Saturday, June 30, 2007

Last Chance to Vote For All Things Lucid

Today is the last day to vote for the Lollapalooza Last Band Standing contest. Vote for All Things Lucid by clicking on this link. The top 100 bands go onto the next round. Currently they are in 91st place. Keep them in the Top 100! You get one vote per email address, so help them out by using your many email addresses to vote. It's not too late. It's never too late.

Friday, June 29, 2007

And This Time The Lights are Goin' Out

So tomorrow is the Def Leppard concert (also featuring Styx and Foreigner). Anything short of last year's debauchery will be a disappointment.

I can hardly contain my giddiness, given that within the next 5 days I will (1) see Def Leppard in concert yet again, (2) participate in a trivia contest that will test my knowledge of Saved By The Bell, and (3) get a day off of work. My only hope is that, despite my giddiness, I manage to prevent myself from looking like this:

A-Z CDs - Day 38

319. Mötley Crüe - Dr. Feelgood (last listen: never) - That "never" is somewhat deceiving because I just got this album on CD, having had it on tape since its release. It sounds just as good now as it did then. "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S)" is my favorite Crue song. "She Goes Down" is a solid, under-the-radar (and belt) song. Obviously, in addition to "Same Ol' Situation," the title track, "Kickstart My Heart," "Without You," and "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" were the hits off the album. This CD also has extra tracks: demo versions of "Dr. Feelgood" (with very different lyrics), "Kickstart My Heart" (slightly different lyrics), "Without You," and "Time for Change," as well as a previously unreleased song, "Get It For Free."
320. Mötley Crüe - Greatest Hits (last listen: 0-3 months) - A great primer for the casual Crue fan. Released in 1998, it's more comprehensive than the 1991 release Decade of Decadence, but less comprehensive than 2005's compilation, Red, White & Crue, which is a double-disc featuring more from the band's early years, but unfortunately, more from the band's later years (including the John Corabi years). The Greatest Hits features all the Crue hits the casual fan would want ("Girls, Girls, Girls," "Kickstart My Heart," "Wild Side," "Dr. Feelgood," "Same Ol' Situation," "Home Sweet Home," "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)," "Without You," "Smokin' In The Boys Room," "Primal Scream," "Too Fast For Love," "Looks That Kill," "Shout at the Devil"). It also features a couple new (at the time) songs, "Bitter Pill" and "Enslaved," which actually aren't too bad. I could do without "Glitter."
321. Napoleon Dynamite (soundtrack) (last listen: 1-2 years) - This one has a ton of sound bites from the movie, in addition to the songs, the A-Team theme, the score, and bow-hunting skills. The best part is the hidden track after the last song: Kip's self-written and -sung wedding song ("Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see").
322. The Natural (soundtrack) (last listen: 5+ years) - I basically bought this because of the theme, aptly entitled "The Natural" (although the signature excerpt is repeated in several songs), which is one of the better themes in cinematic history. I wasn't sure whether to include this in the A-Z CD Extravaganza or not, since the album is arguably mostly classical music (it's the film score), but I didn't want to be accused of any tomfoolery again, so I listened to it. To be fair, there is some jazz in there, but the album is mostly Aaron Copeland-esque. Beef, it's what's for dinner.
323. Nine Inch Nails - Further Down the Spiral (last listen: never) - Dubai cannot handle Trent Reznor. This album is a 1995 remix of some songs off of 1994's The Downward Sprial. There's no remix of "Closer" (for those who don't know, that's the song where Reznor informs you of his desire to "fuck you like an animal" and "feel you from the inside"), but there is a remix of "Hurt," which Johnny Cash famously covered in 2002 (winning various video and song awards).
324. Nirvana - Nevermind (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - I hated Nirvana when they first came out (most likely because of the grunge vs. hair metal thing), but I changed my ways a few years later. Obviously this album is a classic. "Breed" is my favorite song off the album, with "Lithium," "Drain You," and "Lounge Act" tied for second.
325. Nirvana - In Utero (last listen: 1-2 years) - When I got this back in '93 or '94, I could not believe they had a song called "Rape Me." Turns out it's my favorite song off the album.
326. No Doubt - The Singles 1992-2003 (last listen: 1-2 years) - Remember when Gwen Stefani made decent music? Me too. This one has all the hits. In addition, I particularly enjoy "Ex-Girlfriend," "Bathwater," "Excuse Me Mr.," "Hella Good," and their cover of Talk Talk's "It's My Life."

Thursday, June 28, 2007

No MWE

Not enough submissions to merit a Midwestern Eavesdropping. However, I did purchase a Magic Bullet Blender tonight at Walgreen's, and I gotta tell you, I am pretty pumped. I've already made four smoothies, alfredo sauce, some deviled ham, apple-carrot juice, and like eight blueberry daquiris.

A-Z CDs - Day 37

312. Mission: Impossible 2 (soundtrack) (last listen: never) - Yet another that didn't make it to Dubai. This one has a lot of hard rockers, beginning with Limp Bizkit's "Take A Look Around" (the "now I know why you wanna hate me" song) and also featuring Metallica, Buckcherry, Rob Zombie, Chris Cornell, and Foo Fighters with Brian May on a cover of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar." And then there's a Tori Amos song and a rock-flamenco instrumental ("Nyah" by Hans Zimmer). Anyway, it's an okay soundtrack.
313. Molly Hatchet - Cut to the Bone (last listen: 2-5 years) - Good southern rock. "Flirtin' with Disaster" is their staple, and you've probably heard "Dreams I'll Never See" on the radio and figured it was the Allman Brothers (since it's a Gregg Allman song). "The Creeper" and "Good Smoke and Whiskey" are also solid. "Loss of Control" sounds more like the New Wave of British Heavy Metal than southern rock (which isn't a bad thing). Molly Hatchet will always have a special place in my heart because their former manager, Paul Korzilius, was married to a woman who had worked at the same airline as my dad in Texas, but then moved up to Chicago to work for another airline. Anyway, our families hung out several times. He had previously managed Cheap Trick as well, and went on to manage Bon Jovi (still does, I think). They used to live in LaGrange with two small dogs (before Bon Jovi got huge -- after which I assume they got larger dogs), and when I was in second or third grade he gave me a Molly Hatchet The Deed Is Done Tour 1983-1984 t-shirt, which I wore to bed for 3 or 4 years. It was a totally badass shirt (check out the album cover, which was on the front of the shirt). He also gave me a Cheap Trick concert t-shirt from a show in Little Rock on September 13, 1979 (I think). Damn, I wish I would have kept those shirts. Even more importantly, Paul (who played college football, at Northwestern, I think) played the NFL Crunch Course video for me, which had a profound effect on my love of football and my appreciation for the all-time greats and bone-jarring hits. Obviously, I now own Crunch Course. You should too.
314. Monster Magnet - God Says No (last listen: never) - Another one that didn't make it to Dubai. This is a typical early 2000s hard rock album, as far as I can tell, which means it's mediocre. They have a song called "Doomsday," but it sounds like they're repeating "it's Tuesday, it's Tuesday" over and over. Such vigor for Tuesday has not been seen since Domino's started Two Times Tuesday. Hoo-hah. "Kiss of the Scorpion" sounds like any Iron Butterfly song.
315. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (last listen: 1-2 years) - This album has a flowing, mystical quality to it. The lyrics kind of take you somewhere else, like some Irish hamlet several hundred years ago (or at least that's what I imagine). The title track, "Sweet Thing," and "The Way Young Lovers Do" are my favorite songs.
316. Van Morrison - Moondance (last listen: 1-2 years) - I had to repurchase this a few years ago because Goni borrowed it back in 2001 and never returned it. Don't think I've forgotten, Michael. What a great album. "And It Stoned Me," the title track, "Caravan," "Into the Mystic," and "Glad Tidings" are my favorites. My favorite memory associated with this album would be from spring break junior year. Both Adam and I didn't go anywhere except back to the LG, so he was over at my house one day and we got stoned to the bejesus belt. When my aunt and her boyfriend arrived, Moondance was BLARING and there were two idiots with shit-eating grins on their faces playing the greatest game of Mario Kart ever. Can I put a poppy on your head?
317. Van Morrison - Best Of (last listen: 5+ years) - I like this one because it has several of his songs from when he was the lead singer of Them ("Gloria," "Here Comes the Night," "Baby Please Don't Go").
318. Mötley Crüe - Too Fast For Love (last listen: 0-3 months) - Their 1982 debut features ball-busting rock, clearly influenced by British glam (in particular, Sweet, or The Sweet, as some of you Brits call them) and proving what the world would come to know over the next 10 years: these guys (Nikki Sixx, especially) could write hard-rocking songs with pop hooks. "Live Wire" is a great opening track, almost punkish with its driving beat and guitars. I love the line, "I'm hot, young, runnin' free / A little bit better than I used to be." My other favorites on the proper album are the title track, "Take Me to the Top," "Starry Eyes," "Public Enemy #1," and "On With the Show." The CD has extra tracks, as well: three unreleased songs ("Toast of the Town" (a great song), "Tonight" (a Raspberries cover), and "Stick to Your Guns"), a version of "Too Fast For Love" with an alternate intro, and a live version of "Merry-Go-Round."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fab. U. Lous.

