Monday, December 11, 2017

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Thirtysomething wife to husband:  "You'd probably be a good singer if you weren't tone deaf."
--Austin, TX
Eavesdropper:  Waterloo Sunset

Friday, December 08, 2017

Hair Band Friday - 12/8/17

1.  "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison

2.  "Mama I'm Coming Home" by Ozzy Osbourne

3.  "High Enough" by Damn Yankees

4.  "Panama" by Van Halen

5.  "Bad Boys Running Wild" by Scorpions

6.  "Lay It Down" by Ratt

7.  "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)" by Quiet Riot

8.  "Living After Midnight" by Judas Priest

9.  "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" by Joan Jett

10.  "Heaven" by Warrant

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Ultimate Holiday Party Playlist

It's been a few years since I've blessed you fine people with my Ultimate Holiday Playlist, and for that I insincerely apologize.  Now that we're in December, I can guaran-damn-tee that we're going to be going to some parties.  And if you're throwing one of those parties or for some reason you're in charge of the music at one of those parties, then consider me your sherpa on the journey to the apex of yuletide anal aural bliss.

As I've mentioned in the past, the playlist is geared towards adult parties where people will not want to fall asleep (at least not without the help of some wicked egg nog your brother makes with lighter fluid), so the list does not contain some slower holiday classics like Nat King Cole's "Christmas Song," Bing Crosby's version of "White Christmas," or any of the many versions of "Baby, It's Cold Outside."  If you want your playlist to conjure in your guests images of people fire-roasting nuts that no one really eats anymore, a man beating his children with a sack of sweet Valencia oranges, or a man slipping a girl a mickey so she won't leave his apartment, then by all means, add those songs to your playlist.

Also, my list does not contain songs geared towards children, like "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" or "Nuttin' For Christmas."  If you are going to have a holiday party with children who hate snitches or who are enamored with the thought of an elderly woman being trampled to death by nine 400-pound hoofed animals, then by all means, add those songs to your playlist.

I should also note that I haven't had a chance to listen Cheap Trick's new Christmas album, which is supposed to be good, so next year's list may include a selection or two from Rockford's finest.

What my list does contain is 58 holiday-themed songs from different genres and time periods that will make your holiday party one to remember.  Or not remember if you make it a "Baby, It's Cold Outside"-themed party, which may be a nice satirical way to commemorate 2017, aka the Year of the Groper.

So you can download these songs, make a mix tape, make a YouTube playlist, or make a Spotify playlist -- or whatever it is you kids do these days with music you don't own forever -- and just stick to these or add some non-holiday songs into the mix if you're feeling haughty.

Here are the songs in alphabetical order by song title.  Yes, there are some songs with multiple versions, but I assure you, they are all worth -- and that's why the "shuffle" feature was invented anyway, just in case you were going to play these in order:

1.  "2000 Miles" by The Pretenders
2.  "All I Want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey
3.  "Back Door Santa" by Clarence Carter
4.  "The Bells of St. Mary" by Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans
5.  "Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley
6.  "The Chanukah Song" by Adam Sandler
7.  "The Chipmunk Song (Please Christmas Don't Be Late)" by The Chipmunks
8.  "Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
9.  "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" by Darlene Love
10.  "Christmas In Hollis" by Run-D.M.C.
11.  "Christmas Is Going To The Dogs" by Eels
12.  "The Christmas Song" by The Raveonettes
13.  "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)" by The Darkness
14.  "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses
15.  "Christmas Vacation" by Mavis Staples
16.  "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid
17.  "(Everybody's Waiting For) The Man With the Bag" by Kay Starr
18.  "Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday" by William Bell
19.  "Father Christmas" by The Kinks
20.  "Frosty the Snowman" by The Ronettes
21.  "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" by John Lennon
22.  "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans
23.  "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" by The Jackson 5
24.  "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" by Wizzard
25.  "(It Must've Been) Ol' Santa Claus" by Harry Connick, Jr.
26.  "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms
27.  "Jingle Bells" by Wayne Newton
28.  "Jingle Bells" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
29.  "Just Like Christmas" by Low
30.  "Last Christmas" by Wham!
31.  "Little Drummer Boy" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
32.  "Little Saint Nick" by The Beach Boys
33.  "Mele Kalikimaka" by Bing Crosby
34.  "Merry Christmas Baby" by Lou Rawls
35.  "Merry Christmas, Baby" by The Beach Boys
36.  "Merry Xmas Everybody" by Slade
37.  "Oi To the World" by No Doubt
38.  "One Little Christmas Tree" by Stevie Wonder
39.  "A Party for Santa Claus" by Lord Nelson
40.  "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
41.  "Please Come Home For Christmas" by Charles Brown
42.  "Rock and Roll Christmas" by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
43.  "Rock-a-Billy Christmas" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
44.  "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee
45.  "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by The Crystals
46.  "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" by The Temptations
47.  "Run Rudolph Run" by Chuck Berry
48.  "Run Rudolph Run" by Lemmy Kilmister
49.  "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" by The Crystals
50.  "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" by Bruce Springsteen
51.  "Santa's Beard" by The Beach Boys
52.  "Sleigh Ride" by The Ronette
53.  "What Christmas Means to Me" by Stevie Wonder
54.  "White Christmas" by Darlene Love
55.  "White Christmas" by The Drifters
56.  "White Christmas" by Otis Redding (my favorite version of "White Christmas")
57.  "Winter Wonderland" by Darlene Love
58.  "'Zat You Santa Claus?" by Louis Armstrong & The Commanders

