers on NFL Network last year, I got lucky because I was at my grandparents' house in Oregon who had NFL Network. The Packers won 9-7 (if I remember correctly) in a great game.

I was going to do a good ol' analysis of it, but for that, check this blog by our favorite Eagle Hater. I just don't have time.

So here is my prediction (a bit biased):

Packers 31, Cowboys 28

Let the best team win.

Homefield advantage is at stake.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today We Are All Redskins Fans

Today, as hard as it may be to fathom for you Cowboys and Eagles fans, we are all Redskins fans.

Last night, I posted the following comment on Super Squirrel's blog about Sean Taylor:

Anyway, I had the same knee jerk reaction as everyone. The "OMG a famous person has gotten shot" reaction. I'm sure I would be reacting much differently if it was an Packer or something, but it's all sort of gotten numbed (can't think of better word choice) to me. My family watches the local Baltimore news every morning. Every morning its the same. Triple shooting, double stabbing, the list goes on. After a while, it's all the same to me. Sean Taylor is just another guy who got shot and I want him to recover. He isn't "Sean Taylor, football superman, who got shot fighting for his life and hopes to play football again." I couldn't care less about Sean Taylor's football career right now. This all might sound horrible, but in the society we are in where people get shot everyday, it all wears down on you. Taylor's just become another statistic of burglar's shooting the people they were trying to rob. It's just all gone numb on me.

Yeah, I hope Sean Taylor gets better, but I hope everybody else who has gotten shot gets better too. I don't care about Sean Taylor, Football Player, right now, I care about Sean Taylor the person right now.

I know this is all different for you Ben because you're one of the Redskins' top fans, but if you look at the big picture, Taylor's just another home burglary victim who got shot.

That sounds horrible, but it's the truth.

But now, after learning of Sean Taylor's death from my dad through my bedroom door at 6:47 AM, I realize that it is different. Me being a football fan, a die-hard (in my opinion), no less, has a profound impact on how I view this tragedy. The football impact on the Redskins is harsh; they lost one of the game's rising stars, someone who had a shaky start (see: spitting incident in playoffs), but had really started to pull it together personally and professionally. The impact on the Redskins (and the rest of the football world) is unimaginable, having someone taken from you that quickly, and especially after he was having good prognosis.

I was never the biggest Sean Taylor fan. I had watched him play at University of Miami, but something just didn't click between Sean Taylor the player and DJ the fan. After he went to the Redskins, more of the same followed, as I am an Eagles fan. I thought a lot of what he did was unnecessary like the spitting incident or blowing up Bills punter Brian Moorman in the Pro Bowl this past year. But I am still connected to him. On October 14, 2007, Taylor intercepted Brett Favre for the 278th time, breaking the record set by George Blanda an eternity ago.

I did not know that much about Taylor, but I feel that if I could go back in time, I would pay a little more attention to him as a player.

It's such a shame this has to happen. Darrent Williams, now Sean Taylor. Last night, I said they were just victims of shootings. Now, as a sports fan, I realize that their loss is much, much more than just a shooting.

It was part of the game of football's soul being removed.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

2007 Sportsmen of the Year

My 2007 Sportsmen of the year are the Kansas Jayhawk and Missouri Tiger football teams.

The curtain closed less than five minutes ago on the No. 4-ranked Tigers' 36-28 victory over the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks, and ever since the last two minutes of the game, I have been thinking, "Are there any more-deserving bodies in sports than these two teams?"

Let's look at it. Neither of these teams (especially Kansas) were expected to do much. Both started the year unranked and overlooked. Both play in the Big XII and are in the North division, much regarded as a pushover division compared to the powerhouses of Oklahoma and Texas in the Big XII South. They both got out to quick starts, but they were putdown as the products of an easy schedule.

And look at the players on the two teams.

Todd Reesing was too short to play major college football.

Aqib Talib wasn't good enough.

Chase Daniel was overlooked.

The Missouri and Kansas football teams defied the odds that were set against them, although Missouri is now in the position to defy even more odds.

They are my 2007 Sportsmen of the Year.

Now to the game.

I don't think I have seen a more meaningful game played in a long, long time. Both teams already had this game circled on their calendars, as it was the annual "Border War" for bragging rights between the two schools. Add to the game that the winner would win the Big XII North and play in the Big XII Championship Game. Add to the mix that the winner could have a number one or number two ranking if they won and a shot at the National Championship. This game was dripping with potential.

I'd have to say it lived up to the hype.

I'll admit, I was tempted to change the channel and watch The Incredibles when Kansas fell behind early and I almost gave it up as a lost cause. However, I felt a great rush of excitement when they start storming back. I joined my father at the kitchen table to watch the last two minutes, when Kansas was trailing 34-28. When Missouri went back to punt, we looked at each other and it was understood we were in for a great finish.

