Friday, July 20, 2018

Hair Band Friday - 7/20/18

1.  "Little Bit Of Soul" by Bon Jovi


2.  "Will The Sun Rise?" by Dokken


3.  "Mine All Mine" by Van Halen


4.  "Never Say Never" by Mr. Big


5.  "Left Me Stray" by Britny Fox


6.  "You Are The One" by Slaughter


7.  "No No No" by Def Leppard


8.  "Skyscraper" by David Lee Roth


9.  "Give to Live" by Sammy Hagar


10.  "I Did It For Love" by Night Ranger

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Retro Video of the Week: "In a Big Country" by Big Country

Sunday marked the 35th anniversary of the release of Scottish new wavers Big Country's debut album, The Crossing.  The album was their best charting in the U.S., topping out at #18 on the Billboard album charts, and it hit the Top Ten on the album charts in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand.

In the States, the band is known for their single off that album, "In a Big Country," an infectious '80s new wave pop song with guitars made to sound like strings and bagpipes.  It was the group's only Top 40 single in the U.S., reaching #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 -- though the band would have Top 20 songs on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1988 ("King of Emotion"; #11) and 1993 ("The One I Love"; #17).  

While the band is considered a one-hit wonder in the U.S., Big Country had much more success in their native UK, with The Crossing hitting #3 on the UK album charts and their three following albums -- Steeltown (1984), The Seer (1986), and Peace in Our Time (1988) -- hitting #1, #2, and #9 on the UK album charts, respectively.  In addition, the band had 15 Top 40 hits on the UK pop charts between 1983 and 1993, including four Top 10 songs.  They were equally as successful on the Irish pop charts, notching 11 Top 25 hits, including three Top 10s, one of which was a #1 (1986's "Look Away" -- not to be confused with Chicago's hit of the same name several years later).

But here's the song of theirs that everyone knows, with a very '80s video to go with it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Tuesday Top Ten: All-Time Most Successful World Cup Countries


The World Cup came to a close this past Sunday, with France taking home its second star by beating upstart Croatia 4-2.  Meanwhile, in the Third Place game, Belgium achieved its best-ever finish by taking down England, 2-0, for the Red Devils' second win over the Three Lions at this World Cup.

With France's second win, where does that now stack them up against other traditional powerhouses?  I like to quantify things, so that's what I'm going to do to figure out which countries are the ten best ever at the World Cup. 

Here is my completely arbitrary, but not completely unreasonable, point system:
Each World Cup appearance:  1 point
Loss in the Round of 16:  2 points
Loss in the Quarterfinals (or in the second Group Stage for the few World Cups where that was a thing):  4 points
Fourth place finish:  6 points
Third place finish:  8 points
Runner up:  10 points
Championship:  15 points

As you may have guessed, it's pretty top-heavy.  Out of 21 World Cups, there have been only eight countries that have won (if you consider Germany and West Germany the same), and England and Spain are the only two of those countries with only one title.  What's even crazier is that only 13 countries have ever played in the World Cup final:  Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany/West Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay.

Anywho, here are the ten all-time most successful countries in World Cup history (note that FIFA considers several present-day countries to the be the successor to prior countries, and I've noted that with slashes):

1.  Germany/West Germany (175 points)
Appearances:  19 (19 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  1 (2 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or in second Group Stage):  4 (16 points)
Fourth place:  1 (6 points)
Third place:  4 (32 points)
Runner up:  4 (40 points)
Championships:  4 (60 points)

FIFA considers Germany to be the successor for records purposes to West Germany and the prior German national team.  In their combined 19 World Cup appearances, Die Mannschaft have failed to reach the semifinals only six times.  Their eight title game appearances and 13 Top 4 finishes are the most of any country.  This year was the first time in those 19 appearances that Germany failed to advance out of the Group Stage.

2. Brazil (168 points)
Appearances:  21 (21 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  2 (4 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or in second Group Stage):  5 (20 points)
Fourth place:  2 (12 points)
Third place:  2 (16 points)
Runner up:  2 (20 points)
Championships:  5 (75 points)

This year's quarterfinal loss to Belgium may have prevented Brazil from taking the top spot.  They are the only country to have been to every World Cup, they have won more titles than any other country, and they have finished in the Top 4 in eleven of 21 World Cups.  The last time they failed to advance out of the Group Stage was 1966.

3.  Italy (120 points)
Appearances:  18 (18 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  2 (4 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  1 (4 points)
Fourth place:  1 (6 points)
Third place:  1 (8 points)
Runner up:  2 (20 points)
Championships:  4 (60 points)

The Azzurri have had consistent success throughout the history of the World Cup.  After not entering the first World Cup, they won the next two, won again in 1982, and then won their fourth star in 2006 in the infamous Zidane headbutt game.  And, of course, they could have five titles, were it not for Roberto Baggio's disastrous penalty shoutout miss in the 1994 final against Brazil.  Between 1970 and 2006, Italy finished in the top four at the World Cup in six of the ten World Cups.  Group Stage exits in 2010 and 2014 and the failure to qualify in 2018 have made the last eight years rough for Italian fans, but I'm sure they'll bounce back in 2022.