An enjoyable weekend by any means.

Friday
After work Friday, Vandelay Industries had a game against the other 2-0 team in our softball league. I started the game off with a grounder to the right fielder that I legged out for a two-run homer. I managed to follow that up with three increasingly pathetic pop-ups, the first to the left fielder, the second to the third baseman, and the third to the pitcher. My goal for the rest of the season is to avoid popping out to the pitcher ever again.

After the game, the team headed to 7-10 Lounge (our sponsor) for some drinks and apps. It was while at 7-10 when I received a telephonic call from Holt "Gimme Some" Hedrick, who had just exited the interstate on his way to my house. He was in town for the ceremonial "wedding" of Dave "And Rae" Moore and a woman not named Rae. I quickly exited 7-10, under the auspices of an outbreak of gout, or as I called it, a "goutbreak." I sprinted home.

Once Holt was sufficiently parked and such, we headed to Kirkwood, where Ari, Jester, and Katie "It's My Last Day of Work Before I Make the Biggest Mistake in My Life By Going to Law School" Katz were awaiting our arrival. Gregerson and Christoff would eventually join us. Also in attendance with us was a crotchety old Prussian named Wilhelm.

Everyone but Wilhelm decided to go to Frank's (the bar on Clark, not the living quarters of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, as you might have thought) to meet Holt's friends. Frank's is about as large as my package (i.e., not very). It's slender and tight, needing mirrors to give it the appearance that it's larger than it really is. And the same goes for Frank's.

The night quickly devolved, as Holt's friends had already been drinking at the rehearsal dinner. An indication of the level of intoxication was evidenced by the ornery chick who was passed out with her head lying on the bar. When confronted by a concerned Ari, the chick's response was something along the lines of, "Fuck off! Get me another shot of Pucker! And dammit, where the fuck is Wilhelm?!" Meanwhile, Jager Bombs were flowing like wine.

At a certain point in time, we became aware of the existence of food nearby, so several of us left Frank's. Our first stop was the legendary Wiener Circle, where I ordered a fucking char dog and some stupid filthy whoring cheese fries. Did I stutter, bitch? Holt order a plain god damn burger, you wretched, diseased hooker. The cheese on the cheese fries may taste like toe jam or possibly the gooey center of genital warts, but it is an undeniable cure for hangovers.

Not having shoved enough crap in our digestive systems, on the walk down Wrightwood, Holt opined that he would sure love some Bamba's. I grabbed the half-eaten burger from his hand and threw it on an unsuspecting lawn. "To LaBamba!" I yelled, as I pointed westward. Indeed, Friday night, Jessie, Holt, and I dined on both Wiener Circle and Bamba's. Granted, I only got nachos (regular, not super) at Bamba's, but this type of "double destruction" is only recommended once every six or seven months, as its harm to the body is barely reversible. Next Friday, I will attempt the "Four Coronary Corners of Lincoln Park": char dog and cheese fries from Wiener Circle, super steak burrito from LaBamba, gyro dinner from Lincoln Park Gyro, and a large deep dish pepperoni pizza from Lou Malnati's. And for dessert, I will eat a child.

Saturday
I set my alarm for 10am on Saturday because I was led to believe that White Stripes tickets were going on sale at 10am "local time" (according to the White Stripes email distribution list). Perhaps they were in Edmonton or Boise at the time of the email because "local time" was actually 11am for ticket sales. Thus, I wasted a precious hour of sleep. I went back to bed and set the alarm for 11. As expected, it took me until about 10:54 to fall back asleep. Awesome. Nonetheless, I got White Stripes tickets for their Sunday 10/7 show at the Aragon. I'm pretty pumped about it.

Saturday morning I (along with many others) received an email from Tracey, explaining that she lost her phone and that the person who found it was trying to call the numbers to figure out how to return it. Or so she thought. Jessie text messaged Tracey's phone telling the person to take the phone to the Starbucks at Sheffield and Diversey and leave it with the staff (who Tracey knows very well). Here is the text Jessie got in return (verbatim, without changing spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, or sentence composition):

"I bought this phone from a lady last nite for 30 dollars she told me it was hers im gonna try to find her 2 get my money back i will drop it off im sorry i did not no I stay down the street from there"

Then later, Tracey's friend Eric (who works at the aforementioned Starbucks) texted Tracey's phone, receiving a return message that explained something like, "I have to get my money back, and then I'll return the phone." It was unclear whether this meant this person was going to try to extort phone ransom money from Tracey or go hunting the streets for the "lady" (though I'd hardly call her a lady) who sold Tracey's phone to this simpleton, who apparently believed that when you buy a cell phone it comes pre-loaded with hundreds of contacts and bears the name "Tracey" on its screen. Another viable theory is that this was the work of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Needless to say, Tracey just got a new phone, rather than risk being the victim of a guerilla-style attack.

In the meantime, I taught Holt how to play the Wii. Actually, I should say, I taught Holt how to be humiliated while trying to play the Wii. Exhausted from knocking Holt out in the first round (again) in boxing, I decided that enough was enough, and Holt, Jester, Gregerson, and I went to Rocks for lunch and to watch the Sox/Cubs game. Way to go Sox.

Saturday evening, while Holt was at the wedding and reception, Christoff was nice enough to have Jester and I and Dan and Noreen Weeser* over for some pork chops. Afterward, we headed to the Kerryman in the Gold Coast for a $35 all-you-can-drink "Save the Ta-Tas" fundraiser for Lutzow's wife and sister-in-law, who are going to be participating in the 3-day walk for breast cancer. I've always been a fan of boobs, so I was glad to help out. My favorite line from their Evite was "Help save second base!" Anytime. If you, too, want to help save the ta-tas, here is the website for the online catalog of ta-ta-related apparel. Go nuts (or should I say, go tits).

While at the Kerryman, two dudes showed up wearing nearly matching sweaters with fat horizontal stripes. Unfortunately my camera phone was unable to capture this, but take it from me, this was hilarious and pathetic and weird.

After doing our damnedest to drink $35 worth of breast-saving booze in three hours, we all went to Butch McGuire's on Division. Once again, I was reminded why I never go to Division to drink: because while there, Christoff growls at me constantly and I am forced to smile in a manner that only gain me chins.


We stayed there for a beer or two, at which point Christoff, Jessie, and I headed back up north to Frank's (despite vowing never to go there again the previous night), which is where Holt was. After a few drinks there, we decided that yet another trip to Bamba's was in order.

After enjoying some burritos, Holt and I played some Wii. I finally let him win so I could get some damn rest.

Sunday
After Holt left on Sunday, a bunch of us went to the Gay Pride Parade. It was easily the gayest parade I've been to in like a year. You may recall the Onion article from a few years back, "Gay-Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance of Gays Back 50 Years." I'm pretty sure this guy is what they were talking about.

Or maybe topless male cheerleaders who are cheering for no team in particular.

Or maybe guys dancing to blaring techno music while wearing only hot pants, thongs, bikinis, sashes, or angel wings on some sort of floating tribute to bacchanalia.

Or maybe floats for vet clinics that imply that their employees engage in anal sex while administering kennel cough shots.

Or maybe passing out Trojans, and magnums at that. Actually, Tana looks pretty happy about it.

And wouldn't you know it, who decides to make an appearance at the parade and show off his lovely post-op breasts? That's right, it's Wilhelm!!

Dudes with tits are funny. That's a simple fact, my friends.

Monday
Monday was a black day, as it marked the closing of the Diversey L station for a year for construction. Apparently the fact that cripples can't get up the stairs means that I have to alter my commuting plans for the next year, either walking (no pun intended) up to Wellington or down to Fullerton if I want to take the L, or taking the bus (never a preferable option). What's next, we give them a special federal law to enforce their rights?

In other news, did you guys hear about the 40-year-old high school track coach who married a 16-year-old student? If not, read this article (thanks to Christoff for the link). I love how the parents signed the consent form pretty much because they didn't want their daughter to have a tantrum. Guys, reading stories like this makes me pray to Zeus that I don't have a daughter. If I do ever spawn one, however, you can bet that if she asked me to sign a consent form to allow her to marry her high school track coach, I would incinerate her. Literally, I would burn her to death. There's not a jury in the world who would convict me because, let's face it, no one wants to be part of "the jury who thought it was okay for a 16-year-old girl to get drilled by her 40-year-old teacher."

Tuesday
I decided to give the #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick bus a try Tuesday morning, and it wasn't bad at all. I got a seat, and it only took a few minutes than when I walked up to Wellington to take the L on Monday.