I personally think that Talib should have let the punt go into the endzone for a touchback on the punt, but that's my opinion. When he failed to gain any yardage out of the return, I had a sinking feeling that this was not Kansas' game. My feeling was justified when Reesing was sacked in the endzone for a safety and a 36-28 Missouri lead.

On the kickoff, my dad remarked that the return-man could still fumble and give Kansas hope, but that hope was to no avail.

My heart goes out to the Kansas players, and I sincerely hope that they get a BCS At-Large bid. I would also like to congratulate Missouri and wish them the best of luck in (hopefully) beating Oklahoma.

My Sportsmen of the Year.

DJ’s Album of the Week: 11/25/07-12/1/07

This is basically the same thing as Artist of the Week. Enjoy.

This week's Album of the Week honor goes to Sonic Nurse by Sonic Youth. I recently purchased this album on Sunday, November 18, and have been listening to it nonstop.

Album Name: Sonic Nurse
Album Artist: Sonic Youth
Release Date: June 7, 2004
Recorded: July 2003-February 2004
Genre: Alternative Rock
Length: 62:48
Label: DGC / Interscope
Producer: Sonic Youth

Track Listing
1. "Pattern Recognition" (6:53)
2. "Unmade Bed" (3:53)
3. "Dripping Dream" (7:46)
4. "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream" (4:51)
5. "Stones" (7:08)
6. "Dude Ranch Nurse" (5:12)
7. "New Hampshire" (5:12)
8. "Paper Cup Exit" (5:57)
9. "I Love You Golden Blue" (7:03)
10. "Peace Attack" (6:12)

Album Charts
Official Norwegian Chart – No. 21
Official Belgium Chart – No. 23
Official French Chart – No. 41
Official Italian Chart – No. 50
Official Irish Chart – No. 53
Billboard Top 200 – No. 64
Official German Chart – No. 89

All Music Guide – 4/5 stars
Entertainment Weekly – A-
The Guardian – 3/5 stars
Pitchfork – 8.5/10
Prefix – 8.0/10
Robert Christgau – A-
Rolling Stone – 3.5/5 stars
Tiny Mix Tapes – 3/5 stars

First off, this is a long album. The shortest song is 3:53. The average song length is over six minutes. This album is not for the faint of heart. It is more reserved compared to Sonic Youth's younger days and contains many instrumental interludes, as opposed to their latest release Rather Ripped. Also, this album was recorded during guitarist Jim O'Rourke's stint with Sonic Youth, adding another guitar to the lineup of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo. Kim Gordon and Steve Shelley round out the rest of the band on bass guitar and drums. Compared to Sonic Youth's releases in the early 1990's, this release could be seen as a letdown, as shown by the ratings, it is still a fantastic listen, as it mixes early Sonic Youth with newfound maturity and artistic craftsmanship. Even though for being such a great album, it is quite homogeneous. I will probably end up writing the same thing for many of the songs. It's one of those things where it's the same, but different, at the same time. Makes for an enjoyable listen.

Track-by-Track Review

1. "Pattern Recognition" (6:53)
Lyrics and vocals – Kim Gordon
The first song on the album, "Pattern Recognition," starts out very quickly, with a guitar riff in sync with the vocals before it reaches the chorus of "You're the one" less than a minute into the song. The song breaks into tiny breakdowns and bridges at various junctures throughout the song. The last minute of the song dissolves into classic Sonic Youth noise. The three guitars that come together around the 2:40 mark provide an example of the artistic skill of SY and the effect of the addition of Jim O'Rourke on the band.
My rating: 4.5/5

2. "Unmade Bed" (3:53)
Lyrics and vocals – Thurston Moore
This is the shortest song on the album, but one of the best. Its short(er) length makes it catchier to the casual ear, and is a meditative song. Moore's vocals question the listener throughout the song. The guitars (ever present throughout the album) appear to be doing three different things at once, while even the rhythm guitar takes some time out to improvise a bit on the rhythm. Steve Shelley's drums seem a little different to me in the song, but nevertheless, it fits with the unusual nature of the guitars.
My rating: 5/5

3. "Dripping Dream" (7:46)
Lyrics and vocals – Thurston Moore
"Dripping Dream" starts out with spastic noise before a two-guitar riff cuts through. Gradually, the noise is manipulated to create a third riff on top of the other two guitars. The chorus on this song is delivered amazingly in short, two-word lines by Moore. It is hard to tell the exact meaning of the song, but after the first three minutes, it feels as if it should be over at about the three minute mark. The song extends into an elaborate breakdown where all but the bass make their presence known. The original riffs return in the last two minutes with the vocals to end the song.
My rating: 4/5