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Father Christmas" by The Kinks

Now that we are into December, as we do every year here at GMYH, the Retro Videos of the Week this month will be holiday themed.  First up is The Kinks' "Father Christmas."  While technically it falls outside the time limitations of Retro Video of the Week (i.e., the MTV era), it's too fucking important to worry about time limitations and, frankly, there are only so many holiday-themed music videos from the MTV era to go around.  Plus, it's a great song.  So there you go.  Happy St. Nicholas Day, bastards.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Tuesday Top Ten: Best Breweries of 2017

A few days ago, I came across an article on the World Wide Web entitled "The 10 Best Breweries of 2017."  I like beer, so I decided to check it out.  They all sound fantastic, and I take it as a good sign that I haven't heard of many of them despite the fact that I drink a lot of beer.  They all appear to be regional/local breweries.  Here's the list:
-Brew Gentlemen (Braddock, PA)
-Triple Crossing (Richmond, VA)
-Two Roads (Stratford, CT)
-WeldWorks (Greeley, CO)
-Jackie O's (Athens, OH)
-Perennial (St. Louis, MO)
-Societe (San Diego, CA)
-J. Wakefield (Miami, FL)
-Austin Beer Garden (Austin, TX)
-Tired Hands (Ardmore, PA)

I went to the almighty Untappd to see if any of the 2,276 unique beers I've checked in belong to any of these ten breweries.  The only one was Perennial, and I've had six of their beers.  Here they are (with my rating), in reverse chronological order of when I drank them:
-Sump Coffee Stout (4 stars)
-Meriwether saison (4.25 stars)
-Suburban Beverage gose (3.5 stars)
-Dual Artisanship saison (3.5 stars)
-Black Walnut Dunkel dunkelweizen (4 stars)
-Saison de Lis (4 stars)

So if Perennial is any indication of the quality of the rest of the list, then apparently I need to take a trip to Binny's to see if any of they have non-IPAs from any of these breweries.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Hair Band Friday - 12/1/17

1.  "Love On The Rocks" by Poison

2.  "Cabo Wabo" by Van Halen

3.  "Operation: Mindcrime" by Queensr├┐che

4.  "Electric Gypsy" by L.A. Guns

5.  "Fractured Love" by Def Leppard

6.  "Signs" (live) by Tesla

7.  "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)" by Cinderella

8.  "Spiders" by Ozzy Osbourne

9.  "Seasons of Change" by FireHouse

10.  "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Retro Video of the Week: "Beat It" by Michael Jackson

Tomorrow is the 35th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller, the highest-selling album in the history of the world.  I'm not sure there's anything else I need to say.

Undefeated After Week 13

It was another action-packed and upset-heavy weekend of college football, as #1 Alabama fell in the Iron Bowl to #6 Auburn, 26-14, while #2 Miami lost at unranked Pitt in a 24-14 shocker.  That leaves only two undefeated FBS teams:  #4 Wisconsin (who finally makes an appearance in the CFP Top 4) and #14 Central Florida.

In last night's release of the College Football Playoff rankings, there were some major changes, as expected.  Alabama and Miami fell out of the Top 4, to #5 and #7, respectively.  Clemson moves up to #1, Auburn leaped everyone else to get to #2, Oklahoma moved up a spot to #3, and, as mentioned above, undefeated Wisconsin moved up from #5 to #4.  