4.  Argentina (95 points)
Appearances:  17 (17 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  3 (6 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  6 (12 points)
Fourth place:  0 (0 points)
Third place:  0 (0 points)
Runner up:  3 (30 points)
Championships:  2 (30 points)

After a runner-up finish in the inaugural World Cup, things went dark for Argentina for nearly 40 years, until Diego Maradona led La Albiceleste to two World Cup titles and another runner-up finish over a 12-year span.  Lionel Messi has tried to resurrect the team, and got them as far as another runner-up finish at the 2014 World Cup before a disappointing Group Stage this year, where Argentina's 1-1-1 record allowed it to squeak in before bowing out 4-3 in the Round of 16 to eventual champion France.

5.  France (87 points)
Appearances:  15 (15 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  1 (2 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  2 (8 points)
Fourth place:  1 (6 points)
Third place:  2 (16 points)
Runner up:  1 (10 points)
Championships:  2 (30 points)

Les Bleus dominated this World Cup on their way to their second star, with 6 wins, 1 draw, no losses, and a 14-6 goal differential.  Since 1982, France has two titles, a runner-up finish, and a third and fourth place finish.  What's crazy is that their 1998 title came after failing to qualify for the previous two World Cups -- the only nation to have ever won the World Cup after failing to qualify for the prior two World Cups.  (Note:  Uruguay won the World Cup in 1950 after failing to participate in the prior two World Cups, but it qualified for at least one of them and refused to participate.)

6.  Uruguay (75 points)
Appearances:  13 (13 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  3 (6 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  2 (8 points)
Fourth place:  3 (18 points)
Third place:  0 (0 points)
Runner up:  0 (0 points)
Championships:  2 (30 points)

La Celeste won two out of the first four World Cups and notched two Fourth Place finishes in 1954 and 1970, and then went on a 40-year drought before their next podium finish (a Fourth Place finish in 2010).  They have now made it out of the Group Stage for three consecutive World Cups -- the best run in the team's history.

7.  England (74 points)
Appearances:  15 (15 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  2 (4 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  7 (28 points)
Fourth place:  2 (12 points)
Third place:  0 (points)
Runner up:  0 (0 points)
Championships:  1 (15 points)

The Three Lions breathed life back into the normally pessimistic English fan base with a Fourth Place finish at this year's World Cup.  Generally, though, England is consistently okay -- above average, but not great.  Their championship in 1966 on home soil seems to be an anomaly, but at the same time, they generally make it out of Group Stage before bowing out in the Round of 16 or quarterfinals, mixed in with the occasional jaunt beyond that every 24 to 28 years.

8.  Netherlands (66 points)
Appearances:  10 (10 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  4 (8 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  1 (4 points)
Fourth place:  1 (6 points)
Third place:  1 (8 points)
Runner up:  3 (30 points)
Championships:  0 (0 points)

The Clockwork Orange always seems to be a bridesmaid, but never a bride, having captured five Top 4 finishes since 1974, but never a title.  It was a shock when they didn't qualify for this year's World Cup, especially given the fact that they were 3rd in 2014 and 2nd in 2010.  That seems to be their MO, however:  do well for a few World Cups in a row, fail to qualify, repeat.

9.  Spain (62 points)
Appearances:  15 (15 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  3 (6 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  5 (20 points)
Fourth place:  1 (6 points)
Third place:  0 (0 points)
Runner up:  0 (0 points)
Championships:  1 (15 points)

With the exception of their 2010 title, Spain is always good, but not great.  The Roja have qualified for the last eleven World Cups, but only made it past the quarterfinals once in that time (2010).  This year's Round of 16 loss to Russia was certainly an unexpected blow for a team that is looking to establish itself as a more consistent contender on the world stage.

10.  Sweden (60 points)
Appearances:  12 (12 points)
Lost in the Round of 16:  2 (4 points)
Lost in the Quarterfinals (or second Group Stage):  3 (12 points)
Fourth place:  1 (6 points)
Third place:  2 (16 points)
Runner up:  1 (10 points)
Championships:  0 (0 points)

The Blue-Yellow are kind of the surprise on this list, to me anyway.  They were very solid back in the first several World Cups, garnering three Top 4 finishes between 1938 and 1958.  Then, they finished 3rd in 1994.  In recent years, they haven't been as fantastic.  This year's appearance in the World Cup was the first since 2006.  Granted, Sweden advanced to the quarters this year, so it was a triumphant return.