4. "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream" (4:51)
Lyrics – Sonic Youth
Vocals – Kim Gordon
If listeners want early 1990's Sonic Youth, this is the closest they will get. This song is somewhat reminiscent of "Swimsuit Issue" off of 1992's Dirty. Gordon's vocals are fierce on the verse, but let up somewhat on the choruses. As with a lot of Gordon's fierce songs, this song really dives in deep and seems to attack whoever the song is about. As for the title of this song, I can't seem to find any connection.
My rating: 3/5

5. "Stones" (7:08)
Lyrics and vocals – Thurston Moore
"Stones" is probably my favorite song off Sonic Nurse. The drumbeat at the beginning is addictive and the riff is great with all the guitars forming a great melody. The vocals don't start until a few minutes into the song, creating a great anticipation as the riffs change many times before the vocals start at the two minute mark. The verse is pretty laid back, but the chorus of "Dead or alive/There's danger/The dead are alright/With me" has some intensity. The chorus is the most intense part of this enjoyable song. The riffs from the beginning of the song persist throughout varying occasionally. Moore's voice intermittently falls into perfect harmony with the guitars. At the four minute mark, a gradual crescendo starts and builds up to past the five minute mark where the guitars start to solo and the bass makes its presence known for the first time on the album. The soloing persists until the end of the song.
My rating: 5/5

6. "Dude Ranch Nurse" (5:44)
Lyrics and vocals – Kim Gordon
This song is just of an "Eh" from me. Gordon's vocals are more laid back compared to "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream," and they fit in well with the guitars. The use of the phaser effect adds to the guitars. I am pretty sure this is the only sing that mentions nurses on the album. It's a pretty good song, but it doesn't really speak to me the way the "Stones" or "Pattern Recognition" does.
My rating: 3/5

7. "New Hampshire" (5:12)
Lyrics and vocals – Thurston Moore
"New Hampshire" starts off with pounding, distant drums with high noise on the guitar. Pretty soon the two guitar riff starts up with some overlying harmonics added. As the name suggests, this song is about New Hampshire, although it is unclear what exactly about New Hampshire it keys on. Moore's vocals come in a little over a minute into the song and follow the same pattern they have had for the rest of the album. Nothing really fantastic and out of the out of the ordinary happens.
My rating: 4/5

8. "Paper Cup Exit" (5:57)
Lyrics and vocals – Lee Ranaldo
Backing vocals – Thurston Moore
This song is already regarded as "special" because it features Lee Ranaldo on vocal, as opposed to Gordon or Moore. The drums start out the song and the guitar joins them. Then, the vocals swoop in and the guitars change in to a flurry of minor chords. On the chorus, Ranaldo displays his fantastic vocal range and his story-telling style where he urges the subject of the song to "Sing along." Ranaldo's song adds a bit more of a pop aspect to Sonic Youth because his voice fits more of that mold, as opposed to Moore or Gordon, and he puts a lot of urgency behind his voice. I always look forward to Lee's songs on the Sonic Youth albums. This is not his best work, but it is still good enough to earn a rating of four out of five from me.
My rating: 4/5

9. "I Love You Golden Blue" (7:03)
Lyrics and vocals – Kim Gordon
This is the one song on the album that I don't really like. I just can't get into it. Part of it is from being worn down by the length of the album before this song. Gordon's vocals are very, very soft in this song to go along with the guitar, while the drums spend a lot of their time lightly on the ride. I just can't dig it. It's a decent song, I am usually just too worn down by the time I get to it to really have a deep appreciation for it.
My rating: 2.5/5

10. "Peace Attack" (6:12)
Lyrics and vocals – Thurston Moore
The song starts out with a chord similar to the opening one off of "Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars" from Thurston Moore's solo album Psychic Hearts. Probably my second or third favorite song on the album. It makes the listener feel almost one with nature and just really relaxed. Not much else to say about it other than it is a gem.
My rating: 5/5

Total rating: 4/5

Overall, this is not an album you want to get if you are intent on getting a lot of vocals. However, if you are someone who is most interested in the technical aspects of a song, this would be a very good choice. It receives my seal of approval.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

DJ’s Band of the Week: 11/18/07-11/24/07

This is a weekly segment I will do chronicling which band I am listening to the most for that week. It should get pretty random. Enjoy.

For this week, November 18, 2007 to November 24, 2007, I am going to have to go with New York City's own The Strokes.