The crazy thing is that all four of these teams could lose this weekend because they are all playing teams in the Top 11 of the CFP rankings that conceivably all still have a shot at getting into the Playoff with a win.  Clemson plays #7 Miami in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, which is a hell of a lot closer to Clemson than Coral Gables, but those Hurricanes are going to be pissed after last weekend.  Auburn plays #6 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.  Oklahoma plays #11 TCU in the Big XII Championship game in Arlington -- about 18 miles from TCU's campus, and about 175 miles closer to TCU's campus than OU's.  Finally, Wisconsin plays #8 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.  Needless to say, it should be a hell of an exciting championship weekend.  Whatever happens, I just hope Alabama doesn't sneak in the back door again without winning the SEC West, like in 2011 when the Crimson Tide went to the BCS championship game despite finishing 2nd in the SEC West.

Here are the top 4 teams in the CFP ranking, along with each team's best win and worst loss, where applicable:
1.  Clemson (11-1)
Best win:  #2 Auburn (9/9; 14-6)
Worst loss:  at Syracuse (10/13; 27-24)
2.  Auburn (10-2)
Best win:  #5 Alabama (11/25; 26-14)
Worst loss:  at #17 LSU (10/16; 27-23)
3.  Oklahoma (11-1)
Best win:  at #8 Ohio State (9/9; 31-16)
Worst loss:  Iowa State (10/7; 38-31)
4.  Wisconsin (12-0)
Best win:  #21 Northwestern (9/30; 33-24)
Worst loss:  N/A

Here is a breakdown of the remaining undefeated teams and each team's remaining games (rankings are CFB Playoff Committee rankings):

#4 Wisconsin 12-0
12/2 – Big Ten championship game (Indianapolis) vs. #6 Ohio State (10-2)
Best win:  #23 Northwestern (9/30; 33-24)

#14 Central Florida 11-0
12/2 – AAC championship game (at UCF) vs. #20 Memphis (10-1)
Best win:  #20 Memphis (9/30; 40-13)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tuesday Top Ten: Best Current British Rock Drummers

Between gorging myself with food and drink over the last six days, sleeping and sitting on my couch while millions of idiots woke up at 4 a.m. to go shopping on a Friday, and satisfying my ubiquitous acute fecalphilia, I haven't had time to write my own Tuesday Top Ten this week.  However, I came across this article entitled "The 10 best British rock drummers in the world right now," which I thought was a good read.  While I don't know several of the bands, I was happy to see that Rufus Taylor of The Darkness and Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood -- the drummers for two of my favorite current bands -- made the list.  Tally-Ho!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Big Ten Bowl Outlook

This year, I somehow managed to post a weekly look at the Big Ten's bowl chances, so now that we're in the last week of regular season games for the Big Ten, it's now or never.

As we enter Rivalry Week, we know who will be playing in the Big Ten Championship Game on December 2 (Wisconsin and Ohio State), but there is still a lot at stake for most of the Big Ten schools, whether it's bowl eligibility, beating a rival, or just getting a better bowl berth.

This past Saturday, my beloved Hoosiers trounced Rutgers, 41-0, for their first Big Ten shutout since 1993.  The Hoosiers are now 5-6.  Meanwhile, those loathsome Boilermakers upset Iowa at home to get to 5-6.  That means this Saturday's Old Oaken Bucket game in West Lafayette will be for more than just bragging rights.  Whoever wins becomes bowl eligible, and whoever loses will stay home for the holidays.  Meanwhile, Minnesota is also sitting at 5-6, looking to pull a major upset in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe with Wisconsin this Saturday.

With their losses last Saturday, Maryland, Nebraska, and Rutgers join Illinois in the ranks of non-bowl-eligible teams.  Nebraska has now lost 5 of its last 6 (and giving up 50+ points in three of those losses), bringing Mike Riley's three-year tenure in Lincoln to an unceremonious end.  The Cornhuskers will miss a bowl for the first time since 2007 (and for the first time since joining the Big Ten in 2011) and for only the third time in the last 47 seasons.  If they lose to Iowa this weekend, they will fall to 4-8, which would be the most losses in a season for Nebraska since 1957.

Here are this past Saturday's results, as well as this coming week's slate of games (rankings are CFP):

Week 12 results:
Indiana 41 Rutgers 0
#5 Wisconsin 24 #24 Michigan 10
#9 Ohio State 52 Illinois 14
#10 Penn State 56 Nebraska 44
#17 Michigan State 17 Maryland 7
#23 Northwestern 39 Minnesota 0
Purdue 24 Iowa 15

Week 13 schedule (times listed are Eastern)
Friday 11/24
Iowa at Nebraska (4 p.m.; FS1)
Saturday 11/25
Indiana at Purdue (12 p.m.; ESPN2)
Ohio State at Michigan (12 p.m.; Fox)
Wisconsin at Minnesota (3:30 p.m.; ABC)
Penn State at Maryland (3:30 p.m.; BTN)
Michigan State at Rutgers (4 p.m.; Fox)
Northwestern at Illinois (4 p.m.; FS1)

Big Ten Bowl Partnerships
Before I delve into my analysis of each Big Ten team's bowl prospects, it makes sense to discuss which bowls are in play.  The Big Ten has partnerships with nearly a dozen bowls, but the selection process can be a bit confusing, as some bowls will only take a Big Ten team in certain years, others won't take a team if that team has played in the bowl within the past few years, and no school can go to the same bowl in consecutive years (not counting the CFP and Rose Bowl).  This is where the Big Ten's bowl determination procedures come into play.