Morgan sent me a link to ESPN.com Page 2's 101 Things Every Sports Fan Must Experience Before They Die. Little 500 comes in at 26. Pretty good for an intramural event, considering it beat out the Indy 500, the Kentucky Derby, the Daytona 500, the Running of the Bulls, and every professional sports all-star game.

My return to trivia at Rocks was less than triumphant. We'd Still Take Rod Beck Over Scott Eyre (comprised of Christoff, Gregerson, Tradd, and me) started off strong, but faltered in the late rounds to end up tied for third. There were two bright notes, however. First, Bears linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer was playing trivia. I don't know how well his team did, but I don't think that Vanderbilt degree ended up being much of an advantage. Second, and more importantly, the second place team chose Saved By The Bell as the category for next week. I practically shit myself with excitement. Do they know who the fuck I am? Have they not been paying attention to my television-watching habits for the past 18 years? Good morning, Miss Bliss. Prepare to get ravaged.

Wednesday
Day 2 of trying the bus out was less than spectacular. It turns out the bus is about as reliable as you would expect a bus to be, taking about 7-8 minutes longer today than yesterday. Thus, I had to rush to the office and then to court in a suit in 85 degrees and 95% humidity. Once again, thanks CTA.

So when I opened up Yahoo this morning, one of the top "In The News" headlines was "British rock band the Verve reunites." True as it may be, I fail to see how a one-hit wonder reuniting merits any attention. Now if T'Pau or Marcy Playground were to reunite, then we'd have something to talk about.


As if that wasn't enough, Katie "My Dog's Head Is HUGE" Miltner forwarded me a troubling story: legendary hot dog eating contest champ Takeru Kobayashi has been diagnosed with an arthritic jaw. Thus, he will not be competing for his seventh straight "Yellow Mustard Belt" at next week's infamous Nathan's hot dog eating contest. You would think that a man who continually shoves 50+ hot dogs into his mouth within a 12-minute period would have no jaw problems whatsoever. Er, I mean, would be dead by now.

A-Z CDs - Day 36

303. Meat Puppets - Too High to Die (last listen: 2-5 years) - Before today I have listened to this album exactly twice: right after I got it and then again about 3 or 4 years ago. The funny thing is that I've liked it every time I listened to it. "Backwater" is obviously the hit from the album. However, you will also likely recognize "Lake of Fire" (a hidden track after the last song), which Nirvana covered for their MTV Unplugged in New York album (along with two other Meat Puppets songs from other albums). "Lake of Fire" is the one that starts "Where do bad folks go when they die? / They don't go to heaven where the angels fly / They go down to the lake of fire and fry / Won't see 'em again till the Fourth of July."
304. John Cougar Mellencamp - Uh-Huh (last listen: 1-2 years) - A classic Mellencamp album, featuring "Crumblin' Down," "Pink Houses," "Authority Song," "Play Guitar," and "Jackie O." I love hearing "Play Guitar" on the radio to hear whether or not they censor the line, "Forget about all that macho shit and learn how to play guitar." Swearing is fun to hear.
305. John Cougar Mellencamp - Scarecrow (last listen: 1-2 years) - A great salt-of-the-earth album. The whole thing drips with rural imagery ("Rain on the scarecrow / Blood on the plow"), and it's simply a great album. "Small Town," "Lonely Ol' Night," and "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." are the hits off the album, but I'm also quite smitten with "Rain on the Scarecrow," "Minutes to Memories," and "Justice and Independence '85."
306. John Mellencamp - The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988 (last listen: 2-5 years)
307. John Mellencamp - Just Another Day (single) (last listen: 5+ years) - This also contains live versions of "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)," James Brown's "Cold Sweat," and "Crumblin' Down."
308. John Mellencamp - Trouble No More (last listen: 1-2 years) - Mellencamp covers blues and folk standards on this album, quite well, I might add. "Stones in My Passway" (originally by Robert Johnson) is solid, and I also like "Baltimore Oriole" (a cover of jazz legend and Bloomington native Hoagy Carmichael), "Teardrops Will Fall," "Down in the Bottom" (originally Willie Dixon), and "Joliet Bound." "To Washington" is a nice jab at Bush.
309. Metallica - Metallica (last listen: 5+ years) - Songs from this album played a prominent role on pre-game psych-up mix tapes in the LT football locker room during the 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995 seasons. I'm guessing it was the same way in every single other football locker room in the country. "Don't Tread On Me" is my favorite song off the album. "Through the Never" is a close second. The beginning acoustic part to "Nothing Else Matters" is the first thing I learned how to play on guitar. It's probably the only thing I could still play, since I would classify my guitar-playing ability as nothing short of an absolute slap in the face to anyone who has ever been involved in making, playing, or listening to a guitar.
310. Steve Miller Band - Best Of 1968-1973 (last listen: 2-5 years) - Not as good as the Greatest Hits 1974-1978 (which I have on tape), which features the more well-known Steve Miller Band songs ("The Joker," "Fly Like an Eagle," "Jet Airliner," "Take the Money and Run," etc.). This one does, however, also feature "The Joker" (it is their biggest song, after all), as well as "Living in the USA." All in all, I like the 1974-78 songs better.
311. The Miracles - Great Songs and Performances That Inspired the Motown 25th Anniversary Television Special (last listen: 5+ years) - "Greatest Hits" would have been a shorter and more accurate CD title, but that's neither here nor there. The Miracles are often forgotten in the discussion of Motown greats (behind The Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and the like), which is too bad. This album shows off Smokey Robinson's extraordinary songwriting ability. "Tracks of My Tears" is just a phenomenal song. "Tears of a Clown" is a perfect juxtaposition of upbeat music with fairly depressing subject matter (it's about a clown crying, people). "You Really Got a Hold On Me" is great. This album also has their other famous songs ("Ooo Baby Baby," "Shop Around," "I Second that Emotion," etc.).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A-Z CDs - Day 35

292. Long Beach Dub Allstars - Trailer Ras (single) (last listen: never) - Another free promotional CD single, this one being from the bad formed by former members of Sublime after Brad Nowell decided to die from a heroin overdose.
293. Louis XIV - The Best Little Secrets are Kept (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - Fantastic album. It harkens back to the days of early-'70s Bowie, Kinks, T. Rex, and Mott the Hoople. The music is raunchy and sexual (such as "Pull your skirt up a little bit / Pull down your top and show me a little tit"), earning a Parental Advisory sticker even though there is not one swear word to be found on the entire album. It's hard to pick a favorite song, so I'll just go with the first eight in a tie.
294. The Lovin' Spoonful - All the Best of The Lovin' Spoonful (last listen: 5+ years) - I'm not sure what every possessed me to buy this CD. It's not that I don't appreciate the Lovin' Spoonful, it's just that I can't ever conceive of a time in my life where I would have felt the need to buy this CD. Anyway, it's okay, I guess. As you might have guessed, it features all their biggest hits, including "Summer in the City," "Do You Believe in Magic," "Daydream," "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice," and "Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind." You've probably heard most of them in commercials. And then there are like 10 other songs.
295. Lynyrd Skynyrd - Skynyrd's Innyrds (last listen: 2-5 years) - Every time I hear "Free Bird" I am reminded why people feel the need to yell "Free Bird" at every live music event. I, of course, have a special connection with Lynyrd Skynyrd, as half of them died in a plane crash a mere 9 days before I was born -- a mere 1,115 miles from the place of my birth and a mere 389 miles from where I would move a mere several months after my birth -- thus making me the undeniable reincarnation of either Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, or Cassie Gaines.
296. Lynyrd Skynyrd - What's Your Name (last listen: 2-5 years) - I got this one pretty much just for "Simple Man." If only it had "The Ballad of Curtis Loew" then my Skynyrd collection could be complete.
297. Makaveli - The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (last listen: 5+ years) - The first of several hundred albums 2Pac released posthumously, this one was released under the pseudonym Makaveli. A decent amount of anger on this one, with some calling out of east coast rappers and foreshadowing his death. "To Live and Die in LA" is a solid song. Then again, 2Pac could say "I'm gonna poop" for five minutes and I would like it.
298. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus (last listen: 2-5 years) - Probably the most important reggae album of all-time, it features classic Bob Marley songs, "Jamming," the title track, "Waiting in Vain," and "Three Little Birds."
299. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Legend (last listen: 1-2 years) - I fail to see how anyone can not like Bob Marley.
300. Dave Matthews Band - Crash (last listen: never) - I hate Dave, so I have no idea how this ended up in my CD collection. Rest assured, I didn't listen to it today, nor will I ever.
301. John Mayall's Blues Breakers - Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton (last listen: 1-2 years)
302. Curtis Mayfield - The Very Best Of (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - Fantastic collection of Mayfield's post-Impressions work, including the theme from Superfly ("Freddie's Dead") and the song "Superfly" (which ironically isn't the theme to Superfly). I also enjoy "Move On Up," "Pusherman," and "We Got to Have Piece," although the whole CD is good soul/R&B/funk.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A-Z CDs - Day 34