The Strokes were founded in 1998 through a network of friends and currently consist of singer Julian Casablancas, guitarists Albert Hammond, Jr. and Nik Valensi, bassist Nikolai Fraiture, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti.

In 2001, The Strokes released The Modern Age EP which started one of the biggest bidding wars for a band in history. The Strokes became one of the most hyped bands in history…

The Strokes justified this hype in late 2001 releasing their debut LP, Is This It, in August in the United Kingdom and in October in the United States. Is This It received a four star rating from Rolling Stone and a 9.1 rating from Pitchfork. The album garnered its greatest honors at the end of 2001, by being named album of the year by the magazines Entertainment Weekly and TIME. NME claimed that The Strokes were touring with some of the "best pop songs ever." The Strokes also hit the television circuit hard during this time period, appearing on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and The Late Show with David Letterman.

The Strokes' second album Room on Fire was released in October 2003. The band made the cover of Spin Magazine along with the cover of Rolling Stone. The Strokes again made the rounds on the late night TV shows. The album was a hit with such songs as "Reptilia" and "12:51."

Finally, in January 2006, First Impressions of Earth, The Strokes' third album was released. The album featured the singles "Juicebox" and "Heart in a Cage." First Impressions of Earth debuted at number four on the US album charts and number one in the UK. The album went gold its first week out in Japan and was iTunes' most downloaded album for two weeks. The band went on national and international tours during this time.

The Strokes are currently on hiatus.

Some videos:
Is This It
Barely Legal
Last Nite
Heart in a Cage
You Only Live Once
The End Has No End
Another great video is for "Juicebox," but it is highly inappropriate, so I'll let you find it on your own.

I would recommend any of the above videos.

The Strokes.

Great band.

Check them out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Colts-Pats, Dungy-Belichick, Manning-Brady, Addai-Maroney?

Lost in the mix of the Colts-Patriots rivalry, the Dungy-Belichick rivalry, and the Manning-Brady rivalry, I can sense a new rivalry brewing (at least in my eyes): Joseph Addai vs. Laurence Maroney. That does not seem totally illogical now, does it? Both running backs came in to the league last year as rookies. Both have great quarterbacks and great supporting casts. As Manning and Brady each get older, along with their receivers, I think that Addai v. Maroney will become the centerpiece of the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots rivalry.

So let's compare these two men of the hour:


Joseph Addai

Laurence Maroney













Career Stats




Games Started:















Rushing TDs:















Receiving TDs



November 5, 2006

Addai: 18 rushes, 43 yards, 1 TD
Maroney: 16 rushes, 63 yards
January 21, 2007
Addai: 14 rushes, 56 yards, 1 TD
Maroney: 8 rushes, 13 yards
November 4, 2007
Addai: 26 rushes, 112 yards, 5 receptions, 114 yards, 1 TD
Maroney: 15 rushes, 59 yards

Overall, I would have to say that Joseph Addai is definitely "winning" this rivalry. First off, he's got the ring. Secondly, the Colts are 2-1 since he and Maroney came into the league. Thirdly, he has the better stats so far. Head-to-head, they were relatively even until their last showdown, when Addai definitely took the lead in this rivalry. But as Maroney develops (this season would be his rookie season had he stayed at Minnesota), he could definitely excel in the NFL, past Addai.

There are not many other people who would see this as a rivalry, partly because of the Manning-Brady stuff that overshadows it, but I will always be comparing Addai and Maroney.

Interesting take, eh?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

What a day, what a day!

Wow! I don't remember a day like this in the NFL ever. So full of excitement and anticipation. There was the biggest regular season game in years between New England and Indianapolis. There were three kickoff returns for touchdowns. There was the longest scoring play in NFL history. The rushing record was set. There were so many great performances, I'm going to have to go through each game individually to list them all!

Atlanta Falcons 20, San Francisco 49ers 16
Atlanta Falcons
Warrick Dunn: 27 rushes, 100 yards, 1 TD
Michael Boley: 10 tackles, 1 FF
Keith Brooking: 6 tackles, 1 sack
Lawyer Milloy: 8 tackles, 1 INT
San Francisco 49ers
Vernon Davis: 7 receptions, 77 yards
Patrick Willis: 10 tackles, 1 sack

Buffalo Bills 33, Cincinnati Bengals 21
Buffalo Bills
J.P. Losman: 24/34, 295 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Marshawn Lynch: 29 carries, 153 yards, 1 TD, 1/1, 8 yards, 1 TD
Lee Evans: 9 catches, 165 yards, 1 TD
Angelo Crowell: 14 tackles (11 solo)
Cincinnati Bengals
Carson Palmer: 26/39, 271 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Kenny Watson: 7 receptions, 90 yards

