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, CBS Sportsline, or, 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.