283. Led Zeppelin - Box Set Disc 4 (last listen: 2-5 years) - Again, thanks to Jessie's inability to lock the passenger-side door on a 1989 Acura Integra, this is now my only source for most of the songs on this CD. I do quite enjoy the song "Houses of the Holy," which ironically doesn't appear on the album Houses of the Holy.
284. Len - Feelin' Alright (single) (last listen: never) - I got this free from some record company promotion at my fraternity long ago. I'm not clear why there was someone there giving away random free CD and tape singles, but there was. Too bad it wasn't "Steal My Sunshine."
285. John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band (last listen: 0-3 months) - In my opinion, the second best solo Beatle album behind George Harrison's All Things Must Pass.
286. John Lennon - Imagine (last listen: 1-2 years) - In addition to the title track, I'm a fan of "Gimme Some Truth."
287. John Lennon - The John Lennon Collection (last listen: 2-5 years) - "Instant Karma" and "Watching the Wheels" are my favorite two on this CD, and possibly my favorite overall John Lennon solo songs.
288. Huey Lewis & The News - Time Flies: The Best Of (last listen 2-5 years) - I always forget that I have this CD. My only knock is that it does not include "Back In Time," "Hip to Be Square," or "Jacob's Ladder." Any of these could have been included over their cover of The Impressions' "It's All Right."
289. Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz - Kings of Crunk (last listen: 2-5 years) - I bought this pretty much just for "Get Low." I also mistook the title of another song on the album for a Ying Yang Twins song that I wanted, so that was a bit of a letdown. I'm also confused as to why half of the songs are rap and hip hop, while half are R&B songs sung by a woman. "Wwwwhhhhaaattt!" Unfortunately, I had to keep my door closed when I listened to it, since I don't think lines like "pussy-ass n---s, get the fuck out the club!" wouldn't go over well. No worries, though, because I just got crunk alone.
290. Lit - Atomic (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - I bought this for something like $1 when the K-Mart by my mom's house went out of business, and it turned out to be a well-spent dollar. This album is the follow-up to A Place in the Sun (which featured "My Own Worst Enemy"), and it's full of catchy, pop punk. "Something to Someone," "Addicted," "Everything's Cool," "Sunny Weather," and "She Comes" are my favorite songs off the album.
291. Live - Throwing Copper (last listen: 5+ years) - "Lightning Crashes" is my favorite song that discusses placenta. "Selling the Drama," "I Alone," and "All Over You" are good too, although none discusses placenta.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Damn You, Vote for All Things Lucid

Let this serve as a friendly reminder to vote for All Things Lucid for Lollapalooza. You get one vote per day per email address. Use it.

A-Z CDs - Day 33

Friday? More like Ledzeppelinday.
276. Led Zeppelin - III (last listen: 0-3 months) - A very underrated Zeppelin album. “Out on the Tiles” is becoming one of my favorite Zeppelin songs. Other highlights include “Tangerine,” “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,” “That’s the Way,” and “Celebration Day.”
277. Led Zeppelin - (untitled fourth album) (last listen: 1-2 years) - Four, IV, ZOSO, Runes, Four Symbols, or whatever you want to call it, is a great album. From the beginning wail in “Black Dog” of “Hey hey mama, said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove,” to the droning blues-rock masterpiece “When the Levee Breaks” (far and away my favorite Led Zeppelin song), this album is gold. And by “gold,” I mean platinum. And by “platinum,” I mean 23x platinum in the US alone. “Stairway to Heaven” may be overplayed and overhyped, but when you hear it for the first time in a while, you remember why it’s often considered one of the top 5 songs in rock and roll history. Plus, if you play it backwards, it supposedly says “my sweet Satan” right around the “bustle in your hedgerow” part. I also love “Misty Mountain Hop.”
278. Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (last listen: 1-2 years) - Where’s that confounded bridge? Off this album, my favorite songs are “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “The Ocean.” “No Quarter” is an eerie song. And of course there’s the reggae-influenced “D’yer Mak’er,” the title being a play on words for “did you make her” and “Jamaica,” thereby pronounced “jah-may-kah,” not “dire maker.” Still confused? Here’s the old British joke it was based off of. Man A says to Man B, "My wife's on vacation in the West Indies." Man B replies, "Jamaica?" Man A says, "No, she went of her own accord." Maybe now you filthy Americans will get it right.
279. Led Zeppelin - BBC Sessions (last listen: 1-2 years) - A compilation of stuff recorded “live” at the BBC from 1969 to 1971, this is a good double album for the learned fan, unless you’re the kind of random non-Led Zeppelin fan who likes 18-minute versions of “Dazed and Confused” and 10+-minute versions of other songs. There are also repeats of a couple songs. That said, there are a couple rarities, including “The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair,” “Somethin’ Else,” and “Travelling Riverside Blues” (the latter being a Robert Johnson remake that is otherwise only available on the box set) on the first CD and a 13+-minute version of “Whole Lotta Love” with a blues medley injected into it, including “Boogie Chillun’,” “Fixin’ To Die,” “That’s Alright Mama,” and “A Mess of Blues” on the second CD.
280. Led Zeppelin - Box Set Disc 1 (last listen: 1-2 years) - The treasure off this CD is “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” which does not appear on any of their albums, but was the b-side to III’s “Immigrant Song” (one of the very few Led Zeppelin songs released in single format). I can particularly relate to the song’s subject matter, since I also got a woman who stays drunk all the time.
281. Led Zeppelin - Box Set Disc 2 (last listen: 1-2 years)
282. Led Zeppelin - Box Set Disc 3 (last listen: 2-5 years) - The last 2 CDs are especially good for me because they feature songs from the last few Zeppelin albums, which I don’t have on CD. You see, I used to have every Led Zeppelin album on tape. I kept said tapes in a shoebox in my old car, Blackura. Occasionally I would pop them into Blackura’s tape deck and have an absolute ball. Blackura would get so excited about hearing Zeppelin that she would go through a quart of motor oil every 250 to 300 miles. It was the greatest time in my life. Then senior year at IU, a certain woman who would one day become my wife decided not to lock Blackura’s doors when we retired to her abode in Matlock Apartments one evening. The next morning greeted me with horror, as I came back to find my rearview mirror tilted and my “Houses of the Holy” tape precariously resting on my driver’s side floor mat. Something was amiss. The thieves didn’t take my Oakleys, nor did they take my Discman (with tape adapter), nor did they take any of the other tapes in my shoebox (Hendrix, The Doors, Cream, Bowie, among others). No, they only took my Zeppelin tapes (aside from the aforementioned “Houses of the Holy,” which must have been accidentally dropped, or perhaps left there to teach me a lesson in trusting women).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mingling

Happy Summer Solstice, you neo-pagan druid bastards. Here's the long-awaited recap of last weekend, or, as some might not call it, "the lost weekend."

Friday
At some point Friday, a car carrying three people who live in southwestern Ohio arrived in Chicago. Those three people were and are: Jamie "Don't Call Me Jaime" Belanger; John "Don't Call Me Ashcroft" Ashcraft, show here ejecting several gallons of Tang and ground beef all over my steps during a September 2005 attempt to drink 30 beers in 8 hours; and Terrence "Don't Call Me By My Last Name Because You Don't Know It." In addition, a man known only as "Blonder" had arrived earlier. The four of them, along with Tron, invaded Shedd Aquarium. I toiled away at work while they swam with dolphins, sang with belugas, flew with penguins, and played catch with komodo dragons.

After I got done with work, they met me at my house, and we headed to Chi-Town Tap for some $1 bottles and $2 burgers. Also joining us throughout the course of the night were Jester, Ari, Mag Dog (who informed me that she was visitor # 50,000, although I have yet to see proof), Christoff, and Gregerson.

For the first couple hours we were there, we were just about the only people in the bar, which is an indication that DePaul is out for the summer, since the bar is a haven for underagers. It does offer $1 bottles on a Friday, after all.

Anyway, I say we were "just about" the only people in the bar because there was some dude in there who didn't know where the bathrooms were. We politely directed him to them, thinking nothing of it. Apparently, he thought more of it than we did. Enter Hank. Hank was so gracious that he brought a bucket of beer over to our table and made himself at home. He claimed to be 29, although he looked closer to 37. He is from Cleveland, although he came off as more Brooklyn than Cleveland. He recently "moved to the area," which I assumed meant that he had just moved to Chicago, but he meant only that he had recently moved to Lincoln Park. He claims to live at an address that is right across the street from Christoff. Among Hank's attributes were that he breaks the filters off cigarettes to smoke them and he is a big Browns fans. Several of us jokingly suggested that, now that the Browns signed Jamal Lewis, he can't run for 500 yards a season against them. His reaction suggested that he may murder us if we again dare disparage the great name of the Cleveland Browns. He might have been carrying brass knuckles. Within a half hour of him sitting at our table and intimidating us into not being assholes to him, he asked me, "we're friends, right?" How could I say "no"? Guys, he would have cut me ear to ear had I done so. Anyway, we played some drinking games with Hank, and as the bar filled up, he found other people to creep the fuck out, returning now and then to hang out with his "buddies."