Detroit Lions 44, Denver Broncos 7
Detroit Lions
Jon Kitna: 16/31, 252 yards, 2 TDs
Kevin Jones: 17 rushes, 71 yards
Shaun McDonald: 5 receptions, 78 yards, 1 TD
Jason Hanson: 3/3 FGs, 5/5 XPs
Shaun Rogers: 3 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 TD
Denver Broncos
Patrick Ramsey: 29/46, 262 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Brandon Marshall: 9 receptions, 96 yards

Green Bay Packers 33, Kansas City Chiefs 22
Green Bay Packers
Brett Favre: 24/34, 360 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Donald Driver: 5 receptions, 99 yards
Greg Jennings: 3 receptions, 85 yards, 2 TDs
Mason Crosby: 4/5 FGs, 3/3 XPs
Corey Williams: 6 tackles, 2 sacks
Charles Woodson: 3 tackles, 1 INT, 1 TD
Kansas City Chiefs
Damon Huard: 19/32, 213 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Larry Johnson: 19 rushes, 53 yards, 1 TD
Tony Gonzalez: 10 receptions, 109 yards, 1 TD

Minnesota Vikings 35, San Diego Chargers 17
Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson: 30 rushes, 296 yards, 3 TDs
Chester Taylor: 9 rushes, 60 yards, 1 TD
Sidney Rice: 4 receptions, 66 yards, 1 TD
San Diego Chargers
LaDainian Tomlinson: 16 rushes, 40 yards, 1 TD
Matt Wilhelm: 14 tackles (11 solo)
Antonio Cromartie: 2 tackles, 109-yard missed FG return for TD

New Orleans Saints 41, Jacksonville Jaguars 24
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees: 35/49, 445 yards, 3 TDs
Reggie Bush: 17 attempts, 72 yards, 1 TD
Marques Colston: 10 receptions, 159 yards
Jacksonville Jaguars
Quinn Gray: 20/33, 354 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
Reggie Williams: 6 receptions, 128 yards, 1 TD
Reggie Nelson: 10 solo tackles
Maurice Jones-Drew: 5 rushes, 28 yards, 2 receptions, 31 yards, 100-yard kickoff return TD

Washington Redskins 23, New York Jets 20 (OT)
Washington Redskins
Clinton Portis: 36 rushes, 196 yards, 1 TD
Shaun Suisham: 5/5 FGs
Rocky McIntosh: 12 tackles (11 solo)
New York Jets
Kellen Clemens: 23/42, 226 yards, 1 TD
Jerricho Cotchery: 5 receptions, 90 yards
David Harris: 24 tackles (20 solo)

Tennessee Titans 20, Carolina Panthers 7
Tennessee Titans
LenDale White: 31 rushes, 100 yards, 1 TD
Albert Haynesworth: 7 tackles, 3 sacks
Carolina Panthers
Drew Carter: 3 catches, 56 yards, 1 TD
Jon Beason: 11 tackles (9 solo)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17, Arizona Cardinals 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jeff Garcia: 18/28, 196 yards, 1 TD
Earnest Graham: 34 rushes, 124 yards, 1 TD
Joey Galloway: 5 receptions, 84 yards, 1 TD
Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald: 4 receptions, 95 yards
Darnell Dockett: 10 tackles, 2 sacks

Cleveland Browns 33, Seattle Seahawks 30 (OT)
Jamal Lewis: 20 carries, 37 yards, 4 TDs
Kellen Winslow: 11 receptions, 125 yards
Seattle Seahawks
Matt Hasselbeck: 30/47, 318 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Bobby Engram: 14 receptions, 139 yards, 1 TD

New England Patriots 24, Indianapolis Colts 20
New England Patriots
Tom Brady: 21/32, 255, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
Randy Moss: 9 receptions, 145 yards, 1 TD
Mike Vrabel: 5 tackles, 1 sack
Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning: 16/27, 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Joseph Addai: 26 rushes, 112 yards, 5 receptions, 114 yards, 1 TD

Houston Texans 24, Oakland Raiders 17
Houston Texans

Sage Rosenfels: 11/19, 181 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Ron Dayne: 21 rushes, 122 yards, 1 TD
Oakland Raiders
Justin Fargas: 23 rushes, 104 yards, 1 TD
Robert Thomas: 11 tackles (9 solo)
Kirk Morrison: 8 tackles (7 solo)
Stuart Schweigart: 8 tackles (4 solo), 1 INT