Here is a breakdown of the Big Ten bowl selection hierarchy.  It is important to remember that, for the bowls not involving the champion or CFP rankings, the bowls do not have to choose Big Ten teams by order of finish.  For instance, if a particular bowl has third choice, it is not required to take the third-best Big Ten team.  Anyway, here is my attempt to wade through the muck.

1.  College Football Playoff (Pasadena and New Orleans, 1/1; Atlanta, 1/8)
Obviously, if a Big Ten team finishes the season in the top four of the CFP rankings, it will play in the College Football Playoff.

2.  Cotton Bowl (Dallas, 12/29), Fiesta Bowl (Phoenix, 12/30), or Peach Bowl (Atlanta, 1/1)
If the Big Ten champion does not qualify for the College Football Playoff this year, then it will play in one of these three bowls.  Normally, it would play in the Rose Bowl, but the Rose Bowl is hosting a CFP semifinal game this year.

3.  Orange Bowl (Miami, 12/30) OR Citrus Bowl (Orlando, 1/1)
The Orange Bowl will take the highest-ranked of the Big Ten non-champion teams, SEC teams, or Notre Dame to play an ACC team.  The Big Ten is guaranteed at least three Orange Bowl appearances between the 2014 and 2025 seasons.  Thus far, Michigan (last year) is the only Big Ten team to have played in the Orange Bowl in that span.

If a Big Ten school isn't selected by the Orange Bowl, then the Citrus Bowl gets first choice of the remaining Big Ten teams.  However, five different Big Ten schools must appear in the Citrus Bowl during the six-year agreement, which I think started with the 2014 season. Michigan and Minnesota have appeared in the Citrus Bowl since then.

4.  Outback Bowl (Tampa, 1/1)
Five different Big Ten schools must appear in the Outback Bowl during the six-year agreement, which appears to have started in 2014.  Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Iowa have played in the Outback Bowl since then.

5.  Holiday Bowl (San Diego, 12/28)
Five different Big Ten schools must appear in the Holiday Bowl during the six-year agreement, which started in 2014.  Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Minnesota have played in the Holiday Bowl since then.

6.  Music City Bowl (Nashville, 12/29) OR TaxSlayer Bowl (Jacksonville, 12/30)
The next choice is either the Music City or TaxSlayer Bowl.  During the six-year agreement (which began in 2014), each bowl gets three Big Ten teams, but no Big Ten team can play in each bowl more than once.  Thus far, Nebraska has played in the Music City Bowl, and Iowa and Penn State have played in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

7.  Pinstripe Bowl (Bronx, 12/27)
Six different schools must appear in the Pinstripe Bowl during the six-year agreement, which started in 2014.  Penn State, Indiana, and Northwestern have played in the Pinstripe Bowl since then.

8.  Foster Farms Bowl (Santa Clara, 12/27)
Five different Big Ten schools must appear in the Foster Farms Bowl during the six-year agreement, which started in 2014.  Maryland, Nebraska, and Indiana have played in the Foster Farms Bowl since then.

9.  Quick Lane Bowl (Detroit, 12/26)
There is no limitation on the Quick Lane Bowl, other than the team must be bowl-eligible.  Since the bowl was founded in 2014, Rutgers, Minnesota, and Maryland have played in it.

10.  Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas, 12/26)
The Big Ten has an alternating tie-in with the Armed Forces Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl.  This year, the Heart of Dallas Bowl is up.  Like the Quick Lane Bowl, there is no limitation, other than bowl eligibility.  Illinois is the only Big Ten team that has played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl since the current agreement went into place in 2014.

Big Ten Bowl Outlook
Let's take a look at the bowl chances of each Big Ten team who is still eligible.  I'll list each team's current record (overall and conference), and then I'll break down each team's (1) remaining game and whether it is a likely win, loss, or toss-up, (2) analysis of the team, (4) how many more games they need to win to become bowl-eligible, where applicable, and (5) for those teams that have clinched a bowl, the realistic best and worst-case bowl scenarios.  For sake of ease, I'm just going to go in alphabetical order.