Apparently the attractive girls at DePaul go home for the summer and the bat shit nuts girls stick around and troll bars for a dick to sit on -- any dick. One such girl was Perky! Perky!'s build resembled that of a shithouse made of bricks -- although her tank top indicated that she did not care -- and her accent was possibly Kenoshan or Racinian, with an outside chance of being Beloitian. She was a caricature of a woman I'd never like to meet again. Imagine your mom, but 35 years younger, 35 pounds heavier, and 35 times more excited about anything and everything in the entire world. Remember when Christina Applegate hosted SNL and there was that fake shampoo infomercial, Focus on Beauty, where Christina Applegate portrayed Cher and Chris Farley played a woman who kept saying, "I'm so excited!" That was actually Perky!, and not cosmetics guru Lori Davis. As expected, Perky! took an immediate liking to John. After knowing him for less than three minutes, she proclaimed, quite boisterously, "Oh my God, you're handsome, you're smart, you're successful. You should be on The Bachelor!!" As if that wasn't enough, she explained why she was out that night (and presumably every night): "Because I'm" (she pauses to raise her hands straight up in the air -- a beer in one and her dignity in the other) "Single and . . . ready to mingle!!"

At one point, she felt the need to come over to the other table, where Jamie, Christoff, Gregerson, and I were sitting. Jamie quipped that he invented the Segway. Perky! was unaware of the Segway's existence, since I'm guessing she bunny hops everywhere, or maybe uses a pogo stick. After I told her I lived in Phoenix, she asked me, "Oh my God, do you know who you look like?" I, of course, responded "Yes," since I assumed she was going to say Tom Cruise, Ace Frehley, Jesus, or Tiny "Zeus" Lister. Instead, you can imagine my mixed emotions when she said, "Rex Grossman!" I do? She tried to explain why that was a compliment, between my sobbing and boxing my own ears, I couldn't tell if she had any valid arguments. As she walked away, Christoff said, "Well that's funny because you look like Brian Urlacher."

With Hank and Perky! runnin' 'round Chi-Town Tap, we decided that perhaps a change of venue was in order. Thus, we headed to Rocks before we (a) got shanked by Hank (damn, I just realized "Shank" would be a great nickname for Hank) or (b) got murdered with excitement!

After Rocks, we got some pizzas from Papa Romeo's, and watched Bob Barker's last show of The Price is Right. Since when is a grill, a Mediterranean cruise, and a Cadillac convertible worth over $91,000?

Saturday
Saturday morning I woke up with a sweet hangover and a little card from the mailman indicating that a piece of certified mail was waiting for me at the Post Office. So Jester and I headed over there. Having no idea why I would be getting certified mail, I was kind of excited. Sweet mother of God, let this be a lesson to all of you who get unexpected certified mail. In the envelope was a nice montage of pictures of me. Driving 71 in a 45 mph construction zone on the Dan Ryan. Minimum fine? $375. And I have to take a day off work to go to court. In Bridgeview (which, for you non-Chicagoans, is way the hell south of where I live). So heed my advice: DO NOT SPEED IN CONSTRUCTION ZONES IN ILLINOIS because they have photo enforcement cameras all over the state.

At least Kelvin Sampson and the Hoosiers got a commitment from Devin Ebanks, the #11 recruit for the incoming senior class, Saturday morning. That made the morning a little more tolerable.

Around noon, Tron, Terrence, John, Jamie, Blonder, and I headed to Wrigley to watch the Padres game. And quite a game it was. First off, Kyle "Kice Millay" Miller and his wife Laura and brother Jeff were randomly in town from Indy for the game, so Jamie and I chatted with them for a half inning.

Second, there was a sweet bench-clearing brawl after Derrek Lee took a swing at Padres pitcher Chris Young.

Third, Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano (who for some reason took off his belt during the brawl) had a no-hitter going through 7 1/3 innings. Of course he gave up a solo homerun in the 9th for the complete game loss.

But the highlight of the game was the bet that Jamie couldn't finish a half bag of cotton candy in one at bat. I'll be damned if that Canadian-American can't shove sugar fluff down his throat. As you can see, chicks dig a guy who can do so.

After the game, we met up with Morgan, Tracey, Ari, Jester, Mag Dog, and some of her friends at Dark Horse for a couple beers, some food, and for some reason, some Jager Bombs at 4pm. Beware, pints of Fat Tire at Dark Horse are $9.

Saturday evening, we went to Piece for some pizza, beer, and live band karaoke. Gregerson, Ms. Chenandler Bong, and I sang "Talk Dirty to Me" by Poison. The crowd was invigorated, so much that someone felt the need to order a round of Jameson shots after we were all good and drunk. I'm not sure if it was a good idea, but I know I didn't puke. But that also might be because I'm not sure if I took a shot or not. Also at Piece were fellow LT Class of '96ers Pat "Don't Call Me Bundy" Budny, Tom "Don't Call Me Dave" Ivaska, and Kate "Don't Call Me Katie" Jeter. They seem to be doing well. Another highlight of the night was some femme fatale singing "Hot for Teacher" by Van Halen. She was awesome. On the way out, I gave her a "nice job," at which time I realized that her (possibly lesbian girl)friend had the coolest purse of all-time: made from the Def Leppard High 'n' Dry LP. Very nice.

After Piece, Ashcraft, Jamie, Ari, and I played some Wii while Jessie slept.

Sunday
Sunday morning came too quickly. We all went to Wishbone for breakfast. Another lesson learned: drinking a milkshake before breakfast severely inhibits your ability to eat an omelet.

After the gang headed back to Porkopolis, Jester and I took our bikes out for a nice ride up and down the lakefront bike path. Then we hit up Gregerson's rooftop for some cornhole and some beers.

I went to bed around 9:30, which means I got a good 9 hours of sleep. It didn't catch me up.

Monday
Has anyone introduced Pacman Jones and Lindsey Lohan to each other yet?

Tuesday
I skipped trivia because I had stuff to do. While the team was busy getting sixth place in my absence, Jester and I were at Jewel (the Chicagoland grocery store, not the Alaskan singer-songwriter), where Jester encountered a shopper walking around smoking a cigar, as if he were in some sort of posh smoking club, rather than a giant store filled with food.

Wednesday
Work. Softball. Sleep.

Thursday
I received The White Stripes' new album, Icky Thump, which I ordered a couple days ago. I had it shipped to my office. Do you know how hard it was for me not to listen to it? Damn me and my silly alphabetical journey through my extensive and eclectic compact disc collection. God, I don't envy me right now. Or ever, for that matter

A-Z CDs - Day 32

Thursday? More like Kissday.
266. Kiss - Hotter Than Hell (last listen: 3 months to 1 year)
267. Kiss - Dressed to Kill (last listen: 0-3 months) - One of my favorite Kiss albums. I'm a fan of "Room Service," "Ladies in Waiting," and "Getaway." Of course the big hit off this one was "Rock and Roll All Nite."
268. Kiss - Alive! (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - One of the all-time classic live albums (and a double album at that), this was their first top 10 album. It's also a good introduction to Kiss's material up to this point (i.e., from their first three albums).
269. Kiss - Destroyer (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - This is another great album, starting off with a bang with "Detroit Rock City" and rocking for pretty much the whole album. "Shout It Out Loud" is a great song, as are "King of the Night Time World" and "God of Thunder." Ironically, "Beth" -- an acoustic ballad -- became the band's first top 10 hit and highest-charting hit to date, peaking at #7.
270. Kiss - Rock and Roll Over (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - Another classic, featuring "Calling Dr. Love" (one of my favorite Kiss songs), "Hard Luck Woman," and "Ladies Room."
271. Kiss - Love Gun (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - Ace Frehley requests -- no, implores -- you to shock him. Ace Frehley cannot be shocked. And what album is complete without an ode to Cynthia "Plaster Caster" Albritton, renowned caster of musicians' wangs in plaster? Not this one, although interestingly, she never cast any of Kiss's wangs.
272. Kiss - Alive II (last listen: 0-3 months) - Released exactly one month after I was born, this is their second live double album, although the last 4 songs on the second CD were recorded in the studio (and presented as such), while the last 2 songs on the first CD were recorded in the studio and crowd noise was later dubbed in.
273. L.A. Guns - L.A. Guns (last listen: 0-3 months) - Solid hair band.
274. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - Great fucking album. It might be my favorite Zeppelin album. "Good Times Bad Times" and "Your Time is Gonna Come" are my two favorite songs off the album. "How Many More Times" is a close third, taking a Howlin' Wolf song to epic, boisterous levels. The other blues covers ("You Shook Me" and "I Can't Quit You Baby") are great, as are the classics, "Dazed and Confused" and "Communication Breakdown."
275. Led Zeppelin - II (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - This one also might be my favorite Zeppelin album. "What Is and What Should Never Be" is one of my top 5 Zeppelin songs, and "Ramble On" is up there too. "The Lemon Song" (a take on Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor) oozes with sexual innuendo ("squeeze my lemon till the juice runs down my leg"). "Whole Lotta Love," "Heartbreaker," and "Thank You" are classics. "Bring It On Home" brings the album to a final booming crescendo.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Weekend Recap . . .