Dallas Cowboys 38, Philadelphia Eagles 17
Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo: 20/25, 324 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Julius Jones: 13 rushes, 57 yards, 1 TD
Marion Barber: 16 rushes, 56 yards, 1 TD
Terrell Owens: 10 receptions, 174 yards, 1 TD
DeMarcus Ware: 8 tackles (7 solo), 1.5 sacks
Philadelphia Eagles
Donovan McNabb: 27/46, 264, 1 TD, 2 INTs
Brian Westbrook: 16 carries, 65 yards, 1 TD, 14 receptions, 90 yards
Mike Patterson: 8 tackles (7 solo)

Pittsburgh Steelers 38, Baltimore Ravens 7
Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger: 13/16, 209 yards, 5 TDs
Santonio Holmes: 4 receptions, 110 yards, 2 TDs
Nate Washington: 3 receptions, 51 yards, 2 TDs
James Harrison: 9 tackles (8 solo), 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 FF
Troy Polamalu: 7 tackles, 1 FF
James Farrior: 6 tackles, 1 sack
Baltimore Ravens
Terrell Suggs: 11 tackles (6 solo), 1 sack

Players of the Week

  1. Adrian Peterson, MIN
  2. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT
  3. Drew Brees, NO
  4. Clinton Portis, WSH
  5. Randy Moss, NE


  1. James Harrison, PIT
  2. David Harris, NYJ
  3. Shaun Rogers, DET
  4. Corey Williams, GB
  5. Darnell Dockett, ARZ

Special Teams

  1. Antonio Cromartie, SD
  2. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX
  3. Glenn Holt, CIN
  4. Nate Burleson, SEA
  5. Leon Washington, NYJ

What a great week!

However, a dark cloud does hang over this day: Chad Johnson was taken off of the field in Buffalo on a stretcher with a neck injury. My prayers are with him and his family.

Future Thoughts
Here is a bold prediction: the winner of Monday's Baltimore-Pittsburgh game will beat New England. Like it, huh? But seriously, I think the team that comes out and dominates on defense and scores some points has a chance. Either team has the potential to do this, and each team has the potential to flop. I personally would like to see a Pittsburgh triumph, but I logically do not know who to pick. All I will say is that either the Steelers or Ravens will beat New England when they get their shot.

Well the Steelers set that straight. So my bold prediction is that the Pittsburgh Steelers will triumph over the New England Patriots later this season. I'm such a genius.

Hopefully next week can live up to this much excitement.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What Runs Through My Head

In all sports, any athlete will tell you that the preparation is almost as important as the actual event. Most athletes use music to help them get pumped up. Cross country is no different. I listen to the following 24-song playlist before every cross country meet. What you listen to when you run is imperative, as it is nearly impossible to change what is stuck in your head once you get going. So here it is:

1. “Hunting For Witches” – Bloc Party, A Weekend In the City. I have to be honest, I don’t really like Bloc Party. They maybe have two other good songs (“Banquet,” “Helicopter”), but this one joins them. The guitar riff is simply amazing, combined with the panning of the vocals throughout most of the song. There is keyboard present throughout the song, but it does not really bother me as the guitar riff starts to blend in. The vocals, which are panned between speakers at many parts throughout the song, are superb, as his (I forget his name) voice fluctuates between high and low. The first song on my playlist I listen to. The rest of the songs come on in a random order.

2. “We Used To Be Friends” – The Dandy Warhols, Welcome To The Monkey House. A casual listener passing by would not regard The Dandy Warhols as something to listen to get you pumped up, but I beg to differ. Even though Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s vocals are pretty relaxed, they do not lack the edge I search for to get pumped up. The verses of the song are all bass and keyboards, but when the chorus of the song hits, a heavily distorted guitar comes in. However, the guitar is not overpowering and it provides a very nice balance. And of course, in the verse, the clap-clap provides a rhythm that I somehow am addicted to.

3. “I Am Over It” – The Dandy Warhols, Welcome To The Monkey House. As a runner, you have a lot of time to stew over different events. I should have said this, I should have talked to her, I shouldn’t have done that-type of things. This song helps me get all of those distractions out of my head by telling myself that I actually am over it. Part of the Zen to running is clearing your mind of things that could be distracting during a race. The simple drums, bass, and guitar help get that point through to me and clear my mind. The Dandy Warhols really put me into a peaceful mood as I feel like I could fall asleep to a lot of their songs, but they somehow still pump me up.

4. “Exorcising Demons” – The Features, Exhibit A. This song basically serves the same purpose to me as “I Am Over It” does. I use the idea of exorcising the distractions for however many minutes I am running as a release. The song really clears my mind while pumping me up, not to mention how insane the bass is while the guitar plays a catchy yet heavy rhythm.