1.  Indiana
Record:  5-6 (3-5)
Remaining game:  Purdue (11/25) (likely win)
Analysis:  As I mentioned above, IU dominated Rutgers last weekend in Bloomington, setting up a trip to West Lafayette with bowl eligibility on the line.  A win would mean the Hoosiers' third straight bowl game, which they haven't done since 1986-1988.  It would also mean a five-game winning streak for IU over Purdue, which would be the Hoosiers' longest winning streak against the Boilers in their 120-game rivalry.  Purdue is vastly improved this year, but I think the Hoosiers can squeak out a victory in that glorified high school stadium they call Ross-Ade.
Number of wins still needed to become bowl-eligible:  1

2.  Iowa
Record:  6-5 (3-5)
Remaining game:  at Nebraska (11/24) (likely win)
Analysis:  Iowa is hard to figure out.  One week, they are dropping 55 points on Ohio State and then two weeks later, they are scoring only 15 points en route to losing to Purdue at home on Senior Day.  At least they are already bowl eligible.
Best case bowl scenario:  Pinstripe Bowl
Worst case bowl scenario:  Heart of Dallas Bowl

3.  Michigan
Record:  8-3 (5-3)
Remaining game:  Ohio State (11/25) (likely loss)
Analysis:  Another week, another Wolverines QB injured.  With Ohio State coming to Ann Arbor this weekend, it's not great timing for Michigan.  Perhaps, they can rally to pull off an upset, but I wouldn't bank on it.
Best case bowl scenario:  Outback Bowl
Worst case bowl scenario:  Music City Bowl or TaxSlayer Bowl

4.  Michigan State
Record:  8-3 (6-2)
Remaining game:  at Rutgers (11/25) (likely win)
Analysis:  After a down season last year in which Sparty didn't go to a bowl, Michigan State bounced back this year and should win 9 games with only Rutgers left on the slate.
Best case bowl scenario:  Citrus Bowl
Worst case bowl scenario:  Pinstripe Bowl

5.  Minnesota
Record:  5-6 (2-6)
Remaining game:  Wisconsin (11/25) (likely loss)
Probable win total:  5
Analysis:  Barring a major upset on Saturday, it looks like the Gophers' streak of five consecutive bowl games will come to an end.  After starting out 3-0, Minnesota has lost 6 of 8, scoring more than 24 points only twice in the process.  Then again, it is Paul Bunyan's Axe up for grabs on Saturday, so the Gophers may put together an emotional win at home.
Number of wins still needed to become bowl-eligible:  1

6.  Northwestern
Record:  8-3 (6-2)
Remaining game:  at Illinois (11/25) (likely win)
Analysis:  The Wildcats continue to chug along as a formidable Big Ten team, already clinching their eighth bowl of the Pat Fitzgerald era.  Fitzgerald has already taken the Wildcats to more bowls than all other coaches in Northwestern history combined.  With lowly Illinois up next, Northwestern should win 9+ games for the fourth time under Fitzgerald and eighth time in school history.
Best case bowl scenario:  Citrus Bowl
Worst case bowl scenario:  Music City Bowl or TaxSlayer Bowl

7.  Ohio State
Record:  9-2 (7-1)
Remaining game:  at Michigan (11/25) (likely win)
Analysis:  The 2-loss Buckeyes are still trying to sneak in the back door of the College Football Playoff, but they have to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor this Saturday and then Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game next Saturday (and some other teams will have to lose).  Most importantly, they can't look past the Wolverines to next weekend -- not that the Ohio State-Michigan game could ever be a trap game.
Best case bowl scenario:  College Football Playoff
Worst case bowl scenario:  Citrus Bowl

8.  Penn State
Record:  9-2 (6-2)
Remaining game:  at Maryland (11/25) (likely win)
Analysis:  The Nittany Lions are looking for their second consecutive 10+-win season, which hasn't happened since 2009-2009.  With Maryland up next, it should be doable.
Best case bowl scenario:  Orange Bowl
Worst case bowl scenario:  Holiday Bowl

9.  Purdue
Record:  5-6 (3-5)
Remaining game:  Indiana (11/25) (likely loss)
Analysis:  Fuck Purdue.
Number of wins still needed to become bowl-eligible:  1

10.  Wisconsin
Record:  11-0 (8-0)
Remaining game:  at Minnesota (11/25) (likely win)
Analysis:  The Badgers are 11-0 for the first time in school history, and only two games stand between them and a CFP berth.  Like Ohio State, Wisconsin can't look past this weekend to the Big Ten Championship game, especially since Minnesota needs a win to become bowl-eligible.
Best case bowl scenario:  College Football Playoff
Worst case bowl scenario:  Citrus Bowl