Will be along tomorrow. It should be glorious, provding answers to the following questions:
1. Which dating-based reality show should Ashcraft be on?
2. Who do I look like?
3. How much cotton candy can Jamie eat during one at bat?
4. Did we go to Piece for live band karaoke? If so, what song was sung?

A-Z CDs - Day 31

Quite a kingly day.
257. B.B. King - 36 All-Time Greatest Hits (last listen: 2-5 years) - This 3-CD set is pretty good. I don't like B.B. King as much as I like other bluesmen, but it's still good.
258. King Konga - Monkey See, Monkey Groove (last listen: 2-5 years) - For those of you not hip to King Konga, they are the band that I followed that I'm most pissed didn't become big. Hailing from Hattiesburg, Mississippi (as anyone who ever went to any of their shows probably knows), they were on the verge, getting some radio play in the south, Indianapolis, and Chicago, but then broke up after their third album. This album (their first) is my least favorite of their three albums. It's a little more mellow than the others, although it sounds like they're trying too hard to sound like Dave Matthews. "Addicted to You" is my favorite song off this album.
259. King Konga - Halo (last listen: 1-2 years) - Anytime I hear this CD, it takes me back to Saturday of Little 5 Week junior and senior year, with Konga playing in the basement at Pi Kapps, and me not having a care in the world. They were one of the better and more energetic bands I've seen live. Anyone who saw them live immediately fell in love with them. They really hit their stride with this album (my favorite of their three). It's rock, pop, blues, and Caribbean, all rolled into one. "Dancing Girls," "Halo," and "Virginia" are solid, but "Say Mercy" (the hidden seventh track) is my favorite, since it used to be their final song of their encores. The rhythm section, featuring Steve Cook on bass, Skeeto on drums, and Tony Lymon on electric xylophone and bongos, is phenomenal, as is Dan Hannon's blue-eyed soul voice.
260. King Konga - Something Good (last listen: 1-2 years) - This was their final album, and it picks up where Halo left off, with well-crafted, radio-friendly pop rock. The title track is a fast-paced, bongo-laden anthem that used to always get the crowd going. My other favorites are "Never Gets Any Better," "Just Remember Me," and "Gonna Be Fine."
261. Kings of Leon - Youth & Young Manhood (last listen: 1-2 years) - The debut from one of the better rock bands around right now, this album is what would happen if you mixed AC/DC, the Black Crowes, the Strokes, and southern garage rock in a blender. The album is full of uptempo rockers, often sung in a barely intelligible drawl by lead singer Caleb Followill. If you've ever seen the Farrelly Brothers' movie, Stuck On You, four or five songs off this album are featured in the movie. "Wasting Time," "Holy Roller Novacaine," "California Waiting," and "Joe's Head" are my favorites.
262. Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - Their second album was just as rocking as the first, but a little more polished (which isn't a knock by any means on the first album). My favorite songs are "Taper Jean Girl," "The Bucket," and "Four Kicks."
263. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times (last listen: 0-3 months) - Their latest effort. It's different than their previous two albums, but fantastic. It sounds like they listened to a lot of U2 and Pearl Jam while making this album (which is quite possible, since they opened for both bands).
264. The Kinks - Greatest Hits (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - In addition to the well-known hits ("You Really Got Me," "All Day And All Of The Night," etc.), there are a couple lesser known gems on this CD, such as "I Need You," "You Still Want Me," and the tongue-in-cheek "Well Respected Man" and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion." Unfortunately, "Lola" and "Waterloo Sunset" are not on here.
265. Kiss - Kiss (last listen: 0-3 months) - Their debut album kicks off with "Strutter" and pretty much kicks ass the rest of the way. "Cold Gin" is a badass song, written by Ace Frehley, although as far as I'm concerned, it's never "cold gin time," much less "cold gin time again."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Play Thirteen

When I got to work this morning, an email from Tradd was waiting for me:
"It has been confirmed by Hoosier Nation that Coach Hep passed away this morning. IU should be releasing a statement sometime this morning. What a truly sad day for IU..."

My heart sank. I had to check the IU athletics website to confirm it. Sure enough, IU head football coach Terry Hoeppner died this morning due to complications from the brain tumor he had removed 18 months ago. He was 59.

What a horrible day. I'm sick to my stomach, and I feel like there's a void that just can't be filled. I know I've sung Hep's praises before, but it's hard to truly understand just how much he meant to IU unless you are an IU football fan. You just couldn't understand. This was the guy we've been waiting for. This was the guy we needed. After nearly 15 years of futility, he was supposed to be the one who would lead us to the promised land; the one who was to pull us from this black hole our football program has been in since the early '90s. He came in to Bloomington two years ago with an enthusiasm about IU football that no coach had ever had. The man called IU his dream job. Do you know how hard it is to find a legitimate coach whose dream job is the IU football coaching job? The IU football community was abuzz.

Coach Hep was the perfect ambassador for a program that hasn't seen a winning season since 1994 or a bowl game since 1993. His excitement couldn't help but rub off on people. In a basketball-leaning state and university, someone like Terry Hoeppner is exactly the shot in the arm that the football program needed. The man could sell a slab of ribs to a vegan. As the billboards said, "Coach Hep Wants You" and, as the t-shirts said, "Coach Hep Got Me." In his first season, attendance was up 39%, season ticket sales were up 46%, and student season ticket sales were up 110%. He brought in "The Rock" -- a three-ton chuck of limestone left over from when Memorial Stadium was built in 1960, which now sits north of the north end zone -- which is now the focal point of the team's pre-game ritual and the inspiration for Hep's slogan, "Defend the Rock." He started "The Walk," a pregame ritual where the team buses drop the team off beside the tailgating fields 2 hours before game time, and they walk to the stadium through the fans. After each home victory, he started a tradition of leading the team to the student section and singing the fight song. Hell, he helped convince the university to renovate Memorial Stadium to close off the north end into a horseshoe and build a state-of-the-art training center and student-athlete academic center attached to the stadium.

He believed -- and more importantly convinced the players and fans to believe -- that IU could "play thirteen." That was his mantra, and they came pretty damn close last season. They beat a top 15 team for the first time since 1987 (after which, Hep called the IU program a "shooting rocket"). They won a Big Ten road game for the first time since 2001. They overcame deficits of 14, 16, 18 to win games that past IU teams may have lost by 30 or 40. While they fell one game short of a bowl berth, two of their losses (both 7-point losses at home to teams we should have beaten) came while Hep was sidelined because of a follow-up brain surgery. The man had his second brain surgery in less than a year and took only TWO weeks off. That's an indication of how much he loved the game and how much of a competitor he was. He didn't know how to give less than everything. Needless to say, there was so much promise for the 2007 season, especially with 16 starters coming back.

In the back of my mind, I've been fearful that this day would come sooner rather than later. After the end of last season, I was speaking with a fellow alum whose parents have been season ticket holders for many years and are "in the know." He said that Coach Hep's health was a lot worse than Hep lead on, and that Hep probably wouldn't coach another game for IU. I refused to believe it. I refused to let my plans for Hoeppner to become the winningest coach in IU history be dashed by some non-believers' pessimism. I just wanted to say, "You know what? Fuck you for telling me that. I've bided my time. I went to every single home game when I was in college and law school. I've missed four home games in the past 11 seasons. Since I got to Bloomington in the fall of 1996, all I've wished and hoped and prayed for is that we would go to a bowl game, even if it's the Motor City Bowl. I suffered through the last year of Mallory. I suffered through the Cam Cameron era of underachievement. I suffered through the DiNardo debacle. But now the man who's going to get us over the hump is finally here. IU football is finally heading in the right direction, and so help me God, you will NOT take that away from me." It turns out God has taken that away from me.

It absolutely kills me thinking about a man with such charisma and lust for life spending his last moments in such a weak physical state. Tradd and I were lucky enough to have met him last August at the IU Football Kickoff here in Chicago. Even then (just a month or so before he missed the aforementioned 2 games), he seemed a little bit off. He was still energetic and enthusiastic and inspiring, but just a little off. Regardless, I'll cherish this picture.