5. “The Heinrich Maneuver” – Interpol, Our Love To Admire. This song is good no matter what. From the catchy vocals to the unusual bass riff to the guitar, this song really gets me pumped up. I have had this song stuck in my head for a few of my races and they have been some of my best ones. The drums really get stuck in my head and the pre-chorus really pushes me and makes me get through the race. Interpol is a great band, by the way. This song has the urgency and frenetic energy you need to push you as a runner.

6. “All Fired Up” – Interpol, Our Love To Admire. This song does exactly what it says: it gets you fired up. The simple guitar riff combined with the repeated chant of “I’ll take you on/I’ll take you on/I’ll take you on/I’ll take you all on” really makes me feel like I can, well, take all the runners on. This is another song that frequents my head and creates a “me-against-the world” feeling. And it works. This song is fantastic. It really fires me up.

7. “Obstacle 1” – Interpol, Turn On The Bright Lights. I don’t really have much to say about this song, besides the fact that the repetitive lead guitar combined with the bass really creates a great rhythm to have in your head. The lyrics can be somewhat questionable (“Stories are boring and stuff/She’s always calling my bluff”) but it is one of my all-time favorite songs. The drums in the chorus provide for the urgency for me.

8. “Disorder” – Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures. I don’t really know why this song pumps me up. I think part of it is the bass, but other than that, this wouldn’t be a song that would pump a lot of people up. Probably only because it’s one of my favorites. Ian Curtis’ vocals are haunting and that contributes somehow to my pre-race psyche.

9. “She’s Lost Control” – Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures. Ditto what I said for “Disorder.”

10. “Charmer” – Kings of Leon, Because of the Times. Anyone who has heard this song knows that it really does pump you up. The heavy guitar and bass and drums contribute, but the real catalyst is the vocal talents of Caleb Followill. His inhuman screams really get the juices flowing. Makes me want to go out and just run fast.

11. “Four Kicks” – Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak. The drums push this song faster and faster which pushes me faster and faster while I run. Not to mention I think about the video, which is a huge fight, and that pushes me even harder.

12. “Atlantis to Interzone” – Klaxons, Myths of the Near Future. When I first heard this song, the one thing that struck me were the vocals and synth, but after listening to the song with headphones, I discovered what makes this song amazing: the bass. Just listen to it. The bass part is amazing. Just thinking about that is something that gets in your mind and doesn’t leave.

13. “Gravity’s Rainbow” – Klaxons, Myths of the Near Future. The bass is very good in this song, but not to the same extent as in “Atlantis to Interzone.” Other than that, and the guitar part somewhat, I don’t really know what gets me so pumped in this song.

14. “Four Horsemen of 2012” – Klaxons, Myths of the Near Future. Now I know why this song gets me pumped up. The screaming vocals with the low harmony combined with the keyboard and hi-hat part on the drums just make me want to run faster, as if I am running from the Four Horsemen. Listening to this song and really getting pumped can look pretty intimidating, I’ll tell you that much.

15. “Glass Ceiling” – Metric, Live It Out. The descending guitar and bass riffs are really the only reason I listen to this. I really like Emily Haines’ voice, too. Again, another one that pumps me up without me realizing it. Still a good one.

16. “Something Against Me” – Pixies, Surfer Rosa. Another “me-against-the world” type song as it makes you want to run the people that have something against you into the ground. The vocals are incomprehensible but the static guitar provides a good backbeat to have in your head. Yay for running!

17. “I’m Housin’” – Rage Against The Machine, Renegades. Well, it is Rage. Listening to RATM really just pumps you up. It is pretty self-explanatory.

18. “How I Could Just Kill A Man” – Rage Against The Machine, Renegades. Ditto to “I’m Housin’,” except it is even faster. Yeahhhhhhhhhh.

19. “100%” – Sonic Youth, Dirty. Well this is my favorite song of all-time, so it does deserve a spot on this list. That’s about it. This song probably gets stuck in my head the most out of all of them, and I like it, so I won’t complain.

20. “Chapel Hill” – Sonic Youth, Dirty. This song has the urgency behind it to get me through my running, and it is just a rockin’ song. It is tame compared to some of the other songs, but it has meaning behind that really, really makes me think. The guitar solo gets stuck in my head occasionally, and it rocks.

21. “Death Valley ‘69” – Sonic Youth with Lydia Lunch, Bad Moon Rising. Sonic Youth seems tame compared to some of the stuff that pumps me up, but the thing that gets me in “Death Valley ‘69” is Lydia Lunch’s vocals. They are really haunting and urgent, and her scream at the end really sets me up for my running.

22. “Nature of the Experiment” – Tokyo Police Club, A Lesson In Crime. The bass riff is the best part of the song, and the song talks about “Taking me in increments” which is what you really need to do to succeed in running. Whether you’re taking it a mile at a time, a half-mile at a time, or a quarter-mile at a time, to succeed you have to take it little by little.