Honorable mention (the next ten):  Belgium (47 points); Serbia/Serbia and Montenegro/Yugoslavia (42 points); Hungary (41 points); Russia/USSR (39 points); Mexico (38 points); Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia (37 points); Poland (32 points); Switzerland (31 points); USA (30 points); Austria (29 points)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Thirtysomething female when discussing lost iron with husband:  "I don't know how to use an iron, so I would never lose one."
--Chicago
Eavesdropper:  The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

And while this technically isn't Midwestern Eavesdropping, it was too good not to share, as it's about the most Chicago thing I've seen.  A traffic sign above I-90 said:
NO TEXTING
NO SPEEDING
NO KETCHUP
--Chicago, Kennedy Expressway
Eavesdropper:  GMYH

As always, if you overhear something funny or ridiculous (or that can be taken completely out of context), email it to gmyhblog@yahoo.com, along with the location you heard it and your preferred eavesdropping handle, for inclusion in the next exciting edition of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hair Band Friday - 7/13/18

1.  "One More Reason" by L.A. Guns


2.  "D.F.N.S." by Danger Danger



3.  "Don't Wanna Let You Go" by Quiet Riot



4.  "Hit Me With The News" by Gorky Park



5.  "Sticks & Stones" by Dangerous Toys



6.  "Unchained" by Van Halen



7.  "Ecstasy" by Vinnie Vincent Invasion



8.  "One Step Away" by Ratt



9.  "Party's Over" by Tesla



10.  "Baby's On Fire" by Great White

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Retro Video of the Week: "It Was a Good Day" by Ice Cube

I'm back from my jaunt across the pond.  As nearly always happens when one goes on vacation, I have spent the last several days feverishly catching up on work, news, and the like to make up for when I was gone.  So, I don't have much time for posting this week, but I'll at least give you a Retro Video of the Week.  Since it's 7-11 (don't forget to get your free Slurpee at 7-Eleven, by the way), I'm going with "It Was a Good Day" by Ice Cube, since he says "seven eleven" in the song. Plus, nobody I know got killed in South Central LA.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Hair Band Friday - 6/29/18

I will be across the pond in some drunken bastard's motherland next week, so this will be my last post for a week and a half or so.  Please enjoy this array of the finest in hair band offerings.  Solo Roth AND Hagar?!  Ratt's contribution to the Point Break soundtrack?!  Classics from Poison, AC/DC, and Nelson (and is that everybody's favorite on-screen serial killer Buffalo Bill as the dad in the "After the Rain" video?!)?!  Subtle fowl-based innuendo from Jackyl?!  Deep track gems from GNR and Def Leppard?!  It all makes up for Mr. Big wasting the talents of Paul Gilbert and Billy Sheehan on a ballad.  But then again, this is what posting the first ten songs that randomly play on my iPod does every single fucking Friday.  Enjoy Canada Day, the Fourth of July, the World Cup knockout rounds, or whatever else you might be celebrating over the next nine or ten days.

1.  "Goin' Crazy" by David Lee Roth


2.  "Just Take My Heart" by Mr. Big


3.  "After The Rain" by Nelson


4.  "I'll Fall In Love Again" by Sammy Hagar


5.  "Moneytalks" by AC/DC


6.  "Breakdown" by Guns N' Roses


7.  "She Loves My Cock" by Jackyl


8.  "Nobody Rides for Free" by Ratt


9.  "I Want Action" by Poison


10.  "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)" by Def Leppard

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Thirtysomething educator:  "I'm numb to child abuse because of my job, but I'm not numb to nutmeg in my fettuccine alfredo.  I hate nutmeg in fettuccine alfredo."
--Chicago
Eavesdropper:  The Loose-Lipped Lithuanian

As always, if you overhear something funny or ridiculous (or that can be taken completely out of context), email it to gmyhblog@yahoo.com, along with the location you heard it and your preferred eavesdropping handle, for inclusion in the next exciting edition of Midwestern Eavesdropping.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Retro Video of the Week: "Girlschool" by Britny Fox

Apologies for no Tuesday Top Ten yesterday.  I was busy with work, kids, and my body painting class I have Tuesday nights.  Last night we were working on crevices, which can be difficult.  Anywho, here's the video to '80s hair band Britny Fox's "Girlschool" because it happens to be the song I'm listening to right now.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Hair Band Friday - 6/22/18

1.  "Rapid Fire" by Judas Priest


2.  "Stick You Your Guns" by Mötley Crüe


3.  "You Got Me Runnin'" by Def Leppard


4.  "Heavy Metal" by Sammy Hagar


5.  "What About Love" by Heart


6.  "Wanted Man" by Ratt


7.  "Spellbound" by AC/DC


8.  "Fatal Passion" by Lita Ford


9.  "Rock A Bye Bye" by Extreme


10.  "Ptolemy" by Blue Murder