In closing, I am saddened for so many reasons: saddened for Hep's wife, Jane; saddened for his children; saddened that his grandchildren will never again be able to hang out with Grandpa Hep; saddened because 85-90 players are without their coach; saddened because IU lost a great ambassador; saddened because every time I'll look at The Rock from now on, I'll think of Coach Hep; saddened because I've never before seen an IU football coach give 110% like he did; saddened because I'm not sure if anyone else ever will again; and saddened because -- selfishly -- I'm scared of what this will mean for IU football. Hep's passing will mean one of two things for the program: (1) it will galvanize the team and the coaches, leading to success on the field and Hep will be remembered as the "man who saved IU football"; or (2) this will set IU back another several years. For Hep's legacy, I sincerely hope it's the former, since he deserves it. There's nothing I would love more than for the team to play thirteen this year for Coach Hep. Lord knows I'll be there, whether it's Detroit, Orlando, El Paso, or Pasadena, and Lord knows Coach Hep will be there, watching from above with an ear-to-ear grin on his face as the "shooting rocket" he launched continues to rise. Rest in peace, Coach Hep.

For a nice little video tribute by one of the Indy news stations, click here. ESPN.com also has a video about him. Here is a YouTube photo montage, set for some reason to Green Day's "Time of Your Life."

A-Z CDs - Day 30

250. Jack Johnson - Brushfire Fairytales (last listen: 2-5 years) - Good mellow acoustic album. "Bubble Toes" is my favorite song from it.
251. Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings (last listen: 2-5 years) - These 41 songs are the entire recorded catalogue of the King of the Delta Blues. Robert Johnson's influence on rock and roll goes without saying at this point, but even a facial look at the titles on this CD show his influence, given the number of artists who have covered his songs (too numerous to name, but they include Clapton, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, and The Rolling Stones). It's just a damn shame he was poisoned at age 27, thus becoming the first member of the infamous 27 Club (now featuring, among others, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, and Kurt Cobain). Speaking of the 27 Club . . .
252. Janis Joplin - Greatest Hits (last listen: 1-2 years) - In my opinion, the best voice (male or female) in rock and roll history.
253. Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (last listen: 3 months to 1 year)
254. Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob (last listen: 0-3 months)
255. KC & The Sunshine Band - Greatest Hits (last listen: 5+ years) - The first (but not last) disco album in the A-Z CD Extravaganza, this one features the band's many hits. Needless to say, today at work I had on my my my my my boogie shoes.
256. The Killers - Hot Fuss (last listen: 3 months to 1 year)

Monday, June 18, 2007

A-Z CDs - Day 29

239. The Impressions - The Greatest Hits (last listen: 0-3 months) - This album features the hits from the Curtis Mayfield-era Impressions (unfortunately nothing from the Jerry Butler era). "It's Alright" is a classic, and "People Get Ready" is a formidable Civil Rights Era anthem.
240. Inner Circle - Bad Boys (last listen: 5+ years) - You, of course, know Inner Circle for their megahit "Bad Boys," which is the theme song to Cops. And you may also remember their other radio "hit," "Sweat (A La La La La Long)," which is still catchy. Other than that, it's a laid back reggae album.
241. Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (last listen: 5+ years) - Obviously the 17-minute title track is legendary as a staple of the psychedelic era (and infamous for the stoned singer's inability to pronounce "in the garden of Venus") and thought to be the first heavy metal song. The rest of the album is solid acid rock.
242. Jackass the Movie (soundtrack) (last listen: 1-2 years) - This is a really good soundtrack. My favorites are "Hybrid Moments" by The Misfits, "We Want Fun" by Andrew W.K., and "Alright Alright (Here's My Fist Where's the Fight?)" by Sahara Hotnights.
243. Jackson 5 - Greatest Hits (last listen: 2-5 years)
244. Mick Jagger - Goddess in the Doorway (last listen: 2-5 years) - A decent solo effort from 2001. "God Gave Me Everything" is the best song off the album, in my opinion.
245. Elmore James - The Very Best Of (last listen: 3 months to 1 year) - A good compilation, showing why James is the "King of the Slide Guitar." His remake of Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom" is great, and I also enjoy "Shake Your Moneymaker," "The Sky is Crying" (later redone by Stevie Ray Vaughan), "Done Somebody Wrong" (redone later by The Allman Brothers Band), and "It Hurts Me Too."
246. Tommy James & The Shondells - The Very Best Of (last listen: 2-5 years) - These guys are often overlooked, but they had a string of solid hits in the mid to late '60s, including "Hanky Panky," "I Think We're Alone Now," "Mony Mony," "Crimson and Clover," and "Crystal Blue Persuasion." The album also features Tommy James's solo hit, "Draggin' the Line." My favorite song on the album is "Crimson and Clover," which is one of my favorite psychedelic era songs.
247. Wyclef Jean - The Carnival (last listen: 1-2 years) - Obviously "Gone Till November," "We Trying to Stay Alive," and "Guantanamera" are well-known, but the entire album is solid with its mix of rap, hip hop, reggae, and Caribbean music.
248. Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit & Other Hits (last listen: 2-5 years) - I always forget that I have this CD. "White Rabbit" is a fantastic, drug-encouraging tribute to Alice in Wonderland ("Remember what the door mouse said / Feed your head"). "Somebody to Love" and "Volunteers" are also good. I wish "We Can Be Together" was on it ("up against the wall motherfuckers"). I'm still not sure how this band morphed into Starship.
249. Jethro Tull - Original Masters (last listen: 1-2 years) - A solid collection from the foremost rock and roll flautist. "Locomotive Breath" is a great song, and I always enjoy the line "and the all-time winner has got him by the balls." Obviously "Aqualung" is a classic. Unfortunately, this album does not contain "Teacher" (my favorite Jethro Tull song) or "Cross Eyed Mary."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Get Well Hep

It's a rough day for the Indiana University football family. Head coach Terry Hoeppner, who last year took the Hoosiers within a win of their first bowl game since 1993, will be sitting out the 2007 season due to health concerns. Assistant coach Bill Lynch will serve as the head coach for the 2007 season.

As many of you probably know, Coach Hep came to IU just 2 years ago from Miami (OH), where he dominated the MAC and coached Big Ben Roethlisberger. He is an Indiana native, and called the IU head coaching job his "dream job" -- thus becoming the first person to ever say that. He brought a level of energy to the program that had been lacking since the days of Vaughn Dunbar and Trent Green. Attendance, season ticket sales, and student season ticket sales are all up significantly over the past two seasons.

After his first season at IU, Hep underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his brain. In September 2006, he had a second surgery to remove some scar tissue from his brain. Despite his second brain surgery in less than a year, he missed only two games (both 7-point home losses to teams we should have beaten). Then in February or March of this year, he announced that he was going to take some time off and that he would be skipping spring practices. Apparently he had not fully recovered from the second surgery, and his body simply needs some more rest.

Obviously, the GMYH family (i.e., me) wishes Hep the best recovery possible, and I think I speak for all IU football fans when I say that I hope he is healthy enough to coach the Hoosiers in 2008.

No 50K
So far no one has stepped up as visitor number 50,000. Sorry Kyla, 50,001 doesn't count. If no one ponies up, then I will have to postpone the fake bio until 60,000. Or maybe I will make good on Mr. 40,000, Gemkeezi, although I think I already told you all you need to know about him when reviewing his 2004 album, Drowsy, during A-Z Day 23. Frankly, I think his wretched tale of deceit, chemical abuse, and buggery might draw some ire from the FCC.

New Book
I finished the Howlin' Wolf biography, and it was pretty good. He seemed like a good dude. I just started reading Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel C. Dennett.