23. “Citizens of Tomorrow” – Tokyo Police Club, A Lesson In Crime. “Citizens of Tomorrow” has only really gotten stuck in my head once, at Bull Run after I fell, and the line that was in my head was “This is not how we planned it.” It was fitting for that race, as it did not go how I planned. The song is quite somber, as it is about getting blown apart by robots, but it puts the idea that every race could be your last in your head and that you need to really race your hardest every time out.

24. “White Noise” – The Vacation, The Band From World War Zero. First off, the guitar riff is super-catchy. Not catchy, super-catchy. The screaming vocals feel like an adrenaline rush. Yeah, it gets me pumped up.

Well, my analyzing skills really fell of there at the end, but I stand firm by my claim that running is the one sport where you can be affected the most mentally. You have to have your mind cleared and something that is not distracting, but something that will keep the distance you are running out of your mind. It’s a delicate balance. If you don’t believe me, join a cross country team.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I should be slapped…

I should be slapped and you all are going to rip me apart for saying what I am about to say.

I have no problem with how the Patriots are playing football.

Quick scroll down and leave a comment before I explain.

First off, I am not a Patriots fan. I rooted for them in 2001 and was partial to them during their other Super Bowl runs. I think Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but superstardom has taken away some of the qualities I used to like in him. I'm not a huge Belichick fan, but I will acknowledge that he is a good coach.

So anyway, back to my point. I don't see anything classless by what the Patriots did. Sure, throwing for a touchdown on 4th and 2 with a huge lead is probably the closest they came, but some of this blame should fall on the Redskins. I mean, isn't it the defense's job to stop the offense? So basically, if you can't stop the offense, you just want them to lay down and die? That's not going to happen. People's jobs are to score points. If they don't score the points, they aren't doing their job.

So hypothetically, Wes Welker catches a pass in the right flat, turns up field, breaks a tackle, and is in the clear. It's 28-0 in favor of the Patriots. What do you want him to do? Fall down after getting a first down? Run out of bounds at the one yard line? No, he's going to try to score. He's doing his job. If the defense did its job of trying to stop him, maybe it would be a different story.

Last week, Belichick had a 42-7 lead against a lethargic Dolphins offense and the next thing you know, he's down to a 14 point lead. Belichick probably did not want to make that mistake again with a more powerful Redskins offense. But again, some of the blame for the Patriots "running up the score" can be placed on the Redskins defense. Look at the length of the Patriots' possessions from the game:

Possession 1: 14 plays, 90 yards, 7:16 TOP, TOUCHDOWN
Possession 2: 5 plays, 15 yards, 2:12 TOP, Punt
Possession 3: 9 plays, 67 yards, 5:09 TOP, TOUCHDOWN
Possession 4: 4 plays, 3 yards, 0:57 TOP, FIELD GOAL
Possession 5: 1 play, 0 yards, 0:08 TOP, Fumble
Possession 6: 8 plays, 73 yards, 1:32 TOP, TOUCHDOWN
Possession 7: 13 plays, 85 yards, 7:46 TOP, TOUCHDOWN
Possession 8: 14 plays, 88 yards, 7:56 TOP, TOUCHDOWN
Possession 9: 6 plays, 45 yards, 2:37 TOP, TOUCHDOWN
Possession 10: 3 plays, -9 yards, 1:54 TOP, Punt
Possession 11: 1 play, -1 yards, 0:22 TOP, END OF GAME

My point is that the Patriots weren't just getting the ball and chucking it downfield for an easy touchdown. They were moving the ball and eating up clock while they were doing it. The Redskins just couldn't stop it. Some of you out there think that the backups should have just gotten the ball and taken knees. Well they aren't going to. The backups are trying to make the team. Even in a 52-7 win, if a backup misses a block or a tackle, that could be it for them. They are trying to stay on the team and if the only playing time they get is in garbage time, they are going to make the most of it.

The Patriots offense was just too good for the Redskins defense. The Patriots still have class. They were playing smashmouth football. They were not going to stop until they actually were stopped, which only happened three times the entire game. If you can only force a turnover or a punt on three occasions, you're going to lose. If your team goes 2-12 on third down conversions, you're going to lose. If you give up 486 yards of offense, you are most likely going to lose. If you let them have the ball for over thirty-seven minutes, you're going to lose. Get it?

See my point? The Redskins defense couldn't stop the Patriots offense.

And guess what happened?

The Patriots won.

By a lot.

So all you Colts fan you get your knickers in a twist after the Patriots score an insurmountable amount of points, think about your defense.

The Patriots are just playing football.