A-Z CDs - Day 28

The Hs got the blues.
230. John Lee Hooker - The Very Best Of (last listen: 2-5 years) - I barely ever listen to this, and I don't know why. It's got the original "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," as well as his classics, "Boogie Chillen'" and "Boom Boom." I'm also a fan of "I'm Bad Like Jesse James" and "Crawlin' King Snake."
231. Hootie & The Blowfish - Crack Rear View (last listen: 5+ years) - If you claim you never liked Hootie, you're a damn liar. This album, after all, did supplant Boston's Boston as the best selling debut album of all-time, selling over 16 million albums, which means a whole hell of a lot of people bought it. I haven't listened to it in probably 10 or 11 years, but it's still full of solid pop songs. I'm not ashamed to say that I still like it.
232. Hootie & The Blowfish - Fairweather Johnson (last listen: 5+ years) - A decent follow-up album, with a title and an accompanying tongue-in-cheek title track making fun of fair-weather fans. Thought of as a "sophomore slump" (it's hard to top 16 million in sales), this album still went quadruple platinum. After listening to this album (also for the first time in probably 10 or 11 years), many of the songs seem to be Mellencamp inspired. In addition to the title track, I like "Tucker's Town" and "Old Man and Me."
233. Son House - Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Son House (last listen: 1-2 years) - As an early Delta bluesman, Son House influenced many future bluesman and rock and rollers. Having recorded in the '30s and '40s, his songs are acoustic, and have an earthy quality to them, not unlike Robert Johnson (on whom House was a big influence). Several of the songs were field recordings in 1941 and 1942 by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress, in a Mississippi general store (you can faintly hear a train in the background on a couple songs). "Shetland Pony Blues" is especially prescient, given recent innovations in seeing eye fauna. I also enjoy "Depot Blues," which is very similar (if not the same) as House's "Death Letter," which was covered by The White Stripes (on their second album, De Stijl), as well as a portion of "Am I Right or Wrong" (aka "John the Revelator"), in "Cannon" off their debut album.
234. House of Pain - House of Pain (last listen: 2-5 years) - I got this at a used CD store, or maybe a Goodwill, and it came in a blank jewel case. Therefore, I had no idea that I bought the clean version of the CD. That's bullshit. "Jump Around" still sounds as fresh as it did when it was the Lyons Township High School freshman B football team anthem (conference champs -- whatever). "Put On Your Shit Kickers" is noticeably different (called "Kick Some" on the clean album), in that it implores you to "put on your shhhh kickers and kick some shhhh." "Shamrocks and Shenanigans" is entertaining.
235. Howlin' Wolf - How Many More Years (last listen: 0-3 months) - Solid album from one of the most distinctive voices you've ever heard. My favorites are "Goin' Down Slow" (featuring spoken parts by Willie Dixon and several great lines, including "I have had my fun / If I never get well no more"), "Wang Dang Doodle," the title track, "Moanin' at Midnight," and "Highway 49."
236. Ice Cube - Bootlegs & B-Sides (last listen: 1-2 years) - This late 1994 albums features remixes and b-sides. I'm a big fan of the "It Was a Good Day" remix, even if it is clean. "You Don't Wanna Fuck Wit These" is solid as well.
237. Billy Idol - Greatest Hits (last listen: 1-2 years) - I only dance with myself.
238. I Mother Earth - Dig (last listen: never) - Another CD that didn't make the trip to Dubai. I have never heard of I Mother Earth, although apparently this album was released in grunge's heyday (1993). It's actually not that bad of an album for a Canadian alt rock band. You can definitely tell that it was released during the grunge era, but it has more traditional hard rock and heavy metal attributes, as well as some Santana-inspired percussion and guitar here and there.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Midwestern Eavesdropping - 6/14/07

Here you go:

70-year-old man in fast food rest room, to complete stranger coming out of the lone stall: "Boy am I glad you're coming outta here!" (he then slams the door shut and slams the toilet seat down)
--Wanatah, IN, Burger King
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Usually mild-mannered twentysomething male at late-night diner, right before he gets into a fight: "Dude, you know if he's from the South Side, he's carrying a blade."
--Chicago, diner, Ashland & Irving Park
Eavesdropper: AlyK

Two males in business attire sit on a bench outside an office building during evening rush, having what appears to be a normal conversation. One says to the other (completely serious): "I just really don't want to hang out with you anymore."
--Chicago, Madison & Wacker
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Twentysomething male: "I gotta slow down. Last night was brutal."
Twentysomething female: "Don't be a such a goddamn pussy."
Twentysomething male: "I woke up this morning in the South Loop on top of my buddy's roommate's bed, no covers, nothing on top of me, in sunglasses with my pants around my ankles. What would you do?"
--Chicago, Kincaid's, Armitage & Sheffield

Eavesdropper: RobD

Tall thin blonde in short skirt, with headband and attitude walks into bar after last call. Complete stranger says to her: "Wait a minute, aren't you supposed to be on house arrest?"
(obviously this occurred before Paris went back to jail)
--Chicago, Fado, Clark & Ontario
Eavesdropper: GMYH


Puppeteer: "Hey man, you broke my equipment."
30something male: "Oh shit, dude, my bad... shit. Here." (Tries to help)
Drunk guy stepping in, waving arms wildly, knocking 30something guy aside: "Don't apologize to him! He's a puppeteer! He's weeeeeeiiiirdddd!!"
[puppeteer and 30something male both run off in opposite directions]
--Chicago, Oz Park, Dickens & Burling

Eavesdropper: RobD

Twentysomething male, looking down row of restaurant booths at street festival, completely perplexed and oblivious to the purpose of the street festival, says to his girlfriend in a tone suggesting that he is annoyed: "It's all barbeque!"
--Chicago, Ribfest, Lincoln & Irving Park
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Administrative assistant on speakerphone: "Look, I said we need somebody this week to facilitate a transition period."
Temp Agency: "Now, you listen here, lady--"
Administrative assistant on speakerphone: "Ooookay now you need to fuck off."
--Chicago, law firm, Washington & Wacker

Eavesdropper: RobD

Blind guy #1: "Did you take any notes at the seminar?"
Blind guy #2: "No, I didn't write anything down."
--Chicago, Ribfest, Lincoln & Irving Park
Eavesdropper: GMYH


Another one that's kind of eavesdropping:
"I am not sure how to describe what happened friday night. [Three of my friends] and I were at the Roscoe Village Tap on Roscoe on Friday night. There we met a guy named Benji who was as pissed at the Cubs as we were. He proceeded to show us his bad ass Gene Simmons tattoo and down Irish car bombs with [male 1] and [male 2]. And then the night took a turn for the worse. I get up to go to the bathroom and when I get back [female 2] tells me not to look directly at Benji, but to turn an ear into his and [male 2]'s conversation. Apparently, what I had missed was this: Benji took an empty pint glass and began smashing it into his family jewels six or seven times, saying, "Look what i can do. I don't feel anything because I dont have any balls!" Sadly, he went into detail, telling us his childhood struggle with medicine to find a way to make his balls drop. He offered to show us but we politely declined."
--Chicago, Roscoe Village Tap, Roscoe & Damen
Eavesdropper: AlyK

Thanks to all who contributed. And for you other sorry-listening mofos, overhear something funny already, and email it to gmyhblog@yahoo.com so that it can be included in Midwestern Eavesdropping.

A-Z CDs - Day 27

221. Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsys (last listen: 2-5 years) - This is a live album (Fillmore East, 1970), after the Experience broke up and Jimi had teamed up with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. "Machine Gun" is a great song.
222. Jimi Hendrix - The Last Experience: His Final Live Performance (last listen: 5+ years) - Decent live album.
223. Jimi Hendrix - Live at The Scene Club, NY, NY (last listen: 5+ years) - A live performance, featuring Jim Morrison (he likes to swear), Johnny Winter, and Buddy Miles. Even though Morrison was a mild wreck, it's pretty cool to hear him singing with Jimi playing guitar. What I don't like about this CD is that it is one giant track.
224. Jimi Hendrix - The Very Best Of (last listen: 5+ years) - This is an Italian import live CD, featuring a couple rare tracks that you don't usually see on Hendrix greatest hits albums, such as "Sunshine of Your Love," "Catfish Blues," "Killing Floor," "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window," "Tax Free," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Drivin' South," and "Little Miss Lover."
225. Jimi Hendrix - Masterpieces (last listen: 5+ years) - This has random rare Hendrix songs, some of which are instrumental and some of which are live. It sounds like Jim Morrison is singing on one of the songs, which may be from The Scene (see #223).
226. The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday (last listen: 0-3 months) - This is their second album (I still need to get their debut album, Almost Killed Me), and it features what you'd expect: vivid, imaginative, quirky stories, played by the world's best bar band. My favorites are "Your Little Hoodrat Friend," "Banging Camp," "Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night," and "How a Resurrection Really Feels."
227. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America (last listen: 0-3 months) - Where's Jackee when you need her? Oh, Lester. Random (yet relevant) references aside, I love this album. It's more polished, but also more rocking, than Separation Sunday. "Massive Nights" is my favorite song on the album. It's an infectious, rocking anthem about getting hammered and going to a high school dance. "Stuck Between Stations" is great too (I aspire to be "drunk and exhausted but . . . critically acclaimed and respected"). "You Can Make Him Love You" is about how a girl can get a new boyfriend if she gets tired of her current one. I especially enjoy the beginning stanza: "You don't have to deal with the dealers / Let your boyfriend deal with the dealers. It only gets inconvenient / When you want to get high alone."
228. The Hollies - The Midas Touch (last listen: 2-5 years) - Apparently this is a short, 6-song version of a real album. I just thought it was a really short greatest hits compilation, since it features "Carrie-Anne," "Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)," "Bus Stop," and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother." I may or may not have purchased this at a truck stop (but definitely not at a bus stop).
229. Buddy Holly - Greatest Hits (last listen: 0-3 months)